How do you decide where to stay in New York? For dynamism, cultural impact and sheer diversity, it's a hard city to beat. It's also a global leader in art, architecture, music and food. It's crammed with iconic sights, too, from the raised torch of the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building to Coney Island and some of the top beaches on the East Coast. So it's often difficult to know which is the best area to stay in New York City.
But with accommodation in NYC eating up the lion’s share of most travellers’ budgets, deciding where to stay may be your most important choice. So, whatever kind of trip you’re planning, here’s the lowdown on where to stay in New York, area by area. The following information is taken from The Rough Guide to New York City, your travel guide for visiting New York City.
These days the Meatpacking District is the domain of late-night clubs, wine bars and fashion designers, where the boutiques of Diane Von Furstenberg, Tory Burch, Alexander Wang and friends line the cobblestone streets. Just to the north, Chelsea has been at the heart of New York City’s art scene since the 1990s, with hundreds of galleries slotted into warehouses beneath the High Line.
For stylish stays: Gansevoort Meatpacking offers rooms at the heart of the Meatpacking District's fashion scene, and gives you access to one of the most stylish rooftop pools and bars in the city.
For cool stays: The Standard, High Line is the super-hip André Balazs hotel with fabulous views from floor-to-ceiling windows and the High Line running under it.
For designer stays: Dream Downtown features a roof-top lounge with club overlooking the skyline, an on-site restaurant, and an outdoor pool with private cabanas.
The most famous black community in America, Harlem has not been spared New York City’s rapid gentrification, but it remains a bastion of African-American culture. This is where to stay in New York for vibrant street life, fabulous West African and soul food restaurants, a dynamic local jazz scene and some of the city's prettiest streets.
For guesthouse stays: Soul Food (Mount Morris) is an elegant 19th-century brownstone, just across from Marcus Garvey Park, with shared kitchen and freshly baked cakes every day.
For apartment stays: The Harlem Pearl features small apartments with kitchenettes, in a lovely building, that dates from 1910, in the Sugar Hill neighbourhood.
For loft stays: Aloft Harlem is the first hotel to open in the neighbourhood since the 1960s. It has a bright, stylish interior and features airy, loft-inspired rooms with platform beds.
If you want to know exactly where to stay in New York City, what to do and what to see, take a look at Rough Guides tailor-made travel service and let us help plan a fully personalised trip just for you.
A once-gritty Brooklyn community, Williamsburg is now more famous for hipsters than gangsters. It's also one of the neighbourhoods which puts New York on our list of the 20 best places to travel alone.
Check out Bedford Avenue at the heart of Williamsburg's rapidly expanding zone of coffee shops, boutiques and bars where you'll find everything from the taproom at the Brooklyn Brewery to venerable Pete’s Candy Store. It's also home to some of the city’s swankiest rooftop cocktail lounges, beer gardens and cool places to stay: you wont find any of the world's weirdest hotels here!
For five-star stays: The William Vale has a 19m rooftop pool. All rooms come with floor-to-ceiling windows, open air balconies and amazing city views.
For waterfront stays: The Wythe sits on the waterfront in Williamsburg. Designed into a 100 year old factory building, all rooms feature original timber ceilings, huge windows and heated concrete floors.
For chic stays: The McCarren is just off the main Williamsburg strip, overlooking McCarren Park. It features a seasonal outdoor pool, rooms are compact and comfortable and the hotel has a rooftop lounge with Manhattan views.
The Upper East Side has been home to dynasties such as the Rockefellers, Whitneys and Astors since the 1890s. It's an indulgent area and certainly not one of our 20 cheapest places to travel.
However, it's a world aptly portrayed in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sex and the City and Gossip Girl, and as a result it's where to stay in New York for the plushest hotels, the most elegant cafés and the swankiest shops.
For elegant stays: The Sherry-Netherland has been the epitome of absolute luxury since 1927. Its ornate lobby is modelled after the Vatican Library and room service comes from the in-house Harry Cipriani restaurant.
For independent stays: The Garden ES Suites sits minutes from Lexington and 63rd Street. All suites feature fully equipped kitchens, separate living areas, large windows and modern interior design.
For family stays: Loews Regency New York offers both rooms and one or two bedroom suites sleeping up to six guests. It sits on Park Avenue and both Central Park and the Rockefeller Centre are a short walk away.
Midtown Manhattan is the most obvious area to stay in New York. It’s where most of the city’s accommodation is located, nearly all within walking distance of key attractions such as Times Square, MoMA and Central Park. You’ll be sharing the sidewalk with plenty of other tourists but the proliferation of hotels means there are lots of bargains to be had (in New York terms, anyway).
For quirky stays: Pod 51 hotel features top value “pods” (solo, double, bunk, queen and “double double”), each reminiscent of colourful ship's quarters.
For eco-luxe stays: 1 Hotel Central Park is an eco-friendly hotel with a three-storey living wall, reclaimed rustic-chic furniture, cardboard clothing hangers and everything organic.
For iconic stays: The Algonquin, New York’s legendary literary hangout, is where you'll find a resident cat named Hamlet, suites with silly names and a whole lot of style and tradition. Rooms have been refurbished to good effect.
This up-and-coming neighbourhood in Queens lies just across the East River from Midtown Manhattan (effectively a short subway ride away). Long Island City itself boasts one of the city’s best flea markets, as well as the highly rated MoMA PS1 gallery and Silvercup Studios.
For stylish stays: The Modernist Hotel incorporates a roof terrace with fabulous views. Rooms are sleek and elegant and several large doubles feature open air balconies or private patios.
For central stays: Sonder The Dutch sits right at the heart of Long Island City. A choice of doubles, king or queen rooms is available and all bedrooms feature their own private terrace.
For family stays: Sonder Court Square aparthotel offers a range of one bedroom apartments, studios and suites. All come with fully equipped kitchens and superior suites sleep up to six guests.
New York may not be the most beautiful city in the world, but it is thrilling. And today, one of the most exciting areas in Manhattan is the Lower East Side. Historically the epitome of multiculturalism, this is the neighbourhood for the city’s best vintage-clothing stores, restaurants and especially happening spots for drinking, dancing and live music.
For historic stays: The Historical Blue Moon Hotel is a five-storey Lower East Side tenement with rooms named after 1930s and 1940s celebrities. Book 6th to 8th floor rooms for fabulous city views. Dorm rooms are also available.
For boutique stays: The Ludlow is a chic boutique hotel with gorgeous terraces, black and cream silk rugs, white-marble tables and round brass chandeliers from Morocco.
For stylish stays: Sixty LES features a seasonal rooftop pool, beer garden and sushi restaurant. All rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, slate showers, gourmet snacks and oversize bathrobes.
Ready for a trip to New York City? Check out the Rough Guide to New York City or the Rough Guide to The USA. If you travel further in the USA, read more about the best time to go and the best places to visit. For inspiration use our USA itineraries. A bit more hands on, learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay once you are there.
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