When you choose where to stay in New York, you can be sure that you will get the feeling of being in the Big Apple, and you will likely be just a subway ride away from some of the most iconic landmarks in the world: Times Square, the Empire State building, Wall Street, the new World Trade Center, Central Park, and many others.
New York City is often referred to as being the international capital of the world, a place that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetimes. This is a city where everything seems to be iconic.
The first thing you should know about New York City is that it is the most populous in the state of New York; it is divided into five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens, and the Bronx.
All boroughs connect via ground, rail, and maritime transportation. There is a very rich diversity of life in all of the city, so the best areas to stay in New York will offer at least something for everyone.
This guide will help you learn about various districts, sections, and neighborhoods where you can safely stay in New York. Manhattan is the most popular borough and the first one visitors have in mind when they choose where to stay in New York City, but other boroughs have lodging options that are certainly worth considering.
Where to stay in New York ? Best areas and hotels to stay in New York
1. Midtown and Times Square, Best Place to Stay in New York for First-timers
Like any major city, New York has uptown, midtown, and downtown areas. Midtown New York City is the most desirable place to stay in New York, and it is often described as the district where tourists can get the true feeling of the metropolis.
Midtown is a place that already lives in your mind before you arrive; you have seen it in countless movies and also as the backdrop of many television shows. The sightseeing in Midtown is top-notch; if your stay in New York is entirely spent in this district, you will have seen and experienced a lot of what the city has to offer.
From theater to shopping and from sightseeing to dining, Midtown has it all, and it also has the greatest concentration of iconic buildings. If you are a fan of architecture, Midtown is where you will want to stay in New York, and the same goes for visitors who are into the performing arts because Times Square is just blocks away from the renowned Broadway Theater District.
Midtown is highly recommended to those who prefer a more pedestrian approach to their vacations; even though you should take at least one subway ride for the experience, you can actually cover all of the city’s major tourism attractions when you stay here.
You will invariably visit Times Square for its billboards, which sine 2012 have been synchronized to put on a show just minutes before midnight. At any given time, you can find interesting public art installations for the benefit of visitors and all passerby.
The television studios of various television productions, including the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, are taped in various studios around Times Square, and you can get free tickets. As for Broadway, we all know about top shows such as The Lion King, Hamilton, and Aladdin.
In terms of museums, you have Madame Tussaud’s, the Morgan Library, the Museum of Modern Art (highly recommended), the USS Intrepid, and more.
Although the Empire State building is no longer the tallest in the world, it is still worth a visit to its observation deck.
Here are some lodging ideas in Midtown:
Upscale: The Intercontinental New York Barclay is one of the city’s most recommended 5-star hotels, and it is often mentioned as one of the best places to stay in New York. Located just a five-minute walk away from Times Square, this hotel offers everything you expect from luxury accommodations, including in-room refrigerator, a modern fitness center, a gourmet restaurant, a luxurious lounge, truly dedicated concierge service, and more.
Mid-Range: The City Club Hotel is located in a historic building that has been thoroughly renovated as a boutique property. Located just a few blocks away from the Theater District, guests of this hotel get a small bookshelf with reading recommendations in every room; moreover, they can also connect to a secure Wi-Fi network for free. The City Club onsite restaurant gets many positive reviews.
Budget: City Rooms NYC is located on the boundary between Chelsea and Midtown. The small rooms feature artwork and guests get free Wi-Fi access. This renovated guest house has a nice and friendly atmosphere located near Penn Station, thus making it ideal for travelers who plan to visit various districts when they stay in New York.
2. Upper West Side, Best Area to Stay in New York for Families
This neighborhood is located across Central Park from the Upper East Side, and it competes in terms of affluence and museums. This is a family-friendly section of New York City, and it offers plenty of museums, art galleries, bistros, and shops.
After Midtown, the Upper West Side is the most iconic and representative districts of Manhattan; this is where you can find the world-famous Children’s Museum of Manhattan, The Hayden Planetarium, the American Folk Museum, the Grand Bazaar, and many other landmarks that feel like they can only be found in New York.
The western section of Central Park is the one that tends to be featured more often in films and television shows.
When planning your stay in New York City, keep the following hotels in mind:
Upscale: The Mandarin Oriental international chain of hotels is known for its luxury approach to hospitality, and this is certainly the case with this location, which shares space with the Time Warner Center. Some of the best views of Manhattan can be appreciated from this hotel. The spa experience and the Tea Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental are superb, and guests can enjoy Asian fusion cuisine at the award-winning Restaurant Asiate.
Mid-Range: Hotel Beacon offers large suites complete with kitchenettes and seating areas that are very popular with families who stay in New York on museum tours. The sofa in the living rooms of suites unfolds into a bed. The American Museum of Natural History is only three blocks away.
Budget: The Broadway Hotel and Hostel offers both private rooms and dormitory-style accommodations that need to be booked in advance because they are often sold-out. This hotel is located in a very quiet section of the Upper East Side, and it is not far from a Metro subway station. Amenities include free Wi-Fi for guests plus a community theater room complete with an adjacent library warmed by a fireplace.
3. Upper East Side, Best Neighborhood in NYC for Museums
Every corner of this district feels evokes the feeling of affluence, and this goes back to the time when New York was a Dutch jurisdiction known as New Amsterdam. Shortly after the English took possession of the territory from Dutch colonies, wealthy families began settling in the Upper East, and this tradition remains to this very day.
This district is filled with interesting museums; It is home to Museum Mile, including the world famous Metropolitan Museum of Art, or The Guggenheim, and a lot of less known museums as the Park Avenue Armory.
Park Avenue Armory is an arts space that used to house the Seventh New York Militia before being used by a combat regiment of the United States National Guard, and its soldiers used to be known as silk stockings infantrymen because they came from elite families.
If you choose to plan your stay in New York in this district, you will invariably spend more.
Here are some recommendations for staying in the Upper East Side:
Upscale: The Mark New York is on the east side of Central Park, and it is one of the most opulent hotels in the United States. The rooms are finished with marble and sycamore, and details such as a mini television screen in the soaking tub remind you that The Mark is definitely a luxury hotel. You do not even have to bring a laptop computer when staying here because one can be rented from the concierge desk. If you are interested in luxury fashion, you will find Gucci, Prada, Cartier, and Chanel shops right around the corner.
Mid-Range: The Bentley Hotel looks like a very expensive hotel, but it is actually pretty reasonable unless you book a suite with panoramic views of the East River. Guests have access to a fitness center, a business conference room, ironing board in every room, and breakfast a la carte. The eight major museums of the Upper East Side are within walking distance.
Budget: The Franklin Hotel is relatively affordable when considering its location, but it may still seem pricey to budget travelers. This pet-friendly boutique hotel pampers guests with complimentary cheese and wine tastings during the evening.
4. Lower East Side, Bohemian Vibe close to Chinatown and Little India
This part of the city used to be a derelict district, but that all changed during the administration of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. These days, the Lower East Side is a trendy and upscale district that offers visitors glimpses of artistic legacy; after all, this is where punk rock was born in the legendary CBGB club.
This neighborhood has really cleaned up but it still features a nice bohemian vibe; it is recommended for younger travelers who wish to get an authentic experience when they stay in New York. At any given time, you can find street fairs and impromptu street performances happening in the Lower East Side.
If the Lower East Side is in your itinerary during your stay in New York, you may want to consider the following hotels:
Upscale: Sixty LES is a hotel where you can really enjoy your stay in New York. This is one of the few hotels in New York City with a rooftop swimming pool and lounge; as one of the high-rise towers of the Lower East Side, it offers a panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline. Other amenities include a sushi restaurant and even a beer garden.
Mid-Range: The Fairfield Inn & Suites is a stylish modern hotel with free Wi-Fi access and flat screen televisions in every room. If you plan to stay in New York for business purposes, you will find the Fairfield Inn very convenient thanks to its quiet location and their in-room desks; plus, it is just three blocks away from the nearest subway station.
Budget: The Blue Moon Boutique Hostel has been serving budget travelers and backpackers since 2009. The cafe area offers gourmet pastries and fresh fruit sourced from local markets. This hotel sits on a small hill, thus providing a nice view of the city, and it is relatively quiet.
5. Soho and Tribeca, Where to Stay in New York for Shopping and Classy Restaurants
You have probably heard about Manhattan’s various upscale neighborhoods, and this is certainly the case with the areas South of Houston and the Triangle Below Canal Street, more commonly known as Soho and Tribeca.
Quite a few television and film celebrities have lived in this district for many years, and you should not be surprised if you run into a celebrity if you choose this district when you stay in New York.
Art galleries, museums, classy restaurants, chic bars, and very expensive boutiques are among the highlights of Soho and Tribeca. Many visitors say that this part of Lower Manhattan feels like it has been transplanted from a luxury city neighborhood in Europe.
Lodging recommendation for Soho and Tribeca include:
Upscale: The Dominick Hotel is for travelers with ample budgets. Aside from being very aesthetic, this hotel offers four restaurants and a spa. The upper levels of The Dominick have floor-to-ceiling windows that provide panoramic views of the Hudson River and part of the skyline.
Mid-Range: Sohotel is very close to the Little Italy restaurant district, and it is often chosen by visitors who want to experience great dining when they stay in New York. Even though this is a reasonably priced hotel, it offers 24-hour concierge service because that is what you would expect from a Soho property.
Budget: 138 Bowery is the rare budget-friendly option in SoHo, a part of the city that is known for its upmarket prices. The rooms are tastefully decorated, and they offer flat-screen televisions plus a seating area. The hotel is next door to a fashion shopping district, and the lounge area is in a nice terrace.
6. Greenwich Village, Where to Stay in New York for Nightlife
Culture, history and nightlife are the reasons travelers choose Greenwich village when they stay in New York. Washington Square Park is one of the few places in the United States where you can find a monumental arch, and it is also home to historic landmarks such as the Blue Note Jazz Club, the Stonewall Inn, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the expansive New York University campus.
There are not many places to stay in this district; for this reason, booking a room can be tricky during music and film festivals as well as special exhibits at the Whitney. Long-term stays at temporary rental apartments may be a better bet, but they can also be expensive.
Here are a few hotel options in and around Greenwich Village;
Upscale: The Standard, High Line New York is an amazing place for your stay in New York, and it is located in a very trendy part of town. Like all other properties developed and managed by The Standard Group, this one is very stylish and offers spacious rooms that feature minibars stocked with gourmet snacks. There is also a beer garden, an American steakhouse, a very trendy nightclub, and lots of free comforts such as bathrobes, and spa toiletries.
Mid-Range: Incentra Village Hotel is a pretty reasonable option for being located in the heart of an upscale district. This is more of a boutique hotel that occupies a few brownstone buildings that used to be Victorian mansions. Guests have access to Wi-Fi, and walking to the nearest Metro station takes about 10 minutes. This is a very quiet part of town that does not feel like many other places in Manhattan.
Budget: The Jane Hotel is a boutique property with a very interesting interior decoration scheme. Everything about The Jane Hotel is nautical; even the rooms resemble the cabins of old sailing ships. The location of this hotel is very convenient for travelers interested in nightlife because there are quite a few dance clubs nearby.
7. Chelsea, Art Galleries
Named after the affluent neighborhood of London, Chelsea is a small neighborhood that offers many attractions for tourists. First of all, this is one of the most pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods in Manhattan; it is where the High Line park sits above the traffic congestion below, and it is a must for visitors.
Chelsea is the neighborhood with the highest concentrations of art galleries in the city; it is also very close to Midtown Manhattan and can rightfully claim to be the district where Madison Square Garden is located, which means that you can actually walk to catch NBA games with the New York Knicks.
Chelsea has many hotels to choose from. When planning where to stay in New York, you will want to keep the following in mind:
Upscale: The High Line Hotel is where you want to stay if money is not a problem. This is a hotel that truly knows how to pamper guests; from spa toiletries to complimentary snacks in the minibar and from smart television sets to Jawbone digital audio players, you will likely enjoy your stay at The High Line Hotel. A nice touch provided by this hotel is the bicycle rental service, which allows you to explore the High Line park and travel through the neighborhood on its many bike lanes.
Mid-Range: The Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan Chelsea is a hotel popular with families who stay in New York for a few days. As you can expect from a Sheraton property, the rooms are comfortable and spacious; the Westside Brewhouse is an Irish pub located within the hotel, and every room offers complimentary bottled water and gourmet coffee. Being located less than a mile away from the Chelsea Waterside Park on the Hudson River is one of the reasons many families choose to stay here. The hotel gym is open 24 hours a day.
Budget: The Chelsea Pines Inn is a modest hotel that has been upgraded from its days when this district used to be home to boarding houses and hostels. This is more like a bed-and-breakfast arrangement, but it offers 24-hour concierge service, something that is not typical at budget accommodations. Free snacks such as cookies and candy are a nice touch, and the High Line Park is just five blocks away.
8. Chinatown, Best Neighborhood for Lovers of Asian Cuisine
For great dining and shopping, you can beat the Chinatown district of Manhattan. Chinatown is one of many ethnic neighborhoods that have historically defined Manhattan, it is a pretty good place to stay in New York despite having become a bit crowded in recent years.
This district connects to Little Italy and the Lower East Side, so staying here would be strategic for smart travelers. Chinatown has the look and feel of a city neighborhood in Hong Kong, but it is far more affordable.
Lovers of Asian cuisine should note that this district is second only to San Francisco in terms of Chinese American restaurants, and it blends right into the restaurant row of Little Italy, thus making it a gastronomical paradise.
One thing you should keep in mind when visiting Chinatown is that pickpockets are very active here because many people visit the shopping districts.
Here are some good places to evaluate when staying in Chinatown:
Upscale: The Wyndham Garden Chinatown is frequented by Asian business travelers who want a mix of luxury, comfort, and convenience when they stay in New York. Many Chinese and Asian languages are spoken, and guests can pay with WeChat, AliPay, and UnionPay. Room furniture is handmade, and if you book a suite you will get a nice balcony lounge. Gourmet coffee and spa toiletries are included.
Mid-Range: Hotel Mimosa is a good example of Asian hospitality in New York, and it is offered at very reasonable prices. Complimentary coconut-flavored bubble tea is available from the front desk as well as gourmet espresso, teas, and snacks. You can dock your smartphone in every room and take advantage of the laundry services; plus, quite a few highly-rated restaurants are located nearby.
Budget: The Canal Loft Hostel is highly recommended to economy travelers who are looking for comfort and safety when they stay in New York. Chinatown has a few hostels, but they are mostly for newly arrived Chinese migrants and not for tourists. At the Canal Loft Hostel, you get Wi-Fi and a large shared lounge. Each room has a private shower and hairdryer; depending on the time you book your room, you may even get one that offers a nice view of the skyline.
9. Wall Street and the Financial District, Best Area to Stay in New York for Business Travelers
Most of Lower Manhattan is comprised of the numerous financial institutions located within the Financial District, which happens to be the oldest part of the city.
Many business travelers who stay in New York for a few days choose the Financial District because they know it has a lot to offer aside from being home to the Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange, both of which offer guided tours that are worth taking advantage of; after all, this is the financial capital of the world.
Ever since the 9/11 Memorial was completed a few years ago, the Financial District has emerged as a tourism powerhouse, and some older skyscrapers have been given new purpose as hotels.
When booking a hotel in this section of Manhattan, you will find that weekends are far more affordable because business travelers have already left.
Here are a few interesting hotels in the Financial District:
Upscale: Courtyard by Marriott New York Downtown Manhattan is an imposing high-rise tower offering hundreds of luxurious rooms and suites. You have a choice of vistas in the upper levels; some rooms look out into the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty while others are oriented towards the Manhattan skyline. Every major attraction in the district is within walking distance, including the World Trade Center Memorial, the waterside Battery Park and marina, and the New York Stock Exchange.
Mid-Range: The Hampton Inn Manhattan is a favorite of many business travelers and families who want to save a few dollars while still getting plenty of comforts. Instead of a continental breakfast you get a full hot breakfast buffet experience. Walking to the South Street Seaport, which is located at the tip of Manhattan, takes about 15 minutes, and this is where you can book trips around the Hudson Harbor.
Budget: WeLive Wall Street is part of the WeWork family of shared working spaces, and it is one of the most affordable spots on Wall Street. This interesting concept of a hotel is very modern and stylish; the interiors feature an aesthetic look and even the community kitchen boasts a designer style. The shared lounges are several steps above what you would expect in a budget hotel.
10. Staten Island, Good Choice for Smart Travelers
Although it may not feel like it, New York City is a group of islands on the Hudson Bay and the New York Harbor. Staten Island is a ferry trip away from Lower Manhattan, and it is often chosen as a strategic place to stay in New York by smart travelers who wish to save on lodging.
The Staten Island Ferry is a free and scenic trip that sails past the Statue of Liberty, and it is a pleasure to ride once or twice a day during your stay in New York.
Staten Island is called “The Unexpected Borough” because there is plenty to do and explore therein. If you are looking for history, for example, in Staten Island you can visit Sandy Ground, the oldest African-American settlement in the United States.
There are two maritime museums in this borough, and there is also Fort Wadsworth, a historic military installation that sits at the foot of the bridge connecting Staten Island with Brooklyn.
If you choose Staten Island as your vacation base in New York, consider these recommendations:
Upscale: Hilton Garden Inn New York/Staten Island is very close to the Newark Liberty International Airport, and it is frequented by business travelers who travel to the Financial District daily on the Staten Island Ferry. This hotel feels like a country club from the Victorian era, and it is in fact close to a few country clubs and golf courses. Shuttle service to the airport and the ferry terminal are provided for free.
Mid-Range: Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott New York Staten is comfortable and reasonably priced. Guests can enjoy a restaurant, a lounge area, a modern exercise room, and free Wi-Fi. A wildlife refuge is located nearby, and you can take a taxi to the Heartland Village Mall to shop for bargains.
Budget: The Fort Place Bed and Breakfast is part of a few alternatives to hotels and hostels that have emerged in Staten Island over the last few years. The Victorian architecture and interior decoration are certainly worth the low price of this hotel, which even includes a full kitchen for guests who wish to prepare their own meals.
11. Queens, Where to Stay in New York on a Budget
As the most ethnically diverse borough of New York City, Queens is a place where you can plan an entire vacation. Exploring the various neighborhoods and districts of this borough can feel like taking a trip around the world, and you are always just a subway trip away from Manhattan.
Some travelers who are into gastronomical tourism prefer to stay in Queens because the restaurants are more authentic and more affordable than in Manhattan.
The following hotels will give an idea of what Queens has to offer:
Upscale: Wyndham Garden LaGuardia South is a hotel located near the LaGuardia International Airport. Each room is equipped with a mini refrigerator and a microwave oven. The Queens Botanic Gardens, a popular attraction in this borough, is a taxicab ride away. The BLVD Bistro and Bar serves gourmet meals and fine cocktails, and you can work at the desk in each room or at the business center in the hotel.
Mid-Range: Hotel Indigo – Flushing is among the best choices for travelers looking for reasonably priced accommodations. This modern hotel caters to drivers with private parking, and it also provides a gym, a cocktail lounge, and a restaurant. Free Wi-Fi plus shuttle service to the airport are included.
Budget: The Local Hostel NYC Of all the hostels is one of the best in Queens, and it offers a gorgeous view of the skyline from across the East River. Both dormitory accommodations and private rooms are available, and guests can enjoy coffee, beer, tea, cocktails, and snacks on premise
12. Brooklyn, Best Place to Stay in New York Outside Manhattan
As the most populous borough of New York City, Brooklyn has only recently gotten into the tourism industry thanks to the development of districts such as Williamsburg and Greenpoint, which have become extremely trendy hotspots.
Thanks to this transformation, new tourism attractions and hotels have been created for the convenience of visitors. Even though Brooklyn should by all means be more affordable than Manhattan, which is just across the river taking the pedestrian bridge, the trendy status of the borough can make it a bit pricey.
Here are some hotels you may want to evaluate when staying in Brooklyn:
Upscale: The William Vale is an amazing work of architecture located in Williamsburg. Ever since it was completed a few years ago, it has been attracting celebrity guests thanks to luxury amenities such as balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, a swimming pool, and rainfall showers. The three restaurants in this hotel are managed by award-winning chefs.
Mid-Range: Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott New York Brooklyn offers everything you should expect from a Marriott property at very reasonable prices and with a Brooklyn flair. Highly recommended to couples and families.
Budget: The International Students Residences is a hostel that has been remodeled to match the architecture and style of Williamsburg. Getting to Times Square from this hostel takes about 20 minutes.