Where to Stay in NYC: The Best Neighborhoods and Hotels for Every Type of Traveler (Video)
“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody,” Jane Jacobs once wrote, referring to the one and only New York City.
The metropolis of over 8.5 million New Yorkers, divided between hundreds of neighborhoods within five boroughs, is incredible in its diversity — each distinct set of city blocks has its own character. Where you stay in New York City can define your entire experience, whether it’s your first time looking up at the blinding lights of Times Square or the tenth time you’ve broken out a well-worn MetroCard for a weekend of exploring the Big Apple.
Here’s where to stay in New York City.
Where to Stay in NYC for Nature Lovers: Central Park
Manhattan may not be the natural beacon travelers accustomed to cruising through National Parks are used to, but if being surrounded by green space relaxes you, pick a hotel bordering this public park, where you can plan a morning hike through the ramble, brunch at Tavern on the Green or the Boathouse and wind down at night with a stroll across the Great Lawn. Staying near Central Park is hardly roughing it, however, five star properties surround the lower edges of this beloved green space, which is highly coveted real estate in Manhattan.
Where to stay near Central Park
The Plaza Hotel
New York City’s most iconic hotel, The Plaza is a landmark, cultural mecca, and wholly gorgeous five-star property just at the foot of Central Park. Book a room overlooking the park or grab a picnic from the basement food hall and head out to the grass.
Fifth Avenue at Central Park (59th Street), New York, NY 10019, (212) 759-3000, theplazany.com
Perhaps New York’s most iconic hotel, The Plaza is a landmark, cultural mecca and wholly gorgeous five star property just at the foot of Central Park. Book a room overlooking the park or grab a picnic from the basement food hall and head out to the grass.
The Pierre, A Taj Hotel
Boasting a prime location between Fifth and Madison Avenues just across from the entrance to Central Park, The Pierre exudes elegance and a comforting sense of calm away from the chaos of Manhattan. In wintertime, a grand Christmas tree adorns the lobby bar, where guests can skip spiked hot chocolate, and in summer, The Rotunda offers a luxe escape from the heat to sip cocktails.
2 East 61st St. (at Fifth Avenue), New York City, NY 10065, (212) 838-8000, thepierreny.com
Known to “Gossip Girl” fans as the gaudy hotel Chuck Bass impulsively purchased, this massive hotel across from Lincoln Center and just blocks from Central Park is not at all fictional, though a Chuck Bass cocktail does still remain on the rooftop bar’s menu. Rooms are petite, but communal space, like the outdoor pool, is expansive.
44 West 63rd St., New York, NY 10023, (212) 265-7400, empirehotelnyc.com
Where to stay for cheap: Times Square
The crossroads of the universe may be the last place local New Yorkers plan to spend their free time (unless they scored tickets to “Hamilton”), but this busy, bright intersection is popular with commuters on weekdays and tourists at pretty much any time. With a subway station that offers easy connections to nearly every train line, Times Square is also a central spot to stay if you’ll be hopping around town and want to save on cab fare — you’ll never be more than a few blocks away from public transit.
Where to stay near Times Square
Moxy Hotel Times Square
Opened in the summer of 2017, Moxy prioritizes combining design with having a good time. A year-round rooftop as well as several in-house restaurants and bars by the Tao Group, offer a place to unwind (or go wild) any time of day or night.
485 7th Ave., New York, NY 10018, (213) 967-6699, moxy-hotels.marriott.com
Kimpton Muse Hotel
One of several Kimpton properties in Manhattan, this Times Square adjacent hotel offers several complimentary amenities that let guests unwind and relax in the heart of the action: A 24-gym, a free happy hour each evening, free bike borrowing and more. Pets are also welcome and don’t incur a fee.
130 West 46th St., New York, NY 10036, (212) 485-2400, themusehotel.com
Room Mate Grace Hotel
This small property in the heart of Times Square has one feature guests may not expect to find inside a Manhattan boutique hotel: A swim-up bar. The pool may be petite, but it’s certainly a perk, as are the sauna, gym and breakfast buffet.
125 West 45th St., New York 10036, (212) 354-2323, room-matehotels.com
Where to stay for couples: North Brooklyn (Greenpoint & Williamsburg)
For a date night like a local, head to the tree-lined streets of Brooklyn, close enough to Manhattan that the skyline is still in sight across the East River, but just far enough away that you can cherish some breathing room. North Brooklyn, particularly Williamsburg and Greenpoint have seen a flux of new hotels in recent years, each with their own distinct Brooklyn identity, and several with killer views and cuisine and cocktails to match.
Where to stay in Brooklyn
Tucked between boutiques and local eateries on Greenpoint’s Franklin Street, this cozy property blends in with the neighborhood, letting guests feel like locals in the apartment-style rooms. On the first floor rests Bar Glory, a Mediterranean inspired Chinese restaurant known for dumplings, noodles and curry to pair with thoughtfully curated cocktails.
214 Franklin St., Brooklyn, NY 11222, (718) 383-3900,franklinguesthouse.com
Now a distinct wedge of the ever-expanding Williamsburg skyline, the recently opened William Vale is as chic inside as the clean white lines on the contemporary exterior would allude. Stylish rooms, some of which are appointed with outdoor balconies for optimal Manhattan skyline viewing, are comfortable and close enough to Westlight, the property’s rooftop bar to make New Yorkers want to staycation here.
111 N. 12th St., Brooklyn, NY 11249, (718) 631-8400, thewilliamvale.com
Where to stay for solo travelers: West Village
No corner of Manhattan is immune to tourists, but if you want to blend in with the locals, head to Greenwich Village, where you’ll find clusters of people all on their own, doing their own thing. Days can be spent traversing the twisting streets of the village, admiring the townhomes, sitting in cafes and Washington Square Park with a book or a notepad or striking up conversation with an eccentric local at one of the neighborhood’s many bars. With people roving through the West Village at every hour, solo travelers will never feel truly alone.
Where to stay in the West Village
The Marlton Hotel
This boutique 107-room property takes inspiration from postwar Paris as well as Greenwich Village in the Beat era. Below the nine floors of guest rooms, Margaux, a petite cocktail bar and restaurant lets visitors escape into a chic bistro reminiscent of another time.
8th Street, New York, NY 10011, (212) 321-0100, marltonhotel.com
Nestled on a quaint block south of Union Square, this boutique hotel is a gem in a part of town relatively sparse with guest accomodations (thanks to impossibly high real estate prices and a large contingent of locals). Art Deco-styled rooms offer more space than one may expect in the neighborhood known for cramming people into small spaces, and beyond the lush parlour to relax in, the streets of the West Village await.
52 West 13th St., New York, NY 10011, (212) 375-1300, walkerhotel.com
Where to Stay With Kids In NYC: Upper West Side
Sprinkled with dozens of playgrounds, schools, toy stores, bookstores, arts and crafts centers and more, the Upper West Side is a popular neighborhood for families to live in and visit. The American Museum of Natural History offers hours of entertainment for little ones, as does Central Park nearby. Restaurants are equipped to seat and feed young kids and plenty of other little ones around the neighborhood are eager to make fast friends.
Where to Stay on the Upper West Side
This historic hotel dating back to 1928 (but recently renovated) is equipped with apartment-style guest rooms and suites, perfect for larger families who don’t want to split up between rooms.
2130 Broadway, New York, NY 10023, (212) 787-1100, beaconhotel.com
The Excelsior Hotel
Tucked between brownstones on a quiet residential street just steps from Central Park, this Upper West Side hotel prides itself on offering homey elegance from the fireplace-appointed lobby to the 80 guest suites.
45 West 81st St., New York, NY 10024, (212) 362-9200,excelsiorhotelny.com