If you’re visiting the Big Apple, your trip won’t be complete without a walk along the famous NYC High Line. For those who haven’t heard of it, the High Line is a 1.45 mile stretch of elevated railway that’s been transformed into one of the must- see parks on Manhattan’s West Side. What was once a New York Central Railroad Spur is now a joyous mix of lush horticulture, art exhibits, community programming and tasty, on-the-go dining opportunities. If that wasn’t enough, it also offers some of the most magnificent views across the Hudson River that you’re likely to enjoy in the entire city. If you’re tempted to visit, note the opening hours are between 7am to 7pm in winter, between 7am and 10pm in spring and fall, and between 7am and 11pm in summer (top tip: visit at dusk to take in a glorious New York sunset). The park can be accessed via eleven entrances, five of which are wheel-chair friendly. Interested? Then read on to discover more.
1. It’s a lesson in NYC history
If you’re a history buff keen on learning more about the fascinating history of one of New York City’s top tourist destinations, you’re in luck. The High Line Tour: From Freight to Flowers offers visitors the chance to hear the story behind the park during a free 75 minute accompanied tour led by one of the park’s knowledgeable guides. What could be better than some free history while enjoying the High Lines magnificent views? If you can’t think of an answer, then be sure to check out the High Lines website for tour times, and arrive 15 minutes in advance to guarantee your place.
2. It’s a botanist’s dream
If you love flowers, you’ll love “Horticulture on the High Line,” an in- depth tour around the High Line’s plant life. You’ll be accompanied by one of the parks’ resident horticulturists, who are always more than happy to share their knowledge on the High Line’s wild and wonderful flora. From grasses to shrubs, from trees to roses- whatever the plant and whatever your question, they’re sure to know the answer. Even if botany isn’t your usual bag, I bet you’ll still find something of interest in the park’s 500 varieties of plants.
3. There’s always something gone on
The High Line loves a shindig and regularly plays host to The Hat Party, one of the hottest happenings in New York City. You’ll need to keep an eye on their website to check dates, but whenever it is, you’re guaranteed to have a good time. With a highly competitive running competition, as many cocktails as you can drink, delicious food and an amazing atmosphere, this is one party you’ll not want to miss. Just make sure to bring a hat if you want to fit in.
4. It’s got great art
Art lovers rejoice! The High Line is one of the top places in New York City to view the best in contemporary art. The High Line doesn’t just buy art, it commissions it: as a result, its many sculptures and exhibits are perfectly tailored to harmonize with the park’s natural surrounds and tell the story of NYC’s vibrant culture and history.
5. It’s an open-air theater
If the sculptures aren’t enough to captivate you, then stick around and you may get the chance to take in one of the many live, artist-led performances the High Line plays host to throughout the year. On such occasions, the park transforms into a dynamic open- air theater, inviting audiences to participate in the thrilling performances of artists such as Kevin Beasley, Alexandra Pirici, Naama Tsabar, and the Trisha Brown Dance Company.
6. You can gaze at the stars
Turn up at dusk on any Tuesday between April and October and you’ll get the chance to enjoy the stars at night in a way you rarely get to. High-powered telescopes are on hand for you to take in the celestial sights- if you’re not sure what exactly it is you’re looking at (or for), members of the Amateur Astronomers Association are on hand to give you some useful pointers.
7. It’s an amazing educational experience
If you want to get your kids learning in a fun and dynamic environment, pack them some sandwiches and send them over to the High Line. The destination works hand-in-hand with schools to provide an interactive learning experience that get kids experimenting, discovering and learning without them even realizing.
8. It’s a great place to grab lunch
Come spring, summer or fall, you’ll find the High Line teaming with food and drink options sure to tempt your fancy. With a vast range of vendors offering a huge selection of delectable treats (from Santina’s seafood delicacies to L’Arte del Gelato’s icy wonders, from Hearth on the High Line’s tempting wine list to Hungry Ghost Coffee’s excellent beverages), you’ll not go home hungry, that’s for sure. As an extra benefit, a percentage of every food purchase goes towards helping maintain the park- what better excuse for a 2nd portion?
9. It sparks conversation
The High Line is all about generating conversation. One of the many ways it does this is through its regular “In Conversation” public forums. The events offer visitors the chance to voice their thoughts (and hear those of others), in a platform designed to stimulate debate and create dialogue about some of the most pressing social and cultural issues of the day.
10. It’ll get you moving
¡Arriba! Is the oldest and most popular public program offered by the High Line. Visit on a hot summer evening and you’ll soon see why. By night, the park transforms into a huge open-air dance floor where residents of New York City (and a fair share of out-of-towners) come together to move their hips to the sounds of salsa (and pick up some tips on the right technique while they’re at it). Even if you’ve got less rhythm than soul, you’ll still find much to enjoy by relaxing with a beverage and watching the action around you.