Choosing between the Upper East Side and Upper West Side can be complicated as it’s totally up to one’s preference.
If we go by the stereotypes, the “Eastside” is considered “old money,” whereas the “West side” is considered “new money” by the locals. It is quite a difficult task to pick a locality to live in. But no worries! If you are new to this place, let us help you choose the part of New York that would suit your vibe.
1. All About The Upper East Side
Resides to the east of Central Park, the Upper East Side of Manhattan is an eye-gazing place. This place is full of luxury apartments, top-class buildings, and luscious greenery.
It is geographically bigger compared to the west side. The Upper East Side comprises 3 main neighborhoods – Yorkville, Lenox Hills, and Carnegie Hill. We can say that the ‘E’ in ‘UES’ also stands for ‘ELITE.’
1.1 Cost of living
Although it is an elite area, the rent here is less expensive than on the west side. The east side is more about luxury, resulting in a high cost of living. It caters to all types of options for rent, from a normal single-bedroom apartment to top-notch villas.
Upper East Side vs Upper West Side- If you want to live with your family in a quiet and posh area, this might be your place if you are willing to spend some good money.
Being a big area, commute or transportation is an important factor. The east side provides different types of commute options. Earlier the east side had only one subway line, but today, the Upper East Side has 2 subway routes, namely, the IRT Lexington Avenue line(old one) and the Second Avenue subway.
It also has the shining Q train, which is extended up to 96th Street. Bike riding is also an option here, as separate lanes for bike riding are built.
Upper East Side vs Upper West Side- You will have well-maintained roads for a nice driving experience. So, commuting will not be a problem here.
The Upper East Side is full of educational opportunities. Many of New York City’s private schools are also located in the upper east. It also offers many top universities and colleges for your graduate degree. Some of them are-
- Columbia University
- New York University
- The Rockefeller University
- Marymount Manhattan College
This information shows us that the east side provides excellent schooling facilities.
The crime rate in New York has been increasing in recent years. According to a survey of DNAinfo.com, the Upper East Side came as the safest in Manhattan.
The east side is considered a safe neighborhood compared to others in New York. As a neighborhood of wealthy residents, crime is of less concern.
1.5 Shopping & Food
If you love high-end shopping and are not concerned about making a hole in your pocket, Madison Avenues and Fifth Avenue is your paradise. The east side is full of high-end brands and boutiques, giving prime shopping opportunities.
You will find all the famous ones here, including Louis Vuitton, Prada, Tiffany’s, Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Tom Ford, and many more.
Apart from a great shopping experience, the upper east side does not disappoint you in the food section. You can find world-renowned restaurants and cafes with great dishes and unique tastes. Some famous restaurants and cafes to try are-
- Mei Jin Ramen
- Le Moulin a Cafe
- Le Pain Quotidien
Upper East Side vs Upper West Side- The upper east side provides a more luxurious shopping experience.
The Upper East Side is considered quieter when compared to the west side. It offers a slow-paced and easygoing vibe. Thus the east side does not have much happening nightlife.
But there are many great bars where you can grab a beer and chill with friends on a weekend night. A few bars to check out are-
- The Penrose
- Bemelmans Bar
- The Jeffrey
- The Drunken Monkey
- The Bar Room
Upper East Side vs Upper West Side- The Upper East Side has a quiet and less happening nightlife.
1.7 Major Attractions
The east side is culturally rich and a heaven to history enthusiasts or art lovers. You can find many museums, auction houses, and privately owned art galleries to visit and activities to explore for recreational time while on the east side.
The famous Metropolitan Museum of Art is also located on the upper east side. The Metropolitan Museum is one of the largest art museums in America. The famous east river near Roosevelt Island is known for being featured in many films like Spider-Man 2 or Forever.
Other must-visit places are-
- The Roosevelt Island Tramway
- Park Avenue
- Balto Statue
- Carl Schurz Park
- Gracie Mansion
- New York City Ballet
Upper East Side vs Upper West Side- The upper east side majorly offers museums(Museum Mile), privately owned art galleries, and auction houses.
2. All About The Upper West Side
The Upper West Side is the hotspot for working young professionals and adults. With awesome nightlife and many activities, it is one of the most happening places in New York. The west has boundaries with famous places like Central Park in the east and the Hudson River in the west.
West side has more of a corporate lifestyle due to the presence of many corporate headquarters, such as American Broadcasting Company at Columbus Avenue and Lighthouse Guild at west 64th Street.
Let us get a more clear picture of the west side-
2.1 Cost of living
The cost of living is not much different on the west and east sides. Both localities have similar living costs as both are wealthy neighbourhoods. But one thing to consider is that the rent in the west is more expensive than in the east due to a large number of the working population and young students on the west side.
Upper East Side vs Upper West Side- The Upper West Side has higher rent, contributing to high living costs.
The public transportation on the west side is commendable; you will get many options, such as multiple subway lines, taxi services, and Citi bike stations. The west side has two major subway lines: IRT Broadway Seventh Avenue Line and IND Eighth Avenue Line.
Upper East Side vs Upper West Side- New York is easily accessible and well connected to the west side. The roads are well organized and good for walkers and bike riders too.
If we talk about the educational aspect of the east vs west side, there is not much difference between these two. The west side has at least 4 elementary schools, four middle schools, and 2 high schools.
You can find many famous and top universities on the west side too. Some of the famous ones are-
- Barnard College- Columbia University
- New York Institute of Technology
- Fordham University
- Bard Graduate College
- Teachers College- Columbia University
- Juilliard School of Music
Upper East Side vs Upper West Side- the upper east and upper west sides, affluent neighbourhoods of New York City, offer great educational facilities.
The east and west sides are considered safe neighborhoods for security and safety purposes. For security, you need not think about the upper east side vs the upper west side.
But as nightlife is more active on the west side, this makes the west side a better option for safety in the nighttime.
2.5 Shopping & Food
You will love the upper west side if you are a shopaholic and a gourmet. As the mass target audience in the west side is either working or studying, it caters to the shopping and food needs accordingly to the mass market.
You will find Sephora, Club Monaco, Swarovski, Coach, Michael Kors, H&M, and all the famous brand outlets.
Now, if we talk about the food options, you can find aesthetic restaurants, cute cafes, and coffee shops, from budget-friendly to fancy ones. You get the restaurants, the famous ‘Zabars,’ RedFarm, The Ribbon, Awadh, Cafe Luxembourg, Absolute Bagels…., and the list goes on.
Upper East Side vs Upper West Side- The Upper West Side offers more budget-friendly options.
If you are a fun-loving person or a party animal, the west side won’t disappoint you, it being a famous hotspot for nightlife. The west side, specifically Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway, is full of bars and clubs to give you that amazing and crazy nightlife.
You should give visit these bars & clubs if you are going to the west side-
- The Dead Poet
- e’s Bar
- Vanguard Wine Bar
- Dive Bar
- Gebhard’s Beer Culture
- The Gin Mill
Upper East Side vs Upper West Side- The Upper West Side has a more happening and thrilling nightlife.
2.7 Major Attractions
The New York Historical Society is located in Manhattan’s upper west side. Being a neighborhood near Central Park, the west side offers numerous things to do and visit.
The Lincoln Center is a not-to-miss place if you love artistic vibes and performing arts. Lincoln Center has many famous art galleries, theatres, and museums, such as Metropolitan Opera, Vivian Beaumont Theatre, Alice Tully Hall, New York Philharmonic, and Damrosch Park.
Other major tourist attractions are-
- Fairway Markets
- American Museum of Natural History(near Central Park west)
- American Folk Art Museum
- Bard Graduate Center Gallery
- Beacon Theatre
- Children’s Museum of Manhattan
- Firemen’s Memorial
Upper East Side vs Upper West Side- The upper west side majorly offers great markets, theatre experience, parks, and museums.
Upper East Side vs Upper West Side: Which is Better?
Now, returning to the main question, Upper East Side vs Upper West Side? Choosing between the upper east and upper west sides is your call; know your vibe, compare it with both sides and pick your choice.
The upper east and upper west sides are similar to a great level, but just a few things differentiate them. Public transportation on the west side is better than on the east side. The Upper East side provides a luxurious shopping experience with high-end brands and upscale boutiques on Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue.
The west side has the upper hand in terms of nightlife, with Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway as a hub of bars and clubs. The east side gives you a calm and easygoing vibe.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Which celebrities have residences in the Upper East Side?
Celebrities such as Mariah Carey, Ricky Martin, Bill Murray, David Wright, and Christopher Walker live in the upper east side.
2. Which side is better to live with a child, the upper east side vs upper west side?
For the upper east side vs upper west side, the Upper East Side is better if you live with a child as it has many great schools and universities.
3. Where is nightlife more exciting; the upper east side vs upper west side?
If we compare the upper east side vs upper west side, the west side offers a more exciting nightlife when compared to the east side. Amsterdam Avenue, Broadway, and Columbus Circle are famous for their amazing nightlife experience.
4. Is the upper east side for rich people?
The upper east side is home to many wealthy, influential, and powerful people.
5. What is special about Upper West Side?
The Upper West Side is bordered by Central Park and Riverside Park, with fantastic residential buildings similar to the ones from movies and television. It is a popular neighborhood among young professionals and people in their 20s and 30s.
6. Why is Upper East Side so famous?
The Upper East Side is famous for numerous privately owned art galleries, auction houses, and Museum Mile. The east side is renowned for high-end brands and upscale boutiques on Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue.
The Upper East Side vs Upper West Side is a personal question, and its answer is totally up to the individual’s preference. Both the neighborhoods, the west, and the east sides, are one of the most wealthy and famous neighborhoods in Manhattan.
Central Park is close to both neighborhoods. You can enjoy views from Belvedere Castle, picnic in central park, boat ride with your loved ones on the lake, or attend the Central Park Film Festival.
You can decide by considering the above points and choosing one according to your requirements.
So, What’s your pick: Upper West Side vs Upper East Side?
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