With one of the most recognizable skylines in the world, New York City is a place you need to experience at least once in your life. From iconic places like Times Square and the Empire State building to the world-famous landmarks of Central Park and the Statue of Liberty, New York City will always leave wanting more.
Anyone who visits New York will no doubt have their hands full with a packed itinerary. This is just one of the reasons that you will want to choose a place to stay that is the most central to all the things you want to do. Whether that is hitting all the main tourist attractions that first-timers have on their list or opting for a more laid-back vacation exploring the parks and museums.
Where to Stay in New York
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One thing is for certain, New York City’s coolest neighborhoods have something for families, foodies, romantics, and well-seasoned travelers to enjoy. Stay close to all the action in Midtown and Times Square or choose to stay in the Chelsea neighborhood where you can take advantage of the trendy restaurants and nightlife.
Best Places to Stay in New York City
Regardless of where you choose to stay in New York, we want to help you decide what is best for your trip and make that decision as easy as possible. We have broken down the best places to stay in New York City into 8 areas, each one represents something unique and covers all budget levels. After visiting the city multiple times over the years and staying in different neighborhoods each time, these are our suggestions on where to stay in New York as well as our hand-picked hotel recommendations.
In a hurry and want to know where to stay in New York City right now? These are the best hotels and vacation rentals to suit every budget.
Wondering what the best neighborhoods in New York City are? If this is your first time in New York City then you will love staying in Midtown thanks to its central location, great dining, and access to the subway. Staying here will also put you within walking distance of most of the best things to do in New York City. Click here to go directly to the Midtown Neighborhood.
What You Need to Know Before Booking a New York City Hotels
- Additional Fees: Most people are unaware that in addition to the cost of your hotel the city also implements a 14.75% hotel tax on the total cost of the room and an occupancy tax of $3.50 USD per day. When looking at New York City hotels make sure to see if these are included or not.
- New York City hotel rooms are small. I mean really small. It is not uncommon to pay $200-300USD for 160-170 square feet. This usually comes as a shock to most first-time visitors so pack accordingly.
- Room Rates are expensive. In fact, budget hotels are almost non-existent. You can expect to pay around $200 USD/night for mid-range hotels in a good location.
- Book Early. NYC is an incredibly popular destination and good hotels fill up fast. Our suggestion is to book at least 3 months out if you can. More if you are traveling during peak season.
- Try to stay close to a subway station with access to multiple subway lines. This will make getting around the city easier and faster.
Best Luxury Hotel in New York City: Park Hyatt New York
Sharing its address with One57, one of the most luxurious condos in the city, the Park Hyatt New York is one of those luxury hotels you won’t forget. It is located in the heart of Midtown, 2 blocks from Central Park and only 10 minutes away from attractions like Times Square, Carnegie Hall, and the Rockefeller Center.
The rooms are some of the most spacious in the city are decorated in a modern style and offer some incredible skyline views. Everything has been thought of for your comfort at the Park Hyatt including how soundproof the rooms are. The beds are insanely comfortable and the service is beyond compare.
On the 25th floor, you will find the 13,000 square foot Spa Nalai. It has a great fitness room, a heated indoor pool, and of course a plethora of spa treatments. All of this with views of Central Park that you will never forget. After a visit to the spa, make sure to check out the on-site restaurant The Living Room for some impeccable food.
Best Mid-Range Hotel in New York City: The Standard Highline
Located in the Meatpacking district, the Standard High Line towers over New Yorks’s elevated walkway and public park area. With views over the Hudson River and Manhattan.
All rooms feature floor too ceiling windows to take advantage of its breathtaking views. Relax in your comfy robe on Italian sheets as you enjoy free WiFi in this modern downtown hotel.
With the sparkling Le Bain Discoteque located on the top view offering sweeping views of New York City and a popular bear garden on the ground floor, you have some of New York’s best nightlife at your fingertips.
Best Budget Hotel in New York City: Pod 51 Times Square
Stay at Pod51 for one the most unique hotels in unique at an affordable price. The hotel has been recently renovated offering a cozy retreat to unwind after a day of sightseeing.
Pods range from single sleepers with shared baths for the budget-conscious to rooms suitable for up to a family of four complete with private ensuite baths and flat-screen TVs.
Enjoy the neighborhood feel as you relax in the outdoor garden and rooftop deck where you can enjoy a craft beer while snacking on your own affordable food from the market surrounded by views of skyscrapers downtown.
The 8 Best Neighborhoods To Stay in New York City
New York consists of 5 “Burroughs” or areas which are Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island. These are further broken down into neighborhoods that have their own unique charm and feel.
When it comes to breaking down the best neighborhoods to stay in New York City we wanted to focus on those that are located in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Each one appeals to a different travel style and budget level depending on what type of traveler you are.
Should I Stay in Manhattan or Brooklyn?
This is really a personal choice but most people stay in Manhattan as it is centrally located and close to all the major sights. If you are looking for some more affordable hotel options, that are a little further away, then the best area would be Brooklyn. Regardless of whether you decide to stay in Manhattan or Brooklyn both offer great hotel choices and you are almost always near a subway so getting around NYC won’t be a problem.
1. Midtown Manhattan and Times Square
We have to admit, we love staying in the heart of Manhattan at Times Square. You are within walking distance to so many top New York Attractions when staying in Times Square. Plus, when you are in New York for the first time, you’ll never tire of coming back to the hustle and bustle of the neon lights of Times Square.
Midtown Manhattan was the area that we stayed in when we visited New York City for the first time and we still stay there from time to time. It offers some of the best accommodation in New York and you have everything at your fingertips.
The main thing we loved about this area is that you are within walking distance of many of the famous New York attractions. It really allows you to explore a lot in a small amount of time. It may not be the cheapest area in New York City but if you want to be close to everything this area is perfect. Check out Things to do in Times Square – A Walking Tour and Nearby Attractions.
In Midtown Manhattan you will find:
- Times Square
- Rockefeller Center
- Radio City Music Hall
- Bryant Park
- Empire State Building
- Fifth Avenue
2. SoHo and Tribeca
SoHo and Tribeca are becoming hot neighborhoods to visit and live in Manhattan. So much so that they are two of the top five most expensive areas for real estate in New York City. That being said, you should stay and visit here while in NYC.
Pros of Staying in Soho Tribeca
- Convenient to downtown areas
Cons of Staying in SoHo / Tribeca:
- It is expensive
- Certain areas are crowded
Historically the factory center of Manhattan, these neighborhoods are for architecture buffs. You can explore endless streets of the most stunning cast-iron buildings in the world, with gorgeous pillars, fire escapes, water towers, and cobblestone streets.
As the factories left New York in the ’60s and ’70s, artists moved in turning them into lofts. Galleries followed, and then shopping, turning the area into a giant shopping mecca. The Film Forum is also nearby for film buffs to catch a classic movie.
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3. Greenwich Village
For history buffs, there are few neighborhoods as evocative as The Village. If you want to stay in an area that has an authentic feel of New York, this is one of the best neighborhoods. The village was once the Bohemian capital of New York and the center for the LGBTQ+, ’60s Counterculture, and Beat movements. While that era is long gone, the feel of the neighborhood is not.
Pros of Staying in Greenwich Village:
- walking distance to many downtown neighborhoods
- Washington Square Park
- Cinema Village
- Angelika Film Center
- Shopping, music and close to NYU
Cons of Staying in Greenwich Village:
- Close to NYU so a lot of students
Get lost on side street after side street of gorgeous townhouses and tree-lined blocks. The neighborhood is simultaneously quiet and happening with a great music scene. If you are looking for where to stay in New York City that has a great history this is it!
Visit Washington Square Park, the Cherry Lane Theater (New York’s longest continuously running Off-Broadway theatre), see a jazz performance at Blue Note or Village Vanguard in the West Village, or have a drink at the White Horse Tavern, Chumley’s, or the Stonewall Inn.
4. Lower East Side / East Village / Nolita – Where to Stay in NYC on a Budget
These three neighboring neighborhoods cover a vast amount of the most vibrant real estate in Manhattan and are situated on the East River side of the island. The Lower East Side, East Village, and Nolita are filled with incredible and varied restaurants, gorgeous old tenement buildings with beautiful fire escapes. You feel what it is like to “live” like New Yorkers do if you stay in these areas of Manhattan.
Pros of Staying in Lower East Side:
- Proximity to Chinatown
- Walking distance to some of the best downtown areas in Manhattan
- Incredible food, cultural institutions, and theaters (including the Tenement Museum)
- Shopping, bars and clubs, many new hotels.
- Close to the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Staten Island Ferry and the Financial District.
Cons of Staying in Lower East Side:
- Nightlife in certain areas can get very loud and crazy (particularly on Avenue A and in Hell Squarez)
The best thing I love about these neighborhoods is that many parts of the city are easy to get to on foot from here. Most importantly for some, the people watching can be the best in the city! There is a range of bars and nightlife for every type, from younger clubs to old, grizzled dive bars.
The restaurant/food scene is one of the best in the city and includes numerous old mainstays such as these New York Foodie Mainstays; Katz’ Delicatessen, Russ & Daughters, John’s of 12th, Emilio’s Ballato, Economy Candy, Veselka, as well as newer trendy restaurants that are too numerous to name.
5. Upper West Side – Where to Stay in New York City for Families
The Upper West Side is a wonderful Manhattan neighborhood to stay in for families and couples. We recently returned from New York and stayed at the historic Hotel The Beacon in this area and loved it. It is not as hectic as some of the other areas but still close to cool things like Central Park, Lincoln Center, American Museum of Natural History, and Riverside Park (along the Hudson River).
Pros of Staying in Upper West Side:
- Close to Central Park and Riverside Park
- Easy Access to the Museum Mile, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and all the other cool museums in New York
- It is quieter than other New York neighborhoods.
Cons of Staying in Upper West Side:
- Far from The Lower East Side, financial district, and Brooklyn.
- Not the most interesting people watching
- Hotels are quite expensive.
The hotels are more affordable, the trains are good and reliable, and the area – while still vibrant – is not packed with people. If you are looking for where to stay in New York City that is family-friendly this is where you will want to stay. It gives you easy access to the subway lines and some great eats as well.
6. Upper East Side (Manhattan) – Best Neighborhood to Stay for Museum Lovers
The Upper East Side is definitely one of Manhattans’ wealthiest areas. Located between 59th and 96th streets to the north and south and the East River and Central Park to the east and west, it is a quieter area stay in comparison to Chelsea or Midtown.
Pros of Staying in Upper East Side:
- Close to all the Museums
- Access to Central Park
- Some of the most upscale dining in NYC
- A quiet residential neighborhood
Cons of Staying in Upper East Side:
- Hotels are expensive
- You are further away from NYC main attractions
- Not much in the way of Nightlife
It is also where you will find the Museum Mile which houses a lot of museums like the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Jewish Museum, and the Goethe Institute just to name a few. Hotels here are on the expensive side, but if you are into shopping you are close to Bloomingdales, Fifth Avenue, and one of the best shopping streets, Madison Avenue.
7. Chelsea (Manhattan) – Favorite Neighborhood in New York City
Chelsea is a great area to stay in as it is so central to everything. If you want to be in the heart of it all without all the craziness then this is the place to stay.
Pros of Staying in Chelsea:
- Close to almost everything including public transportation.
- Packed with tourist-friendly locations
- Great nightlife
- Trendy restaurants and bars
Cons of Staying in Chelsea:
- Not evocative of the real old New York
Located on the west side of Manhattan between Midtown and Greenwich Village and close to the Hudson River. We loved walking around cobblestone streets, sitting in one of the trendy cafes sipping a latte, and just getting lost in the vibe that comes with being in this part of the Big Apple. People love it.
You must make sure to visit Chelsea Market and take a stroll over to Union Square where they have a great Greenmarket every Monday and a cool Christmas Market during the winter.
The High Line is still very fun with the incredible Hudson Yards development to the north and the vibrant and crazy nightlife of the Meatpacking district to the south. The Whitney has some great works of art and wonderful views. And there is some serious shopping around as well. There is a lot to do here without ever leaving the neighborhood.
8. Williamsburg, Brooklyn – Best Places for Affordable Hotels in New York
Located across the East River from the East Village in Manhattan, and connected by Williamsburg Bridge, Brooklyn is where you want to stay if you want to get away from the craziness of Manhattan. Read: 30 Best New York Views – Where to See the Manhattan Skyline
We recommend the Williamsburg neighborhood. You are still close enough to the main sights (only a 20-minute subway ride away to Times Square) but it is a more residential neighborhood feel. There are great places to eat, cafes and pubs as well as great accommodations. This can be a nice reprieve, especially if you are not a first-time visitor to NYC.
Getting Around New York
- Take the subway. It’s faster! You can purchase a MetroCard at any station as an individual ride card or a 7-day or 30-day unlimited card.
- Download the Citimapper app to tell you the fastest ways to travel throughout the city.
- Avoid empty subway cars! It’s too good to be true. Usually, the AC is broken or there is a terrible smell.
- New York is a walking city but pace yourself, make sure to stay hydrated and give yourself enough time to rest.
- Don’t stop suddenly in the middle of a busy sidewalk. Walk to the sides before stopping, and make sure to look behind you before you stop short.
- Get the Curb Taxi App or use Uber or Lyft: Note from Deb and Dave: Taxis and Ubers in NYC are very reasonable and make it easy to get around.
Final Thoughts on the Best Neighborhoods in New York City
Regardless of whether you are planning a trip to see the many art galleries and museums or take in the popular attractions like the Rockefeller Center and the Statue of Liberty, New York has a great mix of different neighborhoods that appeal to every type of traveler.
I hope this guide to New York accommodation helps make your next vacation planning a little easier. We have covered everything we feel you need to know. From the layout of the city to our hand-picked personal recommendations for hotels in both Manhattan and Brooklyn. We have not included the Financial District, which is the area near Battery Park, Wall Street, and the World Trade Center because we have not stayed there personally. If you do know of any great hotels near the Wall Street / World Trade Center Area please let us know in the comments.
As an added resource we also consulted New York City local James Mahar and got his recommendations and inside tips as well.
If you have any more suggestions be sure to leave them in the comments below.
Plan more of your New York City travels:
- 6 Tips to Make the Most of NYC Photography
- Christmas in New York City: Top 14 Things to do on the Holidays
- 3 Perfect hotels in Times Square
- Tips for Visiting The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
- 33 Best Things to Do in NYC
- Check out this other New York State city – Things to do in Lake Placid, New York
- Traveling to the United States, see our United States Travel Guide
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