Manhattan's best neighborhoods to live in (2024)

From Uptown to Downtown, find out the 7 best neighborhoods in Manhattan to live in based on the quality of life, environment, safety, and livability.


7 minute read
Updated on 20 May 2024

If you've started exploring homes for rent in New York, you've undoubtedly come across Manhattan. After all, Manhattan is the largest borough in New York. But finding the best neighborhoods in Manhattan to live in can be both exciting and daunting.

This is why we've drawn up a selection of Manhattan's best neighborhoods based on 3 key facts:

  • Environment (e.g., community, parks and greenery, crime and safety)
  • Quality of life (e.g, schools, cultural hotspots, dining and entertainment options)
  • Livability (e.g., rental price, location, public transportation, and walkability) So, dive in to find out the best place to live in Manhattan based on your needs.

The 7 best Manhattan neighborhoods

From east to west and north to south, here are the 7 best areas to live in Manhattan.

  1. Upper East Side
  2. Greenwich Village
  3. Battery Park City
  4. Harlem
  5. Tribeca
  6. Upper West Side
  7. East Village

1. Upper East Side

  • Best neighborhood in Manhattan for: Families and young professionals
  • Neighborhood vibe: Upscale, a slower pace of life, cultured, residential
  • Average rent: $3,302
  • Transportation: Subway trains 4, 5, 6, F, N, Q, and R. Only 17 minutes by train to Grand Central and 26 minutes to Columbus Circle or Union Square.

Step into the Upper East Side (UES), one of Manhattan's best and safest neighborhoods, and the backdrop of Gossip Girl. Nestled between Central Park and the East River, this Manhattan gem offers splendid waterfront vistas, prestigious schools and a vibrant cultural scene.

This is your ideal spot if you crave proximity to cultural institutions like the Guggenheim Museum, Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, and the Museum Mile (home to the Met). Imagine how lovely a Sunday brunch at Cafe D’Alsace and a leisurely stroll in Central Park would feel.

Stretching over 40 streets, UES encompasses diverse areas, from upscale rentals (5th and Park Avenue) to more budget-friendly options (Yorkville and Lenox Hill). Rental prices in UES are on the cheaper side for Manhattan, with private rooms ranging between $2,039 and $2,382 monthly. Studios average around $2,531 per month, while apartments vary from $4,160 for a 1-bedroom to $5,398 for a 2-bedroom.

2. Greenwich Village

  • Best neighborhood in Manhattan for: Young professionals and students
  • Neighborhood vibe: Charming, upscale, low-rise architecture, hip vibe
  • Average rent: $3,768
  • Transportation: Subway trains 6, A, B, C, D, E, F, N and R.

As one of the best neighborhoods in NYC, there can't be a list of the best areas to live in Manhattan without Greenwich Village. Embracing the Hudson River and NoHo, it echoes East Village's culinary excellence, boasting top bars, restaurants (like Osteria 57), food markets, and pizza spots.

Greenwich Village's central location, trendy atmosphere, and proximity to green havens like Washington Square Park make it a Manhattan must-choose. You can catch a movie at the IFC Center, visit the Stonewall Inn to learn about LGBTQ history or appreciate urban design at the AIA Center for Architecture.

With average studio rents at $3,712 and apartments between $3,989 (1-bedroom) and $5,915 (2-bedroom), Greenwich Village is undeniably one of the costlier but safer places to call home in Manhattan. For students (especially those at the nearby New York University (NYU) or those mindful of their budget, renting a private room in shared housing provides a practical alternative, with an average monthly rent of approximately $1,455.

3. Battery Park City

  • Best neighborhood in Manhattan for: Young professionals and families
  • Neighborhood vibe: Laid-back with endless possibilities for fun, scenic views at a high price
  • Average rent: $3,890
  • Transportation: Subway trains 1, 4, 5, N, and R. Only 34 minutes by train to Columbus Circle and 26 minutes to Grand Central. Walking distance from Wall Street (15 minutes) and the World Trade Center (10 minutes).

At the southern tip of Downtown Manhattan, and close to the Financial District, lies the picturesque haven of Battery Park City (BPC). BPC is home to 5 public parks, including the iconic Battery Park, and offers stunning views of the Hudson River and the New Jersey skyline. So whether you want to admire the view, go for a run, or simply hang out by the bars and restaurants at the riverfront, BPC has it all. When you're in the mood for shopping, you can quickly hop off to Brookfield Place's stores to find everything from food to clothing.

For families, BPC has outstanding schools like the High School of Economics and Finance and the Claremont Preparatory School. Safety is another perk, with area crime rates 38% lower than the U.S. average.

BPC’s architecture is known for large apartment complexes and condo buildings with a range of rental prices. Apartment living in BPC is priced higher, between $4,692 for a 1-bedroom and $6,147 for a 2-bedroom. Renting a private room, between $2,000 and $2,650 monthly, or a studio, around $3,963, is a cheaper alternative.

4. Harlem

  • Best neighborhood in Manhattan for: Young professionals, students, families
  • Neighborhood vibe: Culturally and musically rich, affordable, global dining experience
  • Average rent: $2,590
  • Transportation: Subway trains 2, 3, A, B, C, D. Only 8 minutes to Midtown and 25 minutes to the Financial District via train.

Harlem is one of the largest neighborhoods in Manhattan and is divided into 3 areas (Central, East, and West), each with a unique charm. Most will know Harlem as a sanctuary for musicians and home to the famous Apollo Theatre, which has hosted legends like Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, and Paul McCartney.

Harlem also has a multicultural community, which is reflected in its various restaurants. You can taste food from across the globe, from hearty West African (check out Ponty Bistro) to classic French dishes (try Yatenga), from Dominican (explore Sandy Restaurant) to Italian (visit Babbalucci). There is also a plethora of bars and clubs around every corner, adding to Harlem’s vibrant nightlife.

Central Harlem's proximity to Morningside Heights makes it an ideal choice for Columbia University students. The student-friendly rental prices are a bonus, with private room rentals averaging around $1,426 monthly, studios at approximately $2,696, and apartments ranging from $2,898 (for a 1-bedroom) to $3,338 (for a 2-bedroom) per month.

5. Tribeca

  • Best neighborhood in Manhattan for: Professionals and couples with young kids
  • Neighborhood vibe: Late but low-key nights, wonderfully-connected, a slice of luxury
  • Average rent: $3,842
  • Transportation: Nearly all subway trains: 1, 2, 3, A, C, E, N, Q, and R. Reach Wall Street in 12 minutes or Columbus Circle in 28.

Once an industrial hub, Tribeca has become a haven for artists—painters, photographers, and sculptors. The more than 60 galleries in Tribeca allow visitors to immerse themselves in various art forms.

This neighborhood is an oasis of green, from the lush Hudson River Park to the cozy gardens and tree-lined streets. Forget the typical brownstones, Tribeca offers vibrant townhouses, charming shops, and cobble-stoned streets. The relaxed nightlife caters to an older crowd, abundant in bars and restaurants.

Tribeca not only provides excellent connectivity but also ranks among Manhattan's safest neighborhoods. For families, there are several top K-5 public schools like the Independence School (P.S. 234), Liberty School (P.S. 89), and Tribeca Learning Centre (P.S. 150).

In terms of renting, you can expect room rentals between $1,450 and $2,350. With an average monthly rental price of $4,127, renting a studio in Tribeca will give you privacy but significantly increase your monthly cost of living in NYC. If you desire more space, apartments range from $5,736 for a 1-bedroom to $5,546 for a 2-bedroom each month.

6. Upper West Side

  • Best neighborhood in Manhattan for: Families with children, couples thinking of starting a family and students
  • Neighborhood vibe: Leafy and quaint, offering a slower daily routine
  • Average rent: $3,987
  • Transportation: Subway lines 1, 2, 3, A, B, C, and D take you from the Upper West Side to Columbus Circle in 18 minutes and Grand Central in 26 minutes.

The Upper West Side (UWS), nestled between Central Park and Riverside, is one of Manhattan's best and safest neighborhoods. It’s home to Broadway and cultural hotspots like the Natural History Museum, the Beacon Theatre, and Fordham University. Not surprisingly, UWS attracts a diverse crowd, including artists and writers, and has notable residents like Jerry Seinfeld and Anne Hathaway.

Amidst the entertainment and culturally active atmosphere, UWS also offers waterfront views of the Hudson River and plenty of relaxing places, such as the nearby Central Park, Strawberry Fields, and the Great Lawn.

The streets carry a suburban charm, with authentic brownstones, green spaces, excellent schools, and plenty of dining options to satisfy your cravings. Whether you're in the mood for something sweet like Levain Bakery's cookies, a taste of Middle Eastern cuisine at Miznon North, or fresh seafood from the Mermaid Inn, you'll find it here.

UWS is a desirable but costly location. For renters, private rooms range from $1,987 to $2,360, and studios average around $3,734. Rental apartments are available from $4,831 for a 1-bedroom to $7,022 for a 2-bedroom.

7. East Village

  • Best neighborhood in Manhattan for: Young professionals and newbie New Yorkers
  • Neighborhood vibe: Calm during the day and lively at night, bohemian, birthplace of punk
  • Average rent: $3,372
  • Transportation: Subway trains 6, L, and F can take you to Columbus Circle in 32 minutes or Wall Street in 26 minutes.

Nestled between Gramercy Park, the Lower East Side, the East River, and NoHo (North of Houston Street), East Village lures you with its waterfront views, renowned culinary and bar scene, and bustling atmosphere. This Manhattan neighborhood stands out as one of Manhattan's safer neighborhoods, perfect for young professionals moving to New York.

Living in East Village, you truly get to experience the young and bohemian vibe of Downtown Manhattan. A stroll from Tompkins Square Park to Astor Place unveils quirky clothing shops and captivating bookstores like the Book Club.

East Village has long-running paths along the East River, green spaces, and cultural immersion at the Fourth Arts Block. Yet, it isn't the most budget-friendly neighborhood. Private room rentals range from $1,625 to $2,650 monthly. Studios average around $3,339, while apartments vary from $4,461 (for 1 bedroom) to $4,784 (for 2 bedrooms) per month.

What’s the best area to live in Manhattan?

Depends on what you're looking for, who you're moving with and why you're moving. If you want to live in Uptown but you're on a tight budget, the best area to live in Manhattan is Harlem. But if you want something more central and residential, Upper East or West Side are the right neighborhoods for you.

When it comes to Downtown, East Village is the place to live if you're an NYC newbie. Whereas Tribeca is more for those looking for luxury and who want a break from the typical Manhattan feel. The best neighborhood in Manhattan for families is Battery Park City as it's one of the safest neighborhoods. Greenwich Village is definitely your new home if you're a young professional or NYU student.

This article is for informational purposes only.

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