The Upper East Side was once home to some of Manhattan’s most prominent families, like the Rockefellers, Carnegies, and the Kennedys. When you walk around the Upper East Side, it’s easy to see why this area attracted so many heavy-hitters. The neighborhood has gorgeous buildings in a wide variety of architectural styles—there’s everything from Art Deco building to lovely brownstones. While the Upper East Side may have a reputation for being on the pricier side, pre-war walk-ups near the East River can actually be quite affordable. These buildings often attract younger professionals.
Before 2017, the Upper East Side could only be reached by the 4/5/6 train on Lexington Avenue, making it tough for professionals commuting downtown. But now, with the addition of the Q train on 2nd Avenue, the Upper East Side is more accessible than ever before, making commuting to and from this genteel neighborhood a breeze.
Upper East Side Attractions
When you’re living in the Upper East Side, you’ll be just a short walk away from the famed Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue. The Museum Mile is home to the sprawling Metropolitan Museum of Art, filled with everything from Medieval art to Egyptian temples to paintings from contemporary masters. The Museum Mile also has some less well-known but still stunning museums, like the Frick, which is housed in Henry Clay Frick’s mansion. There’s also the Neue Galerie, which has works from German and Austrian artists, and the Guggenheim, famous for its unique spiral shape.
You can also head to Madison Avenue to see the “Gold Coast” of shopping. This street got its nickname because of its wide array of luxury shops. Many major luxury designers have shops on this street, from Valentino to Chanel to Prada. For even more designer shopping, head to the famous Bloomingdale’s on 59th Street.
Upper East Side residents also take advantage of their prime location next to Central Park. On sunny days, go for long walks through the park’s winding paths, or spend the day in the park’s famous zoo. If you’re looking for a quieter park, head to Carl Shurz Park in the eastern part of the neighborhood. This park is right on the East River, and it has dog runs that are perfect for the UES’s many furry residents.
Upper East Side Restaurants and Bars
The Upper East Side’s dining and nightlife scene is diverse, with everything from high-end spots that cater to the Park Avenue crowd to small neighborhood restaurants that have been around for years. If you’re planning a special night out, check out Sushi Seki. This sushi spot serves sushi rolls and sashimi until the early hours of the morning. They’re best known for their delicious spicy scallop hand roll. If you’re looking for something more casual, try Pizza Beach. This eclectic and bright pizzeria has pizzas with healthy toppings, and they also have a large seafood menu.
For drinks, you can’t go wrong with Bondurants. This neighborhood bar has over 130 whiskey bottles available to try, and they serve craft beers from locally breweries. If you’re looking more for creative cocktails, try Seamstress. This bar has a lengthy menu of original and classic cocktails, and they also offer seasonal drinks. If you like oysters, be sure to hit Seamstress’s happy hour from 5:30 PM to 7 PM—during this time, oysters are just a buck each.