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New York City Hotel Guide

New York City is the most populous city in the United States. It’s generally regarded as the economic and media capital of the country if not the entire world, home to some of the biggest media brands, the World Trade organization and the United Nations headquarters. Sprawling across five boroughs, the city encompasses a number of diverse neighborhoods that each have their own culture and characteristics. Manhattan and Brooklyn are the two most notable boroughs for visitors, while the other three—Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island—are more residential.

New York City Hotels are aplenty, most of which are found in Manhattan or Brooklyn. With so many affordable New York hotels in Midtown, it’s easy to snag a good deal close to most of the city’s famous tourist spots. From luxury New York hotels to cheaper, midrange options, you won’t have to sacrifice proximity to attractions; an excellent public transportation system keeps everything within easy reach. For a hipper experience, though, you might choose Brooklyn boutique  New York City hotels. 

New York City is characterized by a fast-paced lifestyle and grumpy residents, but it’s a surprisingly friendly place. There are many quiet places to take a load off, whether that be along the East River or in one of the city’s many parks and green spaces. Despite the hustle-and-bustle of the metropolis, upstate New York is primarily agricultural.

Where to Stay in New York City; NYC Hotels & Cheap Hotel Deals

NYC hotels are known as some of the most expensive in the city. Low-end NYC hotels typically average around $100 per night, sometimes a little higher. 5 star hotels in NYC typically start around $460 per night, and sometimes rise into hundreds of dollars more. There’s a great deal of variation on NYC hotels’ cost depending on where you stay—from cheap hotels in NYC to rooms that can cost into the thousands—but since the city is so big and active, you’ll almost certainly be within easy reach of attractions no matter where you stay.

Hotels in midtown NYC are often tourist friendly, with a variety of rates available. This area has the best hotels in NYC for those who don’t want to travel too far to see popular tourist sights. Midrange NYC hotels are known for small rooms by other cities’ standards. The Distrikt Hotel is one of the best NYC hotels and offers spacious rooms that are uncharacteristic of others in the area. When it comes to longer stays, a great choice of hotels in midtown NYC is Candlewood Suites. This hotel offers a small kitchen and free use of laundry machines, and is just a couple blocks away from Times Square.

There are many 5 star hotels in NYC. If you want to stay at luxury hotels in NYC, consider the Plaza overlooking Central Park. This landmark luxury hotel is iconic and home to many famous clientele throughout its history. If you’re looking for posh shopping, consider The Peninsula. It’s among the best hotels in NYC on 5th avenue, putting all the best department stores and shops the city has to offer within easy reach.

For luxury hotels in NYC that are a bit more affordable than the most famous 5 star hotels in NYC, consider something boutique. There are many boutique hotels in NYC that offer fashionable rooms and amazing amenities. The Wythe Hotel along the Williamsburg waterfront is legendary among boutique hotels in NYC; its rooftop bar is a favorite hangout spot for guests and locals alike.

Luxury hotels are great, but not everyone can splurge. If you don’t have the budget to spare, try a bed and breakfast or hostel. These are among the cheap hotels in NYC, perfect for those traveling alone. The Jane Hotel is a highly-rated hostel in a location that other NYC hotels would be jealous of: it’s right in the heart of the hip West Village and ideal for urbane shoppers.

Finally, thanks to excellent mass transportation, you don’t have to stay in the city at all. Consider nearby Secaucus when choosing hotels near New York City. Just minutes away via train or PATH rail, you can reach the heart of the city quickly and affordably from cheaper hotels near New York City.

Things to Do in New York City

New York City has tons of iconic landmarks and historic sites that draw in tourists. Among the most famous is the Empire State Building, once the tallest skyscraper in the city. At 102 storeys tall, it’s still an impressive sight: visitors climb to its observatory at the top every day to take in the spectacular view of the city. The Brooklyn Bridge is another iconic landmark that connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Visitors are invited to walk across the bridge, and the nearby neighborhood of DUMBO offers cute shops, art galleries and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

One can’t visit the city without basking in the bright, commercial glow of Time Square. This bustling pedestrian square has large shops of some of the biggest brands (including Toys R Us) and media companies. It’s just a short walk from Rockefeller Center, another popular shopping spot for tourists. But most importantly, Times Square has an impressive, big-city atmosphere with its huge crowds and bright lights.

Stop by Central Park for some peace and quiet. This urban oasis offers plenty of green space, romantic boating in Central Park Lake and even a zoo.

New York City Tours

One of the best ways to explore the city is to go on a tour. Whether you want to tour a favorite facility or the city itself, here are some great New York City tours to make the most of your stay. Television fans will want to take a tour around NBC studios at 30 Rockefeller Center (perhaps you’ve even seen one in process on 30 Rock). This attraction is close to midtown NYC hotels.

The All Around Bus Tour is a three-day excursion that takes viewers to all of the city’s hottest spots, perfect for those who want to ensure they see everything they need before their trip is over. For something more interactive, the Best of Brooklyn Food and Culture Tour is a unique way to trace the city’s history. Participants will dine at a selection of restaurants in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, celebrating the city’s immigrant history and cultures—all within view of the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge.

Historical Sites, Museums and Landmarks in NYC

Among the oldest cities in the United States, New York City features more than a few historic sites and points of interest. Perhaps the most famous is the Statue of Liberty, a giant colossus just off the shore that greeted immigrants as they arrived into the country. While the statue and Ellis Island are technically in New Jersey waters, one can get to them easily via the city. Another landmark tied to national history is Federal Hall. This courthouse in lower Manhattan is where Washington took his oath of office, changing the course of the nation.

The Cloisters was built in the 1930s, but impressively mimics the architectural styles of the medieval period. In fact, medieval art and architecture is exactly what this museum and park exist to preserve. Stepping into the Cloisters is an enchanting experience; you’ll feel like you left modern New York behind.

Museum Mile is an area bordering Central Park where you’ll find a handful of the city’s best museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim and the Jewish Museum. The American Museum of Natural History is found here, famous for its portrayal in Night at the Museum. It features a stunning array of dioramas and displays, including a gargantuan whale sculpture suspended from the ceiling. One can spend an entire visit just exploring the museums on this street!

When it comes to entertainment and performances, one can’t go wrong with a visit to Lincoln Center. This beautiful venue located close to Central Park is home to the New York City Ballet, New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera. It’s the perfect place to spend an evening enjoying highbrow art and performances.

Arts and Music Festivals in New York City

There’s always something going on in New York City, which plays host to numerous arts and music festivals throughout the year. The Governors Ball is a summer weekend festival favored by locals on Randall’s Island. It features internationally renowned artists across genres, like Danny Brown, Beach House, Phantogram and more. Celebrate Brooklyn is another eclectic festival and takes place in the beautiful Prospect Park, offering various performances over the course of each summer.

One of the city’s biggest arts festivals is the Whitney Biennial, showcasing the biggest names and galleries in the art market. The event is focused on young artists, keeping with the pulse of the American avant-garde. The Armory Show is another famous arts event showcasing contemporary works and significant artifacts of the 20th century. Finally, the TriBeCa Film Festival is one of the largest stops along the film festival circuit.

Most Popular NYC Neighborhoods

One of the most beautiful things about New York City is how each neighborhood has its own distinct character. Different neighborhoods attract different people; Midtown, for example, is a highly commercial district explored by tourists and office workers. The downtown neighborhoods of Greenwich and East Village are Bohemian residences offering trendy cafes and cute boutique shopping. Chelsea is a popular downtown neighborhood for art loves, having the highest concentration of high-end art galleries. Locals love to hop around the neighborhood on Thursday nights to see the latest exhibit openings.

In Brooklyn, Williamsburg is arguably the most famous and trafficked neighborhood. This up-and-coming destination offers music venues, delicious dining and much of the borough’s nightlife. Located along the East River, it’s a great place to bask in the sun and watch the world go by.

Dining in NYC

Chinatown and Little Italy are both strong contenders for dining destinations in NYC, and they’re both relatively close to one another. Deeply tied to the city’s immigrant foundation, they’re obvious choices for finding some of the best food in the city. Notable restaurants include Szechuan Mountain House and Angelo’s of Mulberry Street. If you’re looking for even more excellent ethnic food, take the subway across the river to Flushing—the city’s most diverse neighborhood—where pretty much every regional cuisine is represented.

The Lower East Side is another favorite dining area, offering several restaurants among varying price points and types of cuisine. Stop by the iconic Katz’s Delicatessen or Russ & Daughters Café. There are many drinking spots nearby, too.

Shopping in NYC

As the economic center of the nation, you can bet there’s plenty to shop throughout the city. Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue is synonymous with the American fashion industry, host to the biggest names in fashion and iconic, luxury department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s. Even if you’re not willing to spend the money, taking a stroll down the street to gaze at the famous window displays is a great way to spend an evening—especially during the holidays. This area is close to many NYC hotels, on the eastern edge of midtown.

Soho is another area known for high-end fashion, though it caters toward a younger clientele. Here you’ll find smaller boutiques and newer labels, as well as some of the most popular streetwear brands. If you’re in need of more affordable shopping, head across the river to Atlantic Mall in Brooklyn. While it’s not as famous as the previous two districts, it’s revered by locals for having everything you could want to buy—all on sale.

New York Nightlife

There’s places to hang out, party and drink all over New York, but two of the major nightlife neighborhoods are the Lower East Side in Manhattan and Williamsburg in Brooklyn. LES is saturated with bars and clubs that are open deep into the night, many of which are a little more pricey and sophisticated. That said, there’s plenty of dive bars, too, for a casual time.

Williamsburg is where you’ll want to go for sipping a beer while watching a show. The neighborhood is dotted with music venues and DIY spaces. Music Hall of Williamsburg and Pete’s Candy Store are local favorites, showcasing Brooklyn talent and touring acts. If you have no set plans for the night, just go barhopping throughout this neighborhood and cap it off with a romantic walk beside the river.