The High Line is one of New York City's most beloved parks. Established in 2009, its origins differ pretty significantly from your average serene green space. Occupying a historic freight railway line that ran through Manhattan's West Side, this winding elevated parkland makes its way above the city streets, offering some truly spectacular skyline views.

Having become a hot spot for nature lovers, the 1.45-mile-long path is lined with both native and international plant life. It also regularly hosts an eclectic mix of public art and design events. With a range of NYC’s world-class restaurants, cultural institutions and renowned landmarks within walking distance, take a stroll along the High Line and discover a fascinating perspective on New York City’s urban metropolis.

The High Line in New York - one of the highlights of 9 Best Things to Do for Couples in New York and 10 Best Parks in New York (Read all about New York here)

A brief history of the High Line

The origins of the High Line date back to the end of the 19th century when street-level freight trains would transport food through the city. In the 1930s, this dangerous train line was elevated to provide a safer alternative and create quicker access to busy industrial factories. However, the rise of trucking dramatically reduced the need for trains in the inner city, leading to the railway becoming completely obsolete by the 1980s.

With the abandoned High Line something of an overgrown eyesore for the city’s residents, there were many plans over the decades to rejuvenate the development. In 2003, a community organisation known as Friends of the High Line held a design competition that built interest in the area and provided a range of forward-thinking ideas. With the current design put into place and launched in 2009, there have been several additions to further improve this unique landmark.

What are the highlights of the High Line?

Thanks to the High Line's elevated position, expect scenic city views you'll find nowhere else in New York. Whether you're looking to enjoy the city's world-famous skyline or gaze across the Hudson River, you'll find a wonderfully designed viewing platform to give you an outstanding vantage point. There are also public art installations to enjoy, with both ever-changing commissions and permanent works dotted along the walkway.

A tranquil garden stretches along the entire boardwalk. It draws inspiration from the self-seeded plant life that had overgrown the railway before the modern High Line was conceived. Ranging across different species of grass, shrubbery and perennials, this wild space reflects scenic grasslands and woodlands that evolve through each passing season. With a wide array of birds and insects calling the High Line home, head along and enjoy this inner-city escape.

Good to know about the High Line

As one of NYC’s most renowned landmarks, the High Line can attract large crowds, especially when the sun is shining. Make the most of your visit by heading along either early in the morning or during the late afternoon. If possible, time your walk with sunset and soak up the views from the great lookout points.

Luckily, it’s simple to visit the High Line via public transport. You can reach the bottom of the park by taking the A, C, E or L to 14th Street and Eighth Avenue. Alternatively, enter via the top of the park by riding the A, C, E or 1, 2, 3 train to Penn Station or the 7 to 34th Street–Hudson Yards subway station.

Unfortunately, you have to leave your dog at home. Bicycles aren't allowed along the pathway, too. Even so, visiting the High Line is entirely free.

The High Line in New York

Location: New York, NY 10011, USA

Open: Daily from noon to 8 pm

Phone: +1 212-500-6035

Hudson Brown | Contributing Writer