13 Safest Areas to stay in New York City for tourists (and Where to avoid)

What are the safest areas to stay in New York City? Are there areas to avoid in New York City? In this post, I will help you to find the Safest areas to stay in New York City for tourists and the best places to stay in New York City for all budgets.

New York City, often referred to as NYC, is one of the most iconic and populous cities in the United States. It is located in the state of New York in the northeastern part of

NYC encompasses five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island. Each borough has its own unique character and attractions.

The city is home to numerous famous landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Central Park, Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, and the One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower).

Broadway, located in Manhattan, is known worldwide for its theater productions. It’s the hub of American theater, featuring numerous plays, musicals, and performances.

NYC boasts world-class museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the American Museum of Natural History, and the Guggenheim Museum.

The city has an extensive public transportation system, including the subway, buses, and taxis. It’s one of the few American cities where many residents don’t own cars.

Despite its urban nature, NYC offers plenty of green spaces, with Central Park being the most famous. Other parks include Prospect Park in Brooklyn and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens.

Is New York City safe for tourists?

New York City is generally a safe place for tourists, and most areas are perfectly fine for visitors. It’s essential to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings no matter where you are in the city. 

Here are some factors to consider:

Tourist Areas: 

Popular tourist areas like Times Square, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty are heavily patrolled by police and are generally safe for tourists.

Crime Rates: 

New York City has seen a significant decrease in crime rates over the years, but like any major city, it still has some crime. 

Petty theft, pickpocketing, and scams can occur in crowded places, so it’s important to stay vigilant, especially in tourist-heavy areas.


Different neighborhoods have different safety profiles. Some areas, like Midtown Manhattan and many parts of Brooklyn, are generally safe for tourists. 

However, it’s a good idea to research specific neighborhoods you plan to visit and check for any recent safety updates.

Public Transportation: 

The city’s public transportation system, including subways and buses, is generally safe, but it’s advisable to be cautious, especially late at night. Stick to well-lit and populated areas when using public transport.

Weather and Seasons: 

Weather can affect safety. Winters in New York City can be icy and sidewalks can become slippery. Be cautious when walking in snowy or icy conditions.

Common-sense safety practices like not displaying expensive items, securing your belongings, and being aware of your surroundings apply in any urban area.

What are the safest areas to stay in New York City?

The safest areas to stay in New York City for tourists are the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Midtown Manhattan, Battery Park City, Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg, Park Slope, Astoria, Harlem, Tribeca, SoHo, Chelsea, and Greenwich Village.

The Upper East Side, Upper West Side, and Midtown Manhattan are the safest areas to stay in New York City for first-time visitors. While these neighborhoods tend to have lower crime rates, it’s essential to exercise common-sense safety precautions wherever you are in New York City.

SoHo, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, Battery Park City, and Tribeca are the safest places to stay in Lower Manhattan NYC. They are also well-connected and offer a range of attractions for tourists.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights, and Park Slope are safest neighborhoods to stay in Brooklyn NYC, offering a more relaxed vibe compared to Manhattan.  

Use common sense, and you should have a safe and enjoyable visit to New York City. Additionally, consider staying in reputable hotels and accommodations to enhance your safety.

Map of the safest areas and neighborhoods in NYC for tourists:

Map of Best Areas to Stay in New York for first-time tourists
Map of Best Areas to Stay in New York for first-time tourists

What areas to avoid staying in New York City?

Here are some areas that some people might recommend avoiding or taking extra precautions in:

South Bronx: 

The South Bronx has seen significant improvements in recent years, some parts are still known for higher crime rates. It’s a good idea to research specific neighborhoods within the South Bronx before deciding to stay there.

East New York, Brooklyn: 

This neighborhood in Brooklyn has had a higher crime rate historically, but it’s also been undergoing revitalization efforts. Exercise caution, especially at night.

Brownsville, Brooklyn: 

Brownsville has a reputation for higher crime rates, and tourists are advised to be cautious in this area.

East Harlem: 

While East Harlem has seen improvements, some parts may still be less safe compared to other neighborhoods in Manhattan. It’s advisable to research the specific location before staying there.

Certain Parts of Staten Island: 

While most of Staten Island is safe, some isolated neighborhoods may have higher crime rates. It’s best to check local crime statistics and reviews before booking accommodations.

Meatpacking District and Chelsea at Night: 

While these areas are generally safe during the day, late at night, they can become rowdy due to the presence of bars and clubs. Exercise caution if you’re out late.

Times Square at Night: 

While Times Square is a popular tourist destination, it can get crowded and noisy at night. Be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded places.

Safest Areas to stay in New York City for tourists
Safest Areas to stay in New York City for tourists
Safest Areas to stay in New York City for tourists
Safest Areas to stay in New York City for tourists

The safest areas to stay in New York City for tourists are:

1. Upper East Side

The Upper East Side is one of Manhattan’s most prestigious and desirable neighborhoods, known for its affluence, cultural attractions, and safety. It’s a popular area for tourists and residents alike.

The Upper East Side is generally considered safe for tourists. It has a low crime rate, and it’s well-patrolled by the NYPD (New York City Police Department). Like in any urban area, it’s still important to  be aware of your surroundings, avoid poorly lit areas at night, and keep an eye on your belongings.

The Upper East Side offers a wide range of cultural attractions, including world-famous museums like the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Central Park‘s eastern edge is also easily accessible, providing opportunities for outdoor activities and relaxation.

The neighborhood boasts upscale shopping along Madison Avenue and designer boutiques. It’s a great place for shopping enthusiasts. You’ll also find a variety of dining options, from high-end restaurants to cozy cafes. It is known for its diverse culinary scene.

Many upscale residential buildings and townhouses line the streets of the Upper East Side. It’s a quieter and more residential part of Manhattan, making it a comfortable place to stay.

The Upper East Side is well-connected to other parts of the city via public transportation, including numerous MTA buses and subway stations in the area.

Overall, the Upper East Side is a safe and central area for tourists, offering a mix of cultural, dining, and shopping experiences, as well as easy access to other parts of Manhattan and the city’s attractions.

Best places to stay in New York City in Upper East Side:


2. Upper West Side

The Upper West Side is a popular and highly regarded neighborhood in Manhattan, known for its safety, cultural attractions, and residential charm. 

The Upper West Side is considered one of the safest neighborhoods in Manhattan. It has a reputation for being family-friendly and is often chosen by residents and tourists alike for its sense of security. But, as in any urban area, it’s still essential to exercise standard safety precautions.

The Upper West Side is home to several significant cultural attractions. The American Museum of Natural History, with its iconic dinosaur exhibits, is a must-visit. 

You’ll also find the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, which hosts opera, ballet, theater, and musical performances.

The neighborhood’s western boundary is Central Park, providing residents and visitors with easy access to the park’s green spaces, walking paths, and recreational facilities.

The Upper West Side has a wide variety of restaurants, cafes, and shops, ranging from casual eateries to upscale dining. There are also numerous grocery stores, making it convenient for residents.

It’s a predominantly residential area with tree-lined streets and elegant pre-war buildings. The neighborhood offers a mix of housing options, including apartments and brownstones.

The Upper West Side has excellent public transportation options, with subway lines and bus routes providing easy access to other parts of Manhattan and the city.

Overall, the Upper West Side is a safe, vibrant, and central area for tourists and first-time travelers. Whether you’re interested in exploring its cultural institutions, enjoying the greenery of Central Park, or savoring its dining scene, the Upper West Side has something to offer for everyone.

Best places to stay in New York City in Upper West Side:


3. Midtown Manhattan

Midtown Manhattan is the heart of the city and is one of the best areas to stay in NYC for first-time tourists. It is home to many iconic landmarks such as Times Square, Broadway, and Rockefeller Center.  

Midtown is an overall safe area for tourists. It’s heavily patrolled by the NYPD, and there is a significant presence of both law enforcement and security personnel in this commercial and tourist-centric area. As with any urban area, it’s essential to be vigilant about your belongings and surroundings.

Midtown Manhattan is home to numerous world-famous landmarks and attractions. Times Square, also known as “The Crossroads of the World,” is famous for its bright lights, Broadway theaters, and lively atmosphere.

You can also find the Rockefeller Center, an iconic complex including the Radio City Music Hall, Top of the Rock Observation Deck, and the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.

There is the Empire State Building, one of the most recognizable skyscrapers globally, it offers breathtaking views from its observation deck.

Art lovers can visit the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), renowned for its exceptional collection of modern and contemporary art.

The Grand Central Terminal is a historic transportation hub known for its stunning architecture and unique celestial mural on the ceiling.

A green oasis in the midst of Midtown, Bryant Park, offering public events, a seasonal ice skating rink, and a beautiful lawn area.

Midtown Manhattan is a shopper’s paradise, with famous shopping districts such as Fifth Avenue, which features flagship stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany & Co. Additionally, there are numerous high-end boutiques and department stores like Macy’s Herald Square.

The neighborhood is well-connected to the rest of the city through its extensive subway lines and bus routes, making it easy to explore other parts of Manhattan and beyond.

Overall, Midtown Manhattan is a vibrant, dynamic, and central part of the city, making it a popular choice for tourists. It offers a mix of cultural, entertainment, shopping, and dining experiences, making it a hub of activity and a must-visit destination for many visitors to New York City.

Best places to stay in New York City in Midtown Manhattan:


4. Battery Park City

Battery Park City is a unique and relatively modern neighborhood located on the southern tip of Manhattan. It’s known for its waterfront location, green spaces, safety, and proximity to several attractions. 

Battery Park City is considered one of the safest neighborhoods in Manhattan. It has a reputation for being well-patrolled, and its low crime rate makes it an attractive area for both residents and tourists.

One of the standout features of Battery Park City is its waterfront location along the Hudson River. This provides stunning views of the river and New Jersey’s skyline, as well as opportunities for recreational activities and leisurely walks along the esplanade.

The neighborhood is home to several parks and green spaces, including Battery Park, Teardrop Park, and Rockefeller Park. These provide serene areas to relax, play, and enjoy the outdoors.

Battery Park City is within walking distance of several cultural attractions, such as the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Skyscraper Museum. It’s also near the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center site.

While it has a primarily residential character, Battery Park City features modern high-rise buildings, luxury apartments, and condominiums with impressive amenities. The neighborhood’s design incorporates sustainable and eco-friendly elements.

Battery Park, located at the southern tip of Manhattan, is a historic park that offers green space, walking paths, gardens, and beautiful waterfront views. The park is also the departure point for ferries to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

The neighborhood is well-connected to subway lines and buses. The nearby World Trade Center Transportation Hub provides access to multiple subway lines, making it easy to explore other attractions.

Battery Park City is a tranquil and scenic area that offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of other parts of Manhattan. It’s a great choice for tourists looking for a safe, modern, and waterfront experience while still being conveniently located near key attractions and transportation options.

Best places to stay in New York City in Battery Park City:


5. Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Heights is a charming and historic neighborhood located in the borough of Brooklyn, just across the East River from Manhattan. It is known for its picturesque streets, historical significance, safety, and proximity to both Manhattan and a variety of amenities.

Brooklyn Heights is generally considered a safe neighborhood for tourists and residents. It has a reputation for being a peaceful and well-maintained community.

The neighborhood is famous for its tree-lined streets, historic brownstone buildings, and preserved 19th-century architecture. It offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modern amenities.

The Brooklyn Heights Promenade, also known as the Esplanade, offers breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty. It’s a popular spot to enjoy scenic walks.

Brooklyn Heights is home to the Brooklyn Historical Society, which showcases the history of the borough, and the St. Ann’s Warehouse, a renowned performing arts venue.

Located nearby, Brooklyn Bridge Park offers a beautiful waterfront space with recreational areas, walking paths, picnic areas, and stunning views of the East River and Manhattan.

Brooklyn Heights is just one subway stop away from Lower Manhattan, making it a convenient base for exploring both Brooklyn and Manhattan. The neighborhood provides a quieter and more residential alternative to staying in the heart of Manhattan.

The neighborhood is well-connected to public transportation, with multiple subway lines serving the area. The Brooklyn Heights-Cobble Hill Historic District is also well-served by bus routes.

Nearby neighborhoods like Cobble Hill and DUMBO offer additional dining, shopping, and cultural options, making it easy to explore the broader Brooklyn area.

Overall, Brooklyn Heights is a lovely, safe, and historically rich neighborhood that appeals to tourists looking for a more relaxed and residential atmosphere while still having easy access to the attractions and amenities of both Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Best places to stay in New York City in Brooklyn Heights:


6. Williamsburg

Williamsburg is a dynamic and trendy neighborhood located in Brooklyn. It has become a popular destination for its artsy vibe, restaurants, and nightlife. It’s generally safe but can get crowded on weekends.

The Williamsburg Bridge connects to Manhattan’s Lower East Side. It is also well-connected to several subway lines and bus routes. The L train, in particular, provides direct access to Manhattan.

Williamsburg is known for its street art, galleries, and live music venues. Places like the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center showcase local talent and host various cultural events.

The area is famous for its diverse and thriving food scene. From upscale restaurants to food trucks and everything in between, the neighborhood offers a wide range of culinary options. 

Additionally, it has a vibrant nightlife with bars, breweries, and music venues hosting live performances.

You can find unique boutiques, vintage stores, and independent shops here. Bedford Avenue is a central shopping area, offering a variety of fashion, jewelry, and home decor stores.

The Williamsburg waterfront along the East River is home to beautiful parks such as Domino Park, offering green spaces, playgrounds, and stunning views of Manhattan.

Williamsburg has gained a reputation for its hipster culture, characterized by alternative fashion, creativity, and a focus on the arts. The neighborhood has a relaxed and trendy atmosphere.

There are several markets in Williamsburg, such as Smorgasburg and Artists & Fleas, where you can sample local foods, shop for unique crafts, and enjoy a lively atmosphere.

Overall, Williamsburg is a popular destination for tourists seeking a lively cultural experience, great food, and artistic expression.

Best places to stay in New York City in Williamsburg:


7. Park Slope

Park Slope is a family-friendly neighborhood known for its tree-lined streets and brownstone homes. It’s generally considered safe for tourists, with a relaxed atmosphere. But, as with any area, it’s essential to stay aware of your surroundings.

Park Slope is primarily a residential neighborhood located in western Brooklyn, just south of Prospect Park, one of the largest and most famous parks in New York City. It is bordered by Gowanus, Prospect Heights, and Windsor Terrace.

The area’s proximity to Prospect Park is one of its major attractions. This large urban park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux offers outdoor activities, including jogging, cycling, picnicking, and enjoying cultural events at the Prospect Park Bandshell.

It is home to numerous restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops. Fifth Avenue and Seventh Avenue are two of the main commercial corridors in the neighborhood.

The neighborhood has good transportation options. The F, G, and R subway lines provide easy access to other parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Best places to stay in New York City in Park Slope:


8. Astoria

Astoria is a diverse neighborhood known for its excellent food scene. It’s typically safe for tourists, with a vibrant atmosphere. Just like any urban area, remain vigilant, especially at night.

Astoria is situated in the northwestern part of Queens, along the East River, across from Manhattan’s Upper East Side. It is conveniently located, with easy access to Manhattan via the Queensboro Bridge and several subway lines.

Astoria is home to the Museum of the Moving Image, which explores the history of film, television, and digital media. The Kaufman Astoria Studios, a historic film and television production facility, is also located here.

The neighborhood has a wide range of restaurants serving various cuisines, from Greek and Mediterranean to Italian, Middle Eastern, and more. Steinway Street and Ditmars Boulevard are two popular areas with numerous dining options.

Astoria Park is a large, beautiful green space along the waterfront, offering stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. It features a swimming pool, tennis courts, playgrounds, and walking paths, making it a popular spot for outdoor activities and relaxation.

Astoria is well-connected to the rest of New York City. The N, W, and R subway lines serve the neighborhood, providing quick access to Manhattan and other parts of Queens.

Best places to stay in New York City in Astoria:

9. Harlem

Harlem has experienced significant gentrification and improvement in safety over the years. While it’s generally safe, some areas may be less safe than others, particularly late at night. Stick to well-lit, busy areas, and be aware of your surroundings.

Harlem is a historic neighborhood located in the northern part of Manhattan. It has a rich cultural and historical significance and has played a prominent role in the development of African American culture and the Harlem Renaissance in the early 20th century.

Harlem’s history dates back to the Dutch colonial period when it was a rural village. It saw significant growth during the late 19th century with the construction of the elevated railway, which made it more accessible to the rest of Manhattan.

Harlem is home to the Apollo Theater, where many famous artists, such as Ella Fitzgerald and James Brown, launched their careers. The Studio Museum in Harlem showcases African American art and culture.

Harlem offers a wide range of dining options, from soul food to Ethiopian cuisine. Sylvia’s Restaurant, famous for its soul food, is a well-known establishment.

Best places to stay in New York City in Harlem:


10. Tribeca

Tribeca is a trendy and upscale neighborhood and is generally considered safe for tourists. It’s known for its luxury apartments and quiet streets. As always, exercise common sense regarding personal safety.

Tribeca, short for “Triangle Below Canal Street,” is located in the southwestern part of Manhattan, bounded by Canal Street, West Street, Broadway, and Vesey Street. It is adjacent to SoHo, Chinatown, and the Financial District.

Some of the streets in Tribeca still have cobblestone paving, which adds to its charming and old-world ambiance.

Tribeca is home to the Tribeca Film Festival, one of the most prominent film festivals in the world. It has also attracted a thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries, theaters, and cultural institutions.

While not known for its large parks, Tribeca has several small parks and playgrounds, such as Washington Market Park, offering green spaces for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Best places to stay in New York City in Tribeca:


11. SoHo

SoHo, which stands for “South of Houston Street,” is a trendy neighborhood known for its shopping and arts scene. It’s relatively safe, particularly during the day. Like other Manhattan neighborhoods, be cautious at night, and keep an eye on your belongings.

SoHo has long been a hub for artists and art enthusiasts. You’ll find numerous art galleries showcasing contemporary and modern art. Many of these galleries participate in the monthly “SoHo Art Walk.”

The SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District is a designated historic district recognized for its distinctive architecture. It’s a great place for a leisurely stroll to admire the beautiful buildings.

While SoHo is not primarily known for its museums, it is home to a few interesting ones, such as the Drawing Center, which focuses on contemporary and historical drawing practices.

SoHo is conveniently located in Manhattan. Its central location also means it’s not far from other popular areas like Greenwich Village, Little Italy, and Chinatown.

Best places to stay in New York City in SoHo:


12. Chelsea

Chelsea is a vibrant neighborhood with art galleries and the High Line park. It’s generally safe, but like other parts of the city, be mindful of your surroundings.

Chelsea is located on the west side of the borough of Manhattan and is a hub for contemporary art in New York City. The neighborhood is home to the Chelsea Art District, where you can find a wide range of galleries showcasing works by both established and emerging artists.

The High Line is an elevated linear park built on an old railway track that runs through Chelsea. It offers a unique and scenic urban green space with gardens, art installations, and beautiful views of the city.

Chelsea Market is a popular indoor food and retail complex housed in a historic factory building. It offers a wide variety of gourmet food stalls, shops, and restaurants, making it a great place to explore and enjoy delicious cuisine.

The Rubin Museum of Art focuses on the art and culture of the Himalayas, India, and adjacent regions. It features an impressive collection of Himalayan art, exhibitions, and cultural programs.

Chelsea Piers is a sports and entertainment complex along the Hudson River that offers golf, ice skating, bowling, and more. It’s a great place for sports enthusiasts and families.

Chelsea has a significant LGBTQ+ population and is known for its LGBTQ+ friendly atmosphere. The Stonewall Inn, a historic LGBTQ+ bar and site of the 1969 Stonewall riots, is nearby in the West Village.

Best places to stay in New York City in Chelsea:


13. Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village is a historic and lively neighborhood. It’s considered safe for tourists, with a mix of shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions. Still, exercise standard precautions.

Greenwich Village, often simply referred to as “The Village,” was originally settled by the Dutch in the 17th century and has played a significant role in various cultural and political movements throughout American history. In the 20th century, it became a center for artistic and countercultural movements.

The Village has been home to many famous artists, writers, musicians, and performers over the years. It was a hub for the Beat Generation in the 1950s and the folk music revival of the 1960s. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Allen Ginsberg are just a few of the notable figures associated with the neighborhood.

The Village is famous for its café culture. Cafes like Cafe Wha?, The Village Vanguard, and the White Horse Tavern have been gathering places for artists and intellectuals for decades.

Washington Square Park is a central feature of Greenwich Village. It’s known for its historic arch, which is a symbol of the neighborhood. The park is a gathering place for musicians, performers, and locals.

New York University (NYU) has a major presence in the neighborhood, with many of its academic buildings and student residences located in and around Greenwich Village.

Greenwich Village played a pivotal role in the early days of the LGBTQ+ rights movement. The Stonewall Inn, located in the Village, is considered the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement after the Stonewall riots in 1969.

The Village hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, including the Halloween Parade, which is one of the city’s most famous Halloween celebrations.

Best places to stay in New York City in Greenwich Village:


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In conclusion, the best and safest places to stay in New York City for tourists are the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Midtown Manhattan, Williamsburg, Tribeca, SoHo, Chelsea. It’s always important to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings no matter where you stay. 

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About Author: Linda Smith

I'm Linda Smith, the Hotel Expert, an experienced travel blogger who passionate about traveling. I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I cover a wide range of travel topics, specializing in sharing information about the best areas, neighborhoods, and hotels in each city. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

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