Best Neighborhoods in Manhattan Explained

By peachy

Best Manhattan NeighborhoodsIn 22.7 square miles, there’s a lot to consider when thinking about what part of Manhattan you’ll want to land. And who knows, maybe you’ll find more than one neighborhood to love in your time here. In any case, there’s a little something for everyone in the 50+ neighborhoods within the borough. From great spots for families, to greenest areas, to the parts with the most affordable rents, you’re bound to find your place. Knowing a bit more about some neighborhoods that may likely check off most, if not all, of your boxes is a place to start. It’s also wise to think about what it is you’re specifically looking for in a home base. 

So, keep reading to get a sampler of some of the best of what this iconic island has in store as well as some factors to chew on as you decide which part of this urban jungle is right for you.

What’s in your perfect neighborhood (and wallet)?

  • What are you looking for? Are you hoping to be closer to good schools for your kids? Or maybe closer to work so the commute is minimal? Would you like to spend most of your time near home or do you just want to be close to transit options to explore more? Is proximity to green space important to you? What about being in the middle of all the hip and trendy spots? Go gaga for art and gallery openings? Do you need a lot of living space or just a spot to sleep and store your belongings? These and other questions can help you narrow down what your priorities are when it comes to finding the right neighborhood. Being honest with yourself here will increase the likelihood that you’ll be saying “home, sweet home” and really mean it.
  • What cost can you afford when it comes to the cost of living? Marking off ideal neighborhood criteria will also mean having a match up with how much you can spend.  It’s no secret that NYC has a higher cost of living, and the cost of housing and other local amenities can vary quite a bit from neighborhood to neighborhood. Cross referencing your budget with your most desired neighborhood criteria can help you decide your must-haves and how to prioritize that in your budget. There’s plenty to enjoy in the city without spending a pretty penny, so you’re wise to really consider what neighborhood and housing options won’t break the bank.

Great neighborhoods in Manhattan

It’s really true that each neighborhood has its own flavor and charm. Part of the fun of being a local here is the ease with which you can check out these unique enclaves and also claim a space for your own. But, there are a few particular gems that are worthy of your consideration:


Why it’s among the best: This southwest-side neighborhood is great for young professionals, those who value access to greenspace, and people with a desire to be close to public transit. It’s also home to many local restaurants, bars, art galleries and coffee shops to explore. Cruise the quaint streets and you’ll find a mix of charming brick walk-ups and high rise apartment buildings. If you’re aiming for higher ground beyond where you might live, you can also be on top of it all by visiting an elevated urban park, called the High Line. This park is where you can get a glimpse of green, grab a bite to eat, and take in the downtown cityscape. You can continue your exploration indoors by sampling and surveying the goods at the well-regarded Chelsea Market. Take all these amenities and add being particularly LGBTQ+-friendly and it’s a pretty great place to be.

Housing costs: 

Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $5,662

Median listing price for home: $2 million

East Village

Why it’s among the best: For those seeking the grit and bohemian enclave of the borough, you’ll find that East Village’s punk rock, beat poet, and art pop history will fit the bill. This spot in downtown Manhattan has plenty of quirky bars, shops, theaters, and restaurants. The quintessential NYC vibes will take you from day until night, with afternoon trips to the three floors of new and used books at The Strand, grabbing a quick hot dog at CrifDogs, and stepping into the nightlife by using the restaurant’s secret entrance (inside of a phonebooth) leading into a speakeasy called Please Don’t Tell. In the morning, take your cup of deli coffee and play a leisurely game of chess or just people-watching at Tompkins Square Park.

Housing costs: 

Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $3,700

Median listing price for home: $1.4 million

West Village

Why it’s among the best: Even though this part of Manhattan is a bit “off the grid” (the streets don’t follow the grid-like traffic in the borough), this is a neighborhood for creatives, professionals, and families alike. What’s more, this area is actually (the western) part of Greenwich Village which already has bohemian and artsy chops. With that as a starting point, it’s no wonder that it’s full of trendy spots to dine, wine (and enjoy other libations), and spend a dime on some funky threads. There’s also a number of theaters, including the longest running off-Broadway stage in the city, Cherry Lane Theater and the IFC Center for motion picture entertainment. After catching a show, start or end your night at  55 Bar, Village Vanguard or the neighborhood dive bar staple Marie’s Crisis. No matter where you go, you’ll be ready to enjoy the show in the West Village.

Housing costs: 

Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $4,500

Median listing price for home: $1.5 million

Upper West Side

Why it’s among the best: This is definitely a neighborhood where you can have it all: live in an urban setting with all that culturally entails, but also enjoy more quiet family-friendly spots. And, when you’re ready to venture out to the rest of the borough, you’ll have plenty of public transit options, including the A/B/C/D and 1 subway trains that run north/south. For residents of all ages, there’s plenty this neighborhood offers. You’re situated right along the west side of Manhattan’s crown jewel: Central Park. There, you can get your fill of greenspace, concert venue, and dog park hours all in one. If you dig live performances, you’ll also be close to Symphony Space on 95th Street and Broadway. We’d be remiss to mention you’d also be neighbors with the big giant blue whale (model) who calls the Hall of Ocean Life in UWS’s American Museum of Natural History home. You’ll be feeling good with what this neighborhood has in store for you.

Housing costs: 

Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $4,641

Median listing price for home: $1.5 million

Upper East Side

Why it’s among the best: You’ll have an NYC address in UES, but you’ll also have a slower-paced urban vibe that almost seems like it’s in a world of its own. Plus, it’s got cultural institutions aplenty! Feast your eyes and senses on the magnificent Museum Mile along Fifth Avenue between 110th and 82nd Streets. These famed locations contain an estimated 2 million works of art, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Neue Galerie, the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian National Design Museum, among others. Want to know who else lives here? Typically it’s the NYC mayor, who often resides in Gracie Mansion — located within Carl Schurz Park. You can also enjoy the view overlooking the East River there and bring your four-legged pal with you! While you’ll have the 4/5/6 and Q trains nearby to take you where you want to go, there is a little planning involved in getting across town due to the proximity to Central Park. Motor vehicles and a few crosstown buses can make the journey across the park at 97th, 86th, 79th, and 65th streets on certain roadways to take you to the West side of the borough. With a little planning, you’ll get where you’re going and come back to the neighborhood you can call home in no time.

Housing costs: 

Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $4,000

Median listing price for home: $1.5 million

Washington Heights

While many would assume that all the action is downtown, it may really depend on what you prioritize. For those looking for plenty of character but seeking lower housing costs, this Upper Manhattan spot may be for you. There’s plenty of greenspace to be enjoyed, from the Hudson River Greenway along the water to Fort Tryon Park, which is home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Cloisters location. It’s houses some 5,000 works of medieval art and the building itself has some truly picturesque archways and architecture to appreciate. There’s also lots of flavors to enjoy as well including Latin cuisine at Floridita Restaurant and a bowl full of savory noodles at Tampopo Ramen. This neighborhood may not have the same reputation of some of the downtown hot spots, but if you’re willing to spend a little time searching for the gems nearby, you’ll be glad you made it your home.

Housing costs: 

Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,998

Median listing price for home: $599K

No matter what part of the borough you claim as your own, you’ll want to work with seasoned professionals for your next move. Make sure you call the NYC relocation experts Piece of Cake Moving and Storage to help you get it done right. Worried about tight corners in your new walk-up apartment? Not a problem for our movers. Not sure how to navigate the parking regulations on move day with a large truck?. It’s second nature to us. With our full range of services that include packing, unpacking, and furniture assembly AND a flat fee guarantee, you can be confident that you have a good partner to help you make your big move to the city (or within it). Let us take the grunt work out of your move so you can take to the streets in your new neighborhood.

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