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Enjoying Cozy Alfresco Dining on the Upper West Side throughout Fall  blog image

Enjoying Cozy Alfresco Dining on the Upper West Side throughout Fall

October 01 2021

Fall doesn’t have to mean the end of enjoying the great outdoors – this year especially. With COVID still posing a threat and inside seating limited, outdoor dining has become the new norm – but as the weather takes a change for the worse, where are the best places on the Upper West Side to enjoy an alfresco meal?

At first thought the idea of eating out in the cold might not be anyone’s idea of a “cozy” night – but thanks to the restrictions on indoor dining, many bars and restaurants have gone above and beyond to create the perfect (weather protected) alfresco dining areas.

The Upper West Side is home to over 200 restaurants that have now reopened since COVID first closed restaurants in the city, while over 3000 are open across the wider Manhattan area. Heated lamps, covered patios and fire pits have helped to solve the problems of eating outdoors in the fall and winter months and an increasing number of restaurants are following suit.

New York City Street with festive decorations in the snow

Outdoor gazebos have been erected to protect customers from any rain (or snow!), while many other restaurants have fenced off their patios to create snug outdoor areas that close off the cold. Other bars and restaurants are also loaning free blankets, creating private booths and some are going above and beyond to provide both comfort and safety for their diners – for example The Greens at Manhattan’s Seaport District.

One of the greatest advantages of visiting (or living in) an international city like New York, is the great range of authentic international cuisine on offer. At a time when international travel is difficult, touring the world through different restaurants (even when you’re confined to the outdoors) is the next best thing. Whether you’re hoping to try the best Korean BBQ outside of Asia, your favorite French bakery treats or some of the USA’s most delicious tacos, in New York City your options are endless  – but eating alfresco in the city is not limited to just restaurants.

Friends touch glasses of wine above a table of food with fall lighting

Riverboat Meals

One of the best ways to see the city – especially at night – is a boat trip along the Hudson River. Many private charters can be booked with food and drinks as you enjoy the ever-changing skyline. If you’re a budget friendly traveller you can still enjoy a low-cost boat trip – the New York City Ferries cost only $2.75 for a one-way trip, but unfortunately you can’t eat or drink anything on the boats, so you’ll have to grab something before you hop on.

Central Park

Central Park is transformed into a fall postcard during fall and a Winter Wonderland when the first snow falls. With popup ice rinks, snowshoeing and one of the most spectacular places to see the changing of the fall leaves, there is nothing like Central Park in the colder months – especially if you’re travelling with family. The Winter Village in the park is a great place to grab something to eat and warm up after enjoying some of the winter activities – year-round you can find the famous Pretzel vendors as well as several different bars, cafes and restaurants serving all your favorite warming treats.

Holiday Markets

In the months of November and December traditional Holiday markets appear all over the city offering stalls from local businesses with local produce, ice rinks and other holiday activities and, most importantly, all your favorite holiday treats. Most markets are free to enter – with some even offering free ice-skating admission too – and with so many different food stalls to choose from there is something for even the fussiest of kids to enjoy!

If you’re visiting New York this fall or winter and you’re worried about feeding the family with the current restrictions on indoor eating, apartment-style accommodations are perfect for giving you the option of eating out or eating in, should the weather take a turn for the worse. Learn more about the family friendly suites at the Hotel Beacon