Hell’s Kitchen NYC has a little bit of everything: culture, nightlife, entertainment, and convenience. This Manhattan neighborhood has a real community vibe but also packs in tons of big-city entertainment. It’s a welcoming place where you’ll find a lot of locals hanging out at the neighborhood restaurants and pubs, street vendors selling produce, and mom-and-pop shops catering to every whim and fancy. The prime location right on the waterfront means beautiful scenery and skyline views from the piers and docks on the Hudson River. Read on to learn more about Hell’s Kitchen, one of NYC’s most bustling and vibrant enclaves!
Located on the West Side of Midtown Manhattan, Hell’s Kitchen runs from 34th to 59th streets in between 8th Avenue and the Hudson River. Long before locals adopted the name “Hell’s Kitchen,” Dutch colonists knew this part of Manhattan as Bloemendael, in reference to its floral meadows. There is some debate about how the name Hell’s Kitchen originated. One legend holds that a cop coined the term after watching a riot take place in the heart of the neighborhood. Another claims that it comes from the name of a local group called “The Hell’s Kitchen Gang.” Businesses and real estate agents have tried to polish the reputation of the neighborhood by renaming it “Midtown West” or “Clinton,” but those names just haven’t caught on.
The area went through a long period of tumult and violence through the 1900s, inspiring movies like West Side Story and Gangs of New York. During Prohibition, rumrunners used many of the area’s warehouses as bootleg distilleries. Organized crime in the area then turned to other rackets like gambling and union shakedowns and this part of town was one of the most dangerous areas on the American Continent! In the 1990s, the area started gentrifying and, over time, turned into an increasingly upscale neighborhood of affluent young professionals who can afford the dramatically increased rents.
What to Do and See
Hell’s Kitchen is a warm, down-to-earth hub of activity that lacks the pretense of other bustling Manhattan neighborhoods like SoHo and Chelsea. It is near all of the famous Broadway theaters, making it a longtime home for aspiring and famous actors, including Madonna, Jerry Seinfeld, Alicia Keys, and more. Hell’s Kitchen is also home to Ars Nova, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and the Baryshnikov Arts Center — all great spots to check out cultural events.
This part of town is also home to the glorious Hudson River Park, complete with cycling and walking paths and grassy knolls. Shopping fanatics will love the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, where you can visit over 100 stalls to find vintage clothing, housewares, and antiques. Dapper gents will want to check out Fine and Dandy on West 39th Street, where you can find a curated collection of handkerchiefs, bowties, cuff links, and other elegant accessories. And don’t forget to check out the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum while you’re at it.
Where to Eat
Hell’s Kitchen is quickly gaining a reputation as a popular dining neighborhood and Ninth Avenue has exploded with fancy restaurants and all kinds of culinary offerings. For a full sensory experience, check out Esca, one of Mario Batali’s Italian endeavors. Toloache is one of the more highly touted Mexican restaurants and is a cozy atmosphere for a date. For cheap eats, check out the Gotham West Market food hall where you can find sandwiches, tapas, ramen, and more. Pizza lovers swear by Don Antonio by Starita, which specializes in Neapolitan pies. The neighborhood is also known for its many delightful bakeries, such as Amy’s Bread, Donna Bell’s Bake Shop, and the Cupcake Cafe.
Where to Drink
Finding a well-made cocktail or a delicious craft beer won’t be a problem in Hell’s Kitchen. There are more than a dozen LGBTQ bars in the neighborhood, such as Atlas Social Club and Flaming Saddles Saloon. The Pony Bar is an awesome place to sample a large rotation of craft brews and ciders, as well as gastropub small plates. If you’re looking for a swankier environment, check out the Library Bar at Hudson New York, where you can peruse books on the shelf or enjoy a game of billiards. And for those who really want a big evening out, there are always the late night clubs — the Copacabana and BPM at The Out NYC won’t disappoint.
Where to Stay
Choosing a hotel in Hell’s Kitchen is a great way to have a central home base while you’re visiting NYC. It’s just steps away from the bling of Times Square, close to the Theater District, and right next to the Hudson River. Ink48 is a trendy hotel with a cool rooftop bar located as far west as you can go in Manhattan. For an elegant boutique option, check out Hudson, a Philippe Starck-design hotel with a large beer hall, garden, and a Skylight Terrace. For a glitzy experience, stay at YOTEL New York close to Times Square and you’ll feel like you’re on an episode of the Jetsons. Those looking for an LGBT-friendly hotel will love The Out NYC, a laid-back place that is welcoming to all guests.
How to Get There
Hell’s Kitchen is easily accessible via the Lincoln Tunnel, the West Side Highway, or any streets or avenues running up and down/across Manhattan. You can also take a bus or commuter train into Port Authority Bus Station or Penn Station. To get here from other parts of the city via subway, take the A, C, E train to Penn Station or 50th Street, the 7 train to 34th-Street-Hudson Yards, the N, Q, R , W train to Times-Sq 42nd Street or 49th Street, or the 1, 2 train to 50th Street Broadway.
If you’re interested in checking out Hell’s Kitchen but weren’t sure where to begin, hopefully this article has given you some helpful info to use as a launching point. If you need to find more info like this on any neighborhood in New York City, check out gosur.com! We compile the most useful information on the web when it comes to booking hotels, finding the best restaurants, mapping your routes, and more.