Where to Stay in NYC: BEST HOTELS by Area (from a LOCAL)

Where to Stay in NYC: Best Hotels in New York From a Local

One of the hardest things to figure out when planning a vacation is where to stay, especially in NYC! You may already know some of the top attractions in NYC, but with so many different New York neighborhoods and thousands of hotels, choosing the best place to stay in NYC can feel daunting.

That’s why in this New York guide I will be sharing the best areas, neighborhoods, and hotels to help you choose where to stay in NYC!

I will also be covering top attractions around each area and a variety of New York City hotels to choose from in every budget. On top of that, each hotel will be linked so you can see photos of what each property looks like and recent reviews of the hotels.

To help make your decision a little easier, I only picked the best hotels for each NYC neighborhood. No endless lists here!

Best Places to Stay in NYC Empire State Building Skyline

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a commission at no cost to you. Disclosure.

What to Know Before Booking Your Hotel in New York

Before we jump into the best areas, neighborhoods, and hotels to stay at in New York, I want to go over a couple of things you should know beforehand. These tips will prepare you for how soon to book your New York hotels and what fees to look out for.

Also, keep in mind that I have personally been to, worked in, or lived in all the listed areas and neighborhoods below, so I can vouch that they are all great places to stay while in New York. However, depending on what you want to see, some neighborhoods are more suited than others. 

FYI: New York is known to have small hotel rooms, especially when comparing the rooms to the rest of the country.

Dumbo Brooklyn with Brooklyn Bridge and woman in white dress looking at bridge - where to stay in NYC
DUMBO Brooklyn

How Far in Advance to Book Hotels in New York

The first thing to know about finding a hotel in New York is if you are visiting during low or high season. One of the most expensive and popular times to visit NYC is in December.

The closer your travel dates are to Christmas in NYC, the sooner you should book your hotel to guarantee a nice place to stay. If you know you want to travel during Thanksgiving (end of November) or in December, book ASAP

Psst… Here are the best things to do in New York City in December.

January through March is when you will generally get the best prices and see the fewest crowds. It is also when the weather in New York is cold and unpredictable. This doesn’t mean you won’t have fun, though! Here’s your NYC winter packing list.

Spring and Fall in NYC are great times to book your stay for reasonable pricing and great weather. If you plan on spending the Summer in New York City, I would also recommend booking well in advance since this is another very popular time to visit.

We book all of our hotel accommodations on Booking.com. It’s been our go-to for years without any issues! The main reason I love using them is because almost all of their listings offer free cancellation and you don’t have to pay upfront. Because of this, it allows us to secure our favorite hotel while still giving us plenty of time to change our minds and cancel for free!

Additionally, if you sign up for an account, after a certain amount of bookings, you begin getting discounts.

Pulitzer Fountain Christmas Decorations with penguins and iceburgs
Plaza Hotel Christmas Display Fountain

New York Hotel Taxes and Resort Fees

Another thing to keep in mind is that some NYC hotels also charge a resort fee or facility fee on top of the hotel taxes. They are generally unavoidable and charged per night. We also experienced this during our time in Hawaii, so NY is not the only place doing it.

You can generally see what these taxes and fees will be with Booking(dot)com. Look for the taxes and fees under the “Todays Price” on Booking(dot)com under excluded.

Best Places to Stay in Midtown South & NoMad – Best For NYC Sightseeing

I believe Midtown South and NoMad are one of the overall best places to stay in New York City – especially for first-timers. Midtown South borders Times Square so you can be within walking distance of the action, but still avoid the noise and the crowds.

Here are my top picks on where to stay in Midtown South NYC!

The Langham Hotel (Luxury): For a 5-star Luxury experience, check out The Langham Hotel. From stunning decor, large bright rooms, and top-notch service, this property has become one of the best luxurious places to stay in NYC. They also have rooms with some of the best views of NYC. 

MOXY NYC Times Square (Mid-range) – Very unique and colorful NYC hotel with an Insta-worthy Rooftop bar. 

Made Hotel (Mid-range) – Very chic/trendy with a younger crowd. Many consider Made Hotel to be one of the best boutique hotels in New York City.

Hyatt Grand Central (Mid-range) – This hotel has an incredible location next to Grand Central Station and the Summit. It is also a good NYC hotel option for families.

The New Yorker (Budget): Technically, The New Yorker is considered a part of Hell’s Kitchen, but the property is right on the border of Midtown South. The New Yorker is easily one of the most iconic places to stay in New York City. It is also probably one of the top 5 most popular places to stay in NYC for its reasonable price and prime location. 

Located right across the street from Pennsylvania Station (a major subway station), staying here will give you easy subway access to the rest of New York. Additionally, I can personally attest to the Tick Tock diner right below them!

NYC tip: Breakfast food is the best to eat at diners. 

Where to Stay in NYC is at the New Yorker Hotel - Close up of hotel sign
The New Yorker Hotel

Best Things to Do in Midtown South, Manhattan

The Midtown South neighborhood is right next to most of the main NYC attractions! This area also will put you closer to authentic places to eat and give you great access to subway lines in this area, making it very easy to get around! 

Some top attractions in Midtown South and NoMad include Bryant Park, The Empire State Building, Grand Central Terminal, The New York Public Library, Madison Square Park, Summit One (the newest NYC observation deck), the Macy’s Flagship Store (fun fact: I used to work here when I was in college), and Madison Square Garden to name a few. You really can’t go wrong with this area!

Where to Stay in NYC Midtown South Empire State Building

Best Places to Stay in Times Square – New York First-Timers & Theater

Although I usually advise staying away from Times Square because it is very crowded and noisy, this could just be the local New Yorker in me. Many New York first-timers want to stay in Times Square and I guess I can understand the appeal since it is one of the most popular areas to stay in New York. 

New York Marriott Marquis (Luxury Priced): Located in the heart of Times Square. Not a luxury hotel, but still expensive due to its prime location.

Riu Plaza Times Square (Mid-range): A top NYC hotel option for families, couples, or solo travelers in the mid-range budget for Times Square.

Margaritaville Resort Times Square (Mid-range): A new and fun hotel great for an NYC group trip or couples.

Hotel Edison (Budget): One of the most popular hotels to stay at in Times Square and in all of NYC is Hotel Edison. Built in 1931, this classic hotel is also moderately priced for Times Square.

Row NYC at Times Square (Budget): If you really want to stay in Times Square, but your budget is tight, this is a good hotel option.

Where to Stay in NYC Times Square - Times Square at night with Hotel Marriot Marquis
Hotel Marriot Marquis in the top right corner looks right over the heart of Times Square

Best Things to Do in Times Square and Nearby

The best things to do in Times Square include seeing all the billboards, visiting the M&M Store, taking a ride at RiseNY, and enjoying Times Square at night. Another reason to stay in Times Square is to be in the Theater District (Broadway) of NYC. The above hotels are within walking distance of the Theater.

Times Square also has amazing access to all the subway lines, making getting around the city a breeze. Grand Central and Rockefeller Center are an easy train ride away or a brisk walk. 

In the Center of Time Square NYC
Time Square NYC

Where to Stay in Chelsea, New York – Perfect for Returning Visitors

I’ve always loved the Chelsea Neighborhood in NYC. This is actually where I got my first apartment! Still relatively close to most subways, you will enjoy a more authentic and local New York City vibe while still being around a 15-20 minute walk to Times Square.

Dream Downtown (Luxury): Lively young crowd with a fun club/bar rooftop. Would not recommend this NYC hotel for families.

Cambria Hotel New York – Chelsea (Mid-Budget): Prime location in Chelsea for a good price.

Hyatt Place NYC Chelsea (Mid-range): Great location and you can almost never go wrong with Hyatt. This hotel is perfect for any type of traveler/family.

SpringHill Suites by Marriott New York Manhattan Chelsea (Budget): In the same prime Chelsea location as the Cambria Hotel but at a more budget-friendly price point. 

Best Things to do When Staying in Chelsea

Top attractions around the Chelsea area include The Highline, Chelsea Market, Chelsea Art Galleries, The Hudson Yards, Whitney Museum of American Art, Little Island, and the Chelsea Piers. 

If you stay in this area, get bagels from Brooklyn Bagels on 8th Ave, and make sure to try something at the Chelsea Market! If you are looking for a meal more on the affordable side, try Dallas BBQ Chelsea (alright for the price), or 2 Bros Pizza ($1 slices).

Chelsea NYC Where to Stay
Our Chelsea NYC apartment Building across from my College FIT
The Hudson Yards in NYC
The Hudson Yards in NYC

Hotels Near Central Park – Perfect Place to Stay for Museum Lovers

If you love museums, want to be close to Central Park, or plan to visit New York around the holidays, I think this is a great area to be in. We will look at the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side, and a tiny bit of Midtown Manhattan right under Central Park South. 

Generally, you will find more luxury hotels when you get closer to Central Park.

The Plaza (Luxury): Featured in countless movies, The Plaza is easily one of the most famous luxury 5 Star hotels in NYC. If one of these rooms is in your budget, it is highly worth a stay! 

Lotte Palace (Luxury): Another fabulous hotel is the Lotte Palace – especially during the holidays. They put up one of the best Christmas Trees in NYC!

1 Hotel Central Park (Mid-range): Great location near Central Park South and lovely rooms.

Carnegie Hotel (Mid-range/Budget-ish): The lovely NYC hotel offers pretty good prices for the location.

View of Central Park in the Distance from the Summit
View of Central Park in the Distance from the Summit

Best Things to Do When Staying Near Central Park

Central Park is one of the best places to stay in NYC for families, couples, solo, first-timers, really any type of traveler! Don’t laugh, but I also interned at Maxim Magazine’s marketing department in this neighborhood. I got around lol.

Central Park is one of the best attractions New York City has to offer, so you really can’t go wrong staying right next to it! Some of my favorite places in Central Park include Bow Bridge, Empire Rock, Gapstow Bridge, the Ramble, and the Mall.

Staying in this area of NYC will also put you right next to some of the best Museums New York has to offer. This includes The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH).

Shopping down 5th Ave. or even just checking out the stores is another great thing to do in the area, especially if they have the Christmas window displays. Columbus Circle Shopping is also right in this area!

Rockefeller Center is another nearby attraction to Central Park! Visiting the Top of the Rock Observation Deck is an incredible and Instagrammable NYC experience! There are also a ton of restaurants and coffee shops near this area!

Central Park in NYC is a great free things to do
The Plaza Hotel is the building to the right detailed dark grey roof!

Where to Stay in SoHo – For the Chic & Trendy Traveler

I’ve spent a lot of time in Soho, and it is such a great Lower Manhattan neighborhood! I actually used to work for Nespresso inside Bloomingdales, interned at Chantecaille Corporate office, and worked at the Prince Street Nespresso; oh college days!

This is a very fun and lively area with cobblestone streets, great shopping, tons of food, and also very easy access to the subway. So, here are my top recommendations on where to stay in SoHo, NYC!

NoMo Soho (Luxury): This NYC hotel is known for its Instagrammable entrance and 5 star accommodations located between Canal and Spring Street. 

Crosby Street Hotel (Luxury): 5 star hotel in the heart of Soho with a lovely courtyard and fun contemporary design.

The Mercer (Mid-Range/Luxury): Brownstone Boutique hotel with all the charm.

citizenM New York Bowery Hotel (Mid range): Highly rated Soho hotel with a great rooftop deck and nice decor in the heart of Soho.

SoHo 54 (Budget): A great location for a budget price, although many look at this hotel as just a place to sleep.

Best Things to Do in Soho

Soho is a great neighborhood surrounded by other great neighborhoods, including Little Itay, Nolita, the East Village, and Washington Square Park. It is also a rather quick subway ride to the Financial District, Dumbo Brooklyn, and Midtown. 

  • Near the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Explore The Color Factory
  • Get your Selfies at the Museum of Ice Cream
  • Shop down Canal Street
  • Walk down the iconic Spring Street
  • Close to the One World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial and Staten Island Ferry

NYC Insider Fun Fact: SoHo stands for South of Houston Street.

Shop in Soho while in NYC
Cobblestone streets in Soho

Where to Stay in Brooklyn, New York

If you have been to Manhattan a handful of times and thinking of staying outside the city, you may want to consider Brooklyn. Brooklyn is a great place to save a little money on a hotel room, although not all hotels will be less.

Brooklyn is a pretty large borough, so it is important to be strategic when staying here. I think the best area to stay in is DUMBO, Brooklyn. Below is where to stay in Dumbo!

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge (Luxury): Located in DUMBO, see stunning views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Skyline. They also have a rooftop pool!

New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge (Mid-Range): A good location and what you would generally expect from staying at a Marriot hotel. 

Hampton Inn Brooklyn Downtown (Budget): A good budget option to stay in Dumbo (aka) one of the top trendiest neighborhoods!

Things to do in DUMBO, Brooklyn

DUMBO is a very trendy Brooklyn neighborhood with easy access to Manhattan. You will have access to a handful of bars and restaurants, all within walking distance, making DUMBO one of the best places to stay in New York!

NY Insider Fun Fact: DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. 

Some of the best things to do in Dumbo include: 

  • Walking across The Brooklyn Bridge
  • Going to Pebble Beach
  • Hanging Around Brooklyn Bridge Park
  • Walking the Brooklyn Heights Promenade
  • Checking out the Time Out Market New York
New York 4 in 4 Days Itinerary - Brooklyn Bridge

Other NYC Places to Stay

The above hotels and neighborhoods are (in my opinion) the best choices for where to stay in New York. However, with a city so large, you may be wondering about other popular areas like the Financial District or Greenwich Village. 

While I think staying in the Finacial District (Wall Street area) is totally fine, I would suggest against it to stay more towards the middle of the city – especially if you have limited days. This will help reduce commute times since this area is located at the very bottom of Manhattan. I think a neighborhood like SoHo is an ideal option. 

Greenwich Village (West Village) is another nice neighborhood. Washington Square Park is one of my favorite places in Manhattan! However, I still would choose Soho or Chelsea over hotels in Greenwich Village. 

Things New Yorkers Say Differently

Best Budget Places to Stay in NYC 

Let’s face it, New York is a VERY expensive city! So, if you really want to visit but your budget is holding you back, let’s review our overall hotel picks on where to stay in NYC on a budget. Oh, and here is your awesome guide on the Best Free Things to do in NYC!

Pod 51 (Midtown East): This is likely the most popular budget hotel in NYC. For the lowest prices, you may have to share a room or a bathroom (hostel style), but there are still affordable private rooms as well. 

Row NYC at Times Square: Located in Times Square, this is one of the best budget hotels in the area.

The New Yorker (Midtown South): You can’t go wrong with this area since you are right next to Penn Station. Even colleges use some of these rooms for student dorms.

Hotel Edison Times Square: Another iconic hotel in NY. 

Best Mid-Range Hotels in NYC

Here are our overall favorite places to stay in New York within the Mid-range budget. 

MOXY NYC Times SquareA really fun and funky space great for a girl’s trip to NYC.

The Made Hotel (Midtown South): This hotel is becoming one of the most popular boutique hotels in NYC.

Hyatt Grand Central (Midtown South): A prime location close to everything and great for families. 

Best Luxury Places to Stay in New York City

Our top picks for luxury accommodations in New York City include: 

The Plaza Hotel (Central Park): An iconic NY landmark and hotel.

The Langham Hotel (Midtown South): New, Chic, and near all. 

Crosby Street Hotel (SoHo): Unique contemporary design in the heart of Soho

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge (DUMBO): Beautiful decor, rooftop pool, and amazing views of the New York City skyline.

New York City Resources 

Now that you have a better idea of where to stay in NYC, as a local New Yorker, it is only right I provide you with some additional New York Resources! 

If you plan on seeing a lot of paid attractions, consider getting either the City Pass, Sightseeing Pass, or City Go Pass. All are very popular and can help you save money. Choose your pass based on what attractions you want to see. 

Williamsburg, Brooklyn New York City Skyline view
Williamsburg, Brooklyn at Smorgasburg

Where to Stay in NYC Wrap-up

This concludes the best hotels and neighborhoods to stay at in NYC! I know it can be hard to choose the best place, but any of the above NYC hotels are in some of the best neighborhoods and are great choices.

If you still feel a little lost or have any NYC questions, feel free to leave me a comment below, email me, or DM me on social media and I will do my best to help you figure out where to stay! 

Want more NYC Inspo? Check out 100+ New York Quotes and Captions | Best NYC Skyline Views | NY Slang | One Day in NYC

If you found this Best Places to Stay in NYC Guide helpful, I would greatly appreciate you sharing it below! 

Where to stay in NYC - Best hotels and places to stay
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Samantha Oppenheimer

Samantha Oppenheimer (Sam Opp) quit her corporate marketing job in 2018 to travel the world and become a travel writer, blogger and content creator. She loves experiencing authentic travel experiences, photography, and nature. Sam shares helpful travel itineraries, travel tips, budget tips, and travel advice from her personal experiences. You can also find Sam's words featured in large publications including Mirror, Thrillist, and Well + Good.

2 thoughts on “Where to Stay in NYC: BEST HOTELS by Area (from a LOCAL)”

  1. Hi there!
    Thank you so much for so many great blogs!
    They are mad cool! 😉 dead-ass!
    Just a quick question. I am planning for a 4 day trip during Christmas and wanted to know what are your thoughts generally on the Park Lane Hotel and Warwick for Mid-Dec around Christmas eve?
    Also, I know they are hotels of different price ranges but would it be worthwhile to spend on Park view room in Park Lane Hotel?

    • Hi there, sorry for the late reply! Both hotels are in fabulous locations for Christmas time. It really depends on your budget and the type of accommodation you feel comfortable with. If it were me however, I would go with the Warwick which is slightly less and add the additional $$$ for a nice dinner, tour, or attraction pass. NYC is an expensive city =) On the other hand, I totally understand wanting to splurge on a nice view/room. You should be disappointed with either.


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