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Moving to a new city is always challenging. And a large part of that challenge is looking for a place to live. There are so many things to consider when weighing your options-house styles, neighborhood safety, quality of schools, the convenience of location-it all can be quite overwhelming.
That’s why we’ve done the research for you, so you don’t have to (and by the way of introduction, we’re Bellhop — your friendly Manhattan movers).
We’ve examined what it’s like living in each of these family-friendly Manhattan neighborhoods and created in-depth guides with insider scoops on close-by, popular destinations. You can also review our “Best Places to Live in New York City” guide to learn more about living in Manhattan as well as other NYC boroughs such as Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and The Bronx. Soon, you’ll be living like a local.
Manhattan and Its 5 Best Neighborhoods for Families
It’s one thing to visit the Big Apple and explore the typical tourist spots. It’s another to live day-to-day on Manhattan’s busy streets. But locals have found that living in Manhattan is like finding out your favorite book is part of a long series. The excitement doesn’t end or wear off the longer you stay here — in fact, locals say it only gets better.
Manhattan changes faster than teenager moods. But regardless of all the development and differences, locals can always access anything they want or need within a few blocks. From necessities to luxuries, Manhattan locals have it all right around the corner.
Despite what tourists think, Manhattan residents are quite friendly, and it’s not uncommon for a stranger to start up a conversation with the person standing next to them in line. These neighborly locals have all claimed spots amidst Manhattan’s 53 distinct neighborhoods.
“The City That Never Sleeps” does have its calm moments. Although over 1.6-million people call Manhattan home, there are quiet corners where residents can be removed from the bustle and relax. And while outdoor space is at a premium in this shiny built-up city, nearly every corner of Manhattan has a safe, clean public park.
But the never-ceasing excitement is always just a block or two away. And, in our opinion, this quick-paced, anything-can-happen ambiance of Manhattan’s streets is its most magical and alluring quality.
So where should you put down roots? Which unique Manhattan neighborhood is the best for you? Below, we’re diving in and exploring 5 of Manhattan’s most family-friendly neighborhoods. If you’re hoping to find a safe spot, we’ve found the best Manhattan streets where you and your little ones can find a comfortable home.
Back in Manhattan, you’ll bump into NolIta, which has won a spot on many safe-neighborhoods-in-NYC lists. NoLIta (an acronym for “North of Little Italy”) combines the city’s densest Italian hub with the young, wealthy, and fashionable New York City designers and entrepreneurs.
The safety of this neighborhood stems from its long-term, close-knit residents. Everyone knows everyone, and old locals sit on their porch greeting passer-byers and monitoring the streets.
What’s Happening in NoLIta
Unlike some of the other neighborhoods on our list, NoLIta is buzzy with action. Its convenient subway that links to downtown and midtown allows young singles and commuting families to grow in the area.
Bordered by NoHo, the Bowery, and Little Italy, NoLIta is all about fusion. On the same night and within a few blocks, residents of NoLIta can have dinner in old-world Italy and grab a drink in a chic modern Manhattan bar.
Schools in NoLIta
NoLIta’s local high-rated schools include East New York Prep School, The Clinton School, and the neighborhood is served by top schools like Stuyvesant High School, Bronx High School of Science, and Townsend Harris High School.
Homes in NoLIta
This tiny neighborhood has transformed into an upscale, coveted area for city lovers looking for some safe streets. Luxury flats and a diverse dining scene sit side by side. If your family loves the upscale, you’ll happily fit into one of NoLIta’s many stunning condos.
Battery Park City
This lovely waterfront neighborhood has significantly lower rates of assault, theft, and homicide than the national average. It’s frequently rated as one of the best neighborhoods to raise a family in the city. Think quiet on the weekends, Michelin-starred French cuisine, farmers’ markets, and tennis courts. Oh, and Leonardo DiCaprio is often cited in the neighborhood.
Located against the Hudson River in Downtown Manhattan, Battery Park is a planned community. Properties here are beautiful but don’t have the historic character of some surrounding neighborhoods like Tribeca. However, if newer-built homes with chic, standard aesthetics and waterfront views are what you’re looking for, Battery Park should be a must-visit on your list.
What’s Happening in Battery Park City
Battery Park was developed strategically with a suburban feel. There are no subway stations in the neighborhood. Residents are smack dab in the middle of the city’s action, but the area is quiet enough that kids can ride bikes and scooters down the clean streets.
One-third of the neighborhood has been reserved for parkland. And on another side of the neighborhood, West Street acts as a border between it and Manhattan. Among its attractions is the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Irish Hunger Memorial. Major downtown destinations like the 9/11 Memorial and Trinity Church are nearby.
Visiting for the first time? Stop by and shop at the upscale Brookfield Place mall or take in the waterfront views while walking through Hudson River Park.
Schools in Battery Park City
Schools near Battery Park City include Battery Park Montessori, Battery Park City School, and Stuyvesant High School among others.
Homes in Battery Park City
Living in the area requires a sizable income, whether you’re planning on renting an apartment or buying a family-sized home. Currently, Battery Park’s median home value is right under $1M.
Upper East Side
Home to some of New York’s swankiest streets as well as down-to-earth spots like Yorkville, the Upper East Side is like two neighborhoods in one.
The area features gorgeous townhomes, the Mayor’s Mansion, and luxury shopping. And across the street, you’ll find casual eateries, families taking walks, dog parks, and sports bars. It’s a beautiful blend of what NYC has to offer—fame, wealth, fortune, and fun — all with nearby hubs like the East River Esplanade.
What’s Happening in Upper East Side
The seven world-class cultural institutions along Museum Mile deserve a day of your visit. Madison Avenue boasts of big-name designers and resale shops as well as every cuisine under the sun. For a longer list of this area’s many amenities, scroll through this helpful Upper East Side Guide.
Schools in Upper East Side
Schools in the area include Marymount School of New York, The Hewitt School, and The Dalton School among others.
Homes in Upper East Side
You can go big here and find a luxury, multi-million dollar home. But this area is also popular among families and new homeowners looking for something a little more affordable.
Thanks to its cost and inventory, Tribeca has a touch of exclusivity. This family-friendly neighborhood has one of the highest median rents of any neighborhood in Manhattan. Its chic buildings, grassy parks, and top-honor schools attract NYC’s wealthy families.
Tribeca has a lot of stroller traffic. Moms and dads gather in local playgrounds. Every major subway line is only steps away, so locals can grab a ride to Midtown. Located in lower Manhattan, Tribeca sits adjacent to the Hudson River. This neighborhood boasts of excellent schools, plenty of amenities, kid-friendly businesses, and numerous parks.
What’s Happening in Tribeca
NYC’s first residential community has changed a lot over the years. But signs of its past life remain. In Tribeca, you’ll find child-centered sports and activity venues like Asphalt Green, Gymboree, and NY Kids Club. Tribeca is also home to several arts and crafts venues and science-centered programs for all ages.
The local Hudson River Park’s Pier 25 has educational activities for kids and a mini-golf course. Just north of Tribeca, you’ll find the popular Children’s Museum of the Arts. The area is also home to the Tribeca Film Festival that runs a film series just for kids.
There are plenty of restaurants and specialty shops in the area. During a visit, try out the well-loved Odeon, which serves classy and comforting French-American dishes. Or stop into the gorgeous Maman Tribeca, complete with a full dining room, full-service bar, as well as a coffee and pastry to-go counter.
Schools near Tribeca
Tribeca is served by several top-performing public schools, including P.S. 234 and P.S. 150. The area has strong public elementary schools, like The Spruce Street School.
Homes in Tribeca
While rent and housing prices are higher than in other areas, everything you want is right at your fingertips. Expect to dish out $5K for a 2-bedroom apartment. It’s not uncommon for homes for sale in the area to reach into the $3-millions.
Harlem has been steadily rising on the list of best neighborhoods in NYC. Located on the far northern end of Manhattan, this neighborhood draws newcomers with its thriving cultural scene and strong community spirit. Slightly lower rent and more space is also a big plus in the Big Apple.
Harlem is quickly becoming one of the most popular places for young families to move. When you start to uncover all the amazing amenities in Harlem, you’ll see why families are venturing toward uptown. The area is known for its solid schools and kid-friendly local activities.
What’s Happening in Harlem
125th Street is bursting with shops, restaurants, and bistros. The shops and dining in Harlem display diverse cultures including Dominican, Ecuadorian, and African-American. Amidst all the action, you’ll find plenty of peaceful parks, sports activities, and kid-friendly favorites.
To the west of the neighborhood, there’s Riverbank State Park, a 28-acre, multi-level complex with an Olympic-size pool, carousel, playgrounds, and skating rinks. Harlem is also home to St. Nicholas Park, Marcus Garvey Park, Thomas Jefferson Park, Jackie Robinson Park, and the man-made Harlem Meer lake.
Locals of Harlem are within stone-throwing distance of incredible NYC attractions, like The Met Cloisters Museum. But the area is also packed with great eateries, like the family-friendly Dinosaur Bar-B-Que or the birthday-party-packed Harlem Shake.
On the weekends, let the kids wander through the galleries at the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling. Or find a fun reading club at the volunteer-run Word Up Bookstore.
Schools near Harlem
Three school districts cover Harlem: District 3 (South Harlem, 4 (East Harlem), and 5 (West Harlem). High-performing schools in the area include Central Park East I & II. Harlem is also home to several charter and private schools, including Success Academy, KIPP Infinity, Harlem Village Academy, and Harlem Academy.
Homes near Harlem
Slightly more affordable, locals can find 3-bedroom apartments for under $2500. Known for its beautiful brownstones and single-family homes, this neighborhood is full of charm and enough space to raise your kids.
There You Have It: 5 Family-Friendly Neighborhoods in Manhattan!
We hope this was helpful, and if you decide to take the plunge, don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends here at Bellhop. As we said, we coordinate local and long-distance moving services in NYC, and we would love to help.