Are you planning a trip to the Big Apple? You’re going to love New York City. If this is your first time visiting New York then you will want to choose a convenient location that is close to all the major NYC sights. Although I have been to NYC a couple of times, I always feel like a first-timer. We have come up with some of the top places where to stay in New York City for first-timers.
Staying in Manhattan is your best option for sightseeing to see all the famous NYC sights. Staying in NYC isn’t cheap but if you are looking for lower room rates then I would recommend visiting from January to March. There are hotels in New York City with rooftop pools that have amazing views of the city. Planning where to stay in New York City can be confusing. This guide should help you decide where to stay in NYC during your visit. I loved experiencing NYC in the winter as it isn’t as busy making it easier to see all the sites.
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Getting Around NYC |Where to Stay in New York City
Although I love having the freedom of driving around in a car, this is the one place I wouldn’t recommend renting a car. The best way to see NYC is on foot. Yes, NYC is big but you can walk to most sights. If walking isn’t your thing then try taking the subway. Although there are multiple subway lines and it can be a little intimidating, it is the most efficient way to get around NYC.
The single-ride fare is $2.75 per person, per ride. If you plan on multiple rides then it may make more sense to buy an unlimited metro card. The Unlimited Metrocard costs $33 and is valid for 7 days. Check the official MTA website for further details.
The alternative to the NYC subway is a hop on hop off bus. It is a great way to see all the iconic landmarks of NYC without navigating the subway system.
Another option is Uber or Lyft. These are both great options especially if you don’t feel comfortable taking the subway in NYC at night. To get up to $50 in ride credit, just download the Lyft app using my referral. (I’ll get credit, too.) Here’s my referral link.
You can get the New York CityPASS to see all the top New York City attractions.
TIP: If you use your cell phone’s GPS before entering the subway station it will tell you what numbered subway line to take making it less confusing.
Top Places to Stay in New York City For First-Timers
Midtown Manhattan is the area between 34th Street and 59th Street. West Side is the area west of Fifth Avenue; East Side is the area east of Fifth Avenue. It is the central portion of the New York City borough of Manhattan.
Staying in Midtown offers all the signature attractions that make it an ideal location for first-timers such as Times Square, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center and the United Nations among them.
SoHo is the prime location if you are looking for shopping. SoHo is known as the trendy neighborhood with designer boutiques along with high-end restaurants and nightlife.
Top Ranked Hotels of Where to Stay in New York City:
- Loews Regency New York Midtown
- 1 Hotel Central Park Midtown
- Westin New York at Times Square
- Le Meridien
- The James, Soho
- The Benjamin Hotel
- Cassa Hotel Times Square
- The Paramount Hotel
Dan Bagby – HoneymoonAlways.com
Address: 540 Park Ave, New York, NY 10065, United States
The Loews Regency is a luxury hotel located in a more residential area of New York City, the Upper East Side right on Park Avenue. The hotel is close to Midtown and many of the main sites like Central Park, 5th Avenue shopping and the Museum Mile. It is about a 20-minute walk to Rockafeller Center and Time Square or a quick subway ride. Making it the best place to stay in New York City.
At the hotel, there are several room categories to choose from, but regardless of where you stay, you can expect soft Frette linens, spacious rooms, a luxurious feel with high tech amenities from the renovations that took place in 2014. Worth a splurge is the Signature Residences. These suites are located on the top floors and each has its own style. We stayed in the Uptown Bohemian Suite which had full views from balconies on both sides of the suite.
If you are looking for that NYC dream vacation sparing no expense, Loews Regency is for you. You can get a haircut and spa treatment alongside the locals at the Julien Farel Hair Care & Day Spa, eat at one of the many nearby restaurants like the Michelin rated Daniel, and explore the city with ease.
Marlynn Jayme Schotland, Urban Bliss Life
Address: 1414 6th Ave, New York, NY 10019, United States
If you’re looking where to stay in New York City and looking for a luxury New York City hotel in a central location, consider a stay at 1 Hotel Central Park. Inspired by nature with a focus on sustainability, this upscale hotel offers luxurious amenities just steps from Central Park.
The interior of 1 Hotel Central Park is a beautiful study in luxury meets rustic comfort. With reclaimed wood elements, stone, and live plants throughout, each space in the building reminds you of the hotel’s commitment to sustainability. Each room is spacious, by New York City hotel standards, and includes HEPA-air filters, filtered water taps, and glasses made from recycled bottles. There’s even a 5-minute timer in each room’s shower to help each guest conserve water.
In addition to sustainability, 1 Hotel Central Park is an excellent choice for guests who prioritize health and wellness during their travels. Yoga mats are available in each guest room. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are available in the lobby’s farmstand. The Field House fitness center is open 24/7, and guests can request personal training sessions during their stay.
The best part about 1 Hotel Central Park is its Midtown Manhattan location. You can wake up and walk a few steps to Central Park. The staff of the hotel’s first-floor restaurant, Jams, would be happy to pack you a picnic to enjoy in the park. Luxury shopping is a short walk away, at the Plaza, Bergdorf Goodman, and other big international retailers. Carnegie Hall and Times Square are also within walking distance. If the weather is dreary, a house car can take you anywhere you need to go for free within 15 blocks of the hotel.
Sheila at DICAS de PARIS
Address: 270 W 43rd St, New York, NY 10036, United States
When I went to New York to run the NYC Half-marathon, I chose my hotel carefully. I stayed in The Westin New York at Times Square, which is a 5-star hotel, situated in 42nd Street, in the heart of Manhattan. It was 300 meters from Times Square. Although very central and close to the buzz, the Hotel is far enough from the crowds of Times Square.
What I liked most about this hotel was how close it is from the main attractions. It is a walking distance to many places you may have in your itinerary. The rooms are spacious, and the double rooms are equipped with two queen-size beds. Very comfortable beds, which came very handy to me as I need to rest very well before and after my half-marathon.
My room had an astonishing view of the Hudson River. It was nice to wake up with this view during the week I’ve spent in New York. Also, I could arrive late at night and feel safe as the area is constantly busy and patrolled.
The 42nd Street-Port Authority subway station is located just outside the hotel. This makes it even easier to move around the city. The location of this hotel was fantastic. If you want to be in the middle of NYC within walking distance of Times Square and the theatre district, many restaurants, and cafes, I would highly recommend staying here.
You can walk to Bryant Park which is 600 meters from the hotel, have breakfast at Le Pain Quotidian, sitting in the communal table with local New Yorkers while they grab a coffee on their way to work. From there, walk to 5th Avenue to continue your itinerary for the day.
Maybe visit the Museum of Modern Art, the famous MOMA, or the less hyped but awesome Neue Galerie which is a museum devoted to early twentieth-century German and Austrian art and design. The collection has some masterpieces as the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Gustav Klimt.
After a busy day filled with art and New York City energy, you can go back to The Westin and prepare for your night. As you know, you are in the city that never sleeps!
J.Q. Louise at JQLouise
The Le Méridien Central Park is conveniently located in Midtown Manhattan and has some amazing views of both Central Park and the skyline surrounding the park. This centrally located hotel is a perfect choice for nearly any trip to Manhattan. Whether you are heading into town for business or for pleasure, the Le Meridien offers a luxurious experience you can count on. As a member of the Marriott family of brands, anyone looking to rack up their Bonvoy points should consider this property.
Not only are there immaculate views of the park, but the hotel is also just minutes away from some of the biggest sights in New York City. Carnegie Hall, Rockefeller Center, and MoMA are just a few of the iconic spots you can stroll to during your stay. And after a day of exploring, coming back to the marble bathrooms, luxe bedding and chic furnishings will be just the respite you’ll desire.
The property also has some amazing dining options right on-site that you’ll want to check out as well. Their lobby-level restaurant, Kingside, serves up an eclectic mix of cuisines. With both sushi and new American classics on the menu, you should be able to find something to please everyone in your group. And The Roof, their rooftop bar is a great spot for a quick cocktail before heading out for the night!
Katie & Bethany of Contemporary Class
Address: SoHo, 27 Grand St, New York, NY 10013, United States
You’re cool, fashionable and creative. So why wouldn’t you want to stay in Manhattan’s trendiest district, SoHo? The James, SoHo is right in the heart of it. Located among the trendy SoHo back streets you’ll find high-end boutiques, contemporary independent stores, some of the city’s best cafes and restaurants, and SoHo’s distinctive street art – all right on your doorstep.
The James, SoHo offers big hotel service with a boutique hotel style. It has a modern and minimalist design, with floor to ceiling windows and bright airy rooms. It’s also one of the few Manhattan hotels with a rooftop pool; soak up the sun by day and join the in-crowd at Jimmy’s rooftop bar by night. Get there before sunset to catch epic views across NYC’s iconic skyline.
Manhattan is best explored on foot. Walk the High Line along the Hudson River to Chelsea Market, or head south and get lost in the streets of Little Italy and China Town. A visit to the striking 9/11 memorial is a must, as is the nearby Oculus; an architectural marvel. Brooklyn Bridge is within easy reach. Cross over and you’ll soon find yourself at the metropolitan waterfront of Dumbo.
Don’t forget to stop for food along the way. Our recommendations are brunch at hipster Aussie café Two Hands, lunch at Katz Deli, an NYC classic famous for its pastrami sandwich and relaxed dinner at Jack’s Wife Frieda. Got a sweet tooth? Find Dominique Ansel Bakery, the home of the cronut (get there early to avoid the queues) or Taiyaki NYC for matcha ice cream in a fish-shaped waffle cone. SoHo is a foodie’s dream. We could go on…
New York City is renowned for great workouts and if you’re not worn out from all that walking and not too full from delicious cuisine, SoHo does not disappoint. The area is packed with class concept studios; our tips would be Barry’s Tribeca, Switch Playground, SoHo and Rumble Boxing, NoHo. Stay here for its relaxed vibe, accessible location and 360 degree NYC skyline views.
Address: 125 E 50th St, New York, NY 10022, United States
If you’re visiting New York City and want to stay in the middle of the action, The Benjamin Hotel is an excellent choice. The Benjamin is a 4 to 4 ½ star luxury hotel situated in Midtown East Manhattan.
The hotel is an excellent choice for its luxury. Beautifully designed from the lobby to the rooms, the Benjamin can provide just the experience that you’re looking for in a Manhattan stay.
The Benjamin hotel is also ideally located within easy walking distance of many places that you’ll want to visit such as Time’s Square, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Terminal, 5th Avenue and even Central Park.
The room options are great, beginning with your fairly standard suites. The deluxe studio suites include a kitchenette; the one-bedroom suites include a separate bedroom and living room area along with a kitchenette. Then you have the exquisite balcony and terrace suites which provide fabulous street views of the city.
The beds and pillows in all of the rooms are truly one of a kind and will guarantee you a blissful night’s sleep. Just what you need after spending the day (and possibly nights) exploring the city that never sleeps.
All of this is great, but what truly puts the experience over the top is the superb service that you’ll receive. From the moment that you arrive, you’ll receive excellent customer service and truly be treated as a guest.
Even though this is a luxury property, be sure to always check their website before booking because they often have special deals available. There’s also a calendar on their website so that you can check the prices by date. Luxury in the middle of Manhattan just may be more achievable than you could ever imagine.
Address: 515 9th Ave, New York, NY 10018, United States
The strong point of the four-star Cassa Hotel, Times Square is definitely its location. Located in Midtown, more precisely in Hell’s kitchen, it is fantastically well connected to the main tourist attractions and served by excellent transport links.
From JFK Airport with only one change on Public transport, you will get to Penn Station which is less than a ten-minute walk from the hotel.
Upon entering you are immediately greeted by a modern and bright environment. The lounge area on the ground floor has recently been expanded and is where a simple self-serve continental breakfast is served with drinks and some snacks. The rooms, also modern, have minimal furnishings but the price/quality ratio for New York is excellent.
The other high point of the Cassa Hotel Times Square is obviously the rooftop, equipped with tables and seats for adults, but also with a small garden where children can stretch out, and an open jacuzzi, which, in summer evenings, is a beautiful way to conclude your evening in relaxation.
The Hotel location and easy connections make it a perfect place during a trip to New York. There are several various tourist attractions within walking distance such as:
- The High Line: the public park situated on the elevated tracks of a disused railway;
- Intrepid, sea, air, and space museum complex: where young and old will be captured by life on an aircraft carrier
- Macy’s… because a visit to the Temple of retail cannot be missed
- Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, and Grand Central station to mention some classic!
For everybody who likes to explore the city on foot, I would happily recommend the Cassa Hotel Times Square.
Rachael of a City Girl Outside
Address: 235 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036
The Paramount Hotel is a 4-star hotel in New York City’s Midtown. I booked this hotel for my very first visit to New York City for several reasons. It’s within walking distance to the famous Times Square, Broadway, and many other attractions. Not only that, but it’s also close to major subway lines, making getting around the city far easier.
This is a mid-range hotel and ticked all my boxes, it had the location and was within my budget range. The main thing that attracted me to the Paramount Hotel was its location. Most hotels in and around Times Square are naturally higher in price than if you stay further out. The staff at the hotel, especially the doormen were very friendly and welcoming.
The rooms were small but big enough for 2 people for a short trip. Although a little outdated the room was clean and the bed was comfy, while housekeeping was consistent every morning. The hotel has had some updates since my stay. The hotel has a restaurant on-site and offers luggage storage for a fee.
There are an abundance of restaurants, coffee shops, and gift shops close to the Paramount hotel. You’ll find everything from take-out, pizza places, and jazz bars.
The Paramount Hotel is one of the most affordable hotels in New York for its location, and although the room was rather basic for the price I would recommend it!
Jill of Jetset Journeys
Address: 180 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002, United States
Base yourself in Manhattan’s Lower East Side if you’re a foodie, love bar-hopping or clubbing – the area is packed with the hottest places to eat, drink and be merry into the wee hours.
The area might be full of hot new places, but Katz’s Deli, opposite the hotel, has been serving corned-beef sandwiches and pickles here since 1888. It’s most famous as the setting for Meg Ryan’s fake orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally.
See what the Lower East Side was like before its recent gentrification at the Tenement Museum.
Stock up on New York and international specialty foods, and grab lunch in the food hall upstairs, at local landmark Essex Market.
Right in the middle of it all is The Ludlow, a boutique hotel with an industrial aesthetic. Its 175 rooms feature casement windows, typical of the former factories the hotel looks out on, most of which have now been turned into apartments, bars, restaurants or art galleries. Black and white tiles, walls and furnishings give an Art Deco feel.
Downstairs, the hotel’s Dirty French restaurant draws the in-crowd for dinner, and in the morning, you’ll be sharing croissants, bagels, and bowls of granola with the cool crowd in the sunny secret courtyard and conservatory. The smallest rooms are quite cozy indeed, so ask for a room on a higher floor as the sun pours in through the floor-to-ceiling windows, making everything feel bright and airy.
If you’re planning a trip to New York, find out how to beat jet lag so you can hit the ground running.
Conclusion | Where to Stay in New York City
New York City is on the top of many people’s bucket lists and for good reason. There are so many great NYC neighborhoods and places to stay depending on what your interests are.
Where did you stay on your NYC trip?
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