New York City is the most populous city in the United States and one of the most influential in the world, looming large in films, music and popular culture. And with more than 50 million visitors flocking to the big apple each year, it’s definitely one to add to your bucket list.
The five boroughs are made up of a huge number of neighbourhoods, so it can be tricky to decide where to base yourself. Here are our top picks of where to stay in New York – three neighbourhoods on the Isle of Manhattan, and one across the river.
Greenwich Village, The West Village, or simply ‘The Village’, is a bohemian area with tree-lined diagonal streets and a plethora of bars and cafes. It’s known as an arts and culture hub, a haven for weekend brunch-lovers, the centre of New York gay culture, as well as the site of Sex and the City heroine Carrie Bradshaw’s house.
Where is the Village?
Below Midtown and Chelsea, between the Hudson River, 14th Street, Broadway and West Houston.
What’s in the Village?
The picturesque Washington Square Park, with its iconic arch, the Meatpacking District, New York University, many off-Broadway theatres, and a number of historic churches and synagogues. It is also home to the Whitney Museum of American Art and the southern end of the High Line, a 2.33 km park built on a disused section of elevated rail line overlooking the city; the park is a point of pride for many New Yorkers and on the weekends, a great spot for people watching.
Stay in The Village if…
You’re a culture vulture, a brunch addict, or love a picturesque treelined street.
Where to stay in The Village
The Jane Hotel (2*), a quirky and lovingly-renovated Georgian red brick overlooks the Hudson River and dates back to 1908. The Jane includes a cafe, free wifi, complimentary bike use and shared bathrooms. Hotel 309 (2*) is another good option; super cheap and right on the edge of Chelsea.
SoHo, NoHo and NoLita
SoHo (South of Houston), NoHo (North of Houston) and NoLita (North of Little Italy) are three pocket-sized neighbourhoods in lower Manhattan, below Midtown and the Village and above Chinatown, Tribeca and Little Italy.
What’s in this part of Manhattan?
Known for great shopping, restaurants, bars and cafes, these three small, hip ‘hoods are walking and subway distance from most of the Isle of Manhattan’s main sites, but with a laid-back vibe you won’t find in Midtown. SoHo is a boutique shopping mecca, and NoLita and NoHo are seconds from the now-kitsch Little Italy and New York’s buzzing Chinatown. You’re also not far from the East and West Villages.
Where are SoHo, NoHo and NoLita?
SoHo is bordered by West Houston, Crosby, Canal Streets and Avenue of the Americas. NoHo is bordered by East Houston, Broadway, Bowery and Astor Place. NoLita is bordered by East Houston, Bowery, Broome and Lafayette.
Stay is SoHo, NoHo and NoLita if…
You dream of days filled with sightseeing and nights spent in hip bars and restaurants. There’s also plenty of great cafes and old-school Jewish delis nearby, so you’re all set for coffee and breakfast before you head out.
Where to stay in SoHo, NoHo and NoLita
In SoHo, try the upscale rooms of the NoMo SoHo (4.5*), a charming vintage-meets-modern boutique hotel on the neighbourhood’s eastern edge, right by Little Italy. Or keep things simple at the Off Soho Suites (2*) in NoLita, where you can get very good value for money 1- and 2-bedroom apartments.
Crowded and fast-paced, Midtown is where you’ll find New York’s most famous attractions. Although not many New Yorkers actually live here, it’s a good place to set up camp, get your bearings, and explore. As well as sightseeing, it’s also a great district for shopping and bar hopping.
What’s in Midtown?
What isn’t? The renowned Empire State Building, the beautiful Grand Central Station, the famous Times Square, the iconic New York Public Library and the glittering diamond district all call Midtown home. It’s also where you’ll find some of NYC’s best-known shopping (think Tiffany, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman) and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa).
Where is Midtown?
Roughly between 59th and 34th streets (although some consider as far south as 14th Street to be part of Midtown), Manhattan.
Stay in Midtown if…
You’re in town for a short visit and you want to see all the major sights, or if it’s your first visit to New York.
Where to stay in Midtown
For a touch of luxury, try The Knickerbocker Hotel (5*), between the bright lights of Broadway and the serene Bryant Park, or check out the funky boutique Moderne (3*) hotel, south of Central Park. Clean, comfortable and friendly, The Bryant Park Hotel (4*) is ideally located between Grand Central Station and Times Square, across the street from the New York Public Library.
New York’s second-largest borough is edgy, creative and hip, known for its rows of picturesque brownstone houses. Brooklyn neighbourhoods are the domain of startups and coffeehouses, a burgeoning arts and music scene, and are often touted as the next big thing. There are a plethora of parks in Brooklyn and a host of great bars and restaurants have sprung up in recent years.
What’s in Brooklyn?
The iconic Brooklyn Bridge, the nostalgic Coney Island, the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, the Brooklyn Flea, Smoragusburg, The Barclays Centre and the New York Aquarium. Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge is a must, as is a stroll along the Brooklyn Heights promenade.
Where is Brooklyn?
Across the East River from Manhattan.
Stay in Brooklyn if…
You want to pay a little less for accommodation, you’re keen to explore neighbourhoods outside Manhattan, and you don’t mind a decent subway commute.
Where to stay in Brooklyn
Red Lion Inn and Suites Brooklyn (3*) is close to the upscale neighbourhood of Brooklyn Heights and includes complimentary breakfast. The Sheraton Brooklyn New York Hotel (4*) is just a couple of blocks from the lovely Fort Greene Park and houses an Italian restaurant, indoor heated pool and a 24-hour fitness centre. And in the hip neighborhood of Williamsburg,
Hotel Le Jolie (2.5*) is just a few blocks from McCarren Park and includes complimentary continental breakfast.