7 Best Neighborhoods in Manhattan, NY

September 26th, 2022

7 Best Neighborhoods in Manhattan, NY

Best Places to Live in Manhattan, NY

If you are moving to Manhattan, you need to consider moving to one of these seven best neighborhoods in Manhattan!


Manhattan, New York, is the concrete jungle where dreams are made of. This tourism capital of the United States attracts 800,000 people a year and is home to 1.629 million. You can imagine many individuals roaming the streets; Manhattan is truly the city that never sleeps.


Manhattan is not only the tourist capital but also one of the world's largest financial and cultural centers, causing many individuals to move to this area for jobs and new opportunities. Although many people think of Manhattan when they hear New York City, Manhattan is one of the five boroughs that make up the city, including Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island. Most people who choose to live here are young professionals or couples that work in Manhattan or want the big city lifestyle, with an average salary of $80,000 a year.


Manhattan, NY during the sunset and Times Square


If you want to move to Manhattan, read up on each neighborhood to know what area you would like to live in. With such a large population, each district has an atmosphere with unique attractions, parks, food options, housing, and history. No matter what you want in a community, Manhattan is bound to have the perfect spot for you. Continue reading below to find out the five best areas in Manhattan and what each one offers.


Check out these top places to live in Manhattan!

Beautiful Central Park in Manhattan with lush greenery

Upper East Side

Are you looking for a posh, New York lifestyle? The Upper East Side is known for its designer shops, fancy restaurants, and beautiful homes where New York elites walk the streets. Most individuals are living here live in elegant brownstones or upscale high-rises with room to spare and classic New York architecture. But, it is not just shopping and dining that interests people to move here. You can easily find things to do in this neighborhood, with private art galleries, parks, and the famous Museum Mile. If you are looking for a getaway for the weekend, central park is also close by for individuals to enjoy picnics, paved paths, boat rides, and more.

Local Favorites:

  • Museum Mile - This stretch of cultural institutions along 5th avenue near Central Park is home to some of the best art-viewing opportunities in the entire city. Six different museums make up the Museum mile, including El Museo del Barrio, the Museum of the City of New York, The Jewish Museum, Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MOMA).
  • Central Park - This world-known park was designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted in 1857 and still is a central point for many Manhattan residents to enjoy some nature amid this bustling borough. The park spans 840 acres and is home to the Central Park Zoo, Belvedere Castle, multiple sculptures of iconic figures, Central Park Carousel, the Mall and Literary Walk, and many open spaces and paved paths to enjoy.
  • The Corner Bookstore - This bookstore first opened in 1978 and is still serving its reading-hungry community today. The owners take pride in their carefully curated fiction and non-fiction books for individuals to purchase and peruse. Dip into this quaint bookstore to find your next read.
  • Levain Bakery - This female-owned bakery is known for its best cookies in New York! Both women met because they were swimmers and triathletes, connecting their love for baking and opening their bread shop in 1995. They first created their ultimate chocolate chip walnut cookie to provide energy while training; now, individuals flock to try this famous cookie themselves, even if it's not for exercise.
  • East River Greenway - Runners flock to this car-free trail along the waterfront to enjoy its 9-mile paved path stretching from Battery Park to 125th street. But not just runners enjoy this beautiful path and scenic views of the water. Families walk together, bikers cruise by, and segway tours might venture onto this well-lit path to enjoy some time away from the busy streets.

The American Ballet Theatre in Manhattan with a fountain out front

Upper West Side

Located on the opposite side of Central Park from the Upper East Side, this neighborhood is known for its excellent dance, film, theatre, and opera performances. Unlike the East Side, many young professionals or students live here that commute to midtown or downtown for work or are attending some of the most renowned schools in the area, such as Julliard. But, some families also choose to live here and enjoy the art scene that the site provides. Due to its slightly younger demographic, the West Side also has a bustling nightlife and attracts many visitors during shows at the Lincoln Center Theatre. Beautiful in its artistic way, the Upper West Side is an expensive but stunning neighborhood to live in, with brownstones lining the streets and shops and parks hosting swarms of people on the weekends. Check out some local places to visit below!

Local Favorites:

  • Lincoln Center - This is a world-renowned art center home to the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, New York Ballet, and Julliard School of Music. Located on 66th street, people come from all over the city to enjoy some of the most stunning performances.
  • American Museum of Natural History - This Natural History museum is the largest in the world, spanning four blocks. The museum is known for its unique exhibits and science collections, with approximately 32 million artifacts inside. A timed reservation is required to enter, but you gain hours to enjoy whatever parts of history and our world you would like to explore.
  • Zabar's - Searching for the rush of a New York City market? Zabars is known for its selection of bagels, smoked fish, olives, and cheeses hand sliced for you by a member of the Zabar family. Averaging around 40,000 customers a week, this 80-year-old market serves everyone in the community with prepared dishes or a selection of produce items.
  • Grand Bazaar - This indoor/outdoor market is year-round on Sundays and is the largest in the city. Vendors here sell vintage clothing, furniture, jewelry, and crafts at a reasonable price. Not only is this market a great space for local vendors and artisans to sell their goods, but profits are used to support the four local public schools.

Washington Heights

This neighborhood is located in the uppermost part of Manhattan and was initially named after Fort Washington, which was active during the revolutionary war. This dense urban neighborhood is full of working-class individuals looking for a more affordable and spacious living situation while still living in Manhattan. Also known as "The Heights," it is a large Latin American community, and crime rates are low compared to other areas. Living in Washington Heights provides you with lush green spaces and a spectacular view of the Hudson River. Connecting New Jersey to Manhattan is also the George Washington Bridge that towers over this neighborhood held by suspension cables and is an essential link to the regional highway system. Check out some local favorite spots in Washington Heights below.

Local Favorites:

  • Hispanic Society Museum and Library - This building has never actually served as a society despite its name. Instead, it operates as a museum and reference library accessible to the public for individuals to study the art and culture of Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and the Philippines. With over 900 paintings and 6,000 watercolors/drawings, it's easy to get lost in this beautiful building full of Spanish art.
  • The Little Red Lighthouse - This lighthouse stopped being utilized a long time ago but now serves as a scenic getaway from the city. Located under the George Washington Bridge near a very treacherous spot along the Hudson River, this lighthouse reminds us of New York's history.
  • Highbridge Park - Named after the city's oldest bridge connecting the Bronx and northern Manhattan, this park is a beautiful spot to enjoy scenic views and recreational activities. This park has the city's first mountain biking path and a world-class skate park for daredevils to enjoy, while others walk the paved trails or enjoy the greenway along the water with waterside cliffs and rock outcroppings can be spotted.
  • Fort Washington Park - Known as the namesake of a Revolutionary War structure by history buffs once built for the rebels and seized by the British, this park is a valuable part of the Washington Heights community. Learn all about the history of this fort or enjoy spectacular views of the New Jersey Palisades and George Washington Bridge. The park also holds a playground for children to enjoy, five volleyball courts, and pathways to walk or run along.

The Manhattan, NY skyline on a bright sunny day


Home to some of the most iconic New York attractions, such as the Empire State Building, Times Square, Museum of Modern Art, Flatiron, Chrysler Building, and Grand Central Terminal, this neighborhood is full of people swarming around each other and bright lights illuminating the streets. This might not be the neighborhood for you if you want some peace, but if you like the bustle of the city around you, this is your place. Not only are some of the most famous attractions in your backyard, but unforgivable shows at Radio City Music Hall or Madison Square Garden are only walking distance away. The nice thing about living in one of the most populated areas is the abundant restaurants, coffee shops, and stores on every street. Most individuals that live in Midtown are high-powered professionals or families that live in luxury spaces and work in the area, accepting the Midtown lifestyle. It's hard not to have something to do in Midtown, so check out some local favorites below!

Local Favorites:

  • Top of The Rock - Known as the city's best view, this panoramic view is located at the top of the Rockefeller Center. Get tickets to go to the top of the building and enjoy stunning views and take photos towering over even the tallest buildings, or stay on ground level and enjoy things like ice-skating during the winter. You can also purchase a combo ticket to access the view at the top of the building and a tour of the facility and its history.
  • Grand Central Terminal - As seen in many movies, this stunning train station is the largest in the world, with 44 platforms and its iconic clock counting down the hours in the center. Still being used today, many individuals rush to catch their train or stay and look at its incredible architecture and design, including the green ceiling with gold constellations scattered across it. Enjoy taking pictures and taking in the views, or stay awhile and enjoy some of the beautiful restaurants inside.
  • Bryant Park - This seasonally changing park is always a spectacular place to enjoy your day. During the winter, the park has an ice skating rink for the public to enjoy in the middle, with a winter market surrounding one side and a bar serving warm cocktails. But, during the summer, that ice rink turns into a gorgeous grass field for people to sun tan or enjoy a picnic. There is also a large outdoor stage during the warmer months where live performances occur during the day and night. Want to work outside? Not a problem at this park with its many tables and free WiFi for those wishing to enjoy some fresh air while working or join in on the ongoing chess match between those who want to take their chances.

Busy city street in Manhattan, NY with buildings and cars


This neighborhood is known as the Manhattan art district, with many galleries full of local artists' work and spectacular views from The High Line. What used to be an area full of factories and a railroad track is now full of modern luxury high-end apartments that only the wealthiest in the city can afford. Walking along the waterfront or above the city streets on the Highline, you can see some brand-new apartment complexes with stunning contemporary designs and rooftop gardens boasting some of the best views over the water. But not just the housing; you can see this neighborhood's modern artistic takeover. Some of the most spectacular restaurants and shops with unique interior designs showcase new chefs and designers mixed in with some older establishments. The nightlife in this neighborhood is also like no other, with famous clubs, bars, and performing art venues. Check out some of Chelsea's local favorites below!

Local Favorites:

  • Chelsea Market - This food hall is an experience in itself. Built-in the 1890s and originally the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) site, it now contains restaurants, office buildings, a television production facility, and many seating areas and shops. The hallways also turn into other magical wonderlands decorated with seasonal experiences throughout the year.
  • The High Line - Walk above the city on this 1.45-mile pathway decorated with lush greenery and sections with food and art vendors. Originally part of the New York Central Railroad, there are still parts of the old railroad tracks along the pathway amongst the beautiful flowering landscape. Enjoy the scenic views of the city on one side and the New Jersey skyline on the other or relax on some of the seating and enjoy the escape of the streets below.
  • McKittrick Hotel - This 5-story hotel turned performance space is one for the books. This is where your wildest dreams come true with interactive performances throughout the year, themed parties with dancers and live music, and a stunning rooftop bar. No matter what you want to escape, this is the place.
  • Chelsea Galleries - Located mainly between West 18th and West 28th streets and 10th and 11th Avenues, explore some of Chelsea's 400 art galleries in the area.

Greenwich Village

This neighborhood was the epicenter of the 1960s counterculture movement and is still very free-spirited today, with many LGBT-friendly flags hanging outside store windows and many New York University students walking the streets. The center of this neighborhood is Washington Square Park, where people mingle in the plaza to enjoy street performances or chat with friends during the warmer seasons. When looking for a bite to eat or things to do, the streets also contain many coffee shops, bars, and restaurants, as well as jazz clubs and off-broadway theatres to enjoy. Greenwich is known for its food scene, with many affordable ethnic food options and dollar slice pizza stands open late for those walking the streets at night. You might even recognize a few buildings in this area without realizing it right away, the famous TV series F.R.I.E.N.D.S was filmed in this neighborhood, and the apartment building they lived in still stands to be seen today. Check out the list below to see what local places to visit in this neighborhood!

Local Favorites

  • Washington Square Park - One of the most well-known parks in New York City, known for its stunning arch honoring George Washington, this park is a beautiful spot to enjoy chess, performances, parades, and more.
  • Artichoke Pizza -These pizza slices are like no other, more like a meal than just a single slice of pizza. People come from around the city to enjoy these mouth-watering pizza slices known to be thicker, flakier, and heavier than any others. These pizza slices are a party goers dream after a night out on the town!
  • Bleecker Street -Known now as the nightclub district, this street used to be all farmland owned by the Bleecker family. Today, this street encapsulates the Greenwich vibe with cafes, nightclubs, live music, and bakeries. The food here still follows its Italian origins from when thousands of Italians lived in the area, making up half the Greenwich population. The street is hard to miss, with people swarming out of their buildings at night to enjoy the scene.
  • Mr. Purple -Located on the 15th floor of Hotel Indigo, this bar is known around the city for its stunning rooftop views and pool. Enjoy fancy cocktails and bar bites while lounging and looking down on the city sprawling below. During the day, this bar is a very relaxed place to be, but at night turns into a full-fledged nightclub with music and a dance floor.

East Village

Are you looking for a place to go for the best nightlife in Manhattan? Look no further because East Village is the place to be for all things at night. This neighborhood is known for its old-school bars, music venues, cocktail lounges, and performance spaces. Once known as the city's punk scene, the streets light up at night, but during the day, there is a more laid-back vibe with people enjoying the boutiques, vintage shops, chill restaurants, and tattoo parlors. The neighborhood is still a haven for artists and individuals of character, full of fun things to do but not the posh lifestyle that is seen in other areas of Manhattan. Check out East Villages' local favorites below to explore this neighborhood.

Local Favorites:

  • Death and Company - Feel like you are walking back in time with this speakeasy bar behind a large wooden door. Bartenders dressed in bowties and suspenders and a dark, eerie mood, some of the most creative and tasty cocktails are found here. But, make sure you get your name on the list early because it is not unheard of for a 2hr waitlist.
  • Tompkins Square Park - This square-shaped park has many places to sit and enjoy a good book or challenge someone in a chess game. Or, if you want some exercise, there is also a handball and basketball court to play against others.
  • Drom - Go back to when the punk scene was prominent in East Village at this gypsy-themed lounge. Hosting many different performances throughout the year, you can enjoy jazz bands, funk, hip-hop artists, and more while sipping a nice beverage from the bar.
  • Creative Little Garden - If you aren't looking for it, you might miss it! Located on East Sixth Street, this secret garden has seating, beautifully landscaped gardens, birdhouses, stained glass art, and more to enjoy while enjoying a quiet getaway.

Best Neighborhoods in Manhattan, NY - Final thoughts

Manhattan has beautiful neighborhoods full of attractions, trendy cafes, stunning views, and some of the best food in the world. Before buying your own home in this attractive New York City borough, reach out to one of our knowledgeable and experienced Reality Specialists to aid and guide you through the home buying process. No matter your budget, our team is here to help. Contact us today to find a home for you in Manhattan, New York!

Check out our other local guides! 


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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am a REALTOR®. My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Real Estate Blog! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own let us know here. Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below.