Last Updated: 03/03/20 | March 3rd, 2020
New York City my be the city that never sleeps, but it’s definitely hard to find a (cheap) place to sleep here.
Accommodation in NYC is not cheap — and it’s often hard to find deals.
That’s (in part) by design.
There used to be a lot of hostels in NYC, but the hotel lobby got the city to use an old law meant to block tenements and limit the number of people that could stay in a single room. This effectively shut down most of the hostels in town, except for a few that were grandfathered in.
Now you’re only going to find a few hostels left.
Demand outstrips supply.
Even though there aren’t hundreds of hostels to choose from, there are enough to make a “best hostels in NYC” post, so you’ll know which are worth staying at (there are a few that are really terrible and to be avoided).
Over the years, I’ve stayed in dozens upon dozens of places. There are a lot of things to consider when selecting a hostel. The top four when picking the best hostel in NYC are:
- Location – New York is huge and it can take some time to get around. Pick a place that is central to the sites and nightlife you want to see. All the hostels listed here are in central locations.
- Price – In NYC, you really get what you pay for, so if you go with a really cheap one, you’re probably going to get a hostel that is small, cramped, and doesn’t offer great service.
- Amenities – Every hostel in the city offers free Wi-Fi, and some have a free breakfast, but if you want more than that, be sure to do your research to find the hostel that best meets your needs!
- Staff – All the hostels listed here have amazing staff! They are super friendly and knowledgeable. Even if you don’t end up staying at one of the places listed below, be sure to look up reviews to ensure you end up somewhere where the staff is helpful and friendly! They can make or break a hostel!
To help you plan your trip, here is my list of the hostels in New York City that I like the most. If you don’t want to read the longer list below, the following hostels are the best in each category:
Best Overall Hostel: HI NYC
Best Hostel for Budget Travelers: Brooklyn Riviera
Best Hostel for Families: American Dream
Best Hostel for Solo Female Travelers: Blue Moon Hotel
Best Hostel for Digital Nomads: The Local
Best Hostel for Partying: HI NYC (It’s the best in the city!)
Want the specifics of each hostel? Here’s my comprehensive list of the best hostels in New York City:
Price Legend (per night)
- $ = Under $40 USD
- $$ = $40-50 USD
- $$$ = Over $50 USD
The Best Hostels in NYC
1. Q4 Hotel
Q4 Hotel is a recently renovated hotel/hostel property with pretty basic rooms, but the beds are comfy and there’s plenty of light. The common room has a pool table and table tennis, and there’s a small kitchen for cooking. Located in Queens, this hostel is a great launching pad to exploring one of the best food neighborhoods in town! It’s a stone’s throw from the Queens Plaza station, where you can take the E line into Manhattan.
Q4 Hotel at a glance:
- Awesome common room with pool table
- Comfy beds and well-lit rooms
- Great neighborhood for foodies
Dorm beds from $34. Private rooms from $120.
2. Broadway Hotel & Hostel
This hotel/hostel is close to Central Park. The dorm rooms are small and a bit cramped, but the showers have great water pressure (and you can’t go wrong with that). It’s a nice place to just hang out: the hostel screens movies daily, and there’s a library (with a cozy fireplace), a lounge with a Nintendo Wii system, and a kitchen. If you’re looking for a comfortable place in a more relaxed environment, this is one of the better hostels in town.
Broadway Hotel & Hostel at a glance:
- Laid-back atmosphere
- Convenient location near Central Park
- Daily movie screenings & video games
Beds from $45. Private rooms from $90.
3. The Local NYC
This hostel is known for having one of the friendliest staffs in town. They really make it their mission to get people socializing, and you’ll find the common area is regularly used for hosting events, screening movies, or showcasing artwork. There’s also a roof terrace overlooking NYC’s skyline, and a bar with great cocktails (the bartenders are generous pourers). The rooms are clean and comfortable too!
The Local NYC at a glance:
- Helpful and knowledgeable staff
- Great place to meet people
- Awesome rooftop terrace for relaxing
Beds from $45. Private rooms available from $99.
4. NY Moore Hostel
Located in the trendy, hipster neighborhood of East Williamsburg, this hostel has a central location as well as a host of nice amenities, including free street parking (which is rare in NYC). I also love how it’s covered in artwork and graffiti, which makes it extremely beautiful. The beds are average, but it’s a cozy hostel to stay at.
NY Moore at a glance:
- Cool interior designs (lots of murals/artwork)
- Tons of free perks (free coffee/tea, free yoga, free parking)
- Chill outdoor patio
Dorm beds from $48 (winter), $58 (summer). Private rooms for three people also start around $80.
5. Chelsea International Hostel
This is one of the largest (and most centrally located!) hostels in town. One of NYC’s first, it has an outdoor courtyard, a dining area, and two kitchens. As an added bonus, all the dorms are single beds, so no top bunks here! Breakfast is included, and there’s a free pizza party on Wednesdays.
Chelsea International Hostel at a glance:
- Free breakfast
- No bunk beds (so no worrying about getting the top bunk)
- Lots of social events for meeting peope (like free pizza nights)
Beds from $35. Basic single private rooms from $50.
6. Blue Moon Hotel NYC
Blue Moon has an awesome location in the trendy Lower East Side neighborhood, which is full of bars, restaurants, and shops. It’s a good, basic place to sleep, but there’s no common area or communal kitchen, so don’t expect to make a lot of friends and socialize here.
Blue Moon Hotel at a glance:
- Quiet atmosphere (perfect for relaxing)
- Female-only dorms
- Awesome neighborhood (lots of bars/restaurants nearby)
Beds from $52.25.
7. HI New York City Hostel
This is one of the biggest and most popular hostels in NYC. Located on the Upper West Side, there is a ton of space, an outdoor patio, free Wi-Fi, events and activities, and a huge kitchen. Lots of school groups and families stay here, too. It also hosts comedy, improv, and variety shows in the theater room. It’s the best hostel in town!
HI NYC at a glance:
- Great place to meet people
- Chill outdoor patio
- Huge kitchen so you can cook and save money
Beds from $55.
8. Jazz Hostels
These hostels are some of my favorite in New York City after the HI hostel. They both provide a friendly environment and comfy dorms. Both places are popular for solo and budget travelers, so you’ll find it easy to make friends. There are two locations:
- Jazz Hostel Columbus Circle – If you’re lucky, you might be able to find a bed as low as $20 — but it’s rare. Double private rooms are also available from $90.
- Jazz on the Park (Upper West Side) – Beds are $65–80, double private rooms are also available from $70.
Jazz Hostels at a glance:
- Quiet atmosphere (not a party hostel)
- Super convenient location (Jazz on Columbus is right near the subway)
- Reliable Wi-Fi to help you plan your trip
9. Harlem YMCA
There are five locations in town, but the only one worth talking about is the Harlem one. That’s the biggest and cheapest location, and it’s close to the train; it has a large common area, a courtyard, computers, and big, comfy dorms. The gym, pool, and group classes are included in the price of your stay.
Harlem YMCA at a glance:
- Free access to the gym and pool
- Comfy beds
- Huge common room that makes it easy to meet people
There are only single and double rooms (with bunk beds). Singles are from $75 (in winter) and from $85 (in summer), plus
a $10 resort fee per night.
10. American Dream Bed and Breakfast
This cute, family-owned hostel considers itself a bed-and=breakfast: all rooms are private, and breakfast is free (including the fabulous homemade waffles). Plus, it has a great location near the Empire State Building, Union Station, and the Flatiron Building. The staff is very responsive and helpful.
American Dream B&B at a glance:
- Free breakfast (the waffles are amazing)
- No dorms (so you’re guaranteed a better sleep)
- Great location near the Empire State and Flatiron buildings
Rooms from $94.
11. Freehand New York
This isn’t a hostel, but I put it on the list because the rooms are fairly cheap for Manhattan and the place is just super cool. The décor and artwork by Bard College students give it an upscale feel. There’s a great bar and restaurant that’s popular with locals. The rooms aren’t huge, but they have enough space for you to move around. They are all modern and clean, and offer incredible value.
Freehand New York at a glance:
- Bar/Restaurant on-site so it’s easy to meet people
- Cool décor and chic vibe
- Great location (Union Square is nearby, as is the subway)
Rooms from $99.
12. The Jane
This historic hotel in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, where you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time, was actually where the survivors of the Titanic were put up when they landed in NYC. Now it’s also one of the best budget hotels in town, with compact single rooms, comfy beds, and shared bathrooms. There’s a café downstairs and a popular nightclub on the weekends. It even offers complimentary bikes for in-town use.
The Jane at a glance:
- Café on-site for relaxing, planning your trip, and meeting people
- Free bicycles so you can easily explore the city
- Historic décor and design
Singles from $125.
13. International Student Center
This hostel on the Upper West Side isn’t just for students. It’s a pleasant place to stay, with free Wi-Fi, comfy and clean beds, kitchens to cook in, and an awesome common area. The age restriction is 18-35, though; you’re out of luck if you’re older! The location is really the main selling point for this place.
International Student Center at a glance:
- Great for meeting people
- Under 35 only (so you can be sure it’s just travelers staying here)
- Awesome location close to Central Park
Beds from $50.
14. Brooklyn Riviera
A quaint, friendly hostel within walking distance to the A and C and #3 trains. Each dorm has four beds and plenty of storage, and there’s a nice backyard area where the staff regularly hosts barbecues. The Brooklyn Riviera looks a little rundown, but it’s well taken care of, and it’s comfortable enough for a short stay.
Brooklyn Riviera at a glance:
- Cozy backyard for hanging out with people
- Lots of events and activities (like communal BBQs)
- Super affordable
Beds from $25.
After traveling to (and living in!) New York for so many years, I’ve experienced a huge variety of accommodations there. There are a lot of awesome places to stay, but these have become my favorites because of their relatively low prices, stellar locations, and general cleanliness. It’s a shame there’s not more cheap accommodation in the city, but these are the best hostels in NYC. Check them out and save your money for all the other things NYC has to offer!
Get the In-Depth Budget Guide to New York City!
For more in-depth information and tips on NYC, check out my 100+ page guidebook written for budget travelers like yourself! It cuts out the fluff found in other guides and gets straight to the practical information you need to travel and save money the city that never sleeps. You’ll find suggested itineraries, budgets, ways to save money, on and off the beaten path things to see and do, non-touristy restaurants, markets, and bars, and much more!! Click here to learn more and get started.
Book Your Trip to NYC: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. Start with Skyscanner first though because they have the biggest reach!
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
Additionally, if you’re wondering what part of town to stay in, here’s my neighborhood guide to NYC!
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)
Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.
Need a Guide?
New York has some really interesting tours. My favorite company is Take Walks. They have expert guides and can get you behind the scenes at the city’s best attractions. They’re my go-to walking tour company!
Want More Informtion on NYC?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide to NYC for even more planning tips!
Photo credits: 1 – Pod Hotel, 2 – Q4 Hotel, 3 – Broadway Hotel & Hostel, 4 – The Local NYC, 5 – NY Moore Hostel, 6 – Chelsea Hostel, 7 – Blue Moon Hotel, 8 HI NYC, 9 – Jazz Hostels, 10 – YMCA, 11 – American Dream Hostel, 12 – Freehand Hotel, 13 – The Pod Hotel, 14 – The Jane NYC, 15 – NYC Student Center