When people think of New York City, the first place that comes to mind is Manhattan. This is not surprising because it’s home to big-name attractions, such as Central Park, the Empire State Building, and Broadway. But there’s more to this charming city than the obvious sights.

Image via Flickr by faungg’s photos

Manhattan contains charming neighborhoods, hidden green spaces, trendy boutiques, and classic bars. It consists of a lot of neighborhoods, but here, I have outlined the five best neighborhoods for Manhattan tourists. The list is not necessarily in order of preference, but you can choose one that fits your personality and travel preferences.

1. Upper West Side

This part of Manhattan is characterized by a lot of neighborhood businesses. It is also not void of local flavor and keeps attracting people from around the world and across all generations. The Upper West Side is a place where you can often see families pushing strollers, walking dogs, and attending to other daily chores. Of course, it’s not all residential. You’ll find plenty of culture in the form of the American Museum of Natural History, the Beacon Theatre, and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. If you are a traveller who doesn’t crave nightlife, you will feel right at home in this part of Manhattan.

2. West Village

The West Village’s charm rests in its 19th-century townhouses and cobblestone streets. The West Village looks like a European small town in the middle of the nation’s biggest city. Don’t be fooled by this neighborhood’s storefronts and their inventive names — the West Village is a fast-paced place. Shoppers, diners, and art aficionados flock here in droves. Travelers who are fascinated by movie sets and picturesque towns will love it here.  Simply navigate through the streets and take in the history. As an historic district, the West Village is one of Manhattan’s most desirable places to live or stay. Hotel rates are particularly low here, especially if you book in advance!

3. Tribeca

Tribeca is one of the few neighborhoods in Manhattan that embodies a sense of community. The neighborhood has a quaint, safe, and comfortable vibe, which are not typical adjectives that come to mind when thinking of NYC. However, the neighborhood is transforming into more of a place for the rich and famous. Washington Market Park is a great place to play, enjoy a nice a nice picnic, or just sit back and relax. There is plenty of playing equipment for children, as well as organized games and arts and crafts. The park is small and safe, and it offers a great location for a brief escape. The dining, nightlife and shopping aspects of the town are also particularly inviting.

4. Lower East Side

Once an overcrowded slum, the Lower East Side is now one of Manhattan’s most fashionable neighborhoods. Most of the bargain clothing stores and pickle vendors have given way to indie boutiques and some of the best restaurants in NYC.

The Sunshine Cinema is an art-house with stadium seating and big screens. The New Museum is the Lower East Side’s primary cultural hub, mounting contemporary art shows that draw interest from observers around the world. This city also boasts numerous art galleries.

5. Financial District

The financial district is a commercial hub with fascinating cultural institutions, historic sites, and artwork. Cultural destinations include the 9/11 Museum, which is the latest addition to the museums in lower Manhattan. The Skyscraper Museum, founded in 1996 by historian Carol Willis, presents exhibits about tall buildings, and its permanent collection includes a model of the original Twin Towers. As a link to the neighborhood’s financial roots, The Museum of American Finance touches on topics like the history of the Fed, Alexander Hamilton’s banking legacy, and various permutations of currency.

Travellers who want to see the city from the business point of view with a touch of historic monuments should visit this fantastic city!