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Something about the changing seasons makes a day on the Upper West Side seem mandatory. Reveling in the rising temps and sunshine while strolling down tree-lined streets of brownstones, stopping for irresistible baked goods, digging through hard-to-find, secondhand books makes you feel like you're in a Meg Ryan movie.
A few fashion-focused stores keep the neighborhood cool, which tempers its quiet, family-friendly vibe. After the jump, check out our list of must-hit spots.
Bite into some guilty-pleasure comfort food at Jacob’s Pickles (509 Amsterdam Avenue). The stars of the menu are the pickles (obviously) and Southern Biscuit sandwiches. Perfect your meal with their Bloody B.L.T. or a spicy brine margarita.
Comptoir des Cotonniers (184 Columbus Avenue) has amassed a cult following with its silk blouses, soft sweaters, and sweet-yet-simple dresses, with a classic look that's a shortcut to mastering the sought after French-girl style. Dip into the Upper West Side location and let the friendly staff help you update your wardrobe with chic day-to-night staples.
Made in the Garment District from organic fabrics, Only Hearts (386 Columbus Avenue) is an under-the-radar favorite. The concept is “inner outwear:” its lingerie, basics, sleepwear, and dresses are designed to transition seamlessly from daytime to lounging. In the store, the loungewear and dresses live alongside cute knick knacks that make perfect gifts.
Formerly a Co-op, the newly transformed Barney's New York (2151 Broadway) is a more compact, concise version of the iconic luxury superstore on Madison Avenue. Here, you'll find brands like Balenciaga and Proenza Schouler alongside (relatively) more accessible labels like Alexander Wang and Phillip Lim.
Beloved neighborhood favorite Westsider Rare and Used Books is a treasure trove of hard-to-find titles. Patrons love the low-key vibe that's great for settling into a corner for a reading break. If you have the time, check out their record shop further downtown at 233 West 72nd Street. [Photo by Westsider Books]
Mint (448 Columbus Avenue) represents a contemporary price point, and the selection includes denim from J Brand and Citizens of Humanity, dresses from Alice + Olivia and Yumi Kim, tops from BB Dakota and Free People, and more.
Leaving the Upper West Side without stopping at Levain Bakery (167 West 74th Street) would be a crime—against your sweet tooth, at least. The line that snakes out of the tiny shop moves quickly,—and even if it didn't, one bite of their renowned cookies will make you realize it was totally worth it.