Where to Stay in New York for First Time Visits

where to stay in new york first time

Are you trying to hunt for where to stay in New York for first time visitors?

Ah, the Big Apple – where the bright lights of Broadway beckon, the green spaces of Central Park offer a respite from the hustle and bustle, and the iconic skyline never fails to inspire.

If it’s your first visit to New York City, you’re undoubtedly overwhelmed with the number of hotel options available. But not to worry, first-time visitors! You’ve come to the right place. This is your complete guide to the best places to stay in New York City.

In the heart of the city lies an area that many consider ideal for soaking up the authentic New York vibe. A central location ensures you’re never too far from the city’s major attractions. And talking about moving around the city, being near a subway station is a great idea. The extensive subway lines provide easy access to every nook and cranny, making it the best way for first-timers to explore the city.

For those whose taste leans towards opulence, the city houses some of the world’s best hotels. Imagine floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic city views, sipping a drink at a swanky rooftop bar, and perhaps even sweating it out in a cutting-edge fitness center. Such luxury hotels promise to cater to both business travelers and holidaymakers, offering experiences that are nothing short of extravagant.

where to stay in new york first time

But luxury doesn’t always need to come with a hefty price tag. Budget hotels in the city are a great option for those looking to experience New York without emptying their pockets. These accommodations might not always feature amenities like a rooftop bar or expansive city views, but many are strategically located, ensuring easy access to public transport and the city’s main attractions.

Diversifying your stay experience, some neighborhoods offer a perfect blend of city life and quaint charm. Boutique hotels nestled in these areas are often surrounded by local coffee shops, music venues, and serene public parks. Staying here means you are within walking distance of some of the city’s best things, yet you get to retreat to the calmness of a more residential feel.

For those who wish to be at the epicenter of city’s pulsating energy, there’s an area known for its vibrancy and iconic experiences. Stay here, and you’ll be in the perfect place to indulge in some of the city’s most renowned experiences. Many hotels in this vicinity are equipped with contemporary amenities, ensuring a comfortable stay amidst the city’s ceaseless action.

Nature enthusiasts who yearn for a slice of green amidst the urban expanse should consider areas close to green spaces. These aren’t just patches of grass; they’re sanctuaries where one can indulge in a variety of activities or simply find solace amidst nature. Accommodations near such spots are usually well-connected via various subway lines, making it a breeze to venture out.

Whether you’re seeking luxury, searching for a boutique experience in a cozy corner of the city, or desire proximity to the city’s major tourist attractions, New York City caters to every first-time visitor’s preference. So, gear up for an unforgettable journey in the heart of one of the world’s most iconic cities. Let’s dig in!

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What is the best location to stay in New York for first time visitors?

With an impressive population of approximately 8.5 million residents, New York reigns supreme as the most populous city in the United States.

The grandeur of Manhattan’s skyline, accentuated by soaring skyscrapers, speaks volumes about the city’s unique design. Beyond being architectural wonders, these buildings signify New York’s ability to harmoniously accommodate both its vast resident population and the annual influx of over 50 million tourists.

For those accustomed to the charm of smaller European towns, New York’s vastness might initially come across as intense. However, the unparalleled vibrancy and rhythm of the city quickly turn that initial overwhelm into exhilaration.

At the heart of this sprawling urban maze are New York’s five distinctive boroughs:

– Manhattan
– Brooklyn
– Bronx
– Queens
– Staten Island

Of these, Manhattan stands out, especially for first-timers. Considered by many as the best area to experience New York in its essence, Manhattan is home to iconic landmarks and a rich tapestry of neighborhoods. From the bustling streets of Midtown Manhattan to the upscale vibes of the Upper East Side and the artistic spirit of the Upper West Side, this borough encapsulates the city’s soul.

Manhattan’s neighborhoods are diverse in their offerings. From high-end boutiques to quaint cafes and historic sites, every corner tells a different story. Moreover, for those who prioritize convenience, the best neighborhoods in Manhattan offer not only cultural immersion but also the added benefit of being in a convenient location.

For travelers, especially first-timers, these neighborhoods provide the perfect blend of residential calm and urban excitement. Whether you’re wandering through a peaceful residential neighborhood with tree-lined streets or exploring a more densely packed residential area buzzing with activity, Manhattan offers a dynamic range of experiences. It’s an ideal base, not only because of its attractions but also for its central position, enabling easy access to the other boroughs and the myriad of experiences they offer.

While New York City as a whole offers a rich palette of experiences, Manhattan stands as the jewel in its crown. Its blend of iconic sites, residential neighborhoods, and the sheer energy of its streets make it the top choice for those eager to get a true taste of the Big Apple.

Here is a breakdown of some popular locations to consider:


This central part of Manhattan is perfect for newcomers to New York. Its strategic location offers proximity to a number of iconic landmarks, including Times Square, the Empire State Building, and Broadway theaters. Packed with restaurants, entertainment options, and easily accessible by public transport, Midtown is an ideal starting point for those keen on experiencing New York’s vibrant pulse.

Upper East Side:

Nestled between Central Park and the East River, the Upper East Side is synonymous with elegance and sophistication. A haven for aficionados of luxury, this district boasts designer boutiques on Madison Avenue, world-renowned museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a serene ambiance ideal for leisurely strolls. With its upscale cafes and historic brownstones, it’s a top choice for those who appreciate a blend of culture and luxury.

Chelsea & Greenwich Village:

These neighborhoods offer a glimpse into the heart and soul of New York. Meandering through the streets, one can discover charming townhouses, avant-garde art galleries, and the famous High Line – an elevated park built on a historic freight rail line. With their bohemian vibe and rich history in arts and literature, these areas capture the romantic essence of New York, making them a top pick for those seeking intimate and artistic experiences.

Soho & Lower East Side:

Known for their cobblestone streets, chic boutiques, and innovative eateries, Soho and the Lower East Side have long been the playground for the city’s trendsetters. These neighborhoods offer an eclectic mix of historic architecture and contemporary culture. From art installations to indie music venues, these are the go-to spots for those in search of the avant-garde and the pulse of New York’s creative community.


One of the most diverse boroughs in New York, Queens offers a unique blend of cultures, cuisines, and experiences. While it’s slightly removed from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, it’s an excellent choice for those traveling on a shoestring budget. With attractions like the Flushing Meadows Corona Park, diverse dining options, and easy access to Manhattan via subway, Queens provides an authentic and affordable New York experience.

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Where to Stay in New York for First Time Visits: My Recommendations

When visiting New York for the first time, location is key. Nestled right near the heart of Broadway, citizenM New York Times Square is a 4-star boutique hotel that positions you at the epicenter of the city’s excitement. Just imagine stepping out and finding yourself a mere short walk away from the iconic Times Square and the architectural wonder that is the Rockefeller Center. Such a prime location ensures you’re right where the action is, yet offers a cozy retreat after a day of sightseeing.  CitizenM where to stay in new york first time

But the perks of citizenM go beyond just its location. The hotel exudes a modern vibe with its on-site amenities. The CanteenM, open round the clock, serves delicious vegetarian cuisine, catering to diverse palates and offering the convenience of anytime dining.

Whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, you can indulge in sumptuous meals without stepping outside. And for those looking to unwind, the hotel’s bar provides the perfect setting.

CitizenM where to stay in new york first time

Beyond these amenities, the hotel is designed to cater to the modern traveler’s needs. There’s a business center for professionals and co-working spaces for digital nomads, making it perfect for both leisure and work trips. The 24-hour front desk ensures assistance is always at hand, and the multilingual staff further eases any potential language barriers.

Each of the 230 rooms at citizenM is designed with guests’ comfort in mind. From premium bedding ensuring a good night’s sleep to thoughtful workspaces accommodating your laptop, every detail has been considered. Environmental enthusiasts will also appreciate the hotel’s commitment to sustainability, evident in the eco-friendly cleaning products, recycling options, and LED light bulbs.

CitizenM where to stay in new york first time

The hotel’s attention to detail doesn’t stop there. Bathrooms equipped with hydromassage showers are perfect for relaxation, and eco-friendly toiletries underscore the establishment’s eco-conscious ethos. Entertainment is also a notch above with 43-inch Smart TVs offering a plethora of digital channels.

For first-time visitors to New York, the citizenM New York Times Square doesn’t just provide a place to sleep; it offers an experience. An experience that aligns with the city’s vibrancy, modernity, and commitment to world-class hospitality.

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Arlo Midtown

For first-time visitors, diving into the vivacious energy of New York is an experience like no other, and the location of your stay can significantly enhance this inaugural rendezvous with the city. Arlo Midtown is an impeccable choice for those wishing to soak in the true essence of New York.

Arlo where to stay in new york first time Guests often rave about the hotel’s vantage point for sightseeing, and it’s easy to see why. Staying at Arlo Midtown means you’re not just visiting New York; you’re truly living it. Every major attraction, every hidden gem, is either within walking distance or a short metro ride away.

Located right in the heart of Manhattan, Arlo Midtown places you in the epicenter of New York’s pulsating entertainment district. Such a strategic location ensures that the city’s iconic cultural landmarks are just a stone’s throw away. Imagine staying mere minutes from Broadway, the world-renowned avenue of theater, or the historic Radio City Music Hall, an art deco masterpiece. Both these sites are not just entertainment hubs but also cultural reflections of New York’s artistic legacy.

Arlo where to stay in new york first time

But Arlo Midtown’s appeal doesn’t end with its proximity to cultural highlights. The hotel’s location is strategically positioned near some of the city’s most exciting attractions. The American Dream, a retail and entertainment complex, and the Bronx Zoo, one of the largest metropolitan zoos in the world, are easily accessible, ensuring a diverse range of activities for guests.

 Madison Square Garden, often regarded as the “World’s Most Famous Arena”, is nearby, hosting everything from exhilarating basketball games to international concerts. Further afield, but still within easy reach, is the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, another hotspot for major events.

Arlo where to stay in new york first time

One of the standout features that first-timers will truly appreciate is Arlo Midtown’s proximity to key transport hubs. Being near a metro station is a godsend in New York, offering quick and easy access to various parts of the city. With the 34 St. – Penn Station just 7 minutes away by foot and the Times Sq. – 42 St. Station a mere 9-minute walk, navigating the city becomes a breeze.

Arlo Midtown is more than just a place to rest your head. It’s your gateway to New York’s vibrant tapestry of experiences, making it an exceptional choice for those embarking on their first journey through the iconic city.

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For those stepping into the exhilarating world of New York City for the first time, location is everything. And the New York Marriott Marquis delivers on that front spectacularly!

Located a short walk from two of the city’s most iconic landmarks, Times Square and Rockefeller Center, this hotel ensures that the vibrant spirit of the Big Apple is always at your doorstep.

New York Marriott Marquis where to stay in new york first time

Imagine starting your day with the bustling energy of Times Square, famed for its bright lights and Broadway theaters, then wandering over to Rockefeller Center, a historic complex that’s home to Top of the Rock, Radio City Music Hall, and numerous events throughout the year. These destinations are quintessential New York, and being in close proximity means you are always at the heart of the action.

Beyond its prime location, the Marriott Marquis offers an expansive shopping experience on site, catering to those looking to indulge in some retail therapy without venturing too far. The presence of two onsite restaurants further ensures that guests can dive into American cuisine and more, all within the comfort of the hotel. The culinary delights, paired with the hotel’s bar, have garnered praise from past visitors, solidifying its reputation as a gastronomic hub.

New York Marriott Marquis where to stay in new york first time

The hotel’s commitment to convenience and luxury is further evident in its array of amenities. From limo and town car services, perfect for those looking to explore the city in style, to the availability of valet parking, every need of a first-time traveler is anticipated and catered to. A 24-hour front desk, express check-in and check-out facilities, and a banquet hall add to the Marquis’ allure, making both leisure and business stays seamless.

Guests can retreat to any of the 1966 rooms, each thoughtfully designed with premium bedding and laptop-friendly workspaces. These spaces strike the right balance between luxury and comfort, as attested by guest reviews praising the tranquility of the rooms. Modern conveniences are in abundance, from Smart TVs equipped with Netflix to eco-friendly toiletries in well-appointed bathrooms.

The New York Marriott Marquis is not just a hotel; it’s an experience. From its central location to its top-tier amenities, it encapsulates the essence of New York City. For first-time visitors, the hotel offers a harmonious blend of the city’s bustling energy and the comfort of a luxury retreat, making it an exceptional choice for an unforgettable New York debut!


New York Marriott Marquis where to stay in new york first time

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A first visit to the captivating cityscape of New York warrants a hotel that is both centrally positioned and luxurious.

The Westin New York Grand Central effortlessly fulfills this goal, offering first-time visitors an unmatched blend of convenience and opulence.

The Westin New York Grand Central where to stay in new york first time

Let’s start with its remarkable location. Situated near the architectural marvel of the Grand Central Terminal, this hotel ensures guests are never far from the lifeline of the city’s transport system.

Its proximity to the iconic Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center ensures that some of New York’s most famous landmarks are merely a stroll away. This ideal positioning enables newcomers to seamlessly immerse themselves in the city’s rich tapestry of experiences without being overwhelmed.

But it’s not just about the location. Inside, the hotel’s commitment to excellence shines through. Guests can kickstart their mornings at the coffee shop/cafe, or unwind in the evening at the bar. The Amuse Marketplace & Bar, with its American culinary delights, stands out as a gastronomic haven, a sentiment echoed in numerous guest reviews praising the hotel’s dining options.

The Westin New York Grand Central where to stay in new york first time

The 774 rooms of the Westin showcase meticulous attention to detail. Each room, individually furnished, offers a serene refuge from the city’s hustle and bustle. Guests are treated to premium bedding, laptop-friendly workspaces, and the added luxury of separate sitting areas. The blend of pillowtop mattresses and down comforters ensures a restful night, while bathrooms equipped with rainfall showers offer a spa-like experience.

The Westin New York Grand Central is more than just a hotel; it is an experience tailored for those new to the city. With its blend of strategic location, luxurious amenities, and commitment to guest comfort, it serves as a perfect gateway to explore and savor the multifaceted charm of New York City. For first-timers, it promises an introduction to the city that is both memorable and enchanting.

The Westin New York Grand Central where to stay in new york first time

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New York City can initially seem overwhelming to first-time visitors. But where one chooses to stay can significantly transform their experience, turning that apprehension into excitement. Hyatt Grand Central New York offers newcomers a seamless entry into the city’s vibrant world.

Hyatt Grand Central New York where to stay in new york first time

Located a stone’s throw away from the Grand Central Terminal, this hotel is the embodiment of convenience. Grand Central isn’t just an architectural gem; it’s the city’s transit heart, ensuring guests at the Hyatt are connected to the myriad attractions New York has to offer. With famed sites like the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center within walking distance, first-time visitors are ideally positioned to commence their New York exploration without any hitches.

Hyatt Grand Central New York where to stay in new york first time

But what truly sets the Hyatt Grand Central New York apart is its dedication to guest comfort. The 1298 rooms, designed with meticulous care, are full of of luxury and tranquility. Sound-insulated walls guarantee that the city’s constant hum doesn’t intrude upon a guest’s peace. The spaciousness of these rooms, something guests consistently highlight in reviews, provides a much-needed respite after a day of exploration. Thoughtful amenities, from premium bedding to designer toiletries, further elevate the guest experience.

Hyatt Grand Central New York is more than just a place to stay in New York. It is an experience crafted for those who are experiencing the city for the first time. With its unmatched location, luxurious amenities, and unwavering commitment to guest satisfaction, it sets the tone for a memorable New York journey, ensuring first-timers capture the city’s magic in its entirety.

Hyatt Grand Central New York where to stay in new york first time

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Millennium Hilton New York One UN Plaza

New York City, often dubbed “The City that Never Sleeps,” offers visitors an array of experiences that can be both thrilling and daunting for newcomers. The Millennium Hilton New York One UN Plaza stands out as a beacon for those exploring the city for the first time, blending comfort with a prime location.

 Millennium Hilton New York One UN Plaza

What sets the Millennium Hilton apart is its prestigious location near the United Nations Headquarters. For first-time visitors, this means a chance to be immediately immersed in the city’s global heartbeat. Being in close quarters with landmarks like Grand Central Terminal and Bryant Park further ensures that guests are never far from the city’s major attractions.

In terms of amenities, the hotel strikes a balance between luxury and functionality. The availability of free WiFi is a boon for those keen on sharing their NYC adventures on-the-go or for business travelers needing to stay connected. The 24-hour gym caters to fitness enthusiasts, ensuring that they don’t miss a beat in their routine.

Millennium Hilton New York One UN Plaza

The hotel’s commitment to environmental sustainability shines through with features like LED light bulbs and eco-friendly cleaning products. This not only demonstrates a sense of responsibility but also adds a contemporary touch to the guest experience.

Guest reviews often highlight the hotel’s impeccable condition, further testifying to its status as a top pick for travelers. Coupled with thoughtfully designed rooms equipped with modern amenities, the Millennium Hilton New York One UN Plaza emerges as a front-runner for those looking to experience New York City in its full splendor.

Millennium Hilton New York One UN Plaza

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What are the must-see spots for a first time visit to New York?

New York is the iconic metropolis that never sleeps. For first-timers, the sheer number of attractions can be overwhelming, but I’ve got you covered. Here’s your guide to the must-see spots, ensuring your visit captures the true essence of the Big Apple:

where to stay in new york first time

Central Park

Often referred to as the “lungs” of New York City, Central Park is a sprawling green oasis in the midst of Manhattan’s urban jungle. With its winding paths, lakes, and recreational areas, it’s the perfect place for a leisurely stroll, a boat ride, or even a horse carriage ride. The park also hosts various events and concerts, making it a hub of activity year-round.

Empire State Building

An art-deco marvel and once the world’s tallest building, the Empire State offers breathtaking views of the city from its observation decks. A visit at sunset or nighttime promises a spectacular display as the city lights come to life.

where to stay in new york first time

Grand Central Station

Not just a transportation hub, Grand Central Terminal is an architectural masterpiece. Its celestial dome, the iconic clock, and its bustling energy make it more than just a train station. Don’t forget to whisper in its famous Whispering Gallery!

Bryant Park

Nestled in Midtown, Bryant Park is a peaceful retreat. With its beautiful lawn, seasonal events like winter ice-skating, and the charming Bryant Park Grill, it’s a great place to relax amidst the city rush.

Little Italy

Step into a slice of Italy right in New York! Known for its rich cultural heritage, festive celebrations, and, of course, mouthwatering Italian cuisine, Little Italy is a delightful area to explore and dine.

Rockefeller Center

A massive entertainment and shopping complex, the Rockefeller Center is iconic, especially during the holiday season with its famed Christmas tree and ice skating rink. The Top of the Rock observation deck also offers a unique vantage point of the city.

where to stay in new york first time

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

For art enthusiasts, MoMA is a paradise. Housing an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art, its exhibits range from paintings and sculptures to photography and films.

Madison Square Garden

An iconic sports and entertainment arena, “The Garden” has been the stage for countless legendary concerts, sports events, and shows. If you can, catching an event here is a unique NYC experience.

Union Square

A lively square known for its farmer’s market, statues, and demonstrations, Union Square is a great place to people-watch, shop, and soak in the city’s dynamic spirit.

Chelsea Market

A food and shopping haven, Chelsea Market is set in a historic factory building. From artisanal eats to unique boutiques, it’s a fantastic place to spend a few hours.

These landmarks, combined with the others previously mentioned, encapsulate the heart and soul of New York City, making any visit truly unforgettable.

Downtown Manhattan

Downtown Manhattan

This is a great place to immerse yourself in New York’s historic charm. Greenwich Village and East Village are filled with artistic vibes, while the Lower East Side boasts of its immigrant history and trendy spots. Don’t miss the bustling Financial District, home to Wall Street and the towering One World Trade Center. While here, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are best accessed via the Staten Island Ferry. Adjacent to this is Battery Park, offering serene views of the Hudson River.

Iconic Bridges and Buildings

The Brooklyn Bridge offers a scenic walk, connecting Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn Heights. Architectural marvels like the Flatiron Building are also must-sees. For a taste of old New York, Little Italy and Chelsea Market are delightful detours.

Other Noteworthy Attractions

Catch a Broadway show for an authentic NYC theater experience. Visit the New York Public Library for its grandeur. If you’re in the mood for a boutique hotel experience, several neighborhoods offer upscale hotel rooms with amenities like flat-screen TVs. For a comprehensive view of the city, head to Jersey City across the Hudson River. And if you have some extra time, the beaches and amusement parks of Coney Island are a treat.

The best time for first-timers to explore is undoubtedly now! Whether you’re here for the iconic landmarks, the residential neighborhoods with their unique charm, or simply to experience the daily life of New Yorkers, the city welcomes you with open arms. Safe travels and enjoy every moment in this wondrous metropolis!

I hope you have an amazing trip!

JennExplores Signature Love Jenn

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where to stay in new york first time

Where to Stay in New York for First Time Visits

I’m Jenn, a photographer, travel writer, and content creator based out of the beautiful Canadian Rockies. I’m glad you’re here – now let’s explore!

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