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12 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting the Chelsea Market, NYC

12 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting the Chelsea Market, NYC

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New York is an awesome city for foodies and the Chelsea Market was where we ate some of the best food that we had in the entire city. And that’s saying something in a place known for its food!!

This awesome indoor market is basically a paradise for anyone who loves to eat and try new things which basically describes us on vacation! There are more than 40 stalls serving up delicious meals from all over the world. The hardest part is narrowing down what to try – which is why we actually joined a Chelsea Market Food Tour our first time here.

Seriously, from Kim Kardashian’s favorite doughnuts to noodles, tacos, and New York-style pizza, the Chelsea Market has pretty much every kind of food you could dream of! Plus, there are cool boutique stores and a small farmers’ market to check out. Visiting the Chelsea Market was easily one of the best things we did in New York City!

The Chelsea Market is beloved by locals and tourists alike, so you should definitely check it out whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a five-day trip to New York. And likely you’ll want to visit more than once – we would have been here every day of our trip if we could!

So with that in mind, here are 12 things to know before you visit the Chelsea Market in NYC! 

1. About the Chelsea Market

Bailey in the Chelsea Market during our free time on our Chelsea Market food tour
The Chelsea Market is huge!
Painting of Oreo advertisement at the Chelsea Market in NYC
The birthplace of the Oreo!

The Chelsea Market is best known for its indoor food hall that houses an insane variety of dishes to try.

You could eat a different food here every day for weeks! But before I get carried away talking about the food, that’s not all there is to see here. There are also shops and boutiques to explore like a Moroccan import bazaar and an Anthropologie!

Basically, the Chelsea Market is a fantastic place to hang out. It’s also all indoors, so it makes a great rainy day activity in New York if the weather isn’t cooperating. Just grab some comfort food, and a little retail therapy, and you won’t even notice the rain!

The history of the Chelsea Market is also super cool. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Oreo cookie … well this is where it all started! The building was the original site of the National Biscuit Company (now Nabisco) that created the Oreo.

Nabisco left this building in the 1950s for a new factory in New Jersey. It was the beginning of the decline of the entire Meatpacking District until the 1990s when it got an overhaul. The Chelsea Market building was renovated in the 1990s to be the trendy space it is now. The building is actually owned by Google (with some offices upstairs), but the food hall is still run by the original developers who turned it into one of the must-visit places in New York.

It’s so popular now, that around 6 million people come through the doors every year!

2. Where is the Chelsea Market?

Bailey outside the Chelsea Market in New York City
Welcome!
Bailey walks the fresh seafood section inside the Chelsea Market in NYC during free time on our food tour
The fresh seafood!

The Chelsea Market is located in Chelsea, which is on the west side of Midtown Manhattan. The neighborhood is close to High Line Park, and as part of the Chelsea Market food tour that we did, we got to go on a guided walk along it! 

The entrance to Chelsea Market is on 9th Avenue, between 15th and 16th Street. 

Related Read: Chelsea Market is also close to one of the best observation decks in NYC! The views from the 100th floor on The Edge are unreal and you can even lean against the angled glass walls to feel like you’re flying over the city – if you’re brave enough!

3. How do you get to the Chelsea Market?

Historic photos inside the Chelsea Market in New York City
Historic photos inside the Chelsea Market in New York City

It’s easy to take the train to the Chelsea Market since there are a few stops nearby. 

The closest subway station is 8th Avenue. You can take the L train to this station, and then it’s a 5-minute walk to the Chelsea Market.

You can also take either the A, C, or E train to 14th St Station which is a 10-minute walk from the Chelsea Market. Or you can take the 1 or 2 train to 18th Street, which is also 10 minutes away on foot.

It’s also roughly a 30-minute walk from Midtown to the Chelsea Market if you feel like getting some steps in!

4. When is the Chelsea Market open?

list of shops at restaurants in the Chelsea Market in New York City
The shops and restaurants!
Bailey poses for a photo inside the Chelsea Market in New York City
First thing in the morning it’s quiet!

The Chelsea Market concourse is open from 7 am until 10 pm, every day of the week. This is different from the opening hours Google will give you, so bear that in mind!

Also, it’s worth noting that individual stalls and shops have their own opening hours.

5. When is the best time to visit the Chelsea Market?

Entrance sign to the Chelsea Market in NYC
In the morning!

We think around 10:30 am is the best time to go. It’s not too early but most of the shops are open, and the market isn’t overly busy. It’s the Goldilocks time!

If you go at lunchtime, some of the more popular restaurants get really packed and you might struggle to find seating, or find yourself waiting quite a while.

But bear in mind, if you take a food tour, you get to skip the queues!

6. Is it free to visit the Chelsea Market?

Yes, there’s no entry fee and it’s free to wander around. However, it’s a food market so of course, you’ll want to spend your money on lots of delicious treats once you’re inside!

It would take superhuman levels of willpower not to spend money here. Safe to say, we do not have that kind of willpower!

Related Read: If you’re looking to see New York and save money, check out our comparison of the best sightseeing passes in New York to find one that fits your trip and budget!

7. What are the best tours of the Chelsea Market?

Chelsea Market and High Line Food Tour

Bailey eats a New York Slice on a food tour at the Chelsea Market
Yum!
The High Line Trail with views of the skyscrapers in NYC
The High Line Tour was so much fun!

We did this Chelsea Market and High Line Food tour and had a fantastic time! 

One of the biggest pros to doing a food tour of the Chelsea Market is that you get to skip the lines at the stalls. This is a huge perk because the queues can get pretty long, so you spend less time waiting and more time eating. 

The tour lasted about three hours, two of which were spent inside the market. Our guide took us to lots of excellent stalls for doughnuts, tacos, pizza, and more! We also got some free time to explore which was nice. 

Then, we also got to go on a guided tour along the High Line. This elevated park lets you walk among the skyscrapers! It’s actually a former railway line that’s been turned into a walking trail above New York. It’s lined with places to eat and drink and although we were full by that point, we grabbed a coffee as we walked around with our guide to learn about the history of this spot.

The tour ends in Hudson Yards, which is a glamorous new development that’s only a couple of years old. Your guide can either take you to the nearest subway station or you can wander around like we did. There’s a massive mall here for some shopping, and the huge Vesssel art sculpture is cool to see. We even stopped by The Edge NYC to take in the views from the open-air observation deck located on the 100th floor of the 30 Hudson Yards skyscraper. It was covered by our New York Pass, so it was a fun extra!

We loved the variety of places and food that was included on this Chelsea Market tour. Plus, we really felt like we got our money’s worth in terms of our amazing guide, and all of the food we got to eat. We were really stuffed by the end! 

The tour starts at 11 am or 12 pm, so you get to have brunch/lunch at the Chelsea Market. It costs $84 USD, which we think is a good deal considering it includes TONS of food and a guided tour of the High Line. Because of the enormous variety of food available, the tour also easily accommodates vegetarians and has gluten-free options.

We would 100% do this tour again! To taste your way through the Chelsea Market and get a bonus tour of the High Line, book a spot on this tour online here!

High Line and Chelsea Small Group Tour

Our food tour guide talks to our group in the Chelsea Market in NYC
Our guide led with so much passion!
The High Line in New York City
The High Line is a must-visit!

The difference on this top-rated tour of Chelsea is that you get a better overview of this part of New York. We found that it was a fantastic way to get to know the trendy Chelsea neighborhood, and you also get a guided walk along the High Line for first-class views of New York City. 

The tour starts at the Chelsea Market at 9:30 am, so you’ll be able to fit in a quick visit before it gets super busy. The price of the tour doesn’t include food and drink at the market, but of course, you can buy whatever strikes your fancy, or return to the market after the tour for lunch since it ends nearby! 

As you walk around Chelsea, you’ll learn a ton about the history of this artsy neighborhood and also explore the Meatpacking District, a once-industrial area that’s now one of Manhattan’s coolest spots. Our guide was great at mixing in the history and info about the areas we visited, while also bringing in some humour! It really made everywhere we stopped come alive.

You’ll also get to walk along part of the High Line, which is a fantastic experience. It’s hard to believe this railway was completely abandoned in the 1970s. It’s such a vibrant area today and we loved the views!

The tour lasts for two hours and costs $39 USD, so it’s the cheapest option on our list. It’s a great way to spend a morning exploring a really interesting area of the city, so make sure to book your tickets here

Semi-Private Meatpacking District, Chelsea Market, and High Line Walking Tour

Meat packer inside the Chelsea Market in NYC
Meat packer inside the Chelsea Market in NYC

This small group walking tour is another great option to get a personalized tour of this historic part of New York City.

The morning starts in the Meatpacking District where the guide will teach you all about how a decidedly unglamorous industrial area became one of New York’s edgiest and most hipster neighborhoods. There used to be hundreds of meatpacking plants here and while only a few remain now, there are a ton of interesting stories and places you’ll pass by on this part of the tour! 

Then, you’ll visit the Chelsea Market, where you’ll have time to try lots of the yummy foods on offer. The food isn’t included in the price of the tour, but your guide can give you recommendations on where to go. Plus, not visiting a set list of stalls is good news so you can try exactly what you want or just get ideas for where to come back to later!

Once you’ve grabbed a snack or two, it’s time for a guided walk along the High Line. This elevated park reminds me of a catwalk above the city – which makes sense since New York is so famous for fashion! You’ll get 45 minutes to walk along here and enjoy this unique urban park.

One of my favorite spots wasn’t even on the agenda, but I’m so glad our guide took us to Little Island. This newer park is actually built on a pier over the water. The history is fascinating as this area was once used as a hunting and fishing camp for the Lenape people and it was later Pier 54 where ocean liners set off and returned from. This is actually where survivors of the Titanic arrived.

The tour costs $47 USD, not including food at the Chelsea Market. It starts at 10 am and lasts for two hours, finishing at the Gansevoort Market which is home to even more food stalls, if you’ve got room!

You can take this tour on any day of the week, so if you’re looking for an interesting way to spend a morning in NYC, reserve your spot now!

Private Meatpacking District, Chelsea Market, and The High Line Walking Tour 

Buildings in the meat packing district of New York City near the Chelsea Market and High Line
The Meatpacking District is historic!
View of New York City from the High Line Trail
The High Line!

If group tours aren’t your style and you want a more personalized look at this part of New York, this private tour of Chelsea and the Meatpacking District is an awesome choice! 

While we take a lot of group tours, there’s something so nice about having an experience completely to yourself. A private tour means that you can spend more time at spots that really interest you, and you get more one-on-one attention from your tour guide.

The tour takes you around two of New York’s most famous “transformed” neighborhoods, which have gone from industrial to super desirable. Your guide will point out lots of nightlife hotspots along the way that you can always return to later in the day, and you’ll get to visit the Chelsea Market to feast on all of the goodies available.

What’s great about visiting the Chelsea Market with a private tour is that you get to learn more about its history, but you can also tailor your visit totally to you and visit the stalls that you really want to. If some doughnuts from Doughnuttery are on your must-try list (and they should be!) or you reallllly want some more New York pizza, your guide will make sure all your cravings are taken care of!

The tour costs $85 USD per person and you can book for up to 15 people. Kids aged 6-12 are $75 USD and any little ones 5 and under go for free. We think a private tour is a good option for families as you can adjust your pace as necessary and easily stop for treats! 

So if you’re really keen to ask lots of questions and dive deep into the history and character of these areas, you’ll get a lot out of booking this tour!

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, read our complete Viator review to learn more about what we think about Viator.

8. What are the best places to eat at the Chelsea Market? 

Los Tacos No.1

Los Tacos No.1 inside the Chelsea Market in NYC
There can be a huge line!

No. 1 is right – this place is so popular that there’s always a line to get food! Los Tacos No. 1 is set up like a side-of-the-road taco stand, which definitely adds to its appeal. The tacos are delicious and spiced to perfection, so we definitely recommend grabbing a couple! These are some of the best tacos we found that rival the ones we tasted on a taco tour in Mexico City!

The Lobster Place

The Lobster Place is a seafood market within Chelsea Market – yup, it’s a market within a market! It’s a family-owned company that has been passed down through two generations (so far) and sells super fresh seafood, oysters, and sushi. If you like fish and seafood, then a visit to The Lobster Place is an absolute must. 

Doughnuttery 

Doughnuts at Doughnuttery at the Chelsea Market on a food tour in NYC
Did someone say doughnuts?
The two doughnuts we got to try at Doughnuttery at the Chelsea Market on our food tour
You couldn’t try it all!

For a sweet treat, you can’t go wrong with the Doughnuttery. Even Kim Kardashian has raved on social media about how they’re her favorite doughnuts ever. Doughnuttery sells mini doughnuts so you can get a bunch of different flavored sugars to try, like Chai Masala, Pumpkin Pie, and Apple Cider – yum! 

Los Mariscos 

There’s seafood, and then there’s Mexican seafood! Los Mariscos serves amazing, authentic Mexican tacos, ceviche, and shrimp cocktails. They’ve got a small menu and everything on it is bursting with flavor, and to make things even better they’ve got palomas and margaritas to wash it all down with. 

Filaga 

Pizza from the Chelsea Market we got to try on our Chelsea Market food tour
I must say, I loved the pizza!
Filaga Pizza inside the Chelsea Market
Filaga!

The food tour that we did took us to Filaga, where we had an amazing slice of New York pizza. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it was the best NY slice we had in the city. Since pizza slices are a New York staple, you just have to stop at this stall! 

Cull & Pistol

Cull & Pistol is an oyster bar inside the Lobster Place market, and it’s actually Michelin-recommended! You can get a whole Maine lobster here, or just a lobster roll if that’s a bit too much for you. They also serve delicious fresh and grilled oysters, which are half-price between 4-6 pm on weekdays.

Very Fresh Noodles

Noodles are stretched and snapped the old-fashioned way at Very Fresh Noodles, and that’s precisely what makes them so delicious. Well, that and all the super fresh and flavorful ingredients that accompany them. There are only a couple of dishes on the menu – including Tingly and Spicy Cumin Lamb, and Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup – but whatever you order is guaranteed to be good! 

9. What are the best things to do at the Chelsea Market?

Dessert on our Chelsea Market food tour which was a vegan ice cream from a local store
Did someone say ice cream?!
A bao on our food tour in the Chelsea Market in NYC
You’re probably thinking, that looks so good!

Eat all the amazing food

As you can probably surmise by now, eating lots of food is the number one thing to do at the Chelsea Market. There’s so much choice here and everything is really good! You get tons of authentic dishes from all over the world under one (historic) roof.

Shop 

There’s a small farmers’ market inside the Chelsea Market, and some other stores too. There are also boutique stores, a Moroccan bazaar, jewelry stores, and a branch of Anthropologie. It’s definitely worth taking some time to check out the non-food-related stores the market has to offer, and we really appreciated the fact that the food tour we did allowed some time for this!

Enjoy the outdoor seating 

Outdoor seating at the Chelsea Market
The best place to people watch!

Outside the market concourse, on the street, there’s a small pod where you can sit and eat the food you’ve bought inside. It’s a cool place to sit and people-watch for a while as you enjoy the goodies you picked up at the market. 

Walk the High Line

The High Line was once an abandoned railway that has been transformed into a beautiful, elevated public park. It starts near the market, so visiting the Chelsea Market is a great opportunity to walk it! It runs all the way to Hudson Yards, for 1.4 miles (2.3 kilometers) and offers amazing views of New York. Both locals and tourists love it, and we really enjoyed exploring! 

See how far you can go at HEATONIST Outpost 

HEATONIST Outpost inside the Chelsea Market
How hot can you go!

If you pride yourself on your ability to handle spicy food, then head to HEATONIST to take on their hot sauce challenge. Their hot sauce scale ranges from 1 to 10, and you can see how hot you can go. Only a select few get to 10!

10. How long does it take to walk through the Chelsea Market? 

Historic sign inside the Chelsea Market in New York City
It’s a historic place with its old charm!
Bailey sits on a chair inside the Chelsea Market in New York City
You’ll want to stop and eat … a lot!

You should allow at least two hours to explore the Chelsea Market as there’s so much to do. To be honest, though, you could spend even longer here if you stop for food a few times. I think the best way to do it is to try lots of different foods in small portions so that you get to try as much as possible! 

11. Is the Chelsea Market wheelchair friendly? 

Artists & Fleas market inside the Chelsea Market in New York City
Artists and flea market inside the Chelsea Market in New York City

Yes! There are accessible entrances to the market on both 9th and 10th Avenue, and the floors are flat and mostly smooth. There’s an elevator you can take to the bathrooms on the lower level, and there are two wheelchair-friendly stalls. 

12. Is visiting the Chelsea Market worth it?

Bailey with her Japanese Taco on our food tour inside the Chelsea Market on our guided food tour
The Japanese taco was sooo good!
The main walkway inside the Chelsea Market in NYC
The Chelsea Market!

Yes, most definitely. It’s an amazing place with so many great restaurants. If we lived in New York, we would be here all the time! We’re so glad we visited and we highly recommend that you check it out while you’re in town. Your tastebuds will thank you!

Other Things to do While You’re in New York City

A passenger takes a photo from our New York City Helicopter ride
The views from a helicopter are unreal!
bailey walks along the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City
A must-do!

As the biggest city in the USA, there is no shortage of things to do in New York! I mean you could spend weeks here and still not see a fraction of what the Big Apple has to offer. But if you only have a few days and want to see the highlights, these are other top attractions and activities we highly recommend checking out.  

  • Fly above NYC – Exploring on the ground is fun, but to truly appreciate the New York skyline, take to the air! Joining a helicopter flight in NYC gives you a front-row seat (or hopefully a window seat!) to all the iconic sights like the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty. We chose this 15-minute helicopter flight that flew over Manhattan and it was a highlight, if not THE highlight of our whole trip!
  • Eat pizza! – New York was home to the first pizzeria in the US way back in the early 1900s and it’s still something this city is known for. I dare say the pizza here is legendary! If you didn’t get pizza at the Chelsea Market (or just want more – no judgment here!), top pizza joints include John’s of Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, Prince Street Pizza in Nolita, and we also loved 2 Bros Pizza.
  • Visit Central Park – Likely you’ve seen this famous park in movies, so it’s a must while you’re here. Central Park is huge with great spots like a historic carousel, Belvedere Castle, and even a skating rink in the winter. Feel like you’re starring in a rom-com with this horse and carriage ride. It’s 45 minutes around Central Park and a fantastic way to cover more ground in style.
  • Cross the Brooklyn Bridge – New York can be expensive, but strolling over the Brooklyn Bridge is completely free! The views of the skyline are stellar and there are lots of vendors if you get hungry. We recommend walking all the way across to Brooklyn Bridge Park for the best views of Manhattan.

Where to Stay in New York City

the bed inside TBA Times square hotel in a modern room
The room we stayed in at TBA Times Square Hotel
Bailey with her luggage in New york City
Ready to check in!

New York City is huge – there is just no other way to put it! Even Manhattan (the area you’ll want to base yourself in) is a lot bigger than you think. That’s why choosing the right hotel in the right location is so important during your stay in New York.

Below, we’ve simplified it all for you by choosing a couple of the very best hotels available in the city. All three of these options have ideal locations close to attractions and the subway system. They all have amazing reviews, too, so just choose the one in your budget category and you’ll be ready to pack your bags!

Motto by Hilton – $$$

Motto by Hilton is a gorgeous hotel located in the Chelsea neighborhood only a 20-minute walk from the Chelsea Market. The hotel features modern decor that has “speakeasy vibes.” In fact, they have a beautiful bar onsite that looks like the perfect place to sip an Old Fashioned. There are a variety of rooms on offer including some that are a little more budget-friendly, and some that are pure luxury with city views!

Prices start from about $400 USD per night plus tax. You can check prices and availability for Motto by Hilton online here!

TBA Times Square – $$

TBA Times Square is where we stayed the last time we visited New York, and honestly, we loved it! This hotel is the perfect combination of comfort and value for money. It was clean, modern, and our room had all of the amenities we needed for an enjoyable stay (air conditioning, k-cup coffee maker, steamer, large shower, big windows, etc). Plus, the location is ideal, it’s only a couple blocks from Times Square! It’s also just a 15-minute subway ride from the Chelsea Market.

Prices do range, but they do go as low as $200 USD per night plus tax depending on the time of year and day of the week. You can check prices and book the TBA Times Square online here!

Nap York Central Park Sleep Station – $

For those traveling on a tight budget, Nap York is a budget hostel that’s an ideal choice. Although affordable, this property is immaculate and offers a ton of amenities for a great stay including air conditioning and a shared kitchen. The rooms are modern and the location is about as central as it gets! This property only offers dorm rooms, but they are affordable at as little as $150 USD per night.

You can check prices and book Nap York online on either Booking.com or Hostelworld.

Don’t get Caught without Travel Insurance!

We never travel without travel insurance! We’ve had a few instances during our travels when one of us has ended up in the hospital, and travel insurance has saved us thousands of dollars over the years!

SafetyWing is our go-to insurance, we both have policies with them whenever we travel.

They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!)The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.  

We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!) While most travel insurance companies left people stranded, SafetyWing fully reimbursed us for our last-minute, pricey flights!

Also, because it is so affordable, there really is no excuse not to take out a policy. Check prices and get a quote online here with SafetyWing (you can even take out a policy if you’re already traveling!)

Thanks for reading!

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie inside the Chelsea Market in NYC
Thanks for reading!

The Chelsea Market is one of the best places to visit during a trip to New York! If you love to eat and try new foods (like us!), you won’t be disappointed. In fact, you’ll probably end up coming back again to try more or return for those favorites. I know the next time we’re in New York, the Chelsea Market will be one of our first stops.

If you found this blog helpful, check out our other blogs on the USA including lots about New York! We’ll help you navigate the top sights and some hidden gems this epic city has to offer. Here are a few to get you started:

The 3 BEST Niagara Falls Tours from New York City

What is the CityPASS® NYC and is it worth it?

13 Things to Know BEFORE Booking a New York City Dinner Cruise