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Exploring Uptown Manhattan: Attractions, Parks, and Museums

Exploring Uptown Manhattan: Attractions, Parks, and Museums

Uptown NYC Attractions

Whether you want to shop along 5th Avenue or take in a show at the legendary Lincoln Center, uptown Manhattan is a destination not to be missed. The area is also home to a number of famous museums, including the MET.

During peak foliage season, the city’s parks come alive with rich autumn hues.

Central Park

One of the most famous parks in the world, Central Park is a beloved oasis for strollers, joggers, daydreamers and musicians. It’s also a haven for migratory birds and is home to dozens of fountains, monuments and sculptures, plus thirty-six bridges and arches.

Stroll the famed promenade known as The Mall and admire the towering elm trees that create a green canopy. It’s a favorite spot for street performers and skaters. Then stop at Bethesda Terrace and check out the beautiful Bethesda Fountain – the fountain is featured in several movies, including Annie Hall and Home Alone 2.

If you’re into theater and music, catch a performance at the Delacorte Theater, home to free ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ summer shows. Or visit the Conservatory Water (aka the Model Boat Pond) and watch kids rent little motorized boats to sail across a manufactured body of water.

Museum Mile

The fabled Museum Mile, which stretches along Fifth Avenue from 82nd Street in the Upper East Side to 110th Street in Spanish Harlem, features one of the world’s most dense concentrations of cultural displays. Anchored on the south end by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this stretch of the iconic thoroughfare is also home to the Guggenheim, Cooper Hewitt and the Jewish Museum, among others.

For one day each year, this renowned collection of museums opens its doors to the public at no charge during the Museum Mile Festival, when Fifth Avenue is closed to traffic and replaced with a walker’s paradise of music, art-making activities and cultural events. The festival is hosted by several of the city’s finest cultural institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters and El Museo del Barrio. The latter is in the heart of Spanish Harlem and focuses on Latin American and Caribbean art. In addition to its extensive fine arts collections, the MET also hosts many fascinating special exhibitions, including Manet/Degas and Vertigo of Color: Matisse, Derain and Fauvism.

Riverside Park

Uptown Manhattan may not be as recognizable as its downtown counterparts, but it has plenty to offer. With a mix of modern comforts, historic charms, and an eclectic array of attractions, it’s custom-made for both newbies to the city and jaded urban vets.

Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux—the same design duo who created Central Park—Riverside Park is one of the city’s best (and worst-kept secrets). It features spectacular river vistas, ample recreational fields, and a number of monuments and statues. It’s also home to a large playground, three dog runs, a skate park, and nine baseball, handball, soccer, and football fields.

Watch competitive rowers at the Riverside Boathouse, take a stroll along the riverfront Sculpture Walk, or cast a line to see what you can catch off of the newly restored Pier 1. The park is also host to Summer on the Hudson, NYC Parks’ annual arts and culture festival that offers music concerts, dance performances, movies under the stars, kids events, wellness activities, and more from 59th Street to 153rd Street.

Upper Manhattan

Upper Manhattan features some of the city’s most unique museums, including the New York Historical Society, a great resource to brush up on NYC specific history. There’s also the American Museum of Natural History, a popular attraction with rotating special exhibits that include dinosaur skeletons, meteorites, gems, and cultural artifacts from around the world.

Tucked away in a gorgeous 18th-century mansion is The Frick, with its collection of distinguished Old Master paintings. The Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Fort Tryon Park, is another highlight.

Uptown is home to Columbia University and Barnard College, both prestigious institutions of higher learning. The neighborhood also has a rich cultural heritage with neighborhoods like Washington Heights and Harlem. Get to know these communities by taking a tour, like the Hallelujah Gospel Wednesday Tour or Harlem One Stop Cultural & Historic Walking Tour. You’ll also find plenty of alt-cool activities, like the comedy show Uptown Showdown or the Thalia Docs indie film series.

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