GETTING THERE: The Acela's problems aside, Amtrak offers service to New York numerous times daily. On the regional service route, the trip takes 3 hours 20 minutes and costs $76 each way. From New York's Penn Station, the Meatpacking District is a $10 taxi ride.

WHERE TO STAY: The Hotel Gansevoort (18 Ninth Ave., 877-426-7386, www.hotelgansevoort.com) is a 187-room deluxe boutique property in the heart of the neighborhood. It has spacious rooms with contemporary amenities. Special features include a 45-foot heated indoor/outdoor pool and a rooftop terrace bar. Doubles start at $395, although sometimes drop to $325. For travelers on a budget, the Chelsea Inn (46 W. 17th St., 800-640-6469, chelseainn.com) is a few blocks away. Although the rooms are a tad small, the place is clean and the service great. Doubles start at $89 a night.

WHERE TO HANG OUT: Those who want to brave the velvet rope should try Cielo (18 Little W. 12th St., www.cieloclub.com, 212-645-5700), a small, hip, late-night dance club with a glamorous crowd and edgy music. Lotus (409 W. 14th St., 212-243-4420, www.lotusnewyork.com) also has a vibrant drinking and dancing scene nightly. Sundays, when they play retro '80s tunes, are particularly fun. The Asian-inspired menu will satisfy those in a munchie pinch, but serious diners should eat elsewhere. Those in the mood for something lower-key should try the Ara wine bar (24 Ninth Ave., 212-242-8642), a cozy place with an impressive wine selection.

WHERE TO EAT: Florent (69 Gansevoort St., 212-989-5779, www.restaurantflorent.com) is a classic diner offering a little of something for everybody, from burgers, pancakes and other diner fare to onion soup, pate, escargot and other French specialties. It's open 24 hours. A three-course dinner special, including coffee or tea, goes for $23.50 ($21.50 before 7:30 p.m.). At the popular bistro Pastis (9 Ninth Ave., 212-929-4844, www.pastisny.com), the accent is on French specialties such as grilled octopus or steak in bearnaise sauce. It's open daily for all three meals. For two, lunch with wine will run around $80. Spice Market (403 W. 13th St., 212-675-2322, www.jean-georges.com), with its exotic ambiance and wide-ranging menu of pan-Asian dishes, is a fine choice for special occasions. Lunch and dinner are offered daily. Book well in advance and expect to pay $120 for two for dinner, including a couple of cocktails.

INFO: NYC & Company, 212-484-1200, www.nycvisit.com; or www.meatpacking-district.com.