Where to Stay in NYC

NYC › Best Places to Stay
Updated: May 3, 2023
By Santorini Dave

My Favorite Hotels in Manhattan

• Best New Hotel: Pendry
• 5-star Hotel: Mandarin Oriental
• 4-star: AKA Times Square
• 3-star: citizenM
• For Families: Lowell
• For Couples: Library
• Near Times Square: Chatwal
• Central Park: Pierre
• Penn Station: Renaissance
• Grand Central: Library
• Empire State Bldg: Langham
• Lower Manhattan: Crosby St.
• Financial District: Four Seasons Downtown

Map of the best places to stay in New York City.
1. Mandarin Oriental • 2. Pierre • 3. Lowell • 4. citizenM • 5. AKA Times Square • 6. Chatwal • 7. Pendry • 8. Renaissance • 9. Langham • 10. Library • 11. Crosby Street • 12. Four Seasons Downtown

Times Square in NYC.

Times Square and the Theater District in New York City.

For most visitors (whether first-time or return) staying in New York City usually means staying in Manhattan. And the best area to stay in Manhattan for most tourists is somewhere close to Times Square. The larger neighborhood surrounding Times Square is called the Theater District. And the Theater District is located within Midtown Manhattan. Pretty much any hotel in Midtown will put you within walking distance of Times Square, all Broadway plays and performances, Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, 5th Avenue shopping, and the Museum of Modern Art.

Good hotels in Midtown, walking distance to Times Square:
AKA Times SquarecitizenMHilton Garden Inn Times Square CentralRiu Plaza Times SquarePod Times SquareLUMA Hotel – Times SquareCrowne Plaza Times SquareEdison Times SquareWestin at Times SquareAndaz 5th Avenue

The Best Places to Stay in NYC

Hotel in Times Square New York.

The affordable Riu Plaza Times Square has a great location for first-time visitors to Manhattan.

Upscale hotel near Times Square.

The trendy Andaz 5th Avenue is close to upscale shopping and a short walk from Times Square and Broadway theaters.

Best Areas to Stay in New York

New York has neighborhoods for almost any interest, whether theater, art, nightlife, or food. The best things to do, the best NYC hotels, and the best family hotels are spread around Manhattan, but wherever you stay, it’s easy to get around as long as lodgings are near a subway station (or even a bus stop). Learning the transit system is not difficult since much of central Manhattan is laid out on a grid with cross streets clearly numbered. If numbers go up, they are leading north or uptown, descending numbers head south or downtown. Most of the avenues are one-way, so buses travel in only one direction (route maps are posted at every stop). Subway stations are labeled either uptown or downtown to show the direction of the trains on that track.

“Crosstown” literally means going across the city from east to west. Fifth Avenue is the dividing line between what New Yorkers call “east side” and “west side.” Major two-way arteries like 14th, 34th, 42nd, and 57th streets have buses going in both directions and a subway shuttle train crosses the city on 42nd Street from Grand Central Terminal to Times Square.

To calculate distances, 20 blocks in Manhattan equals roughly one mile. For example, Midtown between 34th and 59th streets, where many famous sights are found, is less than 1.5 miles long and easily walkable. The winding lanes in the older parts of the city also are quite walkable, but in these areas, street maps or mobile phone maps are recommended to guide your way.

Subway stop near hotel in New York City.

Hotels within steps of NYC subway station: Sheraton Times SquarecitizenM Times SquareSmyth TribecaThe New YorkerCourtyard Times SquareThe KnickerbockerMandarin OrientalThe Sherry NetherlandHotel Indigo Financial District

Best Neighborhoods in NYC for …

  • Best NYC Neighborhood for First-Time Visitors: Theater District
    Yes, it gets crowded but there is no more convenient home base than the Theater District, roughly 42nd Street to 50th Street west of Sixth Avenue. This area has the greatest variety of affordable lodging choices, is an easy walk to Fifth Avenue and (of course) Times Square and the theaters. The great central location eliminates the need to fight crowds for transportation after a Broadway show. Another plus: The 42nd Street Broadway subway stop is served by many lines, making it easy to visit other parts of the city. The The Chatwal (luxury) and the citizenM (midrange) are great places to stay for New York first-timers.
  • Best NYC Neighborhood for Sightseeing: Midtown
    While there’s much to see everywhere in the city, the most sights in one neighborhood by far are those clustered in Midtown, the heart of New York shopping and theater and home to some of its most iconic buildings.
  • Best NYC Neighborhood for Nightlife: Meatpacking District
    The sidewalks are crowded with young fun-seekers until late at night in this happening area, home to many popular cafes and dance clubs. But New York nightlife isn’t confined to one neighborhood. More clubs, both straight and gay, are found in “Hell’s Kitchen,” a neighborhood in the 40s west of 9th Avenue, and a lot is happening across the East River in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg. For jazz bars and clubs, check out Greenwich Village.
  • Best NYC Neighborhoods for Foodies: Tribeca & SoHo
    Check any dining guide and you’ll find a host of the highest rated dining places in these neighboring hoods, from classic cooking to top of the line ethnic choices. For expensive gourmet fare, the West 50s boasts several well-known culinary stars, including a trio in the Time Warner Center.
Hotel with city view in Manhattan.

Breakfast with a view from our room at The Bowery Hotel.

  • Best NYC Neighborhood for Families: Upper West Side
    Bordered with parks and playgrounds and boasting both a children’s museum and the famed dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History, this is an excellent neighborhood for families. Several hotels offer family accommodations and the area is served by two subway lines and several buses, making it easy to get around.
  • Trendiest NYC Neighborhood: The Bowery
    The fast-evolving Bowery, near the East Village between Houston Street and Cooper Square, is home to the avant-garde New Museum, new headquarters for the International Center of Photographry, sleek art galleries, and an expanding list of trendy new hotels and dining. There are still rough edges here but there’s no better place to experience the vibes of change in New York.
  • Safest Areas of NYC: Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Lincoln Center
    Safety generally is not an issue in New York, one of the country’s safest big cities. But for those who are concerned, consider staying in the Lincoln Center area or the quiet residential Upper East and Upper West sides. Among these, the Upper West Side has more reasonable prices.

The 9 Best Neighborhoods in NYC for Tourists

Best hotel for couples in Midtown Manhattan.

The Library – wonderful boutique hotel in the heart of Midtown Manhattan.

1. Midtown

Times Square, the Theater District, Fifth Avenue shopping, 57th Street and Madison Avenue boutiques, the landmark buildings of Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Museum of Modern Art, the bright lights of Broadway and dining choices from budget to haute cuisine are all found in this area, the heart of Manhattan. It is a must for visitors and has the city’s largest concentration of hotels.

2. Upper West Side

From twin-towered luxury buildings along Central Park West to side streets lined with classic New York brownstones, this is a prime residential area and also home to Lincoln Center, the city’s cultural hub, and the American Museum of Natural History. Like its East Side counterpart, this neighborhood is bordered with parks, Central Park to the east and beautiful Riverside Park along the Hudson River. Many hotel choices make it a good area for those who prefer a quieter neighborhood.

3. Upper East Side

Some of the city’s wealthiest residences are found in this tranquil area roughly between 59th and 96th streets east of Fifth Avenue. It is home to “Museum Mile,” eight excellent institutions along Fifth Avenue, including the world famous Metropolitan Museum of Art. The area is bordered by two green oases, Central Park to the west and Carl Schurz Park, with a promenade along the East River. Restaurants abound, from neighborhood diners to fine dining, but hotels are on the expensive side.

4. Tribeca & SoHo

Named for their locations (triangle below Canal, South of Houston), these neighborhoods of former warehouses have been reborn. Thanks largely to resident Robert DeNiro, Tribeca is home to a noted film festival and its spacious, pricey loft apartments and fine dining attract the rich and famous. Soho’s loft spaces first drew artists and galleries, but rising rents have changed the area into a trendy shopping and dining district.

Good hotel in SoHo, New York City.

The view of the financial district from the rooftop deck and pool at the ModernHaus SoHo Hotel.

5. East Village & Bowery

This gentrifying, one-time hippie haven from Houston to 14th Streets east of Third Avenue still offers many affordable restaurants, but new development near Houston and the neighboring formerly-derelict Bowery have brought avant garde museums, galleries, more upscale dining and hotels. Still in flux, it might appeal as a classic example of how fast neighborhoods can change in Manhattan, where people are in a constant search for the next big thing.

6. Greenwich Village

No grid plan here, just a crazy maze of leafy lanes lined with charming 19th century townhouses, many of which once housed famous artists, writers, and musicians. The cafes, clubs and coffeehouses of “the village” as the locals call it, have long been magnets for young people, including students at New York University, which occupies many of the blocks around Washington Square, one of the city’s liveliest park spaces. A great area to visit, but with few hotel options.

7. Meatpacking District & Chelsea

Once home to wholesale meat packers and desolate at night, the cobbled streets west of 10th Avenue near 14th Street have become one of the city’s liveliest centers for dining and clubbing. Further north, from 22 to 28th streets, the old warehouses of Chelsea now house dozens of art galleries. Both areas have blossomed and new hotels and the Whitney Museum have arrived since the opening of the High Line, an elevated pedestrian park on a former rail line running from 13th to 34th streets.

8. Lower Manhattan & Financial District

Narrow twisting streets are evidence that this is the oldest part of the city, though today Wall Street and its surroundings are home to a forest of skyscrapers dwarfing the few remaining historic sites. With the completion of the new 1 World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, this area is booming with tourists and new shops, hotels and restaurants. Many financial district hotels have good rates on weekends when business travelers go home.

Best hotel in Lower Manhattan.

The Four Seasons Downtown is the best hotel in Lower Manhattan.

9. Lower East Side, Chinatown, & Little Italy

The old ethnic neighborhoods of the city are changing. Crowded and ever-fascinating, Chinatown has mushroomed, taken over all but one street of what was Little Italy and rapidly absorbing much of the Jewish Lower East Side. However, on Orchard Street and blocks closer to Houston border the East Village, the area has been rediscovered by a new generation, and cool shops, clubs and restaurants are blooming. The Tenement Museum is the best evidence of what used to be and some Jewish culinary landmarks remain on Houston Street.

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  1. AirBnb or Hotel in NYC for Large Group

    Hi, traveling to NYC in April for the first time with families totaling 11 (age ranging from 3 to 79!). What sort of accommodation is best recommended for our group size – Airbnb or hotel, that are both clean, close to attractions and not cost us an arm. Thanks in advance for your guidance! :)

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      I think I would go with several rooms in a moderate hotel. Unless you can find an Airbnb for a large group – possible but not easy.

  2. Staying in New Jersey for NYC Visit

    First time in New York and staying at Homewood Suites by Hilton Edgewater NYC. Would like to know if this hotel is safe and can give us easy access to most tourist attractions like Times Square and the Statue of Liberty?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The hotel offers a free shuttle to the ferry terminal on the New Jersey side, then you take a ferry to Manhattan ($9, each way), and then another free shuttle to get you to a few different popular spots in the city. I wouldn’t call it convenient, but not terrible either.

  3. Best Hostel in New York City

    Hey! Thank you for posting all this amazing info. I am traveling solo to NYC for the first time and was thinking of staying in a hostel. What are your thoughts?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The HI NYC Hostel is the best hostel in NYC but it’s a little out of the way on the Upper West Side. Better located for bars, restaurants, and nightlife and almost as good is the Historical Blue Moon Hotel on the Lower East Side

  4. Airbnb for Family of 5 in NYC

    Would you recommend Airbnb for Manhattan/Brooklyn? We are a family of 5 so apartment may suit us better and the AKA apartments you recommended have only 2 beds. I’ve heard that some Airbnb are not legal within NYC.


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The two-bedroom apartment at AKA does sleep five. Airbnb in New York City is a possibility but is very hit and miss. I’d stick with the hotel.

  5. Hotel in NYC for 3 Adults


    Will be travelling to New York this December for Christmas and New Year for Times Square. But the hotels near Times Square are so pricey. Would you help to recommend the good place to stay for a group of 3?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The Freehand Hotel in Midtown has cozy 3-bed and 4-bed rooms that are great value. (Some have boutique-style bunk beds.)

  6. NYC Interconnected Rooms for Family

    We are a family of 4 with two teens. Going to NYC for 1st time in October. Please can you advise on how to find a hotel that has interconnecting rooms. Need main room with double bed and connecting room with 2 separate beds. All searches so far come up with 2 doubles. Or would we need to have 2 seperate rooms? Thank you.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Interconnected rooms are rare. Take a look at the AKA Times Square – great location and the 2-bedroom apartments with kitchens are great for families.

  7. Stay In Brooklyn or Manhattan?

    We are considering staying in Brooklyn to save money on a cheap hotel. Is this worth the money? Is it easy to commute from Brooklyn to Manhattan for sightseeing in NYC?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Brooklyn has some great areas and is a destination in its own right but (for most people) Manhattan is what they’re here to see and makes the best base for sightseeing. The big considerations are where in Brooklyn are you staying, how close is it to a subway stop, and how much money are you saving? If you are near a subway stop then getting into Manhattan will be quick and easy.

  8. New York City Recommendations

    You are right on point with recommendations for NYC!


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Thanks Angelique.

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