The Big Apple is still a destination that travelers like to frequent and one that is found on many people’s bucket lists. New York City is full of culture, history, amazing food, fashion, and much fun.
With iconic places to visit like Times Square, Rockefeller Center, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and vibrant neighborhoods, New York City remains one of the most popular places to take a trip.
No matter if you’re traveling for business or pleasure, NYC is always a vibrant and exciting place. When planning your trip, it is key to know the best places to stay when visiting New York City. Whether you’re traveling with kids, alone, or a large group of friends, the city is packed with options.
Continue reading to find the best places to stay when visiting New York City. There are options for every budget, trip type, and style.
How Big is Really New York City?
New York City is considered to be one of the most populated cities around the world. However, it is not the biggest geographically. Its population continues to increase faster than most cities, but its land area remains the same.
The population in 2020 was reported to be 8,804,190 distributed across 300.46 square miles or 778.2 square kilometers. When traveling to this megacity, you must consider the surrounding areas that are also part of NYC’s metropolis. Together they had a combined population of 23.5 million in 2020.
Interestingly, NYC is the number one most populated city in the United States, but it comes in as the 24th largest city considering its land area within the city limits. To put things in perspective, let’s compare it with other major cities worldwide.
Although London has double the square miles of New York City, its population is approximately the same. That explains why NYC subways are so packed compared to the public transit in London.
Another comparison is Tokyo, a city known as the most populated on Earth. Compared to New York City, Tokyo’s land size is much more expansive. The density of Tokyo’s population is measured at 15,604 people per square mile whereas NYC is an astonishing 27,578.
Located in the globe’s biggest collection of natural harbors, NYC is made up of five boroughs. These include Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island. New Jersey is also near city limits. Many travelers choose to commute via the MTA subway that connects Manhattan to Jersey City.
Top Districts and Hotels: Where to Stay in NYC
Perhaps you are preparing for your first time in NYC or you’re a veteran tourist. In this diverse city, you can stay in the middle of popular attractions, the lux scene, quaint neighborhoods, and other places popular for couples and hipsters.
Why not split up your stay and experience more than one area during your trip? Anywhere you choose, you cannot go wrong when in New York City. There is so much to see that is sure to please your every mood.
First Time in NYC? Stay at Midtown
If you’re visiting New York City for the first time, chances are you want to visit the most popular sights such as the Empire State Building, Broadway, Times Square, and the Grand Central station. The Midtown neighborhood is considered the heart of Manhattan. As the name implies, it is centrally located and the most popular area to stay.
Choosing accommodations in Midtown allows visitors to see as much of the city as possible while shortening travel times. In the city that never sleeps, Midtown provides fun and excitement for all types of travelers. It is where you’ll find quintessential landmarks, skyscrapers, and get a sense of true New Yorkers.
From hotels with classic charm to trendy rooftop lounges, these are some of the most popular hotels in Midtown:
When you want to be near Broadway, Hotel Hendricks’ provides a rock’n’roll edge throughout and thematic mahogany rooms. It is also pet-friendly so you can bring your furry companion along.
The Equinox Hotel at Hudson Yards
As one of Manhattan’s newest additions, this trendy 5-star hotel has a fabulous rooftop lounge that overlooks the Hudson River. It is located near The Vessel NYC, which is a public art installation that allows visitors to climb its 2,500 stairs.
The Bernic Hotel
If you want to catch a show, the boutique Bernic Hotel is easily accessible to the famous Broadway Theater. You will also be within easy reach of Time Squares and the Grand Central Station. The hotel offers a private balcony in most guest rooms, where people can enjoy a spectacular view of the city.
Living the Lux Life in the Upper East Side
As one of New York City’s most coveted neighborhoods, the Upper East Side is home to some of the most iconic real estate. It is a perfect place to stay when you want to be near the expansive green Central Park and fabulous Fifth Avenue shopping. The neighborhood is filled with redbrick townhouses, world-class museums, and the city’s elite.
The Mark Hotel
To fill your trip with glamour and sophistication, the lavish Mark Hotel is the place to be. With its burnished silver walls and pinstripe floors, you’ll the cool elegance of the hotel’s designer Jacques Grange. The crowd found here is a mix of uptown regulars and refined out-of-towners.
Hôtel Plaza Athénée
Just minutes away from lush Central Park, Hôtel Plaza Athénée takes you to a fairytale dream full of purple bouquets, woodland murals, and ornate gold and black statuettes. Enjoy your European-inspired room as you admire 18th-century European artwork and embroidered Italian duvets. The hotel spa features a traditional Swiss treatment that helps you shake off the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Plaza Hotel
For historic luxury, consider the elegant Plaza Hotel. Its doors opened in 1907 and it has since remained one of New York City’s timeless places to stay. Enjoy white-glove butler service, its Guerlain Spa, and afternoon tea at the iconic Palm Court. The rooms feature hand-crafted white marble vanities and cavernous bathrooms covered in exquisite mosaic tiling. The Plaza Hotel has hosted world leaders, broadway stars, Hollywood royalty, and other icons of lavish society.
Spark Romance in Chelsea and Greenwich Village
Chelsea is just north of Greenwich Village. The two neighborhoods in the lower west side of Manhattan are perfect for a romantic getaway. With its cobblestoned streets, federal-style brownstones, and trendy restaurants, you will get away from the megacity and enter a small neighborhood feel. Romance abounds in this creative epicenter known to be home to some of the best talent the world has experienced.
Moxy NYC Chelsea
Enjoy luxury amenities at reasonable prices in this 35-story high hotel that indulges couples with romance, entertainment, and relaxation. The architecture is in line with Chelsea’s style featuring a greenhouse-style atrium and an industrial facade. Experience their award-winning service as they have been honored with Condé Nast Traveler’s 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards and Travel Weekly’s 2019 Magellan Award amongst others.
The Marlton Hotel
This charming boutique hotel in Greenwich Village is perfect for couples. There will be a complimentary bottle of wine in your room upon arrival. The retro romantic feel of this century-old establishment gives it lots of character. Its eclectic clientele enjoys the Parisian-inspired swanky decor that provides a residential vibe. Guests get a feeling of what it is like to be a true Greenwich Village local.
The Walker Hotel
For a cozy and plush place with romantic interiors, The Walker Hotel showcases beautiful Georgian architecture. Even its lobby is filled with romance as you peruse through books written by Greenwich Village writers. It is a high-end hotel without being extravagant. Their savvy service team will put you in touch with the best The Village has to offer.
Hipster’s Paradise in SoHo and the Lower East Side
New York City has always pushed the edge, in part thanks to people we now call hipsters, who establish cool new trends. SoHo is one of NYC’s most fashionable neighborhoods with a variety of trendy spots for dining, live music, and shopping. Its cast-iron architecture, art galleries, and trendy lofts make a hipster’s paradise.
The lower east side also has a hip style where you’ll find the hipster scene. The neighborhood has a lot of history and is known as New York City’s cauldron of creativity.
Plus, concert-goers and bar hoppers delight in its iconic music venues. Some of the coolest hotels are found in these two neighborhoods.
Hotel on Rivington
As you walk around the public areas of the hotel, you will notice portraits of Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan as well as graffiti-style art. This glass-walled hotel is amidst the Lower East Side’s nightlife and restaurant scene. Its floor-to-ceiling windows allow guests to enjoy gorgeous views of the city.
At The Ludlow Hotel, you will feel like a true hipster without going overboard. Here, you will see locals hanging out sipping wine or using their laptops. The brick walls, fireplace, and low leather sofas create a low-key ambiance.
SoHo Grand Hotel
Enjoy signature cocktails and American cuisine in Soho Grand Hotel’s trendy Club Room. This luxurious hotel is modern and fresh. Dine at their outdoor restaurant where you can check out the city views. It is near hip shops, art galleries, and unique restaurants.
The Top Tourist-Friendly Neighborhoods
When planning a trip to New York City, it is best to make a list of the most important activities you want to experience while visiting. The city is filled with countless options, therefore focusing on the things you want to do the most will guide you where to go.
Best NYC Neighborhoods:
- Sightseeing: Midtown
- Nightlife: Meatpacking District
- Food Lovers: Tribeca and SoHo
- First-Timers: Theater District
- Families: Upper West Side
- Trendiest: Greenwich Village
- Safest: Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Lincoln Center
Budget-Friendly Queens is Near All the Action
When traveling on a budget, staying in Queens is a great option. It has everything to satisfy anyone’s taste while still being very close to Manhattan. Although it is close to all the tourist attractions, you can also see and do a lot in Queens.
Enjoy authentic Greek and Asian food, see art at the Socrates Sculpture Park in the beautiful Queens Botanical Garden or hit the surf scene at Rockaway Beach.
The Astoria Delancy Inn & Suites
Enjoy this budget-friendly option to rest in a cozy hotel and have the ability to in Manhattan in just minutes. The hotel is located near the F-Line subway station that takes you straight to Rockefeller Center and other major landmarks.
The Paper Factory Hotel
This kid-friend hotel is very quirky as it was an actual paper factory. Its hip decor, loft-style rooms, and game room make it an exciting find. Enjoy their 24-hour fitness center and on-site restaurant. It is located near the subway that takes you to Manhattan in only 20 minutes.
The Rockaway Hotel
For an urban beach vacation, stay at the Rockaway Hotel. It is a perfect way to save money while staying near amazing beaches that are a short ride to Manhattan. Besides the excellent service, you will also find a more elevated experience with its curated art installations and luxurious, but informal amenities. It is a calm place with an eclectic retro style. The best part is being able to enjoy a relaxing beach while still being close to everything you want to see when visiting New York City.
Save Money and Visit Two States For the Price of One!
Most people don’t realize how close New Jersey is to New York’s state line. Jersey City is a popular destination for those who want to see more of the east coast while saving money on accommodations.
Jersey City has been beautifully revitalized and has become a popular option for inexpensive accommodations. Enjoy amazing views of Manhattan across the Hudson River while staying in beautiful hotels that won’t put a dent in your wallet.
Hyatt Regency Jersey City on Hudson
You cannot go wrong when staying at the well-established Hyatt. While it is a pricey option in Jersey City, it is a cheaper alternative to being in Manhattan with similar amenities. You will get a lot for your money with the excitement of NYC nearby and the relaxing waterfront scene of the Hudson River. Every single room has a view of the river and Manhattan, making this option at the top of the list.
Candlewood Suites Harborside
Another budget-friendly option is these apartment-style suites within walking distance to PATH stations. You can also take the NY Waterway Ferry to Midtown instead if you’re in the mood for a nautical experience. The hotel is a bit further from the waterfront, but this makes it more affordable while still having access to NYC attractions.
The Holland Hotel
This budget-friendly option is ideal for travelers with kids. It is a family-friendly environment near Jersey City’s famous attractions and it is close to public transportation that takes you to Manhattan. Enjoy free breakfast on-site and free parking, something you certainly won’t find for the same price near Manhattan.
Live Like a Local and Save Money With Airbnb Accommodations
According to the trusted site for financial advice, Investopedia, New York City had 36,000 Airbnb rentals published in September 2021. This is an amazing number considering the number of hotels the city has. Options included both single rooms to entire single-family homes, townhomes, and condos.
Depending on the size and level of quality the Airbnb rental offers, you might find it much cheaper than most hotels. It is a great way to save money when visiting NYC. Plus, you will have expert guidance from local hosts and you will feel like you have your own piece in the Big Apple.
Best Places To Stay In New York City For Families Who Have Kids
When traveling with kids, you must remember that NYC is expansive and most of the tourist activities are in one borough, Manhattan. For the budget-conscious family traveler, it is a good idea to consider staying at other boroughs that are a short ride away from Manhattan and offer a good environment for kids.
Keep in mind that not all of Manhattan is appropriate for families with kids. A rule of thumb is choosing accommodations near a subway station to have easy access to wherever you want to explore.
Upper West and East Side
By far, the best places for travelers with kids are the Upper West and East Sides of Manhattan. There are plenty of family hotels in proximity to Central Park, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural History.
In the Upper West Side, you will find a safe residential area lined with brownstones. It is where most family hotels are found at a great value. You can also quickly reach Midtown from there to check out the various family-friendly attractions.
This luxury boutique hotel provides residential-style accommodations and features family suites. It is also a pet-friendly hotel and has a fitness center.
On The Ave
The friendly staff of On The Ave makes kids of all ages feel welcomed. Children under 18 stay free of charge. It is located on a quiet side street a couple of blocks away from the subway station.
Hotel Beacon NYC
The hotel offers one or two-bedroom “mini-apartments” with a sofa bed for more sleeping space in the living room. Fairway, the mega-grocery store, is nearby in case you want to buy snacks and meals to keep in the suite. Children under 18 stay for free.
Best Places to Stay in NYC For Sightseeing
If you want to be near all the attractions and landmarks, your best bet is to stay in Midtown Manhattan. This is where you’ll experience the quintessential New York City. There are hotels near the exciting roadway Theater District, the flashy Times Square, and the impressive Empire State Building.
The Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites
As one of the best hotel chains in the country, the Marriott provides an affordable option with an amazing view of NYC. You’ll have many attractions at your fingertips including Times Square, Metropolitan Museum, Empire State Building, and Madison Square Garden.
Margaritaville Resort- Times Square
To enjoy a tropical oasis in the middle of Manhattan, Margaritaville combines island time in the middle of Times Square. Lounge at the poolside on the rooftop with frozen margaritas, then be within walking distance from NYC’s most famous attractions.
The Knickerbocker Hotel
In between the flashy lights of broadway and the calm nature of Bryant Park, you’ll find the legendary Knickerbocker. It was the first luxury hotel in Times Square and it is still a sophisticated urban sanctuary. Fifth Avenue shopping, the Rockefeller Center, and Central Park are just a short walk away.
Tips on How To Choose The Right Hotel For You
Having choices is great, you’ll have plenty of them in gigantic New York City. However, too many choices become overwhelming. Having a plan when considering the best places to stay when visiting New York City is key. You may follow these simple steps as you plan your trip.
1. Begin With Dates and Price Range
The first step is to decide which dates you can travel and how much you want to spend on accommodations. Once you perform a search with those parameters, you’ll be ready to filter and sort through the best options.
Filter the results according to the amenities you are looking for as well as the location, which brings us to the next step.
2. Decide on a Location
The location is greatly influenced by the type of trip you are taking. Perhaps you flying solo, taking a romantic trip for two, or enjoying your next family vacation with your kids. This will dictate the activities which you will choose and the location where you want to be.
Another factor to consider is if you want to be in the middle of all the action or save money by commuting to the attractions from the boroughs that surround Manhattan. Prioritize the “must-see” and “must-do” attractions and activities. You will want to stay somewhere that is near or accessible to all that you want to do.
Looking at a map will help you as you search through accommodations. It is recommended to get a map that shows the major attractions along with subway routes and other helpful information.
3. Choose Your Ideal NYC Experience
With several options to choose from, ask yourself how you envision your stay. Do you want to feel glamorous from the balcony of a boutique hotel with city views? Or, do you prefer the “real home” feel of an Airbnb loft?
Are there amenities that you must have on your trip such as childcare or a swimming pool? Whatever it is you are imagining, filtering through particular criteria will help you narrow down your options from an overwhelming amount of search results.
There isn’t one best way to look for accommodations. A big part lies in the type of traveler you are. Some people like the predictability of a large hotel chain whereas others might like the adventure of an Airbnb rental.
Either way, the internet is filled with anecdotal reports from thousands of travelers who offer ratings. Finding good reviews is one way to ensure you have a good experience no matter what type of accommodations you aim to find.
What is the Best Area For First-timers?
Midtown Manhattan is hands down the very best spot to be if it’s your first time in New York City. First-timers are eager to see all the famous attractions the city is known for. You will be within reach of Times Square, Broadway, and the Empire State Building. The neighborhood is centrally located and accessible to anywhere you want to go.
What Are the Best Places to Stay When on a Budget?
Queens is a budget-friendly option near Manhattan. A place such as The Astoria Delancy Inn & Suites is near public transportation that takes you to all the attractions. Another budget-friendly option is Jersey City. Hotels like the Hyatt Regency Jersey City on Hudson provide fantastic amenities and waterfront rooms, but without the large price tag of a comparable Manhattan hotel.
Where is the Best Area for Accommodations When Traveling as a Family?
The Upper West Side is one of the best places for families because of its residential feel and safety. Staying at places like Hotel Beacon NYC, which features “mini-apartments” is a great option when traveling with kids.