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Neighborhood Play Guide: Eight Hours in Chelsea

August 18

Our Park’s Chelsea section is a playtime powerhouse. Sail, bowl, skateboard, rock climb, take a spin around the carousel, sip a cool drink on a historic barge…  with so many ways to challenge yourself, explore and kick back, our Chelsea parklands make a perfect play-cation destination.

Enter at 23rd Street for a particularly green welcome: you’ll stroll through Chelsea Waterside Park, the compact, tree-lined parklands east of the highway, past basketball courts and sports fields. Families will enjoy our bustling play area, soon to undergo a dynamic redesign. Brought a four-legged friend along? Let your pup roam free on the rocky hills of our Chelsea Waterside Dog Run.

Cross 12th Avenue and you’ll find the Chelsea Entry Garden, in full flower this time of year with roses, hibiscus and other bright blooms. The tables arrayed throughout are the perfect place to enjoy breakfast and some coffee – there are delicious options at nearby ‘wichcraft, so you can fuel up before the day of play ahead!

To your south stretches Chelsea Piers, one of our Park’s most popular destinations. From the driving range to the bowling lanes, rock walls to batting cages, ice skating to gymnastics classes – Chelsea Piers is a blast. Find your favorite activity or try something new—you’re in for a play-packed morning. And once you’ve worked up an appetite, there are several places on-site to grab a bite!

An afternoon of exploration and relaxation awaits, so head onto Pier 62. The carousel nestled along this pier features 33 hand-carved animals native to the Hudson River Valley! Pier 62 is also home to a large skatepark—its carved earth look was achieved with sculptural foam.

Ready to kick back? You’re in the right place. The Chelsea Lawn Bowl at Pier 63 is one of our favorite sunbathing destinations. Wide, uninterrupted greenspace and sparkling river views make this popular for leisure and for major Park events like the Hudson River Dance Festival and our Hudson RiverFlicks series.

If you’re looking for a shadier spot for your afternoon relaxation, we suggest heading to Pier 64. On your way, you’ll pass the peaceful Stone Field, an array of locally quarried boulders arranged artfully among weeping willows. Pier 64 is a picnickers dream, with plentiful shade and gentle hills. Unusual for its uphill slant, this pier’s far edge rises 15 feet above the bulkhead, offering especially striking river views.

Of course, no Hudson River Park adventure would be complete without some on-the-water exploration, so head north. As you stroll the esplanade, notice the striking garden to your right, blooming with native plants. Our Habitat Garden is an official stop on the annual monarch butterfly migration and a unique open-air classroom. At its northern end, feel free to take a quick break at Two Too Large Tables—a functional piece of #ArtinHRP!

When you reach Pier 66, you’ll find a nautical wonderland. Here you can get out on the water with Hudson River Community Sailing or row in the Hudson with New York Outrigger—both organizations dedicated to getting New Yorkers on our beautiful waterways. And to wind down this long, adventurous day, we suggest you head over to Pier 66 Maritime, sit back on the barge, and grab a drink as you watch the sun set over the historic lightship Frying Pan to the south, and the ever-spinning Long Time water wheel to your north.

So maybe it's not quite possible to fit all of that into 8 hours... so keep your Chelsea exploration going! There's even more to see in this bustling beautiful section of our Park.