Can you believe over 1.5 million people live on an island that’s just about 22 square miles? Clearly, something’s going on there. Within those 22 square miles, you have over a dozen wildly unique neighborhoods and enough bars, restaurants, and art galleries to fill the entire country. Writers, artists, poets, and visitors flock to this epicenter because it’s packed with inspiration and history.
Aside from its stunning architecture, New York City boasts unbelievable geographical features. First of all, it’s situated on an island stacked with skyscrapers. One hop and a skip to the east and you’re at the beach. Another hop to the north and you’re cozying up to the mountains. It’s incredible. You can compare New York City to the Mona Lisa, featured prominently in the Louvre. Everyone wants to take a look and you’ll quickly find out why as we explore the best neighborhoods to stay in New York City.
Hell’s Kitchen is where you come when you’re ready to eat. We’re talking empanadas from Argentina, ramen from Japan, street food from Thailand, and bourekas from Israel.
To fuel your soul for the day, stop by Kashkaval Garden on 9th. This is a Mediterranean small plates restaurant nestled between brick walls and smooth candlelight. It’s quiet, but not necessarily a romantic’s haven. It’s more of a calm, cool oasis amidst the West Side hubbub. You’ll want to be adventurous here and select a bottle of wine you’ve never sampled before, order some skewer meats, and savor the Turkish flatbread.
Or, if you’re looking for the best ramen this side of the Pacific, head to Totto Ramen. Bring your patience with you because the lines are inevitable. Their menu is savory and mouthwatering but here’s the kicker. They only accept cash! Don’t make it all the way to the hostess stand only to find out you can’t pay for this delightful treat.
After you’ve sampled world-class cuisine, you’ll want to step up into the High Line - an old rail yard that’s been turned into a botanical oasis - and walk all the way down to Chelsea, whose nefarious delights are listed below.
EVEN Hotel New York Times Square South
Address: 321 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001 (see map)
Price: from 259 USD
Travelers Review: Awesome 9.0 (from 1,193 reviews)
The French Quarters
Address: 346 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036 (see map)
Price: from 194 USD
Travelers Review: Awesome 9.2 (from 1,663 reviews)
Address: 414 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036 (see map)
Price: from 296 USD
Travelers Review: Awesome 9.2 (from 326 reviews)
Tribeca, named for TRIangle BElow CAnal Street, enjoys the reputation as one of the safest corners in New York City. It borders on the Financial District and Soho - two of our stops below. It has some of the lowest crime rates, tons of access to mass transit, waterfront access, and streets lined with lovely loft-style apartments, in case you’re looking to stay a while.
Two of the highlights in this neck of the woods are Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Grill, where you wouldn’t be hard-pressed to stumble upon a celebrity, and Nobu. Nobu is one of Manhattan’s top sushi spots and another celebrity favorite.
But, the best way to cap off your evening is with a stop at The Django Jazz Club, located within the Roxy Hotel. It’s a fantastic way to absorb old school New York City vibes, partake in a little people-watching, and listen to all the right jazz notes float through the charismatic New York City air.
Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown
Address: 27 Barclay Street, New York, NY 10007 (see map)
Price: from 900 USD
Travelers Review: Awesome 9.4 (from 262 reviews)
The Roxy Hotel Tribeca
Address: 2 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013 (see map)
Price: from 359 USD
Travelers Review: Excellent 8.9 (from 1,343 reviews)
The Greenwich Hotel
Address: 377 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013 (see map)
Price: from 795 USD
Travelers Review: Awesome 9.4 (from 122 reviews)
Next to Tribeca, you have the Financial District. You won’t find much of a neighborhood vibe here, the way you might in Tribeca. But it, too, is rather safe and clean. It’s eerily quiet at night - after all the suits have retreated to their favorite wine bars and highrise apartments for the evening - but enormously bustling during daytime trading hours.
What’s great about the Financial District is that it butts up against Battery Park. After you’ve strolled down Wall Street and visited the Federal Reserve, Battery Park offers cool breezes and a refreshing stroll along one of the edges of this enigmatic island.
But here’s the most important element to this edge of the island. It’s where you’ll board a ferry to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, or Staten Island. What self-respecting selfie-taker wouldn’t want the Statue of Liberty in the background of their latest Insta story?
Address: 122 Nassau Street, New York, NY 10038 (see map)
Price: from 359 USD
Travelers Review: Awesome 9.3 (from 2,012 reviews)
The Wagner Hotel
Address: 2 West Street, New York, NY 10004 (see map)
Price: from 359 USD
Travelers Review: Awesome 9.1 (from 182 reviews)
AKA Wall Street
Address: 84 William Street, New York, NY 10038 (see map)
Price: from 395 USD
Travelers Review: Awesome 9.3 (from 759 reviews)
Chelsea is an interesting spot. It’s nestled along the water so you can enjoy something out of the ordinary, like a kayak adventure off Chelsea Piers. When you hop back on land, you simply must explore the Chelsea Market. It’s ripe with stands upon stands of fresh food, from seafood to strawberry tart.
You’ll want to take your sugar high and head for any number of art galleries. Chelsea is the capital of the New York art scene, with over 200 galleries. You’ll find most of them centered between 20th and 28th Street. Some of the most notable names in that strip of land include the Gagosian Gallery on 24th and the Matthew Marks Gallery on 22nd.
While you’re here, you simply must check out Francisco’s. Their lobster is appropriately mouth-watering and the aroma from their savory sangria will lure you in for more. Be careful there, it’s secretly seductive. Expect robust crowds here. So, if that’s not your jam, try Elmo for something on the trendy side, offering a chic cocktail menu and delightful comfort foods.
What’s interesting, though, is that, for a neighborhood with such expensive real estate, Chelsea’s crime rate is slightly higher than other corners of Manhattan. So, just remember to be a savvy city slicker while dabbling in Chelsea’s gritty glamour. If you’re out late at night, skip the affordable subway ride and hop in and out of an Uber for door-to-door service.
Cambria Hotel New York
Address: 123 West 28th Street, New York, NY 10001 (see map)
Price: from 279 USD
Travelers Review: Excellent 8.8 (from 1,706 reviews)
Holiday Inn Express New York City Chelsea
Address: 232 West 29th Street, New York, NY 10001 (see map)
Price: from 220 USD
Travelers Review: Very Good 8.1 (from 2,843 reviews)
Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan Chelsea
Address: 160 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10001 (see map)
Price: from 259 USD
Travelers Review: Very Good 8.1 (from 1,439 reviews)
Ah, yes, Greenwich Village. Entertainment options abound in Greenwich Village, or West Village, or simply “The” Village. In fact, let’s go ahead and call it. This may be the best neighborhood to stay in New York City. Manhattan is easy to master because it follows an intuitive grid pattern. But, The Village steps out of order. It actually takes on the feel of a small European city, intertwined with shops and independently-owned boutiques.
The buildings are shorter, diminishing some of the crowding from the skyscrapers, allowing little twinkles of sunlight to speckle the streets. Given its charm, the likes of Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan, and Jack Kerouac once flocked this corner of the earth. It is, indeed, an artist’s haven.
You simply cannot leave New York without savoring a slice of pizza. And this is where you’ll want to make it happen. Slip into John’s Pizzeria on Bleecker Street while you’re here. Founded in 1929, you’ll have visions of this authentic New York-style pizza dance in your head for the rest of your stay.
Or, if you’re looking for a little romance, reserve a table at One if By Land, Two if By Sea. It’s a stunning, upscale, restaurant located on Barrow Street. Nestled inside a 1767 carriage house, you don’t get any more Prince Charming than this. But, to top it off anyway, it’s also considered one of the most romantic restaurants in a city flooded with charm.
Don’t stop there, though. There are two more must-haves. The first is a gallop through the Greenwich Village Literary Pub Crawl. You and your literary friends will explore literature and history in bars frequented by some of the greatest authors this world has ever known. The second is the Blue Note Jazz club where the likes of Ray Charles and Dizzy Gillespie intoxicated the air with their jazzy fumes.
Address: 147 Mercer Street, New York, NY 10012 (see map)
Price: from 595 USD
Travelers Review: Awesome 9.0 (from 258 reviews)
Address: 44 West 29th Street, New York, NY 10001 (see map)
Price: from 345 USD
Travelers Review: Awesome 9.1 (from 1,257 reviews)
Address: 50 Bowery, New York, NY 10013 (see map)
Price: from 296 USD
Travelers Review: Awesome 9.1 (from 1,754 reviews)
Midtown is kind of what everyone envisions when they think of New York. You’ve got Fifth Avenue, lined with high-end luxury shops, including Tiffany’s and Cartier. You’ve got Madison Avenue with super high-end boutiques and luscious art galleries. You’ve got Rockefeller Center, the amazing Saks Fifth Avenue, the New York Public Library, and all your world-renowned museums, including the Museum of Modern Art.
You won’t even need to cab it if you stay here and explore for a day. You can stroll right into Central Park in the morning and dip into any number of restaurants for lunch and dinner. Come evening light, you can sip on a cocktail from a rooftop bar, including the lovely Library Hotel, listed below, and then slip into a remarkably quiet slumber, given your station in the beating heart of Manhattan.
Address: 299 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017 (see map)
Price: from 278 USD
Travelers Review: Awesome 9.3 (from 470 reviews)
Address: 233 West 49th Street, New York, NY 10019 (see map)
Price: from 360 USD
Travelers Review: Awesome 9.0 (from 1,565 reviews)
Renaissance New York
Address: 218 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001 (see map)
Price: from 287 USD
Travelers Review: Awesome 9.0 (from 1,375 reviews)
If you came to New York ready to burn through your credit card, this is where you want to stay. SoHo features cobblestone streets and cast-iron buildings. These narrow, charismatic streets are lined with some of the finest bars and restaurants. It also features rows and rows of glossy boutiques and brand name shops. You can trust you’ll walk into your favorite lounge every evening loaded with shopping bags and beaming with delight.
Start with Grand Bar & Lounge at the SoHo Grand Hotel. Their martinis stream straight from the hands of the martini gods. Or, if you’re not donning your Gucci loafers and Louis Vuitton handbag that day, slip into a more casual affair at SoHo Park, an outdoor restaurant/garden with beer taps that never seem to sleep.
If you’re looking to rub elbows with a celebrity or two, see if you can get into The Mercer Kitchen one evening. Or, if food is your main purpose, you’ll love Balthazar for a French affair and Dos Caminos for the kind of chips and guac that’ll whisk you away to the shorelines of Mexico.
Crosby Street Hotel
Address: 79 Crosby Street, New York, NY 10012 (see map)
Price: from 855 USD
Travelers Review: Awesome 9.4 (from 186 reviews)
Address: 431 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013 (see map)
Price: from 429 USD
Travelers Review: Awesome 9.2 (from 289 reviews)
Address: 231 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013 (see map)
Price: from 279 USD
Travelers Review: Excellent 8.7 (from 4,060 reviews)
Located in lower Manhattan, Chinatown has been home to Chinese immigrants since the early 1870s. It’s truly a delight to see so many historic buildings trimmed in tiled roofs, harkening back to the country of their ancestors. Dragons all but roar through these streets. Speaking of architectural delights, don’t forget to dip into the enchanting Mahayana Buddhist Temple.
But, of course, we’re here to eat! You know you’re going to need some dim sum, a Chinese staple. Start with Ping’s Seafood on Mott Street. They’re renowned for their dim sum and the pleasant atmosphere will put you - and your belly - right at ease.
Two of the other top-rated restaurants include Oriental Garden on Elizabeth Street for Cantonese-style dishes and Green Bo on Bayard for Shanghai-style cuisine. On a final note, many of these restaurants are cash-only! So, keep a couple of bills in your wallet for this stretch of your New York City vacation.
While you’re here, you’ll start to wonder about the intoxicating scents breaking through the forcefield of noodles and ginger. That’s the beckoning of Little Italy. Feel free to continue your culinary journey to the land of chicken parmigiana, Chianti, espresso, and cannolis.
Address: 125 Canal Street, New York, NY 10002 (see map)
Price: from 475 USD
Travelers Review: Very Good 8.3 (from 1,395 reviews)
Soho Garden Hotel
Address: 276 Canal Street, New York, NY 10013 (see map)
Price: from 516 USD
Travelers Review: Good 7.9 (from 50+ reviews)
Address: 91 East Broadway, New York, NY 10002 (see map)
Price: from 240 USD
Travelers Review: Good 7.4 (from 50+ reviews)
The Upper West Side eventually leads into Hell’s Kitchen. It’s primarily a residential neighborhood, making it a safe space for visitors. On the other edge of its perimeter, the Upper West Side also bleeds into Central Park and the American Museum of Natural History.
But, the character in this neck of the woods is enough to make you put on your flats and simply stroll around one morning. It boasts some of the finest brownstones, showcasing quintessential New York City architecture.
Celebrities from our past and present love to call the Upper West Side home, from Humphrey Bogart to Michael C. Hall. When your feet start to give out, dip into the Shake Shack for a fast but high-quality burger or Carmine’s for some family-style Italian. Another great option is Shun Lee West, offering delightful, upscale Chinese cuisine.
Address: 201 West 79th Street, New York, NY 10024 (see map)
Price: from 220 USD
Travelers Review: Very Good 8.5 (from 2,068 reviews)
Trump International Hotel
Address: One Central Park West, New York, NY 10023 (see map)
Price: from 624 USD
Travelers Review: Excellent 8.8 (from 771 reviews)
Address: 2130 Broadway, New York, NY 10023 (see map)
Price: from 209 USD
Travelers Review: Excellent 8.8 (from 3.085 reviews)
After the energy of Soho sinks deep into your soul, you’ll want more. That’s when it’s time to pencil in the Lower East Side. This neighborhood also lays claim to some of the finest bars and restaurants under the New York City skyline.
With its waves of eccentricity, this neighborhood is quickly gentrifying, bringing in a delightful surge of eclectic souls. If you like to dance until your ankles cry, then this is your spot. The Lower East Side sways to the beat all night long. But, if you like to retreat to a quiet oasis when all is said and done, you might not want to stay the night here. Just come for the party. Then, at the end of the evening - or as the sun starts to rise - hop into a cab and sink into a luxury hotel in the quiet realm of, say, Midtown.
The Lower East Side is home to the Bowery Ballroom, where the most talented musicians in the world flock, Mercury Lounge, and Rockwood Music Hall - all viable options. When you’re done, slip into Rosario’s Pizza on Orchard for a late-night nibble. Conversely, if you find yourself back in this neighborhood on a Sunday morning, check out the Clinton Street Baking company for what will be one of your most memorable brunches.
In the picture above, you’ll notice the Tenement Museum. In the early 20th-century, the Lower East Side was one of the most densely-populated working-class settlements in Manhattan. You’ll learn so much about the rich history of this city throughout your tour there and go home with newfound appreciation for your tiny studio apartment or three bedroom abode.
Orchard Street Hotel
Address: 163 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10003 (see map)
Price: from 224 USD
Travelers Review: Very Good 8.2 (from 1,160 reviews)
Hotel Indigo Lower East Side
Address: 171 Ludlow Street, New York, NY 10002 (see map)
Price: from 337 USD
Travelers Review: Excellent 8.7 (from 1,030 reviews)
Address: 190 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002 (see map)
Price: from 325 USD
Travelers Review: Very Good 8.2 (from 864 reviews)
Inspiration vibrates off the streets
There’s no denying New York City’s infectious delights. It’s why people from all across the globe swarm to this tiny little island, relatively speaking. Something about it magnetized the most engaging people way back in the 18th century and it hasn’t stopped evolving since.
As you dip in and out of art galleries and sway to the beat of the streets, know that every drop of energy will stay with you forever. Inspiration all but vibrates off these streets and it’ll do wonders for your soul.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour through the best neighborhood to stay in New York City. Let’s meet over some dim sum someday! Until we do, I wish you the safest of travels and the happiest of memories.
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