The 5 Best Hostels in Manhattan

Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal and other landmarks are just a short walk from some of the best hostels in town
Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal and other landmarks are just a short walk from some of the best hostels in town | © Steve Tulley / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Chloe Byrne
4 May 2020

When you need inexpensive accommodation in a city like New York, hostels are a great resource, providing a place to rest your head and meet some fellow travelers without blowing your budget. Check out these best hostels in Manhattan, New York City.

The beating heart of New York is home to some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks and so is, unsurprisingly, a very popular area to visit. Luckily, there’s a place to stay no matter what your budget, bringing Manhattan’s sights right to your doorstep. Act out a famous rom-com rendezvous at the top of the Empire State Building or mingle with the throbbing crowds of Times Square, before crashing at one of these top-rated hostels.

Jazz on the Park Hostel, Upper West Side

A bed and a desk with chair and lamp in a guest room at Jazz on the Park Hostel
Courtesy of Jazz on the Park Hostel /

Part of the Jazz Hostels chain, Jazz on the Park on the Upper West Side may be a little pricier, but the quality services – including 24-hour reception and security, and free housekeeping – make it worth the cost. While there is no kitchen area, the coffee bar and warm-weather pub crawls and barbecues keep guests social and satisfied.

The Vanderbilt YMCA, Midtown Manhattan

A bed, wooden bedside tables, a chair and an exposed red pipe towards the ceiling in a guest room at the Vanderbilt YMCA in New York City
Courtesy of The Vanderbilt YMCA /

Born out of a chain that initially provided housing for railroad workers, The Vanderbilt YMCA has a longstanding reputation for affordable hospitality. Guest rooms offer a peaceful place to crash – a zen-style balance is achieved through bright white walls, simple wooden furniture and lots of space. There are also handy amenities like fridges, TVs and all-important air conditioning. Choose from budget-friendly dorms with shared bathrooms or opt for a bit of privacy with standard or deluxe singles; all come with access to the fitness centre and two pools. In the winter, go for a skate at the nearby Rockefeller ice rink or make the most of the summer sun with a trip to picturesque Bryant Park, a short walk away.

West Side YMCA, Upper West Side

Two bunk beds with a metal frame, and a wooden desk with towels and a lamp, in a guest room at West Side YMCA
Courtesy of West Side YMCA /

Etched into local history since its incarnation in 1896, the West Side YMCA is intriguingly medieval – a grand archway is guarded by concrete lions; communal spaces are dotted with ornate pillars and the building’s facade is reminiscent of a traditional castle with its battlement-style balconies. The interior is comfortably modern, with compact rooms sticking to a palette of white and soothing blue, while the basement gym includes an array of state-of-the-art equipment. When you’re not sightseeing, spend your day working up a sweat on the squash court, swimming in the mosaic-tiled swimming pool or shooting hoops on the hostel’s very own basketball court.

HI New York City Hostel, Upper West Side

Budget Hotel, Hostel
Three people sitting and one standing around bunk beds with metal frames in a guest room at HI New York City Hostel
Courtesy of HI New York City Hostel /

Housed in a Victorian-reminiscent red-brick building just a short stroll from the bucolic joys of Central Park, HI New York City Hostel is all about providing a welcoming space for its waves of nomads. Regular activities like free walking tours fuse city exploration with social mingling, while evenings can be spent unwinding under the kaleidoscope of fairy lights that canopy the private patio. Relax in cozy bunk rooms with bold turquoise and lime green walls before heading down to make dinner in the big and bustling shared kitchen and dining room. After that, while away the night playing pool with newfound friends or let your hair down on one of the hostel’s memorable nights out.

Chelsea International Hostel

A bed with towels laid out, with a door ajar to a bathroom, in a guest room at Chelsea International Hostel
Courtesy of Chelsea International Hostel /

Just a couple blocks from the High Line, Chelsea International is one of the biggest independent hostels in the city. Stays at Chelsea International include not just free continental breakfast, but also free pizza on Wednesdays nights. With a courtyard, lounge, two kitchens and dining area, this hostel is particularly popular among backpackers as a great place to meet fellow travelers.

This article is an updated version of a story created by Kate Elizabeth Orgera.

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