As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and the largest city in the US, New York City can appear daunting to a first time visitor planning where to stay. New York City consists of five boroughs, but the vast majority of any traveller’s visit will likely be spent in Manhattan.
Hotel options in Manhattan are practically limitless, but choosing where to stay on a visit can be difficult. There’s a lot packed onto one island, and depending on the reason for your visit, selecting the right area can make all the difference in an enjoyable trip. Here’s our guide on where to stay in New York.
Where to stay for shopping
New York is home for flagship stores of many famous American department store chains (Bloomingdale’s Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s), luxury fashion brands, and boasts world-famous shopping strips such as Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue, and Broadway.
Consider basing yourself somewhere in Midtown to remain in the center of it all at a walkable distance, specifically Herald Square, Grand Central, Gramercy, or Flatiron.
If you’re after boutique stores and high-end local designers, consider staying in Chelsea’s Meatpacking District or Soho/Tribeca. Both offer an excellent selection and shopping experience unique to New York.
For shopping malls, try the Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle for a huge array of luxury brands. And for an impressive selection of food and drink, the shops at Grand Central Terminal are worth a visit. The mall here is best known for its must-see, amazing food court on the lower level.
Where to stay for nightlife
Many tourists, regardless of why they head to New York, instinctively book a hotel in Times Square, thinking they’ll be in the center of the action. When it comes to nightlife however that’s far from accurate. Most nightlife spots in New York are located a distance from the general tourist attractions.
For a younger crowd, head to Murray Hill, the area here along Third Avenue offers a long strip of easily walkable bars and restaurants, perfect for bar-hopping with a crowd on a weekend night.
For a good selection of upscale lounges and clubs, try the Meatpacking District in Chelsea or the Lower East Side.
Tribeca and Soho both offer a great assortment and concentration of bars for a wide range of crowds on weekends. From college students to mid-career professionals, chances are you’ll find the type of bar you’re looking for here.
The East Village and Alphabet City offer a collection of offbeat, lower-key dive bars ideal for bar hopping. They’ve also experienced an uptick in lounges and cocktail bars in recent years, giving the area a fast-growing number of nightlife choices.
Where to stay for sports
The sports scene here is huge. Home to multiple franchises in every major American pro sport, the city also routinely hosts annual tournaments and postseason events that draw in millions per year.
Madison Square Garden is the epicenter for all things basketball, ice hockey, concerts and the occasional boxing event. Consider basing yourself anywhere in Chelsea for a short walk if attending games here, or if visiting for NFL games. Both the Giants and Jets play a few train stops away in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Every August, New York hosts the US Open, America’s piece of the tennis Grand Slam. The tournament is based in Flushing, Queens, a few miles east of Manhattan. Consider a hotel in Long Island City or anywhere in Brooklyn for a shorter commute if you’re attending the tournament for several days.
The New York Islanders and the Brooklyn Nets both play at the newly minted Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The arena also hosts concerts and college basketball. Consider staying in Brooklyn Heights for the nearest concentration of hotels, or anywhere in Lower Manhattan for a short subway ride.