Best Neighborhoods In New York
New York consists of 5 Burroughs or areas which are Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island. These are further broken down into neighbourhoods that have their own unique charm and feel.
When it comes to choosing the 8 best New York City neighborhoods we wanted to focus on these which are located in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Each one appeals to a different travel style and where you base yourself will depend on what type of traveler you are.
Times Square Where To Stay In New York City On A Budget
Times Square is home to those famous flashing lights and the New Years Eve ball drop. It is the beating heart of touristy Midtown Manhattan and attracts millions of visitors each year.
When you started researching where to stay in New York City, was Times Square the first place you searched for on a map?
Its nothing to be ashamed of, almost all first time visitors to NYC book a hotel somewhere in or near Times Square.
Now, thats not a bad thing. Times Square is arguably the best place in NYC to book a budget hotel and it is ideally located for a huge portion of bucket list attractions.
However, it is a gritty area, renowned for pickpockets and tourist traps. That doesnt mean dont book a hotel here, it just means be aware that there are more attractive areas to stay in New York City.
Dont Obsess About The Main Tourist Attractions In Nyc You Cant See Everything In One Trip
Dont feel like you need to do everything. A lot of my friends come to NYC feeling overwhelmed and like they need to see/do all the major attractions. As someone who grew up in New York, I can tell you: you will NEVER see everything. Ive tried, but New York City never stays the same That said, the major attractions remain there for your next trip.
Nothing remains stationary, so even if you live in New York, youll constantly be discovering new neighborhoods, museum exhibits, and eateries! I love to pick up Time Out New York or check their website to find out about upcoming parties, events, and museum exhibitions. A new edition comes out each week.
I think that one of the most important things to know when traveling to New York is that you can try and rush about to see AS MUCH AS possible, but at some point, consider what you actually want to see rather than ticking off every box off some list you found on the internet.
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Why Avoid Lower East Side
The transport links here arent great so if this is your first time in the city and youre hoping to see lots of the main tourist sights then this may be a bit of an awkward location. Its quite busy and crowded here and theres not a huge range of accommodation. It also generally looks run down and is quite residential in parts so it may not have the New York bright lights vibe many are looking for.
Best Area To Stay New York Or New Jersey When Visiting Nyc
We are a family of 6 with 2 young kids . We are visiting New York last week of April for 3 days mainly in Manhattan area. Which is best to stay, New Jersey or other areas in NY. Our budget is 100 to 200 USD per night and we are ok to stay outside of Manhattan which is accessible to public transport. Thanks
Long Island City, Queens, a short subway ride from Manhattan.
The hotel experts can better advise if you also specify 1) travel dates 2) arrival airport and 3) room/bed configuration needed.
Any location in NJ will involve additional public transit time and costs. Some places that appear close “as the crow flies” can have inconvenient and expensive commutes.
How many rooms do you need? Is $200 per night per room?
The savings of staying in NJ will soon be diminished when you have to pay the transportation costs in and out of the city, plus the time waiting. The only option worth entertaining would be Jersey City, if you’re talking about NJ, if you’re near the PATH.
Transportation for 6 people to and fro NJ would eat up any savings. For 3 days, stay in Manhattan or LIC but for 6 people a budget of $200 will be tight. $100 seems impossible.
Edited: 4 years ago
I’m sorry – but you have 2 problems:
There are very few hotels that can accommodate 6 people in one room/suite in NYC
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Take Your Time Reviewing Nycs Many Districts
We hope our list of the best neighborhoods in NYC has given you plenty to think about while planning your trip to The Empire City. As long as you write out your New York itinerary beforehand, you shouldnt have a tough time picking the perfect spot for your needs.
Whether you stay in touristy Midtown, trendy Chelsea, or artsy Williamsburg, try your best to choose a hotel near a subway station. Of all the transportation options offered in NYC, the subway remains the fastest and most economical way to see all of this citys electrifying sites.
Why Avoid Midtown West
Midtown West is an expensive area and incredibly busy. There are people walking and cars tooting until the early hours so its not ideal if youre a light sleeper. Its also constantly bright from all of the billboards. Obviously, its a very touristy area so you wont get much of local life here and have to deal with ticket touts trying to sell things more than you might like.
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Where To Stay In Harlem
The most famous black community in America, Harlem has not been spared New York Citys rapid gentrification, but it remains a bastion of African-American culture, with a vibrant street life, fabulous West African and soul food restaurants, a dynamic local jazz scene and some of the prettiest streets in the city.
Best for guesthouse vibes: Soul Food
Elegant 19th-century brownstone, just across from Marcus Garvey Park, with shared kitchen and freshly baked cakes every day.
Best for an apartment stay: The Harlem Pearl
Small apartments with kitchenettes, in a lovely building, that dates from 1910, in the Sugar Hill neighbourhood.
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 to getting around NYC wont be a problem.
So Grab your New York Pass and lets get ready to start planning your New York City trip.
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Union Square Flatiron District & Gramercy Park
Most travellers will immediately recognise the iconic Flatiron Building, built on Fifth Avenue in 1902. Away from the hustle and bustle of Times Square, the Flatiron District and nearby Gramercy Park make for a great base in New York. Youll find no shortage of fantastic restaurants, shopping and great bars, picture-perfect brownstones and plenty of historic buildings to photograph. There are amazing farmers markets to explore and a busy street life to immerse yourself in too.
Close to Union Square, which is also a good base point, youll find it easy to get around on the subway, which is important as these spots arent really close to any of the major museums or tourist sites youll want to see. In terms of prices, youre not going to find these areas particularly budget-friendly, offering more of your mid-range to high-end accommodation options. That said, they really do offer a great base for travellers.
Nyc Taxis Are Slow Due To Traffic And There Is A Proper Way To Call A Taxi
You know the movies where the hero calls a cab in New York and rushes to tell the one that he/she loves her/him? You wont make it in time in real life.
Taxis are generally very expensive in New York and if youre in a rush, traffic will make it about the same speed than the subway. Sometimes, walking is even faster.
Side note: When youre walking, youll see metal grates and cellar doors. Dont walk over them. Theres always some horror story about them. Urban legend? Probably, but better safe than sorry.
If you want to call a taxi in New York City, this is how to do it: Stand on the curbNOT by a bus stop, put your arm confidently UP and stand there intensely looking at the cars.
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Lower Manhattan Where To Stay In New York City For Photography
Lower Manhattan including the Financial District, Lower East Side and Brooklyn Bridge is teeming with a wide range of hotel possibilities.
This area is famed for business and stock exchanges but dont let that put you off, theres a lot more to do at the bottom of Manhattan and it is currently in a growth phase.
Cobblestone streets, stunning architecture, hidden gem hole-in-the-wall eateries, up and coming live music bars and riverside activities will keep you busy.
Things Nobody Tells You About Visiting New York By A Native New Yorker
Im a proud New Yorker who was born and raised in New York City. When someone asks me what they should know when visiting New York for the first time, I dont always know where to start as theres so many things to do in New York. Ive decided to take a different approach here with some NYC local secrets to help you navigate your trip better.
This post may contain affliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases .
Expect some humorous tips for first time visitors to New York . I sincerely hope that these New York travel tips come in handy and help you avoid some of the mistakes that people make on their first trip to New York. 20 Insider tips for New York under the cut.
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Lower East Side Where To Stay In Manhattan On A Budget
Eclectic and vibrant, the Lower East Side is a neighbourhood that seamlessly blends history and modern times. One of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city, the Lower East Side was, for many decades, home to a thriving immigrant population.
Today, this southeastern New York City neighbourhood is a hub for art and culture as well as home to hip eateries and trendy bars. Here youll find a great variety of lively clubs, stylish restaurants, and fashionable boutiques.
While we wouldnt say its cheap this is New York City, after all the Lower East Side is our pick for where to stay in New York on a budget, home to a myriad of affordable accommodation options.
Whether its a social hostel or modern hotel, youll be able to find something to fit your style and budget on the Lower East Side.
Central Park Best Place To Stay In New York City For Nature And Luxury
Central Park is New York Citys most iconic green space. Loved by locals and tourists alike, you will find runners, cyclists, dog walkers, photographers and couples taking romantic strolls.
The beautiful park is exceptionally seasonal. In Spring the cherry blossoms bloom, in Summer the park radiates a deep green, Fall brings stunning autumnal foliage and Winter is a magical snowy wonderland.
Upper East Side has been home to some of the richest families in American history and is where many of the most luxurious NYC hotels can be found. But there are good deals to be found in the area for lower budgets.
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Enjoying Free Things To Do
TripSavvy / Brakethrough Media
New York can be an expensive city, with pricey admission fees and tours that will challenge your travel budget. Yet, there are free opportunities for sight-seeing and visiting museums and attractions. Some of the best New York experiences won’t cost you a dime.
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge is always fun to do in mild weather. And when it’s chilly head to a museum on a free museum day.
Central Park is full of gardens to wander. Buy lunch-makings at a New York deli and picnic on the lawn in the park.
Anyone visiting New York City will need to bring walking shoes. Walking the neighborhoods, along the rivers and from building to building downtown can be hard on the feet, but cost nothing.
Understanding How Big New York City Is
New York City is massive. The city is spread out over 302.6 square miles over five major boroughs:
- The Bronx: The Bronx is north of Manhattan, separated by the Harlem River, and Queens, separated by the East River.
- Manhattan: South of the Bronx and tapers off where the Hudson River and East River meet, Brooklyn across the way of the East River
- Brooklyn: Across from Manhattan, it and Queens are actually on the same land as Long Island
- Queens: Borders Brooklyn to the west and is south of The Bronx, separated by the East River
- Staten Island: On its own island to the other side of Brooklyn, separated by Upper Bay
I remember a friend telling me she hasnt made time to go see the Christmas lights in Dyker Heights because its such a hassle to get from where she lives in Upper Manhattan all the way down to one of the more southern parts of Brooklyn. I actually think we driving from Philly would be faster than her navigating the subway or even paying for a car/tour in the nighttime Christmas traffic!
Anyway, thats all to say you want to choose where you stay wisely. For example, it doesnt make too much sense to stay in Upper Manhattan if a lot of the NYC attractions you want to see are in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Important: Before you do anything, plug in all the places you want to visit in NYC into Google Maps so you have an idea of where they are relative to each other. Then pick a hotel somewhere in the middle and near a subway station!
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Soho & Tribeca: Best Place To Stay In Manhattan For Shopping
Soho is south of Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village and Tribeca is a bit further downtown, south of Soho. Both neighborhoods have trendy boutiques and classy restaurants that draw visitors and locals alike. Soho is also where to find upscale art galleries and street vendors selling local/original art and trinkets. Every spring, Tribeca hosts the annual Tribeca Film Festival which features up and coming films, Q& A sessions with the directors and casts, music events, and more.
Best Places To Stay In New York City For Families With Kids
If youre visiting New York City with the kids, where to stay becomes less about attractions and more about safety. With that said, we highly recommend Central Park, especially the areas around Upper East Side and Upper West Side, which are much quieter.
Any of the more residential areas would also be a consideration, such as Chelsea or Greenwich Village.
Places to avoid would be the loud party places like Meatpacking District and Lower East Side.
Read More Places To Stay Guides
We hope this where to stay in New York City guide helps you choose the best hotel and place for your NYC trip!
Have you been to New York? Which area was your favorite and where would you stay next time?
Please let us know if you have any questions or need any help planning your visit.
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Best Hostel In Midtown Vanderbilt Ymca
Conveniently located on Manhattans East Side, the Vanderbilt YMCA is one of our top recommendations for where to stay in Midtown, New York. Offering shared and private accommodations, this hostel has wifi, cable TV, a fitness centre and two swimming pools. It is close to bars, restaurants and New Yorks top attractions.
Where To Stay In New York City: A Complete Guide To Picking The Best Place To Stay
On my last visit, I spent a full week in New York City and stayed in three different neighborhoods during that time.
Prior to that, I had been to NYC for roughly 36 hours for work, and spent the entire time locked in a conference room. I really didnt get a chance to explore at all, so I was stoked to have a full week to walk around and uncover some hidden gems and explore the city on a deeper level.
The first thing I was struck by was the buzzing energy that fills the streets of NYC at all hours. 6am? Tons of people out and about. 2am? Same same. It boggles my mind, but I guess thats what happens when you pack millions of people into a place the size of Manhattan.
The second thing that blew my mind was the size of the buildings and the density. It truly is a concrete jungle.
I grew up in Seattle and live in San Francisco, and in both places there is a downtown area with massive buildings, and once you get out of that relatively small area, the tallest building is roughly three stories and you find green spaces around every corner. In New York City, I regularly looked up and saw a 40 story building when I was staying on the Upper East Side. The density is incredible.
Here are my top picks for the best areas to stay in NYC for all styles and budgets.
Psst! If you need to eat gluten free, youll want to read my guide to gluten free NYC to find the absolute best gluten free eats.
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