Are you planning a trip to New York City but need help determining where to stay in NYC? This area and hotel guide will tell you everything you need about!
With so many options on where to stay in New York City, choosing can be difficult; in this article, we’ve simplified things to make choosing easier!
How you experience NYC depends on the neighborhood you decide to stay in. Many who have yet to go to New York City are unaware of this, but the city is divided into these small neighborhoods with distinct attractions and atmospheres.
I’ll be sure to share with you what areas are best for which type of visitor, whether you’re a first-time visitor or perhaps coming with a family.
Another factor regarding your hotel price depends on the area you choose to stay in when visiting New York City. Your neighborhood of choice dictates the average price for your hotel. And there’s quite a difference in hotel prices between different neighborhoods.
Seasons also dictate the price of your hotel no matter where you choose to stay; an example is visiting during December; all hotels in the city cost more because of the flood of tourists visiting to see NYC during Christmas (the most popular time to visit NYC).
Lastly, I will only discuss neighborhoods ON Manhattan island in this list. There are areas outside the island, such as Williamsburg, Jersey City, and Long Island City, with cheaper hotel prices; I will cover this at the end of this article. But keep in mind staying in any of these neighborhoods means commuting to the city by subway or taxi.
NOTE: NYC is not cheap by any means, so make sure you do these 9 Free Things in NYC!
As I recommend where to stay in New York City, I will include three differently priced accommodation options for you in each area and mention what each neighborhood is known for.
Before choosing where to stay in NYC, decide what neighborhood you’d prefer and what you’d like accessible to you.
Before your trip to New York City, could you make sure you have travel insurance? Medical attention in the US is costly.
Where to Stay in NYC # 1-2
Best Known For Shopping, Calm Neighborhood, Chic
SoHo is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in New York City. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but the history behind the neighborhood is also fascinating.
In the 1960s, Soho was still considered an up-and-coming neighborhood, home to many famous artists on their way to making it. Andy Warhol, Basquiat, and the list go on.
Today Soho is a neighborhood known for its beautiful cobblestone streets, the cast-iron architecture you can spot from far away, and boutique shops and cafes.
Unlike some areas in New York City, the city set strict laws to ensure SoHo keeps its character over the years.
Neighborhood Tip: Visit Dominque Ansel Bakery
Over the years, I’ve gone to NYC, and walking around SoHo has always been one of my favorite activities. The area overall has a chic environment to it.
The restaurants are plentiful here, and the cafes are well-decorated. And seeing the cobblestone streets and cast iron buildings never get old.
Hotel Recommendation (Luxury): Crosby Street Hotel
Hotel Recommendation (Mid-Priced): Sohotel
Hotel Recommendation (Budget): Four Points by Sheraton SoHo Village
Greenwich Village & Chelsea
Best Known For Restaurants, Neighborhood Like, Family Friendly
When it comes to quintessential New York City neighborhoods, Greenwich Village & Chelsea may take first place.
Do you know those townhouses with iron staircases you’ve seen in the movies or maybe Sex in The City? That’s Greenwich Village.
Greenwich Village is known for its restaurants; some of the best restaurants in all of NYC are in the area. It’s also home to the city’s most popular Comedy and Jazz bars and the famous Washington Square Park. Close by is also the Hudson River, offering views of Jersey City across the water.
Neighborhood Tip: Staying in Chelsea is slightly cheaper, and you’re only steps away from Greenwich Village
Just above Greenwich Village is Chelsea, most known for its famous Chelsea Market, an indoor market with a never-ending space of places to eat and shop for groceries.
Visiting the market is excellent any time of year, but in the winter especially considering it’s indoor! Close by is the new Little Island Park, which I recommend visiting.
Hotel Recommendation (Luxury): The Marlton Hotel
Hotel Recommendation (Mid-Priced): Leo House
Hotel Recommendation (Budget): Incentra Village Hotel
Where to Stay in NYC # 3-4
Best Known For Centrally Located, Close to Other Popular Neighborhoods
Situated between Soho and the East Village area is NoHo. Not known by many tourists or even New Yorkers, this area is a smaller area slowly gaining more traction.
NoHo is set in an ideal Manhattan location, and you are in the center of everything when you stay there. Small by any means, but NoHo is an excellent area choice for being central.
Neighborhood Tip: Have brunch at Lafayette Grand Cafe
South of NoHo is Little Italy, an absolute must-visit for the pizza, desserts, and charming streets. East of NoHo is the East Village, a calm neighborhood with not much going on in the daytime but lots of excellent restaurants and neighborhood-friendly streets.
North of NoHo after 14th Street is Midtown onwards, NYC’s largest area full of everything, including Times Square. And lastly, West of NoHo is SoHo and Greenwich Village, which I mentioned earlier.
Hotel Recommendation (Luxury): The Bowery Hotel
Hotel Recommendation (Mid-Priced): The Standard East Village
Hotel Recommendation (Budget): The Gatsby Hotel
Best Known For Bars, Calm Area (less daytime traffic), Neighborhood like
The East Village is a neighborhood in NYC that is not mentioned often, and that’s because it’s a calmer neighborhood for the most part.
The East Village is much more vibrant at night than in the daytime. If you’re looking for a neighborhood full of shopping, this area isn’t for you.
The East Village centers around Tompkins Square Park; the neighborhood has a lot of bars and restaurants. A personal favorite street of mine around here is St Marks Pl; it’s full of Japanese, Chinese, and other Asian restaurants.
Neighborhood Tip: Visit Tompkins Square Bagels
South of the East Village is the Lower East Side, another great area to visit, alongside the Williamsburg Bridge giving you quick access to Williamsburg in Brooklyn.
Hotel Recommendation (Luxury): The Bowery Hotel
Hotel Recommendation (Mid-Priced): Moxy NYC East Village
Hotel Recommendation (Budget): East Village Hotel
Where to Stay in NYC # 5-6
Lower East Side
Best Known For: Brunch Spots, Dive Bars, Younger Crowd
Home to so much history in NYC, the Lower East Side is where Chinatown is and was home to a long line of immigrants throughout the years when first settling in the US.
The Tenement-style buildings are still present in the Lower East Side, giving the area a distinct character similar to SoHo.
There are great brunch spots, dive bars, rooftops, and restaurants here. In the evening, the Lower East Side, in general, attracts a younger hip crowd because of its large selection of dive bars.
The area has many great places to eat, with Katz Deli being iconic since 1888 and Russ & Daughters Cafe/Brunch. And If you’re looking for a beautiful NYC rooftop in the evening, head to Mr. Purple.
Another advantage to staying in the Lower East Side is being close to so much; next door is Little Italy and SOHO.
And Delancey Street, which sits in the middle of the Lower East Side neighborhood, leads you right into Williamsburg, Brooklyn, through the Williamsburg Bridge.
Hotel Recommendation (Luxury): citizenM New York Bowery
Hotel Recommendation (Mid-Priced): The Allen Hotel
Hotel Recommendation (Budget): Leon Hotel LES
Best Known For Most Centrally Location, First Time Vistors, Tourist Obsessed individuals
You cannot get more centrally located than staying in Midtown, NYC. The area of Midtown is the biggest in New York City. Unlike the neighborhoods I spoke about earlier, Midtown is far more significant in size.
Midtown is home to just to most of the top tourist places, including the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Building, Times Square, Bryant Park, Flatiron Building, Harold Square, and last but not least, at the end of Midtown at 59th Street, you’ll end up at Central Park.
Your experience will differ depending on where you choose to stay in Midtown because Midtown is split into smaller areas such as Hells Kitchen, Garment District, Murray Hill, and more.
My advice is that you don’t stay too close to either Times Square or the Rockefeller Center, these areas are always too busy and congested.
As much as you may want to see the tourist sites, trust me, you want to enjoy fewer crowded streets in the city after seeing them.
Regarding where to stay in NYC for the first time, Midtown is the best option if you’re okay with staying in a busy tourist area.
Hotel Recommendation (Luxury): The Plaza
Hotel Recommendation (Mid-Priced): Hyatt Centric Times Square
Hotel Recommendation (Budget): Freehand New York
Where to Stay in NYC # 7-8
Upper East Side
Best Known For Fancy Restaurants, Museums, Designer Shops
The Upper East Side is known for being a residential area to those New Yorkers who’re pretty well off with families. The neighborhood has characteristics to it, the classic brownstones and high-end high-rises.
5th Avenue street runs along Central Park and the Upper East Side, so if you stay in the neighborhood, you have the most accessible access to Central Park. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) and the Guggenheim Museum are famous, notable museums in the area.
The Upper East Side takes first place when it comes to a family-friendly, calm neighborhood in NYC. It is ideal for those living with family because the area generally is less crowded with tourists. And as soon as you go south past E 59th St, you’re in Midtown.
It’s hard to find budget-friendly hotels here, so if that’s what you’re looking for, I would avoid looking in the Upper East Side. Those looking for fancy, over-the-top hotels should only be looking in the Upper East Side!
Hotel Recommendation (Luxury): The Pierre, A Taj Hotel, New York
Hotel Recommendation (Mid-Priced): The Gardens Sonesta Es Suites
Hotel Recommendation (Budget): Doesn’t exist; the Upper East Side is known for expensive hotels
Best Known For Wall Street, The Battery Park, 911 Memorial
The Financial District isn’t a popular neighborhood if you’re debating where to stay in NYC. But surprisingly, you can find great prices on hotels here, and that’s precisely why I include it in this list.
Located at the very end of Manhattan Island (NYC), the Financial District is a tad further from most things. Still, several subway stations are here, giving you quick access to any neighborhood in the city quickly.
Neighborhood Tip: Visit the iconic Delmonico’s Steak House (reopening Fall 2023)
That being said, The Financial District is home to a few things; there are several restaurants and bars in the area. Battery Park is stunning in the summer and is where all the Statue of Liberty & Governor’s island cruises take off from.
The neighborhood is also home to the 911 Memorial and NYC Stock Exchange/Charging Bull Statue, and the Brooklyn Bridge is close.
If you’re visiting in the Spring/Summer, Pier 17 is an event venue on the water where various events are held throughout the year, worth checking out.
Also, next to it is several areas to relax and enjoy views of the East River along with views of the Brooklyn Bridge. And when it’s time for dinner, head to The Fulton by Jean-Georges for delicious food and water views.
Hotel Recommendation (Luxury): The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel
Hotel Recommendation (Mid-Priced): Hotel Indigo – Wall Street
Hotel Recommendation (Budget): Artezen Hotel
Where to Stay in NYC On a Budget
Are you looking for where to stay in NYC, but you’re on a budget? Here are the cheapest neighborhoods in NYC though they aren’t technically in the city but are around NYC.
These areas are Jersey City, Long Island City, and Williamsburg.
All these areas have several subway lines operating 24 hours a day that can take you right into Manhattan. So staying in any of these neighborhoods doesn’t mean you won’t have quick access to the city.
Here are some Hotel recommendations for each neighborhood you should consider because they’re all close to the subway.
Long Island City
CODA Williamsburg (also known as McCarren Hotel & Pool)
Now, for those looking for cheaper hotels but prefer to stay on the island of Manhattan because, well, convenience. You don’t have to take the subway nearly as much if you’re staying on the island, and if you’re visiting in the Spring/Summer, you can skip the subway and walk back to your hotel.
The Lower East Side and Financial District are the cheapest neighborhoods to stay in NYC on a budget on the island of Manhattan.
Best Time to Visit NYC
New York City is beautiful at all times of the year, and that can’t be said about most cities with four seasons. But NYC is a sure exception to that.
Winter is remarkable here, especially during Christmas; we’ve all seen the movies. Spring is beautiful, seeing the city beginning to blossom.
Summer is fun because of the long day hours in a city with just so much to do. Fall in NYC is something many of us have on our bucket lists; seeing Central Park with all the leaves is a must-do.
Here is a Seasonal Weather breakdown of each season and what temperatures you should expect.
Winter (December – March): 15°F to 29°F / -9°C to -2°C
Spring (April – June): 59°F to 74°F / 15°C to 23°C
Summer (July – Sept): 72°F to 90°F / 22°C to 32°C
Fall (Oct – Nov): 50°F to 45°F / 10°C to 17°C
The best time to visit NYC is in the Spring time, late April into early June, to be specific; as mentioned earlier, NYC is beautiful throughout the year, but Spring is ideal.
In the Spring, temperatures are heating up, and days are long, but you don’t get the humid mugginess that can really make you sweat in the Summer. The city’s congestion can make it feel hotter than it already is.
Conclusion – My Favourite Areas in NYC
My favorite characteristic about New York City is that several neighborhoods make up the city, and each area is distantly different. And each area compliments what you’re looking to do that day—looking for souvenirs? Head over to Canal Street in China Town, or perhaps some Italian food? Go to Little Italy and enjoy.
When considering which neighborhood you want to stay in, look at what you’d like to have close to you, and if you’re okay with commuting more or less depending on all the attractions you want to see.
These are my 3 favorite neighborhoods in New York City, and let me tell you why.
Since visiting NYC for the first time, I have been obsessed with SOHO. The castiron buildings, the cobblestone streets, the fancy cafes, galleries, and walking in SOHO can sometimes make you feel like you’re somewhere in Europe.
SOHO is busier during the day. In the evening, it’s quieter, filled with mostly locals visiting restaurants and fewer tourists than in the day.
The restaurants here are great, and the shopping is some of the best in the city. You will get lost looking at boutiques on Spring St; there are so many.
Here are some Food Recommendations in the area:
- Balthazar (a famous French bistro)
- Dominique Ansel Bakery (the best dessert place in all of NYC)
- Sadelle’s (brunch spot in SOHO, beautiful street seating)
- Prince Street Pizza (iconic slice pizzeria, most famous for their Square Slice)
Despite being a popular touristy neighborhood, SOHO has a community feel; it’s large enough but not too large and perfectly sized.
If you prefer a neighborhood that still holds much of its history (looks-wise) and one filled with great restaurants, shopping, and chic, fashionable individuals walking around .. SOHO is for you!
Greenwich Village, also known as the West Village, is my second favorite neighborhood in NYC.
Comparing it to SOHO for a second, Greenwich Village is more community-like and less touristy. Walking around here, you will find even fewer tourists than in SOHO.
This neighborhood is famous for its restaurants, jazz bars, Washington Square Park, and its hidden streets of townhouses with stairs. If you’ve seen Sex And The City, then you know exactly what I’m talking about when referring to the famous NYC-style townhouses.
Also, for those who’ve watched FRIENDS, the apartment is in Greenwich Village (photographed below).
Being the foodie I am, I love how many great restaurants are just around the corner here. And if you want to do some shopping, you can always walk south right into SOHO within minutes.
On one side of Greenwich Village is Hudson River Park, a beautiful strip of greenery overlooking Jersey.
Here are some Food Recommendations in the area:
- L’Artusi (top-notch Italian restaurant)
- Olio E Piu (another great Italian restaurant)
- John’s Bleeker Pizza (famous pizzeria)
- Joe’s Pizza (the original location of Joe’s slice pizza, a must-try)
- Manousheh Bleeker (Lebanese restaurant known for its flatbreads)
I love Greenwich Village; If I could choose one place to live in the city, this would be it. Fewer tourists, the overall area is community-like, and there are plenty of things to do here. And it’s quite centrally located!
Lower East Side
Last but certainly not least is the Lower East Side; the area is a tad more “hip” than SOHO and Greenwich Village; overall, the crowd here is younger than SOHO and Greenwich Village. The neighborhood has its history, though.
The Lower East Side is the cheapest neighborhood to stay in amongst my favorite 3 areas in NYC.
The neighborhood is known for its dive bars and brunch spots. I love that several streets here still have Tenement-style buildings.
In the evening, streets like Orchard Street and Essex St get crowded with crowds visiting bars, so it’s hard to get bored in this neighborhood in the evening.
Here are some Food Recommendations in the area:
- Katz’s Delicatessen (one of the most iconic places to eat in all of the US)
- Russ & Daughters (Located on E Houston St, grab and go place)
- Russ & Daughter Cafe (Located on Orchard St, same place as above but sit down place)
- Sonnyboy (Australian brunch spot, also great for happy hour)
- Sauce (Italian restaurant most famous for its Pizza)
Suppose you’re staying in the neighborhood. One of the best things to do in the Lower East Side in the evening is across the Williamsburg Bridge over at Domino Park (in Williamsburg), watch the sunset, walk back on the Williamsburg Bridge into the Lower East Side, and visit a few dive-bars in the area with some good food!
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