Hidden Treasures

What Makes the Upper West Side Unique?

While every city neighborhood can boast its unique spots, the Upper West Side has bragging rights to some of the best things to do in New York. Whether you are seeking physical activity, visual stimulation, cultural or intellectual pursuits, or good old-fashioned people-watching, the Upper West Side has a significant market share on all of these things to do in New York City.

Central Park

The park is a unique source of both activity and relaxation for tourists and city residents alike.  Forty-two million visitors per year share that view as they find their way to this 843 acre park! Larger than Monaco and Vatican City, this is the most visited urban park in the United States. Movie-goers worldwide can identify some of its iconic locations, including the Bethesda Fountain, the Boathouse restaurant, Strawberry Fields, Central Park Zoo, and Tavern on the Green.  For some insider scoop on Central Park’s little-known secrets, read “If Central Park Could TalkLittle Known Secrets.”

American Museum of Natural History

Located at 200 Central Park West and 79th Street, the museum focuses on humans and nature. Founded in 1869, it has a variety of permanent and special exhibitions and collections that are second to none. Visited by over 5 million people per year, these include:

  • Mammal Halls, with giant dioramas of mammals and wildlife.
  • Birds, Reptiles, and Amphibians Halls
  • Biodiversity and Environmental Halls
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences Halls
  • Fossil Halls (including dinosaurs)
  • Human Origins and Cultural Halls that look at the cultures of Asia, Africa, North and South America, and the Pacific.
  • Rose Center for Earth and Space
  • Gilder Center for Science. Education and Innovation
  • Other exhibits include a Butterfly Vivarium, a Space Show at The Hayden Planetarium, a special exhibition on Sharks, and Giant Screen Movies

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Located on 65th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenues. It offers dance, theater, music, opera, and film in a 16.3 acre multi-space complex. Its organizations include The New York Philharmonic, The Metropolitan Opera, The New York City Ballet, Film at Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and The Julliard School. If you want to put your toe in the water of this cultural mecca, you should know that several outdoor plazas are open from morning to evening, where you can relax and get a sense of what is on offer.

There are also indoor public spaces, including a Welcome Center, a Lobby (Karen and Richard LeFrak Lobby) that offers seating areas and free Wi-Fi, and an Atrium that provides a space to sit and relax. Lincoln Center is home to Summer for the City, a festival that offers free events for all, including concerts, dance, and silent discos!

Of course, there are many other unique places to spend time on the Upper West Side. The green spaces and architecture are remarkable. Eating and drinking establishments are excellent. Simply put, there are amazing things to do in New York City for everyone in every season. Once you try out some of the things to do on New York’s Upper West Side, you’ll agree.

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