Upper West Side

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Get to know the Upper West Side

Ever wonder why an incalculable number of creative works are set somewhere between 59th and 110th streets, within Central Park West and the Hudson River? All New York City neighborhoods are created equal, but there’s just something about the Upper West Side. Honestly, it’s all in the details: Iconic architecture, city-defining structures like the Dakota, the San Remo, and the El Dorado. Cultural institutions and historical sites of immense international renown line the streets and avenues. Having two beloved greenspaces—Central Park and Riverside Park—at its horizontal edges certainly doesn’t hurt the reputation either. All of it, and more, is why so many New Yorkers choose to call the UWS home. It’s also why, at times, this neighborhood can feel as much an attitude or mindset as it does a physical place.

Nearby Neighborhoods:

Upper West Side History & Culture

While the first mansions were built on the Upper East Side a few years after the opening of Central Park in 1858, it took the Upper West Side longer to get going. A construction boom finally arrived by the late 19th/early 20th century, hastened in part by the 1904 debut of the city’s first subway line, with numerous stops throughout the area. Then came the townhouses and large apartment buildings, which have remained ever since and helped the UWS retain its inherent character—even as other things within it change. Lincoln Center and the American Museum of Natural History would be enough for any neighborhood to leave a serious footprint, but one mustn’t ignore venues like the Beacon Theatre or museums like the New-York Historical Society, among many others. Central Park is a no-brainer but put Riverside Park’s name up in lights too for its glorious—as the name implies—waterfront landscapes.

Upper West Side Schools

Upper West Side Dining & Shopping

Given that the neighborhood is roughly 50 blocks long and four blocks wide, you’ll be able to find almost any culinary or shopping experience you may want. At the neighborhood’s southern end, the Shops at Columbus Circle includes several restaurants (including some legendary ones), grocery options, and three dozen other stores—mostly luxury brands. Broadway is the main commercial strip, cutting its way diagonally across the Upper West Side. Along its length, you’ll find stores selling all the necessities of daily life. Are you interested in local, independent alternatives? Head to Columbus and Amsterdam avenues. If you still happen to have disposable income that needs disposing of, those are the spots where you can shop for things like books, clothing, or handcrafted and sustainable gifts. However, say you need a pause from all the purchasing, plenty of neighborhood restaurants await as well.