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New York City Neighborhoods Explained

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This post is a guide to Manhattan and Brooklyn neighborhoods of interest to tourists and visitors, including clickable maps and links to individual neighborhood overview pages.

New York City is so much more than a bunch of amazing points of interest spread across 5 boroughs.

What truly makes this city so special is its distinct neighborhoods which themselves make up the integral parts of New York.

However, it can be time-consuming to crisscross the city if you plan your visits out without at first consulting a map of NYC neighborhoods.

We created this guide to help you understand where each neighborhood is in relation to each other, what there is to do in each area, as well as which attractions are located where.

You could also listen to our NYC Travel Tips podcast episode on where to stay in NYC. You can get our podcast wherever you get your podcasts.

Here are some additional posts to help get you started:

  • NYC Ferry Services - There are several ferry lines that you can take to travel between destinations in NYC.  Ferries are both convenient and provide a scenic ride.

You can explore on your own and we've created over 40 self-guided tours as well as several audio tours.

Of course, you can join us for one of our many pay-what-you-wish walking tours for deeper insight into the neighborhoods shared by one of our knowledgeable and personable guides.


In this section, we summarize most of the major neighborhoods in Manhattan north of 14th Street all the way to Harlem.

In each summary, we link to a more in-depth post on things to do in that particular area.

Below is an interactive map of Manhattan above 14th Street.

Click on any neighborhood and an in-depth guide to that particular part of New York will open up.

Midtown Manhattan High Line Union Square

Midtown Manhattan

There is simply no way to do justice to Midtown Manhattan in a small paragraph here.

So, for suggestions on things to do, see our post 50+ Things to Do in Midtown Manhattan.

On this page, you can find several maps, including a map of Midtown attractions, a map of Midtown subway stations, a map of things to do with kids, as well as a map of free wi-fi areas.

Watch a 32-minute abridged version of our live guided tour.

It's in Midtown where you will find some of New York City's most iconic buildings, such as Grand Central Terminal, the Chrysler Building, and the Empire State Building.

It also contains districts such as Times SquareRockefeller Center, and so much more.

We also provide a map of major attractions in Midtown (click the image)

Map of Midtown Manhattan Attractions

In addition to offering free walking tours of Midtown Manhattan, we also offer GPS-guided audio walking tours. Here the sample below.

Map of Hotels in Midtown Manhattan

Midtown Manhattan holds the largest concentration of hotels to choose from in NYC.

Prices tend to be a bit higher here with smaller rooms than what you will find in other parts of the city, but deals are aplenty.

Map of Midtown Manhattan Hotels

Click on the map to be taken to TripAdvisor's top hotels by reviews.

Click here or click the map to be taken to TripAdvisor's top-rated area hotels.

Within the map, you can sort by price, ratings, as well as exact location.

Times Square

Home to the New Year's Eve Ball, Times Square is everything you imagined it to be.

Where is Times Square

There is too much to see just in this district to list in complete detail here, so be sure to read our post on things to do in Times Square.

By day you can do some great souvenir shopping, see the Naked Cowboy and join the queue at the TKTS booth to snag discount Broadway show tickets.

By night, be bedazzled by gigantic LED billboards, and thousands of people. If you come at 11:57, you can experience the Midnight Moment.

We cover Times Square on our free walking tours of Midtown Manhattan, but we also have a GPS-guided audio walking tour.

You might also be interested in discovering the Theater District with a professional actor as your tour guide.

Map of Times Square Hotels

While Midtown Manhattan holds the largest concentration of hotels, it's particularly in the Times Square/Theater District where the largest concentration can be found.

Times Square Hotels on TripAdvisor

Click on the map to be taken to TripAdvisor's top hotels by reviews.

Click here or click the map to be taken to TripAdvisor's top-rated area hotels.

Within the map, you can sort by price, ratings, as well as exact location.

Central Park

With a perimeter of 2.5 miles (4.23 km) long and 1/2 a mile (804 m) wide, Central Park is larger than some of the neighborhoods included in this page!

We also provide a map of major attractions in Central Park (click the image)

Map of Central Park

Be sure to read our Things to Do in Central Park post which includes a self-guided tour, maps, and activities.

Rambling hikes, castles, theaters, sculptures, you name it, there's much to do and see in the great park.

We also have a GPS-enabled audio tour. Here a sample below.


There are many hotels to choose from that border Central Park, both in accommodation types as well as prices.

The closer to Midtown generally the more expensive the hotel.

Map of Central Park Hotels

Click on the map to be taken to TripAdvisor's top hotels by reviews.


You may be surprised that this neighborhood is quite different than how it is portrayed in many films and TV shows.

While it still is home to a thriving African-American cultural scene, there is more than meets the eye.

Some of the top sights in Harlem are certainly the Apollo Theater, the Schomburg Center, and Sylvia's Soul Food Restaurant, but there is much more.

For information on tours, where to eat, see, shop, and stay in Harlem, see our guide to Harlem.

Map of Harlem Attractions and Things to Do

We offer a daily guided tour of Harlem, which usually takes place in the morning.

We also off a GPS-led audio tour. Here a sample below.

The High Line + Chelsea Market

The High Line is a 1.45 miles (2.33 km) long public park built on the rails of an abandoned and elevated train track.

It runs through several neighborhoods, including Greenwich Village, the Meatpacking District, Chelsea, and Midtown Manhattan.

There is much to see and you really should plan what you will do before and after your visit to the High Line.

We also provide a map of attractions to see from the High Line (click image)

Things to See on the High Line

On 8th Avenue and 15th Street, you can find the fabulous Chelsea Market, a one-stop-shopping for food, wine and shopping.

Along the Hudson River at West 15th Street is the one-of-a-kind Little Island, a floating public park that resembles a series of tulip pots rising up from the river.

We have several tours of the area including our High Line, the Meatpacking District, and Chelsea.

Or explore on your own with our GPS-led audio tour. Listen to the sample below.


Map of Hotels Near the High Line

This is another area with high prices for hotels, but there are a few good deals for those on a budget, particularly the Jane Hotel at the southern tip of the High Line.

Map of Hotels Along the High Line

Click on the map to be taken to TripAdvisor's top hotels by reviews.

Click here or click the map to be taken to TripAdvisor's top-rated area hotels.

Within the map, you can sort by price, ratings, as well as exact location.

Flatiron District

Named for the landmarked triangular Flatiron building, this neighborhood has a lovely park, several landmarked and beautiful buildings.

It also has a Shake Shack, considered to be the best burger in town.

Our self-guided tour can help you find your way around.

Gramercy Park and Union Square

Union Square is great for discount shopping and people watching.

The large park is a perfect spot to sit down and eat lunch which you can get at the Whole Foods store nearby.

Gramercy Park is a quiet and exclusive neighborhood speckled with historic pubs, homes of famous people including presidents and authors.

A sleepy gem of a neighborhood worth taking a nice stroll using our self-guided tour.


In this section, we summarize most of the major neighborhoods in Manhattan south of 14th Street all the way to Battery Park.

In each summary, we link to a more in-depth post on things to do in that particular area. Neighborhoods are listed from south moving northward.

You can also click on the interactive map below.

Map of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Neighborhoods
East Village Greenwich Village SoHo Little Italy Chinatown Tribeca Financial District DUMBO Williamsburg Brooklyn Heights

Wall Street and Financial District

The southernmost tip of Manhattan is where NYC (New Amsterdam) originated.

More than just the stock exchange, Wall Street, and the surrounding streets are filled with historic sites in American History and the American Revolution.

We list over 28 things to do in the Financial District, including visiting the 9/11 Memorial and the Freedom Tower to taking the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Find out about Wall Street Tours offered by us and other companies, and use our self-guided tour of Wall Street to explore on your own.


Chinatown is in Lower Manhattan and surrounded by the neighborhoods of SoHo, Little Italy, Tribeca, the Civic Center/City Hall area, and the Lower East Side.

The neighborhood was founded in the 1870s by Chinese immigrants, mostly coming from America’s West Coast where they played a major part in building the Transcontinental Railroad.

Since that time through the present day, immigrants from China, continue to flock to Chinatown.

Manhattan’s Chinatown was once the largest in the western hemisphere, but due to rising rents and limited living space, Chinese immigrants have begun settling in the outer boroughs.

Now there are several Chinatowns including one in Flushing, Queens, and one in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Manhattan's Chinatown is a historic and colorful neighborhood and should be a must-see list of places to visit in New York City.

To explore the area you can join us on one of our free Soho, Little Italy, and Chinatown tour or use our guide for things to do in Chinatown, which contains the history of Chinatown as well as good places to shop and our recommendations of where to eat.

Lower East Side

One of the most historic and hip neighborhoods in NYC. In the late 1800s, it was cramped with immigrants, mostly Eastern-European Jews.

Today it is jam-packed with Millennials and pricey apartments.

Aside from the Tenement Museum and Katz's Deli, signs of the neighborhood's former residents and the foods and culture they brought with them to America are everywhere if you know where to look.

Our Lower East Side Food Tour is rich in history, old-world food and foods of today.

Little Italy

While Little Italy is growing smaller every year, you can find locales that reveal the important place this neighborhood has in creating the Great Melting Pot that America is today.

We have a self-guided tour of things to do and see in Little Italy as well as a guide to the restaurant scene there.

Both our SoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown Tour, and our 6-hour All-in-One Downtown Tour include stops at locations where Italian-American roots are found.

Use our post about Little Italy to find your way around and choose a nice restaurant for a meal.

For the darker side of Little Italy, check out our New York Mafia Self-Guided Tour.


SoHo stands for South of Houston Street and is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

On the weekends the streets can be quite crowded but that lends itself to the exuberant energy of SoHo.

There are dozens of restaurants and bars ranging from relatively affordable meals to the exclusive and quite expensive.

The same is true of shopping. Mid-range shops like Lulu Lemon and Club Monaco run along Broadway from Houston down to Canal Street.

The side streets of SoHo are dominated by designer shops like Burberry and Diane Von Furstenberg.

If you would like to take a guided tour of Soho, join us for our free SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown Tour.

If you prefer to explore on your own, here's our Self-Guided Tour and list of Things to Do in SoHo.

We list hotels, food options, and shopping you can enjoy in the neighborhood.

Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village has so many sights and things to do, you could spend days here.

We decided to put together a self-guided tour as a way of showing you the historical highlights of the neighborhood.

Greenwich Village is known for its wide range of cuisines that reflect the ethnic diversity of NYC.

Some of the neighborhood’s food shops, cafes, and restaurants opened up almost a century ago and are still every bit as popular as they were then.

We have multiple pay-what-you-like tours of Greenwich Village some with just the history (and there is a lot), one with samples of the Village's most popular and inexpensive snacks (with a side order of history), and a nighttime ghost tour.

We don't want you to miss out on the sites that our guides take you to, so if you can't make one of our tours, please enjoy our Greenwich Village Audio Tour or our Greenwich Village Self-Guided Food Tour.

East Village

A funky, fun, hipster-ish neighborhood with more restaurants and bars you could ever visit in a lifetime.

There is also great shopping at vintage clothing stores and unique boutiques.

We list some of the best things to do in the neighborhood in our post Things to See and Do in the East Village.

Try some of the best NYC foods on our East Village Food Tour.


In this section, we summarize the major neighborhoods in Brooklyn of interest to tourists and visitors.

These neighborhoods are mostly in the northwestern part of the borough and most are adjacent to the East River.

As done in the previous sections, we link to a more in-depth post on things to do in that particular area.

Most of these neighborhoods can be visited just after walking the Brooklyn Bridge and several are visited on our daily, pay-what-you-wish Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO Tour.

Be sure to also check out our post on things to do in Brooklyn.

Map of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Neighborhoods
East Village Greenwich Village SoHo Little Italy Chinatown Tribeca Financial District DUMBO Williamsburg Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Heights

This is one of the oldest and most elegant parts of New York City.

Its history dates back to before the Revolutionary War and its stately Federal Style houses are some of the oldest in the city.

Whether you see it with us on our Brooklyn Heights Tour or use our self-guided tour contained within, make sure you visit this neighborhood.

We also have a post on things to do in Brooklyn Heights.

DUMBO (map)

What makes DUMBO so interesting is how its past as a mecca of American manufacturing in the late 1800s-early 1900s has not been erased by the influx of wealth into the area.

DUMBO embraces its past by re-purposing the 100-year-old warehouses into luxury condos, hip restaurants, cutting-edge performance art spaces and tech start-ups like Etsy.

This neighborhood is perfect to check out after a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Its close proximity to the bridge as well as the many sights to see in this waterfront neighborhood makes DUMBO a place to put on your "to-see" list.

Be sure to read our guide to Top Things to Do and See in DUMBO.


It started as a small Dutch town called “boswijck”. It is now the home to artists and hipsters.

It has a thriving Street Art scene which you can check out by taking a tour with us or on your own with our self-guided Bushwick tour.

Click here for a video on the neighborhood.


This neighborhood located along the East River is one of the funniest places to hang out in Brooklyn.

It's known for its "hipster" vibe, but beyond that, it is a great place to get stunning skyline views of Manhattan and eat fantastic food.

See excellent street art, hear cutting-edge live music, and shop at independent boutiques and vintage stores. Also, Williamsburg is open late for dancing and drinking!

Plan your visit to this neighborhood with some help from our post on things to do in Williamsburg.


About The Author


Courtney is a lifelong New Yorker fascinated with the city’s history, culture and cuisine. She loves exploring the world, as well as sharing her travel expertise with others. She joined the Free Tours by Foot team in 2011, first as a guide and then as a writer. She has a law degree, a teaching degree and a worn-out passport. Her motto is “Have backpack, will travel”.
Updated: November 21st, 2022
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