The northernmost section of Manhattan, the Washington Heights/Inwood area was home to a Native American settlement where the sale of Manhattan was negotiated in 1626, as well as the site of the Revolutionary War Battle of Fort Washington. The early 20th century saw a rapid population of the area as European immigrants who lived in lower Manhattan began to move to the north. The rest of the century saw a continued influx of immigrants from all parts of the globe and the area is rich in ethnic diversity.
The hilly area has splendid parkland and stunning views of the Hudson River and the Palisades. Enjoy a stroll through shady Fort Tryon Park and Inwood Hill Park, which actually contains the last natural forest and salt marsh in Manhattan. In 1995 the Inwood Hill Park Urban Ecology Center was opened in order to provide information to the public about the natural and cultural history of this beautiful, wildlife-filled park. For even more spectacular views, bike or walk across the George Washington Bridge, to the northernmost point in Manhattan, Spuyten Duyvil, and see the confluence of the Harlem and Hudson Rivers.
Fort Tryon Park is home to Washington Heights most well-renown attraction: The Cloisters. Walk (or bus) up the steep hill to the Cloisters, and be transported back to a medieval monastery, surrounded by gothic tapestries, art, and monastic gardens. Approximately five thousand works of art from medieval Europe, dating from about A.D. 800 with particular emphasis on the twelfth through fifteenth century, are exhibited in this unique context. For a locale rich in American history, visit the Morris-Jumel Mansion. Built in 1765, it's one of the oldest houses in the country. Now a museum, the mansion is most famous for the fact that George Washington made the residence his headquarters in the fall of 1776. It was during this period that the General's troops forced a British retreat at the Battle of Harlem Heights. While you continue your travels through this historic neighborhood you should also visit Yeshiva University, the oldest and most comprehensive educational institution under Jewish auspices, and its accompanying museum.
If you find yourself getting hungry you might want to stop at the New Leaf Café, a charming restaurant with great views located in the heart of Fort Tryon Park. In terms of arts and entertainment, the historic United Palace offers a variety of concerts, art exhibits and worship services. The gorgeous venue first opened in 1929, under operation of the Loew's Company as the Wonder Theatre. Purchased by the Christ Community Church in 1969 the theatre has since been restored to capture the exquisiteness of its original design and now frequently holds some of the area's finest cultural events.
Not all that many hotel accommodations exist in the Washington Heights/Inwood area. However if you're looking to spend your stay in New York near that particular neighborhood we recommend finding a hotel in the Upper West Side, such as fashionable Hotel Belleclaire or the charming Excelsior. You may also want to consider staying in nearby Fort Lee, NJ, which is right over the George Washington Bridge. Two options include the Doubletree Fort Lee and the Best Western Fort Lee.