Upper East & Upper West Side
(starts at 59th St and includes everything West & East of Central Park)
Known for Museums, Central Park, bars, kid-friendly restaurants, music
In some ways, the Upper West Side has the most suburban vibe of any of Manhattan’s neighborhoods. It's in close proximity to Central Park, the American Museum of Natural History, and Columbia University. It's very plesant to walk through the Upper West and East Sides. Shopping (of course) is on Madison Avenue, the extravagant fashions adopted by the ultra-rich and the top designers who serve them. There is a handful of topnotch museums and the Lincoln Center in the area. If you didn't already know, 10021 is the richest zip code in the world, and it belongs to the Upper East Side, the stomping grounds for New York’s high society. The marble-face townhouses make for nifty sightseeing for those interested in architecture. You’ll want to spend some time exploring Museum Mile—the Metropolitan, Guggenheim, The Frick, and Cooper-Hewitt museums.
Places to Eat
Freds is a modern day bistro. Located on the top floor of Barneys’ Madison Avenue flagship. Fred’s is convenient for any mid-shopping pit-stop, but it’s also a good restaurant itself. They're menu focuses on American comfort foods, from chicken soup, to lobster bisque, and truffle oil pizza.
WHAT I LOVED: Some good items - grilled octopus, Greek salad, tzatziki, and robiola truffle pizza.
The location of Lincoln Center's refined Italian restaurant offers a modern interpretation of Italian cuisine. The area has a reflecting pool outside, and panoramic views from the grass lawn roof. But the menu (and seriously sophisticated, Italian-only wine list) actually stands up on its own, aside from this restaurant's prime location.
WHAT I LOVED: Classic dishes like spaghettini al pomodoro or lobster risotto, plus a glorious bistecca alla griglia.
A beautiful sky-lit dining room with a lively tavern style bar. The Milling Room has seasonal locally-sourced American cuisine, in an interesting, upscale menu with creative combinations of ingredients and flavors.
WHAT I LOVED: The salmon tartar, beet salad, duck and flank steak.
THINGs TO DO
Andrew Carnegie’s former Georgian mansion, the Cooper Hewitt has its original dark wood-lined interiors and staircase. Upgraded galleries by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The Cooper Hewitt re-opened in 2014 with its new exhibition expansion. The museum was already one of the best in the world for design—both contemporary and ancient—so it's no surprise that it's better than ever.
Whether it's your first time or you're a season ticket holder, an opera at the Met, is an unforgettable experience in New York. With its red carpets, shimmering gold curtains, monumental murals, exquisite chandeliers, the Met is a vibrant home for the most creative and talented singers, conductors, composers, musicians, and dancers from around the world.
Designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright to house an innovative collection of works in a unique environment, it is one of the most significant buildings of the 20th-century. The Guggenheim is a world-class art museum and cultural center. Wind your way through the snail-like building, full of modern and contemporary art. This museum explores ideas across cultures through dynamic curatorial and educational initiatives and collaborations.
*Free Saturdays 7-9pm
Metropolitan Museum of Art
This beloved institution—reigning supreme on NYC’s Upper East Side—has been shepherding millions through its halls since 1880. You’ll find some of the art world’s most iconic pieces, as well as important artifacts from ancient to modern times. It’s also home to the Egyptian Temple of Dendur, which dates back to 15 B.C. and is my absolute favorite place to wander.
*Pay As You Wish
Manhattan's most famous urban park, was actually the first landscaped public park in the United States. Extending between 59th and 110th streets, it's one of the most beautiful places to visit, splitting the Upper West and East sides. The 843-acre green space features rolling meadows, peaceful bodies of water and stunning vistas, bringing a sense of calm to the city.
BEST DESSERT SPOTS
Also know as Breakfast at Tiffany's and within the 5th Ave flagship store. The design feels like the inside of Tiffany's blue box. With the chairs, paint color, and wall decor all Tiffany inspired, filled with chrome figurines and diamonds. Lunch & dinner are available, but simply grabbing some dessert and tea is also a nice time at this cafe.
727 Fifth Avenue, 212.605.4270
There are multiple locations, but this Upper West Side is one of my favorites. Milk Bar is part of the Manhattan-based Momofuku restaurant, but with well-known desserts.
561 Columbus Ave, 347.577.9504
David Burke @ Bloomingdale's
Celebrity chef David Burke’s dual-concept restaurant on the first floor of the iconic Midtown department store. The chic eatery features grab-and-go pastries and snacks at Burke Bar cafe with a Burke in the Box eat in/take out counter, perfect for shoppers on the go.
1000 3rd Ave, 212.705.3800
La Maison Du Chocolat
One of my favorite chocolate shops in the city is La Maison du Chocolat. French chocolate is just divine, I have never met one I didn't like! Their shops are just so gorgeous, and many of the locations have seating areas. Pure perfection! I just love French macarons.
1018 Madison Avenue, 212.744.7117