Is your heart set on staying in Manhattan during an upcoming visit to New York City? Upper Manhattan is a fantastic and affordable area to consider where you can stay for holidays, studies or work! Most neighborhoods in Upper Manhattan are largely residential, allowing you an extensive selection of homes to choose from.
Exactly what constitutes as Upper Manhattan is often disputed, but generally speaking its borders are 110th Street (or the northern border of Central Park) to the south, the Hudson River to the west, Inwood Hill Park at the northern tip of Manhattan to the north, and the Harlem River to the east. This area is easily accessed by the subway, as there are 4 different subway lines that pass through Upper Manhattan (The 1, the A/B/C/D, the 2/3, and the 4/5/6 lines). Because of this, Upper Manhattan offers easy access to Lower and Midtown Manhattan.
In this article we’ll highlight three popular neighborhoods in Upper Manhattan: Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights and Washington Heights. We chose these three neighborhoods because they’re not as well known among tourists as some other uptown neighborhoods such as Harlem, but offer fantastic and affordable accommodation options. Furthermore, these Upper Manhattan neighborhoods are family-friendly, and have plenty to offer when it comes to shopping, restaurants, nightlife and culture.
Welcome to Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights & Washington Heights
- Morningside Heights is located in the southwest corner of Upper Manhattan. It’s bordered by 110th Street to the south, the Hudson River to the west, 125th Street to the north, and Morningside Drive to the east. The neighborhood is famous for being home to the renowned Columbia University. The subway line 1 runs through the area, stopping right next to the campus of Columbia.
- Hamilton Heights is located north of Morningside Heights. It’s bordered by 135th Street to the south, the Hudson River to the west, 155th Street to the north, and Edgecombe Avenue to the east. The 1 subway line and A/B/C/D line run through the neighborhood. Hamilton Heights is known for its beautiful brownstone buildings and is also home to the City College of New York and the Riverside State Park.
- Washington Heights lies just north of Hamilton Heights, and is the northernmost neighborhood of Manhattan with the exception of Inwood. It’s bordered by 155th Street to the south, the Hudson River to the west, Dyckman Street to the north, and Harlem River to the east. The A/C and 1 line run through the area. Washington Heights was named after Fort Washington, which was a fortified position in the Revolutionary War used by George Washington to defend the city. Today you can see where the fort once stood at Bennet Park, which is the highest natural point of Manhattan, located just a few blocks away from the George Washington Bridge. The neighborhood houses many of Manhattan’s famous historic landmarks, such as The Cloisters and Manhattan’s oldest remaining house, the Morris-Jumel Mansion.
Shopping in Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights & Washington Heights
Upper Manhattan offers a lot of diversity when it comes to shopping. From small university shops in Morningside Heights to chain shops and boutiques in Hamilton Heights and Washington Heights, Upper Manhattan will continue to surprise you. The main shopping streets in the area are Broadway, 145th Street, Amsterdam Avenue, Saint Nicholas Avenue, and 181st Street.
In Morningside Heights you will find most shops on Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue close to Columbia University. The shops range from large retail chains such as American Apparel to small university shops such as Book Culture on Broadway, a nice independent bookshop. On Thursdays and Sundays you will find the lovely farmers market Columbia University Greenmarket on 116th Street & Broadway.
Technically just outside Hamilton Heights, you’ll find no better place to do your grocery shopping than at Fairway Market on 133rd Street & Riverside Drive. This huge indoor market offers affordable fresh produce and nearly everything else you could possibly need when grocery shopping!
Buying a nice flower bouquet in Manhattan can often be a pricey endeavor, but if you’re staying in Washington Heights this doesn’t have to be the case! At Fort Washington Florist on 181st Street & Broadway you can find beautiful flower arrangements, bouquets and more for a very reasonable price.
Cafés, Restaurants and Bars in Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights & Washington Heights
Because of the great cultural diversity in Uptown Manhattan, you’ll find some of the best cafes, restaurants and bars in the city in Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights & Washington Heights. Generally speaking, you can find lively college bars and budget restaurants in Morningside Heights. Hamilton Heights offers everything from great pizzerias to cozy cafes, and Washington Heights has some fantastic coffee shops and many Dominican restaurants!
- Cafés & Bakeries
The go-to bakery in Morningside Heights is the Hungarian Pastry Shop on 111th Street & Amsterdam Avenue. For some great coffee, try Joe Coffee or Oren’s Daily Roast. Max Café and Jimbo’s Coffee shop are two other popular cafes in the area.
In Hamilton Heights, the Hudson River Café is a great place to have brunch. Weather permitting, you can also enjoy sitting at the outdoor patio! Other nearby cafes include The Chipped Cup and Tanto Dulce.
Twin Donut in Washington Heights is a great and cheap place to get breakfast, and donuts of course! Other excellent cafes in the area include George’s Coffee Shop, Café Buunni, and Taszo Espresso Bar.
Morningside Heights has more than a few fantastic restaurants to offer. You can’t go wrong with Mel’s Burger Bar on 111th Street & Broadway, which has great burgers and delicious milkshakes. Other nice restaurants in the area include Pisticci, Vareli, Max Soha, Amy Ruth’s (a little out of the way but definitely worth it), Koronet Pizza, Kitchenette Uptown, Harlem Tavern, Jin Ramen, and Community Food and Juice!
Picante on 140th Street & Broadway in Hamilton Heights offers delectable Mexican food. Try the fish tacos! Other great restaurants in Hamilton Heights include Caridad, Acapulco Mexican Restaurant y Cantina, P&M Pizza, and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.
Washington Heights is known for its Dominican cuisine. Malecon Restaurant, Margot Restaurant and Tipico Domincano Restaurant are three of the best Dominican restaurants in the area. Coogan’s and Kismat Indian Cuisine are great alternatives if you’re looking for something different.
You’ll find many great college bars in Morningside Heights because of the proximity to Columbia University. The Heights Bar & Grill on 112th Street & Broadway is a good choice whether you’re a student or not! Enjoy one of their delicious frozen margaritas accompanied with nachos out on the rooftop deck. Furthermore, 67 Orange Street on 113th Street & 8th Avenue is just outside of Morningside Heights, and definitely worth a visit!
In Hamilton Heights, be sure to check out the Grange Bar and Eatery on 140th Street & Amsterdam Avenue. Brick walls and wooden furnishings lend the place a traditional look, but the amazing cocktails are definitely state-of-the-art!
The Locksmith Wine & Burger Bar on 192nd Street & Broadway in Washington Heights is inexpensive and serves great drinks. Its ambiance is very cozy and there’s always good music playing!
Live Like a Local in Upper Manhattan
Whether you’re coming to New York on a holiday, as a student or for work, Upper Manhattan is a great area to stay.
If you’re coming for a holiday, we have Uptown Manhattan vacation rental apartments and Morningside Heights & Hamilton Heights vacation rental apartments available. These apartments offer easy access to Lower and Midtown Manhattan via the subway, so you can explore the city at your own leisure!
If you’re a student coming to New York, consider renting a fully furnished room in one of our Uptown Manhattan apartment shares or in our Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights & Harlem apartment shares. These apartments are close to some of the best schools in the city, including Columbia University and the City College of New York.
Lastly, if you want to rent a fully furnished apartment for a longer period, take a look at our Uptown Manhattan furnished apartments and Harlem furnished apartments. These apartments are fully equipped with kitchens and cozy living rooms – so you can truly feel at home.
What to do and see in Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights & Washington Heights
Upper Manhattan is home to many of New York City’s historic landmarks.
In Morningside Heights you’ll find the imposing Cathedral Saint John the Divine close to Columbia University. This cathedral on 112th Street & Amsterdam Avenue is one of the largest Christian churches in the world, and definitely a sight worth checking out. Columbia University itself is of course also a delight to explore, and the old library building on the Morningside Campus is especially beautiful.
Hamilton Heights has its own gorgeous school building at the City College of New York. The main building of the campus, Shepard Hall, was modeled after a Gothic cathedral, and is surely a sight to see! The nearby Hamilton Grange National Memorial is a stunning historic house dedicated to Alexander Hamilton. For more historic houses, pay a visit to Sugar Hill, the historic district of Hamilton Heights.
In Washington Heights, The Cloisters is a great museum to visit. This museum was built to resemble a medieval abbey, and is located in Fort Tryon Park. The museum is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and focuses on European medieval works of art. From Fort Tryon Park you’ll also have a magnificent view of the George Washington Bridge.
Besides Fort Tryon Park, Upper Manhattan has many other excellent parks. The Riverbank State Park in Hamilton Heights has an Olympic size swimming pool, as well as an ice-skating rink. The Hudson River Greenway is a great park to go jogging, as is Morningside Park. Saint Nicholas Park near Morningside Park is also quite beautiful in summertime. Lastly, the West Harlem Piers offer an amazing view of the Hudson River.
To conclude, Upper Manhattan is an extremely vibrant area of New York – with room for growth! Columbia University is now expanding, and Hamilton Heights is a great example of this as it is currently being revitalized. To get a sense of what it’s like to walk the streets of Upper Manhattan, have a look at our video tour of Hamilton Heights.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction to Upper Manhattan. If you could choose anywhere in New York City, where would you live?
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