102 West 73rd Street at Columbus Avenue
Dine on scones, sandwiches, salads and other treats at a whimsical tea house inspired by Alice in Wonderland. The glazed pumpkins scones are as magical as the decor. Choose from hundreds of teas served in charming mismatching pots and cups and try on fairy wings. Reservations only available for groups 6+, call ahead or go early to beat the crowds.
70 Central Park West at 77th Street
This fascinating museum has an entire floor of hands-on exhibits especially for kids. Lots of magical experiences even if you can’t get a time slot for the mostly sold-out Harry Potter: A History of Magic: ride a train in the basement, make your own colorful Tiffany lamp on the fourth floor and meet great Americans of the past like George Washington and Harriet Tubman on weekends.
152 West 71st Street
Enjoy a zany magic show with cool tricks and giant taco costumes. Magician Max Darwin makes objects appear out of thin air and defies the laws of physics inches from spectators’ faces. We’ve seen him perform a few times and he always leaves us laughing and marveling.
2090 Broadway at 72nd Street
The “Recession Special” (two franks and a 14-ounce drink for $6.95) at this UWS institution has survived many a business cycle. Clever signs, a friendly vibe, tropical juices and tasty all-beef hot dogs. No seating inside but there are lots of benches in lovely Verdi plaza across Broadway. Or head to Shake Shack on 77th Street for more selection and seating.
West 78th Street & Amsterdam
Bundle up and travel back in time at a Wild West themed playground named after Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman (a one-time NYC resident). Ride on a pretend stage coach, run around buffalo sculptures and play on slides, swings, and jungle gyms. Also Western landscapes murals, basketball courts and bathrooms.
167 West 74th Street at Amsterdam
Everything is baked on-site throughout the day at this cozy bakery, from an array of rustic breads to the world-famous six-ounce chocolate chip walnut cookie. We also love the dark chocolate peanut butter chip cookies and whole wheat walnut raisin rolls. Shorter lines and more indoor space at the new location a few blocks north at 352 Amsterdam at 77th Street.