The 6 Best Hostels in New York City

Budget-conscious travelers can still find an affordable place to stay in pricey New York City
Budget-conscious travelers can still find an affordable place to stay in pricey New York City | © JOHN KELLERMAN / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Molly Codyre
1 May 2020

Boasting a crowded, lively environment and plenty of quirks, New York’s hostels have a lot in common with the city itself. Our favorite stays offer amenities only likely to be found here, such as a staff fluent in 12 languages and perks including hostel-organized pub crawls and free itinerary planning. Here are the best hostels in New York.

Everyone wants a bite of the Big Apple – the neck-craning skyscrapers, the iconic monuments, the amazing food, it’s all instantly devourable – but if we’re not careful, the Big Apple can end up taking a big bite out of our bank accounts. Thankfully, budget-conscious travelers can save their precious dollar bills by bedding down at a laid-back hostel, rather than at a swanky hotel. With prime locations, top facilities and both shared dorms and private rooms to choose from, they’re a safe bet for an easy and comfortable stay. We round up our pick of the best below.

HI New York City, Upper West Side

Budget Hotel, Hostel
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HI New York City Hostel is housed in a Victorian Gothic building
Courtesy of HI New York City Hostel /

At HI New York City (short for Hostelling International), the numbers speak for themselves. More than 1,840 travelers have recommended this Upper West Side hostel, capable of hosting 672 guests just two blocks from Central Park. Amenities here are equally staggering and include the largest private green space in Manhattan, a kitchen featuring a whopping 36 burners, plus rare features like an on-site laundry room and full-service café. HI NYC clearly knows what it’s doing, so guests should take advantage of the hostel’s free itinerary planning to guarantee a great trip.

The Local, Hunters Point

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The Local
Courtesy of The Local / Expedia

The Local bills itself as a guest’s best friend who offers double and dorm-style rooms instead of a couch and who’s been waiting all year for their visit. Befitting such a relationship is hospitality in the form of a fully stocked bar, an all-day café and access to the hostel’s rooftop and laundry room. Double rooms would rival those at any hotel in the city, with Crittall windows, glossy tiled bathrooms and artwork by Steve Keene, while dorms are modern and spacious with an abundance of storage. Located in trendy Long Island City, Queens, The Local also boasts insider knowledge of what’s happening in one of New York’s hottest neighborhoods, including a list of their favorite spots in the area.

Q4 Hotel, Long Island City

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Guest room at the Q4 Hotel
Courtesy of Q4 Hotel / Expedia

Another Long Island City pick, Q4 Hotel could pass for one of the hipster neighborhood’s attractions. Quirky amenities at this art-adorned hostel include a guests’ “book exchange” library, drink and draw evenings, free outings to the nearby Museum of the Modern Image and even retro game nights. Stay with friends to snag Q4’s reasonable group rate – and to have a go-to ping pong partner.

NY Moore Hostel, East Williamsburg

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Guest room at NY Moore Hostel
Courtesy of NY Moore Hostel / Expedia | Courtesy of NY Moore Hostel / Expedia

Even budget travelers can experience New York City’s “it” neighborhood when they stay at NY Moore Hostel. Located in East Williamsburg, the hostel is just moments from some of the area’s best eateries (and local favorites), including Barano and Sunday in Brooklyn. The hostel’s three sibling owners built NY Moore to embody East Williamsburg. That means guests can look forward to loft-style rooms, multicultural staff (who speak over 11 languages among them) and a large outdoor space. The spacious rooms feature amazing street art-style portraits of Adele and various outer space-style murals – and with both private and dorm rooms available, there’s something for everyone.

The Vanderbilt YMCA, Midtown

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The Vanderbilt YMCA
Courtesy of The Vanderbilt YMCA / | Courtesy of The Vanderbilt YMCA /

On the East Side of Manhattan, just a few steps from the Chrysler Building, The Vanderbilt YMCA is right in the thick of things. It’s an ideal budget option in one of the most expensive cities in the world – and you don’t have to scrimp on facilities either. Guests get free access to the fitness center, with a steam room, sauna, gym, two swimming pools and hundreds of exercise classes. Rooms are all private with shared facilities, and range from single to four-bed, making it ideal for both solo travelers and groups of friends not keen on the idea of sleeping among strangers. With Central Park just a 20-minute stroll away, and Grand Central Station just up the road, the location ensures you’ll be able to squeeze in as much sightseeing as possible.

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West Side YMCA, Central Park

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West Side YMCA
Courtesy of West Side YMCA / | Courtesy of West Side YMCA /

With Central Park on your doorstep, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more central location in Manhattan. Throw in the fully equipped fitness center and in-house lounge and café, and you’ve got a hostel that’s flipping the budget stereotype on its head. Rooms are whitewashed with lots of space, ranging in size from single to four-person bunks, to private sleeping spaces with shared bathrooms. Start your day with a wander through the city’s vast and perfectly rectangular green space, before taking in the dazzling billboards of Times Square just a couple of blocks away.

Everything you need to know

This is an updated version of an article originally created by Julia Goicochea.

These recommendations were updated on May 1, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.