Choosing the right neighbourhood to stay in Manhattan can be the difference between an authentic trip to NYC and a tourist-trap trip to NYC.
Most tourists visiting NY for the first time will stay in Midtown to be close to where the action is. I understand the logic, trust me. In fact, I even did it myself when I first went to NY. However, there is a saying around town that locals don’t go above 14th street and there’s a reason why – it is home to great neighbourhoods such as Chelsea, the West Village and of course, Greenwich. Whenever I visit NY now I avoid the highly-populated touristy areas and head downtown for a true New York experience. It can be a bit daunting staying away from the main attractions (think Empire State and Central Park), however it should ease your mind to know that NY has such an incredible subway system that makes travelling around the city a smooth and easy process. Lex and I purchase a weekly subway pass that has unlimited journeys and it is a more affordable option to explore the city – we soon discovered taxis were costly once factoring in the traffic.
Have a look below at my fav spots to stay when in the Big Apple!
- West Village/Greenwich – By far my favourite spot in Manhattan. It has a distinctly ‘local’ vibe and is buzzing with trendy shops and delicious restaurants such as ‘The Spotted Pig’. There aren’t many hotels in the area so your best bet is to get an Air BnB and stay in a real New York apartment. The West Village is also home to celebrities – SJP leaves amongst the tree-lined streets, and we even saw Hugh Jackman walk past whilst shopping. Bluestone Lane cafe is also on Greenwich Avenue – a cool, Aussie-run cafe serving good coffee and amazing brunches (smoked salmon and avocado bruschetta!). The best part? It’s only 12 minutes on the subway from Midtown. So you can explore the sites during the day and then come back to the Village for a nice dinner and a drink.
- SoHo – there is a stack of amazing shops in the SoHo district and I feel it really is such a central and easily-accessible part of Manhattan. The SoHo Grand is a grand hotel that everyone should stay in at least once!
- Chelsea – I named my adorable cat after Chelsea. It’s a bustling and vibrant part of the city home to some cool places and things to do such as the Chelsea High Line and the Chelsea Markets. Every foodie should make a stop by at the markets to drool at the elaborate displays and taste-test some goodies. It’s also home to the Chelsea Piers – Lex and I went here for a night of bowling and laughs! You can also play aqua golf and go ice-skating!
- Tribeca – Lex and I stayed in Duane St Hotel and whilst we probably wouldn’t stay in that particular hotel again, I wouldn’t necessarily rule Tribeca out of the question altogether. Home to the locals and celebrities alike, Tribeca is the neighbourhood where you spot glam mothers pushing strollers in their Lorna Jane! Tribeca is almost like the Double Bay of New York. It’s also a great spot to visit attractions like Wall Street, Statue of Liberty and Battery Park. If you’re choosing between West Village and Tribeca I would opt for the Village as there’s a little more going on there, however Tribeca is easier to find hotels.
- Central Park – If I was to stay uptown then staying on Central Park or the Upper West Side would be my preference. It would be great to go for a morning jog around the park. It’s also a tad quieter than staying in Midtown, but still close enough to easily visit attractions (including Museum Mile). I say Upper West as opposed to Upper East and the West is home to young money, whereas the East is old money. With young money comes some more adventurous eateries and a more youthful nightlife vibe.
Heading to NY or have any questions? Let me know in the comments below 🙂