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Deciding on where to stay in New York can be pretty stressful as there are just so many choices. The main sights are also all spread out across the island, so you may find yourself torn deciding on which area to stay in. No matter what your preference is, there’s sure to be something to fit every travel style and budget. Here I’ve narrowed down and summarized the best neighborhoods for you to choose from.
Best Neighborhoods in New York City
I had the biggest dilemma deciding where to stay when I visited New York, but luckily there isn’t really a “bad” neighborhood in New York City, so no matter where you choose to stay, there’ll be something exciting right up your street. Of course, New York City is the city that never sleeps, so city noise is to be expected. So keep this in mind when deciding to stay in downtown New York. Here I have summarised a quick neighborhood guide of the best neighborhoods in New York City:
Here’s a quick overview of the best hotels in each neighborhood of New York.
|Neighborhood||Known For||Recommended Hotel|
|Midtown||Sightseeing||Martinique New York|
|Times Square/Theatre District||Broadway, Shopping, Noisy!||citizenM New York Times Square|
|West Village||Quaint, Nightlife, Trendy||Gansevoort Meatpacking|
|SoHo||Shopping, Bars, Restaurants||Arlo SoHo|
|Tribeca||Restaurants, Trendy||Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel|
|Meatpacking District||Nightlife, Shopping||The Standard|
|Hell’s Kitchen||Real New York, Budget-friendly||Pod Times Square|
|Upper West Side||Family-friendly, Museums, Central Park||Empire Hotel|
|Upper East Side||Shopping, Family-friendly||The Mark|
|Bowery/East Village||Trendy, Art galleries||CitizenM New York Bowery|
|Chelsea||Nightlife, High end||Hyatt House|
Where to Stay in New York City
Best Luxury Hotels in New York City
Best Boutique Hotels in New York City
Best Budget Hotels in New York City
Best Neighborhood for Sightseeing: Midtown
If you’ve got limited time in New York, Midtown may be your best bet to see everything you need to see. Midtown is where you’ll find the most notable sights in New York such as the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Centre, Broadway and Time Square. It’s also a great option if you want to start your day early at these sights and avoid the crowds!
There’s plenty of shopping and food options around the area too with Central Park just a short walk away. The downside is how busy this area gets, so brace yourself for the crowds!
Recommended hotels in Midtown:
Best Neighborhood for Nightlife: Meatpacking District
If you’re looking for the best nightlife in New York City, the Meatpacking District is where it’s at! Dance the night away in some of the most popular dance clubs and then shop til you drop in the day!
Recommended hotels in Meatpacking District:
Best Neighborhood for First-Timers: Times Square | Midtown
Okay, I couldn’t really pick one, cause it really depends on individual preferences, but both Times Square and Midtown are great to soak in the NYC atmosphere while having all the main sights within walking distance. The only downside is that this area gets really busy!
During my first visit to New York City, I stayed on the south end of Midtown, which was relatively quieter, yet still a great distance to the major sights.
TIP: Look out for accommodations with subway stations close by, then you won’t really need to worry about where you are since public transportation is super convenient!
Recommended hotels in Times Square:
Recommended hotels in Midtown:
If you’re always on the hunt for the best gastronomic experiences in a city, base yourself in New York City’s very own kitchen. Here you’ll find the highest rated dining places in dining guides, so you’ll be spoilt for choice for every meal.
Recommended hotels in SoHo:
Recommended hotels in Tribeca:
Best Neighborhood for Families: Upper East Side | Upper West Side
With the American Museum of Natural History (read: dinosaurs!!!) and Central Park located uptown, this is the best place to entertain the little ones. Playgrounds, parks, and museums line this part of town, so most family-friendly accommodations are found here. Access is convenient as well as there are subway and bus lines all around.
Recommended hotels in Upper East Side:
Recommended hotels in Upper West Side:
Best Neighborhood for Shopping: SoHo
Calling all shopaholics! If shopping is the only form of exercise you’re gonna get while on holiday, then you’ll be burning a heck load of calories in SoHo. With indie boutiques, upscale retailers and specialty stores, you’ll probably be maxing out those credit cards here. It’s also one of the hippest neighborhoods in New York City, so if you’re done with all the touristy sights, then consider SoHo where you can live like a local!
Recommended hotels in SoHo:
Best Neighborhood for Budget Travelers: Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Accommodation in New York City can be pretty expensive, so looking for where to stay in New York for cheap can be a problem. Fret not! Williamsburg is one of the trendiest neighborhoods for travelers on a budget. Here you’ll find chic boutiques, trendy cafes, buzzy restaurants, street art and stunning views of Manhattan’s skylines!–all for the fraction of the price of staying in Manhattan, so looking for a place to stay in New York on a budget is no longer a feat.
Recommended hotels in Williamsburg:
So which is your favorite neighborhood in New York? Let me know which one you end up choosing in the comments below!
- 4 Days in New York: A Non-FOMO Itinerary for First Timers
- 12 ‘Gossip Girl’ Locations in NYC Every Fan Must Visit!
Visiting New York Checklist
⇢ Compare flight prices to New York
⇢ Compare accommodation options and prices on Booking.com | HotelsCombined.com | Agoda | Airbnb
⇢ Buy Broadway tickets in advance on Tickpick.com
⇢ Don’t forget travel insurance! Travel insurance is the most overlooked purchase when traveling, but one of the most essential. Anything can happen when you’re on holiday and you’d want to be covered in the case of travel mishaps such as flight delays, personal accidents or theft. Choose World Nomads Travel Insurance, designed by travelers for travelers.
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MY TOP TRAVEL TIPS & RESOURCES
Here are my top travel tips and resources to help you save money and plan your trips effectively! If you're looking for more tips, head over to my travel tips resource page or my comprehensive guide on trip planning.
- Booking Flights: When it comes to finding great flight deals, I always start my search on Google Flights or Skyscanner. To save some cash, consider flying mid-week or on the weekends, opt for carry-on only with budget airlines, and be open to red-eye or early morning flights. Check out my in-depth guide on how I find the cheapest flights.
- Accommodations: I'm a stickler for finding the absolute best deals on my stays, so I will obsessively oscillate between a few booking sites: Booking.com (in general) and Agoda (for Asian destinations). When it comes to vacation rentals, there's Airbnb or VRBO.
- Travel Insurance: It's always a wise decision to purchase travel insurance for international trips. I can't stress this enough - it's highly recommended! For international travel insurance, I suggest considering World Nomads or SafetyWing. SafetyWing, in particular, stands out as one of the few policies that cover Covid-19. They also offer excellent monthly policies that are perfect for digital nomads and long-term travelers!
- Travel Credit Card: My go-to travel credit card for booking trips is the Wise travel card. I love that there are no foreign transaction fees, so I can pay like a local and never get any surprises at the end of my trip. You can also withdraw cash from the ATMs wherever you are. With Wise, you are always guaranteed the best exchange rate, and I have saved sooo much money just by using this card. Most of the time, I get charged the exchange rate I see on Google, plus or minus a few cents.
- Tours: Most times, I prefer traveling independently but sometimes, getting a guide and a local's perspective makes the experience all the more enriching. When it comes to tour bookings, I trust Viator and GetYourGuide to provide me with excellent options. In Asia, I choose Klook as they are the biggest provider in the region. Plus, you can often get entrance tickets and discounted prices!
- Transportation: To navigate through public transit options and plan my journeys from one place to another, I rely on Rome2Rio. When it comes to rental cars, I compare rental companies and find the best deals through DiscoverCars.
- Connection: It's essential to me to have seamless connectivity wherever I go. I need it to navigate to new places, Google what's around me, and keep in touch with my loved ones. But fumbling around with multiple SIMs has always been a nightmare, which is why I choose Airalo when I travel. No more switching SIMs, just purchase a plan on your phone, on the go, anywhere, and stay connected.
- Luggage Storage: Whenever I need to check out early or take advantage of a long layover, I securely store my luggage with LuggageHero. It's a reliable service that allows me to roam around freely. As a bonus, you can use this link to enjoy your first hour of FREE luggage storage on me!
- What to Pack: I always have packing anxiety once I've left home—you know the phantom feeling that you've forgotten something even though you've checked 372836 times. So I made my own packing list and use it religiously before every trip, and by religious I mean I tick off that list at least 7 times before I zip up my bag. Check out my in-depth packing list here.