upper west side neighborhood guide in new york city | Better Together Here
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Upper West Side Neighborhood Guide: Bars, Restaurants & Things to Do

For many reasons, the Upper West Side is a quintessential New York City neighborhood!

There are a plethora of bars, restaurants, and things to do in this bustling neighborhood that you won’t want to miss. It’s also a neighborhood with a rich history, especially in literature and film.

In this Upper West Side Neighborhood Guide, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about exploring this famous section of Manhattan.

Let’s do it. 👇

Note: This article was written by a real live human being, not artificial intelligence. 🥸

Upper West Side Neighborhood Guide Podcast Episode

This podcast episode featured our first two guests on the show. Our good friends and Upper West Side residents, BJ & T, told us about their favorite UWS restaurants (more on that below).

T covered Saiguette, which is phenomenal.

BJ laid out everything you need to know about the popular spot, Jacob’s Pickles.

Want to hear more podcasts like this? Head here.

Where is the Upper West Side in NYC?

dog walking on the upper west side while the street was closed to cars | Better Together Here

Like most neighborhoods in New York, there can be some argument as to exactly where they begin and end.

The Upper West Side neighborhood runs from Central Park West to Riverside Park, east to west, and from 59th Street to 110th Street.

It’s a big neighborhood, basically covering the entire area between Central Park and Riverside Park!

Fun fact: The Beastie Boys actually played their first gig in a loft at 100th and Broadway and recorded some tracks for the EP Polywog Stew there in 1981.

Maximize your time in NYC by demystifying the art of safely and efficiently getting around the Big Apple!

Ultimate NYC Navigation & Transportation Guide

What Subway Lines Go to the UWS?

Getting to and around the UWS is very easy via public transportation, especially using the subway.

The main line that runs through the UWS is the 123. Each stops at different locations depending on local vs express, but in most instances, if you’re going to the UWS, you’ll take the 123.

The B and C are local in UWS and run right along Central Park West.

The A & D only have a couple of stops if you include Columbus Circle for access to lower parts of the Upper West Side.

There are also plenty of bus routes, Citi Bike stations, and taxis to get around this New York neighborhood.

Related Reading: How to Get Around NYC as a Tourist/Non-Local

Is the Upper West Side Safe?

view of the upper west side from on top of an apartment building terrace | Better Together Here

When exploring or traveling to NYC, many people wonder about the safety of the city and specific neighborhoods.

The Upper West Side neighborhood is very safe. We’ve spent loads of time here both during the day and late at night and have experienced little to no scary run-ins.

The Upper West actually has some of the lowest crime rates across all categories.

The Upper West Side is notorious for being a pretty quiet neighborhood with lots of families.

Bottom line, the UWS is safe! But whenever you’re in a big city, be sure to keep some safety tips in mind!

Upper West Side Bars

Some of our favorite bars are on the Upper West Side. You can find a variety of sports bars, wine bars, and some interesting bars overall.

While they certainly exist, it does seem like the UWS lacks cocktail bars, at least in comparison to other neighborhoods.

Here are a list of some of the best bars on the Upper West Side:

  • Gebhard’s Beer Culture
  • e’s Bar
  • Gin Mill
  • Jake’s Dilemma
  • Blondies Sports
  • Bodega 88
  • Crossbar
  • Nobody Told Me
  • Dive 106
  • Amsterdam Ale House
  • The Hoptimist
  • St James Gate
  • Dublin House
  • The Dead Poet
  • George Keeley

Let’s look briefly at each one below. 👇

Gebhard’s Beer Culture – Craft Beers

Gebhard’s Beer Culture boasts a wide variety of unique beers, most on draft. They also have a kitchen with delicious burgers and snacks.

Our favorite part of Gebhard’s is the friendly staff and the unique TV choices. While we were there we watched most of Jaws, without sound. And then even caught part of Flubber after, amazing!

Check out our full review of Gebhard’s Beer Culture here.

e’s Bar – Wine Wednesday & Happy Hour Burger

a group of friends at es bar in the Upper West Side of NYC | Better Together Here

e’s Bar has some of the best happy hour specials and weekly specials out of any Upper West Side bar. It even made it on our Fun NYC Bars article, since they have karaoke, board games, and frequent events!

The best day to go to e’s Bar, in our opinion, is on Wednesday. They have happy hour wine prices, $7.50, all day long, and the pours are generous!

Plus, if you go before 7 pm you can snag the surprisingly tasty e’s Burger for $6.

Check out e’s Bar here.

The Gin Mill

If you want a bustling sports bar with plenty of TVs and fairly priced drinks, head to The Gin Mill.

While we don’t always mesh with the crowd here, we’ve generally found it to be a good spot to catch a game. Their food options are quality, too!

And most weekend nights they have a live DJ, although there isn’t a ton of space to dance!

Check out The Gin Mill here.

Jake’s Dilemma

jakes dilemma in upper west side nyc review | Better Together Here

Jake’s Dilemma & The Gin Mill are under the same ownership, but we personally enjoy Jake’s a lot more!

Jake’s Dilemma on the Upper West Side of Manhattan (map link) is a fantastic bar for cheap drinks, dancing, and watching sports.

And you should also head there with proper expectations. It’s not somewhere you’re gonna order intricate cocktails, have a business meeting, or read a book.

It’s a young bar with loud music, cheap drinks, and sports on the TVs at all times.

We’ve had more fun nights here than we can count!

Check out our full Jake’s Dilemma review here.

Blondies Sports

watching sports at blondies on the upper west side | Better Together Here

Blondies Sports is an Upper West Side staple, opening its doors in 1979. And when it comes to a quality pub with loads of TVs and delicious food, Blondies is the spot!

The staff is friendly, drinks are fairly (ish) priced, and their wings are one of the best options on their menu.

If you want to watch the NFL, March Madness, or another large sporting event with plenty of space and huge TVs, head to Blondies!

Our main critique is the food prices seem a bit high, depending on what you get.

Check out Blondies Sports here.

Bodega 88

Bodega 88 never disappoints. With Latin-inspired dishes and delicious drinks, we love the sangria, you’ll always leave full, happy, and a little buzzed!

I absolutely love their nachos, too.

Arguably the most unique part about Bodega 88 is their 5-6 booth seating options that have their own small TV!

If you can snag one of these spots, you can be sure you’ll be able to watch whatever sporting event you want.

If you can get here during happy hour that’s best, as their drink prices are a little higher than is preferable.

Check out Bodega 88 here.

Crossbar – Bar & Soccer Store

Crossbar is a fun bar on the UWS for many reasons.

  1. It has draft beers
  2. It’s also connected to a soccer store complete with authentic jerseys, cleats, and soccer equipment
  3. Their food is fairly priced and solid cafe-style food, plus they have delicious coffees

Of course, it’s an awesome spot to watch soccer in the city!

Check out Crossbar here.

Nobody Told Me – Cocktail Bar & Oysters

oysters at happy hour at nobody told me on the upper west side | Better Together Here

Nobody Told Me has some phenomenal cocktails, but best of all, an amazing happy hour offering on oysters!

The staff here is attentive, friendly, and has good recommendations, no matter what you’re looking for.

Highly recommend this spot if you’re on the upper section of the UWS.

Check out Nobody Told Me here.

Dive 106

interior view of dive 106 on the uws | Better Together Here

It’s exactly what it sounds like… A dive bar!

Relatively cheap drinks, sports on the TVs, and an awesome fish tank. What more could you ask for?

Oh, they also have the most phenomenal sign I’ve ever personally seen.

funny sign at dive 106 bar | Better Together Here

Check out Dive 106 here.

The Upside Bar

The Upside Bar on the Upper West Side might take the cake for the strangest decor of any bar we’ve been to, in a good way, though…

But they have an awesome selection of beers & drinks, sports on multiple TVs, and an overall cozy vibe.

I wouldn’t come here for food or snacks, but as a bar hangout, it’s phenomenal.

Check out The Upside Bar here.

Amsterdam Ale House

great beer selection at amsterdam ale house | Better Together Here

Amsterdam Ale House is about as standard of a sports bar as they come.

Plenty of beers on tap, a wide variety of foods, and plenty of TVs for sports viewing.

The service is solid, and the atmosphere is friendly. We would probably only give the food about a 3/5, but the drinks and sports-viewing experience is top-notch!

Check out Amsterdam Ale House here.

The Hoptimist – Craft Beer on the UWS

the hoptimist is the best spot for craft beers on the upper west side | Better Together Here

We love this spot! When it comes to unique beers, this might be the best bar for it on the Upper West Side. I tried a cucumber beer and was pleasantly surprised!

The staff is friendly, they usually have good music playing, and many of the beers are local to New York.

Highly recommend stopping in for a beer here!

Check out The Hoptimist here.

St. James Gate UWS Bar

st james gate bar on upper west side | Better Together Here

St. James Gate is a classic Irish pub on the Upper West.

They have a solid beer selection, but I personally wouldn’t get food here. Their kitchen is a bit, as the kids say, sus… And their health score reflects that.

Check out St. James Gate here.

Dublin House

If you want a quick beer and aren’t looking for much more, then Dublin House fits the bill.

It’s not the greatest spot in the area, but good for a drink or two with a friend.

Check out Dublin House here.

The Dead Poet

The Dead Poet has great prices on draft beers and has a super welcoming vibe.

Plus, you can get a hot dog for cheap. Hell yeah!

Check out The Dead Poet here.

George Keeley

The one time we’ve been here it was a loud and energized Saturday night.

The vibes are great, and prices are a bit expensive, but it is a spot worth checking out!

Check out George Keeley here.

Maximize your time in NYC by demystifying the art of safely and efficiently getting around the Big Apple!

Ultimate NYC Navigation & Transportation Guide

Upper West Side Restaurants

The Upper West Side has some truly amazing places to eat, including sit-down restaurants and places for quick bites.

Here are some of the best restaurants on the Upper West Side of NYC:

  • Jacob’s Pickles
  • Chick Chick
  • Maison Pickle
  • Saiguette
  • Tiki Chick
  • 7th Street Burger
  • Pier i Cafe
  • Kissaki Sushi
  • Made in New York Pizza
  • Playa Betty’s
  • Tap NYC
  • Emack & Bolio’s
  • Chama Mama UWS
  • Flame
  • Sala Thai
  • Ella Social

Let’s look at each one below. 👇

Jacob’s Pickles

Jacob’s Pickles is arguably the most popular restaurant on the Upper West Side. The massive portions, fried pickles, and homestyle cooking keep people coming back again and again.

I don’t think we’ve had a dish from here we didn’t like…

Some favorite dishes from Jacob’s Pickles include:

  • Poutine
  • Street Corn
  • Any of the southern biscuit sandwiches, specifically the BBQ Smothered Pepper Jack Chicken
  • Shrimp & Bacon Grits
  • Midnight Mac & Cheese

And all their beers and cocktails are phenomenal!

I’ll say it again, their portions are massive, so plan accordingly.

Check out Jacob’s Pickles here.

Chick Chick – The Best Fried Chicken in NYC

If you want the best fried chicken in New York City, go to Chick Chick on the Upper West Side!

This spot, opened by Jun Park, who runs Jun Men Ramen Bar in Chelsea, has become one of our favorite spots for dine-in, takeout, and delivery.

I don’t know what they do to the batter and chicken, but it’s perfect. Crispy, crunchy, full of flavor, and not too greasy.

Plus, the sauces are to die for. You have to try the Korean Sweet Gochujang.

If you’re gonna go to one spot in this UWS guide, go to Chick Chick!

Check out Chick Chick here.

Maison Pickle

Maison Pickle is under the same ownership as Jacob’s Pickles but offers a slightly more upscale and French-inspired menu.

The oysters and French Dips are the most popular items!

Check out Maison Pickle here.

Saiguette – Amazing Banh Mi

Saiguette is the textbook definition of a hidden gem. This hole-in-the-wall spot offers delicious banh mi, pho, and other Vietnamese cuisine.

Trust us, get the Lemongrass Pork Banh Mi. The flavors are delicious, the bread is perfect, and it is quite a large sandwich.

We LOVE this spot!

Check out Saiguette here.

Tiki Chick

volcano sandwich at tiki chick on the uws | Better Together Here

Tiki Chick is a trendy spot on the UWS for tropical-themed drinks and the best damn chicken sandwiches… For only $5!

We’ve tried almost all the chicken sandwiches, and they never disappoint.

Beware that the tiki-style drinks are quite sweet but still delicious.

Check out Tiki Chick here.

7th Street Burger – Upper West Side Location

This is THE go-to spot for a quick, cheap, and delicious burger on the UWS.

Enough said!

Check out 7th Street Burger on the UWS here.

Pier i Cafe

Pier i Cafe is both a phenomenal spot to eat on the Upper West Side AND something fun to do!

It’s open from May to mid-October. But when open, it serves as an amazing spot to grab some delicious food and take in beautiful NYC days with a view of the water.

They offer local beers, fresh salads, really tasty fish and chips, and so much more.

The cafe is right near a pier and offers plenty of outdoor seating. We love coming here with our dogs!

Check out Pier i Cafe here.

Kissaki Sushi

We went to Kissaki Sushi on the UWS during restaurant week and had an absolutely phenomenal Omakase meal.

The Chef’s Choice nigiri sushi had some of the most unique and well-thought-out flavors I’ve ever tasted!

Pricing is a bit rough outside of restaurant week, but we still recommend this for a good sushi spot on the Upper West Side!

Check out Kissaki Sushi here.

Made in New York Pizza

Quality pizza, quick service, and open late. What more can you ask for?

We recommend the upside down squares!

Check out Made in New York Pizza here.

Playa Betty’s

This place is worth adding to the guide if you’re looking for Mexican-style food on the Upper West Side.

It’s a bit overpriced and does not have the greatest portions, but it is worth checking out if you’re in the mood for “California-style” food in NYC.

Check out Playa Betty’s here.

Tap NYC – Healthy Food on the UWS

If you’re in the mood for healthy food options, including açaí bowls, head to Tap NYC.

The staff is friendly, the coffee is quality, and it’s a good spot to get some work done!

Check out Tap NYC here.

Emack & Bolio’s – Dessert on the Upper West Side

Delicious ice cream and sweet treats, you can’t go wrong here!

Check out Emack & Bolio’s here.

Chama Mama UWS

Chama Mama absolutely blew away our expectations.

Every single dish was unique, flavorful, and filling.

You HAVE to try the Megruli Khachapuri! It’s a bread dish with cheeses and tastes like heaven.

The lamb chops were also tender and delicious.

Oh, and don’t forget to try some Georgian orange wine!

Check out Chama Mama UWS here.

Flame – Hibachi on the Upper West Side

Flame is our go-to hibachi spot in NYC. The prices are fair, the staff is always friendly, and the food is absolutely top-notch.

Plus, you can’t beat getting sake sprayed into your mouth by the chef!

Check out Flame here.

Sala Thai – Best Thai Food on the Upper West Side

Google reviews don’t lie; Sala Thai is the best Thai food on the UWS.

Every dish is thoughtful and delicious, and it has a cozy vibe. Check it out if you’re in the mood for tasty Thai food!

Check out Sala Thai here.

Ella Social

Ella Social has a cozy, inviting atmosphere with some phenomenal tapas and cocktails.

It’s a bit more expensive than we’d hoped, but that’s usually how tapas spots work!

The sliders were our favorite dish; so much flavor! The Brussels Sprouts were also a tasty option.

Great spot to come before a show at the Beacon Theatre.

Check out our full Ella Social review here.

Things to Do on the Upper West Side

There are so many fun things to do on the Upper West Side of NYC! It’s a quiet, family-friendly spot with plenty of activities, no matter the weather!

Here are some of the best things to do on the Upper West Side:

  • Zabar’s
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Beacon Theatre
  • Riverside Park
  • Pier i Cafe
  • TKTS Booth
  • Central Park
  • The Dakota – John Lennon lived and was killed outside here
  • Jerry Seinfeld & Cosmo Kramer Apartment – https://maps.app.goo.gl/BKxukcfvqx9PVCeR8
  • Metropolitan Opera House

Let’s look at each one below. 👇

Zabar’s

zabar's exterior | Better Together Here

Zabar’s is a family-run grocery store on the Upper West Side.

Why do we have a grocery store on a list of things to do on the Upper West Side?

Because it’s the most storied and unique store on the UWS!

They have an insanely large selection of cheeses, deli meats, snacks, olives, caviar, coffee, loose-leaf tea, pastries, bread, and, of course, daily groceries.

If you go to the Upper West Side, go to Zabar’s! And get a black and white cookie while you’re there. 😋

Check out Zabar’s here.

American Museum of Natural History

giant whale at the american musuem of natural history on the uws | Better Together Here

If you’ve seen Night at the Museum, then you’ve “seen” the Museum of Natural History.

It’s a massive 2,500,000 sq ft museum with thousands of exhibits, experiences, and opportunities to learn.

While many parts are geared toward children, it’s truly a museum for anyone with a curiosity about history, planets, and the world we live in.

huge tree trunk at museum of natural history | Better Together Here

Do NOT miss the Hall of Gems and Minerals. It boasts over 5,000 different specimens from 98 different countries!

Tickets are required to get into the museum (around $28 for adults), and you can either buy ahead of time or pay at the door.

Here are a few ways to buy tickets, depending on your preference:

Pro Tip: The front entrance on Central Park West will have a massive line. Instead, enter on 81st Street at the Rose Center for Earth and Space entrance! Trust us.

Check out the Museum of Natural History here.

PS- This is just one of our 21 free date ideas!

Beacon Theatre

beacon theatre sign NYC | Better Together Here

The Beacon Theatre is one of the most beautiful theatres that plays host to comedians, musicians, and all types of performances.

We’ve been lucky enough to see:

  • John Legend
  • Brett Eldredge
  • Bob Dylan
  • Nate Bargatze
  • Jerry Seinfeld

It is truly an iconic venue! We’ve always had a good experience here, it’s worth seeing a show if you can!

beautiful interior of beacon theatre in New York City | Better Together Here

Check out the Beacon Theatre here.

Riverside Park

Riverside Park is a sprawling oasis that runs virtually the entire length of the Upper West Side, near Hudson River.

It’s a huge area with tons of parks, ball fields, and a bike path throughout.

We highly recommend taking a bike ride down Riverside Park at sunset!

Check out Riverside Park here.

Pier i Cafe

We covered Pier i Cafe in the restaurants section, click here to jump to that section.

Check out Pier i Cafe here.

TKTS Booth – Lincoln Square

The TKTS Booth is one of the cheapest ways to get day-of Broadway tickets in New York.

There are 2 locations; one in Times Square and the other in Lincoln Square.

The Times Square location usually has a wait of about 45-90 minutes.

The Lincoln Square location usually has a wait of about 10-30 minutes.

Need we say more?

Check out TKTS Booth Lincoln Square here.

Central Park

balto statue central park | Better Together Here

Central Park, while not technically in the Upper West Side, starts on the east edge of the UWS.

We’ve written loads of articles about Central Park here.

AND… 👇

Learn all about 21 things to do in Central Park here.

The Dakota

The Dakota is a famous, long-standing building with beautiful architecture on the Upper West Side.

Most notably, John Lennon was murdered outside of this building, also his residence at the time.

Check out The Dakota here.

Jerry Seinfeld & Cosmo Kramer Apartment

While this isn’t the actual setting of the famous Seinfeld apartment, that’s in Los Angeles, this is where it’s supposed to be.

It’s frankly not that eye-catching of a building, but worth stopping by if you’re a Seinfeld fan!

Check out the Jerry Seinfeld & Cosmo Kramer Apartment here.

Metropolitan Opera House

couple standing in front of the chandelier at metropolitan opera house | Better Together Here

The Metropolitan Opera House is a famous venue that has hosted some all-time musicians and performers.

Even if you don’t go to a show here, the grounds of the Metropolitan Opera House are breathtaking. You can walk around and explore this area.

If you can go in, don’t miss the massive, beautiful chandelier and elaborate staircase at the entryway. You really couldn’t miss it though…

Check out the Metropolitan Opera House here.

Upper West Side Neighborhood Guide Recap + Final Advice

view above buildings on the upper west side | Better Together Here

Wow, we covered so much in this guide! Hopefully it gave you some useful ideas for places to go, restaurants to try, and bars to explore on the UWS.

Check out all these spots, with accompanying notes, in our handy Google Maps list here!

Have questions about the Upper West Side? Let us know in the comments!

And if you’re traveling to NYC, be sure to get the Ultimate NYC Navigation & Transportation Guide.

It’s the easiest way to learn all about getting around NYC; it covers:

  • Subway tips & navigation
  • Getting to & from the airports
  • Navigating city streets
  • Biking in NYC
  • Hailing a taxi & more

Get the Ultimate NYC Navigation & Transportation Guide for free now!

Maximize your time in NYC by demystifying the art of safely and efficiently getting around the Big Apple!

Ultimate NYC Navigation & Transportation Guide

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As long-time lovers of New York City we made the plunge to move across the country to NYC in early 2021... with our 3 dogs at the time (RIP Buddy). We consider ourself experts in exploring new restaurants, finding the best-rated bars, and activities actually worth doing. Plus, my Google Maps organizational skills are 2nd to none. 😜

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