Where to stay in New York - best neighborhoods

For a vacation, New York City is undoubtedly one of the most diverse and entertaining cities in the world. That realization is equal parts exhilarating and overwhelming. Even native New Yorkers can struggle to give you advice on which neighborhood you should stay in. Considering the city’s depth and diversity, that’s understandable.

To make your life easier, we did the research for you. We’ve sorted out the best places to stay and things to do in the best neighborhoods.

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1. The Financial District

If you want to get to know the hustle and bustle of New York City, look no further than The Financial District. It’s the prototypical hub of Wall Street energy, which makes it a great place to visit and stay.

William Street, Financial District, New York City
Where to stay in New York? For example near the William Street in Financial District, New York City

Staying in The Financial District in Manhattan means you will be a stone’s throw from a number of can’t-miss NYC sites. For starters, the World Trade Center Memorial and Freedom Tower are in this area. These are not only poignant monuments, but they are also architectural marvels in their own right. You can also ride up an interactive elevator which displays the 500-year history of New York City. 

As incredible as the architecture and “indoors” of New York City is, there are some excellent green spaces as well. For something outdoors, taking a walk in Battery Park is a favorite activity for New Yorkers and visitors alike. In this park, you get great views of the Statue of Liberty and the Freedom Tower. From here there are also paths to various memorials and other attractions in the neighborhood.

As you might expect, there are some excellent options for food here. Eataly is a 45,000-square-foot space that combines market-style shopping, counter dining, and traditional restaurants. Also check out Le District, which has quickly become the place to be for Wall Streeters looking to wine and dine. Rub shoulders with them and watch a butcher cut a steak and cook it right in front of you at this gourmet restaurant.

For nightlife in the New York city, how about going to the best bar in the world? That would be The Dead Rabbit, which claimed this distinction at Cocktail’s Spirited Awards in both 2015 and 2016. Not bad! This “Irish bar that redefines hospitality” is inspired by an Irish-American gang (The Dead Rabbits) from the 1850s. As you might imagine, the cocktails from “the best bar in the world” are incredible. But you’ll stay for the one of a kind, old-timey Irish atmosphere that you can’t find without a time machine.

Unsurprisingly, there are some incredible accommodation options where to stay here:

  • “A masterpiece rediscovered”, The Beekman is an architectural masterpiece, hailed for its iconic nine-story atrium and pyramidal skylight. It also offers a world-renowned chef for your dining pleasure.
  • The W New York Downtown is 57 floors of “upscale urban luxury and signature comforts in the city's most rapidly revitalizing area”. Its “Living Room” is beloved by guests for cocktail socializing, as are the 24-hour whatever/whenever concierge service and the signature “W Bed”.
  • The Four Seasons New York Downtown is set on 24 floors within one of the city's tallest residential buildings. It also features a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, and seven treatment rooms, including a couples' suite, an outdoor terrace, and sundeck.

2. SoHo

From the 60’s up until the 90’s SoHo was the place to be for up-and-coming artists and musicians. The neighborhood became something of a trend-setter for the city, leading to increased commercialization, making it the fashionable shopping hub that it is today.

SoHo District in New York
SoHo District in the New York City - fantastic architecture

Being the shopping hub that it is, you would be remiss to not go to some of the iconic stores here. One of the best that exemplifies SoHo’s artistic past and present is The Market NYC. Regarded as one of the most unique shopping experiences in the city, you’ll find everything vintage, from designer clothes and jewelry to art books, lamps, hand-made soap, artifacts, paintings, eyewear, and collectibles. 

Prada Epicenter is another shopping experience that can’t be missed. This retailer from the Italian designer features upscale apparel, handbags, fragrances & more. It also features an exclusive boutique, a public space, a gallery, a performance space, and a laboratory. In short, it redefines shopping as we know it, in a way that only Prada can. 

Art lovers will be just as happy with their stay here. Artists Space is a great place for them to start. Opened in 1972, this location has long served as one of SoHo’s top alternative art galleries. Continually a site of provocative discussion and experimentation, its works have touched on important topics from postmodernism to identity politics to the AIDS crisis. 

Another fascinating art gallery is the New York City Fire Museum. An active firehouse from 1904 to 1959, the gallery here cares for over 10,000 objects as well as an archive of records, memorabilia, and photographs estimated in the tens of thousands, all celebrating the history of the fire service and the New York City Fire Department. 

For dining, check out Alidoro. Humility is not necessarily a virtue in New York City, but this unpretentious deli has made a name for itself on the word of mouth of its delicious food. A staple of the SoHo lunch scene since 1986, they serve up more than 40 varieties of massive, delicious Italian subs. Regulars will recount stories of the deli’s infamously hot-tempered owner who set the mood for this iconic SoHo establishment.

For accommodations in this New York City neighborhood, don’t miss these places: 

  • The Crosby Street Hotel is in a quiet area of SoHo, and is immediately recognizable for its large cat sculpture in front of the hotel. This is a contemporary design hotel featuring a beautiful inner courtyard and an on-site terrace restaurant.
  • The SoHo Grand Hotel has a design that is a throwback to New York and two specific eras of the area's history – the Gilded Age and the offbeat and artistic era of the 1970s. This unique hotel also has two restaurants and a late night club with live music.
  • The Broome Hotel is a “private hideaway, offering you exclusive access to an open-air Moroccan-tiled courtyard”. It’s also renowned for its complimentary farm-to-table breakfast each morning. 

3. Chelsea

Chelsea district - the New York City
Chelsea district in the New York City - so romantic place

As SoHo transitioned from an art Mecca to a commercial-art fusion, it handed the torch to Chelsea, which is now the premier contemporary-art district. Once a nearly desolate area, this neighborhood now boasts a combination of industrial monuments of the past and bright, modern constructions of the present.

Metro Pictures Gallery was founded in 1980 by the founder of the aforementioned Artists Space. This gallery mounts rotating exhibitions of cutting-edge, conceptual art. Since its inception, it has served as the home to countless acclaimed artists working in a variety of media, from photography to charcoal, and is the first stop for many tourists in the city. 

The Gagosian Gallery is actually one of 16 galleries of its kind featured around the world. This location covers a colossal 20,000 square feet. There’s always a popular exhibit on showcase here, including works from the legendary Andy Warhol.

For a more general overview, try the Two Percent Gallery Tour. This is a good way to enjoy a private tour and see several gallery exhibitions. This journey through the city will help you see the city itself as art, from the neighborhood history to the historical and modern architecture.

For dining, Del Posto is the place to be. This massive Italian restaurant has become the go-to place for foodies seeking the best Italian cuisine the city has to offer. As you’re entertained by the dulcet tones of the house pianist, enjoy the acclaimed lamb and veal dishes on the menu and a few glasses of fine wine.

For nightlife, be sure to check out PH-D Rooftop Lounge. This rooftop club offers excellent views not only of Times Square, but beautiful sunsets in the heart of the city. This is a great place to take it easy with some laid back music and a cold drink after a full day of art galleries.

And don't forget to visit the High Line park. It is a beautiful park built on the old rails of the original overhead which led down to the lower Manhattan. The length of the park is 1.45 miles and you walk a few meters above the ground, over the cars and all the people down, on the beautiful and landscaped (grassy) surface. Here there are sometimes to see preserved tracks.

For hotels, here are the best places to stay:

  • The massive Kimpton Hotel Eventi, encompassing an entire block, is a modern skyrise with floor-to-ceiling windows. This boutique hotel features in-room spa services and a full-service spa, as well as an eclectic-chic “living room” lobby, and technology touches everywhere.
  • In the heart of Chelsea, the Maritime Hotel is a nautical-themed hotel with distinctive porthole windows overlooking nearby art galleries. There's an Italian trattoria downstairs with a bar and patio, and on the rooftop is a trendy lounge. 
  • Hotel Americano is an ultra-chic hotel with minimalist decor, featuring an outdoor rooftop pool in the summer which turns into an intimate lounge in the winter. Its modern, zenlike rooms feature handmade denim bathrobes, wooden platform beds, bean bag chairs and city views.

Whether it’s in The Financial District, SoHo, or Chelsea, you’re all set for an exciting stay in New York City. Wherever you decide to stay, make sure to use AllTheRooms or Booking.com for your accommodation needs.


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