Where to Stay in New York City – The Best Neighborhoods and Hotels in New York City for Every Type of NYC Trip
Planning a trip to New York City? One of the biggest questions is where in the Big Apple should you stay?! With so many different neighborhoods and vibes, there are nearly 1,000 hotel options within the city, totaling over 125,000 rooms across the island. It’s safe to say that choosing the best hotel to stay at while visiting New York City is no walk in Central Park!!
Typically, I recommend both hotels and VRBOs/Airbnbs for you guys to give you all of the possible options for each destination I write about. But, for New York City specifically, I am only going to go over the neighborhoods and the hotels within them. I personally love the hotel scene in New York City, and think it makes a trip to NYC. Plus, renting out apartments on VRBO/Airbnb is technically legal in New York, but there are several restrictions, and you just never know if the permanent resident is actually following all of them. Better safe than sorry in a city like New York, and honestly, I think that experiencing NYC’s hotel scene is 100% worth it!
First, let’s talk neighborhoods, and then, scroll down for all my favorite hotel recs!
Which New York City Neighborhood Should You Stay in?
Although New York City has a total of five boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Staten Island, and of course, Manhattan), I am only going to focus on the two most popular since that is where most tourists choose to stay: Manhattan and Brooklyn. Within each of these two boroughs, there are countless neighborhoods, each presenting its own unique characteristics that make it a great choice for where to stay in NYC.
Where to Stay on Your First Trip to New York City
The first question you should ask yourself on any trip to New York is, “what do I want to do while I’m in New York City?” If it’s your first time visiting, you may want to hit up all of the most popular tourist attractions, in which case, you should stay in Midtown Manhattan. Midtown is the most centrally located to attractions (such as the Empire State Building, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and the Flatiron District). It is also the merging point for almost all of the subway lines in the city (the easiest way to get around when you are visiting, combined with walking!).
The Financial District
For those of you who want to be near all of the major subway lines for easy access but don’t love the idea of fighting the Midtown crowds every time you leave your hotel, I’d stay in the Financial District. FiDi has tons of great options when it comes to transportation, but it is night and day compared to Midtown in terms of the noise level. It may take you a little bit longer to get to Times Square or Central Park, but you will be right next to Wall Street, the 9/11 Memorial, and the Statue of Liberty.
Feel like crossing the bridge over to Brooklyn? Check out DUMBO (which stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) for some gorgeous Manhattan skyline views. You’ll only be one stop away from Manhattan, so commuting over to the main attractions will be a piece of cake.
Where to Stay in New York City to Live Like a Local
Williamsburg is the hottest neighborhood in Brooklyn, so if you want to live like a local during your trip, you can’t go wrong here! This area is home to some of the city’s greatest restaurants, bars, and art exhibits, making it a must-see destination even if you aren’t choosing to stay here.
Upper West Side
The Upper West Side is home to the American Museum of Natural History, Columbus Circle, and some of the prettiest townhomes you will ever see. This is a quiet, residential area that borders Central Park to the west, so you can grab your coffee from a local roasting company and take a morning stroll through the less-trafficked areas of the park.
Greenwich Village is one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in all of New York City. Among its tree-lined streets, you will find swanky jazz clubs, hip coffee shops, and beautiful brownstones. And if you are intrigued by culture and art, the historical significance of The Village in terms of music, The Beat Generation, and the LGBTQ+ movement will be one of your favorite things about this neighborhood.
Where to Stay in New York City if You Want to Party
Lower East Side
The Lower East Side has some of the best bars and pubs in all of Manhattan! If you are looking for more of a dive-bar/college/young-professionals scene, head to The Library, 169 Bar, Clockwork Bar, or Iggy’s. For something more Instagrammable, check out Short Stories or The Roof at PUBLIC Hotel. And if speakeasies are your thing, you have to check out Garfunkel’s (located in The Burgary on Clinton Street!).
Chelsea/The Meatpacking District
Ahhh, The Meatpacking District… one of the best places to go out in NYC in my opinion! Some of the best restaurants and clubs are found in this neighborhood (just be careful on the cobblestone streets with those heels, ladies!). It’s important to note that, if you are going out in this area, you need to dress up. Most places won’t let you in if you are wearing jeans or shorts – ladies, think dresses, skirts, and heels. Guys, think slacks and collared shirts!
One of the best clubs in The Meatpacking District is 1 OAK. It can be difficult to get into as their regular clientele includes celebrities, but if you are able to get in, you’ll never forget the experience! I also recommend that you check out The Top of the Standard, Le Bain, or RH Rooftop.
Don’t forget about Brooklyn! From its skyline views of Manhattan (try Harriet’s Rooftop or Westlight) to its eclectic/artsy bars (like Bohemian Bar), Brooklyn’s bar scene is one you don’t want to miss.
Where to Stay in New York City if You Want to Shop Til You Drop
Upper East Side
I mean, are you surprised?! Anyone who has been to or even heard of New York City has heard of the ultra-luxurious Upper East Side. The UES is home to the best luxury shopping in the city and is a place frequented by the rich and famous on a daily basis. If you want to rub elbows with a millionaire, walk down Fifth Avenue (locally known as Millionaire’s Row!) and pop into Bergdorf Goodman’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, or Louis Vuitton. Then, head over to Madison Avenue to shop at Chanel, Alexander McQueen, or Love Shack Fancy. And if you’re on a budget but still want to invest in a designer item, you definitely need to go to The Real Real on Madison Avenue!
SoHo, which stands for South of Houston (as in Houston Street), is another popular shopping area in New York. While you can still find luxury shops like Chanel and Prada in this neighborhood, you will also find local boutiques and thrift stores that really scream “New York City!” Take a stroll down Broadway and go nuts – you could spend an entire day just popping in and out of the shops here!
Where to Stay in New York City if You Love Broadway
A common misconception about Broadway in New York City is that there is only one theatre. In actuality, there are 41! Most of them are situated between 41st Street and 54th Street and 7th Avenue and 8th Avenue, so if you want to be close, Times Square is your go-to “neighborhood.” And if you’re looking for dinner and a show, grab a bite to eat at Ellen’s Stardust Diner! This restaurant is a 50’s-inspired diner whose waiters are all Broadway hopefuls. In between grabbing your food and drinks, the staff takes turns performing songs live! It’s like karaoke, but Broadway style.
Just to the west of Times Square bordering the Hudson River is Hell’s Kitchen. Hell’s Kitchen is where a lot of Broadway actors live, so if you want a true Broadway star experience, staying here is a must!
Where to Stay in New York City on a Budget
The Upper East Side doesn’t just host the wealthiest of guests – certain pockets are very affordable! If you want to be near the park and UES shopping but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg at the most exclusive hotels, check out Yorkville for a more cost-effective option.
If you enjoy Asian cuisine and want to feel like you flew around the world to China, Chinatown is the place to be! Chinatown is less expensive than many other Lower Manhattan neighborhoods, but staying here will keep you next to all of the action.
Many people hear “Harlem” and immediately think “crime.” While it’s true that, in the past, Harlem has seen higher crime rates compared to some of Manhattan’s other neighborhoods, it is actually a safe place to be in New York City these days! Of course, anywhere you go in the city, you need to be mindful and steer clear of dangerous situations. But overall, if you are looking for a budget-friendly neighborhood filled with art, culture, and incredible restaurants, Harlem is somewhere to consider.
Which New York City Hotel Should You Stay in?
Once you have narrowed down the neighborhood(s) that you are interested in, you can choose the right hotel for you!
The Best Hotels in Upper Manhattan
You can’t go wrong with The Ritz! The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park is the epitome of New York luxury. Relax in your room with their ultra-plush bathrobes, or venture out onto the streets of Manhattan where Central Park and Fifth Avenue are within minutes of the lobby!
Conveniently located with sweeping views of Central Park, this luxury hotel offers a 24-hour fitness center, a gorgeous spa, onsite dining, and custom furniture.
If you are walking up to Central Park on Sixth Avenue, you will pass by 1 Hotel Central Park. In the warmer months, 1 Hotel Central Park’s outdoor dining is a must for people watching. But even if you decide to just relax in your room most of the time, this hotel has you covered with your own flatscreen TV, safety deposit box, Nespresso machine, and a yoga mat.
Imagine this… Baccarat crystals in every room. Intricate architecture and design around every corner. An onsite French restaurant with five-star, white-glove service. Sound like your kind of place? Same!!
Even if you don’t end up staying at The Carlyle, you have to at least visit their ultra-chic bar! You might even run into a celebrity here. After all, Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Diana, Tom Cruise, Madonna, Calvin Klein, and Lady Gaga have all stayed here!
Mandarin Oriental is located in Columbus Circle on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It is just a two-minute walk over to Central Park, and its rooms offer panoramic views of the city!
Perhaps one of the most famous hotels in Manhattan is The Plaza. The Plaza has been featured in countless movies and TV shows (some of the most notable being Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, The Great Gatsby, American Hustle, and King of New York), so you may recognize its decor and architecture.
The Best Hotels in Midtown Manhattan
The Langham is conveniently located in Midtown Manhattan near Bryant Park and the Empire State Building. For all of my foodies out there, dine at Ai Fiori, which is the onsite Michelin star restaurant! You will feel as though you have been transported right to the Italian Riviera.
Just five minutes from Broadway sits this art-deco, boutique hotel. The Chatwal has perfectly married traditional luxury with modern charm – it’s a place you don’t want to miss!
Lotte New York Palace (or just “The Palace”) was the very first luxury hotel in Manhattan and was made even more famous by the hit TV show Gossip Girl. In the show, this is where Serena Van Der Woodsen lived while her family’s penthouse was being renovated – what a rough life! If you are here during Christmastime, The Palace has one of the most gorgeously decorated trees in the city.
The Peninsula is one of my all-time favorite New York City hotels! Located right on Fifth Avenue, this gem of a hotel has an indoor pool, spa, fitness center, and a rooftop terrace (head up here at night for those picture-perfect city views!).
Unless this is the first blog post of mine you have ever read, you already know how much I love Four Seasons! Kenny and I have stayed in countless Four Seasons across the world (some of my favorite being Maui (where we got married!!), The Maldives, and Bora Bora). When it comes to luxury, Four Seasons does it best. Their New York City hotel is no different!
For those of you wanting to stay on the west side of Midtown Manhattan (near Chelsea, The Highline, and The Meatpacking District), Pendry Manhattan West will be your go-to hotel.
The St. Regis New York is one of the most beautiful hotels in the city IMO. I always recommend snapping a photo here if you are looking for an Instagrammable place in New York City, but staying here is even better!
The New York EDITION’s location is iconic – when you walk outside, you will basically walk right into Madison Square Park! But since the onsite restaurant has a Michelin star, you may not find yourself venturing outside of its walls too often.
The Best Hotels in Lower Manhattan
The Beekman is situated in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan just a few minutes from The Brooklyn Bridge. The glass pyramid-shaped ceiling is a sight to see both inside and outside of the hotel, and the rooms’ real oak floors and marble bathrooms are sure to impress.
Looking to stay on the Lower East Side? The Bowery Hotel is a great option! Every single room has floor-to-ceiling windows offering stunning city views, and the lobby bar welcomes both guests and locals searching for an evening of craft cocktails and good vibes.
Remember when I told you that Greenwich Village is one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in New York City? Well, here’s the best hotel to stay at in The Village! With only 88 rooms, this hotel, complete with an indoor pool, spa, and fully-stocked in-room mini-bar, screams exclusive luxury.
Crosby Street Hotel can be found on the cobblestone streets of SoHo, a neighborhood known for its shopping, cafes, and fine dining. One of the best things about this hotel is its proximity to the subway – it is just one block away from the Spring Street Station!
I listed NoMo SoHo as one of the most Instagrammable places in New York City because the archway of greenery as you enter the lobby will truly blow you away. NoMo SoHo is a slightly more affordable option in Lower Manhattan, but it is still luxurious nonetheless!
You are sure to get the celebrity treatment at The Dominick Hotel! This five-star hotel is 46 stories tall and has a total of four onsite restaurants! If you are staying for the weekend, you won’t even need to leave the hotel for dinner (although I do recommend that you fully explore New York’s food scene!).
The Best Hotels in Brooklyn
The hip Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg has plenty of beautiful hotels, but The Williamsburg Hotel is definitely one the best! This hotel was designed by a London-based architecture firm, so its English influence makes it a unique place to stay.
My favorite Brooklyn hotel is 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. You can’t top the Manhattan skyline views, luxurious soaking tubs, and complimentary rides in the hotel’s Teslas anywhere within a 3-mile radius!!
A 50-foot rooftop swimming pool. A restaurant with an award-winning chef. Custom metalwork and floor-to-ceiling windows in every room. Are you convinced to stay here yet?!
If you are okay with staying a little farther away from Manhattan, check out Ace Hotel Brooklyn! Ace Hotel Brooklyn features a bar, an onsite restaurant, and a garden, and it is a pet friendly hotel option in Brooklyn!
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