New York is probably the most popular city in the world. The ‘Big Apple’ is a goldmine of sights, sounds, foods, and experiences that you will be hard-pressed to find anywhere else on earth!

But looking for a great place to sleep in America’s coolest city can be a challenge and quite expensive, which is why we wrote this guide to the 5 best hostels in New York. 

Our handy guide is unlike anything else on the web, as we have organized the hostels based on YOUR travel needs. So whether you are looking to save as much money as possible, or party as hard as possible, whether you want a private room in Midtown Manhattan or a dorm within walking distance of Columbus Circle, no problem! We’ve got you covered and will help choose the perfect hostel for you.

So let’s dive right in and take a look at some of the very best hostels in New York City!

Times square lit up for pride month. New York, USA
Lose yourself in the bright lights of glittering New York!
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

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Quick Answer: The Best Hostels in New York

What to Expect when Staying in a New York Hostel

Booking a hostel instead of a hotel comes with loads of perks. One of them is obviously the way more affordable price (which is great since New York is expensive), but there’s even more waiting for you. The one thing that makes hostels really stand out is the incredible social vibe. You can meet travellers from all over the world by sharing common spaces and staying in dorms—it’s a great way to make new friends!

When backpacking New York, you’ll find all sorts of different hostels. The good news is that although the cheap hostels in New York aren’t crappy, they are of the highest quality and will provide you with a ton of bang for your buck! In particular, keep an eye out for free breakfasts, free storage or free security lockers to keep your valuables safe. These little things (especially the hugely important first meal of the day!) can really add up.

Luckily, most hostels are focused on being very affordable while still offering high value. The general rule is: the bigger the dorm, the cheaper the nightly rate. If you go for a private hostel room, you’ll end up paying a bit more, but it’s still more affordable than New York’s hotels. We did some research and listed the average price that you can expect for a hostel in New York:

  • Private Rooms: $45–55
  • Dorms (mixed or female-only): $15–28
Best Hostels in New York
The Big Apple is expensive—our list of the best hostels in New York will help you save some cash.

When looking for a hostel, you’ll find most New York hostels on HOSTELWORLD. There you can check out photos, detailed information about the place and even reviews from previous guests. Just like other booking platforms, each hostel will have a rating, so you can easily pick out the hidden gems! Don’t expect cheap New York hostels that offer these low prices to be in Manhattan. Instead, look at hostels in Brooklyn or in other borough areas. To find the best hostels in New York, check out these three neighbourhoods:

  • Midtown – This neighbourhood is home to famous architecture, vibrant streets, and world-renowned landmarks.
  • Lower East Side – Eclectic and vibrant, the Lower East Side is a neighbourhood that seamlessly blends history and modern times.
  • East Village – With its youthful vibe and independent spirit, East Village is one of the most dynamic and distinct neighbourhoods in New York.
  • Williamsburg – Williamsburg isn’t just the coolest neighbourhood in New York City, it’s a hotspot for music, fashion, food, art, and nightlife.
  • Upper West Side – The Upper West Side is a classic New York neighbourhood and the best place to stay in New York for families.

You can see how it’s important to find out where to stay in New York before you book your hostel. Do your research beforehand and have an even better trip!

The 5 Best Hostels in New York

Check out our top New York hostels for an epic stay in the Big Apple. From the best cheap hostels in New York to digital nomads and the ultimate party hostel go-ers, you’re sure to find the NYC hostel that’s perfect for you in this list!

1. Chelsea International Hostel – Overall Best Hostel in New York

Chelsea International Hostel, one of the best NY hostels
Great location and well-priced, Chelsea International Hostel is one of the top New York hostels.
  • Dorm (mixed): 75$/night
  • Private room: 95$/night
  • Location: 251 West 20th Street, New York

One of the biggest independent backpacker hostels in New York, Chelsea International Hostel is a top place to meet new people and have fun. There are some insane freebies too—in addition to the free continental breakfast each morning and the free Wi-Fi, travellers can beat the midweek blues by tucking into free pizza every Wednesday evening! I mean, free NYC pizza? You’ve got me sold!

There are free in-room lockers to use too at Chelsea, though you’ll need your own padlock. The hostel is in a great location and is one of the best places to stay in Manhattan. The subway is right outside and you’re just a few steps from Grand Central station, the Empire State Building and Central Park. It’s got to be one of the most conveniently located NYC hostels! In fact, this was the first place I stayed at when I visited as a poor-ass student back in the day, and the location was second to none! Close to public transport and many sights, but also close to heaps of cheap places to eat too which was super helpful on the pocket.

Why you’ll love this hostel:

  • Manhattan Location
  • Free Pizza
  • Free Wi-Fi

There’s a bathroom on every floor at Chelsea International Hostel, and other facilities include outdoor seating in the courtyard, a lounge, two kitchens, and a dining area. It’s one of the cheapest hostels in the city, and our pick for the overall best hostel in New York. The Manhattan location takes Chelsea to the next level and makes it honestly unbeatable!

The property might be a proper hostel with vibes to match, but it doesn’t just offer dorms but private rooms too, so it’s got something for everyone. Also, the dorms are single beds rather than bunks so you won’t feel overcrowded, and each room comes with AC in the summer, which is awesome. There are plenty of bathrooms to go around too so no waiting in line when you need to hit the head!

2. Jazz on the Park Youth Hotel – Best Hostel for Solo Travellers in New York

Jazz on the Park Youth Hotel, one of the best NY hostels
Jazz on the Park Youth Hotel is a great pick for one of the top hostels in New York for solo travellers.

Although Jazz on the Park Youth Hotel may be a bit of a pricey hostel in New York’s trendy Upper West Side, the sociable atmosphere, sense of fun, terrific location, and top-notch facilities make it a top New York hostel for solo travellers. Sometimes it’s worth spending a few extra dollars to be in the right location and to get a vibe that matches your personality and travel style. Accommodation really can make a difference in your experience of a city.

You will be close to heaps of attractions which are within walking distance such as Central Park, and the subway is close at hand too so you can easily get to the best places to visit in New York like the Empire State Building, Columbus Circle, and Grand Central Terminal. You’ll be located right at the heart of all the action so whether you’re going sightseeing, eating out or hitting the bars, you’re never too far from where you want to be!

Why you’ll love this hostel:

  • Trendy Location
  • Free Linens and Towels
  • BBQ Parties

The cool lounge and coffee bar at Jazz on the Park are great places to swap travelling tales with other backpackers, and in the summer months, the BBQs are sure to put a smile on your face. Pub crawls are also arranged in the warmer months, and the hostel tour desk will be happy to take care of your daytime adventures around New York City.

In terms of sleeping arrangements, there are a few different options on offer and Jazz on the Park is ideal for solo travellers, groups and couples alike. It offers some great dorm rooms of different sizes—they’re not super fancy but they do the job, plus they’re clean and comfy. There are also single and double private rooms so even if you’re travelling on your own, you can get a room to yourself if you just need the space. Bathrooms are conveniently located on each floor to share with the rooms but there are plenty of facilities for each room as well!

3. Q4 Hotel – Best Cheap Hostel in New York

Q4 Hotel best hostels in New York
Cheap doesn’t mean bad. Our pick for the best cheap hostel in New York is Q4.
  • Dorm (mixed): 62$/night
  • Private room: 180$/night
  • Location: 2909 Queens Plaza North, New York

The best budget hostel in New York City, Q4 Hotel offers plenty of bang for your buck and is suitable for students and backpackers alike. Located in a lively part of Queens, the newly renovated hostel offers a different experience to being in Manhattan and going through a typical New York itinerary. Out here you get to see a much more local side of NYC and at the same time save money. It’s also less frantic if you want to escape some of that New York madness whilst still being in a vibrant area.

Q4 has a communal kitchen and dining area as well as a brightly coloured den with comfy seating, a book exchange, and a movie area with a large screen. With the free Wi-Fi and games area with a pool table and ping-pong, you’ll never be bored if you decide to spend the evening in. That’s got to make Q4 one of the most kitted-out youth hostels in New York City!

Why you’ll love this hostel:

  • Located in Queens
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Games Area with Pool Table and Ping-Pong

All dorm guests have a large locker and access to the hostel is by key card. There are single-sex and mixed dorms in various sizes so you can be sure to always feel safe and secure when staying at this top hostel. There are also private double rooms with their own private bathroom on offer if that’s more your thing. Most dorm rooms also have their own bathrooms, so no hopping from foot to foot in the morning while someone takes a long shower!

You will have access to a kitchen at Q4 as well as to tea and coffee-making facilities so you can save even more money and make your own food. Being outside of Manhattan, though, you will be sure to find some affordable local spots to eat if you do decide to head out for food instead. There’s also air conditioning for the hot New York summers and heating for the cold winters, so you’ll always be super comfy here!

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Aether Backpack

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4. Hi NYC Hostel – Best Party Hostel in New York

Hostelling International New York best hostels in New York
Free bar crawls and club tours make Hi NYC Hostel the best party hostel in New York!
  • Dorm (mixed): 60-70$/night
  • Location: 891 Amsterdam Avenue, NY 10025-4403, New York

Hi NYC Hostel might not be an actual real castle, but the cool building certainly does a good impression of one. The varied program of events each night makes it the best party hostel in New York for sure! Imagine—partying in a castle, heading out on a free bar crawl every night and then joining clubbing tours over a happening New York weekend. Mind = blown!

Why you’ll love this hostel:

  • Castle-like Hostel Building
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Free Bar Crawls and Clubbing Tours

There are in-house events most nights of the week too at Hi NYC Hostel, including variety shows, music, and comedy. The daytime tours are affordable too. Chill out and mingle in the impressive common area—there are over two floors dedicated to your fun times! With a huge kitchen (complete with a staggering 36 burners!), a spacious patio, a movie room, games room, free Wi-Fi, and 24-hour lounges, what more could you ask for?

5. The Local – Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in New York

The Local best hostels in New York
The Local is our pick for the coolest hostel in New York and is also perfect for working professionals and digital nomads.
  • Dorm (mixed): 57$/night
  • Private room: 194$/night
  • Location: 13-02 44th Avenue, Queens, New York

Probably the coolest hostel in New York, the award-winning ‘The Local’ is also the best hostel in New York for digital nomads. There’s a computer room where you can put your head down and get cracking on those deadlines in a quiet environment, as well as free Wi-Fi throughout the hostel.

Why you’ll love this hostel:

  • Computer Room
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Bar, Roof Terrace, and Movie Lounge

When all your work’s done, mingle with other travellers in the bar, watch the sunset from the roof terrace, or chill in the movie lounge. This family-run hostel hosts various events too such as comedy evenings and wine tasting. There are also kitchen and laundry facilities, so you can save money!

Travel with peace of mind. Travel WITH a security belt.
Active Roots Security Belt

Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

It looks exactly like a normal belt except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash, a passport photocopy or anything else you may wish to hide. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)

Hide Yo’ Money!

More Epic Hostels in New York

Not happy with your options yet? Have no fear, we’ve got loads more epic New York hostels coming for you! Make sure you know what kind of travel needs you have in order to find the perfect place for you.

6. The Brooklyn Riviera

The Brooklyn Riviera, one of the best NY hostels
A super-cheap hostel in New York, The Brooklyn Riviera is a great budget hostel option.
  • Dorm (mixed): 40$/night
  • Location: 781 Prospect Place, Brooklyn, New York

The Brooklyn Riviera is one of the best hostels in Brooklyn and one of the cheapest hostels in New York, making it a great choice for travellers and students who are looking for a budget backpackers’ pad in Brooklyn. Despite being out in Brooklyn, you’re just a 10-minute walk from the A Train and C Train lines so you can get anywhere you want to from here.

Dorms can accommodate 4 or 6 people, and there are separate dorms for females as well as mixed dorms, so there are plenty of options at The Brooklyn Riviera. A basic breakfast is included in the price (with BBQs each week) and there is free Wi-Fi too. There’s a common room with a TV and a Wii, or you can relax outdoors in the yard. Being in Brooklyn you get a bit more of a local feel and the hostel is still only a 30-minute train ride to places like the Empire State Building, Central Park and Manhattan’s historical Gramercy Park.

7. Jazz on Columbus Circle

Jazz on Columbus Circle best hostels in New York
Clean, safe and modern, Jazz on Colombus is the best hostel with a private room in New York.

Located close to the sprawling Central Park, Jazz on Columbus Circle is a clean, modern, and safe youth hostel in New York. The rooms and building are accessed by key card, and all guests have a locker for added safety. There are comfy mixed and female-only dorms for 4, 5, and 6, or you can check into a private en-suite double room. With a lounge on each floor, there are plenty of places to chill and chat as well as free Wi-Fi to keep in touch with loved ones back home! You can choose to mingle with your new friends indoors or head out to some of the best NYC brunch spots.

8. NY Moore Hostel

NY Moore Hostel best hostels in New York
With plenty of activities, NY Moore Hostel is one of the top hostels in New York.
  • Dorm (mixed): 50$/night
  • Private room: 180$/night
  • Location: 179 Moore Street, New York

A top hostel for solo travellers in New York, NY Moore Hostel has a sociable vibe and small dorm rooms. Mixed and female-only dorms sleep from 3 to 6, and each dorm has its own bathroom. Meet other travellers in the comfy common room or out in the courtyard.

A game of pool or foosball, a board-game playoff, or a PS3 bonanza is a great way to break the ice with fellow backpackers. There’s a tour desk to assist with your New York day trips and sightseeing and other facilities include a communal kitchen (complete with a dishwasher so no need to wash up), a book exchange, bike parking, free Wi-Fi, lockers, and luggage storage. Other perks include 24-hour security and housekeeping services.

9. American Dream Hostel

American Dream Hostel best hostels in New York
American Dream Hostel is well designed and has good vibes—no doubt a top hostel in New York.
  • Private room: 141$/night
  • Location: 168 East 24th Street, between Lexington and 3rd Av, New York

Wake up! American Dream Hostel is a terrific base to explore New York! The family-run youth hostel in New York can be found in Manhattan’s Flatiron district, with many of the city’s most iconic sights just a short walk away. There are bathrooms on each floor and bunk beds in private rooms for 2 and 3. Of course, the single rooms have just one bed—no need to climb a ladder!

Start each day with a filling and free breakfast, cook up a treat in the communal kitchen, surf the free Wi-Fi, keep your stuff safe in security lockers, chillax in the common room, and challenge your pals to a board game.

10. Freehand New York

Freehand New York, one of the best NY hostels
  • Private room: 209$/night
  • Location: 23 Lexington Avenue, New York

Located in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighborhood, Freehand New York is an award-winning swanky hotel–hostel that is a recommended New York hostel for couples seeking something that’s a bit more than just a standard NYC hostel.

You can choose between private rooms or dorm-style accommodations, and all rooms feature a private en-suite bathroom. You will have access to the property’s renowned on-site restaurant as well!

With a smart TV, coffee machine, free Wi-Fi, and daily housekeeping services, the fancy Freehand New York certainly offers hotel-quality service at hostel prices!

What to Pack for your New York Hostel

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out our definitive Hostel Packing list for even more top hostel packing tips!

FAQs on Hostels in New York

Here are some questions backpackers ask about New York hostels.

How much does a hostel cost in New York?

The average price that you can expect for a hostel in New York ranges from $15–28 for dorms (mixed or female-only), while private rooms cost around $45–55.

What are the best hostels in New York for couples?

Freehand New York is the recommended hostel for couples in New York. It’s comfy and in a great location in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighborhood.

What are the best hostels in New York near the airport?

Q4 Hotel, our best cheap hostel in New York, is 4.3 miles from LaGuardia Airport. It’s budget-friendly, has a communal kitchen and dining area, and is located in Queens.

Travel Safety Tips for New York

There’s more information than we can list here, so have a look at our NYC safety guide for specific advice for your travel style.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

More Epic Hostels in the US and North America

Hopefully, by now, you’ve found the perfect hostel for your upcoming trip to New York. If not, then maybe consider a New York eco-lodge, a New York Airbnb or a New York VRBO?!

Planning an epic trip all across the USA or even North America itself?

Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered! For more cool hostel guides around North America, check out:

Final Thoughts on the Best Hostels in New York

If you are going to travel to New York, plan to have the time of your life! But as a budget traveller, don’t lose track of your spending!

With the help of this guide, we hope you’ll be able to book your cheap New York hostel quickly so you can focus on what’s important—eating as much New York pizza as humanly possible!

And remember, in case you can’t decide, we recommend booking Chelsea International Hostel—our top pick for the best overall NYC hostel!

Heading to New York and looking for something epic to do? My friend Jessie runs New York City Photography Tours and Broke Backpacker readers get $10 off—just use the code BROKEBACKPACKER 🙂

By now I hope our epic guide to the best hostels in New York has helped you choose the perfect hostel for your adventure!

If you think we’ve missed anything or have any further thoughts, hit us up in the comments!

Don’t wait, just pack your bags for NYC and take a nice big bite of the Big Apple already!

Spring in New York (Best NY hostels)
Captivating New York in the springtime.

Updated May 2023

Looking for more info on travelling to New York and USA?