10 Fun Things to Do in Upper West Side, New York

By jhenr | Updated September 9th, 2022

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Upper West Side, is one of the most popular neighborhoods in New York City, Upper West Side is known for its charming brownstones, lively cultural scene, and abundance of restaurants. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a longtime resident, there’s always something new to explore in this vibrant neighborhood.

Here are ten fun things to do on Upper West Side, has plenty of things to do and places to go to have fun, be active, and just relax and de-stress from work. Check out these ten fun things to do in Upper West Side, New York!

Walk Through River Side Park

The midtown Manhattan skyline in New York City on a summer day as seen from a beautiful park in Queens

River Side Park is one of the only public parks in Manhattan on the East River. It’s a great place for outdoor events and watching boats go by.

You can’t see many East River Bridges from this park but you will have a great view of the George Washington Bridge when looking north.

Plus it’s a perfect spot for views of the America’s cup sailing race and future New Jersey side developments.

In addition to all of these beautiful spots and walk way there are also several stores you can visit right here including Duane Reade, Sweetgreen and more.

Visit MoMA

NEW YORK CITY – MARCH 14: Street view of Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. The MoMA was founded in 1929.

If you love art and design, MoMA is the place for you. There are more than one million works of art including everything from medieval architecture to contemporary video installations.

When visiting MoMA make sure you check out The Robert Mapplethorpe Collection and The Shinro Oh take installation.

There are plenty of cafes and restaurants inside so don’t forget to leave some time for a meal. Plus you can easily spend a few hours or even an entire day here.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Cathedral of St. John the Divine (Episcopalian) in New York City. Construction, which began on the Gothic Revival structure in 1892, is still not complete.

St. John the Divine is the largest place of worship in the world, and is open to all. It has a café that’s open everyday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm for self-serve snacks.

Steps away from St. John the Divine is Grant’s Tomb and its park. The tomb houses President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia Dent Grant.

The Cathedral is a ten-minute walk from Riverside Park. The park offers tennis courts, baseball diamonds and multiple playgrounds for kids of all ages.

Shop on Broadway

Broadway, also called The Great White Way, is a tourist’s paradise with many stores and restaurants. It’s home to Macy’s flagship store and has plenty of affordable shopping.

Take your time and take your pick, you’re sure to find something that suits you. The New York Times describes the people of Broadway as user-friendly.

They’re called Broadway people for a reason – they want to meet you and let you in on their scene. They’ve been known to spontaneously break into song.

Watch a Show at Lincoln Center

Lincoln Center- Manhattan

Lincoln Center hosts a variety of Broadway shows, music performances and other arts events. If you’re looking for some entertainment on a Friday night with your friends or family, this is the place to go.

Lincoln Center is just one of a few great things to do on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Another major attraction is Lincoln Center Out of Doors.

Catch a Broadway Show

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY/USA – FEBRUARY 11, 2017: The marquee of Disney’s Aladdin, A Hit Broadway Musical, which is playing at the New Amsterdam Theatre. Aladdin is directed by Casey Nicholaw.

One of the best things to do on Broadway is to just go and see a show. Some of the more popular Broadway shows are Wicked, Hamilton, and Lion King.

On a Monday or Tuesday evening when Broadway shows are less crowded, tickets are usually cheaper too. Just be warned that there will be a lot of people walking around Times Square after the show.

On Broadway and 34th Street you can see Sesame Street Live! which has been entertaining kids for years. At 42nd street you can also catch a show of Wicked or Chicago.

Walk the High Line

The High Line is a one-mile stretch of elevated railroad on Manhattan’s west side that has been reclaimed as a public park. You’ll get a unique perspective of the city while walking above street level on the dramatic old railway trestles and tracks. This popular walkway offers visitors gardens, lookout points, art installations and great photo opportunities at every turn.

With so much to see and do along The High Line, it’s hard to know where to start. You can start by taking a self-guided audio tour or download an app that will give you more information about what you’re seeing as you walk along.

Wander Through Central Park

Aerial view of Manhattan New York looking north up Central Park

The most obvious thing to do is walk through Central Park. You’ll have plenty of options for where you want to go within the park.

But if you’re not up for walking that far, there are some wonderful museums within walking distance.

The Central Park Conservancy offers free guided tours of Central Park every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:30 am. Check their website for more details.

Visit the American Museum of Natural History

New York, New York, USA – March 8, 2012: The main entrance of the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan.

The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s largest and most visited museums. It has a vast and impressive collection that includes objects from Western Europe, North America, Africa, Pacific Islands, South America and Asia.

There are also live animal exhibits on site including an aquarium and mammal area.

The museum is also home to several full-size dioramas including a complete re-creation of an African savannah.

Visit Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle

New York cityscape at Columbus Circle in Manhattan.

Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle is one of the most breathtaking buildings in the area. This shopping mall has some of the best restaurants in NYC and its design is a testament to this.

From the food court on the bottom floor to spots like Nobu Next Door and Shake Shack on levels two and three, there are plenty of options for every kind of eater.

The shopping center has a Broadway ticket booth, so you can also treat yourself with a show after shopping.


If you’re looking for things to do on Upper West Side, look no further. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 best activities in the area, so you can make the most of your time here. From exploring world-renowned museums to shopping on famed Broadway, there’s something for everyone in this eclectic neighborhood.

And if you find yourself wanting to explore beyond Upper West Side, we’ve got you covered too. Check out our list of the 10 best places to travel outside of New York City and start planning your next adventure!