What To Do in NYC’s Upper West Side

What To Do in NYC’s Upper West Side

One of my favorite neighborhoods in New York is the Upper West Side. If I ever lived in Manhattan, it would be here. While it’s very residential, there are still plenty of things to do and see. Here’s my guide to what to do on the Upper West Side, where to eat & drink, and what to wear…

Guide to the Upper West Side, NYC

Tourist Attractions on the Upper West Side

Lincoln Center – The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts stands out in my mind as the HQ of New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion week. But it also houses the New York City Ballet, Metropolitan Opera and New York Philaharmonic.

American Museum of Natural History – I’m not that into museums, but the Natural History Museum is my absolute favorite. Anyone who has watched the movie Night at the Museum knows how cool this place is. What can I say, I love the dinosaur exhibits and animal dioramas!

Museum of Natural History - Upper West Side, NYC

Photo source: vagueonthehow via Flickr

Central Park – If you’re at the American Museum of Natural History, then Central Park is right across the street. I probably don’t need to explain this attraction to you, since it’s one of NYC’s most famous,  but the western portion of the park includes Sheep’s Meadow, a popular picnic spot.

Riverside Park – Riverside Park runs from 58th to 156th Street along the Hudson River. You can access it from West 72nd Street and Riverside Drive, where you’ll take an underpass to get to the waterfront. It’s a popular running and dog walking spot, with two significant points of interest: the 91st Street Garden, planted by the community, and further up at 112th Street, Grant’s Tomb, the final resting place of US president Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia Dent Grant.

Riverside Park - Upper West Side, NYC

Photo source: Jeffrey Zeldman via Flickr

Cathedral St. John the Divine – Located at Amsterdam Ave and 112th Street, this is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and worth checking out if you’re willing to walk this far uptown (or take the subway… but I like walking!).

Where To Eat On the Upper West Side

Caffe Storico – Located in the iconic New York Historical Society, this gorgeous Italian restaurant features high ceilings, beautiful decor and a view of the aforementioned natural history museum across the street. My suggestion is to go for brunch, before visiting the museum and Central Park.

Caffe Storico, Upper West Side, NYC

Photo source: c/o Caffe Storico

Candle Cafe – I’m not a vegetarian or vegan but I still love the food at this yummy organic, farm-to-table restaurant. They have fresh pressed juices (my favorite: cilantro, jalapeno, kale, carrot and lemon) and smoothies along with unique salads, sandwiches and Mexican, Italian and Indian-inspired entrees.

The Boat Basin Cafe – If you are in New York during nice weather, the Boat Basin is a must. The outdoor, dog-friendly patio cafe overlooking the Hudson River and marina isn’t too innovative food-wise, but the location makes it the perfect spot for catching up with friends and having a few drinks on a summer day.

Gina La Fornarina – The girly, pink decor of this restaurant makes it ideal for ladies night out. But it’s not just a gimmick – they serve really delicious pizzas. Pizza is what they do best but if you really must have something else, there are also plenty of pasta options and a few meat entrees. And lots of wine, of course.

Gina La Fornarina - Upper West Side Restaurant, NYC

Piccolo Cafe – Hmm somehow Italian food snuck into 3/5 of my Upper West Side suggestions. Guess you can decode my cravings the day I wrote this post. Piccolo Cafe is tiny spot that has a really cozy + cute atmosphere and delicious modern food. They have great pasta and paninis, and I love that they try to incorporate as many organic, healthy ingredients as possible.

Piccolo Cafe - Upper West Side, NYC

Where To Shop On the Upper West Side

WiNK – Wink is one of NYC’s top contemporary stores, where you can find the latest trends and clothing/accessories from Clare Vivier, Ash, Dolce Vita, Parker, Aiko and Pour La Victoire.

A Tempo – If you need a dress for a special occasion, this is the store to visit. Their dress brands include Black Halo, Aidan Mattox, Nicole Miller and Mara Foffman. They also carry select separates, jewelry and accessories.

What To Wear On the Upper West Side

Since this is a residential neighborhood, casual dress prevails. You’ll probably be walking alongside Lululemon-clad gym goers, parents pushing fancy strollers and people en route to Trader Joe’s.

Upper West Side Outfit

Left Outfit: Jacket /// Tee // Tote // Jeans // Slip On Shoes

Right Outfit: Dress // Fedora // Bag // Flats



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  • Great list! I visit New York pretty frequently, but spend most of my time in TriBeCa or East Village. Might have to check out a few of these eateries next time I’m in town :)

    • annarice23 says:

      For sure! It’s not as “cool” as downtown but definitely more laid back, and easier on your wallet, too. If you’re here in the summer you should 100% go to Riverside Park and Boat Basin… 2 of my favorite things in NYC.

  • The Boat Basin Cafe looks cool. I’m in New York City for the weekend – gonna try this place out. THanks! I just followed you on Twitter – looking forward to connect!

    • annarice23 says:

      Thanks for following! Boat Basin might not be open yet so double check… I know they have to wait for the Parks Dept. to give them the OK each season. Enjoy your trip to NYC! :)

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