When looking for hotels in New York City, the options seem endless.
“I found a hotel in New York City for $89 a night! Sweet!”
NYC is notably extremely expensive. And, from my 20 years of experiences with this city, you honestly get what you pay for — here, maybe more than most places.
The city is geographically huge. Although Manhattan is only 13.4 miles long and 2.3 miles across, when you consider that NYC also includes Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx – it gets much larger.
A good hotel in NYC will run around $200 +/- in 2021. I would be wary of anything less than that in Manhattan. Check the reviews… Do your research. If you want to live it up, NYC has some of the best hotels in the world with top amenities and spas! Sometimes you can score a 5-star hotel in Midtown for less than $400 a night. Generally speaking, however, the top hotels will be >$600 per night.
When deciding on where to stay, you should consider a few things:
- Budget vs Convenience/Safety – Do you have more time than money or more money than time?
- Culture and Neighborhood – Hipster vs Punk vs Urban vs Family Friendly vs Chic and Upscale
- Hotel Conveniences and Amenities – Are you bringing a car? Do you need concierge assistance? How cozy do you want to get with bed bugs? 😂
All of that said, neighborhoods are the most important aspect to consider. We’ve listed the top 10 that we would recommend here. These are great spots, generally safe, and have wonderful hotel options.
10. Long Island City, Queens
Budget friendly, car friendlier, and one subway (or ferry) stop from Grand Central/Midtown, Long Island City is a hidden gem that most tourists don’t know about. You won’t find 5-star hotels here, but you can find solid outposts from Hyatt, Wyndham, La Quinta, etc. They will be clean, they will be convenient, they will be surprisingly close to all of the main tourist attractions.
9. Williamsburg, Brooklyn
OG home of the NYC Hipsters, Williamsburg has become a family-friendly, eco-conscious, older-millennial and hipster haven. This is THE SPOT to see the Manhattan skyline, soak up great parks, and feel the vibes in a true neighborhood. Hotel prices are more expensive here than in Long Island City…but, you’ll still be truly close to major attractions, and have parking options, all while feeling like you’re going “home” in the evenings.
8. Tribeca, Manhattan
Tribeca is quickly becoming one of the most expensive neighborhoods in New York City. Home to the Roxy, this neighborhood has been the home of the major NYC film festival and attracts artists, musicians, and film makers from around the world. Located in lower Manhattan, it’s a bit of a hike to get to the major tourist attractions in Manhattan, but it’s right in the middle of all of the nightlife, art events, Chinatown, and the Financial District.
7. Times Square, Manhattan
Manhattan on a budget. I would never want to stay in Times Square, personally. In fact, most New Yorkers never want to step foot in the area. It’s chaotic, crowded, slightly dangerous, and full of noise. Should you see it once, yes! Should you stay there….maybe??? You’ll find the cheapest big-name hotels in Manhattan in Times Square. If you’re staying in a major chain (that you trust) and score a great deal, you’ll love it. You’re in the middle of all of the tourist attractions – they’ll all be, quite literally, steps away. Will it be chaotic going and coming – yes. Picture living in Magic Kingdom, Disneyworld. It’s a madhouse. But, a deal’s a deal.
Do NOT stay in a hotel you don’t recognize in Times Square without reading reviews. This area can be full of hotels that are known for being dirty and bed-bug ridden. Be careful! Again…sometimes you get what you pay for.
6. Financial District (FiDi), Manhattan
You can also find some great deals in FiDi! Close to the Freedom Tower (One World/WTC) and the 9/11 Museum and Memorial, the Financial District is a great spot for families who will be visiting the 9/11 or WTC sites, as well as those wanting to go to Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, Staten Island, or Governor’s Island. The hotels in this area are MASSIVE! And, with that quantity, they can afford to keep the prices family friendly.
5. Lower East Side (LES), Manhattan
Missing the days of the 1980s punks, Andy Warhol, and the Beatniks? If those are your vibes, then the Lower East Side is calling you. You’ll find various prices in the Lower East Side, and various qualities. I don’t suggest this area for traveling families (yet)…The area is changing and cleaning up. But, it’s still keeping its punk and alternative roots.
4. West Village (Greenwich Village), Manhattan
Calling all Friends and Sex and the City lovers – Greenwich Village is (mostly) void of skyscrapers. Instead you’ll find charming brownstones, cobblestone streets, roads off the grid, and the ability to be swept away in the some of the most romantic parts of New York City. Alongside Washington Square Park, NYU, upscale shopping, and haunted bars, you’ll also be in the neighborhood of Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment in Sex and the City and the famous Friends apartment.
3. Upper West Side (UWS), Manhattan
The Upper West Side is where many performing artists reside due to its proximity to Lincoln Center, Broadway, and Times Square. Hotels in this area will be on the more expensive side, but you’ll be paying for higher-tiered amenities, more space to breath, views of Central Park, and endless activities and restaurants. Who doesn’t want to stay next door to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel???
2. Upper East Side (UES), Manhattan
If the West Side is wealthy artists, the East Side is wealthy Wall Street and old money. The UES is where you will find the “grand” hotels of New York – The Carlyle, The Pierre, The Mark, The Lowell. Massive sidewalks with strollers a plenty, spas for days, and the most luxurious shopping in the city – UES is where you can live it up, if you can afford it. You’ll most likely have an elevator attendant in this neighborhood – yes – seriously. Prepare to tip well.
1. Midtown, Manhattan
The best spot to be is in the middle of it all. Midtown.
Yes, Times Square is part of Midtown, but only a small portion. Steer clear of 7th Avenue, Broadway, and 8th Avenue between 36th and 47th Streets and you will find much nicer options, boutique hotels, and top-tier services.
Check out the options just south of Central Park for high-end luxury and amenities. Or, alternatively, look into the trendy Hell’s Kitchen or our neighborhood of Murray Hill. You’ll have endless transportation options, great dining, shopping, and entertainment, and the ability to get almost anywhere in the city in about 30 minutes.
Wherever you decide to stay, stay flexible, plan ahead, and go with the flow. This is New York City! You’re going to love it.
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Should I Come to New York in 2021?
YESSSS!!!! If you live in the U.S.A., then go get your vaccine and come visit! As of April 1, quarantine and testing will no longer be mandated. Quarantining for a few days is still recommended, but we are reaching the end of the formal testing, paperwork, and quarantines for domestic travelers! Huzzah!
***UPDATE*** On April 1, 2021 New York will no longer be requiring quarantines for domestic travel. International travelers will still be required to quarantine. All travelers will need to fill out a NYS traveler form upon arrival.
***UPDATE*** On May 17th the MTA Subway System will resume 24/7 service!
***UPDATE*** On May 19th NYC restaurants will resume indoor service at 100% capacity
***UPDATE*** On September 14th Broadway will re-open at 100% capacity
You’ve waited patiently, and New York is still here! Start planning your trips!
As always, don’t forget to Toast The Moon to all of your international travels by visiting our store, and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and the ‘gram to catch all of our latest posts and adventures!