The Upper West Side, NYC
Possibly my favorite neighborhood in the city. And not just because it’s my current local hood. It has a lot of places to go and things to do and yet still feels a bit more lived in than some of the more popular tourist spots. But don’t let all the residential streets fool you, there is still actually quite a lot to do.
- 1 Sights / Museums
- 2 Theaters / Venues
- 3 Restaurants
- 4 Coffee Shops / Cafes
- 5 Dessert
- 6 Bookstores
Sights / Museums
American Museum of Natural History
One of the premier museums in the city and one of my favorites. All things about nature and science. Has some great programs, including quite a few in the planetarium (detailed below). Pay as you wish for NY residents.
Location: Central Park West & 79th St
Hours: 10am – 5:45pm
Central Park spans a large swath of the city for over 50 blocks and the Upper West Side is no exception. One of my favorite places accessible from the Upper West Side is the Delacorte Theater and Shakespeare Garden. In the summer each year, the theater hosts the free Shakespeare in the Park which is worth seeing. You can also easily access most places from the west, including Strawberry Fields, the Great Lawn, The Reservoir, and the Belvedere Theater, and much more.
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is one of several children’s museums in the city and one of the most popular. The museum features a wonderful assortment of activities and exhibits geared for children from dancing to art to building healthier lives.
Location: 212 West 83rd Street
Hours: Tue – Fri;Sun 10am – 5pm; Sat: 10am – 7pm
The planetarium, located within the Museum of Natural History, hosts regular talks and presentations on various astronomical topics. Many of these are very popular and require advanced ticket purchases. The astronomy live events are particularly popular. You can see their event page for any recent events.
Location: AMNH (Central Park West & 79th St)
New York Historical Society
One of the first museums in NYC (established 1804), the NY Historical Society displays many manuscripts and artifacts from the city and beyond. Houses quite a few ongoing and special exhibits.
Location: 170 Central Park West
Hours: Tue – Thur,Sat 10am – 6pm; Fri 10am – 9pm; Sun 10am – 5pm
Website: NY Historical Society
Theaters / Venues
One of the premier venues in the entire city, Lincoln theater is home to many incredible performances from the Opera, to concerts, ballet, and more. They also have a lot of free music and other events in the plaza in front of the theater as well.
Location: 10 Lincoln Center Plaza
Website: Lincoln Center
The beacon theater is host to many top music, comedy, and other events that come through the city. From current and older musical performances, to top comedy acts, you can get see a lot of great shows at the Beacon. There is always something different going on, so be sure to check out their calendar for the latest shows.
Location: 2124 Broadway
Website: Beacon Theater
There is a TKTS booth at the Lincoln Theater to get discount tickets to day’s Broadway shows. This booth is far less crowded than the one in Times Square and much closer to the theaters than some of the other booths.
Location: David Rubenstein Atrium (61 W 62nd Street)
Hours: Mon – Sat 12 – 7pm ; Sun 12 – 5pm
West Side Comedy Club
Small Comedy club on the UWS side. Features both local as well as well known comedy acts. Also has open mic opportunities.
Location: 201 West 75th Street
Website: West Side Comedy Club
It would take way too long to post about every restaurant on the UWS. But here’s a selection of a few great places to try.
Alice’s Tea Cup: Great place for high tea and more. Several locations but this one is the original (and best). (102 West 73rd Street)
Han Dynasty: One of my favorite places from the Philly area has a large outpost on the UWS. Great selection of well done Chinese dishes. (215 W 85th St)
Gray’s Papaya: Simple, hot dogs and several different fruity beverages, but a mainstay of the city. Open 24/7 (2090 Broadway)
Jacob’s Pickles: No UWS guide would be complete without a shoutout to this establishment. Southern cuisine with huge portions and open late. Brunch gets busy especially. (509 Amsterdam Ave)
Parm: Definitely one of the best Parm sandwiches I have had, Other great items too. A bit pricier for the food you get however. (235 Columbus Ave)
The Smith: Large lively venue with a variety of American and Italian fare. Ask for the backroom if you want a quieter experience. (1900 Broadway)
Zabar’s: Large grocery type store on the UWS that also has a well known cafe. Great place to stop in for a bagel or other goods. (2245 Broadway)
Coffee Shops / Cafes
There’s no shortage of coffee shops or cafes in this area of town. Some of my go-to spots are below
Irving Farm: Great local coffee shop with a couple of NYC outlets. Great Coffee and Food, but no WiFi (224 W 79th St)
Box Kite: Really good coffee but a really tiny establishment. Probably the best flat white on the UWS. (128 W 72nd St)
Macaron Parlour: Good coffee with some delicious pastries and of course Macarons. One of my favorite spots to get some work done in a generally quiet setting. (560 Columbus Ave)
Mille-feuille Bakery Cafe: The coffee is good but all the other foods are certainly better and more of the draw to this french style cafe. (2175 Broadway)
Filicori Zecchini: Good coffee in a pretty relaxed atmosphere. Hasn’t been too crowded anytime I’ve gone. (2541 Broadway)
Northing is complete without some lovely dessert. A few spots to check out.
Beard Papa’s: New York outpost of the famous Japanese cream puff brand. (2167 Broadway)
Cafe Lalo: Famous for its feature in “You’ve got mail”. A bit overpriced but has a great selection of desserts. And open late (1am/3am). (201 W 83rd St)
Levain: Famous bakery on the UWS. Their cookies are addictive and a meal in themselves. Check out their larger UWS location (around the corner from the original store). (351 Amsterdam Ave)
Milk Bar: Award winning bakery and café. Definitely some inspiring flavors and others I just can’t get behind. (561 Columbus Ave)
Van Leeuwan: Famous ice cream shop from Brooklyn. They recently opened this UWS location. Open late (midnight). (448 Amsterdam Ave)
Bank Street Bookstore: Small independent bookseller with books for children as well as educators. (2780 Broadway)
Barnes and Noble: Large UWS location for the National bookstore chain. Multi-level with lots of selection and hosts a lot of special events. (2289 Broadway)
Book Culture: Beautiful bookstore with several locations throughout the city. The UWS location has a great selection and has special events too (450 Columbus Ave)
Westsider Rare & Used: Small bookstore with a good collection of used and rare books. Great to just stop by and peruse their collection. (2246 Broadway)
Do you live, work, or visit this area? Any places you would recommend adding or changing? Let us know either in the comments or via email.