Why You Should Explore The High Line
By Melissa Wickes

Why You Should Explore The High Line

August 11, 2016   |   Family Outings  

What you need to know to plan a day on the High Line, NYC's elevated park, with your kids.


Looking for a fun, mildly active way to get your kids out of the house and into the fresh air? The High Line is a linear New York City park built atop an out-of-use railroad and is the perfect place to take your family for a fun, relaxing day.

In 1999, the nonprofit organization Friends of the High Line advocated for preservation of the line to be used as a public greenway. The first phase opened to the public in 2009 and the third and final phase opened in 2014.

This 1.45-mile, elevated walkway runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District, through Chelsea, to 34th Street between Tenth Ave. and Twelfth Ave. There are beautiful views of the streets below and the Hudson River along with naturalized plantings inspired by the original landscape that grew on the track.

The High Line is wheelchair- and stroller-friendly via elevators at Gansevoort, 14th, 16th, 23rd, and 30th streets, and the 34th Street entrance is at street level. Solicitation is prohibited and commercial activity is only allowed with a permit, making the experience peaceful and unbothered by the craziness of New York City.
   

benches on the highline in nyc
If you get tired, you can take a break on any of the benches scattered along the High Line, and take in the architecture of the streets below.


When your kids’ tiny feet get a tiny bit tired, there are lots of cool seats with even cooler views to choose from. The High Line’s “peel-up benches” are designed to look like they are rising from the actual path itself. There are also picnic tables, love seats, a xylophone bench, and a rocking bench. If you would rather relax on a blanket in the grass, the 23rd Street Lawn is a crowd favorite, open Wednesdays through Sundays, and perfect for picnicking, people-watching, and playtime.
    

Food Vendors on the High Line

If you’re looking for a quick snack along the way, some kid favorites are the ice cream sandwiches at the street cart Melt and People’s Pops homemade ice-pops. Other street carts along the High Line include:  

  • Brooklyn Soda Works: Healthy, fresh juice sodas. Daily, 10:30am–9pm (15th Street)
     
  • Blue Bottle Coffee: Single-original drip coffees, espresso bar, and house made pastries. Daily, 9am–8pm (15th Street)
     
  • L’Arte del Gelato: Artisanal gelato and sorbetti made with organic milk and seasonal fruit. Daily, 12-10pm (15th Street)
     
  • Melt: Homemade ice cream sandwiches. Daily, 11am-9pm (15th Street and Rail Yards)
     
  • People’s Pops: Homemade ice pops and shave ice in unique flavors. Daily, 11:30am- 10:30pm (15th Street)
     
  • Taco Truck: Authentic Mexican street food. Daily, 11am- 7pm (15th Street)
     
  • La Sonrisa: Homemade empanadas. Monday–Friday, 11am–9pm; Saturday, 9am-9pm; Sunday, 9am–7pm (15th Street)
     
  • La Newyorkina: Paletas, frozen Mexican treats. Daily, 11:00AM – 7:00 PM (17th Street and Rail Yards)
           
melt ice cream stand on the highline nyc
The ice cream sandwiches sold at the street cart Melt art a crowd favorite, especially amongst the little ones.


For a meal, there are plenty of delicious restaurants on the streets near High Line exits, especially Untitled at The Whitney and Santina, both at the end of The High Line in the Meatpacking District. Some other crowd favorites along The High Line include Ronnybrook Milk Bar at 75 Ninth Ave. and The Red Cat at 227 Tenth Ave. Be sure to grab a slice of Artichoke Pizza from Basille’s on Tenth Avenue. The lines can get pretty long but it’s for sure worth the wait.
 

Activities on the High Line

Tours of the High Line

If you’re looking to get a more detailed and informative experience of The High Line, you can take a free, hour-long tour led by High Line Docents for an inside perspective on the history, design, and landscape of the park. Other tour options include private tours, member-only tours, and garden tours. You can also experience the art on The Highline on an art tour. Some of the pieces include the Nari Ward Smart Tree, Barbara Kruger’s Untitled (Blind Idealism Is) mural, and Wanderlust, the conceptual sculpture.
    

urban rattle c hewitt highline nyc

Though Urban Rattle by Charlie Hewitt is not technically on the High Line (it's on the patio of a nearby buiding), the 20-foot-tall sculpture is visible to anyone walking the park. 


Private tours:
Reservation required. Price varies depending on number of attendees

Art tours: the second Monday of every month; 6-7:15pm

Garden tours: the second Thursday of every month; 6-7:15pm
 

High Line Activities for Kids

One of the High Line’s newest design features is the Pershing Square Beams located just west of Eleventh avenue. Coated in silicone, this section of the park allows children to climb on and play within the original framework of the High Line, composed of steel beams and girders. Kids can also have a lot of fun exploring on the rotating beam, in the gopher hole, and talking and looking through the tubes.

  • Green Corps: This paid education and job-training program offers teens hands-on experience in horticulture and green jobs.
     
  • Teen Arts Council: This paid education and job-training program is composed of local teens that design, plan, and produce events on the High Line each summer.
     
  • Youth Corps: Three to five teens from Build’s POWER UP program assist High Line Educators in holding weekly drop-in kid activities at The High Line.
     
  • Children’s Workyard Kit: Designed to help kids create their own course of play using wood planks, wheels, ropes, gears, and pulleys.
     
  • Stargazing: Join the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York for a look at the night sky through telescopes; Tuesday nights, April-October
     
  • Make It! series: Each month features a Make It! series workshop, held the fourth Saturday of the month from 10am-2pm, in which families create, learn, listen and build through stories, art, and nature. Workshop themes have included Make It Grow!, Make It Sweet!, and Make It Wild!
     
  • Haunted High Line Halloween: Grab your Halloween costume and enjoy storytelling, music, treats, and more at this Halloween themed celebration on The Highline.   
        

Tips for Visiting The High Line

  • Wear sneakers or shoes that are comfortable to walk in.
     
  • If you are visiting in the summer, bring water and sunscreen.
     
  • Keep an eye on all of your little ones, foot traffic gets pretty crowded.
     
  • Bring cash for the food carts, as they are all cash only.
     
  • It takes approximately 25 minutes to walk each way.
         
23rd street lawn on the highline nyc
The 23rd Street Lawn is the perfect grassy, open space to picnic, relax with the kids, and people watch.
    

Want to go?

Entrances:

  • Gansevoort and Washington Street (elevator)
  • 14th Street (elevator)
  • 16th Street (elevator)
  • 18th Street
  • 20th Street
  • 23rd Street (elevator)
  • 26th Street
  • 28th Street
  • 30th Street (elevator)
  • 30th Street and Eleventh Avenue
  • 34th Street and Twelfth Avenue (ramp access)
       

Price: Free

Hours:

  • Dec. 1-March 31: 7am-7pm
  • April 1-May 31: 7am-10pm
  • June 1-Sept. 30: 7am-11pm
  • Oct. 1-Nov. 30: 7am-10pm

 
Main image: The Interim Walkway entrance located between W 34th street and W 30th has beautiful views of the Hudson River along with exposed pieces of what were once viable tracks and lots of places to sit and relax.
 

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