The Upper East Side, New York Guide

The Upper East Side is a neighborhood in Manhattan between 59th street and 96th street to the east of Central Park. The New York neighborhood is famous for its high-end stores and upscale restaurants. However, there are tons of budget-friendly attractions to enjoy in the Upper East Side. 

Art fans will especially love the Upper East Side, as it’s home to plenty of galleries and museums. Check out our list of New York City attractions in the Upper East Side, including… 

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • The Guggenheim
  • The Met Breuer
  • Neue Galerie
  • Central Park
  • And more!

Save on admission to New York attractions

The New York Explorer Pass provides admission to many popular New York attractions. You could save up to 50% on admission vs gate price.

Galleries in the Upper East Side

guggenheim art gallery upper east side

The Metropolitan Museum of Art 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or ‘the Met’ as it’s also known, is one of the most popular attractions in New York City. It is the largest art museum in the United States and home to art spanning over 5,000 years. So whether you enjoy Medieval art or contemporary photography, there is sure to be something to inspire the whole family.

As well as its permanent collection, the Met is always exhibiting exciting temporary collections. Currently, they are showing “Camp: Notes on Fashion” (until September 8, 2019), and Alicja Kwade’s “Parapivot” at the gallery’s roof garden (until October 27, 2019). So even if you’ve visited before, there is always something new to see.

A visit to the Upper East Side would be incomplete without a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Getting in: Admission to the Metropolitan Museum of Art is included with the New York Explorer Pass.


The Guggenheim 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is just as famous for its striking architecture as it is for the art it contains. The museum’s modern, Frank Lloyd Wright-designed exterior stands out among the classic 5th Avenue buildings. But you have to step inside to truly appreciate the Guggenheim Museum. 

The Guggenheim Museum exhibits temporary collections as well as its permanent collection, so check ahead to see what’s being displayed during your visit. Currently, there are exhibitions such as Basquiat’s “Defacement: The Untold Story,” (until November 6, 2019), and “Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now,” (until January 5, 2020). 

Even if you visit for the architecture alone, the Guggenheim should be on your Upper East Side itinerary.

Getting in: Admission to the Guggenheim Museum is included with the New York Explorer Pass.


The Met Breuer

The Met Breuer is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but this gallery focuses on modern and contemporary art. Head here if you’re interested in exciting, contemporary pieces that unlike any art in traditional art museums.

Explore a sculpture collection inspired by nature in Mrinalini Mukherjee’s “Phenomenal Nature” (until September 2019), or “Home is a foreign place,” which is a collection highlighting contemporary art from Latin America, the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, as well as art by American artists, (until June 21, 2020).

Getting in: Admission to The Met Breuer with an audio tour is included with the New York Explorer Pass.


Neue Galerie

If the art lover in your group is still not satisfied, head to Neue Galerie. The Neue Galerie is an art museum focusing on early twentieth-century art by German and Austrian artists. See work by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, (until September 2, 2020) plus the Neue Galerie’s permanent, collection featuring a range of art from paintings to sculptures.

Take a guided tour around the museum at 3:30 PM on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday to make the most of your visit. Or, take an audio tour which is free with admission. 

Getting in: Admission to Neue Galerie is not included with the New York Explorer pass and tickets must be purchased separately. Admission is half price until September 2, 2019. Please note: children under 12 are not admitted.


Central Park

central park new york upper east side

As the Upper East Side is adjacent to Central Park, there are plenty of fun attractions and landmarks to visit in the park itself, including… 

  • The Central Park Zoo: Kids will love visiting the zoo. They’ll get to see snow leopards and red pandas up close – not what you’d expect from a trip to New York City!
  • Alice in Wonderland statue: Visiting the Alice in Wonderland statue is a must for families visiting Central Park. Kids get to climb, play, and interact with Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the White Rabbit. It’s a great photo opportunity too.
  • Balto statue: The Balto statue commemorates a sled dog who delivered medicine to save children in Alaska. Erected in 1925, Balto is still standing proudly.
  • Gapstow Bridge: The Gapstow Bridge is a must-visit Central Park location. It offers great views of the skyline and The Pond. Plus, it has featured in a few movies, like Home Alone 2 and The Devil Wears Prada.

Getting in: Admission to Central Park is free. You must purchase tickets to the Central Park Zoo separately. Admission to the Central Park Walking Tour is included with the New York Explorer Pass.


Restaurants in the Upper East Side

Upscale restaurants are the star of the Upper East Side. However, there are plenty of family-friendly options too. Check out our recommendations for restaurants in the Upper East Side, including… 

  • JG Melon: This laid-back pub is known for its delicious American burgers. A favorite with locals, this place can get busy, but it’s worth it. Please note that JG Melon is cash only.
  • San Matteo Pizzeria e Cucina: Pizza fans have to head to San Matteo for wood-fired pizzas and casual, affordable dining. 
  • Up Thai: This Thai place is known for its extensive menu, good value and is vegetarian-friendly. It’s popular, so it can get busy, so make sure to reserve ahead of time.
  • Candle 79: Vegans visiting the Upper East Side have to visit Candle 79. It’s a little pricier but has tons of delicious vegan options. Head here for brunch, lunch or dinner!

If you don’t want to take too much time out of your day, the Upper East Side also has plenty of fast-food restaurants. You could eat at fast-food favorites like Chipotle, Taco Bell, Shake Shack, McDonald’s and Subway. 

In summary

Why not add a few of these Upper East Side attractions to your New York itinerary?

Check out our top tips for visiting New York City.

The information contained in this post, to the best of the author's knowledge, was accurate at time of publishing. We do our best to ensure and maintain the accuracy of this information.

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