The Best Hostels in New York City | 2023

New York City is expensive enough. A cheap(ish) place to stay can go a long way towards your adventures through the city that never sleeps. Hostels are a great option for solo travelers who want to explore New York without breaking the bank. I’ve lived in New York for six years, and despite having traveled all over the world, still believe that it is the best city in the world. 

The United States may not be renowned for its hostel culture or being particularly backpacker-friendly, but there are quite a few options for backpackers and budget travelers throughout the city. Most hostel-goers in the U.S. are just in search of a cheap bed to lay their head at night, but there are still plenty of opportunities to meet your fellow travelers. Here are the best hostels in New York City.

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Freehand New York – Manhattan (Flatiron District)

Freehand hostels is the best hostel chain in the United States. Granted, they don’t have a lot of competition just yet, but Freehand has consistently impressed me. They’ve recently opened their property in New York City, and it is fantastic. Freehand is just two blocks away from bustling 5th Avenue, but also well-connected to the rest of the city through the nearby Subway station. Freehand New York is located in the Flatiron neighborhood of Manhattan, and an excellent option for both solo travelers and groups of friends. It is on the higher-end inn terms of price, but as a backpacker, it’s as close to luxury as you can get for an affordable price.

HI NYC Hostel – Manhattan (Central Park)

Hostelling International is one of the most tried-and-true chains of hostels in the world. You know to expect quality when booking an HI Hostel. Their location in New York City is no different. It’s located just a few blocks away from Central Park, so keep in mind that you will be a bit further away from the bustling heart of Manhattan. I mean, you’re never too far from the action when it comes to New York City. In this area, you’ll be within walking distance to a number of great museums, like the Guggenheim, the Met, and the Natural History Museum. Of course, you’re right next to Central Park, and it’s easy to connect to the rest of the city through the Subway, with the closest station just being a block away.

HI NYC Hostel is a great budget-friendly option, with shared dorms starting at around $50. It also has a huge common kitchen for guests to use, so they can save further money if eating out at NYC prices doesn’t all sound that appealing.

Chelsea International Hostel – Manhattan (Chelsea)

As the name suggests, you’ll find this budget-friendly hostel in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. The location of this hostel is the main draw, since you’re within walking distance or a quick Subway ride away from anywhere you’d want to go. For its location and budget, it’s hard to beat. However, it does lack much hostel atmosphere and serves mostly as a place to rest your head, as opposed to a place to meet fellow travelers to adventure with.

The Local NYC – Long Island City

The Local NYC Hostel is a great option for travelers who might prefer to be away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. It’s located outside of Manhattan, in Long Island City, but close enough where you’re still able to adventure to the city at a moment’s notice. The Subway is just a few blocks away, so if you’re fine with taking public transport to and from the city, the location shouldn’t be an issue. Long Island City also offers quite a bit to keep you busy.

The property itself is beautiful, modern, and aesthetic. Oftentimes, staying at a hostel in New York means sacrificing luxury to stick to your budget. The Local NYC is a perfect balance of budget-friendly and staying at a property to be excited to come home to.

NY Moore Hostel – Brooklyn

Most first-time visitors to New York City will choose to stay in Manhattan. However, Brooklyn is definitely a favorite for return visitors. The NY Moore Hostel is located in East Williamsburg, a trendy up-and-coming neighborhood filled with bars, live music venues, boutiques, and restaurants. The NY Moore Hostel is one of the pricier hostels in New York, but take a look at their property and it’s easy to see why. The hostel is art, and very fitting of its location in Brooklyn, a hub for artists and creatives.

Shared dorms start at around $75 after tax, but if you’re willing to splurge a little for a great hostel, look no further than the NY Moore Hostel in Brooklyn.

Q4 Hotel – Long Island City

The Q4 Hotel is one of the most budget-friendly places to stay for travelers visiting New York. The shared dorms start at about $40 per night, less than half the price of some of the other hostels on this list. That price does come with a catch, though, as you’ll be further outside the city and the hostel is a bit more on the basic side. However, if you’re just looking for a place to rest your head at night, the Q4 Hotel is an excellent option. It’s just one block away from a Subway station that passes through all of Manhattan. Wherever your heart desires to explore, the Q4 Hotel makes it easy and convenient to get there.

American Dream Hostel – Manhattan (Flatiron District)

Although American Dream Hostel has “hostel” in their name, it’s more of a bed and breakfast than a hostel. There aren’t shared dorms, but the private rooms here are some of the more affordable that you’ll find in Manhattan. American Dream Hostel, located in the Flatiron District close to Gramercy Park, is a great budget-friendly option for couples or a small group of friends traveling.

To view all hostels in New York City, check them out on Hostelworld.

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