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New York Hotels

For a First Time Visit

Updated: December 2, 2023

This post is about how to choose where to stay in New York City, particularly for first-time visitors and even those coming to the city for a return visit.

With hundreds of NYC hotels to choose from, you may be feeling overwhelmed!


If this comment posted on our NYC Travel Tips Facebook Group sounds like you, then you’ve come to the right place!


How We’ve Organized Our Recommendations 

Our hotel recommendations are broken down by neighborhood.

First, we explain a bit about the area, what makes it special, and who might enjoy staying there.

We list the best sights and attractions in that neighborhood. 

We then break down hotels into price ranges: budget (under $200 per night), mid-range ($200 - $400 per night), and luxury ($400 - $600 per night).

Average NYC Hotel Rate

Note that we do not include NYC occupancy tax of 14.75% or resort fees that may be added to your stay in our price brackets. 

Also note that these prices are generally for standard rooms and not for apartments or suites, which should cost a bit more.

Lastly, we make recommendations for some of the best places to stay in the Big Apple for families, for a quiet stay, for free, for delicious breakfasts, and for amazing rooftops.

TIP: If you are on a tight budget, take a look at our post on 15 Ways to Find Cheap Accommodation in NYC as well as this list of 21 Best Cheap Hotels in New York City.


Why Trust Our Advice?

Why should you rely on our information? Because we speak with tourists every day during our walking tours. 

They tell us what they like and don’t like about their accommodations around the city. Some rave and some rant.

We listen and then share what they tell us with our readers. All were first-time visitors at some point.

We learn even more from the hundreds of detailed comments and recommendations from visitors on our Facebook group which has over 140,000 members and growing every day!

These comments are filled with up-to-date hotel recommendations with detailed information from actual hotel guests.


Places To Stay In New York City By Area

Below are some of the best hotels to stay in New York City selected from popular neighborhoods.

We also include hotels in nearby New Jersey. 

Where to Stay in NYC for First Time

There are many other great hotels in lots of neighborhoods in NYC, but we can't cover them all here.

All of these areas are relatively safe places to stay. We also have a post on how safe New York is for more details.

For more recommendations, join our NYC Travel Tips Facebook Group


Times Square Hotels

If you are looking to be within walking distance to great attractions and you love an electric vibe, then Times Square is where to stay in New York City! 

Times Square at night

You’ll find a wide range of room prices and a variety of hotel styles. Some hotels have a rooftop bar with great views.

While it is true that the neighborhood is not as pretty as others, it is a one-of-a-kind atmosphere! 

And it hits a lot of the buttons for first-time visitors.

And you will be close to top tourist attractions such as Broadway theaters, Restaurant Row, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, and Grand Central Station.


Recommended Hotels

You can also check out our more in-depth post on Times Square hotels where we include over 70 options.

Budget Hotels 

Mid-Range Hotels 

Luxury Hotels

For Families

Attractions within Walking Distance 

For more things to do in the area and restaurant recommendations, read our post on things to do in Times Square


Midtown Manhattan Hotels

Midtown is one of the best areas to stay in New York City, with both posh and pricey hotels and minimalist-style hotels with lower prices.

Midtown Manhattan is a large part of Manhattan and encompasses several neighborhoods like Chelsea, NoMad, Murray Hill, and others.

St. Patrick's Cathedral Midtown Manhattan Tour

Staying in Midtown Manhattan is a good choice if you’d like to be close to major attractions you can reach by foot or by relatively short subway rides. 

There are also several hotels with rooftop bars or rooftop patios.

These sights include landmarked buildings like Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Terminal, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and the Empire State Building.

You'll also be near the Museum of Modern Art, The E Times Square, Fifth Avenue, Restaurant Row, and more.

The vibe is lively with tourists and businesspeople day and night.

But late at night, it is somewhat quieter, depending on what part of Midtown you stay in. 

Midtown Manhattan is also one of the best photography locations in NYC.


Recommended Hotels

You can also view all hotels in Midtown Manhattan and set filters.

Budget Hotels

Mid-range Hotels

Luxury Hotels

For Families

Nearby Attractions 

Read our post on things to do in Midtown Manhattan.


Central Park and Upper West Side Hotels

Staying near Central Park is a great idea if you want to get off the tourist track and see how the natives live. 

Most of the affordable hotels near Central Park are on the Upper West Side which is a lovely and safe part of Manhattan. The area is family-friendly as well. 

Bow Bridge in Central Park

However, most of NYC’s best attractions will not be within walking distance, though some top attractions are located here.

These attractions include the American Museum of Natural History, Lincoln Center, Columbus Circle, Carnegie Hall, and Strawberry Fields.

Many of the hotels closest to Central Park are some of the most expensive hotels in the city.

You will pay more to be near Central Park than if you stayed in other neighborhoods and used the subway to get to the park. 


*Price brackets are higher than for other neighborhoods

Budget Hotels

Mid-Range Hotels  

Luxury Hotels

For Families

Nearby Attractions

Join one of our pay-what-you-like guided Central Park tours.


Upper East Side Hotels

The Upper East Side is not the most budget-friendly neighborhood to stay in. In fact, it’s far from it!

But if you plan to spend most of your time going to many of New York City’s best museums, you will find staying on the Upper East Side very convenient.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

You will be close to Museum Mile (which includes the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and six other museums) as well as the Frick Collection and the Neue Galerie.

Another bonus is that Central Park runs along the western boundary of the Upper East Side so you will be close by to the park. 

Read about things to do on the Upper East Side.


*Price brackets are higher than for other neighborhoods

Budget Hotels

Mid-Range Hotels  

Luxury Hotels

For Families  

Nearby Attractions

Read our post on things to do on the Upper East Side.


Lower Manhattan Hotels

Lower Manhattan is where New York City was born back in 1624!

The area is a combination of historic buildings, old narrow streets, and modern skyscrapers with the graceful 9/11 Memorial in the center of it all.

Trinity Church NYC

Just about every subway line runs through it which means you can get anywhere in the city easily.

Top attractions here include the Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street, the 911 Memorial and Museum, the Staten Island Ferry, as well as the Statue of Liberty ferry.

While the streets are bustling by day, at night it is fairly quiet. You can find some pretty great prices in the area too!


Budget Hotels

Mid-Range Hotels

Luxury Hotels

For Families

Nearby Attractions 

Read our post on things to do in Lower Manhattan or join us for our pay-what-you-wish Lower Manhattan guided walking tour!


SoHo And Lower East Side Hotels

SoHo’s streets and historic cast-iron buildings are charming. The Lower East Side is edgy and eclectic.

Both offer fantastic food, non-stop nightlife, and trendy shopping. They also happen to be rich in history! 

Both neighborhoods are within a quick subway ride to Midtown Manhattan, Times Square, and Lower Manhattan and are within walking distance to Little Italy, Chinatown, the East River, and Greenwich Village.

SoHo, which stands for South of Houston Street, connects to the Manhattan Bridge on its east side and South Greenwich Village and the Hudson River Greenway on its western side.

Note that if you are traveling with children, it can be noisy at night, so you may want to look at some other areas of the city.


Budget Hotels

Mid-Range Hotels

Luxury Hotels

For Families

To find out all the great things to see and do in these neighborhoods, read our posts on SoHo and the Lower East Side

Check out our pay-what-you-like Lower East Side Food Tour and our pay-what-you-like walking tour of SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown Tour.


Greenwich Village and West Village Hotels

These adjacent neighborhoods (sometimes referred to collectively as “the Village”) are both beautiful and lively, making them desirable areas to stay in.

A hub of the area is Washington Square Park with its surrounding streets filled with restaurants and music venues.

The West Village is known for its charming streets, boutiques, and historic buildings. It’s also where the Friends building is!

washington square park

Unfortunately, there aren’t as many hotel options in these neighborhoods as in other parts of NYC and most lean toward the expensive end of the price range.

For a unique stay, look into The Standard, on the border of the West Village and Chelsea. It straddles the High Line and has floor-to-ceiling windows with outstanding views.


Budget Hotels

Mid-Range Hotels

Luxury Hotels

Families

Nearby Attractions


Chelsea and the High Line

Chelsea is a perfect neighborhood if you want to be near Midtown but prefer a less hectic area. 

The High Line park, a must-see attraction in NYC, is located in Chelsea, as is the Whitney Museum of Art.

For foodies, you can drop by the Chelsea Market and for daredevils, you can head over to  Edge Observatory Deck at Hudson Yards.

If you are into modern history, you can stay in the landmarked Hotel Chelsea Hotel whose famed guests over the decades included cultural icons Bob Dylan, beatnik Allen Ginsberg and author Arthur Miller. 

Budget Hotels

Mid-Range Hotels

Luxury Hotels

Families

Nearby Attractions


Downtown Brooklyn Hotels

If you don’t mind taking a quick subway ride to Manhattan to see the sights, consider staying in Brooklyn.

At some Downtown Brooklyn hotels, you will pay less for more space than you would in Manhattan.

This is usually the most important decision for those trying to decide whether to stay in Brooklyn or Manhattan.

The best Brooklyn hotels fall into the mid-range to expensive price category, but there are deals to be found.


Budget Hotels 

Mid-Range Hotels

Luxury Hotels

For Families

Nearby Attractions

Check out our pay-what-you-like Brooklyn tours including our Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights, and DUMBO Guided Walking Tour, or our stand-alone Brooklyn Heights Tour.


Williamsburg Hotels 

Staying in this hipster neighborhood of Brooklyn may cost you more than if you stayed in Manhattan. 

That’s because many of the hotels in Williamsburg are boutique hotels.

Some have rooftop bars with amazing skyline views. The William Vale even has a rooftop pool!

Williamsburg Street Art Mural

If you are looking to stay outside of Manhattan but still enjoy great street art, fantastic food and bars, cutting-edge music, and boutique shops, look into staying in Williamsburg.

Note that there aren’t any Williamsburg hotels that are especially good for families, though some hotels do have pools!

Read about things to do in Williamsburg.


Budget Hotels

Mid-Range Hotels

Luxury Hotels

Nearby Attractions


The Bronx

Visitors to NYC don't immediately think of staying in the Bronx, one of NYC's 5 boroughs. That’s likely due to the fact that some areas of the Bronx are a bit rough.

There are a few well-rated hotels just north of Manhattan and a 20-minute subway ride to Times Square.

If you are on a tight budget, you cannot beat the prices. 

Bronx Zoo

However, you won’t want to spend time in the area around your hotel. Walk to the block or two to the subway and head into Manhattan. 

The Bronx does have some great attractions like Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo, and the New York Botanical Garden.

Note that there are no luxury hotels or hotels we would recommend for families due to the location.

Budget Hotels

Mid-Range Hotels

Nearby Attractions


New Jersey Hotels

If you are a large group, like a family of four or more, or you are coming by car, staying in New Jersey might be right for you.

You will also love the breathtaking views of Manhattan and New York Harbor. 

View of Lower Manhattan from New  Jersey

If your only reason for staying in New Jersey is to cut costs significantly you may be disappointed.

Room prices are lower generally, even for the nicest hotels that are a quick PATH commuter train or Hudson River ferry ride to Manhattan.

But prices are not dramatically lower. 

However, New Jersey occupancy tax is about 50% less than NYC hotels, so you save money right there.

If you are arriving by car, you will still have to pay for parking, but you won't pay as but not as much as you would in Manhattan.

See our post about parking in New Jersey.


Recommended Hotels 


Best Places To Stay In New York City For Families

When deciding where to stay in NYC with kids, there are a few factors to keep in mind.

You will want to stay in a hotel that is close to subway lines so those little legs don't have to put in overtime! 

Children looking at New York City skyline

Next, you will want a hotel that does not attract party people. Also, if you want to save money on food, look for a hotel with a kitchenette.

Lastly, decide if you would rather be in a neighborhood that is family-friendly or busy night and day.

Look for hotels on the Upper West Side, Upper East Side, and Midtown Manhattan. Brooklyn is also one of the best places to stay in New York City when traveling with kids.

Recommended Hotels 

Check out our post on things to do with kids in New York City.


NYC Hotels With Special Features

Choosing a hotel is more than just picking a location. The amenities hotels have to offer are important considerations.

Below are recommended hotels that meet some of the most frequent features people seek when deciding where to stay in New York City.

Where To Stay In NYC For Peace And Quiet

Where To Stay In NYC For Free (And Good!) Breakfasts

Where To Stay In NYC With Amazing Rooftops

Rooftop at Hyatt Centric Hotel

Tips For Choosing A Hotel In NYC

  • Make a list of the NYC attractions you want to visit then plot them on a map. This way you can see what neighborhoods you plan to spend most of your time in and choose a hotel in that area.
  • Pick a hotel near a subway station. Don’t add extra walking time to your day of NYC exploration. If this is your first visit to NYC, you may find our post on navigating the NYC subway helpful.
  • Look out for resort fees. A resort fee is an additional fee per day added on top of your room rate. Resort fees can be high, so before booking, check to see if the hotel charges one. 
  • If you are traveling in a big group (over four people), make sure that the hotel offers rooms that can accommodate your entire group. Otherwise, you may have to book two rooms. In that case, remember to request that the rooms be next to each other, or even adjoining rooms.
  • You can save money on weekend rates if you stay at a hotel that caters to business people. During the week, they charge a premium for people who are in tow for work. On weekends capacity is low and prices may be lower to fill rooms.
  • Look into booking your hotel through a website like Hotels.com. See why we like Hotels.com below.
  • You can also save money on accommodations by using a service like Trusted Housesitters.

Tips From Locals and Travelers

If you're looking for the advice of people who have actually stayed in New York City multiple times, our Facebook Group is full of helpful suggestions.

There are always travelers asking about where they should stay while visiting this city, and you'll definitely find some great recommendations in our New York Travel Tips group!

Here are some of their thoughts on the best spots to visit in each neighborhood of NYC.


Times Square

Several members recommend staying at Riu Plaza if you want to be near Times Square, while others feel M Social has a much better view of the area.

That said, there are also a few comments indicating that this might not be the best place to stay in New York City.

As this user notes, Times Square is very crowded and noisy, and it doesn't really give you an idea of what the rest of the city is actually like.

If you want a more authentic New York experience, consider one of the other neighborhoods instead.


Midtown Manhattan

When it comes to this neighborhood, travelers who use our Facebook Group are far more divided.

While some feel the Edison is the best Midtown Manhattan hotel, others recommend the Hilton.

Although you will find other suggestions from time to time, these two are arguably the most popular among those who use our New York Travel Tips group.

The one thing you won't find much of is anyone trying to convince you not to stay in Midtown, as there are a lot of great options in the area and it's a great neighborhood.


Central Park

When it comes to hotels near Central Park, travelers and locals alike note that the Empire is not a good choice.

However, it seems like a lot of people agree that the Park Central is an excellent option.

Other members of our group recommend the Warwick Hotel, noting that it has a lot of history.

Ultimately, a lot of the popular Midtown Manhattan hotels are close enough that most travelers suggest sticking with some of those options instead.


Upper East Side

There aren't a lot of amazing options in this area, but if you're looking for more of a traditional New York experience, you might want to consider some of these locations.

As Tracey notes, the Pierre is one of the few hotels remaining in NYC that offers elevator operators who provide white glove service.

That said, others recommend the Gardens Sonesta ES Hotel instead, noting it's close to a subway station and great for budget travelers.


Lower Manhattan

Although this neighborhood isn't as well-known for its hotels, those who stay in Lower Manhattan don't often complain about their accommodations.

Alicia notes that the Artezen not only offers excellent service, but the hotel is licated very close to a subway station, making it easy to get around the city.

That said, there aren't really any stand-out hotels that travelers recommend in this part of the city. Whenever anyone asks, the most common recommendation is to consider a Midtown Manhattan hotel instead.


SoHo and Lower East Side

If you're wondering whether or not SoHo is a good place to stay, this is not an uncommon question on our New York Travel Tips group.

As you can see, most locals and travelers alike report that SoHo is not only a safe location, but it's also far less touristy and more quiet than other parts of Manhattan.

When it comes to specific hotels in the area, the main thing travelers note is that a lot of the accommodations listed as being in SoHo are actually just outside of the neighborhood.

Sarita here was responding to a post asking for advice about the Sohotel, and ultimately they note that while it's not technically in SoHo, it's close enough that the location is convenient.


Greenwich Village

If you're looking for a quieter neighborhood that isn't as close to all of the action, this might be one of the better neighborhoods in New York City.

That said, it's not going to be the best choice for everyone. Some visitors might want to be close to popular attractions, and Greenwich Village is traditionally seen as less touristy.

While Katy here was hoping for a spot close to Times Square, Donna notes that the Walker Hotel is actually a bit further than they might realize, but suggests that's actually a good thing.

We agree! Especially for those who have been to New York City before, a quiet stay in the village could be just what you need to recharge.


Chelsea

Like many other neighborhoods that border more popular areas such as Midtown or Times Square, a lot of travelers recommend Chelsea for those who want more of the traditional NYC vibe.

As Deane notes, the Cambria is reasonably priced and within walking distance of several notable midtown attractions.

Even if you're not interested in this specific hotel, many locals recommend staying here to enjoy a less touristy experience in New York City.


Downtown Brooklyn

When it comes to Brooklyn, there's one unlikely hotel that members of our New York Travel Tips group frequently recommend: The Marriott at Brooklyn Bridge.

As you can see, even those who like this location note that it's just your standard hotel, but it's very close to a lot of the best attractions in this neighborhood.

Shawn has a bit more advice, recommending a taxi or uber after a long flight to NYC, if only to give yourself a chance to relax and unwind.


Williamsburg

This isn't necessarily one of the more popular neighborhoods for hotels, but there are a few locations worth considering.

Even so, you won't find many people talking about Williamsburg in our Facebook Group, and when they do, it's usually to note an issue of some kind.

For instance, Olaf here notes that while Hotel 42 is a high quality place to stay, there aren't a lot of breakfast or dinner options.

However, as Kelly recommends, you can always plan on getting a meal wherever you plan to go during the day.

As luck would have it, most of the popular attractions in New York are close to a variety of excellent restaurants, so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding a place to eat.


The Bronx

The truth about the Bronx is that a lot of people insist it's not a great place to stay in NYC, indicating there are better spots where tourists won't stick out like a sore thumb.

Even so, many locals suggest that there's nothing to be worried about in the Bronx, and staying in that area could even be a good way to save money on accommodations.

As you can see from Mike's hotel room, the Opera House looks like a very reasonably priced and well-kept hotel in the neighborhood.


New Jersey

Given the cost of hotels in New York City, a lot of travelers try to save money by staying in New Jersey.

While it is technically possible to get a good enough deal to make it worthwhile to stay in Jersey City, but some locals and travelers don't agree with that assessment.

Christopher recommends that you only consider New Jersey hotels if you're saving an extra $50 a night.

He also notes that the cost of transportation between NJ and NYC can easily eat up a lot of that money you might think you're saving!

However, as Mackenzie says below, the cost for a metro ride is technically only $2.75, so in most cases you shouldn't have to worry about transportation.

For even more tips and advice regarding which hotel to choose, make sure to read our New York Travel Tips group on Facebook.


Benefits of Using Hotels.com

Of all the online hotel booking companies, our pick is Hotels.com to find the best places to stay in NYC. Here’s what we like about them.

  1. Free cancellations! Most rooms allow you to cancel, without any penalty, even up until the day of your arrival. You get a full refund! 
  2. The price you see is the price you pay. Do look to see if local tax is excluded - some cities have high local hotel taxes - so you will want to make sure you see the total price before booking.
  3. Their loyalty program, Genius, is great! After you book a certain number of hotel stays, you get discounts on hotel prices, free breakfasts, and other perks. It is free to create an account.
  4. Hotels.com’s app is awesome. This user-friendly app has your confirmation information, so no need to print anything. Manage your booking through the app. You can even chat with your booked hotel through the app.
  5. They have a price match guarantee. If you do find a cheaper rate, Hotels.com will match it. Though you will need to show proof of the lower price you found elsewhere.
  6. Over 93 Million Reviews! Unbiased reviews help you decide what hotel is good for you.

Related Posts

About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.
Updated: December 2nd, 2023
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