The most popular neighbourhoods in New York have their own unique identity, so finding the one that fits your personality is very important. Dozens of vibrant neighbourhoods make up the booming metropolis. As the city is divided into 5 massive boroughs, picking just 1 or 2 neighbourhoods can be a daunting task. It really depends on the type of travel experience you’re looking for in New York

    Each New York neighbourhood has something special to offer, whether it’s unique culinary options or niche nightlife spots. We’ve compiled some iconic names, like Hell’s Kitchen and Upper East Side, as well as lesser-known yet charming areas such as Astoria and Williamsburg. Read on to find out which part of New York you should base yourself on during your visit.

    What are the most popular neighbourhoods in New York?


    West Village

    Sip coffee at lively cafés or dine at 5-star restaurants

    West Village in New York is a must-visit if you’re looking for a rare small-town atmosphere in Manhattan. Artists made the West Village how it is today, and the enclave boasts independent theatres, cinemas, and jazz clubs. If you enjoy outdoor dining, there are plenty of cafés and eateries with sidewalk seating.

    Pay a visit to the Stonewall Inn to learn about the 1969 riots that kickstarted the global LGBTQ rights movement. Catch a show at the Comedy Cellar and a world-famous comedian may be the mystery guest. Locals and visitors converge on the beloved Washington Square Park to watch street performers, snag a meal from food trucks, or cool off in the fountains.

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    Location: West Village, New York, NY, USA


    Theater District

    Witness an inspirational performance on Broadway

    The Theater District is one of the most popular neighbourhoods in New York. It's the buzzing section of Midtown West that hosts the city's Broadway shows. Take a stroll beside the theatres to study the posters of the shows set to perform during your visit. If you want to discover the stars of tomorrow, check out the Off-Broadway shows. As eager spectators wait for tickets, costumed characters and street performers entertain crowds in Times Square.

    The Theater District hosts fancy restaurants, upscale hotels, and other entertainment hubs. Famous for its movie star caricatures, Sardi’s has been a culinary staple for nearly a century. For a chance to bump into your favourite Broadway stars, hang around Shubert Alley near performances.

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    Location: Theater District, Manhattan, New York, NY, USA


    Hell’s Kitchen

    Party at some of New York’s premier nightclubs

    Hell’s Kitchen, once a notorious enclave on Manhattan’s West Side,  flaunts an upscale dining scene and frenetic nightlife. It's among New York’s top destinations for gay clubs and features pulsating dance venues to party all night. Foodies have an infinite number of choices sampling worldly cuisines prepared by talented chefs. Hell’s Kitchen sits around the corner from Broadway, and visitors love getting a meal after a star-studded performance.

    Stroll down 8th or 9th avenues to discover a wide selection of wine and cocktail bars. Since you’re near the Hudson River, stop by Pier 86 for beautiful harbour views and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. You can also hop on a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise for thrilling Manhattan skyline views.

    Location: Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, New York, NY, USA


    Upper East Side

    Stroll through Central Park and visit world-class museums

    The mostly residential Upper East Side attracts visitors with its cultural institutes, upscale eateries, and neighbouring Central Park. Head to Museum Mile to visit institutes like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Guggenheim, and Museum of the City of New York. Once you’re finished museum hopping, the walking trails and beautiful greenery of Central Park are close by. 

    Between traditional brownstones and lavish apartments, Upper East Side welcomes a mixture of families and young professionals. Some of New York’s wealthiest residents reside here, and the enclave boasts private art galleries and stylish shops. Despite its family-friendly vibe, you’ll find an energetic nightlife scene with plenty of hip bars, pubs, and lounges.

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    Location: Upper East Side, New York, NY, USA



    Visit New York’s iconic attractions

    Midtown is the New York many travellers imagine, with the flashing billboards of Times Square and looming skyscrapers. Many of the biggest attractions are here, and it’s often packed with sightseers checking off their must-see list.

    New York remains an architectural legend, with the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building among its most iconic structures. You can also check out Grand Central Terminal, Radio City Music Hall, and the Museum of Modern Art. For a break from frenetic tourists, hang out at Bryant Park or dive into a book at the New York Public Library. Madison Square Garden hosts action-packed sporting events and concerts featuring international artists.

    Location: Midtown Manhattan, Manhattan, New York, NY, USA



    Find vintage shops and creative restaurants in hipsterdom

    Williamsburg, just across the East River from Lower Manhattan, is home to all things hip and cool in Brooklyn. For a fun-filled weekend, the offbeat neighbourhood has an array of laid-back cafes, clothing shops, boutiques, and colourful street art. Stroll down Bedford Avenue to find eccentric stores that sell bizarre items for all budget sizes.

    Williamsburg entices shoppers and foodies with fantastic markets, including delicious treats at Smorgasburg. Expect to see outdoor concerts during balmy summer days and an animated nightlife scene of dance clubs and wacky bars. Williamsburg residents unleash their creative side at festive performance venues like the Music Hall of Williamsburg and The Brick.

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    Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, USA



    Spend the day shopping and enjoy evenings at hip lounges

    Chelsea is for the artsy types with many of New York’s top-rated contemporary art galleries. While artists pursue their dreams, foodies walk around Chelsea Market to sample delicious treats from high-end food vendors. Wander other corners of the neighbourhood to find antique shops, boutiques, flea markets, and other local artisans. Chelsea is also home to many upscale restaurants, stylish lounges, and LGBTQ-friendly bars.

    Converted from an abandoned railroad track, the High Line is an exquisite piece of landscape architecture for pedestrians. Head to Chelsea Piers for entertaining sports and games catered to all ages. For a relaxed ending to your day, hang out at a speakeasy or cocktail bar for some drinks.  

    Location: Chelsea, Manhattan, New York, NY, USA



    Taste worldly cuisines in this multicultural enclave

    Astoria, originally a hub for New York’s Greek immigrants, now stands as one of the city’s multicultural meccas. The immense diversity makes the Queens neighbourhood a foodie’s paradise with restaurants serving Greek, Brazilian, Italian, Thai, and dozens of other mouthwatering cuisines. When the weather’s nice in New York, find a seat at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden for an outdoor feast.

    Astoria was once the epicentre of the American film industry, and the historic studio’s magic comes to life at the Museum of the Moving Image. Artists can find inspiration at underrated gems like the Socrates Sculpture Park and Noguchi Museum. And for dreamy sunsets overlooking the Manhattan skyline, Astoria Park is a beautiful spot by the East River.

    Location: Astoria, Queens, NY, USA


    East Village

    Hang out at hole-in-the-wall bars and eateries with the college crowd

    East Village is grungy, eccentric, and hip with the young crowd – it’s easily one of Manhattan’s liveliest hangouts. New York University sits around the corner, and it’s a happening spot for nightclubs, cocktail lounges, and dive bars. While you won’t find posh eateries, East Village hits the mark with its diverse food selection for budget-minded visitors. With a mixture of tattoo parlours, punk bars, comedy clubs, and ‘barcades’, there’s a spot for everyone in the East Village.

    Tompkins Square Park hosts jubilant outdoor festivals on 10.5 acres of recreational facilities. For a laidback appreciation of the arts, wander into the Nuyorican Poets Café for poetry slams, art exhibitions, and concerts.

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    Location: East Village, New York, NY, USA



    Discover New York’s deep African-American roots

    Harlem is the pinnacle of New York’s African-American culture. It's a hotbed for hip hop, smooth jazz, and creative artwork. Just wander around its corridors to find colourful murals crafted by talented street artists. Do yourself a favour and find a walking tour to learn the backstory of its famous talents.

    The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s produced legendary performers like Louie Armstrong and Billie Holiday. Catch a show at the historic Apollo Theater to walk in the footsteps of some of the world's greatest musicians. Harlem’s budding food scene is one of New York’s hottest, with Japanese, Ethiopian, Puerto Rican, Somalian, and other influences competing with its iconic Southern soul food.

    Location: Harlem, Manhattan, New York, NY, USA

    Daniel Grenier | Contributing Writer

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