Manhattan Neighborhood Guide: Upper East Side

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Upper East Side Neighborhood Guide


The Upper East Side, along with Lenox Hill-Roosevelt Island, ranks as Manhattan’s most populous neighborhood with approximately 224,000 residents. Reputed as a neighborhood for New York City’s upper-crust, the Upper East Side is known as one of the most luxurious and wealthiest neighborhoods in Manhattan. Here, residents live in meticulously kept brownstones and buildings with doormen, just blocks from the opulent shops and upscale eateries that line Madison Avenue. This is a neighborhood of professionals, bankers, and finance-types, where old money, culture, and sophistication mingle.


Upper East Side Location and Getting Around

The Upper East Side, and its smaller counterpart Lenox Hill, flank the east side of Central Park, spanning all the way to the East River between 59th and 96th Streets. Getting around the neighborhood and to other parts of the city is easy, as the Upper East Side scores well in terms of both walkability and public transportation. Though two subway lines serve the neighborhood, the IRT Lexington Avenue Line and the 2nd Avenue Subway, it’s not uncommon to see Upper East Siders stepping into chauffeur-driven cars instead. For those who prefer traveling on two wheels, the Upper East Side scores well in terms of bikeability with a bike score of 73 out of 100.


Upper East Side Neighborhood Landmarks

The area is home to many notable landmarks, including the 843-acre Central Park. The most visited urban park in the U.S., Central Park has several points of interest including the Conservatory Water with its model boats, the whimsical carousel and its dancing horses, the miniature but nonetheless grandiose Belvedere Castle, and the famed Loeb Boathouse, known for its fine dining and scenic views. Year-round, Central Park is where Upper East Siders come to play – whether that means picnicking with friends on the Great Lawn, diving into an impromptu game at the beach volleyball courts, visiting the animals at the Central Park Zoo, or skating circles at Wollman Rink during the frosty winter months.


Along 5th Avenue, which runs the eastern perimeter of the park, hordes of tourists flock to Museum Mile. Here they can browse through the contemporary works housed at the Guggenheim, glimpse the artistic treasures of the majestic Metropolitan Museum of Art, or tour one of the other five world-class museums just a stone’s throw away.


Locals Love

Best Upper East Side Restaurants

When residents aren’t strolling through Central Park or rushing to work, you might find them noshing at one of the neighborhood’s many notable eateries. For special occasions, locals descend on Daniel, an upscale, contemporary French restaurant which features a 7- and 14-course tasting menu and requires reservations well in advance. When looking for a cozy, intimate experience, diners turn to Heidi’s House, known for its mac ‘n’ cheese, chocolate souffles, and other comfort foods. For paella, margaritas, and delicious Latin fare, La Pulperia UES fits the bill, while twinkle lights, romantic lanterns, and upscale Thai street food making Up Thai a date night destination. Popular for its brunch spread, Uva also dishes up some of the city’s best Italian food on its rustic backyard patio that makes it feel like you’ve been transported to the Italian countryside.


Top Upper East Side Gyms

To maintain appearances after chowing down on the UES’s best locals beeline it to the neighborhood’s gyms. PushLab Fitness offers small group classes focused on an athletic-based training system of high-intensity workouts mixed with strength exercises, while Regenerate Fitness offers private and semi-private sessions focusing on corrective exercise and weight loss. Started by former NYC ballet dancer, Brynn Putnam, the Refine Method offers boutique classes focused on smarter workouts built around high intensity interval training. If spinning is your thing, try out neighborhood favorite Crank Indoor Cycling where instructors make riding both challenging and fun. And over on E. 61st, TS Fitness offers a mix of personal training, semi-private instruction, and group fitness classes for a focused and purposeful workout experience.


Local Upper East Side Coffee Shops

For morning pick-me-ups and afternoon caffeine boosts, Upper East Siders have no shortage of coffee shops to choose from.  Though they serve coffee and teas, Two Little Red Hens is an incredible bakery best known for its cupcakes (the Brooklyn Blackout is “to die for”!), while Oslo Coffee Roasters offers freshly roasted, scrumptious sustainably sourced coffee. On E. 62nd between Lexington and Third, cozy Birch Coffee sources its beans from all over the world to offer its patrons coffee sure to please all palates. The DTUT Café offers an inviting place to sit and sip fresh roasted coffee from Toby’s Estate, with vintage couches, artistic lighting, and rustic wood finishes, while the hip Perk Kafe offers Stumptown coffee and an assortment of decadent pastries with several vegan-friendly options.


Upper East Side Night-Life

After the caffeine buzz wears off and the day’s work is done, you’ll find the Upper East Side watering holes filling up. Locals have lots of good options with it comes to imbibing. Scottish Whisky Bar, Caledonia UES, has an impressive selection of whisky (and whiskey) from the major regions of Scotland and from around the world, including Ireland, Japan, the U.S., but if you don’t like whisky neat, there are a handful of beers, cocktails, and wines on the menu as well. UES staple, The Penrose has a vintage feel and dishes up delightful eats alongside old-fashioned cocktails. For the beer aficionado, the Jeffrey, nestled under the Queensboro Bridge, is one of the best spots to find craft beer and casual bites. The Milton dishes up Irish fare (think cottage pie and fish and chips) and serves craft beers and cocktails in a pub setting. And last, but not least, the Drunken Munkey features an elegant cocktail bar where beautiful, hand-crafted cocktails are shaken and stirred into drinkable works of art. Don’t just come for drinks; make sure you stay long enough to try the incredible Indian cuisine made in the “Old Bombay” tradition.


Upper East Side Movers

Strict apartment rules, a shortage of elevators, and scarce street parking make moving to New York’s Upper East Side challenging. If you’re looking for reliable Manhattan movers to do the heavy lifting, call Imperial Moving & Storage. Named one of NYC’s best moving companies, we have been providing our exceptional moving services to Manhattan for over a decade. As a full-service mover, we assist with residential and commercial moves, and additionally offer VIP moving, packing and unpacking services, and convenient storage solutions. We’ll make sure your Upper East Side relocation goes smoothly, from the moment you request a moving quote until the moving truck is unloaded. Give us a call today to get started!


Upper East Side Neighborhood Infographic


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