apartment shopping upper west side NYC

Apartment Shopping On The Upper West Side

Apartment shopping on the Upper West Side should be exciting and enjoyable. There are plenty of areas in this neighborhood that are ideal for families, singles, couples, and retirees. The Upper West Side is a cozy community that sits apart from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Manhattan. It has a bit more green space than other parts of NYC, and historic buildings are sprinkled with modern architecture. You’ll find fewer high-rises here than in other New York City neighborhoods, but there is plenty to do. In addition to parks, restaurants, bars, and retail shops, the Upper West Side is home to famed cultural amenities, such as Lincoln Center and the American Museum of Natural History.

Are You Buying or Renting?

Renting is much more popular than buying in New York City. Approximately two-thirds of the residents in New York live in a property that they rent. Only one-third of residents own the homes that they live in.

You might be shopping for an apartment to rent and live in. In that case, you are looking at a median rental cost of $1,340 if you take all of Manhattan into account. The median rental price in the Upper West Side is much higher than the New York City average. Renters in the Upper West Side are looking at a median rental price that is closer to $3,550.

Some people choose to buy an investment property in the Upper West Side that they can rent out. The median home value in this area is about $1.2 million.

Buying an apartment in a co-op can give you access to more amenities than purchasing an independent property. For example, each of the buildings in Lincoln Towers has a co-op with its own rules. You can be part of a friendly community with an apartment on the Upper West Side.

What Kinds of Amenities Are Available On the Upper West Side?

Why might you want to buy an apartment on the Upper West Side? The area is full of things to do. You can get out in nature or go shopping. You can visit cultural centers or eat like the locals.

Food and Drink on the Upper West Side

The Upper West Side features a wide range of cuisines. The restaurants are casual enough to accommodate the kids. They’re also hip enough to show off to a date.

Many of the eateries in the area have been there for decades. You can sample local delicacies, such as bagels and lox. You can also eat at a variety of ethnic or American restaurants.

Bars abound, offering everything from craft beer to fine wines and creative cocktails. Grab a bite or a drink before hitting a show or museum.

Cultural Activities

Living in the Upper West Side puts you in a cultural hub. Visit the American Museum of Natural History for its permanent exhibits, temporary displays, and planetarium. Catch a show at Lincoln Center, home to the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Ballet. Lincoln Center offers daily live jazz performances, some of which are free.


An apartment in the Upper West Side puts you next to the most famous park in NYC. Central Park covers 840 acres and offers nature trails, jogging and biking paths, playgrounds, architectural marvels, memorials, and gardens. It’s difficult to get tired of everything that the area has to offer, including a zoo and an ice rink.

Riverside Park is also extensive. It spans four miles along the Hudson River and features sports courts, playgrounds, a skate park, and a marina.

Tips for Apartment Shopping on the Upper West Side

When you’re shopping for an apartment in the Upper West Side, keep these tips in mind:

Get Pre-Approved

If you are planning to take out a mortgage, apply for pre-approval from your lender ahead of time. This will ensure that you don’t waste your time looking for properties that are outside of your price range.

Plus, pre-approval will give you a better chance of working with a reputable real estate agent and putting in a successful offer. Some real estate agents will not work with you if you do not have a pre-approval. Once you are ready to purchase an apartment, submitting a pre-approval will make your offer more enticing.

Decide on Your Non-Negotiables

Everyone has a wish list when it comes to what they are seeking in an apartment. However, many buyers or renters don’t take the time to detail their preferences.

You might feel clearer during the apartment shopping process if you write a list of your priorities. Some questions that you might want to answer before you begin apartment hunting include:

  • Does my view matter?
  • Do I want to be in a central location?
  • Is it important to be on a quiet street?
  • Are there any amenities or stores that I need close by?
  • Do I need to live close to a school?
  • Do I need a building and nearby areas that are pet-friendly?
  • Do I need a location where it is safe to walk by myself at night?
  • Would I like amenities such as laundry, Wi-Fi, outdoor space, or a gym?

Once you have these details written out, you can refine your apartment search.

Prepare Your Finances

There are many costs associated with apartment shopping in the Upper West Side. You will need a down payment and closing costs. You may need a few months of savings to cover a security deposit if you are renting. If you’re moving, you will need to be able to pay for those expenses.

Shop around for low-interest mortgages. Reducing your interest by one point can save you money in the long run if you are buying.

The Upper West Side in NYC is as lively as it is relaxed. It’s not a place for all-night partying. Instead, it’s a cozy spot to establish an apartment. It’s easy to get around using public transportation, but you don’t need to leave the neighborhood if you don’t want to. It offers plenty of shopping, dining, and leisure opportunities.