Things to do in New York

Where to stay in NYC: Top neighbourhoods for every type of traveler

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So, you've heard the old 'stay in Jersey, it's cheaper' spiel. But let's face it, you're not trekking to New York to cut corners on your experience. In a city that's more patchwork quilt than melting pot, each of the five boroughs – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island – competes for your affection. Ironically enough, despite your options, there's a solid reason why everyone wants to find a place to stay in Manhattan. Yet, if you widen your gaze, Brooklyn's trendy vibes, Queens' multicultural beats, The Bronx's raw authenticity, and Staten Island's quieter charms are all contenders. Let’s dive into the best neighborhoods to stay in NYC and why certain spots might just make your New York adventure unforgettable.

Where to stay in NYC - An overview

  • Your first time

  • On a budget

  • For nightlife

  • With Family

  • During holiday season

If you're a first-timer eager to immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of the city, staying in the Times Square area can be quite an experience. Surrounded by bright lights and iconic sights, it's a convenient location for Broadway shows and a plethora of dining options. However, be prepared for the crowds and higher prices. 

The best place to stay in NYC - Midtown Manhattan

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Nestled right at the heart of the action, Midtown Manhattan is quite simply the epicenter of the New York experience. Midtown is the place where you’ll find most of the city’s tallest skyscrapers and is one of the largest central business districts in the world. Areas like Hell’s Kitchen spice up the area with their culinary flair, Chelsea brings the art, and Gramercy Park offers understated elegance. This is where the city’s heartbeat is strongest – with iconic landmarks like Times Square, the Empire State Building, and the New York Public Library standing as testaments to its cultural and architectural might. Yes, staying in Midtown Manhattan does come with a heftier price tag. However, it's a worthy investment for the convenience and the opportunity to be in proximity to so much of what makes New York City iconic.

Where to Stay in Midtown Manhattan

Other recommended neighborhoods to stay in NYC

1. Long Island City

Known for luxury condos
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Breweries Gantry ParkWell conectedMuseum of Moving Image

Long Island City in Queens is quickly emerging as a hotspot with its growing art scene and waterfront parks that provide stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. It's a great place for travelers seeking a quieter area that still offers easy access to the city center. A mix of luxury high-rises and boutique hotels gives visitors a range of accommodations, while the neighborhood's trendy cafes and bars offer a taste of local life without the overwhelming crowds.

Best hotels to stay in: Hilton Garden Inn, Aloft Long Island City, Courtyard by Marriott

🇺🇸 Local's Tip 🇺🇸

The northern part of this neighbourhood is mostly industrial area while the southern part has some cool places like Gantry Plaza State Park.

2. Park Slope

Historical architecture and diverse area
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Brownstones RestaurantsOutdoor concerts

Park Slope in Brooklyn exudes a charming, small-town feel with its tree-lined streets and historic brownstones. This family-friendly neighborhood is known for its laid-back cafes, independent boutiques, and proximity to the green expanse of Prospect Park. The area offers a variety of dining options, from casual eateries to high-end restaurants, making it an attractive destination for those who want a quieter stay with the essence of Brooklyn life.

Best hotels to stay in: Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, Serenity Park Slope, Ace Hotel Brooklyn

🇺🇸 Local's Tip 🇺🇸

The adjacent neighbourhood of Gowanus is also pretty cool to stay. It's a former industrial area with art galleries and trendy bars.

3. Williamsburg

Hip neighbourhood in NYC
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Dance clubs GalleriesFood

Williamsburg in Brooklyn is the epitome of hipster culture, delivering an experience brimming with cutting-edge galleries, indie music venues, and artisanal shops. It's a favorite for the younger crowd and creatives, offering a vibrant nightlife and a wide array of craft breweries and trendy eateries. With the East River Ferry and subway lines, connectivity to Manhattan is a breeze.

Best hotels to stay in: The Hoxton, Penny Williamsburg

🇺🇸 Local's Tip 🇺🇸

You must check out the Qahwah House for some of the best tea and coffee. 

4. SoHo

Shopping in NYC
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Cobblestone streets BarsArchitecture

SoHo stands for "South of Houston Street" and is revered for its architecture, upscale shopping, and exclusive art galleries. It’s a paradise for those looking to indulge in high-end retail therapy set against cobblestone streets and cast-iron facades. While the area can be pricey when it comes to accommodation, it also provides a compelling blend of the chic and the historical, placing you amidst luxury boutiques, trendy cafes, and some of New York’s most prestigious dining venues.

Best hotels to stay in: Soho Grand Hotel, ModernHaus SoHo, NOMO SOHO

🇺🇸 Local's Tip 🇺🇸

Know that in NYC, Houston is pronounced as How-stun instead of Hyoostun. 

5. Greenpoint

Polish-American community
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Riverfront Live musicParks

Greenpoint, another Brooklyn neighborhood, is particularly attractive for its old-world charm. This area is quieter than Williamsburg but still offers an array of trendy bistros, boutique shopping, and waterfront views. It is a great option for those seeking a laid-back atmosphere while being within easy reach of Manhattan. Accommodations tend to be more affordable than in the heart of the city, and the presence of traditional Polish shops and eateries adds a unique cultural flavor.

Best hotels to stay in: Franklin Guesthouse , Wythe Hotel, The William Vale

🇺🇸 Local's Tip 🇺🇸

Karczma in Greenpoint is among the best restaurants in NYC to try! 

6. Dumbo

Picturesque views of Manhattan skyline
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Brooklyn Bridge ArchitectureCafes

Dumbo, short for "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass," stands out with its cobblestone streets, expansive parkland, and striking views of the Manhattan skyline. The area features luxury lofts and modern amenities, while retaining an industrial chic edge. It's a popular spot for photography and iconic NYC shots, with the Brooklyn Bridge serving as a stunning backdrop. It's also home to unique shops, art galleries, and hosts a vibrant arts scene.

Best hotels to stay in: 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, The Tillary Hotel Brooklyn

🇺🇸 Local's Tip 🇺🇸

% Arabica sells one of the best coffees in NYC. Make sure you try the Kyoto Latte or their espressos. 

7. East Village

For vintage shops and fast food
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Old-school bars Tattoo parlour

The East Village, once the center of the punk rock scene, now offers a diverse cultural experience with its eclectic mix of shops, bars, and ethnic restaurants. Here you'll find everything from underground music venues to vintage clothing stores. While it's not as polished as some other areas, its charm and character make it a fascinating place to stay.

Best hotels to stay in: Moxy NYC East Village, The Ludlow Hotel

🇺🇸 Local's Tip 🇺🇸

East Village is also famous for the numerous community gardens, comedy clubs and thrift shopping.

8. Ridgewood

Coolest neighbourhood in NYC
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Old-school bars Diverse region

Ridgewood, in Queens, merges the creative energy of neighboring Bushwick with a quieter, family-oriented atmosphere. It boasts diverse culinary offerings and emerging art spaces while maintaining a more relaxed, residential vibe. The neighborhood has seen a significant influx of new residents drawn to its lower housing costs and large, leafy streets. Staying here you'll have access to unique vintage shops, beer gardens, and a slice of authentic New York living away from the tourist-heavy areas.

Best hotels to stay in: The Box House Hotel

9. Harlem

Stylish clubs and Jazz bars
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Affordable Apollo Theatre

Harlem is steeped in a rich history that resonates through its streets, with landmarks like the Apollo Theater and the annual Harlem Week festival. A renaissance of culture, the neighborhood boasts a vibrant community atmosphere, with an array of soul food restaurants and jazz clubs that echo the legacy of the Harlem Renaissance. Its growing popularity has brought new investment, blending modern amenities with its historic character.

Best hotels to stay in: Aloft Harlem, Renaissance New York Harlem Hotel

🇺🇸 Local's Tip 🇺🇸

Explore Harlem's burgeoning arts scene and attend live music events that showcase the area's historical connection to jazz and blues

Where to stay in NYC - The Neighborhood Guide