Exploring New York’s Upper West Side

By Go City Expert

New York’s endless and diverse neighborhoods give the city its character; the Upper East Side, for instance, is vastly different than SoHo. Here, we've got tips for exploring New York’s Upper West Side. From pastries to parks, we've got where you should go.

Café Lalo

When you explore New York’s Upper West Side, you’re going to get hungry. And you may well want something sweet. If the inside of Café Lalo looks familiar and you haven’t actually been there before, that’s probably because you’ve seen it in a movie – it co-starred in You’ve Got Mail, with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.

The lovely cafe has a European vibe and a fabulous array of pastries. (They also have a bar, a brunch and food menu that’s served all day, and live music.) But you’re there for a capuccino and some Grand Marnier mousse. Or a piece of German chocolate cake. Or...what the heck, just have them all.

Riverside Park

New York’s Upper West Side has no shortage of parks. Stretching for four miles along the Hudson River, Riverside Park (hence is name) includes a beautiful promenade, sports fields and tennis courts, dog runs, playgrounds, bike paths, and plenty of green space for hanging out.

It’s just about the prettiest waterfront park in the city, and the wide promenade has a distinctly European feel. Go to picnic, to skateboard, to gaze at the marina on 79th street, or simply to sit on a park bench or wander.

Lincoln Center

The premiere arts venue in New York City is one of the premiere spots in the entire country to hear opera, watch dance, enjoy world-class theater, and partake of a family program. (It even has its own branch of the Public Library.) In one venue you can watch the New York City Ballet dance The Nutcracker every winter; listen to lectures about films (and watch actual films); or check out the White Lights Festival, which explores global themes and cultural intersections.

Plus there’s the iconic outside fountain (great for a photo op), and the nearby atrium that offers free programs. If you’re exploring New York’s Upper West Side, Lincoln Center should be on your list.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Do you know where the largest cathedral in the world is located? Nope, it’s not Paris, or Vienna, or London. It’s right here in New York City—it’s the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The cathedral is renowned for its spectacular architecture, its inclusive and welcoming programs, and the peacocks that roam its grounds. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

You can participate in a family program, attend a crafts show, or attend a Blessing of the Bikes service (yes, really.) No matter what your goal, it’s worth a trip; it’s literally jaw-dropping.

American Museum of Natural History

Exploring The American Museum of Natural History is truly one of New York’s great pleasures. The main attraction, of course, is the dinosaur skeletons, but they’ve also got (live) butterflies and metorites, the giant blue whale replica, and exhibits that focus on the natural and scientific worlds.

You could practically spend the entire day in the Planetarium, or in the history of evolution, or wandering through the animal dioramas. It is truly a “something for everyone” kind of place. And don’t miss the dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets in the cafeteria! (And if you want tips for more fun days out, we've got them here.


True fact: There are people who live in New York who have been to the Upper West Side to visit only two places: Lincoln Center (see above) and Zabar’s, the specialty food store in the West 80s on Broadway.

It’s probably the most famous specialty store in New York, having been opened in 1934, and since then supposedly having introduced New Yorkers to brie and sundried tomatoes, among other foods considered exotic at the time.

These days, you can get your Sunday-morning lox and bagels, your lunchtime salad, your New Year’s Eve caviar, the entrée to serve your in-laws, and the cookie to munch on for a snack, plus breads, coffee, olives, soups, Zabar’s merchandise, and more.

The store itself is loud and crowded—but you won’t leave empty-handed. All in all, it’s a quintessential New York experience, and something you must include when exploring New York’s Upper West Side.

If exploring some of the Northern part of the city has given you a hankering to see more, check out Greenwich Village!

Pick up a New York Pass® and get out exploring the very best the Big Apple has offer! You'll make great savings using the pass vs paying at the gate.

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Suz Pathmanathan

Best Photos of Tribute in Light 2016

Enjoy some of our picks of the best images from yesterday's moving Tribute in Light, which happens every year on September 11th. Lady Liberty #statueofliberty #landmark #tributeinlight #1wtc #wtc #worldtradecenter #instacity #911 #nyc #newyorkcity #newyork A photo posted by Albert C. Lee (@albertclee) on Sep 12, 2016 at 8:41am PDT Tribute in light... #september11 ----------------------------------------------------- • • • • • • • • • • • #newyorkcity #nyc #nycprimeshot #nycprime_ladies #usaprimeshot #what_i_saw_in_nyc #newyork_instagram #icapture_nyc #city_of_newyork #Made_In_NY #ig_nycity #ig_unitedstates #ig_all_americas #just_newyork #TeamCanon #agameoftones #MoodyGrams #ig_masterpiece #topnewyorkphoto #ig_worldclub #watchthisinstagood #instagoodmyphoto #itsamazingoutthere #weekly_feature #nyloveyou #featuremeinstagood #nbc4ny #abc7ny #fox5ny A photo posted by Alex & Candice (@fallinginlovewithnyc) on Sep 11, 2016 at 3:14pm PDT To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die. - Thomas Campbell . 09.10.16 Tonight's preview of the #TributeinLight and its reflection, from Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York City . Designed as a solemn, yet uplifting memorial to those who died at the World Trade Center, the Tribute in Light comprises of 88 7,000-watt xenon light bulbs positioned into two 48-foot squared, echoing the shape and orientation of the Twin Towers. . The display debuted on March 11, 2002, the sixth month anniversary of the attacks. On Sept 11, 2003, it became an annual memorial. . Shooting with @killahwave and @gigglegiver2 Welcome back to NYC Alexa, enjoy the rest of your stay. . #NeverForget 💙 . #amazing_longexpo #agameoftones #awesome_photographers #artofvisuals #freedomthinkers #heatercentral #huffpostgram #igpodium_night #ig_global_life #ig_shotz_sept16 #igpowerclub #igworldglobal #igglobalclub #igshotz #ig_nightphotography #main_vision #phototag_it #longexposure_shots #photooftheday #special_shots #urbanromantix #usaprimeshot #weekly_feature #worldbestgram #worldbestshot A photo posted by Gigi A (@gigi.nyc) on Sep 10, 2016 at 9:31pm PDT 15 years later.. . . . . . #artofvisual #streetshared #imaginatones #illgrammers #agameoftones #hypebeast #moodygrams #theimaged #ThisIsMyCommunity #streetactivity #streetmagazine #shotaward #Thecreatorclass #heatercentral #justgoshoot #createexplore #urbanromantix #watchthisinstagood #what_i_saw_in_nyc #justliving2016 #way2ill #igworldclub #createcommune #fatalframes #thecreative #streets_vision #instamagazine_ #hboutthere #menwithurban A photo posted by 🗽👁🇦🇱🕋 (@thousand.visions) on Sep 11, 2016 at 8:09pm PDT I never forget how brave NYC fireman and police officers were that day... . I never forget how many brave people volunteered to help... . We are strong.... And we will never forget.... . ============================ "Check Out" @mattpugs ============================ 9/11 memorial lights 2016 ============================ . . . . . . #splendid_shotz #arist_world #ig_dynamic #folkvibe#ig_great_shots_nyc #weekly_feature#igglobalclub #newyorkcity #nightshooters #sky_high_architecture #mycity_life #canon_photos #nationalgeographic #ig_great_shots #picture_to_keep #longexpoelite#rsa_streetview#igshotz#inspiring_photography_admired#ig_mood#fatalframes#earthpics#beautifuldestinations#instagramnyc#topnewyorkphoto#newyork_instagram#artofvisuals#awesome_earthpix#igpowerclub #instagram A photo posted by Craig's Beds (@craigsbeds) on Sep 11, 2016 at 6:31am PDT I can still feel you here. #Honor911 A photo posted by MISSHATTAN (@misshattan) on Sep 11, 2016 at 12:14pm PDT Never Forget. 🙏🏻9/11/01🙏🏻 =============================== ⚫️⚪️⚫️⚪️ It's Black and White Sunday time again ⚫️⚪️⚫️⚪️ Join the movement folks. Every Sunday post at least one Black and White photo and be sure to tag. #bnw_sundays for a chance to be featured. @bnw_sundays =============================== 🎞Shot info🎞 • Date: Sept 7th, 2016 • Location: NYC • Camera: Nikon D5500 • Lens: Nikkor 55 - 300mm f/ 4.5 -5.6 • Focal Length: 66mmmm • Shutter: 30 seconds • Aperture : f/9 • ISO: 100 • Shot: @mefototripods Roadtrip / Auto Mode • Shot in RAW • Edit: Lightroom / Photoshop / Instagram =============================== Big thank you to the pages who have featured my pics recently🙏🏻👊🏻🙏🏻 Your support is greatly appreciated @ =============================== Be sure to check out all my very talented friends I have tagged in the pic 💪🏼👍🏻💪🏼 =============================== #blackandwhitenyc #pocket_bnw #bnw_diamond #bnw_captures #rsa_bnw #icapture_nyc_bnw #bnw_life #love_bnw #blackandwhite #blancoynegro #bnw_magazine #bw_photooftheday #blackandwhitephoto #bw_society #superhubs #cbviews #ig_mood #ig_all_americas #igs_america #igglobalclub #inspiring_photography_admired #artofvisuals #globalcapture #master_shots #livetravelchannel #sky_high_architecture #awesomeglobe #exklusive_shot #ig_nightphotography A photo posted by Killian Moore (@killianmoore) on Sep 11, 2016 at 6:13am PDT Never forget! Tribute lights lit up in remembrance of 9/11 ========================= www.nadiablockphotography.com ========================= #SuperHubs #ig_today #igs_world #igmasters #citybestpics #lifeonourplanet #ig_captures #special_shots #travelnoire #ig_all_americas #weekly_feature #ig_mood #igrecommend #wildnewyork #hubs_united #icapture_nyc #what_i_saw_in_nyc #seeyourcity #gramoftheday #igs_NYC #instagramnyc #hot_shotz #aov #agameoftones #boss_properties #folkgood #incredible_masterpiece #amazingphotohunter #ig_exquisite #newyorklike A photo posted by NADIA BLOCK (@bklyn_block) on Sep 12, 2016 at 5:36am PDT Tonight was a truly incredible experience that I'll never forget. Flying over the #TributeInLight on the 15th anniversary of 9/11 🇺🇸. #NewYork has been my home for the last 7 years but seeing the city light up from this perspective brought me back to the excitement of the 1st day that I arrived. I couldn't be more proud to be associated and working with #NewYorkCity right now, this place really is the best city on earth 🙌🏽. Huge thank you to my friends at @flynyon and @nycgo for making this special experience possible 🚁🎥 #SeeYourCity 🗽. (🎶: "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra, Jay Z Re-Mix) A video posted by TOM JAUNCEY (@tomjauncey) on Sep 12, 2016 at 1:37am PDT If you found other images that particularly moved you and you would like to share them with us, tag #newyorkpass and @newyorkpass on Instagram.
Go City Expert

Remembering September 11 in NYC

No event in history has shaken up New York City like the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers on September 11th, 2001. This year, 15 years after the event, we still remember even though we have rebuilt the city and the scars are no longer visible. Every year on September 11th, New York City commemorates the tragedy through powerful displays and moving tributes. Here are some that you can see this weekend, on the 15th Anniversary of 9/11. [spacer height="20px"] Tribute in Light [caption id="attachment_826" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Tribute in Light from Brooklyn Bridge Park | Photo by Mark Lennihan/AP[/caption] [spacer height="20px"] Since 2002, 88 7000 Watt Xenon lights beam into the sky every year from Ground Zero of the World Trade Center Twin Towers, giving powerful tribute to the iconic towers on the New York City skyline. The Tribute was originally supposed to be temporary, but since 2013 has been run every year on September 11. The lights are lit at sunset on 9/11 and are turned off at sunrise on 9/12. The tribute is easily visible from pretty much anywhere in and around Manhattan. For the best views, try Brooklyn Bridge Park. [spacer height="20px"] National September 11th Memorial and Museum [caption id="attachment_828" align="aligncenter" width="801"] 9/11 Memorial Fountain at Night[/caption] [spacer height="20px"] [caption id="attachment_831" align="alignleft" width="302"] ‘Raising the Flag at Ground Zero’ by Thomas E. Franklin (Photo: 2001 The Record (Bergen Co. NJ)/Getty Images)[/caption] The National September 11 Memorial and Museum has recently acquired a long-lost flag pictured in a photo (left) of three firefighters lifting it from the rubble. You can now view the flag at the museum. Brand new art exhibit called Rendering the Unthinkable: Artists Respond to 9/11 opens on September 12th, showcasing responses and emotions tied to the even through artistic expression. On September 11, the 9/11 Museum and Memorial will be open only to the families of those affected and closed to the public, including New York Pass holders. The annual Commemoration Ceremony will live stream, starting at 8:46am. The Museum and Memorial reopens on September 12th. [spacer height="20px"] 9/11 Tribute Center [caption id="attachment_834" align="aligncenter" width="800"] 9/11 Tribute Center[/caption] [spacer height="20px"] The 9/11 Tribute Center is a small museum, founded and operated by the September 11th Families Association. It connects visitors with the authentic experiences through photos, video, audio recordings and artifacts. Leading up to the 15th anniversary, the Tribute Center will feature an increased number of their daily #My911Story presentations, which are designed to connect visitors with real survivors, their families and volunteers through their personal stories. The Tribute Center will be be open to the public after 1pm on September 11th. [spacer height="20px"] NYPD Parade [caption id="attachment_836" align="aligncenter" width="800"] NYPD Officers at the 9/11 Memorial | Photo by Jin Lee[/caption] [spacer height="20px"] The New York City Police Department will hold a special parade on Friday, September 9th to commemorate the 122 officer lost during or after 9/11.
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