If you want to fully enjoy the city that never sleeps, you’d better decide where to stay in New York and book well in advance.
I’ve been living in Philadelphia for three years and have visited New York quite a few times, as it is only two hours away. Every time our family or friends come to visit us, we spend a few days in New York, so we’ve stayed in many different areas. In this article, I’ll tell you my favorites places and give you some tips to find a good hotel in New York.
The first tip is to carefully study the public transport options near your NYC accommodation. On some occasions, we’ve found very cheap hotels in New York City that seemed well located but then getting to Manhattan was a nightmare.
The second tip if you want to find the best affordable hotels in NYC is to book well in advance. Although there are quite a few budget hotels in New York, they fill up quickly.
Before I get into the best areas to stay in New York, you should know that the city is made up of 5 boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. As you can imagine, the best area to stay in New York City is Manhattan, since the best things to do in NYC are there. However, not all areas in Manhattan are equally as good.
To help you choose where to stay in NYC, in this article, you will find:
- Best areas to stay in NYC
- Areas to avoid in New York City
- The best hotels in NYC
- Cheap hotels in New York City
- Map of the best neighborhoods to stay in New York City
Best areas to stay in New York City
Below, I’ll explain which are the best neighborhoods to stay in New York. As I’ve mentioned, I advise you to choose your hotel based on the days you’ll be in the city, what you want to visit, the public transport options you’re going to use, and your budget. Keep in mind that it’s a very big city, so it’s difficult to run out of places to sleep in NYC because there are many hotels. But if you want to find something nice and affordable, book your hotel in New York City as soon as possible.
In the next section, you’ll not only find the pros and cons of staying in the different areas of New York City, but I’ll also recommend the best hotels in each neighborhood of NYC according to your budget.
At the end, you will also find a section with neighborhoods to avoid, since, although NYC is safer than ever, there are still areas to avoid in New York City.
1. Midtown – Times Square, the best place to stay in New York City
Midtown, the central part of Manhattan, is the best area to stay in New York if you want to tour the city, as it’s close to most points of interest and some of the most iconic buildings.
If you decide to stay here, you’ll be close to Times Square, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and more. As you can see, choosing a hotel in New York City in the Midtown area means being close to many tourist attractions and saving time on trips.
We stayed in this area when we visited New York at Christmas and it became our favorite place to stay in NYC. We spent 4 days in the city doing non-stop sightseeing, and we didn’t have to take the subway at all. If you’re going to be in the city for a few days, there is undoubtedly no better area to stay in New York City.
These are the accommodations that I recommend in New York City Midtown:
- Premium option: LUMA Hotel – Times Square
- Standard option: Pod Times Square (we stayed here)
- Low-cost option: Seton Hotel
2. Upper West Side, the quietest area to sleep in New York City
The Upper West Side is a very charming area to stay in New York. It’s also very quiet, and I recommend it especially if you’re traveling with kids. It has several subway lines, so it’s perfect for getting to any other point in the city.
This area is on the west side of Central Park, and if you decide to look here for your hotel in New York City, Manhattan, you’ll be very close to the American Museum of Natural History (my favorite museum in New York), Forever 21 department store, Riverside Park, Lincoln Center and more, in addition to numerous restaurants and shops of all kinds. It’s certainly a good area to look for hotels in Manhattan.
These are the NYC Upper West Side hotels that I recommend:
3. Upper East Side, if you want to stay in one of the most luxurious hotels in NYC
The Upper East Side is on the east side of Central Park and is where the most luxurious restaurants, shops, and hotels in NYC are. It’s the perfect area to stay in New York if you’re looking for luxury, shopping, and museums. Of course, all that comes with a cost, since this is one of the most expensive areas to stay in NYC.
If you decide to look for accommodation in the Upper East Side area, you can enjoy the Museum Mile, and visit the Guggenheim, the Met, MoMA, the Frick Collection, and other museums. You can also get on the Roosevelt cable car, stroll through Central Park, or go shopping.
These are the best hotels in New York City (Upper East Side area):
- Premium option: The Pierre, A Taj Hotel, New York
- Standard option: Loews Regency New York Hotel
- Low-cost option: Bentley Hotel
4. Lower Manhattan – Financial District, the best area to stay in NYC for first timers
The Lower Manhattan is the southernmost part of the island of Manhattan. This area includes neighborhoods, such as the Financial District, Tribeca, SoHo, Chinatown, Little Italy, East Village, Lower East Side, and Greenwich Village, which I will talk about later.
At this point, I’ll tell you about the best hotels in the Financial District of New York, where you can find Wall Street and the Charging Bull.
Although it may be an area that, at first glance, isn’t as impressive as other ones, there are many places of interest, since it’s where the Twin Towers used to be and where there are now 9/11 memorials. From here, you can also take the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, and you’ll be a short walk from the Brooklyn Bridge. For all this, I consider it a good area to sleep in New York.
These are the New York Lower Manhattan accommodations that I recommend:
- Premium option: Radisson Hotel New York Wall Street
- Standard option: World Center Hotel
- Low-cost option: Holiday Inn Manhattan Financial District
Tribeca has also become a fashionable artistic neighborhood among celebrities. If you decide to look for accommodation in Manhattan in this area, you can get lost among very charming bookstores, such as The Mysterious Bookshop or the Poets House; see the Ghostbusters fire station, which has already become a tourist attraction; and enjoy the art galleries there.
On the other hand, SoHo is a neighborhood whose charm resides in the facades of its buildings. On most of its streets, there are buildings with fire escapes and large windows. Currently, it’s also an area known for its shops, making it ideal for enjoying shopping.
These are the hotels I recommend in Tribeca and SoHo, New York:
- Premium option: The Roxy Hotel Tribeca
- Standard option: Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel
- Low-cost option: Soho 54
6. Chinatown & Little Italy, one of the best neighborhoods in NYC for tourists
Chinatown was one of the most dangerous areas in the city, but today it’s a very touristy neighborhood, full of restaurants and bazaars. The same goes for Little Italy, which was a poor neighborhood with close ties to the mafia, but nothing remains of that today. Both neighborhoods are now good places to look for cheap, well-located New York hotels.
I stayed in this area the last time my family came to visit us. Although I recognize that at night, it’s not the best area to stay in Manhattan, you won’t be able to find prices like these anywhere else in the city. Plus, both Chinatown and Little Italy are in downtown New York City. You will not need to take the subway if you want to visit Midtown or anywhere in Lower Manhattan.
Tip: If you’re going to choose this area of New York to stay in, check the cleaning score of your hotel, since the prices are usually very cheap, but certain hotels neglect their cleaning.
These are the accommodations I recommend in Chinatown and Little Italy, New York:
7. The East Village & Lower East Side, a great area to stay in Manhattan, New York
The East Village and Lower East Side are two cool areas to stay in New York’s Lower Manhattan, full of art galleries, new hotels, and trendy restaurants, which is why they have become the favorite areas of many tourists to search for hotels in New York, Manhattan.
The East Village is known for its low buildings, small shops, and for not being a very touristy area. All of this makes it a quiet area. The most popular place in the East Village is the Bowery, which had a very bad reputation until a few years ago, when it became a luxurious area in NYC.
On the other hand, the Lower East Side is not such a fashionable area, but little by little, it’s been gaining charm. I recommend staying here if you’re looking for good restaurants and nightlife, as many trendy nightclubs in New York are here.
These are the New York accommodations I recommend in the East Village and Lower East Side:
- Premium option: The Ludlow Hotel
- Standard option: The Ridge Hotel
- Low-cost option: Canal Loft Hostel & Hotel
8. Chelsea & Greenwich Village, the best hotels near New York’s city center
Chelsea and Greenwich Village are two other good neighborhoods to stay in New York City since they are very well located. In Chelsea, you can find the High Line, the city’s elevated linear park, and Chelsea Market, one of my favorite places in New York.
Greenwich Village is also a good option to look for accommodation in Manhattan. Here, for example, you’ll find Washington Square. The area between Greenwich Village and Chelsea is known as the Meatpacking District and is a very popular place to stay in New York City for nightlife.
I’ve never stayed in this area of Manhattan, but it’s one of my favorite places in New York! I’ve spent many hours there, among its live music bars and restaurants. After visiting New York on many occasions, I consider this area to be the most authentic in NYC because it’s where New Yorkers hang out. If you can stay here, it’s an area that I highly recommend. Next time we visit NYC, we will book one of the following accommodations:
- Premium option: The Standard, High Line New York
- Standard option: Leo House
- Low-cost option: The Jane Hotel
9. Brooklyn, a place to stay near Manhattan, NYC
Brooklyn is another very popular district to stay in New York. Also, fun fact, it’s where Barbra Streisand, Eddie Murphy, Cyndi Lauper, Jennifer Connelly, and Woody Allen were born.
We stayed here once, but we regretted it, since we chose an area that had no subway nearby and it was very difficult to get to Manhattan. We had to take a bus that only came every half hour and was expensive. However, there are areas in Brooklyn that are very well connected to public transport and from which you’ll have no problem getting to Manhattan.
Below, I’ll explain which are the best areas to stay in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Heights & DUMBO, the best place to stay in Brooklyn
Brooklyn Heights is a very quiet area, full of residential streets and low buildings. DUMBO, meanwhile, is a neighborhood where artists and bohemians settled, who then turned the area into a place full of modern cultural and local movements.
If you decide to stay here, you’ll have amazing views of the skyline and you can get to Manhattan after a beautiful walk on the famous Brooklyn Bridge. For all this, I think it’s an area to sleep in New York that’s worth checking out.
These are the hotels in New York that I recommend in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO:
- Premium option: 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
- Standard option: Hampton Inn Brooklyn Downtown
- Low-cost option: Sheraton Brooklyn New York
Williamsburg, cheap accommodation near Manhattan, NYC
Williamsburg is the best area to stay in Brooklyn, New York City, because it has a lot of accommodations.
Hipsters, north of the Williamsburg Bridge, coexist with Orthodox Jews, south of the bridge, in this neighborhood. The hipster area is the one I recommend the most when looking for accommodation, since there are plenty of signature shops, boutique restaurants, young people, and street art here; the Jewish area, on the other hand, is somewhat more closed off and, although it is totally safe, you’ll definitely enjoy staying on the north side of the bridge more.
These are the Williamsburg, Brooklyn hotels that I recommend:
- Premium option: The William Vale
- Standard option: McCarren Hotel & Pool
- Low-cost option: Pod Brooklyn
10. Long Island City (Queens), a good area to stay in when visiting NYC
Queens is another district to stay in on the outskirts of Manhattan, New York. Queens is a perfect option if you want to get away from the busy island of Manhattan and look for something quieter.
Personally, I think Long Island City is the best area to stay in Queens, since it’s the closest to Manhattan. MoMA PS1 and other museums, Penthouse 808, an Asian cocktail bar and restaurant with incredible views of the Queensboro Bridge and Manhattan, Long Island City Flea Market, Gantry Plaza State Park, and much more are located here, so you won’t have time to get bored.
The recommended hotels in New York, Queens are:
- Premium option: Ravel Hotel Trademark Collection by Wyndham
- Standard option: LIC Hotel
- Low-cost option: The Collective Paper Factory
11. Hotels near JFK airport, NYC
If you have an early departure or you’re arriving in New York very late, finding accommodation near New York’s JFK airport may be a good option.
I have to say that the area of Jamaica, which is where the airport is, is not my favorite one. There are few restaurants here and very few places to go, so I’d only stay here if you really need to. I have done so a couple of times.
If you stay here, get a hotel with a free shuttle to the airport and with a restaurant to have breakfast and dinner, so you won’t have to go out.
- Premium option: Hampton Inn NY-JFK Jamaica-Queens
- Standard option: Hilton New York JFK Airport Hotel
- Low-cost option: Super 8 by Wyndham Jamaica North Conduit
12. Other areas where I recommend staying in New York City
If, after looking at all the areas above, none fits your budget and you’re still wondering where to stay in New York City on a budget, regardless of the distance to Manhattan, then I’ll tell you your options.
Weehawken (New Jersey), cheap accommodation in NYC
Weehawken in New Jersey is a good place to find cheap hotels in New York. Although this area is very close to Manhattan, since it’s in another state, there is no subway to New York.
The fastest way to get from here to New York City is by bus through the Lincoln Tunnel, which, if there is no traffic, doesn’t take more than 10 – 15 minutes. However, Dani stayed here once when his friends came to see him, and one day, it took him over an hour to get to Manhattan. Bus lines from Weehawken to New York run every 5-10 minutes and cost $3.50. There is also the option to go by ferry, for a price of $10.
If you stay in this area, I recommend you get up early, since from here, you get fantastic views of the New York skyline. In fact, if you don’t mind taking public transportation, I consider it a good place to stay in New York for cheap.
These are the accommodations I recommend in Weehawken, New Jersey:
- Premium option: Sheraton Lincoln Harbor Hotel
- Standard option: Residence Inn by Marriott Weehawken
- Low-cost option: Super 8 by Wyndham North Bergen NJ / NYC Area
Staten Island, the cheapest area to stay in New York
Staten Island, New York, is not a popular area to stay in New York City because it’s somewhat secluded, but it is a place where you can find cheap accommodation in NYC.
I’ve stayed here four times because I almost always go to New York by car and it’s very easy to find free parking in Staten Island.
Also, I consider this one of the best areas to stay in New York because you can get to Manhattan by taking the free ferry that departs every 30 minutes and leaves you in the Financial District. On the way, you’ll see the Statue of Liberty from a distance, so, to me, it doesn’t matter that it’s somewhat further from Manhattan than the other areas I’ve recommended.
The main drawback of staying on Staten Island is that there aren’t many hotels, so you’ll have to stay in an Airbnb in New York City. Mind you, my advice is to make sure it’s close to the ferry terminal, no more than a 10-minute walk. If you still don’t have an Airbnb account, you can get a $50 DISCOUNT on your first Airbnb reservation here.
Areas to avoid in New York City
New York has changed a lot and, in general, it’s not a dangerous city. Even so, there are areas that are not recommended for staying in New York City, especially if you’re going to get back to your hotel at night. Keep in mind that the city is huge, so actually, there aren’t many areas to not stay in NYC, but it’s important that you know which ones they are.
Harlem, despite being in Manhattan, is an area that is quite far from the city center, so it’s not as convenient to stay here. Although it’s a safe neighborhood, especially if you visit it during the day, I recommend that you try to avoid the East Harlem area.
That area becomes quite dangerous at night, when thefts are frequent. Although crime rates have dropped quite a bit over the past few years, I think it’s a neighborhood not to stay in in New York City.
It’s the same with the Bronx. It’s not a bad neighborhood despite its bad reputation. However, it’s not a good neighborhood to stay in in NYC. The worst area is the Southwest, which is a very poor industrial area where drug trafficking, crime, and robberies are pretty normal. Nowadays, you can visit the Bronx during the day and it’s pretty safe. However, it’s an area where it is better not to stay in New York.
If you’re looking for cheap accommodation in NYC, you’ll find a lot of offers in Washington Heights. However, I recommend you avoid this area of New York City, even if its low prices are tempting. If you have to come back to your hotel late after a long day of sightseeing, you may have a hard time among its lonely streets, where robberies are very common. It’s certainly a neighborhood in New York City that I recommend avoiding at night.
Brownsville is in Brooklyn and it’s undoubtedly an area not to stay in in New York. The crime rate is very high here and it’s also one of the poorest areas in the city. Although there aren’t many hotels here, if you find any offers, I recommend not taking them. You’re better off staying in a safer area of New York City.
Bedford-Stuyvesant is also in Brooklyn and I advise you to avoid this area because not only are robberies very frequent here but also shootings. Although it’s true that this area has changed over the last few years, it’s still not recommended because incidents like this occur from time to time.
These are the neighborhoods in New York to avoid. I hope I didn’t scare you. New York is generally a very safe city. You just have to take into account the crime rate when choosing your hotel in New York City and buy one of the best travel insurance for the USA.
best hotels in New York City
If budget or specific area are not decisive factors for you and the only thing you’re looking for is to spend a night in one of the best hotels in New York, in this section, you can find the best hotels in the city that never sleeps.
These are the most luxurious hotels in New York:
- The Withby Hotel, the best hotel to stay in downtown New York
- The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue, one of the best hotels in Manhattan
- Trump International New York, stay in a luxurious hotel in New York
- Mandarin Oriental New York, the luxury hotel with the best views in New York
- Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, staying in a luxury hotel in NYC Soho
- Crosby Street Hotel, one of the best hotels to stay in Lower Manhattan, NYC
- The Mark New York, to stay in a boutique hotel in New York
- Baccarat Hotel and Residences New York, a luxurious place to sleep in Manhattan
Cheap hotels in New York City
On the other hand, if you’re looking for cheap accommodation in New York City, in this section, you will find the best cheap hotels in NYC. All the hotels in this section are nice, have a low price, and are in a safe neighborhood. They are the best accommodation to travel inexpensively.
This is my selection of cheap hotels in New York City:
- HI NYC Hostel, a good place to stay cheaply in New York
- Vanderbilt YMCA, a cheap hotel in New York that I recommend
- West Side YMCA, a cheap and well located hotel in New York
- Canal Loft Hostel & Hotel, a hostel in Chinatown to stay in NYC for cheap
- Hotel 31, a budget place to stay in downtown New York
- Central Park West Hostel, another affordable NYC lodging option
Map of the best neighborhoods to stay in New York City
Now that you know the best areas to stay in New York City and my suggestions for hotels in NYC, next you’ll find a map so you can find each of the areas and choose the one that best suits your travel style and budget.
And if you have any questions, leave a comment and I will help you. Enjoy the city that never sleeps!