Manhattan has hundreds of hotels spread throughout its districts. Since each of these districts has its own distinct personality, choose wisely when planning your trip. This choice will affect your experience while in New York City. I have my favourites but every section of the city has its pros and its cons.
Beginning in the middle, named appropriately if not imaginatively, Midtown, most will have this district in mind when they think of New York. Considered a prime location, Midtown is where it is happening. Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Times Square and the “Great White Way” (more commonly known as Broadway), are all within walking distance of any hotel you choose. Unfortunately, it is also noisy, crowded and expensive but if you have teenagers in tow, this area could be your best bet.
Upper West Side and Upper East Side
Separated by Central Park and north of Midtown, are the two neighbourhoods called the Upper West Side and the Upper East Side. Both of these areas are pricey but if tree-lined streets, easy access to Central Park, expensive restaurants and a low crime rate are your criteria, this is a wonderful section in which to base your operations while visiting Manhattan. The Upper West Side, home to Columbia University, is close to Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera House. The Upper East Side boasts the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the exclusive, expensive stores of Madison Avenue.
Just south of Midtown is Union Square, which includes the Flatiron District, Gramercy and Murray Hill. You will get a feel for what it is really like to live in New York City in this quiet residential section of the city. Although this area might be too quiet for some, of all of the districts in Manhattan, this is my favourite place to stay. A leisurely morning walk past Gramercy Park, as you make your way to the Empire State Building, is a great way to begin your day.
Continuing south from Union Square is the far northern tip of Lower Manhattan. Divided into two sections, the Lower East Side and the Lower West Side, this area includes the neighbourhoods of SoHo, Greenwich Village, and Little Italy. SoHo and Little Italy offer upscale clothing boutiques and hip restaurants but have limited hotel selections. The West Village provides access to the city’s hottest restaurants and nightlife but finding your way through the winding streets might prove difficult. The East Village is one of the least subway-accessible areas of the city but if edgy and party-friendly are what you are looking for, this is the place to stay.
The far southern tip of the island is Lower Manhattan. Encompassing Chinatown and Tribeca, this area has the dubious honour of being home to “Ground Zero”. There are few other tourist attractions or restaurant choices here. Still, this section of the city does offer great views of the Statue of Liberty and easy access to the Staten Island Ferry, Battery Park and the World Trade Center Site.