Welcome to Upper West Side
Bordered by the lush greenery of the Hudson River and Central Park, the cozy atmosphere of the Upper West Side’s tree-lined streets and tight-knit communities has made it one of the most livable neighborhoods in the city. Despite its peaceful ambiance, the Upper West Side remains a cultural powerhouse with a robust collection of institutions such as the Lincoln Center and Columbia University.
This area offers a range of residential opportunities, from the spectacular apartments of Central Park West to the more intimate brownstones on side streets. The Upper West Side’s rich architectural history includes Elizabethan, Art Nouveau, and Victorian styles, creating a visually dynamic urban scene.
What to Love
- Spectacular 16-acre Lincoln Center complex
- Natural scenery of Central Park
- Affordable, quality dining opportunities of Amsterdam Avenue
People and Lifestyle
If the Upper East Side is for the posh and elegant, then the Upper West Side is for the relaxed and affable. This area is largely residential and private, giving residents space to live comfortably in a notoriously busy city.
Residents going for leisurely strolls and students rushing to class at one of the nearby universities are a common sight in the Upper West Side. Inhabitants tend to be those who value a quiet lifestyle. Weekend brunching on one of the main avenues is more popular in this neighborhood than the area’s limited nightlife.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
Although the Upper West Side’s culinary scene is comparatively more affordable and relaxed, there are a few standout establishments worth mentioning.
The excellence of the French cuisine served at Jean Georges has heralded the establishment as one of the top five restaurants in America by Michelin Guide and is well worth a visit for any local. Several blocks north is The Milling Room, which specializes in quality seasonal fare served under romantic lighting.
For fashion lovers, the Upper West Side has much to offer. The Shops at Columbus Circle, with three enormous levels, is an upscale mall housing lifestyle staples such as Aveda, Williams Sonoma, and Coach. The neighborhood features its share of standalone stores as well, including athletic chic apparel from lululemon athletica and high-quality outdoor apparel at Patagonia.
Things to Do
With its plethora of famous buildings, taking a walking tour of the neighborhood is an excellent way to spend a day. Highlights include the historic Dakota—one of New York’s most storied apartment buildings whose residents included John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Lauren Bacall, and Judy Garland—and the San Remo Towers, which has become synonymous with the West Side skyline.
A few blocks north is the American Museum of Natural History. One of the largest institutions of its kind, the museum contains hundreds of natural dioramas, meteors, and a full-scale replica of a blue whale.
It would be remiss not to mention the Lincoln Center. An extraordinary example of mid-century modern architecture and design, the center features the internationally-renowned Metropolitan Opera and New York City Ballet. The Lincoln Center Theater and surrounding plaza hosts year-round performances and cultural events, making the complex a constantly vibrant and exciting celebration of the arts.
The Upper West Side is home to many excellent schools. Top educational opportunities include:
- William Sherman Elementary School, PK-5, placed in the top 20% of NYC overall test scores
- The Anderson School, K-8, rated one of the top gifted and talented schools in NYC
- LaGuardia High School, 9-12, specializes in visual and performing arts, one of nine specialized schools in NYC
- Trinity Private School, K-12, member of the Ivy Preparatory School League, rated best private school in New York State