Cheapest Places to Stay in New York City

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Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, New York City has the ability to suck away much of your hard-earned cash. With so much to do all day and night, some would rather not put much money toward a place to sleep. Fortunately, with a little research, New York has a range of eclectic and cheap accommodations to suit both your tastes as well as your budget. All prices and information are listed as of 2011.

Budget Hotels

  • Generally termed "discount" or "budget" hotels, New York City has a variety of hotels with single room rates under $100. Most of these hotels have few amenities, but usually include air conditioning, TV, daily maid service, hair dryers, vending machines and single or double beds.

    If you want to be near Greenwich Village and Chelsea, stay at Hotel 309. Though there is generally a two or three night minimum requirement, the hotel is walking distance to SoHo, Tribeca, Union Square and the West Village. By car, Times Square is available within minutes or you can use the subway less than a block away. Single occupancy rooms are available for $59 a night.

    To stay in the Upper West Side, one of New York's more known residential neighborhoods, try Hotel Riverside Studios. The hotel is located only a couple blocks from Broadway and within walking distance to Central Park. Times Square is five minutes away by subway. Room decor is different from classic hotels, sporting colorful sheets and bright walls reminiscent of an Ikea catalog. Each room includes a mini refrigerator, however, so the hotel can be convenient for those who want to preserve leftovers. Rooms are available for $54 a night.

    Located at the heart of Chinatown, Sun Bright Hotel is another cheap hotel option. Rooms are available for only $27 a night, but have very little decoration and provide old-fashioned linens. Each room does, however, have free HBO and wireless Internet access. If you want to stay closer to Times Square, the Latham Hotel has rooms starting at around $40 a night. Although the hotel has a two to three day minimum stay, and even admits that its furniture is "not so new," it does have free HBO and access to some of New York's best locations.

Hotels Under $150

  • If you want more than the bare minimum, many hotels are still less than $150 a night. If you stay below 14th Street near the East Village, try Second Home on Second Avenue. Rooms here start at $80, and are decorated with a theme such as Peruvian or Caribbean; five of the seven room options require the use of shared bathrooms. You can also stay downtown at the Cosmopolitan hotel for $129, and enjoy each room's mini-lofts featuring upper and lower levels. New York Magazine also recommends East Village Bed and Coffee starting at $80 and Union Square Inn starting at $109 a night. East Village Bed and Coffee has funky rooms such as the "Treehouse Room" or "Zen Room," and Union Square Inn is patterned after a European pensione.

    If you stay in Chelsea, the Gershwin Hotel, called a "veritable arts epicenter" by New York Magazine, has a pop-art decorated lobby and rooms covered with wall murals and art for $99 a night. If you prefer more of a simple, country style, the Chelsea Lodge offers quiet and private European-style accommodations for $95 a night.

    For chic rooms with dramatic views on the Upper East Side, the Bentley Hotel offers rooms for $135. The hotel also features an impressive rooftop bar. For a different side of New York City's culture, the Harlem Flophouse celebrates the Harlem Renaissance; large rooms with details as unique as walnut dressers with ancient cigarette holes, and names like "The Corky Hale" room, start at $100.

Hostels

  • If you don't mind shared rooms and bathrooms, stay in a hostel. Hostels are a popular choice for students and travelers on a low budget, and you can often meet a diverse blend of ethnicities, nationalities and people of different ambitions and interests. Most hotels often have a variety of entertainment options, ranging from pool tables to libraries and public televisions or movie viewing areas.

    At New York Loft Hostel, rooms start at only $20 a night. Ten minutes from Union Square, this hostel has a Jacuzzi, free lockers in each room, the option for private rooms with shared bathrooms and even free fondue every Thursday. Starting at $35 a night, Hostelling International New York is the largest hostel in North America. Located only three blocks from Central Park, Hostels.com states that it is the city's premier hostel. It features a self-serve kitchen, a Wii and PlayStation 2, and free New York City tours.

Unconventional Accommodations

  • For a more off-beat, but definitely cheaper way to sleep, try more unconventional options. Some travelers choose to sleep on the couches of strangers. While it seems like an odd idea, the arrangement is so popular that an entire website, CouchSurfing.com, has emerged to facilitate it. To participate, simply create a profile and list what dates and special arrangements you need. A list of hosts, known for their trustworthiness by the reviews and ratings of others, can either be approached for their couch or can offer it themselves based off your listing. The arrangement is free, but it clearly takes a willingness for the new and enough research into the host's rating and reviews to ensure a safe experience.

    Seemingly even more strange, some people even sleep at airports by choice. SleepinginAirports.com states "airport sleeping is no longer just for the cheap young bachelor." Rather, the site claims that various ages and income levels sleep in the airports not only to save money, but also for some adventure. According to reviews on the site, New York City's JFK and La Guardia airport are both reasonably average places to sleep at night. There are many places to curl up and sleep, and excellent food choices. In addition, some bench seats have no seat dividers which makes them perfect for sleeping. According to the site, however, both sites have loud announcements that can disturb light sleepers.

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