New York City is home to more than eight million people, all of whom cohabitate in a fairly small physical area. There are a lot of apartments, townhouses, and even some detached single-family dwellings in New York, and many of them are available for extended vacation rentals of a week or more. Whether you’re looking for cheap weekly apartment rentals in NYC or you want to splash out on a luxurious Manhattan vacation apartment with incredible views, you’ll have plenty of options to consider. The key to finding the right place is to consider what your goals are before you make your reservation.
Zero in on the Neighborhood
Before you start looking for a vacation rental in the big city, it may be helpful to look at a map and understand not only where New York’s five boroughs are located but also where important spots like museums, parks, and transit hubs are located. This will make it much easier to choose a rental in the right part of town. First time to the city? Check out our complete first-timer travel guide to learn about all the must-see attractions in the Big Apple. Though New York is physically small, the sheer volume of people in the city, more than 27,000 per square mile, often means that getting from place to place is harder than you’d expect.
Brooklyn was originally a Dutch settlement, “Breuckelen”, and was founded in the 17th century. Nowadays, this neighborhood is the hipsters’ paradise, laden with a plethora of restaurants, coffee shops, and high-end boutiques. In 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was completed and gave way to quick access to the rest of the city, forever cementing the iconic neighborhood as one of the five boroughs.
Favorite local spot in Brooklyn: Especially for first-timers, Coney Island is an absolute must-do. Don’t forget to try one of the world-famous hotdogs from this truly iconic spot in the neighborhood.
Favorite thing to do in Brooklyn: Grab a cup of joe from Gorilla Coffee. Enjoy a plate of Pasta Carbonara or a tasty Osteria Calzone from Osteria Brooklyn. And if it’s time for a cocktail in this part of town, head over to Sweet Polly, a neighborhood favorite for cocktails and good times.
The first original settler to this area was thought to be Jonas Bronck, a Swedish immigrant who started a farm right on top of what is now Willis Avenue. The Bronx is now both a cultural and economic powerhouse of the city. It’s also a great spot to find a deal on your vacation rental. Looking to avoid hotels in the city? Check out this guide for some alternatives to consider.
Favorite local spot in The Bronx: Try a Dulce de Leche Latte at The Miles Coffee Bar. Enjoy a tasty NYC-style pizza at Zero Otto Nove. We love to recommend the Capticciosa pizza, topped with ham and mushrooms. And for cocktails, look no further than Charlie’s.
Favorite thing to do in The Bronx: Whether you’re traveling with the whole family or enjoying a trip on your own, The Bronx Zoo is world-famous because it’s home to over 4,000 animals! This makes it our top pick for the area.
Planning a trip with the whole family? Check out this list of other ideas for fun in the city with kids.
By far the most talked about and heard of the borough in the city, Manhattan is generally the trend-setter in most of the areas of the industry it participates in. Fashion, high-end restaurants, and boutiques line the street of this iconic borough. While it most certainly comes with a price tag, we’ve come up with a few tips for exploring this area on a budget. Click here for more cost-saving ideas in Manhattan.
Favorite local spot in Manhattan: Starting the day off with a cup of coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters is the way to begin here in Manhattan. If luxury is what you seek in dinner, plan ahead and get a reservation at Gabriel Kreuther, a French-German fusion restaurant with accolades for days. And no cocktail bar is as iconic in the US as Death & Co. Many people give this place credit for the now thriving cocktail renaissance in the States.
Favorite thing to do in Manhattan: While it’s hard to only choose one, we think nothing is as iconic as a walk through Central Park. Manhattan is also home to the Empire State Building.
Once a tough part of town, this borough originally got its name from the Queen of England, Catherine of Braganza in the mid-1600s. And today, it’s full of restaurants, industry, and amusement. Queens is the best neighborhood to find high-rise apartments in. You can also score deals on some of the most picturesque homes here, too. For low-rise options, check out the eastern part of the borough.
Favorite local spot in Queens: For one of the most unique coffee experiences you can imagine, check out Expresso 77. For a local spot that’s been around for a while, check out Magna Ristorante. This joint has an unbelievable breakfast buffet, too. And finally, grab a drink from Dutch Kills Bar for some truly inventive cocktails.
Favorite thing to do in Queens: Take a stroll through the Museum of Modern Art PS1 (MoMA). Be sure to bring your vaccination card with you for admission.
Looking for some more things to do in this area. Check out our guide to planning a perfect NYC getaway.
Staten Island is known for its parks, museums, and historical buildings. Find great deals on condos and apartments in this area. If you’re traveling on a budget, this is definitely the cheaper of the five boroughs in general.
Favorite local spot in Staten Island: Start the day off on the right foot with a hot cup of coffee from Sips & Maker. Grab a juicy ribeye at Fig & Vine for dinner. And finally, close off the night with a tasty glass of whiskey from Tina’s Whiskey Tavern.
Favorite thing to do in Staten Island: We love recommending the Chinese Scholar’s Garden. Find some peace and quiet in the city that never sleeps and relax in this tranquil place.
From public transit delays to traffic jams and peak-season tourist crowds, optimizing your vacation rental location can be particularly important if you have specific goals in mind for your visit to the Big Apple. For example, if you want to hit all the major tourist attractions, like Times Square and the Statue of Liberty, it’s best that you find a vacation apartment rental in Midtown or Lower Manhattan rather than Brooklyn or the Bronx. If you want to see more off-the-beaten-path sights in New York, Harlem or Brooklyn may be better locales for your stay.
Still looking for more ideas on things to do in the Big Apple? Read through our top 15 picks for the whole city here.
When budget is an issue, it may make sense to look into New York’s outer boroughs. However, you’ll want to stay focused on your ideal activities itinerary and keep your distance in mind. For example, Staten Island is home to some of the city’s most affordable neighborhoods, but it’s a literal island that’s separated from the rest of New York by water.
Spending a full week on Staten Island would mean commuting to Manhattan and other parts of NYC by ferry, and while that might be fun for a day or two, it could become time-consuming over the course of an entire week. Queens, which is connected to the subway system and easily accessible by car, provides a good balance of affordability and access.
Looking for more ideas on how to see the city on a budget? Check out this complete guide to taking in all the sites on a budget.
The great thing about visiting New York for a full week is that you’ll never run out of sights to see, places to go, and amazing things to eat, even if you do end up in a relatively quiet corner of the city. One last tip for finding the right weeklong vacation rental is to check to see whether it has conveniences like air conditioning and an elevator. A single night in a 15th-floor walk-up apartment might not be so bad, but it’ll get old after a few days.
Plan your Trip
The Big Apple is by far one the most culture-packed cities in the US. You’ll have no shortage of things to do here. Ready to start planning your vacation to NYC? Head over to VacationRenter and start looking for the perfect vacation rental home for you and your fellow travelers!