Neighborhood Guides

Must-See Upper West Side

by staff, 12/02/2014

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  • Culture and History
    The whole Upper West Side is teeming with culture and history, but a few institutions take their subjects far beyond the neighborhood's boundaries. The halls of the American Museum of Natural History provide a trip through the past. The dinosaur wing and the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life are two of the museum's best-known exhibitions, but they're just the beginning: the Hall of African Mammals, the seasonal Butterfly Conservatory and the wide-ranging temporary exhibitions attract large crowds as well. Teddy Roosevelt Park surrounds the museum, and the building itself is inscribed with tributes to the former president (one statue of him stands outside near the entrance and another sits on a bench in a rotunda inside). Across 77th Street, a statue of another president—Lincoln—greets you at the New-York Historical Society, where visitors can explore 400 years of history through exhibitions about the people and events that helped shape the City. Changing topics might include board games or local beer; Hudson River School paintings, Audubon's watercolors and Tiffany lamps (very few of which are on display while the museum's Luce Center is being renovated) highlight the permanent collection. The society also houses the DiMenna Children's History Museum, where little ones can engage with interactive exhibitions and check out games and a library. Close to Lincoln Center, the (free) American Folk Art Museum serves as a celebration of nonmainstream American art from the 18th century to today. The museum is also a place to see no-cost entertainment, with live music during "guitar afternoons" every Wednesday and in the evening on "Free Music Fridays."

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