Where to Stay in New York City

Wondering where to stay in New York City? I had to actually sit down and figure this out at some point last year, so I thought I’d write out a quick guide for you guys to reference!

I absolutely love visiting New York City. I’m not sure I would ever really enjoy living here. Dealing with the MTA on a daily basis, crying as I pay 2x as much for a meal as I would in PA, and the entire winter season would, I’m sure, sour me pretty quickly. However, I definitely love popping up for a weekend or even a full week if I can manage.

Last year while I was based near Philadelphia, I tried to visit as often as I could. I think I wound up visiting at least three times — once with Elissa, once for a week on a whim, and once as a quick stopover on my way up to Rhode Island.

I stayed in different areas each time, and I had a chance to see just how easy or difficult it was to get to the various landmarks from my different accommodations.

Before I begin, I should note I’m talking mostly about Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. I stayed in Manhattan all three times I visited, and that’s where all the big attractions and landmarks are. Brooklyn has its own number of things to do, plus it’s considered the hipster alternative, and Queens is where both JFK and LaGuardia are located.

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Where to Stay in New York City: A Guide

A Quick NYC Neighborhood Guide

Downtown/Lower Manhattan

Some neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan include the Financial District and Wall Street, SoHo, the Meatpacking District, West Village, Little Italy, Nolita, lower Chelsea, and East Village.

This is a great area to stay in if you want to be closer to attractions in Brooklyn and the ferry service to Staten Island. I stayed in the East Village on one of my trips, and it was super easy to navigate and get wherever I wanted to go.

Midtown/Mid Manhattan

Midtown is right where all the action is and probably the best location to stay in New York for tourists. Pretty much every attraction you’ve seen listed in guides to New York City is here. Whether it’s the Empire State Building, Museum of Modern Art, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Bryant Park, Fifth Avenue… they’re all here. Usually, when I visit NYC, I stay in Midtown, though, of course, this is also the most expensive area as well.

Some notable neighborhoods are Hells Kitchen, Chelsea, Gramercy Park, Koreatown, Times Square, the Garment District, and the Flatiron District.

Uptown/Upper Manhattan

Uptown is more of a residential area, but there are still quite a few places to see and explore including Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, and some of the Upper West Side. One place I still want to visit is the Met Cloisters, which are quite far Uptown.

Brooklyn

If you do want to stay somewhere not as touristy as Manhattan, then many people also like to stay in Brooklyn. It has its own slew of sights, hipster eateries, and things to do, and it’s also an easy subway ride away. In fact, I think it’d be fun to stay there for a week or so on my next trip now that I’m more comfortable navigating the city (hey, I’ve even driven through parts of Uptown before!).

Some good neighborhoods to check out are Bushwick, Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Sunset, Park, and Red Hook. (Side note: Every time I hear “Bushwick,” I immediately think of this Awkwafina song).

NYC Budget Options + Tips

It’s really not cheap at all to stay in New York City. I listed all the decent budget hotels below, but they’re still going to but a sizeable dent in your bank account.

Here are some tips to make it a little more affordable:

Use Facebook groups.

Weird advice, but there are so many travel groups on Facebook, especially groups specifically for women. I’ve seen so many listings pop up. Many people can’t technically rent out their spaces, so Airbnb isn’t an option. Instead, they’ll put their places up in these groups for when they’re traveling or just away.

The whole reason I stayed in the East Village, actually, was because I connected with someone who lived there. I stayed in her apartment while she was away and it only cost me $50/night.

That said, also check out Airbnb for listings!

Go off-season.

This is a no-brainer but your chances of finding deals are much higher during the off-season. I highly doubt I could find a good deal between Christmas and New Years!

Check for last minute deals or daily deals.

My friend and I actually scored our hotel for $99/night when we went in February. It was offseason, of course, and I think we were going on a Sunday into a Monday. We were smack dab in Hells Kitchen and within walking distance of everything we wanted to do. Plus breakfast was even included! That’s a win-win in my book.

Save money elsewhere.

Another no-brainer, but hey, it’s always worth reminding. If your accommodation eats up a lot of your budget, try to save elsewhere. Check out the days when certain attractions might be free, walk as often as you can or take the subway, and eat at the cheaper restaurants or pack snacks for yourself from the grocery store.

Though do note, there’s a reason to avoid places with health inspection ratings less than an A!

Don’t stay in Midtown or Downtown but in other boroughs.

If budget is a big concern, then you might want to consider looking at other neighborhoods or cities and just having a bit of commute to get to where you want to go.

Heck, you could even consider places in New Jersey near the subway.

Where I’ve Stayed

Want a piece of comfortable luxury in the heart of one of the busiest cities in the world? Check into the lovely Hotel Elysée in New York City.

Hotel Elysée by the Library Collection

When I was driving up to Rhode Island from North Carolina last year, I worked with Hotel Elysée. It’s a beautiful hotel right in Midtown, and I wrote a whole review gushing over it here. If you’re looking to treat yourself for the weekend, you can’t go wrong with Elysée or any other Library Collection property around the city. I mean the cheese and wine time in the evenings alone…

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | TripAdvisor

Acquaintance’s Place in East Village

For one random week in March, I took up a Facebook group acquaintance and stayed at her place for a week! It was only maybe $50/night, and much nicer than what that would get you most places in Manhattan, especially at that rate. If you’re looking, the East Village is a great area to base yourself in.

Some female-only Facebook groups I love:

Fairfield Inn + Suites by Marriott New York Midtown

When Elissa and I went to NYC for two days during her East Coast visit, we stayed at Fairfield Inn + Suites.

It was a last minute sale, so it was only $99/night AND it came with free breakfast. Not too shabby for a place only a stone’s throw from Penn Station and within walking distance of all the big places we wanted to see!

Now for some lists of other places to stay in New York City! I haven’t stayed at any of these places, so I can’t personally vouch for any of them. But I scanned through Agoda and Booking to find some budget-friendly and affordable places. As always, I recommend reading reviews!

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | TripAdvisor

5 Budget Hotels + Hostels in Manhattan

1. Jazz on Columbus Circle Hostel (~$67+ USD)

  • Location: Midtown West
  • Distance from Closest Subway: 280m
  • Cheapest Room: 6-bed mixed dorm
  • Most Expensive Room: 3-bed mixed dorm

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | TripAdvisor

2. Blue Moon Boutique Hotel (~$44+ USD)

  • Location: Lower East Side
  • Distance from Closest Subway: 150m
  • Cheapest Room: 6-bed mixed dorm
  • Most Expensive Room: Luxury room with 1 king + 1 sofa

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | TripAdvisor

3. Hostelling International New York/HI NYC Hostel (~$56+ USD)

  • Location: Upper Westside
  • Distance from Closest Subway: 540m
  • Cheapest Room: 12-bed dorm
  • Most Expensive Room: 4-bed dorm

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | TripAdvisor

4. Broadway Hotel + Hostel (~$58+ USD)

  • Location: Upper West Side
  • Distance from Closest Subway: 760m
  • Cheapest Room: Co-ed dorm
  • Most Expensive Room: Double room, ensuite bathroom

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | TripAdvisor

5. Canal Loft Hotel (~$45+ USD)

  • Location: Chinatown, near Lower Eastside
  • Distance from Closest Subway: 310m
  • Cheapest Room: 4-bed mixed room
  • Most Expensive Room: King studio, ensuite bathroom + soundproofing

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | TripAdvisor

5 Budget Hotels + Hostels in Queens

1. The Local Hostel NYC (~$57+ USD)

  • Location: 44th Ave.
  • Distance from Closest Subway: 310m
  • Cheapest Room: 6-bed mixed dorm
  • Most Expensive Room: 4-bed female dorm

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | TripAdvisor

2. Q4 Hotel and Hostel (~$37+ USD)

  • Location: Long Island City
  • Distance from Closest Subway: 120m
  • Cheapest Room: 6-bed dorm
  • Most Expensive Room: 4-bed dorm

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | TripAdvisor

3. Giorgio Hotel (~$32+ USD)

  • Location: Long Island City
  • Distance from Closest Subway: 270m
  • Cheapest Room: 4-bed mixed dorm
  • Most Expensive Room: Deluxe King

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | TripAdvisor

4. Nycth (~$89+ USD)

  • Location: 70th street, near LaGuardia Airport
  • Distance from Closest Subway: 320m
  • Cheapest Room: Superior Queen
  • Most Expensive Room: Deluxe Twin

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | TripAdvisor

5. The Queens Hotel (~$89+ USD)

  • Location: Queens Boulevard, near LaGuardia Airport
  • Distance from Closest Subway: 540m
  • Cheapest Room: King Room
  • Most Expensive Room: King Suite

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | TripAdvisor

5 Budget Hotels + Hostels in Brooklyn

1. NY Moore Hostel (~$45+ USD)

  • Location: Moore Street
  • Distance from Closest Subway: 530m
  • Cheapest Room: 6-bed mixed dorm
  • Most Expensive Room: 3-bed private dorm

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | TripAdvisor

2. International Students Residence (~$50+ USD)

  • Location: Williamsburg
  • Distance from Closest Subway: 1.5km
  • Cheapest Room: 6-bed dorm
  • Most Expensive Room: Single Twin Bed

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | TripAdvisor

3. Greenpoint YMCA Hostel (~$62+ USD)

  • Location: Meserole Ave.
  • Distance from Closest Subway: 1.5km
  • Cheapest Room: Single Room
  • Most Expensive Room: Double Room

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | TripAdvisor

4. Reggae Den (~$91+ USD)

  • Location: Bedford-Stuyvesant
  • Distance from Closest Subway: 1km
  • Cheapest Room: 1-bed apartment
  • Most Expensive Room: 1-bed apartment

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking

5. Illumination Bed + Breakfast (~$100+ USD)

  • Location: Saint James Place
  • Distance from Closest Subway: 2.4km
  • Cheapest Room: Standard Queen
  • Most Expensive Room: Deluxe Double

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | Hotels

5 Luxury Hotels to Treat Yourself

Besides Hotel Elysée and the Library Colletion hotels, which I mentioned above, here are some other luxury hotels with high ratings and gorgeous rooms! If you’re planning a treat yo self weekend in NYC, you might want to splurge on some of these spots.

1. Crosby Street Hotel (~$695+ USD)

  • Location: SoHo
  • Distance from Closest Subway: 90m
  • Cheapest Room: Superior King
  • Most Expensive Room: Crosby Suite

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | TripAdvisor

2. The Whitby (~$499+ USD)

  • Location: Midtown West
  • Distance from Closest Subway: 380m
  • Cheapest Room: Superior Room
  • Most Expensive Room: Junior Terrace Suite

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | TripAdvisor

3. The Langham Fifth Avenue (~$450 USD)

  • Location: Fifth Avenue, Times Square
  • Distance from Closest Subway: 380m
  • Cheapest Room: Superior King
  • Most Expensive Room: Suites

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | TripAdvisor

4. The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel (~$500+ USD)

  • Location: Financial District
  • Distance from Closest Subway: 160m
  • Cheapest Room: Superior Queen
  • Most Expensive Room: Suite with a City View

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | TripAdvisor

5. The Sherry Netherland (~$350+ USD)

  • Location: Upper East Side
  • Distance from Closest Subway: 50m
  • Cheapest Room: Interior Room
  • Most Expensive Room: City View Suite

CHECK PRICES, AVAILABILITY, + REVIEWS

Booking | TripAdvisor

And that’s about it! Where are so places in NYC that you’ve stayed and loved? Anywhere we should avoid at all costs?

For more NYC travel:

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