Last Updated: 7/30/2023 | July 30th, 2023
Trying to find accommodation in New York City can be a painstaking process given the large number of hotels and neighborhoods to stay in. This is a city of over 10 million people. It’s massive and there is a lot of choice.
As someone who spent years living and working in New York City, I’ve stayed in a wide variety of places here. I’ve Couchsurfed, stayed in cheap hostels, cheap hotels, expensive hotels (thanks to travel hacking), B&Bs, pod hotels, friend’s couches, Airbnbs, and everything in between.
There are a lot of things to consider when figuring out where to stay in NYC that Google simply can’t tell you.
Today, I want to break down the best neighborhoods in New York City and the best accommodations in each of those neighborhoods so you can pick the right place to stay on your visit.
But, before I get into the specific neighborhoods and recommended places to stay while there, let me answer some of the most common questions I get asked about the city:
Here’s a very breakdown of where to stay and suggested accommodation:
Table of Contents
- Best Overall Neighborhood #1: West Village
- Best Neighborhood for Overall #2: Chelsea
- Where to Stay in Brooklyn: Williamsburg
- Where to Stay for Nightlife and Food: East Village
- Where to Stay for Families: Upper West Side
- Where to Stay for Sightseeing: Midtown
- Where to Stay for Museums: Upper East Side
- Where to Stay for Eating & Drinking: Lower East Side
- Where to Stay for History: The Financial District
- Where to Stay for Arts/Culture: TriBeCa
- Where to Stay in Queens: Astoria
- Get the In-Depth Budget Guide to New York City!
Best Overall Neighborhood #1: West Village
The West Village is the place to be. Despite its wealthy, celebrity-heavy demographic and plethora of fancy restaurants and boutiques, the area is actually pretty low-key. Walking around the cobblestone streets past sidewalk cafés, you feel as if you’ve left the crazy city behind and are in a quiet, suburban neighborhood. That’s the charm of this area. You’re in the city but really not. It’s busy during the day as people but, at night, it quiets down greatly making it a great place to sleep.
Best places to stay in the West Village
- BUDGET: The Jane – This historic hotel was actually where the survivors of the Titanic were put up when they landed in NYC. Now, it’s probably the best budget hotel in the city, with compact single rooms, comfy beds, and shared bathrooms. It’s clean and well kept.
- MID-RANGE: The Marlton – The Marlton is a restored boutique hotel that’s home to an excellent bar that serves incredible cocktails. The rooms have a rather stately feel to them, the decor is beautiful, and the staff super friendly. I think it’s the best value for your money in the area.
- LUXURY: Gansevoort – This chic hotel is one of the fanciest in the area. Technically, it’s in the Meatpacking district but that’s basically the West Village so I’m including it! They have a great rooftop bar, poo, and hip, stylish modern rooms. If you want modern luxury close to the action, stay here.
Best Neighborhood for Overall #2: Chelsea
Chelsea is one of New York City’s best neighborhoods. It has lots of restaurants, cool lounges, art galleries, cocktail bars, and is one of the focal points of LGBTQ life in the city. You can spend all day exploring flea markets and antique shops, grab some tacos at the Chelsea Market, walk the beautiful High Line (an old train track turned into a park), and then enjoy a drink at one of the many bars in the area. It’s busy any time of the day so, depending on where your hotel is, it may not be that quiet but you are right in the action and near a lot of good subway lines too.
Best places to stay in Chelsea
- BUDGET: Chelsea International Hostel – This is one of the largest hostels in the city and has an outdoor courtyard, a dining area, and two kitchens. Breakfast is included and there’s also a free pizza party on Wednesdays.
- MID-RANGE: Heritage Hotel New York City – The Heritage Hotel has simple but clean and comfortable rooms with air conditioning and a flat-screen TVs. There’s also a 24-hour fitness center. This place is nothing fancy but it gets the job done for a reasonable price.
- LUXURY: The Hotel Chelsea – This historic, arty hotel is right near Penn Station and the iconic Flatiron building. It’s a luxe spot with a bohemian vibe. The beds are incredibly comfortable and the staff are really nice! Part of the Hilton brand, it’s one of the nicest hotels in the area.
Where to Stay in Brooklyn: Williamsburg
Williamsburg in Brooklyn is home to wonderful restaurants, cool and unique bars, clothing stores, coffee shops, and good parks. It’s not as hipster as it used to be thanks to all the Manhattanites who came for cheaper rents (which no longer exist) but it’s still one of the best places in NYC. I spend a lot of weekends here. If you’re looking to still be somewhere buzzy and central but not in Manhattan, Williamsburg is where you’ll want to be.
Best places to stay in Williamsburg
- BUDGET: NY Moore Hostel – Located in East Williamsburg, this hostel has a host of nice amenities. I love how it’s covered in artwork and graffiti and there’s an outdoor courtyard in the back. The beds are pretty average but it’s a cozy hostel to stay at and the cheapest in Brooklyn.
- MID-RANGE: Pod Brooklyn – While the rooms are small (it’s a pod hotel), the location here is worthy every penny. There’s a laid-back lounge area where you can hang out or work, and a restaurant on-site for when you just want to relax in your room. Everything is clean and fresh and the staff here are amazing.
- LUXURY: Wythe Hotel – The Wythe is a refurbished waterfront factory with brick exposed rooms that have heated floors and lots of natural life. It’s super luxurious finishing, beautiful lobby, and gym make it the nicest hotel in the area. I also love the rooftop bar. The drinks are really well done and there’s a beautiful view of Manhattan.
Where to Stay for Nightlife and Food: East Village
Famous for its nightlife, Manhattan’s East Village is my personal all-time favorite NYC neighborhood. The bars scene here is excellent (you’ll find tons of speakeasies, wine bars, Irish pubs, and dive bars), the restaurants are amazing (so much good Japanese food around here), and just an eclectic mix of people. In short, there’s a lot to do here, it’s very central, affordable, and it’s place where locals hang out. If you want to experience “real New York”, stay here.
Best places to stay in the East Village
- BUDGET: American Dream Bed & Breakfast – This B&B has simple private rooms, a hearty breakfast, and a shared kitchen in case you want to cook your own meals. It’s a simple, no frills place to stay and the most affordable in the area.
- MID-RANGE: East Village Hotel – The rooms feature beautiful exposed brick walls, decent beds, and good shower pressure. Each room also has a kitchenette too. In an area with few hotels, this is one of the best value spots.
- LUXURY: The Standard – The Standard is one of the best hotels in the city. I think its East side location is better than the one in the Meatpacking district. The rooms are gorgeous, the beds plush, and the staff super helpful. The bar serves some of the best drinks in town and is usually always packed with NY’s fashionable set.
Where to Stay for Families: Upper West Side
The Upper West Side is one of the quieter parts of the city to stay in. You’re near some museums, like the American Museum of Natural History, as well as close to Central Park but you’re “far” from most of the action in the city. Like all of NYC, you’ll find good restaurants and bars here but it’s not “happening” part of the city when compared to other places. However, it’s one of the biggest family areas in the city so if you’re bringing kids or just want something quiet, this is a good area to stay in.
Best places to stay in the Upper West Side
- BUDGET: HI New York City – One of the biggest and most popular hostels in the city with a ton of space, an outdoor patio, free Wi-Fi, events, activities, and a huge kitchen. If you’re on a budget, stay here. It’s the best hostel in the city.
- MID-RANGE: Belnord Hotel – You’re just a quick walk from Central Park when you stay here. Rooms are simple, but you have all the standard amenities. There are lots of places to eat nearby and the staff are super friendly too.
- LUXURY: Hotel Lucerne – Just a few blocks away from Central Park and the Hudson River, Hotel Lucerne has luxurious rooms (the beds are fantastic) with free Wi-Fi and 24-hour room service, as well as spa services and valet parking. If you want luxury, quiet, and a good location, this is the best hotel in the area.
Where to Stay for Sightseeing: Midtown
Midtown has a lot of NYC’s biggest tourist attractions like Rockefeller Center, Times Square, The Museum of Metropolitan Art, Madison Square Garden, Broadway, and Koreatown. Personally, I don’t love staying in this part of town as it’s touristy, really busy, and there are far cooler neighborhoods in the city.
But, if you want to be close to all the major subway lines, Broadway, tourist sites, and have most of the big name hotels, this is where you’ll want to stay. But don’t expect a real local NY vibe to it. We NYers don’t go here.
If you want to stay in Midtown East, you’ll be closer to Grand Central Station, the Chrysler Building, and the Empire State Building.
Best places to stay in Midtown
- BUDGET: Pod 39 Hotel – Pod 39 is located in Murray Hill, close to all the hustle and bustle but quiet enough to enjoy a good night’s sleep. It’s near Grand Central Terminal, with easy access to the rest of the city. The hotel offers rooftop access which offers some gorgeous views in the summer.
- MID-RANGE: YOTEL – A modern, high-tech hotel that even has a luggage storage robot (seriously). The rooms are comfy. They are on the small side but they are clean and nice. I love the large outdoor terrace. It has a great view of the city.
- LUXURY: W Hotel Times Square – You’re literally on Times Square at the W Hotel. There’s onsite dining, free Wi-Fi, and a W MixBar in every room. You can’t get closer to the action than this. For me, it’s the nicest hotel in the area. If you’re gonna stay at a big name brand hotel, might as well be this one!
- LUXURY: The Library Hotel – If you’re a book lover, you’ve got to splurge on a stay here! Each room feels like a small library, complete with wood furnishings and individual collections of unique books. There’s a free breakfast, beautiful lobby, bar, and really helpful staff.
Where to Stay for Museums: Upper East Side
Upper East Side is another area known for being family-friendly and as a cheaper place to live than downtown. It’s the best area for Museum Mile, home to the Guggenheim, Frick, Museum of the City of New York, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. However, over the past few years, it’s become somewhat of a hip place to live and there’s been an explosion of great restaurants, new bars, fusion restaurants, and hotels. I live in this area. It’s a great area to stay in if you wanna be around locals. (If you see me, say hi!)
Best places to stay in the Upper East Side
- BUDGET: The Franklin Hotel – The rooms here are simple, but the Franklin Hotel has a lot of perks, like a free buffet breakfast and a free wine-and-cheese reception very evening. There’s also free 24-hour espresso and cappuccino! All rooms come with large TVs, iPod docks, and comfy pillow-top mattresses. It’s also close to Central Park and Museum Mile.
- MID-RANGE: Courtyard by Marriott Upper East Side – This hotel has great views over the East River. The rooms are small but comfortable and there are basic amenities like a fitness center as well as business center. It’s nothing fancy but you’ll get a good sleep.
- LUXURY: The Sherry-Netherland – Right on the border with Midtown, this ornate five-star hotel boasts high ceilings and exquisite marble bathrooms. The lobby has vaulted ceilings and the elevator has a white-gloved operator, just to highlight how upscale this property is. The decor is classy and timeless, there’s an on-site bar, and the rooms are spacious.
Where to Stay for Eating & Drinking: Lower East Side
The Lower East Side is a prime shopping, eating, and drinking neighborhood. It’s an incredibly diverse area – there are gritty pubs and bars, late-night comedy clubs, tattoo parlors galore, and a number of art galleries too. The Tenement Museum, one of my favorite museums, is also located here. When you think of all the things that make NYC great, you’ll find all of that here. It’s one of my favorite neighborhoods.
Best places to stay in the Lower East Side
- BUDGET: The RIDGE Hotel – Small rooms, but with some great amenities like iPod docking stations and wall-mounted TVs in each room. The helpful concierge can help you book tours and show you how to get around the city.
- MID-RANGE: Hotel Indigo – This hotel is dedicated to supporting local street art and artists, and you’ll see plenty of their work throughout the building. Locals flock to their Mr. Purple rooftop bar and pool area in the evening for fancy cocktails.
- LUXURY: The Ludlow – This is a truly gorgeous hotel, with hardwood floors, handmade silk rugs, artisan Moroccan lamps, and luxurious bathrooms with soaking tubs and rain showers. There’s also a beautiful trellis-covered garden, bar and lounge, and a 24-hour fitness center.
Where to Stay for History: The Financial District
The Financial District area of New York City definitely caters to business workers during the day but it’s become a lot cooler of an area in the last few years. It’s now a popular place to live in the city. Here you’ll be able to take in the old city: the historic churches, buildings, and taverns that have been around since the 1700s. You’ll also find Federal Hall, the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, Wall Street, and Battery Park. In short, it may be busy but there’s a lot to do here, making it a convenient area to base yourself.
Best places to stay in the Financial District
- BUDGET: Eurostars Wall Street – There are not many budget options in this area. However, Eurostars consistently offers good prices. The rooms are no frills but they are clean and a decent amount of natural light.
- MID-RANGE: Hilton Garden Inn – This is a pretty standard hotel. You get all the things you’d expect from a mid-range Hilton hotel. It’s a comfy place to stay and has some of the best prices in the area.
- LUXURY: The Beekman – This historic hotel is stunning, but the most impressive feature is the 9-story atrium with a glass ceiling a the top. You won’t want for anything here, with a restaurant and bar on the premises, custom beds, and huge marble bathrooms in all the rooms.
Where to Stay for Arts/Culture: TriBeCa
TriBeCa (Triangle Below Canal) is where former warehouses have become lofts, galleries, and performance spaces. In the evening, the streets heave with people out for a drink or a bite to eat in one of the new “it” spots. It’s one of the fanciest parts of the city. Here you’ll find the celebs and well to do of the city. It’s not near anything but the food scene here is great and it’s quiet.
Best places to stay in TriBeCa
- BUDGET: Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel – A 4-star hotel but with budget prices, this Sheraton has really modern rooms and a nice 24-hour gym. There’s shopping across the street and a Starbucks onsite. You’re also less than a block away from the subway!
- MID-RANGE: Sonder Duane Street – This boutique hotel has some really fantastic touches, like terry bathrobes and classic books in each room. You can use their complimentary iPads, or take a bike out for the day.
- LUXURY: The Frederick Hotel – Located near the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the Frederick Hotel is a funky, contemporary spot offering air-conditioned rooms with sofa beds, free Wi-Fi, and a great workout area. You can also take advantage of their complimentary walking tours through the neighborhood.
Where to Stay in Queens: Astoria
Astoria is one of the most culturally diverse parts of NYC, especially in terms of food and art (some of the best Greek food is found here). Astoria is far from the action of Manhattan but it’s a cheap place to stay and has lots of amazing cultural things to do. It’s a whole different NYC than what you imagine. If you want a real local area with a lot more affordable hotel options, Astoria is exactly where you want to be.
Best places to stay in Astoria
- BUDGET: The Local NYC – The dorm rooms at The Local are comfortable and clean, and the staff here is excellent. There’s a lobby bar, guest computers, a rooftop area, and single sex rooms available.
- MID-RANGE: Hotel Nirvana – Hotel Nirvana is next to a metro station that takes you directly to Manhattan. Take advantage of the free Wi-Fi, terrace, and fitness center. Bonus: you get free continental breakfast each morning!
- LUXURY: Paper Factory Hotel – Warm colors and elegant furnishings have transformed this former factory into a homey hotel. Each room is large and comes with its own unique touches. There’s a coworking space and a games room.
So, where should you stay in New York City? Well, that depends on the kind of trip you’re planning! But wherever you end up booking your hotel or hostel, chances are you’ll never be far from a subway line so it will be easy to get around the city.
New York City has a lot of amazing neighborhoods and accommodation options so use this guide the next time you’re visiting the city and enjoy some great places to stay!
Get the In-Depth Budget Guide to New York City!
For more in-depth tips on NYC, check out my 100+ page guidebook written for budget travelers like you! It cuts out the fluff found in other guides and gets straight to the practical information you need to travel in 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, bars, safety tips, and much more! Click here to learn more and get your copy today.
Book Your Trip to NYC: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.
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.
If you’re looking for more places to stay, here my complete list of favorite hostels the city.
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:
- Safety Wing (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.
Want More Information on NYC?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on New York City for even more planning tips!