New York is called The City That Never Sleeps for a reason.

Some areas like Times Square are incredibly lively and busy.

But you can also find some peaceful spots, like Central Park.

If you prefer quiet places away from the main hustle, there’s Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.

So what’s the best area if you’re a first-time visitor?

Keep reading to discover where to stay in New York City and places to explore.

We’ll also highlight the best hotels in each area so you can easily plan your itinerary.

1. Central Park

You can easily spend the whole day in Central Park since there are so many things to do.

This popular urban oasis is considered a masterpiece of landscape architecture.

Whether you’re visiting with friends, family, or going on a romantic date, there are plenty of picnic spots.

If you’re more active, there are trails for bike riding, running, or relaxing walks.

Expect to see unique sculptures and fountains dotted throughout Central Park.

During the summer months, Central Park is home to numerous concerts and events.

In winter, the Wollman Rink is very popular.

There’s certainly something interesting for everyone!

Best Hotels

  • The Mark New York [Family-friendly] – This stylish 5-star hotel features a restaurant and the popular Mark Bar lounge. The spacious and elegant Mark Two-Bedroom Suite accommodates up to five people so it’s a great option for families. (Official site)
  • The Pierre, A Taj Hotel [Couples] – Located across Central Park, The Pierre has very luxurious rooms. There’s also a restaurant, The Two E bar, and live jazz music. (Official site)

Find Hotels near Central Park

If you want the best luxury rooms, check Best Central Park Hotels in New York City.

2. Times Square

Without a doubt, Times Square is one of the liveliest places in the world.

It’s sometimes referred to as the Crossroads of the World.

With approximately 330,000 people passing through Times Square daily, it’s definitely one of the most vibrant areas of NYC.

There are billboards and flashing advertisements all over buildings.

Most visitors stay here for the lively nightlife as well as the Broadway shows.

It’s also a location of the iconic New Years’ Eve ball drop.

If you stay in a hotel near Times Square, you’ll easily reach all the must-see attractions.

Best Hotels

  • The Knickerbocker [Family-friendly] – The Knickerbocker has modern rooms suites, ideal for families. The rooftop bar and Charlie Palmer restaurant are also popular. (Official site)
  • The Chatwal [Couples] – This boutique art-deco hotel features themed suites with terraces. Their cocktail bar, fine dining, and spa facilities will add to the intimate stay. (Official site)

Find Hotels near Times Square

If you’re staying for new year’s eve, read our guide on the Best Times Square Hotels in New York City.

3. Hell’s Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen is a district known for its restaurants, theatres, and bars.

Despite its past reputation and name, Hell’s Kitchen is a very safe area.

With Manhatten Cruise Terminal nearby, it’s a good base if you’re planning a cruise holiday.

Or, you can just go on a sightseeing cruise along the Hudson River.

Times Square is also within a walking distance, so you can check out Broadway theatres.

For fresh air, Central Park is close by too.

Best Hotels

Find Hotels in Hell’s Kitchen

You can also read our guide on the Best Hell’s Kitchen Hotels in New York City.

4. Murray Hill

Recognizable by lovely NYC townhouses and casual cafes, Murray Hill is a great place to stay.

It offers a variety of versatile and affordable dining options.

Several blocks are even known as “Curry Hill“ due to the many Indian restaurants.

Besides cheap food, you’ll also be near popular attractions like Morgan Library & Museum and Empire State Building.

It’s a perfect place to explore the city – central and vibrant, but not in the midst of the main city hustle.

Best Hotels

Find Hotels in Murray Hill

For more tips, read Best Murray Hill Hotels in New York City.

5. Chelsea

Chelsea is Manhattan’s famous art district.

It’s full of galleries and performing art venues.

More notably, the district is known for The High Line, a beautiful elevated urban park.

Along the walking trail, there are different garden zones that reflect New York’s natural landscape.

Chelsea Market is another big attraction in the area, settled in the factory complex.

It is home to great eateries and shops.

Chelsea is also a queer area of Manhattan with an array of gay bars and nightclubs.

Best Hotels

Find Hotels in Chelsea

Also, read Best Luxury Chelsea Hotels in New York City.

6. Greenwich Village

Known as the most bohemian neighborhood of NYC, Greenwich Village appeals to creative souls and travelers alike.

If you visit Washington Square Park, you’ll find street musicians, dog owners, and skateboarders.

The park also became associated with activism, so you might come across a protest or demonstration.

Around the park, there are plenty of casual restaurants and cafes to discover.

Greenwich Village is rich with nightlife as well.

All in all, it’s a friendly, down-to-earth neighborhood that you’ll immediately fall in love with.

Best Hotels

  • Gansevoort Meatpacking [Family-friendly] – This luxurious hotel houses an outdoor pool, a restaurant, and a rooftop bar. If you want the best, check out the Poliform Penthouse. It has two floors and a spacious living area with a fireplace. (Official site)
  • The Standard, High Line New York [Couples] – The Standard features modern rooms for two, a rooftop bar, and restaurants with Hudson River views. (Official site)

Find Hotels in Greenwich Village

For recommendations, check out Best Luxury Greenwich Village Hotels in New York City.

7. SoHo

SoHo is a fashionable neighborhood in Lower Manhattan.

If you’re wondering, SoHo is an acronym for South of Houston Street.

With numerous boutiques and designer shops, it’s a top shopping destination in NYC.

The area is lined with great restaurants and fancy hotels.

And, it has an abundance of cultural spots and events as well.

It’s a truly versatile neighborhood with plenty to see and do!

Best Hotels

  • Crosby Street Hotel [Family-friendly] – Crosby Street Hotel has 2-bedroom suites with stylish decor. Once you step inside, there’s a very homely vibe. (Official site
  • SIXTY SoHo [Couples] – (Official site) This stylish hotel features an exclusive rooftop bar, SIXTY SoHo Restaurant, and contemporary rooms for couples.

Find Hotels in SoHo

Also, check our picks for the best luxury hotels in SoHo.

8. Tribeca

Tribeca is a chic neighborhood of cobblestone streets and quaint architecture.

Its warehouse buildings are restored into trendy and often celebrity-owned lofts.

The dining scene is also popular, with famous restaurants like Mark Forgione and Locanda Verde.

If you time it right, check out the famous Tribeca Film Festival.

While this is an expensive neighborhood, it’s definitely worth visiting.

Tribeca is vibrant, but more peaceful compared to the rest of Manhattan.

Best Hotels

  • Roxy Hotel New York [Family-friendly] – the famous Roxy bar with live jazz music and outdoor dining might be a bit fancy. But they do have family rooms and it’ll be a unique experience. (Official site)
  • Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown [Couples] – The iconic Four Seasons in Tribeca features a spa, indoor pool, and elegant rooms with terraces and kitchenettes. A 5-star hotel definitely made for couples. (Official site)

Find Hotels in Tribeca

See other luxury rooms in our guide on the Best Luxury Tribeca Hotels in New York City.

9. Bowery

Bowery is an artistic neighborhood settled next to Little Italy and Chinatown.

Its boulevard is an interesting blend of historic and new.

In this area, there are plenty of galleries and museums to explore.

For instance, The seven-story New Museum displays the work of local artists.

At night, the Bowery Poetry Club is a popular meeting place and performance venue.

You’ll also find urban parks in the area.

Best Hotels

  • Sohotel [Family-friendly] – This historic Bowery hotel features a number of onsite bars and restaurants on street level. Different family rooms are available for up to 5 people. (Official site)
  • The Bowery Hotel [Couples] – The famous Bowery Hotel provides elegant rooms with private terraces ideal for couples. Warm colors and decor add to the charm of this 5-star hotel. (Official site)

Find Hotels in Bowery

Also read, the Best Luxury Bowery Hotels in New York City.

10. Financial District

Financial District is situated on the southern tip of Manhattan.

It’s home to the US tallest building One World Trade Center, rebuilt after 9/11.

While it’s far from the typical tourist attractions, it’s filled with stunning skyscrapers.

Financial District also boasts the best waterfront views.

Hop on a Staten Island Ferry to explore the NYC harbor.

This is where you can capture the perfect photo of Statue of Liberty.

All in all, Financial District is a must-see for all visitors.

Best Hotels

  • Mint House at 70 Pine [Family-friendly] – This Art Deco hotel features a Michelin-starred restaurant and a bowling alley. It offers family-friendly rooms with balconies.  (Official site)
  • Mr C Seaport [Couples] – The European-like hotel with Brooklyn Bridge views offers modern rooms with balconies. (Official site)

Find Hotels in Financial District

If you’re thinking about staying here, read our picks on the Best Financial District Hotels in New York City.

11. Brooklyn

Brooklyn should definitely be on your list when visiting NYC.

Firstly, the Brooklyn Bridge is an iconic part of the NYC skyline so you have to get a photo of this landmark.

The fun rides at Coney Island are also a major highlight of this area.

For a bit more peace, visit Prospect Park where you’ll find Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the zoo.

You can also take a walk along the scenic Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

And last but not least – you can try some of the best NYC pizza in Brooklyn!

Best Hotels

  • The William Vale [Family-friendly] – The family-friendly William Vale has modern rooms with private balconies boasting stunning views. (Official site)
  • The Williamsburg Hotel [Couples] – This 5-star Brooklyn hotel offers romantic rooftop dining and swimming pool. Most rooms have terraces so you can enjoy the views in private too. (Official site)

Find Hotels in Brooklyn

You may also be interested in the Best Williamsburg Hotels in Brooklyn, NYC.

12. Queens

Queens is an incredibly diverse and big neighborhood.

It’s a convenient place to stay because it’s home to John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport.

There are plenty of versatile cuisines to explore, from amazing Greek restaurants to Nepalese and Dominican food.

Queens also has an interesting Socrates Sculpture Park.

Flushing Corona Meadow Park is another green space worth visiting.

And the sandy Rockaway Beach is perfect for surfing, sunbathing, and swimming.

Best Hotels

  • The Rockaway Hotel [Family-friendly] – This boutique-style hotel on a Rockaway beach offers family rooms. More importantly, it’s close to the beach so you can enjoy a fun day with kids. (Official site)
  • Boro Hotel [Couples] – This Long Island City hotel has simple modern rooms with balconies ideal for couples. Book the Studio to get your own private bathtub. (Official site)

Find Hotels in Queens

Also, have a look at our recommendations for Best Queens Hotels in New York City.

13. Bronx

Located across from the Harlem River, the Bronx offers many attractions worth visiting.

It’s home to the famous Yankee Stadium.

For families, you can visit one of the largest zoos in the US, Bronx Zoo.

There’s also a variety of cultural spots, including the Bronx Museum of Arts.

And for beach lovers, there’s Orchard Beach referred to as the New York Riviera.

If you like charming maritime villages, City Island is worth a visit too.

Best Hotels

Find Hotels in Bronx

Also, read Best Bronx Hotels for Cheap in New York City.

New York City Map

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What’s the best place to stay in NYC for families?

The best place to stay in NYC for families is Central Park.

The park offers fun family activities like picnics, cycling, and carriage rides.

Bronx is another neighborhood with a variety of family-friendly attractions.

For instance, the Bronx Zoo.

And there are plenty of beautiful parks and public playgrounds in the area.

What’s the best place to stay in NYC on a budget?

If you’re on a budget, Queens is the best place for affordable accommodation.

There are also plenty of free outdoor activities like parks and Rockaway Beach.

What’s the best place to stay in NYC for nightlife?

Manhattan is known for its vibrant nightlife, especially The East Village and the Lower East Side.

You’ll find plenty of nightclubs and rooftop bars near Times Square.

Greenwich Village is also known for its rich nightlife.

It’s a bohemian neighborhood with versatile dance clubs, pubs, and bars.

What’s the best place to stay in NYC during the Christmas holidays?

During the Christmas holidays, Central Park is the best place to stay in New York City.

The park transforms into a true winter wonderland.

However, most places in NYC will adapt to the holiday season.

For example, neighborhoods like Hell’s Kitchen will keep you close to all the best Christmas Markets.

What’s the best place to stay in NYC on New Year’s Eve?

Times Square is a place to be on New Year’s Eve.

You can book a hotel with a terrace to see the iconic ball drop.

However, if you prefer to stay away from all the crowd but still remain central, we recommend nearby areas.

Murray Hill is one of the options you should check out.

It’s conveniently close to Times Square and has affordable dining options and bars.

Writer and journalist from the Mediterranean seaside with a long travel wishlist. Some places I was lucky to cross off the list are: Iceland, Norway, California, France, Netherlands, Madeira, and most of central Europe.