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 researched up and coming neighborhoods in Manhattan for you, so you don’t have to (and by the way of introduction, we’re Bellhop—your friendly New York City movers). We’ve examined what it’s like living in each of these highlighted neighborhoods and created in-depth guides with insider scoops on close-by, popular destinations. Soon, you’ll be living like a local. 

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A Little About Manhattan and its Neighborhoods

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. 

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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, you’re diving in and exploring 3 of the best neighborhoods in Manhattan. If you’re hoping to make a good investment, we’ve found the best Manhattan spots where you can make a lot. 

Financial District

Appropriately named, this area of NYC is home to many of the city’s financial institutions like the Federal Reserve Bank and the New York Stock Exchange. The Financial District also holds well-known landmarks like the One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial.

Within the past few years, this district has been transforming into a residential-friendly neighborhood, with close to 30,000 New Yorkers calling it home. This district is one of the hottest ‘hoods in all of NYC. Highly popular restaurants and shops are finding spaces here and there to open second locations. Young professionals fight to find rental spaces. 

The area is an excellent spot if you want to be close to every mode of transit NYC offers. And sitting smack dab in the heart of the city, the Financial District is the quintessential New York neighborhood, densely populated within the Manhattan borough.

What’s Happening in the Financial District

If you can believe it, they’re still squeezing new construction and developments into this tightly-packed Downtown Manhattan neighborhood. Hundreds of new units and rental apartments are underway along the southern edge of Manhattan as well as on Platt, Broad, and Dutch Streets. 

The Financial District is also seeing some big updates to their dining scene. Already an incredible drinking and dining hub, pulsing with the energy of world-class chefs, Pier 17 has several new additions, like The Fulton seafood restaurant. David Chang—known for his Momofuku Noodle Bar—opened Bar Wayō here. And fresh farm-to-table dishes are served at the new Malibu Farm. 

Schools in the Financial District

Schools in the area include Leman Manhattan Preparatory School, Blue School, and Stuyvesant High School among others. 

Homes in the Financial District

Housing in the Financial District doesn’t come cheap. Expect to lay down a few (um, like four) thousand dollars each month for your one-bedroom rent. 

Washington Heights

Washington Heights is home to a thriving immigrant community. The neighborhood has an especially large Dominican population, giving it the nickname ‘Little Dominican Republic.’ Hilly Washington Heights sits on the northern end of Manhattan. While new housing and businesses are starting to move in, the area is still relatively affordable. 

What’s Happening in Washington Heights

This area of Northern Manhattan is home to one of the city’s most fascinating attractions: the Met Cloisters, which houses medieval art, tapestries, stained glass, and lush gardens. You’ll also find a wealth of nightlife hubs, dining spots, and mom-and-pop operations. Latin cuisine and drinks flow plentifully in Washington Heights streets. 

The nearby Fort Tryon Park offers 67 acres of paths, basketball courts, playgrounds, and the largest dog run in Manhattan. During a visit, be sure to check out the many historical sites as well, like LIttle Red Lighthouse or the High Bridge Water Tower. 

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Schools near Washington Heights

This area of Manhattan is home to several highly-rated public, private, and charter schools including Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School, KIPP Washington Heights Elementary and Middle School, and Gregorio Luperon High School for Science and Mathematics, among others.

Homes near Washington Heights

Washington Heights is packed with apartments. You can find chic and modern spots next door to character-rich older apartments. Much more affordable than other Manhattan hoods,  3-bedroom apartments can be found for as little as $1600/month. Condos sell for as little as $150K, and beautiful multi-family homes reach all the way up to $3-million.

Lower East Side

This rowdy and spirited neighborhood has a reputation for being ahead of the curve. While you shouldn’t expect a quiet-residential neighborhood, the free-spirit feel of this diverse and welcoming community will have you head over heels for LES in no time. 

While forward-thinking, LES has long-standing historic roots. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the area was the stomping grounds for European immigrants and a strong Jewish population. Affordable older apartments sit amidst a few newer luxury high-rise buildings. 

Today, the area is known for its booming bar and club scene and eclectic identity. We love the area for its unpretentious attitude. As the neighborhood has caught more attention in recent years, prices here have started to crawl higher. But there are still plenty of affordable spots compared to other awesome neighborhoods in NYC.

What’s Happening in Lower East Side

Full of live music and packed with local restaurants, this affordable neighborhood is made for tunies and foodies. In the Lower East Side, you can expect some of the best nightlife, dining, and entertainment in Manhattan. 

During the day, LES is a little quieter. It’s a great time to explore the pathway along the East River with a walk, bike ride, or even a fishing session. By the evening, the pace starts to pick up. 

Trendy restaurants like Ivan Ramen, Mission Cantina, Beauty, Dirty French, and Essex fill up with locals looking to fill up before the night’s activities begin. 

By nightfall, local powerhouse spots for rock, punk, folk, and rap like Cake Shop, Pianos, and the Living room start to spill over with visitors. Hole-in-the-wall dive bars and massive clubs all fill up with LES locals. 

Schools near Lower East Side

Lower East Side offers a cluster of highly-rated schools, including Lower East Side Preparatory High School, Bard High School Early College, P.S. 110, Girls Prep Lower East Side Elementary Charter School, Brearley School, East Village Community School, and Manhattan Charter School, among others. 

Homes near Lower East Side

On the Lower East Side, condos and apartments rule housing. Here, you’ll find beautifully clean and minimal condos sell for $450K and luxury condos sell for over $7-million. Hundreds of apartments are available, from smalls studios at $2K/month to stunning 2-bedroom spots with prices from $2500/month to $16K.

Up and Coming Neighborhoods in Manhattan Bellhop Blog

There you have it: The 3 Best Neighborhoods in Manhattan!

We hope this guide to the best neighborhoods in Manhattan was helpful, and if you decide to take the plunge, don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends here at Bellhop.

Still have questions? Check out our guide on family-friendly neighborhoods in Manhattan.. As we said, we coordinate local and long-distance moving services in NYC, and we would love to help.

Harrison Stevens