Where to stay in New York? 5 Best Areas + Places to Stay in NYC ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

In this guide, Iโ€™ll tell you where to stay in New York and recommend good hotels in the best areas.

where to stay in new york city

Where to stay in New York City? The question comes up once you have your plane tickets under control and start checking prices on hotels in NYC.

In this guide, I tell you more about the city’s best areas and recommend hotels in New York that are centrally located in good locations.

I’m a Danish travel blogger who used to have a travel agency that did tours to New York City – so if you still need help finding where to book your hotel after reading this guide, please comment below, and I’ll try and help you out.

I promise that the guide below will make you more knowledgeable about the best areas of New York and that my hotel recommendations can help you find an excellent place to stay in ‘The Big Apple’.

So let’s get started with the guide: where to stay in NYC?

Best areas in NYC

best places to stay in new york city

If you’re in a rush – here’s the overview of the best area to stay:

  • Soho – my favourite area to stay in New York โญ๏ธ
  • Lower East Side & East Village – stay here for the best vibes in Manhattan
  • Midtown – best area to stay for families (near Times Square)
  • Chelsea – best area to stay to feel like a New Yorker
  • Williamsburg – the coolest area for trendy travellers

Click on the area above to see the best hotel deals.

1. Soho โ€“ my favourite area to stay in New York โญ๏ธ

Yep, I just chose the best area in New York. Soho is located in Manhattan’s Downtown, and many also call Soho ‘the real New York’.

I love Soho, which combines many of the good things I like about New York. There are many people here, as there are everywhere in the city, but it feels less intense than further north in Manhattan.

Check out the best hotel deals in Soho.

There are still many small side streets where you can sneak down and then be rewarded with finding an excellent coffee shop.

soho area in manhattan new york city

There is also Broadway, where the shopping opportunities are eminent – just ask my girlfriend, who could spend many days just shopping in Soho ๐Ÿ˜€

Soho is a safe area, by the way; there are a lot of tourists here, but it’s not annoying.

In Soho, as mentioned, there are also pleasant side streets with little traffic, and you can just wade around and enjoy the lovely buildings.

Watch a short video from Soho below to get an impression of the area โ€“ the guide continues below the video:

Video showing the Soho area in New York City

Incidentally, Soho is right next to Little Italy and Chinatown – both are must-see areas and places to go in New York.

Another good thing about Soho is that there are several Subway lines to choose from here, which means that you can easily and quickly get around to the other parts of the city, both in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

It’s also easy to get to/from Newark and JFK airports, so it all just works – also with the practical details that matter a lot on your trip to New York.

I am a fan of Soho and would like to recommend finding a hotel in the area.

Places to stay in Soho

Let’s look at a few different hotels in the area below.

Nice hotel in Soho โ€“ citizenM New York Bowery

soho hotel with a view of Manhattan

 The hotel has this cool bar attached, so you also save the trip to the Empire State Building if you stay here ๐Ÿ˜€

And then to a somewhat different hotel, the fantastic citizenM New York Bowery.

It is a new hotel that opened its doors in September 2018 โ€“ if you look at the reviews from the guests of the place (the hotel gets a score of 9.6 out of 10), it must have been an excellent idea to open this hotel.

Here you get a super-modern hotel in Soho; actually right in the area I like best, east of Broadway towards the Lower East Side right off the Bowery Subway St. In my eyes, it doesn’t get any better in terms of location in New York.

best hotel in soho

I honestly don’t have much else to say about this hotel – if you’re looking for a good hotel in Soho, book here. There is a cool lounge/bar in the reception area, free wifi and even an (almost) rooftop bar with a formidable view of the city (see more photos from the hotel at the link below).

The price is actually surprisingly low, but of course not cheap as it is a brand new 4 star hotel in New York City.

See more photos and book the hotel here.

NoMo Soho

NoMo Soho could also be mentioned in the same ballpark.

soho hotel room with a view
Room with a view in Soho, New York City’s best area

There are slightly more rooms here, the hotel has half a star more and the price is also just a few percent higher. Again a hotel with a perfect location in Soho, incredibly good reviews and a very modern interior.

It is a slightly larger hotel with 263 rooms, two bars and a restaurant. The advantage compared to citizenM is that NoMo has a large number of different room types.

So if you e.g. are a family with children traveling to New York, you can book into a room type with room for the children.

See more about NoMo Soho and book the hotel online here.

2. Lower East Side & East Village โ€“ stay here for the best vibes in Manhattan

On my first trip to New York, I stayed in the Lower East Side (right on the border with the East Village) and was sold immediately.

Here you stay in New York without feeling trapped in a ‘Disneyland New York‘ – understood in the way that NYC (and all other big cities) can feel a little fake if you are in the most touristy area.

It’s not the case with the Lower East Side or East Village. There is a vast selection of good restaurants, bars and cafes in these areas.

See current offers for hotels in the Lower East Side.

Again, a small video showing the East Village and Lower East Side, so you can get an impression of the area – the guide continues below the video:

Lower East Side in Manhattan is a great place to stay as a tourist

While Soho is undoubted quite a touristy area (though not in a bad way), the Lower East Side and East Village feel much more like an area with a local feel in New York.

The Lower East Side also has plenty of classic New York fire escapes.

I would recommend all types of travellers to stay here, but it might be perfect for young people who also want the opportunity to have a few drinks at a super cool local bar – and come home with a good story from an area where the neighbour may not have been recently, even if he has been to New York several times ๐Ÿ˜‰

lower east side nyc

โ€œLESโ€ is one of my favourite areas in New York and, without a doubt, the first place I look for cheap hotels when I go to the city.

The area is within walking distance of Soho, so you are close to all the excellent shopping opportunities but also away from (most of) the tourists.

Incidentally, LES is also close to Williamsburg, an exciting area you should visit on your trip to New York – more about Williamsburg later…

The Lower East Side is an excellent place to stay on a city break in New York.

Have you seen my guide to the best things to do in New York City?

Places to stay in Lower East Side & East Village

Hotels in these parts of town are usually cheaper than Soho or Midtown, so you can find good deals on accommodation here.

Cheap hotel in a good location โ€“ The Ridge

cheap hotel in lower east side
The hotel has a nice rooftop terrace as well

I stayed right next door to The Ridge on my recent trip to New York, so I can attest that the location is excellent.

The hotel also gets excellent reviews (8.2 out of 10) and looks like an awesome offer for a good but affordable hotel in New York.

The hotel is located on East Houston Street, which divides the Lower East Side and the East Village, so you are right in the middle of two of the best areas of New York.

In addition, you are only 2 minutes by subway from Soho (or a 5-10 minute walk, depending on how you define the ‘border’).

As such, the hotel is not fancy; it is a 3-star hotel with nice rooms, a private bathroom and a prominent location.

And as a side note, I can mention that one of the city’s best bars (if you ask me), Fools Gold, is a stone’s throw from the hotel ๐Ÿ˜€

If you are looking for a cheap and good hotel in a great area, have a look at The Ridge – not to be confused with The Ritz in London ๐Ÿ˜€

See more and book online here.

Hotel Mimosa

Mimosa Hotel manhattan lower east side nyc
Standard room at Mimosa in the Lower East Side.

A similar hotel (cheap & good) is Hotel Mimosa, a little further south in the Lower East Side – right next to Chinatown, Little Italy and Soho.

It also gets good reviews (also 8.5 out of 10) and has some charming rooms.

See more photos and book online here.

Luxury hotel with rooftop bar and room view of the NYC skyline โ€“ Public

public hotel nyc room view
 The view from my room at the Public Hotel โ€“ absolutely fantastic!

I stayed a single night at Public when I recently travelled to New York. It was a memorable experience because this is a well-executed, fabulous hotel.

The Public Hotel was designed by Ian Schrager, who has been one of New York City’s local heroes since 1977 when he became known for Studio 54.

The aim of Public has undoubtedly been to create a beautiful hotel for those who have the wallet in order – because it is not exactly cheap to spend the night here.

public hotel nyc

There is a rooftop bar, the possibility to book rooms with extra good views, and several bars, cafes and restaurants. So it is a massive hotel with almost 400 rooms.

The rooms themselves are brand new and modern, but the bathroom itself was a bit strange โ€“ the sink was, for example, not in the bathroom, but out in the room itselfโ€ฆ

A little weird, but nothing to stop you from staying here if you’re considering this.

See more about the hotel and book online here.

3. Midtown – best area to stay for families (near Times Square)

Midtown Manhattan, especially around Times Square, should be on your radar whether it’s your first time in New York City or you’re a returning visitor.

Midtown NYC, best area to stay for families
Times Square in Midtown Manhattan.

Firstly, the location is unbeatable. Midtown is smack in the centre of everything.

You can quickly head uptown or zip downtown with a brief subway or cab ride. And if you’ve got kids in tow, Times Square is like a real-life carnival.

There are giant stores like M&M’s and Hershey’s that turn a simple shopping trip into a delightful adventure.

And attractions like Madame Tussauds and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! are nearby, making it even more family-friendly.

See the best hotels in Midtown here.

If it’s your first NYC trip, Times Square is iconic. It’s the city in a nutshell. The lights, the buzz, the theatres, and, of course, Broadway shows – it’s New York at its most vibrant.

Speaking of vibrant, let’s talk food and drinks. There are some great places to unwind and refuel. Jimmy’s Corner is a must-visit if you’re into a more old-school vibe.

The Tailor Public House near Madison Square Garden serves up some fantastic Irish-American dishes for those wanting something more hearty.

  • I once (accidentally, of course) smashed a glass in this bar, and the staff were extremely kind about it – so I always like to come in here and get a beer and tip the staff extra good ๐Ÿ˜…

Let’s not forget the landmarks and things to do in Midtown.

From Times Square, you’re just a short walk away from the grandeur of Grand Central Terminal, the history-packed Rockefeller Center, and the green haven that is Central Park.

Rockefeller centre in Midtown
Probably the coolest place I’ve ever taken a selfie – on top of the Rockefeller Center.

Bryant Park is a little gem where you can relax amidst the city’s chaos.

Lastly, Times Square has this round-the-clock energy, which feels exciting and gives a sense of safety. And the great part? You’ve got a range of places to stay, from budget-friendly to super luxe.

If you want a taste of New York, with its blend of iconic sights and hidden gems, Times Square and the broader Midtown area should be your go-to.

It’s a brilliant area to stay if you want to experience the NYC you’ve seen in movies, and if you’re coming to the USA with children, then you can’t go wrong if you choose a hotel in Midtown Manhattan.

Places to stay in Midtown Manhattan

When I had my travel agency, I used to go to New York to research new hotels – and I stayed in many different places in Midtown as many of my clients wanted to stay near Times Square.

So let me share some of my favourite hotels in Midtown in different price ranges.

Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattanย ย 

If you’re really keen on staying right next to the pulse of NYC, the Crowne Plaza in Times Square is hard to beat.ย 

Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan

It’s one of those places where you step outside and boom โ€“ you’re right in the thick of the iconic New York scene. Bringing the family? This hotel’s a winner. 

Finding spacious rooms in the city is like striking gold, and this place delivers. The kiddos will have enough space to move without bumping into everything. 

Hotel in Times Square NYC
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Times Square, this is it.

I stayed here in 2019 on a business trip and thought it was excellent value for money. 

And the staff? On point. Super helpful without being overbearing. 

This hotel ticks many of the right boxes for a genuine NYC experience without the cramped spaces.

See more photos and book here.

Hard Rock Hotel New Yorkย 

If you’re considering splurging a bit on your NYC trip, the Hard Rock Hotel should be on your radar. It’s a five-star hotel, and believe me, they earn every one of those stars.ย 

Hard Rock Hotel New York

First off, the location? Top-notch. You’re smack in the middle of everything, so you’re not spending half your trip in cabs or the subway. 

Now, about the hotel itself โ€“ it’s got that classic Hard Rock vibe, a bit of rock ‘n’ roll, and a bit of luxury all wrapped up in one. 

Hard Rock Hotel New York bathroom with bath

Guests who’ve stayed there often talk about the plush rooms and the top-tier service. If you’re a music fan, the memorabilia is a trip down memory lane. 

So, this place is a no-brainer if you’re after that blend of style, luxury, and a dash of rock history.

See more photos and book here.

Courtyard by Marriott Times Square West

Okay, if you’re looking to get a bang for your buck in NYC, especially around the Times Square area, the Courtyard by Marriott is a solid pick.ย 

Courtyard by Marriott Times Square West

No kidding, this place defies the norm for a city notorious for its teeny-tiny rooms and gives you space to stretch out. 

Courtyard by Marriott Times Square West, room with 2 beds

The rooms are surprisingly spacious, which is such a rarity in the heart of Manhattan. 

And if you’re on a bit of a budget? It’s a lifesaver. You’re not compromising on comfort but also not breaking the bank. 

Also, the location is spot-on, making it easy to dart around the city. 

See more photos and book here.

Pod 51

Pod 51, cheap place to stay in Midtown Manhattan

Pod 51 might be your go-to spot if you’re on a tight budget but still want to stay in Manhattan.

This is one of the places I stayed on my latest trip to NYC, and it indeed does what it says on the tin.

It’s basic, but it does the job and does it well.

The rooms are on the simpler side, but that’s where they save you the big bucks.

Pod 51 Rooftop
I loved the rooftop at Pod 51 ๐Ÿ˜€

They’ve got this rooftop terrace that’s a total gem. Grab a drink, head up there, and enjoy the city vibes.

It’s a bit further from Times Square compared to the previous hotels, but Midtown East is a nice area in its own right.

So, if you want to save money without staying way out in the burbs, give Pod 51 a look.

See more photos and book here.

4. Chelsea โ€“ stay in a classic New York area

Chelsea is not an area I know very well, but despite my limited acquaintance, I can still recommend staying here on a trip to New York.

Among other things, we find one of New York’s most special sights; The High Line. The High Line is an old railway that now functions as a footpath raised several meters above the busy streets.

Check out the best hotels in Chelsea here.

high line chelsea

It’s fantastic that you can wander around and enjoy the view of the hectic city life.

At the end (or beginning depending on where you start), at the southern part of The High Line is another reason to stay in Chelsea, Chelsea Market.

Chelsea Market is an exciting market with food, vintage clothes and various hawker market-like shops/stalls. Super cool and a place you can spend many hours.

Of course, we also have to have a video showing Chelsea:

I still need to explore Chelsea in detail, but I would definitely consider staying here on a future trip to New York. The Flatiron District, just east of Chelsea, is also an excellent area with many cool shops.

Places to stay in Chelsea

I’ve stayed in a few different hotels in Chelsea and always loved it. Here are a few of my favourite hotels in Chelsea.

Cheap place to stay in Chelsea โ€“ Chelsea Savoy Hotel

cheap place to stay in chelsea, manhattan

Chelsea is not a cheap area, but I have found a hotel that can be booked relatively cheaply – by NYC standards.

It’s called the Chelsea Savoy Hotel and has an excellent location close to, among other things, 5th Avenue, Madison Square Park and the Flatiron Building, all of which should be passed by when visiting New York.

It’s a 2-star hotel, but it gets great reviews (8,6 out of 10) and looks like a wonderful little hotel for those who want to save money on their stay in NYC.

Read more about the hotel and book online here.

Hampton Inn Chelsea

hampton inn chelsea manhattan hotel

If you want to stay in a hotel that is a bit more luxurious but still on the low end of the price range, look at the Hampton Inn Manhattan-Chelsea.

Here, there is also the option of choosing rooms with two double beds, so it can quickly become quite a cheap place to stay in New York City for families with children.

5. Williamsburg โ€“ the coolest place to stay for trendy travellers ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Williamsburg is the only area on my guide on the best places to stay in NYC, not in Manhattan, but it has topped the charts for the coolest area in the world for many years, so it’s not like you’re arriving in a complete mecca without tourists.

However, Williamsburg has a feel I have yet to experience in Manhattan.

In Williamsburg, you will find countless cool coffee shops and the best vintage shops, and in general, there is just a more chilled atmosphere here than in Manhattan.

It’s a very cool and trendy area, so there’s an insane amount of hipsters and some extremely cool bars.

Check out the best hotels in Williamsburg.

brooklyn bridge

But let’s get straight to the point about hipsters – because what exactly is a a hipster area?

In Copenhagen, it’s Vesterbro, but it’s also Vesterbro that all tourists want to experience. Just as in London, where all young people flock to Shoreditch. In Berlin, it’s… all areas of Berlin ๐Ÿ˜€

When an area is named a ‘hipster area’, it’s just because there is a good mix of bars, shops and restaurants – that’s how I interpret it, anyway.

It also fits perfectly in Williamsburg, where I felt right at home, and I don’t see myself as a hipster in any way…

Let’s take a little video from Williamsburg here:

There are several subway lines from Williamsburg to Manhattan, so you can quickly get ‘into the city’; on the other hand, it is typically cheaper to stay in Williamsburg compared to Manhattan.

So if you’re a super trendy hipster, you can choose to find a hotel in Williamsburg on your trip to New York ๐Ÿ˜€

Places to stay in Williamsburg

You get a lot more bang for your buck in Williamsburg than in Manhattan, so if you’re travelling to New York on a budget, it’s an excellent area to look for hotels.

Cheap hotel in New York’s cool area – Pod Brooklyn

cheap hotel in williamsburg

The pod hotels are located in several New York places, but the Williamsburg hotel is (according to my research) somewhat cheaper than the others. As the name suggests, this is a tiny room with a bathroom and a very low price compared to more traditional hotels in New York City.

Pod Brooklyn has a near-perfect location in Williamsburg, so if you’re okay with staying in a tiny room, consider booking this place to stay in NYC.

Pod Brooklyn scores a whopping 8.8 out of 10 on satisfaction from previous guests, and several tell good stories about a very modern hotel.

Check out the hotel here.

Hotel with rooftop pool in New York City

best hotel in Williamsburg

One of the most incredible hotels in Williamsburg has to be The William Vale Hotel.

I stopped by and checked it out myself when I was sneaking around in Williamsburg, and it is an impressive hotel with 5 stars and scores top marks in reviews from previous guests.

There is even a swimming pool with a view of the Manhattan skyline, so you expect it to be expensive. However, it’s not crazy expensive – because we are still ‘out’ in Williamsburg, it is cheaper than similar hotels in Manhattan.

williamsburg hotel with manhattan view

If you are looking for an amazing hotel with a rooftop pool in New York, I think this is the place to book.

If there is room in your budget for one or more nights here, then it is worth all the money – especially in the summer, when you can enjoy the pool.

See more photos and book online here.

I hope you enjoyed this guide on the best areas and places to stay in New York City.

If you’ve got any questions about your trip to New York please comment below.

You can read all New York City travel guides here.

FAQ:

What area should I stay in New York for the first time?

If you’re visiting New York for the first time, I recommend staying in Midtown Manhattan or Soho. Both areas are super central and put you right in the heart of the action. Midtown Manhattan will land you near top attractions like Times Square, Central Park, and the Empire State Building. On the other hand, Soho offers a trendy vibe with its cobblestone streets, boutique shops, and hip eateries. Plus, both areas have a solid range of hotels, whether you’re splurging or on a budget. Either way, you’ll be well-positioned to get the most out of your first NYC experience.

Where not to stay in New York?

While NYC is generally safe for tourists, there are a few areas that may be considered less ideal for visitors. Some neighborhoods, like certain parts of the Bronx or areas far out in Brooklyn and Queens, have historically had higher crime rates, although it’s worth noting that crime in New York has decreased significantly over the years.

Another important consideration is the distance from Manhattan and its famous attractions. Staying too far from the heart of the action can lead to long, tiring commutes on the subway. It’s not just about safety โ€“ it’s about maximizing your vacation time. You don’t want to spend a big chunk of your day traveling back and forth. Prioritize locations that give you convenient access to the sights and experiences you’re eager to enjoy.

How many days do you need for the first time in New York?

For a first-time visit to New York, I’d say never go for less than 4 days. The city sprawls with iconic landmarks, world-class museums, parks, theatres, and diverse neighbourhoods to explore. While a 4-day trip can cover many of the highlights, you can easily spend a week here and still find more to do.

For my fellow European friends, it’s worth noting that jet lag can impact your energy levels, especially in the first couple of days. Factor that in, and give yourself ample time to explore and recuperate. Remember, New York is not just a city to see; it’s an experience to savour. Take your time and immerse yourself in its vibrant culture and rhythm.

Is it cheaper to stay in Brooklyn or Manhattan?

Typically, Brooklyn can offer more affordable accommodation options than Manhattan. Over the years, Brooklyn has seen a rise in trendy neighbourhoods, cool eateries, and cultural spots, making it a desirable place to stay. While Manhattan is undeniably the heart of the city’s action with its iconic attractions, staying in Brooklyn might give your wallet a bit of a breather, especially if you’re on a tighter budget.

However, remember that if most of your activities are in Manhattan, you’ll need to account for the commute time and possible subway costs. Always weigh the convenience against the savings to determine what’s best for your trip.

What is the best area to stay for families?

I’d highly recommend staying in Midtown, especially near Times Square, for families visiting New York City. It’s incredibly convenient as it places you smack dab in the middle of all the action, with many of the city’s iconic attractions just a short walk or subway ride away.

Plus, the vibrant lights and energy of Times Square are bound to captivate kids and adults alike. In addition to the sights and sounds, this area offers a range of family-friendly dining options and entertainment choices like Broadway shows. The convenience of having everything close by, from shops to theatres to eateries, makes it a top pick for families looking for fun and functionality.

Websites I use to book my trips ๐Ÿ‘‡

โ€ข Booking.com has the best offers on hotels and unique places to stay
โ€ข GetYourGuide is the best place to book tours & activities with free cancellation
โ€ข This power bank is the one thing I never travel without
โ€ข Welcome Pickups is the best & safest place to pre-book airport transfers

Psst ๐Ÿ‘€ Have you subscribed to my Youtube channel and my Instagram where I provide more useful travel tips?