Where to Stay in New York City

Top Tips

New YorkPexels from Pixabay

The names of New York’s myriad of neighbourhoods might be familiar to you, but when it comes to choosing one to stay in the range of options can be overwhelming. Our guide to where to stay in New York City has tips and recommendations for some of the most popular neighbourhoods for visitors, from Uptown to Downtown and everywhere in between. Our aim is to help you match your plans with where to stay in New York City.

New York City Neighbourhood Guide

New York NeighbourhoodsRoke~commonswiki assumed CC BY

New York City’s grid of a street map looks easy to navigate doesn’t it? Plus, the song says the Bronx is up, and the Battery’s down, which helps with which angle to lay the grid… but what about the five different boroughs, each of them large enough to be a city in their own right? Manhattan including Central Park, Times Square, SoHo and the Empire State Building; Brooklyn across the East River, with the Aquarium and Coney Island; The Bronx to the north of Manhattan, with the Zoo and the Botanic Gardens, and suburban Queens and Staten Island. And all of them hives of activity day and night. How does one do it? Our first tip is not to try. If it’s your first visit to New York City pick a neighbourhood and try to get to know a little of it, then gradually expand. Not that choosing a neighbourhood is simple, because there are lots packed with major sights and attractions, but that’s where we can help match your ‘must see’ list to the city’s grid. Below are some of New York’s blockbuster neighbourhoods and areas, all great places to start planning around.

Oh, and while a lot of places in New York are easy to walk between, the subway runs 24/7.

Midtown Manhattan

Midtown Manhattan Andy Choinski from Pixabay

Midtown Manhattan feels like the centre of this buzzing city, and thus, the centre of the world. Within this section of the grid, between 59th and 34th Street, are Times Square, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the headquarters of the UN, the Rockefeller Centre, Grand Central Terminal, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, MoMA and Broadway. Fifth Avenue is also in Midtown Manhattan, with all the internationally renowned brands and labels that entails. As is the Meatpacking District, Chelsea, Madison Square and the Flatiron District, Park Avenue South, Gramercy and Hell’s Kitchen. You could easily spend a year exploring Midtown Manhattan and see something new every day.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: heart of New York City, major sights, major shopping, major entertainment, major restaurants
  • Cons: busy, can be expensive, can be overwhelming
  • Ideal For: sight-seers, on-foot explorers, first-time-visitors, theatregoers, shoppers, couples, treating yourself

Discover our recommended hotels in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.

Times Square and Midtown West

Times SquareArt Bromage from Pixabay

If you ask anyone who has ever lived in New York City whether it would be a good idea to stay in the Times Square neighbourhood they’ll probably answer you with a swift ‘“Hell No!”, but this centre of the city buzzes like it’s the centre of the universe, and that might be just what you’re looking for. Times Square is an entertainment and shopping hub like no other. You’re at the heart of the theatre district, surrounded by places to eat and drink, and a short walk from shops and major sights. If anywhere offers life at any time of the day or night it’s Times Square; even the shops are open until 1 or 2am. And Times Square is also one of the best connected neighbourhoods in New York. Midtown West is the area around it, from 30th Street to 59th Street West and the Hudson River, and as well as Times Square it’s got the Rockefeller Centre and Hudson Yards.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: central, entertainment hub, lively, great nightlife, theatres and venues, incredible choice of drinking and dining, shopping all hours, major sights, excellent public transport links
  • Cons: busy, never sleeps, no museums
  • Ideal For: city-lovers, sight-seers, theatregoers, night-owls, party people

Discover our recommended hotels around Times Square, New York City.

The Empire State Building, MoMA and Midtown East

Midtown EastFree-Photos from Pixabay

Even though the Empire State Building isn’t the tallest in the world, or in New York City, anymore, it’s still famous for the forty years that it was! This landmark is still a really popular icon, and the central Manhattan neighbourhood around it has a lot to offer beyond being easy to find because of the jolly great marker on the skyline. The area around the Empire State Building is home to Madison Square Gardens, both Grand Central Station and Pennsylvania Station, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the U.N. Building and Fifth Avenue. MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art, is arguably one of the most influential modern art museums in the world, and for some people it’s the main reason to visit. It’s between St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Central Park, and there are some really beautiful grand dame hotels in this area. There’s also lots of choice when it comes to eating and drinking, and there’s lots of shopping opportunities.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: incredible architecture, city bustle, great bars and restaurants, incredible shopping and window shopping
  • Cons: no museums, limited nightlife
  • Ideal For: shoppers, city-lovers, sight-seers, theatregoers,

Discover our recommended hotels around the Empire State Building, New York City.

Fifth Avenue

Fifth Avenuetookapic from Pixabay

Fifth Avenue stretches from Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village to West 143rd Street in Harlem, so it’s long. It’s also one of the world’s most exclusive thoroughfares, and in parts, one of the most expensive and elegant too. As well as being a shopping mecca, the neighbourhood around Fifth Avenue is very close to Central Park, Times Square, Broadway, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim and MoMA. In fact the stretch of Fifth Avenue between 82nd and 105th Streets is often referred to as ‘Museum Mile’. The area around Fifth Avenue is really several neighbourhoods, but like the Empire State Building it’s a New York icon you can build a visit around.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: world-class shopping, excellent bars and restaurants, interesting architecture, museums
  • Cons: varied, with expensive pockets
  • Ideal For: sight-seers, city-lovers, romantics, treating yourself, first-time-visitors

Discover our recommended hotels around Fifth Avenue, New York City.

Meatpacking District

Meatpacking DistrictTanja Schwarz from Pixabay

You have to love the name, which obviously comes from its slaughterhouses, pallets and freezer trucks at dawn, but these elements of this neighbourhood are well and truly in decline these days, shunted out by the nightclubs and boutiques. The Meatpacking District got an Apple Store in the noughties, and its own outpost of the Whitney Museum of American Art in the decade that followed. Now it’s home to some of the trendiest stores and restaurants in New York, and because there are no schools or churches in this neighbourhood, there’s no restrictions on how late you can stay up being rowdy, so it's one of New York’s hottest nightlife hubs. The Meatpacking District is also where you’ll find Highline Park, a marvel of urban regeneration.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: world class nightlife, great bars, super trendy boutiques, central
  • Cons: no major sights, open all hours
  • Ideal For: party people, night-owls, city-lovers, hipsters

Discover our recommended hotels in the Meatpacking District, New York City.

Around Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central TerminalFree-Photos from Pixabay

Grand Central Terminal, or Grand Central Station, isn’t just a commuter and traveller hub, it’s also one of the world’s ten most visited tourist attractions. It could be that there’s a cross over between the visitors who’re travelling as well as visiting, but either way, it’s very famous and very big and really rather beautiful as well. It’s a Beaux-Arts design incorporating several works of art, and its Main Concourse is HUGE, with a barrel vaulted ceiling decorated with a wonderful mural of the constellations. It’s also got that magnificent four-faced clock above an information booth that fields about a thousand questions an hour, and a Michelin-starred restaurant. Grand Central Terminal is well positioned in Midtown Manhattan, close to the Chrysler and Seagram Buildings, and the Empire State Building, so it’s another hot spot for architecture. And extremely convenient for travelling around town!

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: central, incredible architecture, historic, public transport hub, bustling atmosphere, major sights
  • Cons: busy
  • Ideal For: sight-seers, architecture aficionados

Discover our recommended hotels around Grand Central Terminal, New York City.

Gramercy Park, Union Square and the Flatiron

FlatironAurore Duwez from Pixabay

East from Park Avenue South, between about 14th Street and 23rd Streets are, from top to bottom, Union Square, Gramercy Park and the Flatiron District. These neighbourhoods overlap in places, and there’s a similarity to their main streets because this area is where New York City’s first department stores set up shop, and many of the buildings still have the vast storefront windows which were a new innovation in 1850. The Flatiron neighbourhood is named for the Flatiron Building, which is an iconic, triangular shaped skyscraper (one of New York’s originals), and forms the corner of 23rd Street, Broadway and Fifth Avenue. This is the sort of place you might want to live if you like city life, with apartment blocks, low rises, and lots of shops and green spaces, including Madison Square Park.

The neighbourhood around Union Square has some great Off-Broadway theatres, and some great restaurants and bars to go with them.

Gramercy Park is the centre of its neighbourhood, but the park itself is anything but a hub! This is New York’s only privately owned park, the only people with keys are those who live on the square surrounding the park — or those staying at the Gramercy Park Hotel, who have 12 keys to share between them… It’s a beautiful area though, and just back from the square are peaceful streets of elegant townhouses, and some of the city’s very first apartment buildings, making this a great neighbourhood for just strolling around.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: great shopping, excellent restaurants, theatres, historic architecture, green spaces
  • Cons: no museums
  • Ideal For: city-lovers, shoppers, families, theatregoers, architecture aficionados, treating yourself, foodies, luxury-lovers

Discover our recommended hotels in Gramercy Park, New York City.

Broadway, or the Theater District

BroadwayAdam Evertsson from Pixabay

If you’re staying in the city that never sleeps and you don’t intend to do a lot of sleeping yourself then you might want to stay in the neighbourhood around Broadway, also called the Theater District. This neighbourhood sits between Sixth and Eighth Avenue and 40th and 54th Streets, and includes Times Square and a whole lot of theatres, bars, restaurants and attractions like television studios, Madame Tussauds and Ripley’s Believe it Or Not!

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: theatres, entertainment 24hours a day, lively nightlife, lots of bars and restaurants
  • Cons: busy
  • Ideal For: theatregoers, shoppers, treating yourself

Discover our recommended hotels around Broadway, New York City.

Uptown Manhattan

Uptown ManhattanKai Pilger from Pixabay

Like Midtown Manhattan, Uptown is big, with numerous neighbourhoods within its boundaries, including Central Park, the Upper East Side, and the Upper West Side, and Harlem. If you want landmarks, Uptown Manhattan is rich with museums and art galleries, including the Natural History Museum, the Metropolitan, the Guggenheim, the Smithsonian Museum of Design, The Frick and the Cooper-Hewitt. And this is also where you’ll find the Lincoln Centre and all the myriad of attractions within Central Park. And if you want to see gorgeous mansions, impressive architecture, high-end boutiques, expensive cars, and have afternoon tea with the cocktail-party-and-arts-donor-set, Uptown Manhattan has that too. And some serious opportunities to shop until you drop, and eat very well.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: museums and art galleries, major sights, green space, elegant architecture, huge range of bars and restaurants, world-class shopping, entertainment
  • Cons: expensive
  • Ideal For: families, history buffs, art-lovers, shoppers, sight seers, treating yourself, romantics

Discover our recommended hotels in Uptown Manhattan.

Manhattan’s Upper East Side

Upper East SideRonile from Pixabay

The Upper East Side is a collection of New York’s most desirable and affluent addresses, including Park Avenue, Lexington, York Avenue, and then First, Second, Third and Fifth. It’s elegant, comfortable and beautiful, and home to an incredible collection of museums and galleries, including the Guggenheim Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of New York City, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Andrew Carnegie Mansion, and the Frick Collection in the Henry Clay Frick House. This is also where you’ll find Grace Kelly’s former apartment block, the gorgeous Manhattan House, and numerous other galleries and embassies. Shop on Madison Avenue for high-end fashions, take afternoon tea in one of New York’s grande dame hotels and then stroll in the park.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: elegant, museums and art galleries, green space, luxurious, high-end shopping, historic architecture
  • Cons: expensive
  • Ideal For: treating yourself, luxury lovers, shoppers, families, romantics, museum-lovers, history buffs, architecture aficionados

Discover our recommended hotels in Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Manhattan’s Upper West Side

Upper West SideBy Momos - Own work, CC BY-SA

The Upper West Side is one of the most suburban feeling of all of New York’s Neighbourhoods, with great access to Central Park and lots to do for families. There are kid-friendly restaurants, and you’re close to the Museum of Natural History and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. And there are fantastic concerts on at the Lincoln Centre if you want to crowbar as much culture in as you can. There’s also plenty of easy-access shopping. This neighbourhood is everywhere west of Central Park and from 59th Street.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: museums, major sights, green space, choice of bars and restaurants, family-friendly
  • Cons: suburban in comparison
  • Ideal For: families, sight seers, museum buffs

Central Park

Central ParkBruce Emmerling from Pixabay

With glamorous Fifth Avenue to the east and glamorous Central Park West to the west, this neighbourhood around the park spreads to include the very creme de la creme of New York real estate. But it’s the park that really makes this neighbourhood a wonderful place to visit and to live, with its 840+ acres of green space incorporating a zoo, a sheep meadow, three woodlands, an ice rink, a carousel, a theatre, numerous cafes, sports fields, 21 playgrounds and seven lakes and pools. Central Park also has five visitor centres, which make a lot of the park’s biodiversity. Beyond the park are the elegant streets of apartments, grande dame hotels, boutiques and cafes and restaurants. This neighbourhood is within walking distance of many of New York’s major museums and art galleries.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: central, green space, major sights, museums and galleries, excellent shopping, great cafes and restaurants
  • Cons: busy, expensive
  • Ideal For: families, romantics, sight seers, first-time-visitors, once-in-a-lifetime-visitors, museum buffs, architecture aficionados.

Discover our recommended hotels in Central Park, New York City.

Wall Street and the Financial District

Wall StreetRobert Jones from Pixabay

Everything south of Chambers Street is the Financial District, with Wall Street as the famed, and historic, hub. It’s known for its bustling atmosphere, its skyscrapers, and its yellow taxis in six lanes of traffic, but Wall Street is where this city was born, where George Washington was proclaimed America’s first president; and it's right opposite Ellis Island, where countless newcomers arrived with their dreams of a better life. So this neighbourhood’s sights and appeals are broader than just the sky scraping architecture, there are also several museums, access to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, and, in a poignant combination of the historic, and financial sides of this neighbourhood, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. This part of Downtown New York City is thrilling in the day, but very quiet come the evening.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: major sights, historic, busy and bustling, exciting atmosphere
  • Cons: busy by day, dead of an evening
  • Ideal For: sight seers, history buffs

Discover our recommended hotels in Wall Street and the Financial District, New York City.

Chinatown and Little Italy

ChinatownBy Flickr user Martin Solli

New York’s original Chinatown started with one cigar shop on Park Row, but it spread north to Broome Street and South to Worth. Within this plot are around 300 Chinese restaurants, plus Chinese jewellers on Canal Street, grocers and fishmongers on Mott Street, and several large markets. There’s also vibrant street trading and both authentic and un-authentic Chinese architecture, decoration and statues. And you’re close to Sara D Roosevelt Park, known for its old men walking their caged birds. Chinatown is also extremely well connected to the rest of Manhattan island. Little Italy has been edged out in recent decades, but what remains is on Mulberry Street, where you’ll find the gelato, Italian coffee and delis you’re looking for.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: great value, lively atmosphere, historic, great transport links
  • Cons: touristy
  • Ideal For: value seekers, history buffs, sight seers

Discover our recommended hotels in Chinatown and Little Italy, New York City.


TriBeCakennybran18 from Pixabay

Of all the great Manhattan district names TriBeCa is a classic - short for the Triangle Below Canal Street. The top of the triangle is SoHo, with Canal Street to the north and Broadway to the east. Like SoHo, Greenwich, the Meatpacking District and the East Village this was an industrial area until the artists moved in in the 70s and made it cool and bohemian. Then, when the World Trade Centre went up ‘down the road’ it became more desirable again, and today it’s awash with upmarket galleries and fine restaurants, though it’s still also known for being a proper community amongst the bustle of this busy city. TriBeCa’s landmarks include the firehouse exterior used in the Ghostbusters movies and Washington Market Park.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: atmospheric, historic, bohemian, hipster, great art galleries, excellent bars and restaurants, boutique shopping
  • Cons: can be expensive
  • Ideal For: cool cats, hipsters, sight seers, romantics

Discover our recommended hotels in TriBeCa, New York City.


SoHoLEEROY Agency from Pixabay

The name SoHo, comes from its location South of Houston Street, between Canal Street and Broadway. This part of Manhattan has come to be known for its artists' lofts and galleries of all shapes and sizes, but like TriBeCa, SoHo was once industrial and still looks rather industrial, but it’s beautiful too, and has been designated an historic district for the cast iron detailing on many of its buildings. Many visitors are here for the lively cafes, bars and restaurants, excellent shopping which ranges from upscale boutiques to international brands, and proximity to Broadway. SoHo is also where you’ll find the New York City Fire Museum, the Children’s Museum of Arts and the Drawing Centre.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: beautiful architecture, excellent shopping, lively nightlife, great bars and restaurants, theatres, art galleries
  • Cons: can be expensive
  • Ideal For: cool cats, theatregoers, night-owls, hipsters, shoppers, couples, romantics, sight seers, architecture aficionados, fun

Discover our recommended hotels in SoHo, New York City.

East Village

East VillageBy Flickr user Spencer Means

The East Village is sort of between Houston Street and 14th Street, east of Broadway, and while it’s still got a village-y feel compared to some New York neighbourhoods, it’s pretty hip and gentrified these days. This neighbourhood did start out as mass housing for recent immigrants, and many of the huge blocks built still remain, but now the streets teem with hip cafes, music clubs and bars, and lots of independent boutiques — this is the part of town you’re most likely to find fresh new fashion. And there are lots of fresh and fantastic new restaurants too. There’s always something going on here! Often in St. Mark’s Place, or Tompkins Square Park. You’re close to St. Mark’s Church-in-The-Bowery and its beautiful and impressive graveyard, the Strand Bookstore, the Tenement Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: central, great bars and restaurants, lively music scene, lively arts scene, fashion boutiques, historic architecture
  • Cons: becoming ever more gentrified
  • Ideal For: hipsters, cool cats, night-owls, fashionistas, value seekers, foodies

Discover our recommended hotels in Manhattan’s East Village.

Greenwich Village and the West Village

Greenwich VillageBy Flickr user Spencer Means

Greenwich Village, or simply ‘The Village’ to fans and locals, is known for its arty, bohemian past and for being home to artists and other outsiders, and more recently a significant LGBT community. Roughly arranged around Washington Square Park, Greenwich Village is pretty much bordered by Broadway and the Hudson River. But this neighbourhood has a far more organic layout that the Manhattan grid allows for, with some narrow alleys and funny curves, which is one of the reasons such a large section of Greenwich Village is considered historic, and being preserved as is. That and the sheer numbers of artists who took studios here, and authors who frequented these streets — Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Anais Nin, Salvador Dail, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol to namedrop a few. Greenwich Village is also where you’ll find the Cherry Lane Theatre and the Whitney Museum of American Art, and it’s known for its jazz and stand-up comedy. The West Village is the western side of Greenwich Village, between the Hudson River and Washington Square-ish, and it’s where you’ll find the creme de la creme of historic and cultural landmarks.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: bohemian chic, historic architecture, artistic connections, great nightlife, lively bars and cafes, museums, theatre
  • Cons: there aren’t many hotels
  • Ideal For: families, cool cats, hipsters, night-owls, history buffs, celebrity spotters, sights seers

Discover our recommended hotels in Greenwich Village, New York City.

Madison Avenue and NoMad

Madison AvenueBy Flickr user Franco Folini

NoMad is North of Madison Square Park, and is centred around the historic area around Madison Square Park from Madison Avenue to Sixth Avenue. Its landmarks include the New York Life Building, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, the New York Comedy Club, Delmonico’s restaurant and a host of great weekend flea markets. But there are a raft of really historic buildings here, many of them hotels, and you’ll miss out if you don’t stop to read every plaque you see to get a sense of the people who’ve called this neighbourhood home. It’s a central area, close to the Flatiron Building, and packed with great restaurants and bars, and clubs and music venues. And lots of hotels too. NoMad also has some of New York’s largest antique galleries. And Madison Avenue is known for its advertising agencies and shopping.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: central, historic, luxurious, great restaurants and bars, lively nightlife, shopping
  • Cons: busy
  • Ideal For: luxury lovers, city lovers, treating yourself, antiques shoppers, night-owls, foodies

Discover our recommended hotels in NoMad, New York City.


HarlemF. Muhammad from Pixabay

Harlem is one of the most northern neighbourhoods of Upper Manhattan, and one of the most historic, dating back to the original Dutch settlement. Today it’s known for being culturally varied and vibrant, with a great music scene and a burgeoning foodie scene. Harlem is where you’ll find the Apollo Theatre, Marcus Garvey Park and the Lennox Lounge, but it’s also known for its Beaux Arts brownstone buildings and historic homes. Harlem has good public transport links.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: historic, historic architecture, culturally vibrant, buzzing live music scene, great bars and restaurants, value for money
  • Cons: was thought of as rough, but it’s not anymore
  • Ideal For: history buffs, cool cats, value seekers, music fans, foodies

Discover our recommended hotels in Harlem, New York City.


BrooklynFernando González from Pixabay

Brooklyn is big. It was a city in its own right, up until 1898, when it became a borough of New York City, but it’s still got the size, population and amenities of a huge city. And the neighbourhoods of one too. Broadly speaking the majority of Brooklyn’s main sights are in the Downtown area, close the to Brooklyn Bridge, where you’ve also got fantastic views of Manhattan. Williamsburg and Greenpoint have great views too, and are arty, hip and residential. The Park Slope and Prospect Park neighbourhoods have Prospect Park — which was designed by the people behind Central Park — the Brooklyn Museum, Botanical Gardens, and proper New York brownstones. Greenwood has the cemetery, and Coney Island has the beach, pleasure park and the aquarium. It’s easy to reach Manhattan from Brooklyn, there are six subway tunnels and two bridges worth of subway lines.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: incredible views, great value
  • Cons: off-centre
  • Ideal For: value-seekers, longer stays, visitors looking for an unusual base

Discover our recommended hotels in Brooklyn, New York City.