1. Residential Feel
The chances are high that if you live in NYC, you probably enjoy some of the hustle and bustle. But some areas of the city feel like they’re centered on tourism or professional life instead of community. The Upper West Side has a community atmosphere. It’s not as noisy as some of the other parts of Manhattan.
The area also has a rich cultural and intellectual history. It attracts retirees as well as younger folks who are looking to settle down in an area that’s good for families. It features broad sidewalks, lots of green space, friendly eateries and a children’s museum.
2. Casual Atmosphere
The Upper West Side is a relatively wealthy area. Because it’s home to Lincoln Center, you might think that it’s a snooty area to live. It’s not.
Compared to the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side is more casual. It’s easygoing and laid back. That means that you don’t have to feel uncomfortable if your kids are making a racket in a local restaurant. There are plenty of relaxed bars in which you can catch a drink with your friends. You don’t have to wear a fancy outfit to dine out.
You can hop on the subway or walk to a park. This area of Manhattan seems less hurried and overwhelming than many other neighborhoods. Some people say that the streets of the Upper West Side are too quiet, a description that’s practically unheard of in the city. Therefore, you might sleep better at night than you would in a busier section of town.
3. Beautiful Scenery
No matter where you live in the Upper West Side, you probably have a pretty good view. You might look out over Central Park or the Hudson River. Even if you don’t, your building likely faces some historic and gorgeous architecture.
4. Great Transporation
The Upper West Side is very accessible and the public transportation options easily connect you to other parts of NYC. The bus lines to the Upper East Side include M106, M96, M86, M79, M72, and M66. The bus lines to Midtown and Lower Manhattan include M57, M20, M104, M11, M10, M7, and M5. The subway includes the 1, 2 and 3 trains plus the 59th Street/Columbus Circle stop offers transfers to the A, B, C and D trains.
5. Central Park
One of NYC’s most famous landmarks, Central Park, spans 840 acres in the Upper West Side. If you’re just visiting the area, you probably can’t see all of Central Park in one day. Living in the Upper West Side gives you plenty of opportunities to take advantage of everything that Central Park has to offer.
You can simply stroll, jog or bike around the park, but there’s so much more you can do there. Bethesda Terrace features spectacular architecture, including a ceiling that is made up of 16,000 patterned tiles. Bethesda Fountain is one of the largest in the city.
Head to the Shakespeare Garden to feel as though you’re in the English countryside. The Belvedere Castle is equally stunning.
The kids can have fun on one of several playgrounds in Central Park. If you live in the area, you can make the park your backyard. You don’t have to do anything touristy. Just bring a blanket and relax on the lush lawn.
6. Riverside Park
Central Park isn’t the only large park in the Upper West Side. Riverside Park stretches four miles along the Hudson River. It provides spectacular views and a picturesque landscape.
The park also features several unique sculptures and structures. Kids can play in one of the hippo structures on one of the playgrounds. They can climb on two dinosaur sculptures in another.
In the summer, there are many free activities in the park, including concerts, children’s shows, and movie screenings. The park also features a bird sanctuary and a dog park. At Pier 1, visitors and residents can grab food at a café, launch a kayak or go fishing.
7. Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a cultural hub that houses the Metropolitan Opera and the New York City Ballet. There are several exhibits and performances on the calendar each day. If you lived in the Upper West Side, you would be able to catch films, concerts and open rehearsals.
Dizzy’s Club is a jazz bar in Lincoln Center that has nightly live music. Even if you don’t buy tickets to any of the Lincoln Center events, walking the grounds is a refreshing way to spend a beautiful day.
8. The American Folk Art Museum
The American Folk Art Museum is a wonderful place in which to spend a rainy day. You don’t have to worry about spending a lot of money if you want to visit frequently; admission is free. The museum holds a permanent collection of art and displays rotating exhibitions. It’s a great place to see some important but lesser-known artworks from American artists.
Check out the free music on Fridays, or stop in for a gallery tour with one of the experienced guides. The museum also offers workshops, which let you get up close and personal with your own creativity.
9. The American Museum of National History
The American Museum of Natural History is another NYC landmark that’s worth revisiting. If you live in the neighborhood, you can pop in any time. In addition to the permanent and rotating exhibitions, the museum features special events. If you reside nearby, you can catch a lecture, take a special tour, attend a science social or go to an exclusive planetarium tour.
Of course, you could take advantage of these offerings if you were just visiting. However, there are so many things to do at the American Museum of Natural History that it’s a boon to live in the neighborhood.
10. Specialty Supermarkets
If you live in the Upper West Side, you probably don’t want to eat out all the time. You can grab grub to make at home from one of the high-quality grocery stores in the neighborhood.
There is a Whole Foods in Columbus Square. This market offers prepared foods as well as packaged groceries and produce. It also has Amazon lockers, which give you a place to send and receive deliveries, which is a valuable service if you don’t have a doorman building in NYC.
Citarella Gourmet Market sells fresh seafood, aged meat, chef-prepared foods, sushi, fresh pastries, produce and international cheeses. Trader Joe’s is a grocery store that sells a variety of signature items as well as beer and wine.
Fairway is another great supermarket option for people who live in the Upper West Side. This two-story shop has a butcher, deli, and bakery. It also features many bulk sale items.
It’s no surprise that NYC seems to have a deli on every corner. But the Upper West Side has some of the best. Zabar’s is known for its smoked fish and bagels. It also has deli meat and cheese. If you’re looking for sweets, check out the bakery offerings.
If you live in the area, you can give anyone a gift box or basket from Zabar’s. They’ll be envious of the fact that you can go there whenever you want.
12. Levain Bakery
Those with a sweet tooth will be glad to live in the Upper West Side. The neighborhood is home to Levain Bakery, where you can sample the best chocolate chip cookies that you’ve ever tasted.
The cookies are huge, and they’re some of the gooiest around. The line is usually long, but if you live in the area, you can head to the bakery during the off hours and avoid the wait. Plus, the bakery’s Upper West Side Location offers an option that’s made with gluten-free ingredients, which is ideal if you’re sensitive to wheat.
13. Shake Shack
Shake Shack is the perfect place to stop in for a gourmet burger or frozen custard. The fries are also out of this world.
The Upper West Side location lies across from Central Park. It features an enclosed sidewalk café. But if you can’t find seats there, you can picnic at any of the other green spaces in the vicinity. The downstairs rec room has a big-screen TV and can be rented out for parties or events.
14. Marlene Meyerson JCC
No matter what your age, you’ll feel like you struck gold when you realize that the Marlene Meyerson JCC is within walking distance from your home. This 137,000 square-foot recreational facility holds programs for children, families, and adults. You can attend a discussion group, culinary arts class or creative lecture.
The facility is home to one of the best pools in the Upper West Side. It also offers after-school programs for kids and teenagers, a library and a full-sized gym.
15. Property Bonuses
If you live in other neighborhoods in NYC, you might not get everything that you’re looking for in a residential property. But the Upper West Side features affordable living options with many amenities.
Lincoln Towers is a residential community with so many conveniences that you would never have to leave if you didn’t want to. It has a fully gated 5-acre park for residents. The 24-hour security staff patrols the property. A doorman is available to help residents around the clock.
The location also features a gym, a laundry room, elevators, and a playground. It’s also easy to drive to. It offers ample parking and easy access to the West Side Highway. The subway is only a few blocks away.
16. AMC 84th Street Theater
Whether you’re a film buff or just want to check out the latest blockbuster, you can get comfy at the AMC 84th Street Theater. Every chair in this cinema is a recliner.
17. Easy Shopping
Going shopping on Columbus Avenue is like visiting a strip mall in the suburbs. It’s a convenient place to find items at chain stores, such as Sephora and TJ Maxx. There are also small boutiques and designer shops speckled among the other retailers.
Once you find a place to live in the Upper West Side, you can decorate it with finds from Jonathan Adler, which sells colorful, modern furniture and accessories. There are tens of other furniture stores in the area, including West Elm, Roche Bobois and Raymour and Flanigan.
18. The Meatball Shop
The Meatball Shop hasn’t changed its menu since it opened. It does have some rotating items. If you live in the area, you won’t get bored with the menu. The food is simple but delicious. Plus, you can order online and have the food delivered to your door.
19. Kid-Friendly Dining
You can bring your kids to just about any restaurant in the Upper West Side, and nobody will bat an eyelash. One of the best options is Chirping Chicken, where you can nosh on juicy chicken and relatively healthy sides. The kids will probably want mac and cheese, but you can get a salad for yourself.
Parm is another eatery that’s fabulous for kids. It specializes in chicken parmesan sandwiches. If those are too big for the little ones, you can order the sandwich without the sandwich, which translates into Italian-style chicken tenders.
If you’re all about brunch foods, you’ll be mesmerized by the options on the Upper West Side. You’ll have to ask around to find out which eateries are the quietest. They tend to get packed on the weekends. But some of the restaurants are less popular than others. It doesn’t mean that they’re not as delicious, though.
We haven’t forgotten to tell you all about the bars and nightlife options in the Upper West Side. There are so many choices that you’ll never get bored. However, the nightlife isn’t in your face as it is in other parts of the city. Your friends might not want to head all the way uptown just to hang out with you, but you’ll likely meet lots of new pals while living in the Upper West Side.