Two of New York City’s most compelling neighborhoods for shopping are situated on the West Side of Manhattan. Chelsea, which is located (east to west) between 6th Avenue and the Hudson River and stretches from roughly 14th Street north to 34th Street, is a global center of the art trade, with hundreds of art galleries calling this area home. Meanwhile, the Meatpacking District, a tiny sliver of a neighborhood comprised of just a few blocks directly south of Chelsea, has become a prime shopping destination on account of its high-end designer clothing stores and luxury brand retail spaces.
Getting to Know the Neighborhood
In the nineteenth century Chelsea was an industrial district, with the neighborhood crisscrossed by miles of elevated railroad tracks servicing the Hudson River’s working waterfront and the many large warehouses, factories, and gas works located in the area. As Chelsea deindustrialized, artists moved into the abandoned warehouses and Chelsea’s legendary gallery scene was born. Today, Chelsea is quite diverse, with a large LGBTQ population, plentiful entertainment options, numerous corporate offices, chic luxury housing, and of course, popular shopping destinations.
The Meatpacking District has gone through some remarkable changes over the past 40 years. The area fell into disrepair during the mid-twentieth century’s deindustrialization, only to become a trendy fashion world mecca in the 1990s when many big-name designers descended on the neighborhood. Many of these hip boutiques and luxury storefronts remain today, and the Meatpacking District’s growth and development has only accelerated in the wake of the High Line’s construction.
Popular Chelsea and the Meatpacking District Shopping Destinations
Chelsea and the Meatpacking District are home to an electrifying assortment of shopping destinations. Chelsea has long been renowned as Manhattan’s most prominent arts district, which means the neighborhood is home to scores and scores of art galleries showcasing work by artists from all over the world. Though small in size, the Meatpacking District packs a punch when it comes to high-end designer stores. If fashionable is your New York City shopping gold standard, Chelsea and the Meatpacking District are for you.
Restoration Hardware—now widely known by the stylized name RH—opened its flagship location in the Meatpacking District in the fall of 2018. You’ll find here, spread across six floors and some 90,000 square feet, a glittering array of luxury home décor products. The prices aren’t for the faint of heart, but if you come with your checkbook at the ready you’ll encounter a tremendous selection of high-end furniture, lighting, bedding, textiles, and more. The RH Rooftop Restaurant is a glamorous place to grab a meal after you’ve enjoyed your afternoon of shopping.
Hermès, the fabled French luxury design house, operates a location on Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District. There you can peruse their collection of fine leather goods, jewelry, perfume, clothes, shoes, and accessories, just to name a few of the elegant products for which Hermès is famous.
At the northern edge of Chelsea is the massive Hudson Yards real estate development. There are a number of shopping opportunities throughout this project, the most notable of them at this time being The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards. This luxury mall contains approximately 750,000 square feet of retail space, and is anchored by tenants like Dior, Chanel, Cartier, and Fendi. British designer Thomas Heatherwick’s Vessel is located here, while Edge at Hudson Yards observation deck is on the 100th floor of the complex.
Other Ways to Enjoy Chelsea and the Meatpacking District
If you’ve made your way to Chelsea and the Meatpacking District, then you absolutely need to make time to explore the High Line. To great fanfare over the past decade, this 1.5-mile-long public park has been constructed on disused train tracks that were once a portion of the New York Central Railroad’s West Side Line. The High Line begins on Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District and runs north through the heart of Chelsea to Hudson Yards.
Anyone who considers themselves even the slightest bit of a foodie must visit Chelsea Market, which occupies an entire city block on 9th Avenue. This acclaimed food hall features dozens of vendors, grocers, and shops. It’s a fabulous spot to snag a unique lunch, procure fresh produce, or just do some browsing.
The Whitney Museum of American Art is located where the High Line begins, just down the street from Hermès and two blocks from RH. Legendary for its century-old, biennial survey show series, the Whitney’s permanent collection is well worth your time, too.
If that’s not enough, the world-famous Empire State Building is located just a block east of the northeastern edge of Chelsea, not too far from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. If a visit to any one (or all three!) of these New York City institutions is on your to-do list, you might be interested in combining it with a Chelsea and the Meatpacking District shopping spree!