The Upper West Side is one of the city's quieter, more residential neighborhoods, with wide sidewalks and a (relatively) slower pace. The Cloisters, in Inwood, has the Metropolitan Museum's medieval collection.
The tree-lined side streets of the Upper West Side are lovely, with high stoops leading up to stately brownstones. Central Park, of course, is one of the main attractions here, no matter the season or time of day, though locals know that Riverside Park, along the Hudson River, can be even more appealing, with smaller crowds.
The Upper West Side also has its share of cultural institutions, from the 16-acre Lincoln Center complex, to the impressive and quirky collection at the New-York Historical Society, to Columbus Circle's Museum of Arts and Design and the much-loved, soon-to-be-expanded American Museum of Natural History.
Most people think the area north of 106th Street and south of 125th Street on the West Side is just an extension of the Upper West Side. Technically it's Morningside Heights, largely dominated by Columbia University along with a cluster of academic, religious, and medical institutions, including Barnard College and the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.