New York Hotel Neighborhoods
Picking the Best New York City Hotel Location
Whether you want a budget hotel in NYC or a deluxe one, this New York hotel neighborhood information helps you make the right choice.
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Neighborhoods usually available include:
1. Midtown East
2. Midtown West
3. Central Park South - Upper Midtown
4. Midtown South
5. Upper East Side
6. Upper West Side
7. Downtown - Wall Street Financial District - Lower Manhattan
Plus JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark airports outside of Manhattan.
1. Midtown East
In Midtown East, you find America’s corporate heart—its Citicorp and other headquarters, as well as Madison Avenue advertising firms. Many of New York's best restaurants, boutique hotels, and upscale hotels such as the Waldorf Astoria are here. You'll also find those job applicants in the Trump Tower—at least when the series is not being filmed elsewhere.
You will not find many less expensive hotels in this neighborhood.
Although Midtown East is considered one of the safer New York hotel neighborhoods, stay on busy streets at night.
2. Midtown West, Times Square, and Theatre District
Priceline usually divides this area into two zones, Midtown West and the Times Square Theatre District. Of all the central areas of New York City, Midtown West and Times Square Theatre District are the easiest places to find a top hotel at a moderate price.
Ah, Times Square—the "south central" portion of Midtown West. See the somewhat weird way that Priceline maps out this zone at
Times Square has been significantly cleaned up, but elements of the old Times Square remain. Some people love this area, but others feel a bit uncomfortable in its kinetic environment. Nevertheless, most like being at a major hub of New York’s subway system.
These hotels are in good locations. The better hotels in Midtown West are also convenient to the places discussed in Central Park South and Midtown East.
In Midtown West and Times Square, less expensive accommodation tends to be toward the southwestnear the Port Authority Bus Terminal and Eight Avenue. Although the young urban professionals moving into this are making it more vibrant, you may not find this to be the comfortable area for walking at night on less busy streets.
3. Central Park South - Upper MidtownFor many travelers, the area just south of Central Park and to its immediate southeast makes an ideal place to stay. Here, you find the legendary Plaza, Parker Meridien, and other deluxe and first-class hotels.
You can walk to Bloomingdales and Fifth Avenue shops, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney, as well as to many of the city’s best restaurants. Being adjacent to a great park adds some serenity to an otherwise very busy city.
Inexpensive and moderate hotels are much fewer here and tend to be located at the far western end of this district. You are still convenient to Lincoln Center, to the park, and to many fine (but less expensive) restaurants of the Upper West Side.
I like the Central Park South - Upper Midtown area. You willl especially like it if you enjoy walking.
4. Midtown South
The majority of Manhattan’s good quality budget and moderate cost hotels concentrate in the southern part of Midtown called Midtown South, especially near Penn Station (another focus of New York’s underground transportation) and in the eastern half of this area. If you fail elsewhere, this is the area to get your lower price on a hotel in NYC.
As with the Times Square and Midtown West neighborhoods, the very cheapest hotels tend to be toward Eighth Avenue to the west. Here especially, stay on busy streets.
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5. Upper East SideOne of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the world, the largely residential Upper East Side offers more tranquility than other areas of Manhattan, but you'll never forget that you are in a great city.
Call Upper East Side art central. Here you find the “the big three"— The Metropolitan, the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Guggenheim (Museum of Modern Art), and the Whitney, as well as other museums.
Walking becomes a joy here, either along Fifth Avenue, into the park (keeping to busy areas), or along the many brownstone-dominated side streets. During tulip season, be sure to walk along Park Avenue.
Naturally, inexpensive accommodation is considerably harder, if not impossible, to find here, even when you use Priceline. In fact, the continued conversion of hotels to condos in this area has made the situation worse.
6. Upper West Side
Young professionals and students love the largely residential Upper West Side neighborhood.
Nevertheless, you'll have Central Park directly to your east and Lincoln Center to your immediate south. Moreover, the main north-south streets are filled with fine small cafes and restaurants appealing to a less affluent crowd, as well as many other places to enjoy an evening.
7. Downtown - SoHo - Financial District
New Yorkers still call this area downtown, but in reality downtown has steadily been moving north to what is now Midtown since New York City last served as capital of the United States in 1790.
Set back by 9/11, the core of the Wall Street area (also called the Financial District or Lower Manhattan) has been becoming more residential, as buildings are converted by Donald Trump and others, which makes its deluxe hotel district safer at night due to more people being on the streets.
On the other hand, less expensive hotels in this district are interspersed away from Wall Street often in the midst of or adjacent to less safe neighborhoods at night.
If you stay in this area, you'll have fun exploring nearby Chinatown, Little Italy, the Staten Island ferry, Ellis Island, Battery Park, harbor cruises, and the incredible views from the shoreline here..
You will also find many of Manhattan’s most trendy music clubs and hip new cafes in TRIBECA and SoHo.
8. LaGuardia, Newark, and JFK airports
First-class hotels at the airports are considerably less expensive than those in Manhattan—sometimes remarkably so.
For the pocket full of money saved, you may decide to spend some time commuting back and forth to Manhattan from an airport hotel.
Although LaGuardia Airport is closer to Midtown Manhattan, JFK Airport is easiest to reach via a convenient AirTrain connection to all its terminals, including the one for hotel transfer vans. Connect from any subway stop in NYC to the JFK AirTrain. (I prefer the express "E" subway line from the AirTrain stop at Jamaica station to Midtown, but you may also use the "A" train from AirTrain's stop at Howard Beach or Long Island Railway service from Jamaica to Penn Station.)
For the best bargains though, try the hotels around Newark Airport.