The Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square… I’m sure you heard about all these iconic landmarks, am I right? New York City, also known as the “Big Apple”, NY or NYC is the biggest and most populous city in the entire United States! It’s also a dream destination for all types of travelers and a place where “all dreams can come true”.
Now that you’re planning a trip to this incredible city, the next problem you’ll need to solve is where to stay in New York City depending on your itinerary and interest. Which, trust me, can be a pretty big challenge and a scary task to complete.
That’s why I’m here to help! In this complete guide on New York neighborhoods I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the 7 best areas to stay in NY, together with my hand-picked accommodation recommendations in each of them.
NOTE: It’s a well-known fact that New York City is not really cheap, so you should expect the prices to be a bit higher than, let’s say, your usual American or European city. But here’s something that not many articles on the internet talk about when it comes to NYC accommodation prices: New York City has a hotel tax of 14.75% of the total price + a flat fee (occupancy tax) of US$3.50 per day. Keep this in mind when calculating your budget for your NYC trip! Most of the hotels that I am recommending in this article are on Booking.com and they include all these taxes I’m talking about, but it’s always good to double check after inserting your travel dates on the website.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
- If you’re in a hurry…
- 1. Midtown (Manhattan) – Where to stay in New York for the first time
- 2. Lower East Side & SoHo (Manhattan)
- 3. East Village (Manhattan) – Where to stay in New York for nightlife
- 4. Greenwich Village & Chelsea (Manhattan)
- 5. Upper East Side (Manhattan)
- 6. Williamsburg (Brooklyn)
- 7. Long Island City (Queens) – Where to stay in New York on a budget
- Best apartments in NYC
- BONUS 1 – Best hotel in New York depending on your interest
- BONUS 2 – Things you should know about booking a hotel in NYC
If you’re in a hurry…
The best area to stay in New York City for people visiting for the first time is Midtown in Manhattan borough. This is where all the important landmarks and attractions in NY are located and it’s literally the best area regardless of what type of traveler you are.
- Best luxury hotel: The Mark New York
- Best middle-priced hotel: The Standard
- Best budget hotel: Ny Moore Hostel
PRO TIP: There are more than 50 million tourists coming to New York City each year, so needless to say that accommodations are flying fast. My honest advice is to book as far in advance as you can, as the best hotels out there can be sold out even 7 or 8 months in advance!
Which area should you choose?
First of all, here is a map of all of the 7 New York areas I am going to talk about in this post, so you can easily visualize them:
New York City is massive and it’s divided into 5 different boroughs (towns/districts):
- Manhattan – the most important cultural and financial centers of the city and also the main area for tourists.
- Staten Island
By the way, here’s a nice kid’s song to easily learn the name of the boroughs! 🙂
5 out of 7 areas I’m recommending in this article are on Manhattan island, which is (almost) the only relevant part of NYC for tourists, especially for those that are traveling to the city for the first time. I’m also recommending Williamsburg in Brooklyn and Long Island City in Queens but their main advantage is that they’re close to Manhattan by public transportation (and affordable!).
Now, these boroughs (and Manhattan as well, of course) are divided into several smaller neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm, advantages and disadvantages. In order to help you choose one of these, I have created a list of personalized recommendations below:
- Where to stay in New York for luxury: Upper East Side
- Where to stay in New York for budget travelers: Long Island City or Lower East Side
- Where to stay in New York for families: Chelsea
- Where to stay in New York for nightlife: East Village or Greenwich
By the way, Manhattan is organized in a grid system, so it’s extremely easy to orient yourself. The streets are parallel and they start from the North to the South, while the avenues start from the East (1st Avenue) and finish on the West (12th Avenue).
And to make things even clearer for you, here is a table that will help you choose the perfect neighborhood for you from this post:
|Neighborhood||Perfect for||Best hotel recommendation|
|📍Midtown||Sightseeing, iconic landmarks, restaurants||1 Hotel Central Park|
|🍏Upper East Side||Upscale accommodation, shopping, museums||Lowell Hotel|
|🛍️Lower East Side & SoHo||Shopping, vintage shops, fashion, restaurants||Crosby Street|
|🍽️Chelsea & Greenwich||Green spaces, art galleries, comedy clubs, restaurants, family hotels||The Maritime NYC|
|🕺🏾East Village||Nightlife, bars, clubs, parks||The Bowery|
|🍻Williamsburg||Restaurants, bars, beer gardens||Wythe Hotel|
|🪙Long Island City||Affordable accommodation||The Collective Paper Factory|
Now that everything is a little more clear to you, let me tell you everything you need to know about the 7 best neighborhoods for your stay in New York below:
1. Midtown (Manhattan) – Where to stay in New York for the first time
If you’re interested in sightseeing and exploring everything that Manhattan (and New York City as well) has to offer, then Midtown is THE place to be!
Even though NYC has tons of interesting attractions and activities everywhere you look, most of the main ones are located in the Midtown area, right in the middle of Manhattan. This can be considered the heart and soul of the city and a very important spot if you’re interested in culture, art and, of course, shopping!
Midtown is also a great choice if you prefer walking and want to avoid driving or spending a lot of time using public transportation. That being said, should I also mention that Midtown is also the most popular and crowded area in the city? That’s a classic downside of staying in the best location!
Some of the highlights of this neighborhood include Times Square, the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), Central Park, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Broadway street with all the musicals and theatres and the famous Fifth Avenue as well. As you can see, all of the important sights in the city and here! Plus, Hell’s Kitchen is a smaller area located inside Midtown as well.
Luxury (US$200 and up)
- 1 Hotel Central Park – This is the best place for all those of you looking for an upscale 5-star hotel located in the downtown area, very close to Central Park and countless dining spots, bars and pubs as well. You’ll also find a 24-hour front desk there and an on-site fitness center and restaurant.
- The Plaza – Here’s a special bonus for you if you’re a movie fan: this is the hotel from the “Home Alone” movie!
Middle-priced (US$120 – US$200)
- Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott New York – This nice 3-star property is a great choice if you want a good value stay in New York. Booking a room here means you’ll be close to many restaurants, cafes and bars, as well as the most important highlights in the city.
- Seton Hotel – In case you didn’t find the ideal place for your first time visiting New York, this great place near Times Square and Central Park will be an ideal choice. It’s also very close to New York City Public Library and it offers a very good service.
Budget (up to US$120)
- American Dream Hostel – This is one of the best places to stay in New York in case you are on a very tight budget and still want to be in an incredibly good location, close to a subway station and other public transportation options!
- Hotel 31 – Here’s another very good option located walking distance to a subway station, plenty of restaurants and cafes and many important landmarks such as the Central Park. I really think this is good for a pleasant stay in New York City!
2. Lower East Side & SoHo (Manhattan)
The Lower East Side (LES) and SoHo (which means South of Houston Street, if you ever wondered) are two super cool neighborhoods, located very close to each other. They’re not that big either, which is why I decided to combine them into a single recommendation. They’re pretty similar as well and they’re great choices especially for people who have been to New York City before!
NOTE: SoHo in New York is different from the Soho in London, so please don’t mix them up!
By the way, the Lower East Side is one of the oldest neighborhoods in New York!
Please keep in mind that both of these areas are residential, so they lack popular landmarks, but they’re still pretty close to the main attractions in the city center (around 20-25 minutes by public transportation).
Another nice activity to do here is just to take a walk on the streets and try out new restaurants, cafes and shops for all pockets and preferences (including many vintage shops!). And if you’re a fashion lover, SoHo is for you! Ah, and if you’re staying in the Lower East Side, you’ll be walking distance to Little Italy and Chinatown as well – bonus points!
Luxury (US$210 and up)
- Crosby Street – This is probably the best place to stay in New York if you love SoHo! This amazing 5-star property awaits with an on-site terrace restaurant, free Wi-Fi, modern rooms and many other upscale facilities and amenities that you’ll surely love!
- citizenM New York Bowery – This is another top recommendation if you’re searching for high end hotels around this area. If you choose to stay here you’ll enjoy an unforgettable view of the city and you’ll have plenty of nightlife, restaurants and dining options close by!
Middle-priced (US$120 – US$210)
- Holiday Inn Lower East Side – This is one of my best recommendations if you’re looking for a very good mid-range accommodation located in the Lower East Side district. It offers a 4-star service and it even has an on-site business center. Plus, the staff is super friendly and helpful, always willing to offer tips and advice!
- Sohotel – Here’s another great place for those looking for value. Book a room here if you want to be close to countless restaurants, cafes and bars where you can go out at night. Just take a look at the pictures on the site, it’s so pretty and cozy!
Budget (up to US$120)
- The Ridge – Here’s one of the best places to stay if you are on a tight budget but still want to be in the Lower East Side. There’s no better budget option than this property located close to many restaurants, bars and cafes; it also has free Wi-Fi as well, of course!
3. East Village (Manhattan) – Where to stay in New York for nightlife
East Village is one of the most vivid and energetic areas in the entire New York and it’s my recommendation for people interested in nightlife and exploring the best pubs and bars!
The East Village is a pretty unique and special area, as it has an interesting mix of old and new, modern and old-school, which can be seen everywhere from the streets to the buildings and the overall vibe. There are also plenty of rooftop bars and late-night clubs here, so you can rest assured that you can never get bored here, even if you try!
Luxury (US$220 and up)
- The Bowery Hotel – Here’s another one of the best luxury hotels in New York City for all those looking for a high-end, spoiled stay in one of the best cities in the world. This elegant 5-star has everything you might ever dream of while staying in NYC!
- Hyatt Union Square New York – This hotel is located right at the border of the neighborhood, while still being considered in the East Village, close to all the interesting restaurants and attractions in this neighborhood. The rooms have a beautiful modern decor, just check out the pictures!
Middle-priced (US$120 – US$220)
- Moxy NYC East Village – This one’s a great choice for those that don’t want to spend a fortune on hotels. Some of the best advantages of staying here include free Wi-Fi, free bikes, an on-site restaurant, a fitness center and more!
- The Standard – East Village – This 4-star hotel has bright and cozy rooms and it’s located right in the heart of the neighborhood! Make sure to book a room here if you want to enjoy a pleasant and comfortable stay in New York for some pretty good rates.
Budget (up to US$120)
- East Village Hotel – If you’re looking for good budget hotels in the East Village, I have good news – you just found one of the best options out there! This 2-star property has bright and clean rooms and a very good service for even better prices.
4. Greenwich Village & Chelsea (Manhattan)
Chelsea and Greenwich Village (which includes the well-known Meatpacking neighborhood and West Village as well) are two great, laid-back places to stay in New York in case you already had enough time to explore Midtown!
Some of the highlights here are the Flatiron Building, Chelsea Piers, Union Square Market and Chelsea Market as well. One downside of staying here is that you’ll need to use public transportation to visit the main attractions in Midtown such as Times Square. Instead, you’ll be closer to the interesting sights in the southern part of the city such as the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and Wall Street (relevant for business travelers only), for example.
Luxury (US$210 and up)
- The Maritime Hotel NYC – This is the best place to stay in New York City if you want to enjoy everything that Chelsea has to offer! This is one of the best 4-star hotels out there and it has a beautiful, nautical-inspired decor. Plus, it’s super close to Chelsea Piers, which I think is a great plus.
- Cambria New York – Chelsea – Here’s another great upscale option if you want to be in Chelsea, very close to Greenwich Village. You’ll have plenty of food places and green spaces around and the hotel awaits with superb rooms and beautiful views of NY.
Middle-priced (US$130 – US$210)
- Leo House – If you’re on the hunt for great hotels that offer an incredible value for the money, this one located in Chelsea and super close Greenwich Village is the best option for you! I’m sure you’ll have a great time there thanks to the incredible hospitality and good service they offer.
- CITY ROOMS NYC – Chelsea – Make sure to book a room here if you want to be based in Chelsea, while also being close to the West Village and right near Madison Square Garden. The reviews from previous visitors are very good as well!
Budget (up to US$130)
- The Jane – This one a great choice if you want to avoid booking an expensive place. It’s a nice 2-star hotel located in Greenwich Village, with easy access to the most important attractions in the city center!
5. Upper East Side (Manhattan)
Upper East Side is a well-known upscale and posh area of Manhattan and the perfect spot for those that want to indulge, shop in designer boutiques and explore some museums. It might sound familiar if you’ve watched Sex and the City or Breakfast at Tiffany’s! It is said that the Upper East Side is a wealthy area – but this kind of started to change lately.
Now, the Upper East Side is an interesting area for everyone out there, although one thing stands true: it’s quite impossible to find budget accommodation here. So I totally recommend this area for those of you that are looking for the best luxury hotels in NYC!
Other than this, this awesome area has plenty of things to offer. A part of 5th Avenue passes through the area (called the Museum Mile). This is the perfect place to go if you’re an art and museum lover, as you’ll find plenty of them here: the Guggenheim Museum, the Jewish Museum, Neue Galerie, the Frick Collection and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) – all of these and more are located here!
Luxury (US$250 and up)
Because Upper East Side is mainly dedicated to luxury accommodations, I have selected not two, but three superb options for you below:
- The Mark New York – Do you want to enjoy a spoiled luxurious experience in one of the best places to stay in New York? This superb 5-star hotel is for you! It’s close to all the important landmarks in the neighborhood and
- Lowell Hotel – Last but not least, this is another world-class accommodation located in one of the best areas in the entire New York City. Make sure to book a room here if you want to be close to Fifth Avenue, the American Museum of Natural History and Upper West Side as well. Ah, and the rooms are super beautiful and warm!
Middle-priced (US$150 – US$250)
- Yorkville Corporate Suites – Here’s the only good mid-range property that actually offers a good service and has good feedback in this area. It’s clean, comfy and it’s close to the American Museum of Natural History as well (which is actually in the Upper West Side, but very close nonetheless). It’s actually an apartment, not a hotel, but it looks very good and it’s great for up to 3 guests.
Budget (up to US$150)
Unfortunately, as the Upper East Side is the most well-known upscale, high-end area in the city, there are no good budget hotels or hostels to choose from. If you’re looking for cheap accommodation, I’m recommending the Lower East Side (#3 in my list) or Long Island City (#7 in my list). You can also check for affordable accommodation on Airbnb for this area.
6. Williamsburg (Brooklyn)
I’m done with my area recommendations for Manhattan and we’re moving on to another popular borough in New York: Brooklyn! The neighborhood I’m recommending here is Williamsburg, which is right across the East River from the East Village, connected by Williamsburg Bridge.
This area is great if you don’t want to stay in Manhattan, but still be close to it and all the attractions located there (you’ll get to Times Square in half an hour by public transportation). If you choose to base yourself here, you’ll be surrounded by tons of amazing restaurants, beer gardens, cafes and pubs as well.
Luxury (US$230 and up)
- The William Vale – New York really knows how to make luxury hotels and this 5-star property doesn’t disappoint! It has a 19 m rooftop swimming pool, more than one dining option and some unbeatable views of Brooklyn – so great!
- Wythe Hotel – Here’s another great option if you want to be spoiled during your stay in the Big Apple. The rooms here have amazing windows and timber ceilings, as well as cool brick walls. Plus, the service is very good!
Middle-priced (US$50 – US$230)
- Hotel Indigo – Williamsburg – Brooklyn – If you’re looking for a very good hotel that offers a great value for the money, you just found my best recommendation in this neighborhood! A la carte breakfast, modern rooms, private parking, free Wi-Fi – these are just some of the best things about staying here!
- Pod Brooklyn – Book a room here if you’re looking for clean and comfortable rooms perfect for a good night’s sleep after a full day of exploring New York! Plus, you’ll be close to all the cool things to do in Brooklyn as well.
Budget (up to US$50)
- Ny Moore Hostel – This loft-style hotel is a great choice for all travelers that are on a tight budget! This property awaits with clean rooms, an outdoor courtyard, cozy common room and many other great facilities and amenities!
7. Long Island City (Queens) – Where to stay in New York on a budget
We’re heading up to Queens next, more specifically to Long Island City (LIC), a cool and a kind of underrated area in NYC. This neighborhood is located very close to Midtown (across the East River from it, 15 minutes by public transportation to Times Square to be more precise), which I think is a great advantage because you’ll be able to avoid the huge accommodation fees in the center while still being close to all the important landmarks!
And yes, Long Island City is also THE place to be if you’re traveling to NY on a tight budget and don’t want to spend a fortune on accommodation. You’ll have plenty of options here!
Luxury (US$150 and up)
- The Collective Paper Factory – This awesome 4-star boutique hotel has modern and bright rooms, free Wi-Fi, city views and many other cool perks that will make you feel right at home! Just take a look at the pictures, it looks amazing!
- Boro Hotel – Here’s another great luxury choice in this cool neighborhood. The rooms are simply beautiful and they have big bright windows, free Wi-Fi and an unforgettable view over the Manhattan skyline!
Middle-priced (US$50 – US$150)
- The Local Hostel NYC – This awesome 3-star hostel has comfy and clean rooms and a fully equipped common kitchen that you can use in case you want to make your own meals! Plus, they have on-site laundry facilities as well, which I think is a great plus.
- Home2 Suites Long Island City – Free Wi-Fi, an on-site fitness center, private bathrooms and cute and cozy rooms – these are just some of the advantages of booking a room in this 3-star hotel in Long Island!
Budget (up to US$50)
- The Local NYC – If you’re on a tight budget, no worries, this is probably the greatest option out there! This cool property has an on-site bar, a nice lounge and clean and comfortable rooms.
- Giorgio Hotel – Here’s another equally good budget choice in Long Island City that will help you save some money! The rooms are small but very comfy, perfect for a good night’s sleep after a day of exploring NYC!
Best apartments in NYC
Apartments are a great choice for all travelers that want to feel at home and enjoy some space and a different kind of vibe compared to hotel rooms. Booking an Airbnb while you travel is also a great choice for people that want to save some money (as they tend to be a bit cheaper) or for families or groups of friends that want to stay together.
The good news is that New York City is anything but short on apartment options – for all budgets, that is! I have selected the best ones I could find for you below and I grouped them by budget for your convenience. By the way, they’re all in the Midtown area of Manhattan, also known as the best neighborhood for travelers who are coming to New York for the first time:
Luxury (US$160 and up)
- Luxury Modern Grand Central 2 BR Apt – Yes, it is possible to enjoy some luxury while staying in an apartment in New York! This cool American-style property is sparkling clean and it looks great, check out the pictures!
- Modem 2 bedroom in Times Sq – Here’s another equally nice luxurious option in the heart of Manhattan in New York. Staying here means you’ll be extremely close to all the important attractions, food places and bars in the center – so great!
Middle-priced (US$120 – US$160)
- The Artist’s Experience – If you’re looking for a very special and nicely decorated place in New York, take a look at this place, you might just fall in love! This is actually a private room in an apartment and it’s super clean as well.
- Hell’s Kitchen Funky 80’s Hideaway – Here’s another funky and colorful place where you’ll feel right at home in the center of New York. This private room is just perfect for 3 guests and it offers a very good service!
Budget (up to US$120)
- Living room available! Modern apartment in Midtown – Some of the best ways of saving money on accommodation in New York is staying in a private room in a shared apartment, and this option is pretty great! It’s very clean and it’s great for 2 guests.
- Beautiful and tidy room at Time Square location – Here’s another cute and comfy room in the heart of New York, located extremely close to Times Square. The owner is super friendly!
BONUS 1 – Best hotel in New York depending on your interest
Here I collected the most popular demands! The hotels below are location dependant but not only:
- Near Central Park: 1 Hotel Central Park
- Near the Grand Central Terminal: Library Hotel by Library Hotel Collection
- Near Times Square: Hyatt Centric Times Square New York
- For couples: Lotte New York Palace
- With kids: Four Seasons New York
- For the view: Mandarin Oriental New York
- For New Years Eve: Renaissance New York Times Square
BONUS 2 – Things you should know about booking a hotel in NYC
- It’s highly recommended to stay somewhere accessible by at least 2 subway lines so you can make sure you’ll have options for getting around in case one of them doesn’t work. Plus, the subway doesn’t pass that often during in the night time so the more options the better;
- Don’t forget to double check if the property charges taxes on top of the price shown or if you’re paying for the grand total. The hotels in this article are on Booking, which is a website that shows you the final price WITH taxes, but if you book directly from the hotel’s website, this might not be the case;
- The rooms in NYC are usually small so, if you are traveling with kids or you have a lot of luggage, this might be an issue. Make sure to double check the pictures for your chosen hotel and the amount of square meters (it should say in the description);
- You might find some places that don’t have Wi-Fi (although there usually is), make sure to double check this as well;
- Some places don’t offer breakfast. If that’s the case, you can go to a diner and try a real NYC style bagel instead;
- Tap water in NYC is drinkable (but it is not so tasty);
- It is generally expected from you to leave the tips for maids (US$2-5/day depending on the hotel).
Phew, congrats, you just reached the end of my complete guide on New York accommodation! I hope this post was useful in organizing your New York vacation (I’m sure you’re already an expert by now!) and I also hope you already found the ideal accommodation for your taste and budget.
In this post I have talked about how NYC is organized, the 7 best neighborhoods in the city and I gave you my hand-picked hotel recommendations in each of them, together with some cool apartments and airport hotels as well. In other words, you have everything you need in the post above!
Are you heading to the Big Apple soon? Do you have any other questions or concerns? Let me know in the comments below, I’m happy to help!
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