The 12 Best Places to Live in New York City
So, you’ve decided to move to the Big Apple. Well, despite what most American sitcoms would have us believe, there’s more to New York than Manhattan.
Expats moving to the so-called concrete jungle will be pleased to know there are also plenty of green spaces to explore, a range of affordable hubs to live in, a collection of characterful neighbourhoods, and school districts with ratings that top the leaderboards.
And we’re here to show you where to find them, with the help of Maura, our in-house native New Yorker. Check out the best 12 places to live in New York City below.
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The best neighbourhoods in New York City for cheap property
We’ll be honest – Homecrest probably isn’t what you picture when you think of moving to New York. But if you’re after a cheaper property than New York’s average of $749,300, then this neighbourhood is one of your best bets.
With some of the most affordable property prices in the city, the average house here will cost you $293,809. As for rent prices? A property in Homecrest will set you back roughly $1,788 each month – far below New York’s average of $2,585.
Located in southeast Brooklyn, this borough is a commutable distance from places like Manhattan and Wall Street. And if you’re moving here with family, you’ll also be pleased to know there are 24 schools to choose from in the local area.
2. Brighton Beach
Similar to Homecrest, you won’t find the stereotypical New York in Brighton Beach. You will, however, find some of the most affordable properties in the city.
On average, property in Brighton Beach will cost you a very reasonable $350,000. If you’d rather rent, expect to fork out about $1,850 each month – a little more than Homecrest, but a lot less than the city’s average.
Located at the southernmost tip of Brooklyn, commuting from Brighton Beach is definitely doable, but it can take a while to reach some areas of the city.
The best neighbourhoods in New York City for green space
3. Windsor Terrace
Pocketed between two of Brooklyn’s biggest green spaces, Windsor Terrace is perfect for anyone looking for a mixture of city life and nature.
You’ll be down the road from Prospect Park – a 237-hectare stretch of lush greenery. You’ll also be near Greenwood Heights, which hosts art and history shows during the warmer months across its 478 acres of nature.
This charming residential area has a very small-town feel to it, but is only between 30 and 50 minutes away from the popular working districts.
4. Forest Hills
Boasting tree-lined roads and easy access to beautiful parks, Forest Hills is an idyllic area perfect for anyone in search of serenity – and it's only 15 minutes from Manhattan.
Nearby you can find:
- Forest Hill – Spanning 538 acres, this is the tenth-largest park in New York City
- Flushing Meadows Corona Park – This is the largest park in Queens, and also offers a lot of recreational spaces for youngsters
- Yellowstone Park – Not to be confused with the Yellowstone National Park (you won’t find any grizzly bears here, this is a small park in comparison to Forest Hill, but still boasts a lot of greenery, a playground, and a basketball court
There are tonnes of green spaces to explore around New York – it's not all about Central Park
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The best neighbourhoods in New York City for culture
We’ll be honest – it was difficult to know where Chelsea belonged on this list. The food is incredible, the nightlife is electric, but more than anything, it’s one of New York’s main cultural hubs.
Chelsea is the art capital of New York, with more than 200 galleries showcasing work by a variety of artists. You’ll find most of these galleries around the West Chelsea area, including the world-famous Gagosian Gallery, as well as the Matthew Marks Gallery.
If you’ve seen enough art for the time being, head over to the High Line. This elevated promenade offers incredible views of some of the greatest landmarks in the neighbourhood. The High Line also puts on a range of live music and dance performances, usually free of charge, during the warmer months.
Once considered to be a rough neighbourhood, Bushwick has had quite the makeover in recent years. The borough now hosts regular music performances, is home to unique eateries, and even has a handful of quirky galleries to explore.
Walking down through this industrial-looking neighbourhood, you’ll find graffiti-covered warehouses – some filled with cool dive bars, others with vintage shops.
Bushwick is also home to one of the largest Latino communities in Brooklyn, with sizeable populations from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
The best neighbourhoods in New York City for nightlife
7. East Village
If you’re moving to New York for the nightlife, forget about the tourist hubs in the centre of Manhattan – East Village is where it’s at.
Located in Lower Manhattan, this borough is renowned for its eclectic nightlife – ranging from old-school music venues and quirky bars to classy cocktail joints and chilled-out watering holes.
Some of the best venues include:
- Please Don’t Tell – As the name suggests, this bar urges guests not to reveal its specific location (so, naturally, we’ve done the opposite). If you want to find this mysterious bar, head to Crif Dogs and go to the phone booth inside, where you’ll be prompted to call the secret bar
- Ten Degrees Bar – There’s a number of reasons why New Yorkers love Ten Degrees, but it’s usually the happy hour that reels them in – every drink is two for one until 8pm, including on weekends
- Rue-B – If you’re after more of a tame experience, head to Rue-B for some relaxing jazz. Each night, the stage is graced with a mixture of world-class musicians and emerging artists
As Brooklyn’s hipster capital, Williamsburg has a lot to offer anyone seeking the weird and wonderful side of New York. Residential streets are brought to life with street art, and repurposed factories are transformed into dance venues.
If you’re looking for a relaxing evening, head over to the waterfront and take in the stunning views of Manhattan whilst exploring the food markets and bars. For a night on the wild side, you have a long list of bars and clubs to make your way though, including:
- Schimanski – An industrial nightclub with two dance floors, a bar, and countless DJ performances. Keep your eye out for the fibreglass disco shark hanging over the bar, created by New York-based artist Kevin McHugh
- Black Flamingo – A classic Williamsburg venue. The Black Flamingo cocktail bar and restaurant provides happy hour tacos and Latin-inspired small plates, as well as nightly parties
- The Rosemont – If you’re after a laid-back cocktail bar with live jazz, then this gay bar is the place for you. Serving up small plates and craft beers, with a cute garden patio, this is the perfect spot for a chilled night out
The Williamsburg Bridge peaking through graffiti-covered buildings on a sunny day
The best neighbourhoods in New York City for food
If you want to see a proper representation of New York City’s diversity, head to Harlem and treat your tastebuds to food from Ethiopia, Mexico, Japan, Jamaica, Somalia… you name it.
Above all, tourists and locals both come to Harlem for its unmatched soul food. This ethnic cuisine dates back to 1492, and fuses together the culinary traditions of West Africa, Western Europe, and the Americas.
If you fancy yourself quite the foodie, Astoria should be high up on your Places To Move To list.
Very few neighbourhoods in New York can rival Astoria’s plethora of cuisines. Explore some of the city’s greatest Greek restaurants, quaint Japanese eateries, incredible Brazillian institutions, and tantalising Thai bars.
And whenever the sun comes out, make sure to pop down to one of the many beer gardens on offer.
The best neighbourhoods in New York City for schools
This family-friendly area in Queens is home to New York’s top-ranking public school: Townsend Harris High School. The children here do so well in their studies, the school even ranks 12th on the national leaderboard.
Of course, if you can’t get into Townsend Harris (or it’s not your cup of tea), there are plenty of other options in the area, including East-West School Of International Studies and Flushing High School.
You’ll also be just down the road from Flushing Meadows and Queens Botanical Park – meaning there's plenty of open space for your little ones to burn off some energy.
12. Carroll Gardens
Carroll Gardens is home to some of the best public schools in New York, including the International School of Brooklyn and Success Academy Cobble Hill.
Unlike some other areas of the city, this area is also very child-friendly. At the centre of the borough, children can play in Carroll Park, with its playground and spray fountain. Kids are particularly drawn to the Brooklyn Strategist, a board game hub where little ones can compete with friends or sign up for classes.
Finding a place to live in New York City
Relocating is never an easy task, but hopefully after reading this, you’ll have a better idea of where you’ll be best suited in New York City.
We know how stressful it can be looking for a new home abroad, whether you’re renting or buying.