tours

A guide to the Upper West Side in New York City

Anyone who has been following my blog for a while knows that I’m always saying that New York goes beyond Midtown and one of the coolest things to do in the city is to explore more local neighborhoods. Seeing the daily life of the locals, walking the streets enjoying the architecture and discovering new spots is, at least for me, one of the most enjoyable things to do here. The Upper West Side is, in a way, an area even frequented by tourists – largely because of the Natural History Museum. But there is so much more than the famous museum to be explored and today I share with you a guide to help you with that!

Museums

The Upper West Side has many more cultural attractions than the classic American Museum of Natural History, but since we’re talking about it, it is worth to say that it’s one of the city’s most famous tourist attractions: four million visitors a year. The collection has about 32 million copies that tell the history of plants and animals on the planet. Remember that although the suggested ticket is $25 not everyone knows that you can pay as you wish, any day of the week. To buy your ticket like this, you need to do with one of the member of the staff, at the cashier. But be aware that you will not have access to special exhibits. Another tip: If you want to avoid the long lines, skip the main entrance (from 79) and opt for the entrance at 81!

Address: Central Park West at 79th Street. Open every day, from 10am to 5h45pm.

Also worth mentioning is the New-York Historical Society, which is nothing more than New York City’s oldest museum and home to some beloved works of art from the city and country, including those by Thomas Cole, Rembrandt Peale and Gilbert Stuart, as well as all of John James Audubon’s 435 existing watercolors for Birds of America. Worth keeping an eye on the website to check out the temporary exhibitions – a while ago, they even had one from Harry Potter! The ticket costs $ 21 – but on Fridays, from 6 pm to 8 pm, you pay as you wish.

Address: 170 Central Park West. Open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm; Fridays, until 8 pm; Sundays, until 5 pm.

With five fabulous floors of fun, Children’s Museum of Manhattan houses exhibits that make learning about culture, history and science a blast for kids ages six and under. Over 350,000 people visit the place annually. Some of the exhibitions: EatSleepPlay™: Building Health Every Day exhibit and experience interactive ways for families to create a healthier lifestyle together; Adventures with Dora & Diego, a series of high stakes animal rescue missions, that help to learn facts about animals and their habitats; PlayWorks, to help families prepare children to enter school ready to learn and grow. As children explore PlayWorks and participate in free, daily, drop-in Art Lab programs, they build their physical, social, math, art, science, literacy and problem-solving abilities—as well as the self-confidence, independence and awareness necessary for them to become life-long learners. Visitors can enjoy more than 80 workshops, classes, and performances free with admission to the Museum each week.

Address: 212 West 83rd Street. Admission $14 (free for children under 12 months). Free every first Friday of the month starting at 5pm. 

Entertainment

If the idea is entertainment, you shoul know that New York City goes beyond Broadway musicals. And on the Upper West Side is one of the city’s most important institutions: the Lincoln Center, which is no less than home to twelve artistic companies, including the Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Ballet and the New York Philharmonic. The schedule is intense – check ou the calendar of events. And remember: many performances are cheaper than a Broadway show, for example. Also, it is worth going through the complex building to appreciate its beauty and take photos, it is beautiful!

Address: Lincoln Center Plaza.

Upper West Side is also home to Symphony Space, a performing arts center that hosts musical and dance performances, literary talks, and is home to the popular storytelling radio show, “Selected Shorts.” You can also grab a drink before a performance at Bar Thalia. Check out the events calendar!

Address: 2537 Broadway at 95th St.

If you like to attend a music concert, remember that the options in the city are not restricted to Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center. Beacon Theater is a historic theater, has three floors and 2,894 seats. It was designed by Chicago architect Walter W. Ahlschlager and opened in 1929. Check out the calendar!

Address: 2124 Broadway.

Another really cool thing to do in New York is going to a comedy show! It’s part of the soul of the city! The West Side Comedy Club is in the basement of Playa Betty’s Mexican restaurant and is run by a couple who met while working together at Caroline’s Comedy Club in the early 1990s. Check out the calendar!

Address: 201 W. 75th St.

Eating

Upper West Side has amazing restaurants. In a lot of areas, you will walk the streets and find practically a restaurant next to another. Many times, I like to read the menus, see if it pleases me and we enter without thinking about it. But here are some suggestions:

 

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IT’S CINCO DE MAYO🎉🌮 We’re celebrating all day long over here at #PlayaBettys • Let’s get this party started🌟

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  • Playa Betty’s – The place serves California-style Beach Food, with a Mexican influence. The tacos are the specialty here, with choices based on meat, fish, pork, chicken and even vegetarian. Each taco costs, on average, from $ 4 to $ 5. They are super stuffed and I would say three tacos are enough to leave you satisfied. And there’s more: on Tuesdays, at Taco Tuesday, the promotional price of the tacos is $3 each!Address: 320 Amsterdam Ave. 

 

  • Cafe Lalo –famous spot from the movie You’ve Got Mail. It serves brunch and also the delights of a coffee such as pies, sandwiches, and everything. The environment is cute. It’s worth it for that afternoon stop to recharge. Address: 201 W 83rd St.

 

  • Boulud Sud –With a refined atmosphere, it serves Mediterranean food. Everything we ate was so well prepared: from the presentation to the aroma to the taste of the dishes. We were impressed. The menu includes delicacies like hummus and lamb and fish dishes. The price-fix deal (appetizer and main dish) is $29. They also have a price-fix dinner menu from 5 pm to 7 pm for $ 65, including appetizer, main and dessert – a very good price for the quality of the food and the environment of the restaurant. If you like Mediterranean food, be sure to try it.  Address: 20 W 64th St.

 

 

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End 2019 with a big, decedent, delicious cookie in your hand and smile on your face! (Yes, we’re open!)

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  • Levain Bakery – It is the most famous cookie in New York. Levain Bakery was founded in 1994 by Connie McDonald and Pam Weekes. While training for Ironman, they started a conversation about making the best chocolate cookie in the world. Today, the place is famous for its cookie – and for the long lines. The most famous flavor is chocolate – a lot, a lot of chocolate – and nuts, in a generous. It comes warm, with the serious risk of making you smear with melted chocolate. Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. Other flavors: Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip, Oatmeal and Dark Chocolate Chip. Each cookie costs $4 on average. Watch out for the golden tip! Levain’s most famous address is at 167 West 74th St and as famous as the address is the queue! A few minutes’ walk away, there is another address, without queues: 351 Amsterdam Avenue.

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