By RILEY CARDOZA If you’re headed to Manhattan thinking “been there, done that” or don’t feel like elbowing your way through packs of tourists, take the road less traveled by with a trip to Chelsea. Not just a gay bar destination (although it can be if you want it to), this West Side neighborhood’s got culture on every corner whether you’re an art fiend, a foodie, or a nature lover at heart. But don’t take our word for it — check Chelsea out yourself!

 

Stay in Style

Leave the city behind for a cozy cottage feel when you step into the Chelsea Inn Hotel. Though the city never sleeps, you can rest easy on this quiet street without the honking and chatter of Midtown. With exposed brick, vintage décor, and friendly staff, we understand if you never want to leave, but be sure to visit the Belgian place next door anyway.

GeNYU Tip: Order the Oreo waffles and take ten percent off, compliments of the inn.

http://www.chelseainn.com

Hidden Gem

There’s no better way to get your nature fix. Thirty feet above Manhattan’s West Side, the High Line’s elevated train tracks offer seasonal foliage and unbeatable views of the Hudson River.

GeNYU Tip: Make sure your boots are made for walking – the park spans almost two miles.

http://www.thehighline.org

 

Nice Slice

You’ll never look at New York slices the same after just one bite of Basille’s artichoke pizza. Whether you order their trademark flavor or opt for a safer option (Margherita, anyone?), always enter the shop with an empty stomach – each creamy, cheesy slice will be bigger than your face.

GeNYU Tip: Some say this pizza is best served drunk, but you didn’t hear that from us.

www.artichokepizza.com

Stacks & Snacks

Take a trip down memory lane – better yet, the yellow brick road – at Books of Wonder, a children’s bookstore with an antique collection and a soft spot for Oz. Grab something for your favorite youngster or linger for one of their featured author panels, then head across the street for a mug of City Bakery’s rich hot cocoa.

GeNYU Tip: Rowling fans, join your fellow Potterheads in signing the poster in the back room.

www.booksofwonder.com

Sweetest Stop

The Macamochip cookies at City Cakes, stuffed with Nutella, weigh in at half a pound each. That’s enough to satisfy any sweet tooth, but no one will judge you for adding vanilla gelato for a delicious ice cream sandwich – they’ll just wish they’d thought of it first.

GeNYU Tip: Don’t sleep on the cupcakes here – buttermilk pancake flavor with maple frosting and bacon bits? Yeah, we thought you’d like that.

http://citycakes.com

Coolest Curations

Skip the Met’s clamoring crowds and ancient artifacts for white wine and modern art at Friday night openings at the Chelsea Galleries. Stroll, sip, and smile in these warehouses for as long as you want – this neighborhood is home to hundreds of exhibits.

GeNYU Tip: Channel your inner New Yorker with an all black outfit. You’ll thank us later.

www.chelseagallerymap.com