If you’re looking for fun things to do on the Upper West Side NYC, you’re in the right place!
The Upper West Side is a neighborhood in Manhattan with many incredible sights, museums, attractions, and more. You can spend many days in this neighborhood en never get bored!
From learning about natural history to going to a show to seeing art, there are many activities you can choose from.
If you’re wondering what to do on the Upper West Side, I got you covered! This guide includes the best activities you shouldn’t miss out on when you’re in the neighborhood.
Best Things To Do on the Upper West Side
Learn New Things at the American Museum of Natural History
If you want to learn new things when you are on the Upper West Side, you can go to the American Museum of Natural History.
This is a natural history museum that is located in Theodore Roosevelt Park.
This museum has a large permanent collection of more than 30 million specimens. You can go here to see plants, fossils, minerals, human remains, and much more.
These objects are on display in various exhibitions that focus on one particular type of specimen. For example, there is an exhibition hall that focuses on objects related to the Pacific Northwest. Also, there is a Tyrannosaurus rex exhibit.
In addition to that, there are special programs at the museum that can be interesting to attend.
Address: 200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024
See a Show at the Metropolitan Opera House
You can go to the Metropolitan Opera House when you are on the Upper West Side. This is a building at the Lincoln Center and it is the home of the Metropolitan Opera organization, which is one of the largest organizes for classical music in the United States.
The performances at the Metropolitan Opera House are very good and there are many different ones that you can attend during one season. The operas that you can go to here include historic as well as modern ones.
Also, what’s amazing is that the opera house has a beautiful interior architectural style, which also includes a stunning gold curtain. This interior makes going here a very special experience you will certainly remember!
Address: 30 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023
Learn About History at the New-York Historical Society
This is one of the best activities on the Upper West Side for those that love learning about history. You can go to the New-York Historical Society.
At this place, you can find a lot of exhibitions with interesting objects through which you can learn about the 400-year story of New York City. Throughout the year, there are many temporary exhibitions that focus on a specific part of the city’s history.
Also, lots of events take place at the New-York Historical Society, such as talks and curator tours.
In addition to that, you can find a restaurant at the New-York Historical Society where you can have a cup of coffee, lunch, or dinner.
Address: 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024
Go to the Rose Center for Earth and Space
The Rose Center for Earth and Space is an interesting place to visit when you are on the Upper East Side. It is part of the American Museum of Natural History and it includes the Hayden Planetarium of which Neil deGrasse Tyson is the director.
At this planetarium, you can see amazing visualizations of the cosmos.
Also, you can find a lot of other exhibits at the center that relate to space. For example, there is a permanent hall where you can learn about the formation of stars and planets.
Furthermore, you can find an exhibit at the center where you can see a model through which you can learn about the huge sizes of the universe.
Another exhibit shows all kinds of geological specimens through which you can learn about the workings of the earth.
Go to a Show at the David H. Koch Theater
The David H. Koch Theater is another great sight to check out if you’re wondering what to do on the Upper West Side. This is a theater that was created for dance performances and the theater is the home of the New York City Ballet.
This theater opened in the year 1964 and is a high-tech theater that makes it possible to experience dance in a great way.
in addition to that, the theater building has a beautiful design and is very modern. You can also find art here that all relate to ballet.
You can find the David H. Koch Theater on the main plaza of the Lincoln Center, next to other great venues in the neighborhood.
Address: 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023
Have Dinner With a View at Pier i Cafe
Pier I Cafe is a wonderful restaurant that you can find at Pier i. The restaurant is located in Riverside Park South along the Hudson River, and it is a seasonal outdoor cafe that is open from April through October.
At the restaurant, you can get delicious and high-quality food while you are outdoors. I’m sure that you’ll enjoy the food served by this restaurant. For example, you can get delicious burgers here.
While having delicious food, you can enjoy scenic river views of the Hudson River, which is amazing. Also, what’s great is that you can go here when the sun goes down to enjoy a beautiful sunset. Or you can go to Pier I Cafe in the morning to enjoy a cup of coffee while seeing ships sail by!
Address: 500 W 70th Street, New York, NY 10069
See a Great Performance of Ballet Hispánico
Do you like ballet? Then, a great thing to do on the Upper West Side is to go to a performance of Ballet Hispánico.
This is the largest Latinx/Hispanic cultural organization in the country and it is a space for Hispanic dance and dancers.
The organization has performances at various places in the city.
Also, you can see performances of the organization during dance festivals.
Go to the American Folk Art Museum
The American Folk Art Museum is a museum that is located at 2 Lincoln Square and it’s one of the best attractions on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
This is the only museum in New York City that is completely dedicated to self-taught and folk artists.
The museum, which was founded in the year 1961, focuses on artists who have refined their skills through experience rather than through formal education.
You can see a wonderful collection of more than 7,000 objects at the museum, and what’s interesting is that this collection is very diverse. You can see many different types of objects here, including paintings, quilts, sculptures, and much more. Furthermore, you can find objects here from all around the world.
What’s great too is that the museum often hosts temporary exhibitions related to a very specific theme.
Address: 2 Lincoln Square, New York, NY 10023
Relax at the West Side Community Garden
A great activity is going to the West Side Community Garden.
This is a garden where you can find beautiful flower beds, beautiful nature, benches, and walking paths, which makes the garden perfect if you want to relax when you are in the neighborhood.
You can find this garden between West 90th Street and West 89th Street, and the garden was opened in the year 1975. The garden is privately owned, and volunteers run it and make sure that the garden is a beautiful place where everybody can relax.
Great events also take at the West Side Community Garden. For example, you can sometimes go here for special movie nights.
Address: 123 W 89th St, New York, NY 10024
See the Firemen’s Memorial
Firemen’s Memorial is a monument that you can find on Riverside Drive at 100th Street.
This is a monument that was opened in the year 1913 that serves as a memorial to firefighters that died while doing their work in New York City.
There were many fires during the history of New York City. For example, there were great fires in 1835 and 1845 that destroyed many of the city’s buildings and killed firefighters.
The monument is made from Tennessee marble and a scene is depicted on it. Moreover, there is an inscription and there are figures at the monument.
When you are on the Upper West Side, this is a monument that you have to see.
Check Out the Nicholas Roerich Museum
Another museum that is worth checking out when you are in the neighborhood is the Nicholas Roerich Museum.
This is a museum where you can see the works of the artist Nichocolas Roeric. The collection consists of paintings and there are about 150 works on display at the museum.
The collection of the museum also consists of sketches and these are interesting to see as well.
In addition to that, the museum sometimes organizes cultural performances that can be seen for free.
What’s great is that you can visit the museum for free, there is no admission fee, however, donations are always welcome. You can find the Nicholas Roerich Museum at 319 West 107th Street.
Address: 319 W 107th St, New York, NY 10025
See a Performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center
If you like jazz music, going to Jazz at Lincoln Center is a must-do when you’re on the Upper West Side. This is part of Lincoln Center and was founded in 1987.
Jazz at Lincoln Center is a nonprofit organization that performs great concerts at the Rose Theater and the Appel Room, and the organization also performs at other places as well.
Furthermore, the organization organizes educational programs related to jazz music.
Address: 10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10023
Check Out Shakespeare & Co
Shakespeare & Co. is a wonderful bookstore in New York City with two locations in the city. These are located on the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side.
You can find the Upper West Side location at 2020 Broadway and it is open every day of the week, except for major holidays.
This independent bookstore is a place with a great cozy and intimate atmosphere and a lovely selection of books. If you are looking for a unique book to buy or a great gift, this is a wonderful bookstore to check out.
In addition to that, you can find a café at this bookstore. Here, you can get delicious coffee and pastries that I’m sure you are going to like!
Address: 2020 Broadway, New York, NY 10023
Go to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan
A great activity on the Upper West Side is going to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. This is a great thing to do with children on the Upper West Side.
You can find a lot of exhibitions at this museum that are very interactive, fun, and educational. Through these exhibitions, children can learn new things about the world while having a lot of fun!
For example, there is an exhibition that is related to the water system of New York City. You can also find an exhibition here that relates to the right to vote and the President. You can find a miniature version of the Oval Office at the museum!
Address: 212 W 83rd St, New York, NY 10024
Get Delicious Bagels at Absolute Bagels
If you like bagels a lot, one of the best things to do on the Upper West Side is to go to Absolute Bagels. You can find this bagel shop at 2788 Broadway.
Absolute Bagels is one of the best bagel shops in the city. The dough of every handmade bagel is delicious and the fillings are amazing too.
You can often see a line in front of the bagel shop because it is such a popular place.
Address: 2788 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
See a Show at Beacon Theatre
A venue to check out when you are on the Upper West Side is the Beacon Theatre. You can find this theater at 2124 Broadway and it was opened in the year 1929.
The theater has an art deco style and has a capacity of 2,600 people. The theater has a very beautiful interior, and the building is an official New York City Landmark.
Throughout the years, some of the most famous musicians performed at the Beacon Theatre, such as the Rolling Stones and Coldplay, and in addition to that, many special events took place at the theater, such as talks by famous people.
This is a great place for a comedy show, a talk, or a concert.
Address: 2124 Broadway, New York, NY 10023
See Art at the Bard Graduate Center Gallery
The Bard Graduate Center is a research institute that is dedicated to decorative arts, material culture, and design history.
Besides being a place where research is conducted, this is also a place where many exhibitions are held which is why going there is one of the best things to do on the Upper West Side.
Through these exhibitions, you can learn about many different perspectives on objects and stories related to objects.
For example, there was an exhibition with objects created by contemporary artists and made with historic African metal.
Address: 18 W 86th St, New York, NY 10024
Check Out the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument
The Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Monument is a unique monument that you can find at 89th Street on the Upper West Side. The monument consists of twelve columns that carry a roof.
This is a monument that commemorates soldiers and sailors of the Union Army that served in the American Civil War, and on the monument, some names can be seen.
The monument was completed in the year 1902, was designed by Stoughton & Stoughton, and is made from white marble. Furthermore, the monument was based on the “Choragic Monument of Lysicrates”, which is a monument that can be found in the city of Athens in Greece.
The monument is also a designated New York City Landmark.
Go to Charlotte Cafe for Great Coffee
If you want to get a cup of coffee, going to Charlotte Cafe is one of the best activities on the Upper West Side.
You can find this cafe at 2541 Broadway, and the cafe was founded in 2018 with a focus on delivering a different experience and serving amazing coffee and treats.
At this cafe, you can get amazing drinks. For example, you can choose from a variety of hot teas when you go here. Also, the lattes that you can get here are incredible.
In addition to that, Charlotte Cafe serves delicious cookies, amazing almond croissants, cake, and other pastries.
Address: 2541 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
See a Movie at Film at Lincoln Center
Founded in 1969, Film at Lincoln Center is an organization that you can find at the Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side.
The organization is dedicated to promoting American independent films, foreign films, and new filmmakers.
You can go here to see an interesting film and have a great time. It is a great place to see an independent movie. Also, you can sometimes see movies here on 70mm, which will provide you with a great experience.
Also, the New York Film Festival is hosted by Film at Lincoln Center, and when you are in the city when this festival takes place, it is an event you cannot miss out on!
Address: 70 Lincoln Center Plaza #4, New York, NY 10023
Go to the Triad Theater
The Triad Theater, which is an off-Broadway theatre that is located on West 72nd Street on the Upper West Side, is a great venue for live theater, concerts, and comedy shows.
The theater’s history dates back to the year 1984, and some of the most successful off-Broadway shows were shown here. Also, many good comedy shows were at the Triad Theater.
Many famous performers performed at the Triad Theater, such as Paul Rudd, Kevin Hart, Ryan Reynolds, and Tracey Morgan.
What’s great about the Triad Theater is that it has a very intimate and cozy venue, which makes it a great venue for a date night on the Upper West Side as well.
Address: 158 W 72nd St, New York, NY 10023
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What To Do on the Upper West Side Tips
If you’re wondering what to do on the Upper West Side, keep in mind that it’s close to Central Park. This means you can also combine many of the activities on this list with going for a stroll in Central Park.
For example, you can go to the American Folk Art Museum, see art, and then go for a stroll in Central Park. That way, you can have an even more fun time when you go to the neighborhood.
Upper West Side Things To Do Map
This was my list of the best things to do on the Upper West Side. I hope I helped you decide what to do when you’re in the neighborhood!