You’re definitely in the right place, as this entire website is about things to do on the Upper West Side. But this page should help you narrow things down. If you’re visiting from out of town (or just from another NYC neighborhood), you’ll want to plan ahead – because there are a ton of great activities and sites on the Upper West Side!
Before we get started, if you’re interested in getting up-to-the-minute updates about the UWS, make sure you sign up to get our emails.
Things to do on the Upper West Side: By Category
We’ve organized your Upper West Side itinerary by the following categories; just click on the area you want to explore!
Food + Drink
Where to even start?! Well, you could begin with these:
Tavern on the Green (if you’re feeling touristy)
I’ll be honest … you don’t go here for the food. The food is pretty average. You go here if you want amazing scenery.
67th at the Central Park entrance
Jacob’s Pickles (if you’re feeling unhealthy)
The fried chicken and mac and cheese are my personal favorite picks at Jacob’s. And the fried chicken comes in many mouth-watering forms!
509 Amsterdam Avenue (between 84th and 85th Streets)
Jean Georges (if you’re feeling fancy)
This top-rated restaurant always receives Michelin-stars and is highly recommended by Zagat and all of the people who eat here.
1 Central Park West (between 60th and 61st Streets)
Levain Bakery (if you want to try the best cookies in NYC!)
Seriously .. they are amazing. And huge. And so warm.
167 West 74th Street (between Amsterdam and Columbus)
351 Amsterdam (between 76th and 77th Streets)
Zabar’s (if you want to shop like a local)
If you’re staying in a hotel room with a refrigerator, this is absolutely required. Things to buy: coffee, bagels, and lots and lots of cheese …
2245 Broadway (between 80th and 81st Streets)
Learn more about Zabar’s.
Barney Greengrass (if you want some awesome bagels with lox)
Truly one of the best Jewish delis in NYC. They’ve been around forever, and also serve up a mean matzo-ball soup!
541 Amsterdam (87th Street)
To take a more thorough approach, check out our comprehensive guide to the best restaurants on the Upper West Side.
And be sure to check out the many wonderful places to drink! Here’s our list of the best Upper West Side bars.
Parks + Outdoors
One of the biggest tourist attractions in NYC, but also a place for locals to play.
Here are just a few fun things to do in Central Park:
- Hike the Ramble.
- Chill out out at Sheep Meadow.
- Ice skate at Wollman or Lasker Rink.
- Visit Strawberry Fields
- Go for a boat ride in the Central Park Lake
If you want to feel less like a tourist and more like a local, check out Riverside Park. This is a great place to run or bike along the Hudson River. There are also some family-friendly events held at Riverside Park, including Summer on the Hudson which typically runs from May through September. And make sure you check out the 91st Street Garden!
Hugging the border between the Upper West Side and Harlem, Morningside Park is smaller than Central and Riverside Parks, but absolutely beautiful.
It’s also located near Columbia University, which you should also check out, as the campus is beautiful.
And if you really want to lay low while enjoying nature, check out some of the community gardens found on our beautiful side streets.
And these small but historic green spaces.
There are lots of great museums on the Upper West Side; here are the most popular:
American Museum of Natural History
79th and Central Park West
NYC’s American Museum of Natural History has plenty of historical artifacts and displays of natural wonder, including:
- The Butterfly Conservatory
- The giant, blue whale
- The dinosaurs
170 Central Park West (between 76th and 77th Streets)
Founded in 1804, the New York Historical Society is the oldest museum in NYC.
Some of the things you will find include:
- over 300 historical artifacts
- 800 sculptures dating back to the colonial era
- an interactive kiosk stand
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
212 West 83rd Street (between Amsterdam and Broadway)
An innovative museum where children can have a blast while learning new things by participating in various workshops, exhibits and classes.
By 63rd between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues
The most impressive place to see the opera, listen to classical music, and watch breathtaking shows – all within a 16 acre campus home to eleven cultural organizations delivering the very best in the fine arts.
Across all of the theaters within its campus, Lincoln Center attracts five million visitors every year.
Learn more about Lincoln Center of the Performing Arts.
The Beacon Theatre
2124 Broadway (between 74th and 75th Streets)
Some of the most iconic bands in history have performed at this 2,600 seat venue. Just a few include the Allman Brothers, the Rolling Stones and Tom Petty.
And today’s most influential musical groups continue to perform here – as do big-name comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and political powerhouses like the Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Stand Up NY
236 West 78th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam)
One of NYC’s most popular comedy clubs since they opened in 1986. At Stand Up NY, you can see both up and coming comics as well as the biggest names in the biz, like Jon Stewart and Chris Rock.
Learn more about Stand Up NY.
2537 Broadway (at 95th Street)
A multidisciplinary performing arts center on the Upper West Side offering programs in literature, music, theatre, film, dance and family entertainment.
Take in the Beauty
New York City is known as a walking city. And the Upper West Side is filled with beautiful things to take in and appreciate.
You’ll want to walk up and down these stunning tree-lined streets, filled with brownstones and chirping birds.
Here’s one of our prettiest and most popular streets: 78th between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues!
In addition to these side streets, you should see as much of these residential avenues as possible:
You’ll also want to check out the amazing and historic buildings of the Upper West Side. The most recognized is definitely The Dakota, located at 1 West 72nd Street (right by an entrance to Central Park):
There are also some really beautiful churches of the Upper West Side. One must-see is The Cathedral of St. John The Divine, located at 112th and Amsterdam Avenue. Bring a camera, and expect to see many other cameras …
Broadway, Amsterdam and Columbus are ideal for shopping and eating.
Here are a few special places where you can do a whole lot of shopping at once:
The Time Warner Center
10 Columbus Circle (at 59th Street)
A state-of-the-art shopping mall located in Columbus Circle, which marks the southern tip of the Upper West Side.
The Grand Bazaar
100 West 77th Street (along Columbus Avenue)
An outdoor and indoor antiques market, open every Sunday throughout the year.
Learn more about Grand Bazaar
Greenmarkets: Tucker Square, 79th Street, 97th Street, and 116th Street
Organic foods galore – with a market located near all points of the UWS.
Learn more about these Upper West Side greenmarkets
Staying For A While?
If you’re planning a vacation, or even thinking of moving to the Upper West Side, here are some resources you might find helpful:
- Upper West Side Hotels
- Parking on the Upper West Side
- Upper West Side Apartments
- UWS Transportation Guide
And check our special guide of things to do with kids on the Upper West Side!
Latest posts by Mike Mishkin (see all)
- Central Park Movie Scenes: A WALKING TOUR - March 20, 2019
- Pasta Franco will open at 508 Columbus - March 19, 2019
- 15 Central Park West Penthouse Listed For $55 Million - March 19, 2019