Manhattan upper west side tourist scavenger hunt

New York, Upper West Side, scavenger hunt

Are you planning a visit to New York City? Our tourist scavenger hunt through the Upper West Side will take you from the Lincoln Center to the American Natural History Museum through Central Park and much more!

You will have to solve challenges at every step to discover your next destination. At each step you will learn a little history as well as interesting facts about what surrounds you.

The Upper West Side is a residential area, especially wealthy, on the Isle of Manhattan. It is located west of Central Park and has a population of nearly 210,000.

Bethesda Fountain

You will see

  • Central Park
  • Lincoln Center
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • New York Historical Society Museum
  • Strawberry Fields
  • Bethesda Fountain
  • Sherman Square
  • Julliard School
  • Le Dakota
  • Belvedere Castle
  • And much more!

We have visited New York a few times since our first visit in 2005 including this course specifically.

Belvedere Castle
Lincoln Theatre
Bow Bridge
American Museum of Natural History


  • Starting point: Empire Hotel, 44 W 63rd St., New York, NY 10023, USA
  • Distance: 5.6 km / 3.5 mi
  • Duration: 3h – depending on your walking speed and solving time of the puzzles.
  • Method: Walking is ideal
  • Required:
    • A fully-charged smartphone with internet access (data plan).
  • Suggested:
    • Bottle of water
    • A local road or tourist map
    • The courage to ask questions of people here!
    • Plus, pen and paper, or another smartphone, to take notes.

Ancient History

Bethesda Fountain

The natives who inhabited what is now the big city of New York were Lenape who speak Algonquin.

This neighborhood developed around Bloomingdale Street (renamed The Boulevard in 1868) where the first mansions were established, followed by smaller homes in the early 19th century. The name Bloomingdale comes from the Dutch village of Bloemendaal, in the Tulip region of the Netherlands.

The Dutch originally settled the island of Manhattan in 1626, before the British conquered them in 1664. They had compared the current Upper West Side to this area they know well.

In the second half of the 19th century, most of the water’s edge, along the Hudson River, was occupied by wharves for shipping as well as manufactures. In 1830 a railroad was authorized between New York and Albany, which passed on the waterfront.

Central Park was created in the 1850s through the 1870s. Many who previously squatted this area of the island were forced to move into the Upper West Side.

Recent History

There was a construction boom in the late 19th and early 20th century, which also encouraged the expansion of subway lines as early as 1904. Around that time, The Boulevard (previously Bloomingdale Street), was renamed yet again, to Broadway as it is the natural extension of this road which originates in Lower Manhattan.


Many of the large apartment buildings that line Central Park were built at the beginning of the last century, before the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Today, the Upper West Side is a cultural and intellectual core of the city with Columbia University and Barnard College to the north, and the Lincoln Center to the south.

New York’s Upper West Side Tourist Scavenger Hunt is currently in development!

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