3. Patti Smith’s Hotel Chelsea

Chelsea Hotel Exterior

The Chelsea Hotel is under renovation today, but in its heyday in the 1960s it provided a sanctuary for artists and writers – including the poet, punk musician, and cultural icon Patti Smith, who describes it at length in her memoir “Just Kids.” Patti spent time working and living at the Chelsea, living with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

“Everybody here is somebody, if not in the outside world,” wrote Patti Smith of life in the Chelsea, and this seems to embody a truth about New York. No matter who you are, on these streets you are a part of history, with limitless opportunity at your fingertips.

Other writers who have spent time at the Chelsea include Arther Miller, who wrote a story called the “Chelsea Affect” about life in the Chelsea, Allen Ginsberg, and Gregory Corso, and Arther C. Clarke also wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey while staying at the hotel.

 Today, visitors can pay homage to Leonard Cohen, Arthur Miller, and more by observing some of the plaques that bear their name outside of the Chelsea. It is also possible to pop in the lobby for a minute or two in order to absorb some of the hotel’s legendary energy – before being kicked out by the security guard.

While the Chelsea Hotel undergoes renovations, the Chelsea Guitar shop right next to the hotel is a great place to pick up a six-string and get a start at writing the next famous ballad. There’s also an excellent Donut Plant cafe to the left, which is the perfect place to sit and drink coffee while simultaneously drinking in the aura and atmosphere of a legendary hub of inspiration and history.