As well as including two of the city's best-known markets (Zabar's and Fairway), the Upper West Side is home to an Ivy League university (Columbia University) and one of Manhattan’s major museums (the American Museum of Natural History). Situated on 79th St and Central Park West, the museum’s extensive collection takes a full day to enjoy in its entirety.
Running from 62nd Street to 66th Street, The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts contains the Metropolitan Opera; the New York State Theater, home of the New York City Opera and Ballet; Avery Fisher Hall, the home of the New York Philharmonic; the Juilliard School; and the New York Public Library's Library for the Performing Arts.
The neighborhood, especially the Morningside Heights area, is known for its idiosyncratic bookstores and legendary cafés. The area has a dazzlingly diverse range of eateries, from taco stands to restaurants serving everything from Peruvian to Ethiopian cuisine. The Upper West Side includes one of Manhattan’s finest parks, Riverside Park, which becomes the venue for al fresco movies and live music in the summertime.
Perhaps surprisingly for its location, the Upper West Side has a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, with the YMCA West Side Hotel sharing its Central Park West neighborhood with several luxurious hotels. The area is well-serviced by bus routes, and walking or cycling to and from downtown is very pleasant, especially when going through Central Park or heading north from the Theater District.