New York City: Places to Explore


Upper West Side

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The Upper West Side is one of the city's quieter, more family-oriented neighborhoods, with wide sidewalks, a relatively slower pace, and more of a residential feel than you'll find in many other parts of New York City. On weekends, stroller-pushing parents cram sidewalks, shuttling their kids to soccer practice and birthday parties. Shoppers jam gourmet food emporiums such as Zabar's and Fairway, and other specialty stores along Broadway and Columbus Avenue.

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 residents know that Riverside Park, along the Hudson River can be even more appealing, with smaller crowds—you could almost say that these parks are the neighborhood's communal backyards.

The Upper West Side also has its share of cultural institutions, from the cultural bastion building in the 16-acre Lincoln Center complex, to the impressive collection at the New-York Historical Society to Columbus Circle's Museum of Arts and Design end the much-loved 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. But technically it's called Morningside Heights, and it's largely dominated by Columbia University, along with a cluster of academic, religious, and medical institutions—Barnard College, and the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, to name a few. Within the gates of the Columbia or Barnard campuses or inside the hushed St. John the Divine, New York City takes on a different character. This is an uptown student neighborhood—less hip than the Village, but friendly, fun, and intellectual. Even farther uptown, and not technically part of the Upper West Side, are the Cloisters Museum and Gardens, with the Metropolitan Museum's medieval collection.


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