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What to Do in Chelsea

Chelsea, the area west of Fifth Avenue and north of 14th Street to about 30th Street, has long been known for its brownstones, pre-war buildings and quiet, quaint, tree-lined residential streets. In recent years, however, it has become a favorite New York neighborhood with an abundance of art galleries, bars, and restaurants -- all with a chic touch.

Chelsea is known for being "gay friendly," although a heterogeneous crowd occupies the area. Although it is mostly residential, the bars, clothing shops, and shoe stores are always bustling. Chelsea Piers, an enormous sports complex with great dining and sports-related shopping, is also a great stop.

The Meatpacking District, around 14th Street and Ninth Avenue, is now one of the city's hottest areas. Who would have ever thought the posh would invade this cobblestoned territory? When the sun sets, crowds of clubbers can be spotted standing outside the latest "club to be seen in," while celebrities breeze through the doors. There are also a lot of high-end clothing stores, including Alexander McQueen and Diane von Furstenberg. Visit www.meatpacking-district.com for a complete list of shops, restaurants, and clubs.

The city's stunning public park, The High Line (map), was built upon an elevated freight rail line above the streets of the west side. Beautiful scenery and breathtaking views of the city aren’t the only things the High Line has to offer visitors. Friends of the High Line hosts numerous free or low-cost programs and tours, including programs on art, gardening, design, and history.

The Flower District, located along Sixth Avenue in the mid-to-high 20s to about 30th Street but largely focused on 28th Street, is the place where you can get almost any flower, plant, or accessory for your garden. From 23rd to 26th Streets between Sixth and Seventh Avenues is the Antique District. Weekdays are a little subdued and are for the serious shoppers, who can easily spend a pretty penny in some of the top-dollar stores. But, on the weekends, flea markets crowd the area and bargain antiques buys are hard to miss.

Once they were all in SoHo, but now Chelsea is also known for its art galleries. For a great list of current exhibitions at Chelsea galleries and museums, visit chelseagallerymap.com.

The quaint, tree-lined charm and historical significance of Chelsea has made it a safe haven from the loud, bustling New York we all know -- and love. But if you're looking to experience the "real" New York, be sure to take a trip to Chelsea. -- Irene Ross

Restaurants in Chelsea: Pongsri Thai.

Shopping in Chelsea: Hell's Kitchen Flea Market; Dave's New York.

Nightlife in Chelsea: Gotham Comedy Club (comedy club).


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