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Make the Most of Spring on Manhattan's Upper West Side

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

"Springtime marks the beginning of nature's reawakening. The grass, plants, and trees regain their lively green colors, and the flowers unfurl, revealing their iridescent glow to the sun. My favorite place to watch the seasonal phenomenon occur is a green sanctuary on the Upper West Side." — Anna Kahn

Much like the Upper East Side, Manhattan's Upper West Side is peaceful, idyllic, and filled with activities and destinations to enjoy during the warmer months. Whether indoors, outdoors, or both, there is something for everyone.

Are you planning on visiting, moving to, or spending time on the Upper West Side this spring? To help with your plans, we've compiled recommendations for things to do and see from some of our top Manhattan agents and area experts.

Hike and Picnic in a Park

A Waterfall in Central Park's North Woods
A Waterfall in Central Park's North Woods

Central Park is essentially the Upper West Side's backyard. Almost immediately following the start of spring, locals and visitors alike can be found picnicking and basking on the park's many lush, green spaces.

One of the park's hidden secrets, and a must for nature enthusiasts, is the North Woods section. Located on the west side of the park, the Woods showcase native vegetation and relaxing waterfalls—both of which are hard to find on the concrete streets of Manhattan.

"It’s very popular with the bird watchers and the waterfalls and trails make you feel you’ve stepped outside of the city and are walking somewhere in upstate New York," said Roberta Moser.

riverside park upper west side Manhattan
Riverside Park

For your picnic, Moser recommends Perfect Picnic, located at Central Park West & 100th Street. Her go-to for finding gifts for clients, the store offers gourmet, grab-and-go picnic baskets, some of which include roses and champagne for a romantic touch.

"Central Park may be the beating heart of New York, but the real delight in springtime is Riverside Park, the Upper West Side's hidden gem," said Scott Harris.

"In mid-April, my favorite pocket of this always-stunning greenery is between 96th and 102nd, when the flowering trees will be in full bloom," he said. "Enter at 97th Street and stroll all the way to 116th street along Cherry Walk."

Visit a Community Garden

west side community garden, nyc
The West Side Community Garden

"On 89th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus, the West Side Community Garden is maintained and cared for by local volunteers," said Anna Kahn. "Every year in late April, the park hosts a Tulip Festival, featuring close to 100 species of vibrantly colored Tulips."

Also found throughout the garden in spring are various seasonal flowers, including Scilla, Snowdrops, White Daffodils, Narcissi, and Hyacinths.

Within the scenic grounds of Theodore Roosevelt Park, home to the American Museum of Natural History and the Rose Planetarium, is a garden dedicated to the planetarium, complete with lighting fixtures mimicking the constellations. It is the perfect spot to stargaze or enjoy a quiet lunch with loved ones.

Enjoy an Evening of Fine Dining and Entertainment

"I love all the outdoor dining on Columbus and Amsterdam between 79th-88th Street. You can't go wrong. There is EVERY type of cuisine!" — Lisa Lippman

With plenty of premier dining options—including multiple al fresco restaurants—as well as theaters and craft cocktail bars, your springtime day on the Upper West Side can easily be complemented by a vibrant night on the town.

See a ballet or opera at Lincoln Center before walking over to Thai Market, which Amelia Gewirtz, recommends for a meal and ambiance that will transport you to a street market in Bangkok.

Also among the area's most lauded restaurants is Cafe Luxembourg, a French restaurant that has garnered a loyal following for its delicious pommes frites.

Lincoln center nyc
Lincoln Center

After dinner, visit Lincoln Center for a ballet, opera, or concert. Another option for theatre lovers is the legendary Beacon Theater, recommended by Michael Villani. Originally built as a movie palace in 1929, the theater now hosts various live music and comedy acts with headliners from around the world—ranging from rock bands to internationally acclaimed singers and dance groups.

After the show, visit the Dublin House—one of the "last true Irish pubs in the city," per Villani—for a refreshing pint. You can also enjoy caviar and champagne at the Russian Tea Room in honor of the restaurant's 95th anniversary.

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