Farmers’ markets, river views, craft beers, historic churches, quiet parks — Morningside Heights practically has it all.
Most intimately known by students of Columbia University, this Upper West Side neighborhood has something to offer every New Yorker. Primo-yet-affordable plain slices? They’re there. Riverside walks among elder elms? It’s got it.
While you could never see all the neighborhood has to offer in 24 hours, we’ve assembled a list of stops that will get you close. So next time you have 24 hours to burn, take the early morning A/C or 1 train to 125th Street and follow this guide for a full, memorable day in Morningside Heights.
Stroll around the Columbia University campus
Start your day by making your way to one of several entrances at the university's campus. Take your time touring the near-perfectly manicured greenery and timeless red-brick-and-stone edifices, then take a seat anywhere you like among the students on the South Lawn or on the steps of Low Memorial Library. Make sure to seek out St. Paul's Chapel. The Anglican chapel was among the first buildings in the city designated an official landmark, in 1966, according to Columbia.edu. (116th Street and Broadway)
Shop for fresh food at the Columbia Greenmarket
If you're in the neighborhood on a Sunday or Thursday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., grab a snack at this cozy sidewalk market. Farmers' and local vendors' stalls pack the sidewalks for three blocks, offering everything from baked goods and honey to grass-fed Angus beef. You'll find freshly cut lavender and wares from Wager's Cider Mill in Yates County. In the winter, look for organic lettuce and greens from Two Guys From Woodbridge. (Broadway, between 114th and 116th streets, grownyc.com)
Take a quiet moment at Ulysses S. Grant’s Tomb
"Let us have peace" is inscribed over the massive entrance of Grant's Tomb at the top of Riverside Park -- a haunting reminder of the Union's victorious general. The mausoleum was designed by John Duncan in 1892 and is the final resting place of our nation's 18th president, as well as his wife Julia Dent Grant. Grant's Tomb is the second-largest mausoleum in the Western Hemisphere, behind the James A. Garfield Memorial in Cleveland. Take a moment to reflect here. (122nd Street and Riverside Drive, nps.gov)
Enjoy Hudson River views from Riverside Park
For 4 miles, the park cascades from Riverside Drive to the Hudson River. The park, constructed from 1937 to 1941, was designed by Bilmore D. Clarke and Clinton Lloyd, and includes 22 recreational facilities on more than 130 acres. (Along river, 72nd Street and 158th Street, nycgovparks.org)
Get lunch at Jin Ramen
You'll want to stop by Jin Ramen for $3 drafts or $11 pitchers of Sapporo beer. Try the green coconut Thai curry, with sautéed chicken, noodles, vegetables and a seasoned boiled egg, or stick with the shoyu or miso ramen. If you're in the mood for rice, the chashu-don rice bowl, featuring braised pork belly, is delicious. (125th Street and Broadway, jinramen.com)
See how big the Church of St. John the Divine really is
As the largest cathedral in the U.S. (meaning a church that is also the active seat of a bishop) and one of the five largest church structures in the world, The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine is a wonder to behold. The more than 120-year-old structure still hosts regular Monday through Saturday services at 8 a.m. and 12:15 and 5 p.m. While inside, keep an eye out of for the Great Rose Window on the cathedral's western wall -- it's the third largest rose window in the world, made of 10,000 pieces of glass. If you happen to be in the neighborhood on the first Sunday in October, stop by for the St. Francis Day Blessing of the Animals. (1047 Amsterdam Ave., stjohndivine.org)
The New York-style pizza, complete with a thin crust, cheese and dollops of tomato sauce, remains a point of pride for New Yorkers.
Stop by a 'Seinfeld' landmark: Tom's Restaurant
Just a few doors down from Koronet Pizza sits a neon-signed diner you might recognize. Practically a supporting character in the hit series "Seinfeld," Tom's Restaurant is worth the drive-by if, for nothing else, for the #bigsalad selfie. (2880 Broadway, tomsrestaurant.net)
Grab a drink at the Heights Bar & Grill
Wind down at this modest rooftop purveyor of standard Mexican-style goodness, such as grilled chicken quesadillas. If the weather isn't cooperating with your rooftop plans, the second floor still has a charming squirrel's-eye view of Broadway below. Drop in Wednesday nights from 4 to 11 p.m. for the $12 burger-and-beer special. And if you miss the happy hour deals ($5 drafts, $5 wines), don't worry. The same drink specials are available from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. nightly. (2867 Broadway)