Things to Do Near the Empire Hotel in New York City
The Empire Hotel in New York City provides an elegant art deco-inspired setting, complete with richly colored textiles, patterned floors, gently curved furnishings and a rooftop pool, restaurant and bar that have sweeping views of the city. While you may find it hard to leave this luxurious atmosphere, the buzzing sounds of the city beckon you to explore your surroundings. Set in the Upper West Side, the upscale region may lack many of the marquee tourist attractions found in Midtown, such as Times Square, Rockefeller Center and the Empire State Building, but the area still has a host of renowned sights and hidden gems.
The arts are alive and well at Lincoln Center, just steps from the Empire Hotel and home to nearly 30 performance spaces, including the Metropolitan Opera House. The center also hosts the esteemed Julliard School as well as the New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet and nine other performing companies. Lincoln Center stages approximately 3,000 events annually; its free outdoor concerts during the summer are particularly popular. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is a 10-minute walk from the hotel. Founded in 1958 by revolutionary choreographer and dancer Alvin Ailey, the troupe highlighted African-American dancers, presenting works that examined the black experience. Today, the prestigious company performs various forms of dance, such as ballet, jazz and modern.
Central Park is only one block east of the Empire Hotel. This 843-acre green oasis and urban playground thrives in the midst of Manhattan’s towering skyscrapers and historic buildings. Take a spin on the historic 1908 carousel, enjoy a leisurely rowboat ride on the 22-acre lake, challenge a stranger to a game of chess or simply enjoy a picnic on the park’s 250 acres of lawn. Another place to enjoy the outdoors is Riverside Park, a narrow piece of green urban space along the Hudson River that's just four blocks east of the Empire Hotel. From the park, you can soak up views of New Jersey, the famed George Washington Bridge and the numerous boats that navigate across the busy waterway. Sports enthusiasts can take advantage of the park’s fitness equipment, running track and skate park.
The American Museum of Natural History is 15 minutes north of the hotel on foot. Opened in 1869, the renowned institution explores the world of science and nature, showcasing such exhibits as mounted mammals displayed in elaborate dioramas, dinosaur fossils and a hall of minerals, gems and meteorites. The attached Rose Center for Earth and Space includes interactive exhibits on space exploration and the famed Hayden Planetarium. For a museum geared to youngsters, head to the Children's Museum of Manhattan. Its five floors of exhibits keep kids enthralled with hands-on and educational displays covering an array of topics, such as music, math, water and geography. The museum also hosts arts and crafts workshops. The museum is just 10 minutes from the hotel via the subway.
Opened in 1934, Zabar's is an institution among New York City foodies. Spend the afternoon strolling the aisles of this famed deli, which specializes in high-end fare such as gourmet bagels, caviar, exotic cheeses and meats. The market also sells an assortment of hard-to-find gourmet kitchenware and kosher foods. The store is five minutes from the Empire Hotel by subway. Your food tour of the Upper West Side continues with a five-minute walk to the bakery that started the cupcake craze of the early 2000s. Magnolia Bakery serves large, moist cupcakes in a full-range of flavors -- German chocolate, peanut butter and jelly, pistachio and its famed red velvet. In addition to cupcakes, the bakery sells old-fashioned icebox pies and cakes. Although the bakery is not Magnolia's original storefront -- that honor lies with the West Village location on Bleecker Street -- this spot is considerably less crowded than many of its counterparts.