Posted: 1/10/2019 | January 10th, 2019
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).
So, without further ado, here are…
The Best Hostels in New York City
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.
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.
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!
Beds from $45.49. 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.
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.
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.
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!
Beds from $55.
8. Jazz Hostels
These hostels are some of my favorite in New York City after the HI hostel. They both provide friendly environments, kitchens, and comfy dorms. Both places are popular for solo 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.
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.
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.
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.
Rooms from $99.
13. 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.
Singles from $125.
14. 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.
Beds from $50.
15. 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.
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!
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