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A Guide to Your Perfect Day in Chelsea

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Inspired by the history of one of Manhattan's best-loved neighborhoods, and the heritage of the businesses in it, we partnered with Chelsea Market to share a perfect day spent in Chelsea.

Chelsea—which happens to be in Food52 HQ’s own backyard—is one of the great neighborhoods of Manhattan. It spans roughly from 14th Street to 23rdish, and 6th Avenue to the Hudson River, and is an intoxicating mishmash of art galleries, places to snack and feast, memorable urban parks and incredible shopping, not to mention some of the last vestiges of the city’s garment, garden, and design districts. There’s so much to do in Chelsea, in fact, that it’s worth making a day of it. Behold, some ideas for your perfect Chelsea day.

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Photo by (Illustration by) Rachel Sender

Breakfast

La Bergamote
This French pastry shop has had a couple of permutations on Ninth Avenue, but the latest one combines a beautiful pastry case filled with French delicacies, as well as an all-day cafe with plenty of seating. Though an omelet and a coffee are as good an order as any, we’re especially partial to the flakey custard-filled fruit Danish (order the one with plums if you can).

Coffee break

Intelligentsia
Located inside the High Line Hotel, which was once a theological seminary, this first NYC outpost of the Chicago roaster offers finely pulled espressos in the gorgeously-appointed lobby (think Oriental rugs and cushy sofas). On a nice day, take your cortado out to the serene courtyard out back.

Pastries from La Bergamote.
Pastries from La Bergamote. Photo by Garrett Ziegler (via Flickr)

Lunch

Dizengoff or Los Tacos 1
Two of the city’s best lunch spots are conveniently located in Chelsea Market, a former Nabisco Factory and birthplace of the Oreo (!) that is now a food lover’s paradise. Let us recommend Dizengoff, the humisiya by Israeli-American chef Michael Solomonov, for warm hummus with market-fresh toppings and made to order pitas. If you’re in the mood for a different kind of street food, Los Tacos 1 serves legit Mexican tacos (mmmm, nopales), quesadillas, and aguas frescas. The self-service fixings bar with fresh scallions, radishes and multiple salsas is also spot-on.

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Los Tacos 1 in Chelsea Market.
Los Tacos 1 in Chelsea Market. Photo by Marian Zambrano (via Flickr)

Treat

Doughnut Plant
In the mood for something sweet? Stop by the Chelsea Hotel location of Doughnut Plant, an outrageously good purveyor of deep-fried treats that come in creative and often seasonal flavors, such as coconut cream, wild blueberry and Brooklyn blackout. Good news—this outpost is open from morning until late night, in case cravings strikes at odd hours.

Shopping & Activities

Steven Alan
You know those stores that make you want everything? This is that place, with chic, nonchalant fashion for women and men. Think Common Projects Sneakers, Mansur Gavriel bags, and Stevan Alan’s unimpeachable in-house line for your next urban uniform.

Artists & Fleas
A little bit of this and a little bit of that—quirky accessories, handmade jewelry, and more—is what you’ll find at this eclectic collection of vendors-craftspeople, located at the Tenth Avenue entrance of Chelsea Market.

Iyengar Yoga
Take a break from your busy day for Iyengar Yoga. This is the official institute in New York City for B.K.S Iyengar, who founded the practice in India and is credited with spreading the gospel of yoga all over the world. Touted as a "deeper, more intellectual" form of yoga, an Iyengar session is a simultaneous recharge and chill pill. Classes are designed with modifications for all ages and skill levels. No competitive posing here.

The High Line
Rise above it all, literally, and stroll on this elevated-train-track-turned-landscaped park, which winds its way from just south of 14th Street and 10th Avenue by the Whitney Museum all the way up to 34th Street.

The Whitney Museum
Speaking of: The Whitney Museum of American Art, founded by socialite and sculptor Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, is the first museum dedicated to living American artists. In 2015, the Whitney made a move that few New Yorkers do, relocating from the posh Upper East Side to the (also posh) Meatpacking District, just south of Chelsea. The striking new building, designed by the architect Renzo Piano, houses special exhibits as well as works from the permanent collection, with art from giants such as Cindy Sherman, Diane Arbus, and many others.

The High Line in Chelsea.
The High Line in Chelsea. Photo by Jeffrey Zeldman (via Flickr)

Galleries
West of 10th Avenue in the low-to-mid 20s, you’ll find the clusters of art galleries that are a prime Chelsea destination. Many are worth seeking out, such as The Walther Collection, a nonprofit devoted to contemporary photography, and The Kitchen, a performance venue that’s also home to a finely-curated gallery space.

Dinner

El Quinto Pino
Ease your way from happy hour into dinner at this Spanish tapas bar from chef Alex Raij. Start with a vermouth on the rocks with a twist of orange, and move on to heartier fare, like a fried squid sandwich smothered in aioli. Hanging out at the bar is nice, but for a more intimate vibe, request a seat in the funky dining room.

Ushiwakamuru
One of the best under-the-radar sushi spots in the city is on a quiet block on 23rd Street. Most anything you eat here will be exquisite, but the nine-piece nigiri platter with soup and dessert for $48 seems to be the order for value seekers. For a splurge, ask for the 14-course omakase for $100. You won’t be disappointed.

Drinks

Flatiron Lounge
One of the cocktail emporiums that started all, Julie Reiner’s Flatiron Lounge has aged well. Stop by this deco-inspired bar for elegant, expertly mixed cocktails. The classics, like martinis and Manhattans, are done just right. Or, tell the bartender what you’re in the mood to drink for a custom tipple all your own.

Edible Souvenirs

Buon Italia
Before there was Eataly, there was Buon Italia. The Italian imports business in Chelsea Market is your destination for all things authentically Italiano, be it pecorino, mortadella, panettone, pasta, arborio rice...you get it. Shop here to pick up some edible souvenirs to take home with you (even if it's just across the bridge in Brooklyn). If the grocery shopping makes you hungry (it will), Buon Italia also runs a small prepared foods counter of Italian specialties for eating on the spot.

Inspired by the history of one of Manhattan's best-loved neighborhoods, and the heritage of the businesses in it, we partnered with Chelsea Market to share a perfect day spent in Chelsea. (Psst: Did you hear the Market is expanding underground this month? If you go, don't forget to check out the addition.)

Tags: chelsea market