Upper West Side, A Neighborhood To Visit
The Upper West Side is a New York neighborhood located between the Hudson River and Central Park, northwest of Manhattan. This very pleasant, mainly residential area is also very active culturally, thanks in part to the presence of Columbia University.
In the following lines, I will present this very unique neighborhood of New York in a little more detail, in order to offer you an overview of what you can discover if you decide to visit the Upper West Side
A Very Chic Residential Area, A Hotspot For New York Culture
The Upper West Side is a district of New York full of charm, where you can enjoy a calm and relaxed atmosphere, but also discover the brownstones, these Victorian style houses, in red or brown sandstone, emblematic of New York.
Some streets and avenues of the district, in particular those which border Central Park, shelter today some of the most prestigious buildings of Manhattan. The Dakota Building, a magnificent neo-Renaissance building located at the corner of 72nd Street, is known to have been the home of very popular artists such as John Lennon, Lauren Bacall and Judy Garland. You can also discover several other sumptuous residences in the streets of this district, such as San Remo Apartments, the Beresford or the Ansonia.
The Upper West Side is also an area of the city very focused on culture and education.
It is notably home to Lincoln Center, one of New York’s largest cultural centers, as well as some of the city’s major museums and the highly renowned Columbia University.
Must-see Places On The Upper West Side
The American Museum Of Natural History
Arguably the most famous venue on the Upper West Side, this museum is one of the largest in the world. If you visit New York, you must take the time to discover the AMNH, which is open every day of the year, except for Thanksgiving Day and December 25
THEAmerican Museum of Natural History is particularly known for its fossils and its representations of dinosaurs and mammals from all continents. Each year, 5 million visitors come to discover its ethnology and natural history collections, which include more than 32 million objects and specimens, spread over 45 permanent exhibitions.
The museum being in high demand throughout the year, I invite you to reserve your places as soon as possible in order to be peaceful during your stay and to be able to discover this place without any stress.
The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is central to artistic life in New York. This complex, which extends over more than 6 hectares, brings together several theatres, performance halls and schools, including the Metropolitan Opera House, the David H. Koch Theater, the Vivian Beaumont Theater, the Juilliard School and the School of American Ballet.
A dozen companies are present on site throughout the year. In all, more than 400 artistic performances are scheduled each year, and which attract nearly 5 million visitors.
Lincoln Center is a must-visit on your trip to New York, especially if you want to see theatre, music and dance performances, and discover a landmark architectural landmark.
The New York Historical Society Museum
If you want to learn a little more about the history and culture of New York City, I advise you to devote an hour or two to discovering this particularly original museum, located on the Upper West Side..
The collections in the New York Historical Society Museum highlight the city’s rich history and its influence in today’s world. Around 800 works dating from colonial times to the present day are on display, allowing visitors to learn more about New York’s history, society and culture.
Located on Broadway, Symphony Space is one of the neighborhood’s most important cultural venues. In the two performance halls of this multidisciplinary cultural centre, more than 600 events are scheduled every year.
Dance, music, theater and film take center stage, and some of the country’s most popular podcasts are also regularly staged live at this cultural hub. It’s one of the places in the neighborhood where, if you’re fluent enough in English, you’re practically guaranteed to have a great night out.
Columbia University is a very large private university, located next to Morningside Park. It is part of the Ivy League, which includes 8 of the oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher education in the country. Even today, Columbia University is one of the most reputable schools in the world, and a large number of Nobel Prize winners, great scientists and politicians have studied there. It is in particular the University of Columbia which awards the Pulitzer Prize each year.
While in New York, you can visit the Columbia University campus. This gigantic campus is in fact a district in its own right, which houses university residences, student fraternities and sororities, libraries (open 24 hours a day) as well as all kinds of sports and cultural facilities and infrastructures.
You can even find restaurants and lots of small shops there, which will be ideal for discovering souvenirs to bring back from your trip. The places remain very lively whatever the time of year, even during school holidays.
Saint John The Divine Cathedral
A few steps from Central Park, this religious building is one of the places you cannot miss when discovering the Upper West Side. It is the largest cathedral in the world.
Saint John’s Cathedral is more recent than one might think, as construction began in 1892 and was not completed until 1979.
With its 186 meters long, this church, which mixes the Romanesque style and the Gothic style, is divided into seven chapels. Each of them represents one of the ethnic groups that migrated to New York and arrived at Ellis Island beginning in the late 19th century.
Take A Trip To Central Park And Riverside Park
On either side, the Upper West Side is bordered along its entire length by two of New York’s most beautiful parks.
To the west, Central Park will inevitably be one of the places you will discover during your stay in New York.
You will never miss opportunities to visit this true symbol of the city, whether it is simply for a stroll, a picnic, or a photo shoot. Note that it is also possible to rent bikes to discover the park more easily.
Using this fun and eco-friendly form of transportation, you’ll have the chance to see all or most of the park in just one day.
Another option is to take a guided bike taxi ride through Central Park. You can relax while listening to the unique stories of this famous urban park. More information by following this link.
To the east, Riverside Park stretches from 72nd to 159th Streets along the shore of the Hudson. This long park is the ideal place for a short walk or a bit of outdoor sport. The park is also home to several historical landmarks, such as the famous Soldiers and Sailors statue, which commemorates the courage of the men and women who fell during the Civil War of 1902. The Firemen’s Memorial honors the city’s hero firefighters.
If you walk through Central Park, you’ll come to the Upper East Side, located just across from the Upper West Side.
Shopping On The Upper West Side
If you want to discover the best place to shop in this New York neighborhood, Columbus Circle is the place to go. This large plaza is located just at the southwest corner of Central Park.
It forms the intersection between 4 of the main axes of New York: Broadway, Central Park South, Central Park West and 8th Avenue. In the center of this square, a statue surrounded by fountains pays homage to Christopher Columbus.
In addition to iconic buildings and complexes, like the Lincoln Center or the Mandarin West Hotel, you’ll also find the Time Warner Center, home to a large, upscale mall: The shops at Colombus Circle. Inside, you can discover a large number of major brand stores such as Hugo Boss, H&M, Amazon, Sephora, as well as many designer clothing and fashion accessory stores such as Michael Kors, Coach and Eileen Fisher.
Through the gigantic glass facade of the mall, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the square and Central Park. If you are in New York during the end of year celebrations, I advise you to go there to admire the decorations of the windows.
Where To Eat On The Upper West Side?
To satisfy your cravings, you’ll find small pastries or hot dog stands everywhere in the neighborhood. To taste one of the best burgers in town, you can go to Shake Shack, at the corner of 77th Street and Columbus Avenue. Avoid peak hours though if you don’t want to queue.
In this cosmopolitan district, a large number of very good addresses offer dishes from all walks of life. Hummus Place, for example, is a restaurant offering delicious Lebanese, Israeli and Mediterranean dishes. Jacob’s Pickles will offer you typical American dishes: it’s a perfect place to have a hearty brunch.
If you want to have an exceptional meal on the Upper West Side, you can go to the Time Warner Center.
Inside The shops at Columbus Circle shopping center, you can find great establishments, including two establishments that have received 3 stars in the Michelin guide: Per Se, a French and modern American cuisine restaurant, and Masa, a Japanese restaurant sushi, which is also probably the most expensive place in New York to have a meal (count at least $600 per person).