Where to Stay in New York City
A New York Neighborhood Guide and 5 Manhattan Hotels Under $200
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.
The Best Areas to Stay for First Time Visitors to New York
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.
There are also some really swanky hotels here so you’ll be spoilt for choice! Keep reading if you’re looking for more affordable accommodation in New York City.
Greenwich Village and 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.
Soho and the East Side
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.
5 Manhattan Hotels Under $200
Around where I grew up, if you were willing to spend $200 on a hotel, you would be hooked up with the penthouse suite, fancy take-home toiletries, and at least a two bathrobe situation. Granted you would be in the penthouse suite because it would be on the third floor of a franchised hotel, but that’s beside the point. New York is a different ball game, though. While there are solid hotel options in Manhattan that are more affordable, these options can start getting you a luxury experience (although maybe just one bathrobe) if you’ve got a little room in the budget.
Here are 5 hotel options in New York that can be had for for cheap! Well, by Manhattan standards of living..
1 | The Gatsby Hotel
Neighborhood: Lower East Side at 135 E. Houston Street
As its name might suggest, the Gatsby Hotel is a sleek, 45-room hotel that was newly refurbished in 2016. The early checkout at 1100 AM is a tad annoying, but the hotel’s minimalist yet bright design and amenities (read: bathrobes!) more than make for a great experience. SoHo, the East Village, Chinatown, and the West Village are all within a 25 minute walk, creating an unrivaled ability to make the most of your time in New York. The best part about the hotel’s location, though? Try being just four blocks away from the world-famous pastrami sandwiches of Katz’s Delicatessen!
Single Rooms from $126
A note about Booking.com: I like to use this site to find the best rates on hotels and I’ll usually make a booking on this site when I’ve bought flights but haven’t narrowed down specifically where I want to stay. Booking.com allows you to make reservations without putting it on your credit card (you pay at the hotel when you get there, not online) and allows for free cancellations. Each hotel has their own cancellation policy but it’s clearly stated and usually something like 2 or 3 days before your stay, which is quite flexible.
Not every website has the best deals so I also use Hotels.com or Agoda, the later primarily for Asian destinations.
2 | Hotel Americano
Neighborhood: Chelsea at 518 W. 27th Street
Stocked with two restaurants, multiple bars, and an outdoor pool, the Hotel Americano is so plentiful you may never need to leave this chic hotel that is, believe it or not, a converted parking garage. However, what the hotel makes up in global amenities it lacks in room accouterments – closet space, bathrooms, and beds have gotten only fair reviews. With that said, urban explorers will love both its location in Chelsea’s art gallery district and its walking-distance proximity to The High Line, Chelsea Piers, and Hudson Yards.
Single Rooms from $150
3 | Serafina at The Time Hotel
Neighborhood: Times Square at 224 W. 49th Street
Ah, good ole’ Times Square. Hotel rooms can be notoriously small (not to mention loud), but boutique hotels know that must offer great building amenities to continue attracting guests, and The Time Hotel does this in spades. The greenhouse-style Legrande Lounge offers cocktails over stunning views of Times Square’s bright lights, and all guests have complimentary access to the adjacent Equinox gym. If you’re a theater buff or haven’t visited Times Square yet, definitely mark The Time near the top of your list.
Single Rooms from $159
4 | NYLO Hotel
Neighborhood: Upper West Side at 2178 Broadway
Exposed brick, leather, and what seems like 50 shades of black evoke Upper West Side class in this stylish boutique located in the heart of the neighborhood’s shopping district. The distance from Midtown shows in the above average sized rooms and spacious lobby bar replete with a typically New York vine-adorned outdoor seating area. Thespians and nature lovers alike will love the NYLO, which is just a short walk from both Lincoln Center and the heart of Central Park.
Single Rooms from $169
5 | Hotel Hugo
Neighborhood: SoHo at 525 Greenwich Street
True to its neighborhood, the Hotel Hugo goes above and beyond when it comes to amenities and entertainment options. The rooms have sleek, minimalist designs with floor-length windows offering great views of Midtown Manhattan and the Financial District. The absolute star of the hotel is Bar Hugo, a duplex rooftop bar that offers priceless sunset views over the Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty and New Jersey.
Single Rooms from $183
Will this be your first time visiting NYC?
Save this post by pinning it for later or read the full series:
New York City Travel Guides
An Insider’s Guide to New York City Museums
The Best NYC Furniture Stores for Every Budget
New York City Things To Do & Events
Cherry Blossoms on New York’s Roosevelt Island
NY Botanical Garden: Orchid Evenings
Trick or Treating on a New York Halloween
Institute of Culinary Education Class Review (+ Promo Code)
New York City Eats & Restaurant Reviews
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