Heading to Manhattan? Bordered by Gansevoort Street and West 14th Street, from the Hudson River to Hudson Street, the Meatpacking District has all the makings of a perfect weekend escape. It’s where New York City’s foodies, culture-hounds, shoppers, and urban outdoor enthusiasts creatively co-exist.
The distinctive 19th century cobblestone-lined streets, once home to open-air meat markets and meatpacking plants now play host to fashion outlets, art galleries, and nightlife — it’s cutting edge with a hint of historic charm.
FOR ART’S SAKE:
Whitney Museum of American Art: The downtown version of the 50-year-old Upper East Side institution recently opened this 220,000 square foot outpost designed by Renzo Piano, the Pritzker prize-winning architect. His building is a work of art itself with its natural light filled galleries spread out over several floors, outdoor public spaces, and panoramic views of the Hudson and Manhattan skyline.
Milk Gallery: This studio and event space features works by prominent photographers who document the celebrity, fashion, and pop culture worlds.
High Line: This one-mile long public park is built on the elevated railway that originally wound its way above the Meatpacking District. At 35 feet above ground level, it combines plantings with long narrow walkways, and stops for viewing platforms, sundecks, restaurants, and places to sit or stretch out and enjoy the view or occasional performance art.
Hudson River Park: Perched on Manhattan Island’s left coast, this 550-acre park runs all the way from West 59th street in Midtown, to Battery Park in the Financial District. Jog, bike, or just take it all in from one of the waterfront benches and tables.
Chelsea Market: Originally the headquarters of the Nabisco Corporation (and birthplace of the Oreo cookie), this 800-foot long concourse is chock full of gourmet food purveyors, boutiques, and a flea market. Load up on sushi and oysters at The Lobster Place and scones at Sara Beth’s bakery.
Shop high-end designers like Diane Von Furstenberg, Theory, and Alice + Olivia; pick a pair of jeans at Rag & Bone; enjoy understated yet chic Joie; or browse through Jeffrey New York (which started the whole meatpacking retail boom). Boutique shops include lovely Lila P, vintage inspired eyeglass purveyor Warby Parker, and trendy Calypso St. Barth. Techies will appreciate the Samsung 837 Store where “technology and culture collide.” Spend the afternoon amongst interactive art installations, virtual reality simulators, and live performances.
There is no shortage of upscale dining choices: Del Posto, Catch, Spice Market, Buddakan, and STK. Or, enjoy a breezy outdoor brunch at Bagatelle, comfort food at Bubby’s, casual Italian at Fig & Olive, and decadent desserts at Sugar Factory. In the mood for margaritas? Try Dos Caminos or Bodega Negra in the Dream Downtown hotel for the best of Mexican fare.
LATE NIGHT LIFE:
Staying up late? After hours, head up to these rooftop hot spots: Gansevoort’s Zezura at Plunge Bar & Lounge, Dream Downtown’s Ph-D, and the Standard Hotel’s Le Bain.
Make your visit to the Meatpacking District a mini vacation with a night or two at the Gansevoort, Standard, Dream Downtown, and The Maritime Hotel.
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