Where to Stay in New York City for the First Time

If it’s your first time to the big city, you most likely don’t know where to stay in New York. See our guide to help make a decision.

New York is a unique city filled with infinite things to do and see—and so many hotels to choose from.

If it’s your first time to the Big Apple, you’re most likely overwhelmed with trying to figure out where to stay in New York City. There are indeed endless options for your upcoming hotel stay, and when you’re in New York, how can you really go wrong? After all, a quick step outside and you’ll end up at iconic landmarks like Central Park, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, and so much more.

You may be asking yourself where to stay in New York City for the first time with so many options available. That’s why we’ve put together a guide with some of our favorite spots to help you make your decision. From fancy places to more budget-friendly options, we hope there’s something in this list for everyone.

Park Central Hotel New York

For sleek and modern rooms in a hotel that dates back to the 1920s, Park Central Hotel New York is a great place to stay. It’s located across the street from Carnegie Hall and is just 4 blocks from Central Park. Taking a stroll through Central Park is a quintessential New Yorker activity and should be part of your midtown Manhattan experience. It’s also a 7-minute walk from the Museum of Modern Art and a block from the subway station for an easy commute around New York City. There’s a casual cafe, a trendy bar, and a fitness center, so for a good nightly price, you get a lot of bang for your buck. Although this isn’t a cheap hotel, you’ll feel like you got a great deal because of all of the amenities. The guest rooms are also beautifully appointed and house the kind of decor you would expect from a boutique hotel. If you’re wondering where to stay in New York City, first-time visitors will like the location and the ease of this particular hotel. Midtown Manhattan neighborhood attractions also include several theaters and tour options such as Big Apple Jazz Tours. The best rooftop bar options are also found nearby in midtown, lower Manhattan, and the west side.

The Benjamin

The Benjamin is an upscale hotel from 1927 that boasts rooms with kitchenettes, a nice restaurant, a salon, and a gym. For those curious about where to stay in New York City for tourists, The Benjamin is a good bet, as it’s in the same borough as the Empire State Building, Lincoln Center, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. These locations are tourist favorites and well worth a visit. The hotel is also an 11-minute walk from Grand Central Station and just a few blocks from Rockefeller Center. Plus, with the kitchenette, you can whip up your morning coffee before a day of adventures (unless, of course, you’re on a mission to try a latte or cappuccino from all the best coffee shops in New York). WiFi is free and parking is available for an extra charge at this NYC hotel.

Four Seasons Hotel New York

Located in Midtown East, the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel New York has it all—and so much more. When it comes to top spots for where to stay in New York City with family, kids will swoon over all the free perks this hotel offers. From children’s DVDs and complimentary coloring books to kids-size robes and slippers, let your mini-me bask in the ultimate NYC experience. Parents will like the ease of things like baby toiletries and bottle warmers along with babysitting services for your date night out in the Big Apple. When it comes to family-friendly NYC hotel choices, this is one of the best. Midtown East also offers close proximity to numerous tourist attractions including: MOMA, Grand Central Terminal, Empire State Building, and Chrysler Building. The UN Headquarters can also be found in Midtown East and make for a great visit.

Freehand New York

Housed in a historic building from 1928, Freehand New York is an artsy spot located in the hip Flatiron District. It’s only a minute’s walk from the Gramercy Theatre music venue and 3 minutes from the subway station for an easy commute around the city. For the foodies travelers in the crowd, Freehand boasts a North African restaurant and a super chic cocktail bar. One main reason this hot spot makes our list for where to stay in New York City is the Three’s Company room. To solve the dilemma of what to do when traveling with a group of three, there’s a queen bed with an overhead attached twin bunk. Everyone is comfortable and cozy yet has space to move around the room without the need for a rollaway bed. This unique amenity in guest rooms is perfect for group trips. You can also visit their neighborhood guide to explore a bunch of local finds, like bars, taquerias, music venues, parks, and more. The hotel is located in the Flatiron district, which offers easy access to Lower Manhattan, the Lower East Side, Greenwich Village, and Chelsea.

The Carlyle

Known as a place of glamour and elegance, The Carlyle is filled to the brim with all things luxe. These guest rooms are perfectly appointed with luxury bedding and a minimalist, yet traditional aesthetic. With a premier location in the Upper East Side, shopping fanatics wondering where to stay in New York City will be pleased with the bounty of nearby designer stores. Widely regarded as a New York landmark, The Carlyle has been appreciated by the most sophisticated of city tourists since 1930. If you’re visiting for a special occasion, book the Rosewood Romance experience, to share champagne and breakfast in bed. Or, if you’re traveling with kids, try the Madeline Tea, where the beloved children’s books are brought to life by storyteller Tina de Varon while she plays the piano and sings with kids and parents. There’s also Café Carlyle, the swanky supper club that will lure you in and insist you stay for a while. If a day of wellness and self-care is in the cards, there’s also a spa, salon, and fitness center at this luxury hotel in Manhattan.

The Moxy

The Moxy in Chelsea is a block from 28 Street subway station and an 8-minute walk from the Empire State Building. If you’re searching for a place to stay in Koreatown, the Moxy is also a quick stroll from all the top karaoke bars and restaurants of the area. Several rooftop lounge hot spots can also be found nearby. The boutique rooms are bright with unique designs and the space features an overgrown flower shop to give the feeling of a botanically-inspired Italian secret garden. Although you’ll want to get out and explore, do yourself a favor and enjoy a bite at their Italian snack bar and lounge, which offers a modern twist on traditional Roman comfort dishes along with oven-fired pizzas and classic cocktails. For those who are concerned about where to park in New York City and what to eat for breakfast , rest assured that this spot offers both (for an extra fee). In downtown Manhattan, parking is hard to find and this boutique hotel delivers.

The Tillary Hotel Brooklyn

No hotel list would be complete without a lodging location that boasts a secret dive bar. Not only is the Tillary Hotel located near some things to do in Brooklyn (it’s the only mile from the Brooklyn Bridge) but it’s the perfect place for an after-work cocktail. The Secret SideBar is a cozy and charming place filled with free popcorn, affordable drinks, and friendly bartenders. In the morning, venture to the hotel’s TRoom Café for an iced coffee and a bite from their “curated in Brooklyn” snack menu. This hotel is known for making their guests feel at home and has rooted itself in the Brooklyn community by supporting local businesses and collaborating with Brooklyn talent regularly. Brooklyn Heights is nearby and worth a visit for the beautiful brownstones and tree-lined streets. They also offer amenities like complimentary WiFi, a 24-hour fitness center, 24/7 emergency medical service, and bellhop and bag storage. For an extra fee, there’s also parking, limousine or car service, and the ability to bring your four-legged friends.

The High Line Hotel

Housed in a former 1865 dormitory, The High Line Hotel is home to a quirky and trendy charm. Complete with red brick walls, colorful wallpaper, stained-glass windows, and cool furniture, you’ll find that the opportunities for photo-taking abound in this space. It’s a 10-minute walk to the subway and only 1 block from High Line Park and Chelsea Piers. Try a pour-over or hotel chocolate made from homemade ganache at Intelligentsia, located in their lobby lounge, or go for drinks and local snacks in the cocktail garden. You can also use one of the hotel’s complimentary Shinola Bicycles and helmets to take a ride along the Hudson River Park or through Chelsea. The Manhattan skyline is also visible from the area and makes for a breathtaking view to end the day. The hotel is also dog-friendly and won’t charge you for traveling with your furry companion. Not only that, but they’ll give your dog complimentary treats in the lobby and plenty of outdoor seating, too. If you’re curious about where to stay in New York City for tourists with dogs—The High Line Hotel is a fantastic option.

The Greenwich Hotel

The Greenwich Hotel is part-owned by Robert de Niro and exudes an understated sort of luxury meets rustic. Wood-beamed ceilings and exposed brick combine with Japanese-influenced design and an underground pool. Visit the Drawing Room Bar and open-air courtyard, reserved exclusively for guests of the hotel, to dine and drink in a serenely beautiful atmosphere. The hotel is also home to a restaurant that serves Chef Andrew Carmellini’s urban Italian cooking, a leisurely space with killer meals. Depending on what you’re searching for, choose between accommodations like the courtyard queen, deluxe king, 1-bedroom suite, and more—or go really big with their penthouse accommodations.


As much as we love a good New York City hotel, at Zeus we like all the comforts of home—like a coffee maker, washer and dryer, and super-fast WiFi. If you’re coming for a visit and still not sure about where to stay in New York City, give our New York City rentals a try. We have furnished rentals available across the city including the West Village, Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Brooklyn, Soho, Downtown Manhattan, Midtown, and the East Village. We’re pet-friendly, family-friendly, and designed with comfort and convenience in mind. From our kitchens and living rooms to our bathrooms, bedrooms, and dedicated workspaces, you’ll find everything you could want in a home-away-from-home when you book with Zeus.

From our team to our fellow travel-lovers, enjoy your time in the Big Apple. We know you will!