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Where to Stay in New York City – 2019 Travel Guide for First Time Visitors

where to stay in new york city neighborhood guide

 

Where to Stay in New York City

You really can’t go wrong no matter where you stay in New York – after all this is the city that never sleeps! That being said, first time visitors to New York most likely are here to experience NYC’s museums, restaurants and shopping so here are some suggestions for the best neighborhoods to position yourself.

 


 

where-to-stay-in-new-york-city-hotels-under-200-night

 

Visiting New York City

If this is your first time visiting New York and you’re not sure where to orient yourself, don’t worry! Manhattan is really a small island compared to some of the world’s largest cities (London, Tokyo, etc) and luckily the majority of New York is organized in an easy grid system.

 

Getting Around NYC

Avenues run parallel from north to south and start at 1st Avenue on the East Side, to 12th Avenue on the west side. If you’re looking to go across town, or “crosstown”, buses are your best bet!

Meanwhile, streets run east to west and are numbered from 1st street in southern Manhattan to 220th Street in the north. To go “uptown” or “downtown”, take the subway and make sure you enter on the platform for the direction you’re headed.

 

Fun Tours in New York

 


 

best affordable hotels in manhattan

 

Best Neighborhoods in NYC

Most of the tourist sights are concentrated in midtown and downtown so I would recommend starting your New York City hotel search in these general areas. If you aren’t sold on the bustle and noise of city life, you might prefer to choose a hotel uptown, close to Central Park.

In any case, here’s a neighborhood guide and quick overview of some of the best places to stay in new york city:

 

New York City Neighborhoods

Here’s a quick overview of the best hotels in each neighborhood of New York.

Neighborhood Known For Hotel Pick Hotel Pick 
Midtown Sightseeing Hudson New York Martinique New York
Times Square Broadway, Billboards citizenM Times Square  Pod Times Square
West Village Charm, Sex & the City The Jane The Marlton
SoHo Shopping, Bars, Restaurants NoMo SoHo Arlo SoHo
Tribeca Restaurants, Celebrities Sheraton Tribeca The Frederick
Meatpacking Nightlife, Shopping The Standard The Gansevoort
Upper West Side Museums, Family Friendly Belnord Hotel Hotel Beacon
Williamsburg Boutiques, Trendy The William Vale Pod Brooklyn
 Read more:  Where to Stay in New York for Under $150/night

 


 

 

Best Neighborhood for Sightseeing: Midtown

Find Great Hotels in Midtown

Midtown is the section just south of Central Park and primarily a business and tourist district. Here you’ll find towering skyscrapers, each jockeying for a view of the park; luxury shopping on 5th Avenue and tons of classic New York City cabs and hot dog stands on the streets.

While no one in their right mind wants to live in Midtown, given how hectic it is, many visitors to NYC will like how centrally located this neighborhood is!

You can walk straight into Central Park for a picnic, zip up the 4, 5 and 6 trains north to the classic museums on the Upper East Side or walk downtown to Rockefeller Center and Times Square.

Midtown just south of Central Park is the a fantastically swanky spot and the best place to stay in New York if you like luxury hotels, have business meetings or want epic views of the park.

Best Hotels in Midtown:

 

Best Neighborhood for First Time Vistors: Times Square

Find Great Hotels in Times Square

While locals avoid Times Square like the plague… first time visitors will love the nonstop lights and action of Times Square!

From comedy shoes to Broadway performances, flashing billboards, endless restaurant options… you can find it all in Times Square! This is one of the most iconic neighborhoods in NYC to stay in.

Best Hotels in Times Square:

 Read more:  The Best Hotels in Times Square

 


 

 

Most Charming NYC Neighborhoods: Greenwich Village & West Village

Find Great Hotels in Greenwich Village | Find Great Hotels in the West Village

This wide section is what most people think of when they envision “Classic New York” – the beautiful chestnut brownstone buildings, the leafy sidewalks and the hip cafes and small boutiques.

This is after all, where Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw character had her apartment in Sex and the City! If you plan to go out at night, stay in the Village for easy access to some great bars and jazz clubs as well as trendy nightclubs in Meatpacking.

The Village is one of the best places to stay in New York if you want classic Manhattan facades and a small town charm in the big apple.

Best Hotels in the Village:

 

Best for Shopping & Walking: Soho and the Lower East Side

Find Great Hotels in SoHo

Soho is particularly great for shopping while the Lower East Side is the spot for great food, drinks and bars. If you’ve seen all the touristy sights and just want to live like a local for a weekend in New York, this is the hip section of Manhattan to stay!

You can grab authentic Chinese food in Chinatown, grab a cannoli in Little Italy or shop till you drop on any of the endless chain stores and boutiques all throughout Soho. For my fashionistas and nightlife lovers, Downtown Manhattan is the place to stay in New York.

Best Hotels in SoHo:

 


 

 

Best for Restaurants & Celebrity Sightings: Tribeca

Find Great Hotels in Tribeca

Tribeca is one of the trendiest, most coveted neighborhoods to live in for New Yorkers. So naturally, lots of young families, high powered executives live here. It’s also where celebrities like Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Jay-Z have bought apartments!

Stay in Tribeca if you like being in a hip, understated neighborhood, with tons of great restaurants (both casual and Michelin starred)… and hope to spot a celebrity or two!

Best Hotels in Tribeca:

 

Best for Nightlife: Meatpacking

Find Great Hotels in Meatpacking

If you’re visiting New York for a girls trip, bachelor/bachelorette or just want to party all night, stay near Meatpacking! The biggest, most popular dance clubs are all here… and late night favorites like Artichoke Pizza.

In the day time, there’s excellent shopping, the High Line and more to keep you occupied.

Best Hotels in Meatpacking:

 


 

 

If you’re a budget traveler or a family with kids, you’re likely looking for more affordable accommodation in New York City. Keep reading!

 

Best for Families: Upper East Side and Upper West Side

Find Great Hotels in the Upper West Side

90% of New York’s most famous museums are uptown. If you’re visiting New York with kids, you’ll love green Central Park in uptown Manhattan. Whether you pick the East or West side, you’ll have great museum options: the American Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim and more!

Hotels here typically have family friendly accommodation and there’s also easy subway and bus lines to get around.

Best Hotels Uptown:

 

Best Budget Neighborhood: Williamsburg Brooklyn

Find Great Hotels in Williamsburg

Trendy Williamsburg is one of the hottest areas for visitors on a budget and families to stay in. With beautiful boutique hotels offering views of the New York skyline, who can resist?

Williamsburg also has tons of great restaurants, coffee shops and shopping to offer!

Best Hotels in Williamsburg:

 


 

Will this be your first time visiting Manhattan? 

 

Visiting NYC – Travel Checklist

New York City has 3 airports: John F Kennedy (JFK), the bustling international hub; LaGuardia (LGA), the run down smaller airport near Astoria Queens; and Newark Airport (EWR) which is actually in New Jersey. You can check for flight deals here for your upcoming trip – for better rates, make sure you include all 3 airports.

Be sure to visit New York with travel insurance. Whether you get injured and need to be hospitalized, or your phone gets stolen, or a delayed flight leaves you with nothing but the clothes on your back, travel insurance will help when you need it most. Get a quote for your trip here.

Everything about the city is expensive (sorry). From food to accommodation to sights, try to save up a healthy vacation fund and then enjoy the entire visit. I do recommend booking hotels in NYC – Airbnb is illegal here so it’s not a safe option. You can check here for last minute accommodation deals.

Getting around, on the other hand, is easy! The subway system is extensive and follows a North South grid (for the most part). If you want to avoid the grime, use Uber and Lyft on your phone or hail a cab by sticking out an arm. Cabs with lights on the roofs mean they’re open and available!

 

 You Might Also Enjoy: 

 

New York City Vacation Planning Articles

An Insider’s Guide to New York City Museums

Guide to the Best Coffee Shops and Acai Bowls in NYC

The Best NYC Furniture Stores for Every Budget

 

Fun Events & Things To Do

Institute of Culinary Education Class Review (+ Promo Code)

NY Botanical Garden: Orchid Evenings

Art After Dark at the Guggenheim Museum

Cherry Blossoms on New York’s Roosevelt Island

Christmas & New York City’s Holiday Train

 

New York City Eats & Restaurant Reviews

Asian: Cha-An, Hatushana Sushi, Mihoko’s 21 Grams, Jinya Ramen

Brunch: The Wren, The Meatball Shop, Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg

Dinner: The Wayfarer, L’Artusi, Racines, Tamarind, Sociale

Fine Dining: Musket Room, River Café, The Modern, AnnisaBenoit

 

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New York City Summer WeekendJuly 20, 2017 - 5:35 pm

[…] normally hectic metropolis into a more laid back town where it’s easy to find affordable Manhattan hotels and book prime-time dinner reservations at popular restaurants. This is why we left Philadelphia, […]

Barbara WilliamsFebruary 10, 2019 - 12:26 am

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