Upper East Side vs Upper West Side: Where should you live?

Choosing between New York City’s Upper East Side vs Upper West Side can feel a bit like picking your favorite ice cream flavor—both are great, but each has its own special appeal. In this friendly guide, as vetted by some of the top moving companies New York has ever seen, we will take a casual stroll through these two iconic neighborhoods. Think of it as chatting with a good friend who’s been living in the Big Apple for years. Let’s jump in and explore what makes each of these neighborhoods unique and, more importantly, which one might be the right fit for you.

Where to go: Upper East Side vs Upper West Side

When you think of New York City, Central Park often springs to mind, right? It’s this vast, beautiful green space in the middle of all the hustle and bustle that plenty of people coming to the area with residential movers in NYC admire. Now, imagine living right next to it! That’s the deal with the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side. These two neighborhoods are like friendly neighbors waving at each other across the park. The Upper East Side, with its fancy feel, sits on one side, while the more laid-back, artsy Upper West Side hangs out on the other. Living in either of these spots means Central Park is your backyarda place to jog, have picnics, or just relax and watch the world go by.

New York's Upper East and West Side seen from the sky
Left or right, the choice is only split by a simple park.

Lifestyle and atmosphere: Professionalism vs. the arts

Let’s talk about who you might bump into after settling in the area with the Upper East Side movers. In essence, these neighborhoods are like different crowds at a party. On the Upper East Side, it’s a bit like a gathering of professionals and families. You’ll see people in business attire heading to work, mixed with parents pushing strollers. Now, swing over to the Upper West Side, and it’s like stepping into a more eclectic crowd. Here, you might run into artists sketching in a café, academics buried in books, or young professionals grabbing a bite. This mix of people brings its own flavor to the neighborhood. You’ll see it in the cool theaters, art galleries like the famous Museum of Art, and the lively atmosphere that makes the Upper West Side what it is.

Upper East Side vs Upper West Side in terms of real estate

When you’re weighing whether to call one of the best moving companies in Manhattan to move you to UES or UWS, real estate is a huge factor to consider. Starting with the Upper East Side, you’re looking at a median home value of around $1,507,729. This neighborhood is a mix of high-rise condos, elegant brownstones, and luxurious townhouses. However, if you’re thinking of renting here, expect the rent to hover around $2,576.

A rustic looking apartment near Central Park that you might like to consider living in when faced with the Upper East Side vs Upper West Side dilemma
Whether you like modern or rustic, the choice is yours!

Shifting to the Upper West Side, the vibe is a tad different. The median home value here sits at about $1,490,386, just a smidge lower than the Upper East Side. This area is known for its variety, including charming pre-war apartments and modern condos. For renters, the median rent is around $2,262, making it a slightly more affordable option compared to its eastern counterpart.

Upper East Side vs Upper West Side: Cost of living breakdown

As you can tell, these neighborhoods are renowned for real estate costs that go through the roof. Therefore, they definitely aren’t the cheapest neighborhoods in NYC to own a property. But what about living costs; are they more affordable, or are individuals looking to call these areas home in for some severe expenses? Generally speaking, living in these parts of Manhattan means dealing with higher costs than the national average.

  • The Upper East Side has a cost of living index of 308.3, where 100 is the U.S. average. This includes grocery costs at 150% and health costs at 112% of the national average.
  • On the Upper West Side, the cost of living index is 302.1, with groceries and health expenses also above the national average.

Considering all of the above, it’s reasonable to assume that entertainment and dining out in both areas will also cost more compared to many other places in the U.S. So, perhaps the best thing to do before hiring movers in Upper West Side is to pay these neighborhoods a visit and see for yourself what you are dealing with, in terms of costs.

A street in Upper East Side
UES and UWS are not the cheapest areas to live in the City That Never Sleeps.

Where should you study?

If you’re considering enrolling your kids in a school in the Upper East Side or Upper West Side, you’ll be pleased to know that these neighborhoods are home to some of the best educational institutions in New York City. UES, in particular, is renowned for its excellent schools.

The Upper East Side boasts several highly-ranked private schools. For example, the Brearley School, located at 610 East 83rd St., is known for its rigorous academic standards and diverse opportunities in sports and creative arts. It’s ranked as the #20 private high school in America and #4 in New York. Similarly, the Dalton School at 108 East 89th St., The Spence School at 22 East 91st St., and The Chapin School at 100 East End Ave. are all among the top 10 private schools in New York City. These schools are celebrated for their strong emphasis on academics, clubs, activities, and college preparation. The Upper West Side also has its share of prestigious schools, with the Trinity School at 139 W 91st St. being a standout. It’s recognized as New York’s best private school and the sixth-best in the U.S.

All the mentioned schools provide intense academic study and a wide range of opportunities for achievement in sports and creative arts. They are known for their demanding educational programs and often have application and tuition fees that resemble those of four-year universities!

A stack of books with an apple on top, pencils, and letter cubes
When it comes to educational facilities, it’s tough to choose a winner of the Upper East Side vs Upper West Side battle.

Cultural and recreational opportunities

If you couldn’t already tell, these fascinating parts of Manhattan are incredibly rich in culture. The Upper East Side is home to renowned museums like the Guggenheim and the Frick Collection that offer world-class art experiences. At the same time, on the Upper West Side, you can find the American Museum of Natural History and the New York Historical Society, both of which provide insights into history and the natural world.

Beyond these cultural attractions, both neighborhoods boast green spaces like Central Park and Riverside Park. These are the kind of places where you and your loved ones can relax post-moving with local moving companies in NYC and enjoy the peace in this typically urban city. Additionally, local festivities further raise the community spirit. Art festivals, neighborhood parades, and numerous other lively events bring residents together. The only question is: are you ready to go out there, meet new faces, and, thus, get the most out of them?

Safety and security

Safety is a significant factor to weigh when deciding where to reside. As of 2023, statistical data reveals that the Upper East Side and Upper West Side have relatively low crime rates compared to other areas in the city. In addition, residents have noted that the police are very much visible, so crimes tend not to happen as often. On the plus side, in these communities, you can also find community watch programs that play a big role in the area’s safety. They increase security and give the police department a moment to relax.

Upper East Side vs. Upper West Side: two security cameras protecting the neighborhood.
Safety always comes first. Choose wisely when deciding where to move.

But what exactly are community watch programs? Well, they are programs involving residents who actively keep their neighborhoods safe. Joint efforts feature regular patrols, communication networks for reporting, and neighborhood-wide initiatives. These types of programs prevent crime and help the community, as evident in the relatively secure environment of both the Upper East Side and Upper West Side.

Where should you eat out?

Food and culture lovers will find something interesting in both areas. Let’s start with the Upper East Side. If you’re in the mood for some classic Italian, you can’t go wrong with Sfoglia. It’s a cozy little place, but the pasta is out of this world. For a more upscale experience, Daniel is a must-visit. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but the French cuisine is absolutely top-notch. And if you’re looking for something casual, perhaps a brunch spot, try Café Boulud. Their eggs Benedict is amazing!

Now, heading over to the Upper West Side, Jacob’s Pickles is the spot for those craving some American comfort food. They serve the best biscuits and gravy, plus their craft beer selection is impressive. Meanwhile, for a taste of something international, head over to Zabar’s. It’s an iconic deli with a mouthwatering selection of foods from around the world.

A meal in a fancy restaurant, a visual representation of the topic of Upper East Side vs Upper West Side
Whether you choose to reside in the Upper East Side or the Upper West Side, your taste buds will welcome the experience!

Upper East Side vs Upper West Side: Who’s the winner?

The Upper East Side vs Upper West Side…in full honestly, it’s all about what feels right for you. Think about it: do you prefer the classic, polished vibe of the former with its upscale shops and museums, or does the latter’s more laid-back, artsy atmosphere speak to you? Both neighborhoods have their own special qualities, and it’s fascinating how they reflect the diverse personalities of the people who live there. Essentially, this means there’s no wrong option. However, to determine which one would provide a better life for you, feel free to take a stroll through each area, grab a coffee, and just soak in the vibe. Once you’ve done so, you’ll know which side feels like home. Undoubtedly so!



Upper East Side – New York City, NY. (n.d.). Niche. https://www.niche.com/places-to-live/n/upper-east-side-new-york-city-ny/

Upper West Side – New York City, NY. (n.d.). Niche. https://www.niche.com/places-to-live/n/upper-west-side-new-york-city-ny/

ZIP 10028 (Upper East Side, NY) Cost of living. (n.d.). https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/zip-code/new%20york/upper_east_side/10028

ZIP 10025 (Upper West Side, NY) Cost of living. (n.d.). https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/zip-code/new%20york/upper_west_side/10025

The Brearley School in Manhattan, NY. (n.d.). Niche. https://www.niche.com/k12/the-brearley-school-new-york-ny/

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