Where to Stay in New York City (2019 • COOLEST Areas!)

We cover where to stay in New York City for every travel style, interest, & budget! This guide includes the best hotels, hostels, & more!

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What do you picture when you think of New York City? Times Square, Broadway and the Statue of Liberty are just a few of New York’s most iconic tourist attractions. This city is packed with history, culture, food, fashion, and fun.

New York is undoubtedly one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world.

But all of that excitement comes at a cost. Literally. New York City is one of the most expensive travel destinations, which is why we put together this no-stress guide on where to stay in New York City.

Written by our expert travel scribes, this guide will help you decide which New York neighborhood is best for you.

We will share our best-kept secrets and hidden gems, so you can find the best area in NYC for your style and budget. After reading this post, you’ll be able to book a place in New York with confidence and ease.

So get excited! Below we’ve covered our recommendations for where to stay in New York City.

 

Quick Tips – Where to Stay in New York

 

In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:

Midtown
Midtown is the neighbourhood at the center of Manhattan. Stretching from the Hudson River to the East River, this neighbourhood is home to famous architecture, vibrant streets, and world-renowned landmarks.
Places to Visit:
  • Visit the iconic home of Broadway and watch an incredible play or musical performance
  • Stand at the center of Time Square, surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells of New York City
  • See unbelievable works of art at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

 

Where to Stay in New York

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our top recommendations for specific places to stay in New York.

 

Best Hostel in New York: Blue Moon Hotel

The Blue Moon Hotel is our top recommendation for where to stay in New York City if you’re on a budget. Walking distance to New York’s most famous landmarks, this hostel is close to shopping, dining, drinking and more.

It boasts private bathrooms and balconies, as well as refrigerators, coffeemakers, and minibars.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Hotel in New York: Freehand New York

Located at the heart of Midtown, Freehand New York is our top choice for where to stay in NYC. This hotel is close to the best landmarks, museums, and restaurants in New York.

Rooms are spacious, comfortable and outfitted in a modern-rustic décor. The hotel has a coffee bar, dry cleaning service, and on-site restaurant and bar.

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Best Apartment in New York: AKA Wall Street

AKA Wall Street is blessed with a central location, just a stone’s throw from the One World Trade Center and the Brookfield Place, and Central Park. Guests will also be within walking distance to shopping and dining.

The suites come equipped with a kitchen and marble bathrooms, and guests have access to the Technogym fitness center, indoor/outdoor rooftop, and terrace lounge which includes a private cinema and city views.

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New York Neighborhood Guide

Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in New York

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Midtown

  • Midtown is the neighbourhood at the center of Manhattan. Stretching from the Hudson River to the East River, this neighbourhood is home to famous architecture, vibrant streets, and world-renowned landmarks.
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Lower East Side

  • Eclectic and vibrant, the Lower East Side is a neighbourhood that seamlessly blends history and modern times. One of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city, the Lower East Side was, for many decades, home to a thriving immigrant population.
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East Village

  • With its youthful vibe and independent spirit, East Village is one of the most dynamic and distinct neighbourhoods in New York. It combines old-school charm and modern luxury, creating an atmosphere that encourages locals and visitors to explore its lively streets.
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Williamsburg

  • Williamsburg isn’t just the coolest neighbourhood in New York City; it routinely ranks as one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in the world, characterised by its thriving arts scene and vibrant nightlife. This is the place to see and be seen in New York.
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Upper West Side

  • The Upper West Side is a classic New York neighbourhood. With its iconic architecture, tree-lined streets, and quintessential Brownstone townhomes, this is the New York that most people recognize from movies and TV.
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New York City is one of the most massive and sprawling cities in the world. A epicentre for food, fashion, culture, finance and trade, NYC is truly a global metropolis.

It is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet; each year New York City attracts more than 50 million domestic and international visitors to tour its museums, gawk at its iconic sights, and stand at the center of Time Square.

Divided into six boroughs, New York City is home to 59 neighborhoods. Each borough has its own unique culture and atmosphere, and could be a city all on its own. In fact, if Brooklyn was its own city, it would still be one of the biggest cities in the US. For that reason, we are going to focus on Manhattan, NYC’s most famous and touristy borough.

Midtown is the heart of Manhattan, and where you will find NY’s most iconic landmarks, like Time Square, Rockefeller Centre, Broadway and Bryant Park.

North of Midtown are the charming neighbourhoods, Upper West and Upper East Side. On either side of Central Park, these neighbourhoods are home to world-class museums, verdant parks, and famous addresses like Madison and Park Avenues.

Travelling south of Midtown, you’ll pass through Chelsea, the East and West Villages, and the Lower East Side before crossing the river to Brooklyn. All incredibly diverse and distinct, these neighbourhoods are where you’ll find great restaurants, vibrant bars, and a plethora of hip hideouts and trendy nightspots.

Still not sure where to stay in New York City? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

 

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5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in New York City

Let’s take a detailed look at the five best neighbourhoods in New York City. Each is a little different than the last, so be sure to check out which is right for you!

New York Neighborhood

 

1. Midtown – Where to Stay in New York City for the First Time

Midtown is the neighbourhood at the center of Manhattan. Stretching from the Hudson River to the East River, this neighbourhood is home to famous architecture, vibrant streets, and world-renowned landmarks.

Midtown’s most famous attraction is undoubtedly Time Square. Nicknamed “the crossroads of the world,” this part of Midtown is awash with bright lights, entertainment and shopping.

No first trip to New York City is complete without a visit to Broadway. A historic and cultural landmark, the Great White Way is famous for hosting some of the greatest theatre and musical performances of all time. Whether you’re a longtime culture vulture or new to the scene, you won’t want to miss the chance to see a show on Broadway.

When it comes down to it, Midtown is quite “touristy,” but this means it’s home to some of the best attractions in NY. That’s why Midtown is our pick for where to stay in New York for sightseeing.

Midtown, New York

 

Things to See and Do in Midtown

– Visit the iconic home of Broadway and watch an incredible play or musical performance.

– Snack on one of NYC’s finest bagels at Best Bagel and Coffee.

– Stand at the center of Time Square, surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells of New York City.

– Climb to the Top of the Rock (or ride the elevator) and take in the incredible views of NYC from the Rockefeller Center Observation Desk.

– See unbelievable works of art at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

– Excite your senses at Spice Symphony.

– Grab a pint at the Carnegie Club.

 

Best Hostel in Midtown: Vanderbilt YMCA

Conveniently located on Manhattan’s East Side, the Vanderbilt YMCA is one of our top recommendations for where to stay in Midtown, New York. Offering shared and private accommodations, this hostel has wifi, cable TV, a fitness centre and two swimming pools. It is close to bars, restaurants and New York’s top attractions.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Affordable Hotel in Midtown: Pod 51

Pod 51 is a modern and charming three-star hotel in Midtown. It is a short walk from Bloomingdales and the Museum of Modern Art, surrounded by restaurants, bars and cafés.

Rooms are comfortable and adorned in modern décor. There is also a rooftop terrace and garden for guests to enjoy.

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Best Hotel in Midtown: Freehand New York

Freehand New York is our top recommendation for where to stay in New York. It is centrally located, close to landmarks, museums, restaurants and more.

Guests can enjoy comfortable and spacious rooms as well as a coffee bar and a dry cleaning service. There’s a charming on-site restaurant and stylish bar.

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Best Airbnb in Midtown: Fully Furnished studio overlooking Magnolia Bakery in the heart Manhattan’s West Village.

Perfectly located in West Village, this serviced apartment with every amenity you can imagine also has a shared garden with a bubbling fountain that has a high-security monitoring system with 16 cameras throughout the building’s public areas and entry doors controlled by electric fobs.

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2. Lower East Side – Where to Stay in Manhattan on a Budget

Eclectic and vibrant, the Lower East Side is a neighbourhood that seamlessly blends history and modern times. One of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city, the Lower East Side was, for many decades, home to a thriving immigrant population.

Today, this southeastern New York City neighbourhood is a hub for art and culture as well as home to hip eateries and trendy bars. Here you’ll find a great variety of lively clubs, stylish restaurants, and fashionable boutiques.

While we wouldn’t say it’s cheap – this is New York City, after all – the Lower East Side is our pick for where to stay in New York on a budget, home to a myriad of affordable accommodation options.

Whether it’s a social hostel or modern hotel, you’ll be able to find something to fit your style and budget on the Lower East Side.

Lower East Side, New York

 

Wonder how to spend a weekend in New York? Head over to our insider’s Weekend in New York guide!

 

Things to See and Do in Lower East Side

– Feel like a kid again and visit Economy Candy, where you’ll find aisles upon aisles of your favourite sweets and treats.

– Shop local artisans and independent vendors at the Hester Street Fair.

– Grab a drink and enjoy a great night out at Two-Bit’s Retro Arcade.

– Enjoy good beer and live music at Parkside Lounge, the perfect dive bar in New York City.

– Tease your taste buds with bold and delicious flavours at Goa Taco.

– Sink your teeth into a savoury slice of classic New York pizza at Rosario’s Pizzeria.

– Step back in time and explore New York’s history of immigration at the Tenement Museum.

 

Best Hostel in Lower East Side: Blue Moon Hotel

The Blue Moon Hotel is our top recommendation for where to stay on the Lower East Side. Walking distance to some of New York’s most famous landmarks, this hotel is close to shopping, dining, drinking and more. It boasts private bathrooms and balconies, as well as refrigerators, coffeemakers, and minibars.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Hotel in Lower East Side: Sago Hotel

The Sago Hotel is one of our favourite hotels on the Lower East Side. Conveniently located in the middle of the city, this four-star hotel is close to bars, restaurants, museums and galleries. It boasts a variety of amenities that include an outdoor terrace, on-site restaurant and 24-hour room service.

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Best Hotel in Lower East Side: Redford Hotel

Classic and contemporary, the Redford Hotel is a great base for your time in NYC. It is located within walking distance of public transit as well as a number of New York’s top attractions. It has a swimming pool, free wifi, and guest can enjoy free coffee and TV in their rooms.

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Best Airbnb in Lower East Side: Cozy room with street facing window and memory-foam bed.

Renovated two-bedroom apartment (shared with the owner), with a private room is furnished with brand-new amenities, including a desk, ultra-comfortable queen-size memory foam mattress, soft towels and a 26″ flat-screen TV with Netflix.

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3. East Village – Where to Stay in New York City for the Best Nightlife

With its youthful vibe and independent spirit, East Village is one of the most dynamic and distinct neighbourhoods in New York. It combines old-school charm and modern luxury, creating an atmosphere that encourages locals and visitors to explore its lively streets.

The East Village is also where you’ll find some of New York City’s top nightlife. From cool dive bars and craft beer pubs to rooftop terraces and all-night clubs, this is where you want to stay if you’re looking to experience the best of New York after dark.

East Village, New York

 

Things to See and Do in East Village, New York

– Dine on delicious dishes and enjoy a chill atmosphere at Mayahuel Mariposa.

– Sip urbane cocktails at Amor y Amargo.

– Enjoy outstanding drinks and an intimate setting at Death & Company.

– Dance the night away at Webster Hall.

– Try a variety of craft beers at Proletariat, a dark and cosy East Village hotspot.

– Indulge in the incredible dishes at Momofuku Ko.

– Treat yourself to a divine breakfast at Russ & Daughters.

– Savour fresh and flavourful dishes at Prune.

 

Best Hostel in East Village: American Dream Hostel

American Dream Hostel is the closest hostel to East Village. A short walk away, this hostel is conveniently located in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park and Flatiron District neighbourhood.

It offers private rooms, a common area, hot showers, and a delicious breakfast. American Dream Hostel is surrounded by bars, clubs, and New York landmarks.

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Best Affordable Hotel in East Village: Canal Loft Hotel

Set in the heart of the city, Canal Loft Hotel is a smart and stylish two-star hotel. Each of the hotel’s 76 rooms is outfitted with a range of essential amenities, along with a shared lounge and TV room.

A short walk to the East Broadway Subway Station, this hotel is well connected to the rest of the city.

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Best Hotel in East Village: St Marks Hotel New York City

St Marks Hotel is one of our top picks for where to stay in the East Village. Set in the heart of this vibrant nightlife district, it is a short walk to bars, clubs, restaurants, and galleries. It has a number of key features as well as all the essential amenities for a great stay.

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Best Airbnb in East Village: Cozy and conveniently located bright compact studio

This cozy bright compact studio has the best location you can ever find in Manhattan. On the border of Chelsea, Meatpacking and West Village, it’s the perfect place to stay for a real New Yorker Experience.

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4. Williamsburg – Coolest Place to Stay in New York City

Across the East River in cool Brooklyn, you’ll find Williamsburg, a hipster hood that oozes cool around every turn.

Williamsburg isn’t just the coolest neighbourhood in New York City; it routinely ranks as one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in the world, characterised by its thriving arts scene and vibrant nightlife. This is the place to see and be seen in New York.

At the centre of Brooklyn, Williamsburg is well connected to Manhattan and easy to reach from the rest of NYC. It’s home to eclectic restaurants, boutique shops, stylish bars, hip tattoo parlours, and rustic rooftop patios.

Williamsburg, New York

 

Things to See and Do in Williamsburg

– Sink your teeth into a good old fashion hot dog at Crif Dogs.

– Dine on flavourful modern Thai fare at Amarin Café.

– Work up an appetite at the Black Flamingo, an exciting dance club that serves incredible late night tacos.

– Sample a wide variety of delicious dumplings at the Vanessa’ Dumpling House.

– Walk across the Williamsburg Bridge and take in the outstanding view of Brooklyn and New York City.

– Enjoy cheap drinks and delicious pizza at the Alligator Lounge.

– Shop for trinkets and treasures at the Brooklyn Flea Market.

– Dance until dawn at Output, a renowned club with a vibrant and lively dancefloor.

 

Best Hostel in Williamsburg: NY Moore Hostel

NY Moore Hostel is the best place to stay in trendy Williamsburg. At the heart of this lively neighbourhood, this hostel is close to fun bars, art galleries, hip restaurants, and independent shops.

This bright and colourful hostel has comfortable rooms, private bathrooms, a relaxing common room, and an awesome outdoor courtyard.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Affordable Hotel in Williamsburg: Pod Brooklyn

Pod Brooklyn is a modern and stylish three-star hotel – and our best recommendation for where to stay in Williamsburg. Located at the centre of this trendy neighbourhood, this hotel is close to bars, bistros, and boutiques.

It has a bright and airy atmosphere, and rooms are outfitted with contemporary amenities and fixtures.

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Best Hotel in Williamsburg: Hotel Le Jolie

Colourful décor, spacious rooms, and an unbeatable location are just a few of the reasons we love Hotel Le Jolie.

Located in Brooklyn, this hotel is well-connected to the rest of the city, close to landmarks, restaurants, bars and public transit. Each room has a refrigerator, a private bathroom, and entertainment amenities.

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Best Airbnb in Williamsburg: Shared apartment with large oversized windows and a sundeck.

Located on the 3rd floor of a newly renovated apartment in North Williamsburg Brooklyn. Here you have a sun splashed with terrace apartment. Create a gourmet dinner, ride a bike, relax on the terrace.

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5. Upper West Side – Where to Stay in New York City for Families

The Upper West Side is a classic New York neighbourhood. With its iconic architecture, tree-lined streets, and quintessential Brownstone townhomes, this is the New York that most people recognize from movies and TV.

The Upper West Side is our recommendation where to stay for families visiting New York City.

Not only is the Upper West Side adjacent to the immense and expansive Central Park, it is home to world-famous cultural institutions like the American Museum of Natural History. Families with kids will love wandering through its exhibits, learning more about history, culture and the natural world.

In this neighborhood, you’ll find family-friendly restaurants, attractions for all-ages, and colourful candy stores – perfect for rewarding your little ones after a long day of sightseeing.

Upper West Side, New York

 

Things to See and Do in Upper West Side, New York

– Order a big salad or simply enjoy a cup of coffee at Tom’s Restaurant, a must-visit for Seinfeld fans.

– Dive deep into history, culture and the natural world at the incredible American Museum of Natural History.

– Take a virtual tour of the universe and beyond at the Hayden Planetarium.

– Enjoy five floors of fun at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, where kids of all ages can experience interactive exhibitions and colourful displays.

– Indulge in sweet treats, cakes, and cookies at Levain Bakery.

– Pack a picnic and explore expansive and iconic Central Park, where you’ll find a pond, zoo, and plenty of walking paths.

– Dine on delicious and authentic Italian fare at Carmine’s Italian Restaurant.

 

Best Hostel in Upper West Side: HI NYC Hostel

The HI NYC Hostel is conveniently located on the Upper West Side. It is well-connected throughout the city via the subway and a short walk to restaurants, parks, cafes, and landmarks.

HI NYC Hostel has an in-house theatre, billiards table, comfortable lounge, and recently renovated bathrooms. It also offers a laundry service and free wifi.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Hotel in Upper West Side: Hotel Newton

Located in Manhattan, Hotel Newton bursts with historic charm. Established in 1920, this fantastic three-star hotel boasts a variety of modern amenities, including a coffee bar and laundry service.

The rooms are comfortable, spacious and outfitted with wifi and a refrigerator. There’s also an on-site restaurant.

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Best Hotel in Upper West Side: Belnord Hotel

Brimming with contemporary cool, Belnord Hotel is our best recommendation for where to stay on the Upper West Side. A short walk to NYC’s top attractions, this two-star hotel is surrounded by parks, restaurants, cafes and shops. Rooms feature modern décor and have private bathrooms, air-conditioning and free wifi access.

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Best Airbnb in Upper West Side: Quiet and cozy one bedroom

Just 100 paces from beautiful Central Park, this apartment in a bright 7th-floor south-facing building has the classic NY skyline view. With a cozy kitchen, one bed and cushions that can be used as a mattress, this location is perfect for a family of three. The building also has a washer and dryer in the basement.

View on Airbnb

 

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in New York

New York is one of the greatest cities in the world. It’s fast, fashionable, iconic, and fun. Whether you’re a history buff, culture fanatic, fashionista, dedicated foodie or first-time traveller, there’s something amazing for you in New York City.

To recap; Williamsburg is our top recommendation for the coolest neighbourhood in NYC. With its hip eateries and trendy bars, there’s always something going on in this central Brooklyn ‘hood.

Our top choice for the best hotel is the Freehand New York. Located in Midtown, this hotel is close to iconic sights, historic landmarks, and some of New York’s best restaurants and bars. You’re never far from the action when you stay at the Freehand New York.

Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below!

Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.

 

Do you own an awesome hostel, hotel or apartment? Want to be featured in our list? Email hostels@thebrokebackpacker.com to find out how.

Yay for transparency! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation through the site, The Broke Backpacker will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps me keep the site going.


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We cover where to stay in New York City for every travel style, interest, & budget! This guide includes the best hotels, hostels, & more!

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