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13 Best Neighborhoods in New York, NY 2021

By: Sammi Mach
June 11, 2021

Curious about moving to New York? The Big Apple is filled with eclectic neighborhoods that each come with their own personality.

Discover the best neighborhoods in New York and learn which one is right for you!

1. Lower East Side

The Lower East Side (LES) is an eclectic NYC neighborhood with a ton of history. It was a hot spot for European immigrants in the late 19th to early 20th centuries so there are lots of historical tenement buildings in the neighborhood. The LES is a vibrant neighborhood with lots of great live music, trendy bars, fantastic nightlife, art galleries, and a Jewish community. Filled with mostly low and mid-rise walk-ups, there are tons of historic builds as far as apartments go. It’s adjacent to Chinatown, Little Italy, and Soho, making it a great location for exploring other neighborhoods with Brooklyn just a few subway stops away.

2. Upper West Side

The Upper West Side is bookended by two gorgeous parks: Central Park on the east side and Riverside on the west side, thus making it one of the greenest parts of Manhattan. There are plenty of quiet streets in the neighborhood, though you still get access to plenty of relaxed restaurants and bars. You’ll find lots of high-rises and townhouses here with better rent prices the further north you go. Brownstones line the streets with plenty of playgrounds and grade schools throughout the neighborhood. The Upper West Side is home to cultural epicenters like the American Museum of Natural History in Central Park, and the Lincoln Center (New York City Ballet, The New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Performing Arts).

3. Upper East Side

The Upper East Side is a bit more affordable in certain areas, especially the further north you go. You can go with an expensive townhouse or find a more reasonably priced apartment. Like the Upper West Side, it is adjacent to Central Park allowing you easy access to some of the park’s best spots. You can easily go on a run, bike, stroll, dog watch, or head down to Museum Mile where you’ll find the Guggenheim, the Jewish Museum, and the Met. As far as nightlife goes, there is no club scene here, but there are lounges, pubs, and bars to chill at, as well as plenty of upscale shopping.

4. East Village

The East Village is a lively place with plenty of things to explore. It’s creative, energetic, and a great place to eat and drink. East Village is home to the famous St. Mark’s Place and where you’ll find tons of fun bars, shops, nightlife, street vendors, and karaoke. Despite its gentrification, this quirky, gritty neighborhood held true to a lot of its original vibes. Home to New York University, you’ll find students and young professionals alike. East Village is a creative, quirky neighborhood that has gotten more expensive like most places in New York, but still retains a lot of its authentic feel.

5. West Village

The West Village is a laid-back neighborhood with plenty of coffee shops. Its picturesque, tree-lined, cobblestone streets give it a European feel that will make you fall in love with it. While it’s a laid-back neighborhood, you’ll still find plenty of fun with restaurants, shopping, jazz clubs, piano bars, and cabernets.

6. Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village is not only famous for being home to the famous “Friend’s'' apartment, but it has a ton of historical and cultural significance for the LGBTQ+ community, including the iconic Stonewall Inn. It’s a lively, centrally-located neighborhood with great people-watching potential at Washington Square Park. There’s always something going on here whether it’s live music, comedy, chess games, or social activism. There are plenty of bars and restaurants in the area, which lends itself to some great nightlife!

7. Manhattanville

Manhattanville is a smaller neighborhood also known as West Harlem. Located in upper Manhattan, you’ll find industrial vibes mixed with residential areas. The Columbia University expansion into Manhattanville has definitely changed the neighborhood and has contributed to much of its gentrification. You’ll have access to two great parks: The West Harlem Piers Park and Riverside Park. You can fish, kayak, or just enjoy being outdoors near the Hudson River.

8. Battery Park City

Battery Park City is home to posh high rises overlooking the Hudson River. It’s a quiet neighborhood that is within walking distance of Wall Street. There are a number of parks, restaurants, grocery stores, cinemas, and cafes here. You get a “small town” vibe while still being adjacent to the hustle and bustle.

9. Washington Heights

Washington Heights is located towards the top of upper Manhattan. It’s also known as 'Little Dominican Republic' due to its large Dominican population. There’s a strong community vibe here. The neighborhood has some really great parks, including 67 acres of walking paths, basketball courts, and playgrounds at Fort Tryon Park, along with beautiful views of the Hudson River.

10. Midtown

Midtown Manhattan is the world’s largest central business district and encompasses many neighborhoods on the east and west sides of Manhattan, providing plenty to do here for locals and tourists alike. This is the spot for you if you’re looking for a newer luxurious high-rise to live in. Many major companies are headquartered here along with the UN Headquarters. The area is a big mix of residential and commercial buildings, though also includes Times Square, the Broadway Theatre District, the Garment District, Koreatown, Hell’s Kitchen, and more. There is no shortage of action in Midtown!

11. Murray Hill

Think recent college grads partying. Murray Hill is a bit more affordable compared to the surrounding neighborhoods in Manhattan. There’s nightlife that has the work hard, play hard mentality. There are more affordable restaurant options here, and the neighborhood is known for its several Indian eateries (even with an area known as Curry Hill or Little India). You’ll find mostly modern high rises here with some brownstones on the quieter streets.

12. Chelsea

Chelsea is an upscale, artsy neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan. Once known as a warehouse district, Chelsea has evolved into a vibrant industrial-style neighborhood. You’ll find tons of art galleries here along with the High Line and the Whitney. Chelsea is popular among the LGBTQ+ community with an abundance of shopping, nightlife, and restaurants.

13. Hudson Yards

Hudson Yards is Manhattan’s newest, swankiest neighborhood located right above Chelsea. This area was pretty desolate until residential and commercial skyscrapers started popping up. In 2019, the first phase of the Hudson Yards project opened up with the Vessel, the Shed (a performance arts center), Snark Park (art exhibition), and plenty of shops and restaurants in a brand new mall. You'll get beautiful views of the Hudson River in this neighborhood and the ability to live in a brand new high-rise, but it will cost you a pretty penny.

Finding Your New York Neighborhood

Each neighborhood in New York comes with it's own character and history. Once you've decided on the best NYC neighborhood for you, figure out how to find an apartment in New York and start comparing average rent prices.

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SAMMI MACH
Sammi is a product designer and contributing author at Apartment List. Sammi previously worked as a designer at JPMorgan Chase and Deloitte Innovation Lab. Read More
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