For many, visiting New York City is the stuff of faraway travel dreams, often tossed into the too-expensive basket by shoestring travelers.
Luckily, New York’s status as a demographically diverse melting pot (with a hearty pinch of starving artists) means there are options for just about everybody, even those who travel on a budget. You don’t even have to sleep on floors or flea-bitten mattresses.
Here are eight of the coolest places to stay in New York City without breaking the bank. More specifically, under $200 for two people.
1. No-Cliché Chic at citizenM
We all know Times Square can get a touch crowded, and citizenM can show you how to live large in little spaces. This no-nonsense hotel, with “absolutely no trouser presses, bellboys, or other tired old hotel clichés,” has been designed with the home in mind: the idea that people spend less time in their rooms and instead hang out in communal areas.
Rooms are little, but luxe — boasting XL king beds, mood lighting, sound-proofed windows, and rainfall showers that will challenge guests not to step outside. But the lobby is too alluring to pass up, with plenty of couches, floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with books and magazines, and housewares that will trick you into thinking you’re in somebody’s living room.
The lobby is also a casual workspace with super-fast WiFi. Conveniently adjacent is canteenM, a 24/7 buffet where guests can enjoy breakfast, a range of flaky pastries, snacks, barista-made coffee, and cocktails. Upstairs, there’s a panoramic rooftop bar overlooking the skyline, which you can gaze at in awe of remembering exactly where in the world you are.
Prices start around $139 for two people.
2. Yotel Times Square for Tech Lovers
Inspired by Japanese capsule hotels, Yotel will excite anybody’s inner uber-geek. Pull yourself away from the luggage sorting robot in the lobby and encounter cabins with serious space travel vibes. Beds are motorized and can convert into sofas; smart walls feature flat-screen TVs, free WiFi, and iEverything connectivity, in case you somehow get sick of the view.
With its close proximity to some of NYC’s best theatres, Yotel offers up its own cabaret flair with Green Room 42, where revelers can eat, drink, and catch some warm-up entertainment before stepping out onto Broadway. Hungry guests can also try the Meditteranean-inspired Green Fig restaurant, super kawaii Komyuniti canteen, or over-imbibe on NYC’s largest outdoor terrace. If you’re ready to get out there (or just have time to kill before your flight home), spare yourself the late checkout fee and leave your bags with a NY luggage storage provider.
Prices start around $125 for two people.
3. Arlo SoHo for Artistic Souls
Who wants to stay in ‘60s Madison Avenue style without breaking the bank? Arlo SoHo is dapper as hell with its walnut wood and copious vinyl, and conveniently the most budget-friendly option in this list. Ideally located in central Manhattan, close to myriad hipster bars and bagel joints, and overflowing with cultural activities, this micro-boutique hotel will tempt the trendiest of travelers.
Guests must be sure to spend time in Arlo’s Library area, which transforms from co-working space during the day to communal hangout at night, complete with board games, throwback movies, and cocktail service. The A.R.T (Arlo RoofTop) presents people with a fantastic view over the Hudson River and Freedom Tower skyline – which they can then explore with the help of the hotel’s bicycle hire.
Finally, there’s Après Arlo, a mountain chalet-style courtyard lined with fir trees and twinkling lights to add a touch of winter magic to one’s evening. Visitors can indulge in rich foods and hot drinks in cozy cabins; try the “Top of the Mountain” toddy with whiskey, caramel, apple, and English breakfast tea, as well as a loaded pretzel from Harold’s.
Prices starting around $63 for two people.
4. Playtime at The Pod 39
It’s all fun and color at Murray Hill’s Pod 39. Your inner kidult will squeal at the sight of multicolored lanterns hanging from the bar, funky murals on the walls, and a dedicated “Playroom Lounge” for guests to drink cocktails and huddle over board games by the fire. The rooftop lounge and bar are zigzagged with fairy lights, almost fooling you into believing you were seeing fireflies.
Rooms are no less adorable, with a kid-sized price tag to match. Guests can opt for budget-friendly bunk rooms or upgrade to queen pods if they so choose. Pod 39 prides itself on stripping their rooms of “things that today’s travelers don’t even want,” designing instead for maximum fun and functionality with none of the fluff.
Prices start around $90 for twin bunk rooms.
5. Fabulosity at Freehand
Housed in the former George Washington Hotel, Freehand Hotel was once home to writers, musicians, and creatives. As one would expect from such a pedigree, this hip hotel hosts fitness and art classes, live music, pop-ups, a podcast studio, and more. Their Instagram feed can attest to the fabulosity you’ll experience upon staying here.
Freehand’s artistic intent is best embodied in its bedrooms. Rhythmic splashes of paint lend creative disarray to the otherwise neat-as-a-pin design. All rooms, from cozy bunks to full suites, are oozing with hygge, and promise to recharge any weary travelers’ batteries, no matter their budget.
Fully charged, guests are free to graze at Freehand’s Studio and Smile To Go cafes or peruse through The Shoppe that’s a part mini bar, part bodega, and sports a collection of American-made and -inspired items. Beyond the hotel, entrance is Manhattan’s Flatiron district with its range of taquerias, thrift shops, bistros, and bars that are begging to be explored.
Prices start around $189 for two people.
Brooklyn and Queens
6. BKLYN House in Bushwick
Another spot for culture lovers, BKLYN House Hotel features local artists on rotation and teams up with nearby businesses to supply coffee and other luxuries for its guests. Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood, while unremarkably urban in appearance, is home to artists, influencers, and local tastemakers; its best bars, eateries, and galleries are all close by.
What Bklyn House lacks in pomp, it makes up for with perks like complimentary breakfast and WiFi, day passes to local gyms, a fully-stocked work center for business travelers, and of course, all the art you care to look at. What’s more, it’s conveniently located near two subway lines, which will take you to Manhattan in around 20 minutes.
Prices start around $85 for two people.
7. Boro Hotel for Budget Bourgeois
Light, airy, and concrete chic, Boro is a pet-friendly hotel a few subway stops from Queens. It’s an attractive option for those who want to be near Manhattan, but with more space and without the hefty price tag. The hotel’s parallel positioning across the East River means the most famous skyline in the world is always on display, from the rooms to the rooftop bar.
Guests will feel immediately relaxed upon entering the lobby, with its glass walls and the wafting scent of fresh pastries and coffee. Its restaurant and bar, Beebe, offers Negronis on tap and a tantalizing menu of crispy pizzas and New York original-style pies. Suitably full and comfortable, travelers may offload their bags in a range of elegant rooms with killer views, step into a walk-in shower and bathrobes, before cozying up in Italian bedding.
Prices start around $139 for two people.
8. Collect Yourself at Collective Paper Factory
History enthusiasts will enjoy staying at the Collective Paper Factory in Long Island City. The former (you guessed it) paper factory is over 100 years old and has been bestowed new life while retaining much of its aesthetic industrial decorum. This pet-friendly, boutique hotel is a sight for sore eyes, with reclaimed wood ceilings, quirky repurposed furnishings, and a large metal printing press in the Den area.
Collective Paper Factory has been designed with longer stays in mind, boasting co-working and -living spaces, a gym, and rooms with kitchenettes. What’s more, rates get discounted the longer you extend your visit. Ideal for business trips, working holidays, slow travelers, and minimalists, CPF provides charm for all demographics.
Prices start around $129 for two people.
Never compromise on cool
We’re all for busting stereotypes, and happy to share our list of top budget-friendly NYC hotels that are not just comfortable, but cool to boot. Whether you’re in town for a quick weekend getaway or a longer business trip, you can surely find a sweet spot that won’t break the bank.