Where to Live in Manhattan: the Best Neighborhoods in Manhattan
Want to know where to live in Manhattan? Or all about the best Manhattan neighborhoods for you and your needs? Homelike is here to help—in this detailed guide, we’ve brought you practical information on 20 (very!) varied districts.
As you probably already know, Manhattan is absolutely massive, with a population of around 1.6 million people.
So if you’re planning a move to the area, it’s hugely difficult to know which neighborhood you might want to live in, especially if you’re a first-timer. Around 450,000 expats and foreigners live in Manhattan—and at first, most of them struggle to work out where to live.
Some even live in one neighborhood for a while before realizing they should have picked another. And they discover that working out where to live in Manhattan is a notoriously difficult task.
So luckily for you, we’ve put this guide together. We’ve brought along something for everyone, including party places, hip hangouts, the best areas in Manhattan for families, the most affordable areas in Manhattan, and the best places in Manhattan for students.
And on top of that, we’ve covered the best neighborhoods in Upper Manhattan, the best neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan and all the parts in the middle. Broadly speaking, Upper Manhattan is the area north of Central Park’s southern section, while Lower Manhattan is the area south of Union Square. The area in the middle is usually known as Midtown Manhattan. Quite where these areas begin and end (and quite what they should be called!) is up for debate, but we’ve separated our list into those three categories.
Anyway, no matter who you are and what you’re looking for, we’ve got some perfect Manhattan neighborhoods for you.
Pro tip: if you don’t have time to read the full guide (we’re all busy people!), head to the bottom of this article. There, we’ve assembled a handy table for quickly figuring out the best Manhattan neighborhoods for you and your needs.
In our guide to the best neighborhoods in Manhattan, we’ve included these 20 top spots:
- Upper East Side
- Upper West Side
- Hell’s Kitchen
- Kips Bay
- Murray Hill
- Garment District
- Flatiron District
- Lower East Side
- East Village
- Greenwich Village
- West Village
- Financial District
- Battery Park
- Little Italy
We’ve covered what you can expect from each area, how pricey they are, and what type of people usually like living there. Don’t know where to live in Manhattan? You will soon!
Okay, let’s get started—here are the 20 best neighborhoods in Manhattan…
Best neighborhoods in Upper Manhattan
1. Upper East Side
Best for: Good schools, fancy living, great green spaces, and throwing your money around
One of the biggest Manhattan neighborhoods, Upper East Side is a very wealthy area, packed with big earners and big spenders. So if you’re on a budget, it’s not a good option—some of the apartments, penthouses and houses here are some of the priciest in Manhattan.
It’s one of the best areas in Manhattan for families, with excellent schools. One of the best private schools on Upper East Side is Brearley School, but there are plenty more options (both public and private)
If you want a sensible life that revolves around work and family, you’ll think this is one of the best neighborhoods in Upper Manhattan—you get Central Park, lots of great museums and galleries, a lengthy stretch of waterfront, and endless places to eat and drink.
That said, if you’re a young person looking for parties, this isn’t the neighborhood for you.
2. Upper West Side
Best for: Endless green spaces, raising kids, Upper Manhattan on a relative budget, and living a slightly quieter life
Okay, imagine you’re on Upper East Side. Cross Central Park to get to the opposite side of Manhattan, and you’ve made it to Upper West Side.
Another of the biggest Manhattan neighborhoods, it’s less pricey than Upper East Side, but it’s an equally great place to raise a family. You’re very close to great green spaces (both Central Park and Riverside Park are brilliant), you share a neighborhood with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the American Museum of Natural History, and you get lots of brilliant schools.
One of the best private options is Dwight School (it’s one of the best in Manhattan), but there are lots of excellent public schools too.
But Upper West Side isn’t all about families. There are some great places to eat, drink and party, and it’s an excellent choice for young people.
North of Upper West Side, there’s a huge student community on the Columbia University Campus, making the area one of the best places in Manhattan for students. So if you’re young, or like hanging around with a young crowd, the Upper West Side is a great place to be.
Best for: Diversity, friendly faces, living on a budget, and feeling part of a community
One of the most diverse and friendly Manhattan neighborhoods, Harlem is fantastic fun, and full of warm welcomes. People from all over the planet live here, so it’s one of the best areas in Manhattan for expats from around the world.
There’s also a great sense of community in the neighborhood. No matter how long you decide to live in Harlem, you’ll feel like you really belong in Harlem. Because of that, and because there are some brilliant public schools in the neighborhood, it’s one of the best areas in Manhattan for families.
There are also lots of universities in the area, making Harlem one of the best places in Manhattan for students. Some of the biggest education establishments in and around Harlem include City College of New York, Manhattan School of Music, and Columbia University.
And on top of all that, it’s one of the most affordable areas in Manhattan.
If you want soul food, jazz clubs, friendly neighbors, and an affordable existence, Harlem is without doubt one of the best neighborhoods in Upper Manhattan.
Best Neighborhoods in Midtown Manhattan
4. Hell’s Kitchen
Best for: Good nightlife, great theater, being surrounded by tourists, and having lots of fun
Alright, time to head to Midtown Manhattan.
Directly south of Upper West Side is the bizarrely-named neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen.
The district was once gritty and undesirable. But like most of Manhattan, the area has been upgraded, improved and gentrified beyond recognition. As a result, it’s now one of Manhattan’s most trendy districts, with loads of places to eat, drink, make friends and have fun.
Because Hell’s Kitchen is so close to Times Square and other tourist hotspots, you see lots of travelers and vacationers here. So if you’re planning to move to Manhattan for a while, you might prefer some of the area’s other neighborhoods.
That said, the nightlife is great, the theater scene is brilliant, and there are loads of places to eat and drink. So if you like filling your time with fun, you’ll probably love the place.
All in all, Hell’s Kitchen is one of the best areas in Manhattan for expats who want to live like tourists, or eat, drink, party and play. So if you’re young, you’ll likely love it here.
Best for: Endless art galleries, brilliant nightlife, LGBT residents, and hanging with hipsters
Just south of Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea is affluent, edgy and artistic. It’s not one of the most well-known Manhattan neighborhoods, but it’s bold, brilliant and exciting, with endless places to eat, drink, have fun and make friends.
The neighborhood is (allegedly!) home to more than 400 art galleries, making it arguably the most artistic neighborhood in Manhattan. Some of the best and biggest names include the Petzel Gallery and the Agora Gallery, but there are also plenty of small-scale venues for enjoying local art and hip exhibitions.
Chelsea is one of the best Manhattan neighborhoods for LGBT newcomers, with lots of gay bars, popular hangouts and LGBT residents. Since the 1970s, it’s been one of Manhattan’s biggest, best and most famous LGBT areas.
All in all, Chelsea is best suited to artists, hipsters, young people, couples and singles. It’s not a great spot for families or business brains, but it’s brilliant fun for the right people.
6. Kips Bay
Best for: Living the quiet life, excellent education institutions, and living a pricey family life
East of (and pretty close to!) Chelsea is Kips Bay, one of the smallest districts we’re bringing you. It’s also one of the lesser-known Manhattan neighborhoods on our list.
If you want to live in a relatively peaceful area (we say ‘relatively’ because this is New York!), it’s one of the best neighborhoods in Manhattan.
Because it’s pretty quiet, and because the neighborhood has some fantastic schools, it’s one of the best areas in Manhattan for families. Here, you’ll find Maryel School and the British International School of New York, two of the best and most prestigious private schools in Manhattan.
But just because Kips Bay is quiet, that doesn’t mean you’re isolated. You’re very close to many of Manhattan’s more bustling districts, including lots of Lower Manhattan—so you can easily travel (or even walk) for nightlife and atmosphere.
Broadly speaking, if you have money and a family, Kips Bay is a great place to be. But if your priorities aren’t raising kids and relaxing, you’re not gonna like living here.
7. Murray Hill
Best for: Young professionals, relatively affordable living, and under-the-radar places to eat and drink
Directly north of Kips Bay is Murray Hill, another of Manhattan’s lesser-known (and most underrated) neighborhoods.
If you’re looking for affordable areas in Manhattan, this is one of them. It’s also a great choice for young professionals, who come here to drink, work and socialize.
If you’re moving to Manhattan without a job, Murray Hill can be a great place to find one— Microsoft, the United Nations and lots of other household names have headquarters here.
For newcomers (and you’re gonna be one of them!) Murray Hill is actually a brilliant overall choice. It’s affordable without being on the outskirts, it’s a decent place to find a job, it’s well-located for exploring the rest of Manhattan, and it’s a good place to make friends (assuming you largely want to make friends with young professionals).
And on top of all that, you’re close to some of Manhattan’s most famous places, including Koreatown, Times Square, the Empire State Building, and plenty more.
Last of all, Murray Hill is known for its excellent Indian food. Known as ‘Curry Hill’ (nice pun), this is where you’ll find the best South Asian food in Manhattan. And lots of it!
8. Garment District
Best for: Fashionistas, shopping, good schools, and people seeking a quieter life
West of Murray Hill, and close to Times Square and Hell’s Kitchen, is the Garment District.
Pretty small, it’s the clothing center of Manhattan, with more than 6,000 fashion retailers and businesses packed into its diminutive confines. Lots of people come here to buy clothes, fabrics, accessories and more. It’s sort of like Lower Manhattan’s Soho, but less busy, less well-known, and with way fewer tourists.
Because it’s famous for business, the Garment District isn’t a particularly popular residential area, and the property prices are pretty high. And on top of that, there aren’t a huge number of fun things to do in the neighborhood—so if you’re moving to Manhattan for business, living here can be a great idea. But if you’re not, it probably isn’t.
That said, it can be a good place to live for the right people. Because the Garment District is safe, quiet, central and pleasant, it’s a good place to raise kids. It’s right beside Kips Bay, so you’ll find two of Manhattan’s best private schools in the area: Maryel School and the British International School of New York.
If you’re looking for the best areas in Manhattan for families, you’ve found one.
9. Flatiron District
Best for: Big businesses, remote working, young professionals, and feeling like you’re in a movie
Just south of the Garment District is the Flatiron District. Here, you really feel like you’re ‘in’ Manhattan, surrounded by skyscrapers, businesses, and people with somewhere to be.
Named after the iconic Flatiron Building that looms over the area (it’s one of the most famous towers in New York), the Flatiron District is one of the prettier neighborhoods in Midtown Manhattan, with some really beautiful architecture.
It also has great eateries, fun bars, Madison Avenue, and excellent proximity to lots of other Manhattan neighborhoods—for getting around, it’s hard to find a better location than this.
But because the Flatiron District is a business hub with lots of rich residents, all that fun and convenience comes at a price.
That said, if you can afford to live here, it’s a brilliant place to work.
There are lots of innovative startups, huge office buildings and co-working spaces, all where you can make big bucks. So if you’re a remote worker, and you’re only going to be in the area for a short while, the Flatiron District is a fantastic place to get a serviced apartment in Manhattan.
Best Neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan
10. Lower East Side
Best for: Diversity, mixing the rough with the smooth, fantastic food and non-stop nightlife
Alright, let’s head south—and let’s get things started with one of the best neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan.
The southeast pocket of Manhattan, the Lower East Side is crammed with a huge number of varied people and places, and it’s right in the middle of a gentrification boom. Once a little dangerous, now very welcoming, it’s becoming more popular every day.
Because of that, lots of people who don’t know where to live in Manhattan flock to the Lower East Side. And that’s a brilliant choice—the neighborhood is eclectic, edgy and energetic, and it’s absolutely packed with fun.
Most people associate the district with its excellent food scene—Little Italy and Chinatown are very close by, while you get much more food from around the world. For culinary diversity, the Lower East Side is one of the best neighborhoods in Manhattan.
It’s also really well-known for nightlife, so if you’re young, moving without a family, and looking for lots of parties, it’s without doubt one of the best Manhattan neighborhoods.
Best of all, because it’s so diverse, the Lower East Side is very welcoming and friendly—so it’s one of the best areas in Manhattan for expats from around the world.
11. East Village
Best for: Excellent nightlife, live music, great food, and hanging out with a young crowd
Bordering Lower East Side to the north, East Village is just as eclectic and interesting as its next-door neighbor.
Again, it’s one of the best neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan for a diverse range of people. The expat community here is very big, with residents from all over the world. And just like its neighbor, you get diverse food, excellent nightlife, and a cool crowd of people to hang out with.
If you like filling your nights full of fun, alcohol and lots of live music, you’ll probably love living in East Village.
The neighborhood is also one of the best places in Manhattan for students. There are lots of universities in and around the area, including St. John’s University and the imaginatively-titled New York University.
12. Greenwich Village
Best for: Hipster hangouts, LGBT visitors, students, and becoming buddies with bohemians
Just west of East Village is Greenwich Village. Once the bohemian epicenter of Manhattan, it’s now a little more gentrified, but it’s retained lots of its alternative charm. Here, you’ll find jazz cafes, live music bars, trendy eateries, off-Broadway theaters and lots of fun events. It’s one of the best areas in Manhattan for expats who like to party.
But because it’s gentrified, prices have rapidly gone up—so Greenwich Village definitely isn’t one of the more affordable areas in Manhattan.
LIke nearby Chelsea, Greenwich Village is one of the most LGBT-friendly parts of Manhattan, with lots of great bars (including the iconic Stonewall Inn!), and an excellent LGBT community.
And last of all, because there are lots of New York University buildings in and around the neighborhood, it’s one of the best places in Manhattan for students.
13. West Village
Best for: Making fashionable friends, slurping on expensive drinks, and living in the pricier part of Greenwich Village
West Village is actually a smaller part of Greenwich Village. Confusing.
The two neighborhoods share space, and they share a similar vibe. But the West Village parts of Greenwich Village are a little less residential, and arguably even more fun. That said, the residential parts of West Village are pricey—so unless you’re moving on a limitless budget, you might not want to live in the neighborhood.
Whatever you can do in Greenwich Village, you can also do in West Village. You’ll just pay more to do it.
Best for: Young professionals, spending time trendily, and great connections to other Manhattan neighborhoods
No, we haven’t spelled Soho wrong.
Instead, Noho is a real place—and it’s a tiny neighborhood sandwiched between Greenwich Village and East Village.
Absolutely one of the smallest neighborhoods we’ve covered, most people who live here are young professionals in rented apartments. Densely urban, the district is little else but a small patchwork of trendy streets, hip venues and artistic hangouts. And that’s exactly what it feels like.
If you want to live right in the heart of Manhattan, you’ll love Noho. You’re dead in the center of lots of the area’s best neighborhoods, surrounded by fast-moving people who like to eat, drink, hang out and party. If you can afford to live here, it’s a brilliant place to be.
Best for: High-end shopping, city slicking, and living like a long-term tourist
Next up, it really is Soho.
South of Greenwich Village and Noho, Soho is one of Manhattan’s most popular shopping neighborhoods.
If you like clothing stores, you’ll absolutely love the place—you get big names like Alexander Wang, Céline, Isabel Marant and plenty more. Soho is most well-known for designer boutiques, but the neighborhood now has lots of independent stores too.
Living in Soho is a good choice if you’re only planning to be in Manhattan for a short while. Here, lots of tourists come to shop, eat, drink, spend chunks of money, visit trendy art galleries, and enjoy the big-city vibes. If you want to feel like you’re living inside Sex and the City, it’ll absolutely be one of your favorite Manhattan neighborhoods.
It’s not among the most affordable areas in Manhattan, but it’s a ridiculously fun place to spend time—and for the right person, it’s a great place to live.
Best for: Expensive stores, a cosy (but classy) atmosphere, and a relatively quiet life in a very busy area
Another small district, Nolita is close to both Soho and Noho—and it’s equally trendy.
This tiny neighborhood basically feels like an extension of Soho, with lots of designer stores, chic boutiques and places to buy jewelry, clothes, shoes and handbags. Upmarket and classy, it’s a neighborhood for people who like to show off, spend big and look good.
So if you’re young, stylish and trendy, and you’ve got a lot of money, you might just love Nolita. Again, just like Soho, it’s a great place to be if you’re only in Manhattan for a short few months.
Strangely, even though it’s sandwiched between some of Lower Manhattan’s most busy areas, Nolita inexplicably feels quiet, cosy and quaint. So if you want to live in a busy area without feeling like you live in a busy area, you’ll probably love living in Nolita.
17. The Financial District
Best for: Getting a well-paid job, being a young professional, and pretending you’re in Wolf of Wall Street
The very southern tip of Manhattan is the prestigious Financial District.
Unsurprisingly, the place is home to Wall Street, so it’s a great place to be if you’re looking for a well-paid job in a well-known place. Packed with skyscrapers, big businesses, and endless money, the Financial District feels just like you imagine it does.
Living here, you don’t just get unparalleled job opportunities. You also get great proximity to some other top places—you’re close to the waterfront, Battery Park, and many other Lower Manhattan neighborhoods.
The Financial District is also a surprisingly good neighborhood for remote workers, with lots of innovative and interesting co-working spaces. Serendipity Labs is one of the most popular, but WeWork also have a huge number of spaces in the area.
If you don’t know where to live in Manhattan, but you’re moving for professional reasons, the Financial District is a great place to start your search. It’s therefore the perfect place to get a serviced apartment in Manhattan while you work out your long-term plan.
All in all, the Financial District is one of the best neighborhoods in Manhattan for young professionals, but it’s not a great choice if you’re moving with family, or if you’re on a budget.
Best for: Hanging with celebrities, living in a loft, and exploring one of the hippest neighborhoods in Manhattan
Northwest of the Financial District is Tribeca, probably most well-known for its film festival and its celebrity associations. Jake Gyllenhaal, Justin Timberlake, Harry Styles, Blake Lively and many more famous faces live here.
That’s because it’s one of the trendiest places in all of New York. It’s one of the best neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan for anyone who likes hip parties, happening hangouts and going to all the coolest places in town.
But it’s also one of the best Manhattan neighborhoods for spending lots of money— property here is very expensive. If you can afford it, you get a surprising combination of swanky and vibrant, with beautiful architecture, low-level homes, cobbled lanes, and lots of enticing eateries. But the problem is, few people can!
19. Battery Park City
Best for: Waterfront views, spending lots of money, and a tiny commute to the Financial District
In the most southern stretch of Manhattan, there’s a small residential area jutting out west into the Hudson River.
That small residential area is Battery Park City, with its waterfront views, rich residents and upscale apartments. One of the most expensive areas in an already-expensive area, Battery Park City is popular with high earners, high spenders, and high-life livers.
It’s not a great place to have kids, raise a family, or live a bohemian life, but it’s one of the best neighborhoods in Manhattan for finding a job—and one of the best neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan for commuting to the Financial District.
The most famous part of Battery Park City is Battery Park itself, a great green space with views of (and trips to!) the Statue of Liberty.
20. Little Italy
Best for: Pizza, pasta, endless eating, and living like a tourist
Last up, we have Little Italy, possibly the most tourist-heavy neighborhood in all of Manhattan.
If you’re only planning to stay in the area for a short while, living in Little Italy can be super fun. It’s one of the best neighborhoods for feeling like a long-term tourist, and that makes it a great place to get a short-term serviced apartment in Manhattan. You’re close to good bars, better eateries, and lots of potential new buddies.
But if you’re gonna be around for a while, there are definitely better places to live. Over time, you’ll likely get tired of Little Italy’s constant noise and endless tourists.
Overall, Little Italy is one of the best neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan for pure fun, but only for a short while.
Best Manhattan neighborhoods for millenials
Best Manhattan neighborhoods neighborhoods for families
Best Manhattan neighborhoods for young professionals
Best Manhattan neighborhoods for food lovers
Best Manhattan neighborhoods for nightlife
Best Manhattan neighborhoods for green spaces
Upper West Side
Lower East Side
Upper West Side
Upper East Side
Upper East Side
Upper West Side
Lower East Side
Lower East Side