Things To Do On The Upper West Side

  Last modified on February 9th, 2019

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!

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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!

Upper West Side

 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

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Tavern on the Green

photo credit: Jim.henderson [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

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)

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Jacobs Pickles

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)

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Jean Georges

Crispy Confit of Suckling Pig

Levain Bakery (if you want to try the best cookies in NYC!)

Seriously .. they are amazing. And huge. And so warm.

Two Locations:

167 West 74th Street (between Amsterdam and Columbus)
351 Amsterdam (between 76th and 77th Streets)

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Levain Bakery cookies

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.

Zabars

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)

Barney Greengrass

 

And be sure to check out the many wonderful Upper West Side bars.

To take a more thorough approach, check out our comprehensive guide to the best restaurants on the Upper West Side.

 

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 Parks + Outdoors 

Central Park

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:

Central Park

Riverside Park

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!

Riverside Park

Morningside Park

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.

Morningside Park

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.

West Side Community Garden

The West Side Community Garden, located at 123 West 89th Street

 

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 Art 

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:

Official Website

AMNH UWS NYC

NY-Historical Society

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

Learn More

New York Historical Society

photo credit: Andrevruas [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons

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.

Learn More

Childrens Museum of Manhattan

photo credit: Jim.henderson [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons

 Theater 

Lincoln Center

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.

Official Website

Lincoln Center NYC

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.

Learn More

Beacon Theatre NYC

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.

Official Website

Stand Up NY

Symphony Space

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.

Learn More

Symphony Space NYC

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 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!

Upper West Side

In addition to these side streets, you should see as much of these residential avenues as possible:

Riverside Drive

Riverside Drive

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):

The Dakota

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 …

St. John the Divine

St. John the Divine

And make sure to include our northern siblings – Morningside Heights and Manhattan Valley, which are their own neighborhoods, however they are also considered to be a part of the Upper West Side.

 

 Shopping 

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.

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Time Warner Center

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

Grand Bazaar NYC

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

79th Street Greenmarket

photo via Foursquare

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 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:

 

And check our special guide of things to do with kids on the Upper West Side!

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