An elevated public park, built on something that was originally earmarked for demolition – the High Line could be a great option for your family if you are looking for something completely original to do in New York City with kids. This free, elevated park is such a unique site in Manhattan, and is a beautiful oasis in the city. Whether you choose to walk through on your way to another destination, or if it’s the destination in itself, the High Line is definitely worth visiting. Here’s what you need to know about visiting the High Line NYC with kids.
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Tips for Visiting The High Line NYC With Kids
What is the High Line NYC?
The High Line is an elevated public park, located on a former New York Central Railway elevated freight line track. This urban park features art installations, flowers and plants, elevated viewing areas of the city, and benches to relax. It’s such a unique spot, and it’s great to see an abandoned track repurposed in such a beautiful way. This public space is maintained and operated by the nonprofit Friends of the High Line. It’s free to visit and is a popular attraction in New York City.
The High Line runs along the Hudson River on the west side of New York City, in the hip neighborhood of Chelsea. It’s 1.45 miles in total, with several different entrances/exits. You can enter/exit at any of these spots, so you don’t have to walk the full length if you don’t want to.
Where is the entrance to the High Line?
There are several places to enter or exit. Most of these are by 10th Avenue:
- Gansevoort and Washington Street
- 14th Street (elevator at this entrance)
- 16th Street (elevator at this entrance)
- 17th Street
- 20th Street
- 23rd Street (elevator at this entrance)
- 26th Street
- 28th Street
- 30th Street (elevator at this entrance)
- 30th Street and 11th Avenue
- 34th Street and 12th Avenue (ramp at this entrance)
Some of these entrances have elevators or ramps, while others are just flights of stairs. They are open different hours so it’s a good idea to check online before deciding when/where to go. Even when there are just stairs, there aren’t too many. While you wouldn’t want to carry a stroller up these stairs, it isn’t too strenuous for kids to walk up.
You may be wondering where to get on the High Line during your trip. When we visited this past August, I had the same question. I was able to see all of the various entrances when I did my research, but wasn’t sure what the best place to enter was. It really depends on what your plans are.
If you want to start at one end and travel to the other, you’ll either want to start at 34th street, or Gansevoort and Washington Street. Those are the entrances at either end. Because we were staying in midtown Manhattan, I found it easiest to start all the way at the bottom at the southernmost entrance, and walk up. The opposite is also a good option, but we thought it would be easier to go to the furthest point.
You can easily enter at any of the entrances, and walk either way. There’s no right way to go, so just consider what your plans are and choose your route accordingly. If you only want to do a partial walk, just choose an entrance at a midway point and start there.
\What is there to see and do on the High Line?
I was originally unsure as to what I’d see during our walk. Unlike Central Park, there isn’t a body of water or zoo that’s an obvious attraction. It’s pretty narrow, but there’s so much to see. We enjoyed looking over the edges and the elevated viewing areas of the city. There are some areas where you can see the Empire State Building and other sites.
There are also food vendors, art installations, beautiful plants, benches to sit and rest, restrooms, and a gift shop that is open seasonally.
Is the High Line Good for Kids?
My kids really enjoyed our walk. It’s a nice place to take a leisure stroll in Manhattan without worrying about traffic and stop lights. The kids also liked seeing the views of the city, but were less interested in looking at all of the plants. Because it’s free and doesn’t require too much effort, it’s definitely worth taking kids on the High Line during your visit to New York City, especially if the weather is nice.
Strollers are permitted, and there are elevators to make it easier. Other things aren’t allowed, however, including dogs, bicycles, skateboards, or skates. This isn’t a complete list – look on their website for a full list of things that aren’t allowed.
Programming on the High Line
In addition to taking a walk and looking at the sites and flowers, there are some events and programming that take place throughout the year. Families will especially love the family festivals that occur a few times during the summer. There are also cultural events, tours, Tai Chi, and meditation sessions. A full schedule is located on the website.
How long does it take to walk through?
We started at the southern end and walked all the way up to the 34th street entrance. We walked at a brisk pace, but did stop a few times to look at the views and art. It took us about an hour. Depending on your plans and the ages of your children, it may take you more or less time. We went in the morning, and it was the perfect way to build up an appetite before going to lunch and then a matinee Broadway show. Opening hours depend on the time of year. Next time we go, I’ll probably plan to eat from one of the food vendors.
What’s around the High Line?
We weren’t staying anywhere near any of the entrances, and didn’t have any plans nearby during this particular stay. However, there are lots of things that you’ll find around the High Line, including restaurants, shop, and hotels.
Nearby kid-friendly attractions include Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex, which offers lots of daily drop-in activities, like batting cages, bowling, basketball, and rock climbing.
There’s also the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Pint Shop, and Chelsea Market. If you are looking for general activities within a 1 mile radius, you’ll find the Museum of Mathematics, Eataly NYC, Madison Square Park, and the Flatiron Building.
After our walk on the High Line, we headed to Pepe Giallo. It doesn’t have a kids’ menu, but my children shared and enjoyed a margarita pizza.
To learn more about the High Line and see the various programming offering during your visit, check out their website.
More resources: Read our New York City Travel Tips post here to read hotel, attraction, and restaurant reviews, tips, and ideas.