The 12 Best Hostels in New York City (Updated 2024)

Lewis Ogden
Last Updated: January 22nd, 2024

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Finding the best hostel in New York City can be like finding a needle in a haystack…but it doesn’t have to be. With a little bit of research and a whole lot of accurate information, the top hostels (for you) reveal themselves.

So, if you’re planning a trip to the Big Apple anytime soon, this article will help you track down some of the very best hostels in New York City.

Quick Summary

Want to see the best hotels in New York City at a glance? We’ve got you covered with this quick summary. After all, you need to find a hostel that matches your vibe and your plans for your visit to the Big Apple!

A Trip To The Big Apple

A trip to New York is the dream of millions of people around the world. The Big Apple has recently received as many as 65 million tourists annually. That’s more than three times the number of residents in New York.

Being such a famous city worldwide, New York has hundreds of hostels to choose from (let alone hotel and motel options). With so many decisions to choose from, mainly having never visited the city before, it can be disastrous to pick a random hostel merely and hope for the best.

The 12 Best Hostels in New York City

Finding the perfect hostel for you doesn’t have to be as scary or aggravating as it seems at first glance. Armed with the most in-depth and accurate information about possible hostels in New York will make your selection and decision processes much more effortless.

  1. Freehand New York
  2. The Brooklyn Riviera
  3. American Dream
  4. POD Times Square
  5. The Bluemoon Boutique Hostel
  6. Canal Loft Hostel
  7. YMCA (Westside or Vanderbilt)
  8. HI NYC Hostel
  9. La Sienna
  10. Nap York Central Park
  11. New York Spirit Retreat
  12. The Local NY

1. Freehand New York

Freehand New York Image by:

The Freehand New York is another of the top best hostel candidates in the Big Apple. The Freehand is located in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighborhood, where the George Washington Hotel used to be.

The Freehand is even more special for creative types due to the rich history of musicians, writers, and other creatives who once lived on the premises.

Freehand New York is located quite near bus stations and a couple of subway stations. It is easy to get in and out of the hostel and travel as you please (regardless of how well you know the city).

This lodging house collection is steeped in awesomeness, award-winning food and drinks, ground-breaking design, and extremely active social culture.

The rooms at Freehand New York are all designed by Roman & Williams, which means they are made with creating taste and comfort in mind.

Furthermore, whether you are looking for a room for you and your entire family, or a simple dorm-style accommodation, Freehand has got you covered.

In addition, each room at this hostel has a private in-room bathroom (not so common with hostels).

Book here!

2. The Brooklyn Riviera

The Brooklyn Riviera Image by:

A fan favorite of the growing New York hostel scene is the Brooklyn Riviera. Known for being one of the city’s friendliest and most welcoming hosts, the Brooklyn Riviera is clean, safe, and away from the louder parts of NY.

The Brooklyn Riviera is centrally located, with easy access to the New York public transit system. It is less than 15 minutes away from multiple train and bus stations (and cabs are always available too). This hostel is easy to find and is no problem getting around the city during your stay.

Surrounding the hostel, you’ll find plenty of New York’s finest restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues. No matter what food you enjoy, you’ll surely find it within a five to ten-minute walk (or order delivery).

The hostel is upbeat and modern, each room aesthetically pleasing and adequately equipped to house your luggage and charge your electronics.

Furthermore, midtown Manhattan lies just a 30-minute walking distance from the Brooklyn Riviera, making it much more attractive to out-of-towners.

Times Square, Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, and many other iconic sights are accessible due to the hostel’s location on the transit system.

Book here!

3. American Dream

American Dream Image by:

One excellent hostel that gives you a real taste of New York City’s best is the American Dream. It is primarily a favorite of couples traveling to New York.

As the name suggests, the American Dream hostel in NYC gives travelers to the Big Apple a real New York experience.

Located in Gramercy (just over a mile from such famous areas of New York as Madison Square Garden, New York University, and Macy’s), you’ll have no problem finding your way around some of the city’s most iconic attractions.

Each room of the American Dream hostel is air-conditioned and includes comfortable furnishing, free WiFi, and a TV.

The units also come with a shared kitchen and lounge. There is also plenty of extra room for luggage storage, so you don’t have to leave anything at home. The bathrooms and showers are also shared (as with most hostels).

Breakfast is also included in your overnight stay at the American Dream, no matter how many nights you book.

Few hostels offer such a wonderful location for travelers looking to hit the streets of NYC on foot.

Book here!

4. POD Times Square

POD Times Square Image by:

The POD Times Square hostel is highly underrated in New York City. It is in the city’s heart and has one of the best locations in an NYC hostel.

One of the top picks of all hostels, and hostel-like accommodations, in New York City, the Pod Times Square includes an in-house bar and restaurant.

New York’s famous Restaurant Row is approximately a quarter of a mile away (about a 5 to 10-minute walk). So, you’ll have no problem taste-testing some of New York’s finest grub. You will also be close to some of the most iconic watering holes in the region.

Each room at the POD Times Square comes with cutting-edge furnished rooms. They all come with private bathrooms at no extra cost as well as fitted showers. Toiletries, hairdryer, and towels included.

The front desk is also open and attended by a clerk 24 hours a day. So, if you have any questions or require assistance, you’ll always have someone to go to.

Couples particularly love the Pod Times Square. This is primarily due to the fantastic central location and the comfy living quarters with private bathrooms and showers (uncommon in many hostels).

Furthermore, the price of an overnight stay at POD Times Square is much more affordable than competitor accommodations.

Book here!

5. The Bluemoon Boutique Hostel

The Bluemoon Boutique Hostel Image by:

The Bluemoon Boutique Hostel and Hotel are (according to tourist reviews) one of the city’s nicest (and cleanest).

This modern New York City hostel is a gem in the NYC hostel scene. Located in the historic Lower East Side hotel, the Bluemoon Boutique Hostel is just under three city blocks from the Essex and Delancy Street sub-stations.

Guests claim the hostel is situated in one of the most enjoyable parts of the city. So, getting around and sightseeing is no problem at all.

Chinatown, SoHo, Little Italy, and other famous NYC neighborhoods lie approximately 10 minutes walk from the hostel. Furthermore, a lovely museum is dedicated to the Lower East Side next door to the hostel.

The Bluemoon is classy if nothing else. The front desk is always staffed with polite and professional staff members.

A quaint cafe on the property also offers plenty of fresh gourmet pastries, freshly made fruit and veggie juices, and much more.

Each room comes with all state-of-the-art amenities. This includes satellite TV, free WiFi, bright LED lights, iPod docking stations, and more. The rooms come with a personal refrigerator and minibar as well.

Book here!

6. Canal Loft

Canal Loft Hotel Image by:

One of the best-selling hostels in New York (this place stays booked) is the Canal Loft Hostel.

Situated in the Chinatown district of New York City, the hostel is just a hair over a mile away from such popular spots as the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, New York University, and Bloomingdales.

The hostel is up-to-date and offers comfortable rooms, a shared lounge, and a front desk that operates 24 hours daily. It even has an ATM on the property for guests’ convenience.

Canal Loft Hostel is classified as a 2-star hostel. Each room booking includes a private shower, bathroom, and hairdryer. The rooms also have comfy furnishings and plenty of fresh linens.

The hostel’s excellent location offers up one-of-a-kind (and unforgettable) views of the city skyline and its diverse architecture.

Few lodging options offer a better deal for those looking to explore the better-known areas of New York (Such as Chinatown and Brooklyn).

Book here!

7. YMCA Westside

West Side YMCA Image by:

The YMCA is one of the most popular hostel chains in the United States. In New York City, the West Side is the most highly praised.

These world-famous hostels are known for being welcoming and with extra benefits such as pools, gyms, saunas, steam rooms, and more. Most hostels are lacking in such amenities as pools and saunas.

Compared to other hostels, the YMCA is both affordable and relaxing. The YMCA Westside is also located near museums, city parks, restaurants, clubs, and more NYC culture than you can imagine.

If you are looking for an inexpensive hostel in New York (that offers more than most expensive hostels), the YMCA is worth looking into before booking a room.

Book here!

8. HI NYC Hostel

HI NYC Hostel Image by:

So, Hostelling International is a huge hostel chain with great locations in cities around the world, and their New York City hostel is no different.

Located in the Bloomingdale district, just north of the Upper West Side, you can easily wander a couple of blocks to the beautiful trails of Central Park.

One of the best things about this hostel is the sheer size of it. The building itself is massive and has two floors of common space to chill out and meet like-minded travelers, making it the perfect hostel for solo travelers.

If you want great connections around the city, HI NYC is only two blocks away from the nearest subway station so you can save your money on cabs and not spend all your time wandering from place to place.

Book here!

9. La Sienna

La Sienna Image by:

If you’re over 25 and you’re looking for the authentic NYC experience, book a stay at La Sienna in Harlem.

This unique and community-driven hostel is located inside a classic pre-war Brownstone, so you really get that quintessential New York local vibe when you stay here.

One of the coolest things about staying at La Sienna is the support of Yvette, the wonderful host of the hostel who greets all guests herself and makes sure that everyone has a great time while they’re in the city.

If you want to stay in one of the best neighborhoods in New York and live like a local while you’re here, then look no further than a stay at La Sienna.

Book here!

10. Nap York Central Park Sleep Station

Nap York Central Park Sleep Station Image by:

Now, if we told you that one of the quietest and sleep-friendly hostels in the whole of New York was located just a couple of blocks south of Central Park, you’d probably say we’re crazy, but that’s exactly what Nap York promises.

They have a whole floor specifically soundproofed to give you a great night’s rest while you’re in the city that never sleeps.

These super sleek dorm rooms and pod situations are the perfect way to catch a few z’s after a long day exploring midtown and seeing all the sites!

Honestly, this hostel is all about location, location, location, being just a short walk from Times Square, Central Park, and Columbus Circle. So if you want to be in the heart of the action and want to be able to rest easy, this is the place for you.

Book here!

11. New York Spirit Retreats

New York Spirit Retreats Image by:

Located south of Midtown between Chelsea and Koreatown, the New York Spirit Retreats really are a hidden gem in the heart of the city.

What sets this quirky and characterful hostel apart from the rest is the single cabin, pod-style accommodations.

Rather than having loads of dorm rooms, the New York Spirit Retreats offer single occupancy cabins, almost like a boat which provide privacy at a budget price.

Another cool thing about this hostel is that they offer a ton of spiritual and holistic events to keep you grounded while you’re in the bustling city. From a library with spiritual books to volunteering activities in the community, it’s a community-style hostel that feeds your soul as well as your curiosity, when you visit New York.

Book here!

12. The Local NY

The Local NY Image by:

What’s more iconic than the Manhattan skyline? Well, at The Local NY’s amazing rooftop terrace, you can experience the most incredible views of the city while you relax with new friends and enjoy a drink or two.

Located in Long Island City, this hostel is over the water from Manhattan, but it’s only around the corner from the E Stop train which goes directly into the heart of Midtown.

The hostel itself is bustling with activities, with the super friendly staff putting on events like stand-up shows, open mic nights, quizzes, and even wine or beer-tasting nights from local stores and breweries!

If you’re not super bothered about staying in Manhattan itself and you want a hostel that’s beautiful, modern, and has a social feel to it, there’s going to be no better place than The Local NY.

Book here!

Frequently Asked Questions

With all these great hostels in New York to stay in, you really have your pick of the bunch! So, let’s round off this guide with a few frequently asked questions!

Are hostels in NYC worth staying in?

Yes, hostels in New York City are absolutely worth staying in! With New York being so expensive, it can be difficult to visit this amazing city on a budget. Hostels offer a great way to stay in prominent locations in the city without spending a fortune.

Another great thing about staying in a hostel in New York is that you can meet people really easily. It’s a huge city and that can sometimes be intimidating, so finding new friends to explore New York with is a massive bonus!

How much are hostels in New York?

Honestly, the price of a hostel in New York depends on a few things. These include the time of year, the room selection, and the location of your hostel. If you’re traveling in March, prices are going to be cheaper than if you visit during the Christmas period. Similarly, if you’re booking a private ensuite room, it’s going to be more expensive than a bed in a 12-bed dorm with a shared bathroom.

So. there are a lot of variables that go into the price of a hostel in New York. You can get beds in a dorm for as low as around $35, but on average you’re looking around $80 per person per night. Obviously, if you’re going for a private room this is going to be more and sit at around $130 per night, but when hotel averages sit between $300-500, you’re saving a ton of money!

Which is the best area to stay in New York?

For first time visitors to the Big Apple, we’d recommend finding a hostel near Midtown. This brings you close to all the major sights, including Times Square, the Empire State, and you’re not a million miles away from Central Park.

That being said, this is a pretty touristy part of the city, so if you want to feel more like a local head further north to Harlem or jump over the water to Brooklyn or Long Island. This way you’ll get more for your money, have a more authentic experience, but will still be able to reach the touristy spots on the subway.

About The Author

Lewis Ogden

Lewis Ogden is a UK-based entrepreneur, travel enthusiast, dad, husband, and the founder and owner of WayToStay. He started his blog to share his own travel experiences and provide free EPIC travel guides. He caught the travel bug back in 2009 on a trip to Italy with his wife and has visited many different countries each year since. In 2018 he took an island-hopping trip to Greece (who doesn't love Greek food!) and loved the experience which made him eager to explore the rest of Europe!

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Lewis Ogden

Lewis Ogden

Lewis Ogden is a UK-based entrepreneur, travel enthusiast, dad, husband, and the founder and owner of WayToStay. He started his blog to share his own travel experiences and provide free EPIC travel guides. He caught the travel bug back in 2009 on a trip to Italy with his wife and has visited many different countries each year since. In 2018 he took an island-hopping trip to Greece (who doesn't love Greek food!) and loved the experience which made him eager to explore the rest of Europe!

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