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Upper East Side, New York City Travel Guide

Upper East Side Summary


  • Exclusive shopping -- among the best in New York
  • Adjacent to Central Park
  • World-famous museums like the Met, the Guggenheim, and the Whitney
  • Stunning old architecture, ranging from neoclassical to Art Deco
  • Calmer, quieter streets than in most New York neighborhoods


  • Expensive dining, even by New York standards
  • Limited nightlife
  • Fewer subway lines than most Manhattan neighborhoods

What's It Like?

Barney's and Vera Wang. Gossip Girl and The Jeffersons ("Movin' on up, to the East Side ... "). Andrew Carnegie, Woody Allen, and Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl." Long synonymous with old money and pricey real estate, the Upper East Side has lost some of its luster since the days of Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye. Nonetheless, it remains home to what might be the greatest concentration of individual wealth in the country.

There are basically three reasons to visit: shopping, museums, and Central Park. The shops that line Madison and 5th Avenues -- Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, Jimmy Choo, and on and on -- represent a veritable what's what (and who's who) of high-end fashion. The stretch of 5th Avenue that runs north from the low 80s to 104th Street, known as "Museum Mile," is home to a number of world-renowned museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art ("The Met") and the Guggenheim. Finally, there's Central Park (simply "the park" to locals), which, besides keeping New Yorkers sane, is a delightful place to walk, jog, bike, or sunbathe.

Where to Stay

The Upper East Side is ideal for families or older travelers who want to take in the museums and Central Park and avoid the tourist crowds of Times Square or the late-night parties of downtown. Unfortunately, quiet exclusivity also means fewer hotels. On the highest end, the iconic Pierre and Carlyle hotels offer a vivid taste of swanky Old New York. The Loews Regency is slightly more affordable, and also great for families (welcome treats for kids, magic shows every other Sunday). And then there's the Franklin -- one of the few budget options in the area ("budget" being a relative term in New York) -- which has small rooms but plenty of charm.

Upper East Side Hotel Guides

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