In contrast to the laid-back beaches of the Philippine islands, Manila will greet you with the vibrant energy of the country’s densely populated capital city.

Manila is a city PACKED with action and adventure. It has a vibrant nightlife and dynamic culture, a rich history, delectable food, and plenty of exciting things to see and do.

The city has a unique mosaic of Spanish colonial architecture and incredible skyscrapers. The cultural landscape of Manila is a result of its rich history and mix of Spanish, American and Asian traditions. You’ll see this flow through the city’s cuisine, arts, music and more.

Manila is undeniably a massive city and choosing where to stay in Manila can be overwhelming. But don’t worry that pretty head of yours. That’s why I’ve put together this in-depth guide on the best areas, places to stay and things to do in Manila.

So, whether you’re looking to have a few drinks, save a few dollars, or find the best food in town, this guide will show you everything you need to know… and so much more! You’ll be the expert on the areas of Manila and ready to book your stay in the city in no time.

So, let’s get into the good stuff and figure out where in Manila is best for you.

Where to Stay in Manila

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Manila.

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The Peninsula Manila | Best Hotel in Manila

The Peninsula Manila is an excellent four-star hotel in Manila. Guests have access to a swimming pool, a sauna and a fitness centre. Each room comes complete with a mini bar, a spa bath and a refrigerator. They also have private bathrooms with luxurious slippers and comfortable robes.

Manila-Z-Hostel | Best Hostel in Manila

This excellent property is our favourite hostel in Manila because it’s centrally located in one of the coolest neighborhoods in town. It offers comfortable dorms and hosts regular social events, like music nights and pub-crawls. This hostel has a roof bar with amazing city views.

Sometimes the best way to experience a destination is from a good dorm room with good people. Book one of these sweet hostels in Manila and get ready for the time of your life!

Spacious and Sophisticated Loft | Best Airbnb in Manila

This fully furnished elegant and dreamy loft offers a wonderful city view will make you feel like you’re home away from home. Just in front of greenbelt malls and other malls such as Landmark and Gloriett, it’s perfectly located. Tastefully decorated, it has all the amenities and modern appliances in good working order.

Manila Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in Manila

FIRST TIME IN MANILA
Makati, Manila
FIRST TIME IN MANILA

Makati

Makati is a large district located in central Manila. It is our number one choice for the best neighbourhood to stay in Manila if you’re visiting for the first time because it is clean and safe, and it is packed with excellent things to see and do.

ON A BUDGET
Poblacion, Manila
ON A BUDGET

Poblacion

Poblacion is a lively and hip area located within Makati. It is our best recommendation for where to stay in Manila for one night or if you’re travelling on a budget because it is home to so many backpacker hostels and affordable hotels.

NIGHTLIFE
Malate, Manila
NIGHTLIFE

Malate

This safe and vibrant neighbourhood is packed with clubs, bars and restaurants. It offers plenty of things to do at night, so visitors to this vivacious Manila ‘hood will certainly never be bored.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Quezon City, Manila
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Quezon City

Located north-east of the city centre, Quezon City is one of the coolest places to stay in Manila thanks to its hip and trendy edge and youthful creativity. It offers a myriad of fashion boutiques, cat cafes, restaurants, clubs and beyond!

FOR FAMILIES
Intramuros
FOR FAMILIES

Intramuros

Intramuros is a small neighbourhood situated in central Manila. It is one of the oldest parts of the city and is surrounded by the 16th-century walls built by the Spaniards during their occupation of Manila.

Manila is a massive and sprawling city.

It is the capital and largest city in the Philippines. For many travellers, Manila is simply a stopover en route to other Philippine provinces or islands, but in this guide, we’ll show you exactly why you should consider exploring the capital on your next visit to South East Asia.

Manila is divided into 16 territorial districts. Each has it’s own distinct character and tells its own stories, legends and history. To get a good understanding of the city, we recommend you visit at least three or four different areas depending on your travel interests.

In this Manila neighborhood guide, we’ll break down the five best neighborhoods and highlight the top activities and attractions. We’ll talk about safety in Manila and help you find the best places to stay!

Intramuros is the city’s historic district. Located within the 16th-century city walls, Intramuros is bursting with history and charm, which is why it’s our number one pick for where to stay in Manila with kids.

Travel south from here to vibrant Malate, the best neighborhood in Manila to stay in for sightseeing thanks to its many landmarks, attractions and shops.

Head southeast and you’ll pass through Makati. Our best recommendation for where to stay in Manila for nightlife, Makati is an area bursting with bars, clubs and plenty of late night fun.

The Poblacion neighborhood within Mataki is our top pick for where to stay in Manila for one night because this area has a good selection of backpacker hostels. It also boasts lively, energetic and eclectic nightlife, dancing and dining.

And finally, travel north to Quezon City. One of the largest and best areas to stay in Manila, Quezon City is a fresh and edgy neighborhood that offers hip hangouts and some of the best restaurants and street food in Manila.

Manila’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

Still not sure where to stay in Manila? Don’t worry, because in these next sections we’ll break down Manila’s best neighborhoods in much more detail.

#1 Makati – Where to Stay in Manila for Your First Time

Makati is a large district located in central Manila. It is our number one choice for the best neighborhood to stay in Manila if you’re visiting for the first time because it is clean and safe, and it is packed with excellent things to see and do if you have a few days in Manila.

The city’s high-end business district, Makati is an affluent area that is packed with delicious restaurants, high-quality shops, vivacious nightlife and historical landmarks. It is an area of the city that will cater to travellers of all styles because it has so many varied activities and attractions.

Makati is also a popular tourist destination because it has several lush green spaces, perfect for an afternoon stroll or a picnic in the park.

Makati, Manila

Things to See and Do in Makati

  1. Dance the night away at Black Market.
  2. Delve deep into history Ayala Museum.
  3. Drink cocktails at The Exit Bar, a secret speakeasy.
  4. Enjoy incredible views and tasty drinks at The Penthouse 8747.
  5. Excite your sense with rich and savoury flavours at Sala.
  6. Explore the Greenbelt.
  7. Grab a coffee from The Curator.
  8. Indulge in delicious local cuisine at the Milkyway Café.
  9. Shop until you drop at Glorietta.
  10. Sip cool cocktails at the Blind Pig.
  11. Snack and sample your way around the Salcedo Saturday Market.
  12. Take a stroll through Washington SyCip Park.

The Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences Managed by HII | Best Hotel in Makati

These serviced residences are situated in Makati City. They provide modern rooms with internet access and a variety of amenities. There’s also a fitness centre and delicious restaurant on-site. Within walking distance of the Greenbelt, this is one of the best places in Manila to stay for sightseeing.

The Peninsula Manila | Best Hotel in Makati

The Peninsula Manila offers excellent four-star Manila accommodation. Guests have access to a swimming pool, a sauna and a fitness centre. Each room comes complete with a mini bar, a spa bath and a refrigerator. They also have private bathrooms with luxurious slippers and comfortable robes.

Makati Apartelle | Best Hostel in Makati

This family-run property is ideally located in Makati, one of the best places in Manila to stay. Every room is equipped with its own air-conditioning to ensure maximum comfort. There are also LCD flat-screen TVs, refrigerators and a private bath. Free wifi is available throughout this clean and safe property.

Spacious and Sophisticated Loft | Best Airbnb in Makati

This fully furnished elegant and dreamy loft offers a wonderful city view will make you feel like you’re home away from home. Just in front of greenbelt malls and other malls such as Landmark and Gloriett, it’s perfectly located. Tastefully decorated, it has all the amenities and modern appliances in good working order.

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#2 Poblacion – Where to Stay in Manila on a Budget

Poblacion is a lively and hip area located within Makati and is home to an array of Airbnbs in Manila. It is our best recommendation for where to stay in Manila for one night or if you’re travelling on a budget because it is home to so many backpacker hostels and affordable hotels.

The city’s former red light district, Poblacion also offers visitors a dynamic nightlife scene. Centred around Kalayaan Avenue, travellers can enjoy everything from dive bars and live-music venues to trendy bars, hipster pubs and energetic nightclubs.

Love to eat? Well, you’re in luck! Poblacion is one of the best places to stay in Manila to satiate your appetite thanks to its myriad of delicious restaurants and The Social on Ebro, an exciting street food park and urban jungle.

Poblacion, Manila
Photo: Judgefloro (WikiCommons)

Things to See and Do in Poblacion

  1. Dine on tasty dishes at Tambai Yakitori Snackhouse.
  2. Drink and be merry at Dr Wine.
  3. Eat delicious Filipino dishes at Lobo.
  4. Enjoy big flavours at Bucky’s.
  5. Excite your senses by exploring The Social on Ebro.
  6. Indulge in amazing Asian fare at Crying Tiger Street Kitchen.
  7. Savour craft beers at Joe’s Brew.
  8. See incredible works of art by local and international artists and collaborators at Pineapple Lab.
  9. Shop for homegrown brands at Workshop.
  10. Sip café lattes at Commune.
  11. Try a range of tasty dishes at Alamat Filipino Pub and Deli.

Herald Suites Polaris | Best Hotel in Poblacion

Herald Suites is a fantastic option for Manila accommodation. It has a great location in Poblacion and is within walking distance of shops, restaurants and bars. This hotel is comprised of 50 rooms that are outfitted with modern amenities. This three-star hotel also offers a range of facilities, including a lift and wired internet.

City Garden Grand Hotel | Best Hotel in Poblacion

This hotel provides four-star accommodation at an unbeatable price. Situated in Poblacion, one of the best places in Manila to stay if you’re on a budget, this hotel is close to plenty of cheap eats and inexpensive activities. Guests can enjoy a rooftop terrace, a swimming pool, a sauna and a Jacuzzi.

Manila-Z-Hostel | Best Hostel in Poblacion

This excellent property is our favourite hostel in Manila because it’s centrally located in one of the coolest neighborhoods in town. It offers comfortable dorms and hosts regular social events, like music nights and pub-crawls. This hostel has a roof bar with amazing views out over the city.

Comfortable and Affordable Private Room | Best Airbnb in Poblacion

Centrally located in the Makati entertainment district of Barangay Poblacion, this affordable place is ideal for backpackers on a budget looking for some privacy after a long day in the busy streets of Manila. It comes with a smart TV and netflix, a table and aircon, and all the basic essentials are provided. The kitchen and bathrooms are shared.

#3 Malate – Where to Stay in Manila for Nightlife

If you’re looking for a wild night on the town, Malate is the best neighborhood to stay in Manila.

This safe and vibrant neighborhood is packed with clubs, bars and restaurants. It offers plenty of things to do in Manila at night, so visitors to this vivacious Manila ‘hood will certainly never be bored. So, whether you’re looking for relaxed drinks or the flashiest dancefloor in town, Malate has exactly what you’re looking for – and more!

But there’s more to Malate than rowdy nights out. This busy district also has a rich and fascinating history, a large commercial area, and plenty of delicious restaurants and cafes.

Malate, Manila

Things to See and Do in Malate

  1. Dance the night away at Verano Taft.
  2. Dine on tasty dishes at Bourn Food Station.
  3. Eat delicious local dishes at Café Adriatico.
  4. Enjoy local fare at Purple Yam.
  5. Excite your sense at SaBalcony Taft.
  6. Feast on delicious food while listening to Latin beats at Café Havana.
  7. Grab drinks at Local Caven Resto Bar.
  8. Indulge in incredible flavours at The Chillout Project Kitchen & Bar.
  9. Listen to live music at bar1951.
  10. Party from dusk until dawn at Club ZZYZX.

Pan Pacific Manila | Best Hotel in Malate

This excellent five-star hotel is conveniently located in Malate. It is close to public transit and the surrounding area is known for its shops, bars and restaurant. This stylish hotel has comfortable rooms with modern amenities. There’s also an on-site bar that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

New World Manila Bay Hotel | Best Hotel in Malate

New World Manila Bay offers spectacular five-star Manila accommodation at the heart of the city. It is known for its amazing views and it’s close proximity to shops, eateries and bars. Rooms are modern and stylish and each comes complete with a kitchenette and luxurious bath. On-site there’s also a swimming pool, a day spa and sauna.

Ola! Hostel Manila | Best Hostel in Malate

Housed in a five-story building, this hostel has 27 rooms and beds for 150 guests. Each room is equipped with air conditioning and a private bathroom for maximum comfort. Guests can also enjoy a relaxing rooftop deck, free wifi, and a great location in Malate, one of the best areas to stay in Manila.

Cosy 35th Floor Apartment with a View | Best Airbnb in Malate

Enjoy a picturesque view of the old Manila and the Bay from this apartment situated in the Birch Tower condo. The bedroom is fitted with a queen size bed and a big screen TV. The kitchen and bathroom come with all basic amenities for your convenience. Extra amenities guests can enjoy are the on-site gym, swimming pool, pool table and sauna.

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#4 Quezon City – Coolest Place to Stay in Manila

Located north-east of the city centre, Quezon City is one of the coolest places to stay in Manila thanks to its hip and trendy edge and youthful creativity. It offers a myriad of fashion boutiques, cat cafes, restaurants, clubs and beyond!

This up and coming area is the best neighborhood in Manila to stay in for foodies. It is home to Maginhawa Street, one of the most famous food streets in the Philippines, which is lined with an excellent selection of shops and stalls that serve delicious and cheap eats from around the world. From pizza and pasta to seafood, noodles and more, Quezon City is one of Manila’s best neighborhoods to tease your taste buds and satisfy your appetite.

Quezon City, Manila

Things to See and Do in Quezon City

  1. Chill out with drinks and food at Off the Grill Bar.
  2. Enjoy a night of good music, great drinks and breathtaking views at The Nautilus Bar.
  3. Explore the large and buzzing Quezon Memorial Circle.
  4. Find Int. Bar, a secret speakeasy located inside a photo booth.
  5. Indulge in delicious dishes at Ma Mon Luk.
  6. Party the night away at The Manor Superclub.
  7. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Banapple.
  8. Shop until you drop at SM City North EDSA, the largest mall in the country.
  9. Sip a cool and refreshing pint at The Distillery Eastwood.
  10. Visit the Santuario de San Pedro Bautista Parish, one of the oldest churches in the Philippines.

Seda Vertis North | Best Hotel in Quezon City

Seda Vertis North is an exquisite five-star hotel. It allows for easy access to the area’s most popular tourist attractions and is close to restaurants, bars and clubs. Comprised of 438 stylish rooms, this hotel has excellent amenities, like a swimming pool and a stunning rooftop terrace.

Meranti Hotel | Best Hotel in Quezon City

The Meranti Hotel offers comfortable accommodation in Quezon City. It has free wifi and guests can relax in the beautiful swimming pool. Each room comes complete with modern décor and air conditioning. You’ll also get free bottled water and coffee/tea supplies.

Dormitos | Best Hostel in Quezon City

This hostel offers high-quality yet affordable accommodations in Quezon, one of the coolest places to stay in Manila. It has individual sleeping pods that are designed to give guests total privacy. This property is clean, safe and modern, and is well-outfitted with amenities and features, including wifi.

Voguish Scandinavian Flat with Balcony | Best Airbnb in Quezon City

This stylish condominium will make you feel home. Sophisticatedly designed, it is complimented with natural light making it a very fresh and pleasant place to come back home to after a long day or night out. The bedroom is fitted with a double bed and a single bed, making it perfect for a group of friends wanting to explore Manila’s nightlife. All the bathroom and kitchen essentials are provided.

#5 Intramuros – Where to Stay in Manila for Families

Intramuros is a small neighborhood situated in central Manila. It is one of the oldest parts of the city and is surrounded by the 16th-century walls built by the Spaniards during their occupation of Manila. Steeped in history, Intramuros is the best area in Manila to stay in for history buffs and culture vultures.

This historic ‘hood also wins our vote for where to stay in Manila for families. Not only is Intramuros packed with historical landmarks and tourist attractions, but it has lush parks, winding streets and plenty of restaurants and shops to experience and explore.

Intramuros, Manila

Things to See and Do in Intramuros

  1. Enjoy a sweet treat from Cioccolata – Churros Café.
  2. Explore Fort Santiago, a museum and public park built within a 17th-century stone fortress.
  3. Go for a stroll through nearby Rizal Park.
  4. Marvel at the amazing Manila Cathedral.
  5. Ride in a calesa, a colourful horse-drawn carriage.
  6. Shop for gifts and souvenirs at Mananzan Handicrafts
  7. Step back in time and explore traditional Philippine life and history at Bahay Tsinoy.
  8. Take in the views of Plaza de Roma.
  9. Visit the museum and courtyard gardens of San Agustin Church, one of the Philippines’ oldest stone churches.
  10. Wander throughout the Baluarte de San Diego, one of the oldest fortifications in Intramuros.

The Bayleaf Intramuros | Best Hotel in Intramuros

Incredible views and delicious food – it’s no wonder we love this hotel! This four-star property has modern rooms that are well-outfitted with a variety of features. It also offers a range of amenities, including a rooftop terrace and a delicious on-site restaurant.

Ramada by Wyndham Manila Central | Best Hotel in Intramuros

The Ramada by Wyndham is one of our top picks for where to stay in Manila with kids. This four-star hotel has a variety of family-friendly amenities, including spacious rooms, a playground and babysitting services. It also has a central location making it an excellent base for exploring Manila.

The Manila Hotel | Best Hostel in Intramuros

The Manila Hotel is one of our best recommendations for where to stay in Manila for families on a budget because it offers amazing accommodations at a great price. This excellent five-star hotel has many features, including tennis courts and an outdoor pool. Rooms are comfortable, spacious and perfectly outfitted for families.

Two Bedroom Condominium in the Heart of Manila | Best Airbnb in Intramuros

Accommodating up to five guests, this safe two bedroom condominium is ideal for families visiting Manila. Centrally located across SM Manila Shopping Mall, in the heart of the city, you’ll be able to access everything easily, from dining to shopping. All the basic amenities are provided.

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FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Manila

Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Manila and where to stay.

What To Pack For Manila

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.

Product
Description
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.

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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 my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Manila

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!

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Manila

Manila is an incredible city that is often overlooked by travellers. The capital and largest city in the Philippines, Manila has a rich history, dynamic culture, vibrant nightlife, and an array of succulent foods. So, no matter your age, interest or budget, we believe there’s something for every traveller in astonishing and action-packed Manila.

In this guide, we’ve looked at the best places to stay in Manila. If you’re still not sure which is right for you, here’s a quick recap:

Manila-Z-Hostel is our favourite hostel because it has a great location in Poblacion, comfortable dorms, and amazing rooftop views.

Another option is The Peninsula Manila, an excellent four-star hotel with a swimming pool, fitness centre, modern rooms and private baths. Once you’ve booked your accommodation, plan your trip using our Manila itinerary.

Looking for more info on travelling to Manila and Philippines?