New York City is the land of plenty– hot dog stands, taxis, chic city slickers, subway rats, and enough hotel options and New York neighborhoods to make your head spin.
Each neighborhood is incredibly special and unique, so you’ll want to think about that when booking your trip. To me, the biggest issue is the excess of options. New York is MASSIVE, and you don’t want to get stuck in Times Square.
We’ve got you covered from the Upper East Side to SoHo with the best New York City hotels.
Best Neighborhoods to Stay in NYC
When you’re thinking about where to stay in New York, you want to consider the neighborhood, too. It’s such a walkable city that choosing your hotel is part of the trip itself.
There are so, so many things to do in NYC, so you’ll want to plan your travel paying close attention to which neighborhoods and sights are most important to you. While the public transit is great and very reliable, it’s still a long journey from Harlem to Bushwick.
Here are some of my favorite New York neighborhoods (and the borough they’re located in) that should definitely make your list.
First, what’s the difference between a borough and a neighborhood?
The five boroughs of New York City are Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. All of them are fantastic places to visit (and to live!), but you will have a tough time squeezing in all five.
If you’re first time visitors, I suggest staying in Manhattan. This is where people think of when they think “Big Apple” and “Empire State.”
SoHo is maybe the best area to stay in New York for first time visits. There’s just so much going on, and you won’t even have close to enough time to do it all.
The shopping in SoHo is top tier. From outlet stores to boutique shops, everything feels high-end and chic.
Anywhere in lower Manhattan has amazing dining options and cafés on every corner, so you’ll be well fed while you’re staying downtown. Plus, SoHo is extremely close to Washington Square Park (less than a mile!). Great for photo ops and sitting out in the sun.
SoHo is also home to some of the best museums in Manhattan. Check out the MoMa for your modern art fix, or the LGBTQ Musuem to celebrate Pride month!
TriBeCa stands for “triangle below Canal.” Canal is in SoHo, so it’s pretty similar vibes! The main difference between TriBeCa and SoHo is the foot traffic. TriBeCa is a little more lowkey, whereas SoHo can get pretty packed.
With access to sightseeing including the World Trade Center and the Woolworth Building, this is definitely one of the best areas to stay in New York. The only downside is just how downtown you’ll be– it’ll take a bit of trekking to get anywhere uptown.
3. East Village
I absolutely love the East Village. It’s so vibey and fun, and is definitely the best place to stay in New York for young adults. There are so many bars and clubs to go to!
The lower East side has been popping off lately with fun stuff to do. Death & Co are known for their trendy and inventive cocktails, and Sake Bar Decibel is the kind of sake bar that I don’t always feel cool enough to even walk into (kidding– everyone is so nice inside).
The East Village can be crowded (hey, it is NYC), but is perfect if you’re looking for a more scene-y area of the city.
4. Greenwich Village
Also just called “The Village,” this area of NYC has an old-timey feel that I love. There are cobblestone streets and tons of teensy boutique shops to poke around in. Also, the whole neighborhood centers around Washington Square Park.
The Village is the top spot to visit during Pride Month. The historic Stonewall Inn is located here, and is a super fun spot to grab a drink at during the day or go out to at night.
This area has fantastic subway station access and is easy to get to. It gets (you guessed it) crowded on the weekends, so reserve in advance.
Alright, we’re moving out of Manhattan. Williamsburg is our first stop in Brooklyn. Located just across the Williamsburg Bridge, there is so, so much to see and do.
Brooklyn is its own thing independent of Manhattan, with its own culture and history that is worth a visit. Williamsburg is a quiet neighborhood that is perfect for families.
Williamsburg is the perfect spot to stay for something a little quieter that still has plenty of great eating, shopping, and sightseeing. This is definitely where to stay in New York City with a car.
In addition, the proximity to Manhattan makes it perfect if you’d like to visit both boroughs.
Bushwick is quickly becoming the fastest growing neighborhood in the city, and is easily one of the best places to stay in New York.
Bushwick has excellent bars, restaurants, fun shops, and is very walkable. It’s a little more out of the way from Manhattan than other Brooklyn neighborhoods, so just be aware that if Manhattan is the main draw, Bushwick should not be your first choice.
7. Upper West Side
The Upper West Side is so underrated. It is one of the chillest, most laid back neighborhoods and is smack dab in the middle of all the fun things to do on the west side.
Take the 1 train up to Harlem for the day, and then take it down to TriBeCa. They’re equidistance, making the UWS the best of both worlds.
Zabar’s is my favorite spot on the UWS. There are other locations, but no one can convince me that this isn’t the best spot.
There are a million gorgeous brownstones to covet, and in the summer, they close down some of the streets on Sundays for pedestrians. Can you tell I love the Upper West?
This is also where to stay in New York City with family. It’s a very family-oriented Manhattan neighborhood, with close proximity to Central Park. It’s super train accessible, and is a quick train ride down to Madison Square Garden.
8. Financial District
If you are looking for a place to stay in Manhattan that’s close to Brooklyn, the FiDi is pretty ideal. It’s right across from the Brooklyn Bridge.
Beyond the proximity to Brooklyn, staying in FiDi will help you live out your Wolf of Wall Street dreams. Check out the charging bull statue, and explore Wall Street to see some of the biggest corporations in the world.
FiDi has tons of great restaurants and shops too because of course it does– it’s New York!
Alright. I couldn’t make an NYC list without including Midtown. It pains me to list Midtown (I’m a certified Midtown hater), but a lot of people love it here. I’d be biased not to include it!
Midtown Manhattan is central to just about everything. It’s not called Midtown for nothin’. You have access to just about every train (including Grand Central Station!), and can travel quickly. Or you can stop by the “main branch” of the New York Public Library with its iconic front steps guarded by stone lions.
Times Square is also located in Midtown. That’s where all the Broadway shows take place, and there are a lot of cool touristy things to do here. New York Times Square is as classic as it gets.
The biggest downside, and my biggest cause for being a top tier hater, is the crowds. There are no chill days in Midtown. You’ll be hustling against the crowds the whole trip. However, prices can be lower on hotels for that exact reason! Just pick your priorities wisely.
19 Best Places to Stay in NYC (Top New York Hotels & Unique Gems!)
Now that you’ve chosen the neighborhoods that best fit your needs to visit New York City, let’s get into the best hotels in NYC!
I don’t believe people when they say they don’t like New York City. I just don’t understand what’s not to like! Whether you’re in town for a weekend on business or a month-long exploration, I think it’s almost impossible to have a bad time in the Big Apple.
This list is definitely not exhaustive when it comes to amazing hotels and neighborhoods. One of my favorite parts of New York City is how diverse this city is. There are one million options. After all, this list only covers two boroughs! There is so much left to explore.
Remember when booking to always, always, always take safety into account. New York City is one of the best cities in the country, but it also can be dangerous depending where you stay. Travel Advisor and a quick Google Search are your friends!
Have the absolute best New York City experience, and remember: if you can make it there you can make it anywhere!