Best Hostels for Backpackers in New York City 2023

Cynthia
Best Hostels for Backpackers in New York City

Ever dreamt of living the backpacker life in the Big Apple without breaking the bank? I did, and boy, was it an experience!

Navigating New York City on a shoestring budget sounds like an urban myth, right? But guess what? It’s totally doable! I’ve bunked down in a fair share of hostels in Manhattan and beyond. Some were swankier than others, but each had its own NYC charm.

From cozy corners in Chelsea to sweet spots near Central Park, there are hostels that offer a slice of city life without the ritzy price tag. My time at The Evelyn Hotel? Totally felt like I was living a page out of a chic New York novel, minus the hefty bill.

And, oh! The American Dream Hostel? Four nights there had me feeling right at home. Small room, sure, but the 24/7 kitchen was a lifesaver. And let’s not forget those authentic NYC vibes, the kind you just can’t get from pricier places.

So, here’s the million-dollar question: Which of these budget-friendly NYC hostels will be your home away from home?

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💁‍♀️ In A Hurry? My Top Picks For Best Hostels for Backpackers in New York City

Best Hostels for Backpackers in New York CityHotel Name
Best Budget-Friendly Hostel in ManhattanThe Evelyn Hotel
Best Hostel for Solo TravelersHI New York City Hostel
Best Self-Service Breakfast HostelAmerican Dream Hostel
Best Hostel Near Central ParkWest Side YMCA
Best Central Budget Hostel in ChelseaChelsea International Hostel
See also
Best Hotels for Business Travelers in New York City

My New York City Hideaways: Unearthing the Top Hostels for the Intrepid Backpacker

HI New York City Hostel

⭐️ Rating: 8.2/10 | 📍 Location: Upper West Side, New York City | 👉 View on Booking.com

Located in the vibrant Upper West Side, the HI New York City Hostel offers more than just a place to sleep. This dream hostel for travelers, whether alone or in a group, sets the stage for cultural exchanges even before you step out. From self-guided walking tours to an enormous outdoor patio, this hostel promises an authentic New York experience. Plus, their prime location puts top Manhattan attractions within arm’s reach.

You know that feeling when you find a hidden gem in a bustling city? That’s HI New York City Hostel for me. From mingling with fellow travelers in the game room to getting local tips on the best New York-style pizza from the ever-so-friendly staff, every moment was an experience to cherish. The outdoor patio became my favorite hangout spot after a long day and their self-guided walking tours. Absolute game-changers! It’s one thing to visit New York, but staying at HI gives you an insider’s look. Did I mention the unbeatable Upper West Side location? Harlem, Midtown, and top Manhattan spots were just a hop, skip, and jump away. And Central Park, that was my morning jog route! How cool is that?

Want to get a real taste of NYC? This hostel is where memories are made.

Stop daydreaming about the Big Apple and dive right into its core! The HI New York City Hostel awaits a world of experiences you won’t find anywhere else.

The hotel is close to: Broadway Bagel, Absolute Bagels, Smoke Jazz Club, Metro Diner, Smoke, Lion’s Head Tavern, Church of St. Michael, and New York Buddhist Church.

This hotel is an excellent choice for Solo travelers, group adventures, cultural enthusiasts, and anyone keen to experience NYC like a local.

Available Facilities: Free high-speed Internet (WiFi), Coffee shop, Game room, Billiards, and BBQ facilities.

Review from a Guest: “This hostel is alright but room for improvement. Stayed in a 10-bed female dorm. The ambiance could be better and had issues with the yoga class.” – Maria, Germany.

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American Dream Hostel

⭐️ Rating: 8.1/10 | 📍 Location: Midtown Manhattan, New York City | 👉 View on Booking.com

American Dream Hostel in the heart of New York City offers more than just a place to rest your head. With over 20 years of history, this family-owned business opens its doors to globetrotters looking for a taste of NYC’s vibrant life. With homemade breakfasts, proximity to iconic attractions, and a mission to offer unique experiences for students and teachers worldwide, it’s no wonder this hostel is among the city’s top picks.

During a summer trip to the Big Apple, I stumbled upon the American Dream Hostel, and boy, was I in for a treat! From the very first day, the friendly staff made me feel right at home. Waking up to the aroma of freshly baked muffins and chatting with fellow travelers over breakfast became a cherished routine. My room was cozy and snug, a quiet retreat after a day exploring the bustling streets. And speaking of exploration, I couldn’t believe how close I was to everything! The Empire State Building, Union Square, and the mesmerizing Flat Iron building were all just a stroll away. Each night, I’d unwind with a book, listening to the distant sounds of NYC outside my window. If ever there was a hidden gem, this was it. Have you ever discovered a place that made a city feel like home?

Find out what makes the American Dream Hostel the heart of so many travelers’ NYC experiences. With memories waiting to be made and a city bursting with life at its doorstep, why wait?

The hotel is close to: Gramercy Park, Union Square, Flat Iron Building, 23rd St New York City Subway.

This hotel is an excellent choice for Solo adventurers, students, and teachers, budget-conscious travelers, cultural explorers.

Available Facilities: Free High-Speed Internet (WiFi), Breakfast buffet, Concierge, Non-smoking rooms, and Laundry service.

Review from a Guest: “Don’t expect the Ritz and you shouldn’t be disappointed. Close to public transport and walkable to lots of New York attractions.” – Paul W, Sheffield, United Kingdom.

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Chelsea International Hostel

⭐️ Rating: 3.5/5 | 📍 Location: Chelsea, New York City, NY | 👉 View on Booking.com

Chelsea International Hostel
Credit: Chelsea International Hostel

Chelsea International Hostel stands as a unique traveler’s haven in the heart of bustling New York City. With a notable blend of value and location, this hostel offers a variety of amenities like free internet and breakfast, all while being nestled in the hip Chelsea neighborhood. The top-notch locale means an array of restaurants, and attractions, and the essence of Manhattan life is just footsteps away.

I absolutely loved my stay at the Chelsea International Hostel. The location is unbeatable, right in the midst of Chelsea’s lively atmosphere. My mornings started with a delicious free breakfast before I wandered through the eclectic streets, discovering hidden gems at every turn. By evening, I’d stroll back, past enticing eateries and vibrant art galleries, to my cozy, clean room. The communal areas, although simple, were places where I struck up unexpected friendships and shared travel tales. And while the stairs were a bit narrow, they just added to the charm and authenticity of this NYC experience. One evening, after a delicious meal at the nearby Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company, I got caught in a surprise rain shower. I raced back to the hostel, laughing all the way, drenched but delighted. Why? Because in that moment, in the heart of Chelsea, I felt truly alive. Wouldn’t you love to create memories like this?

You won’t find many places in New York that blend authenticity, convenience, and value like the Chelsea International Hostel. Dive into the heart of Manhattan and uncover the magic that awaits!

The hotel is close to the Rubin Museum of Art, the Chelsea neighborhood, Gotham Comedy Club, and Joyce Theater.

This hotel is an excellent choice for Budget travelers, solo adventurers, young couples, and anyone eager to experience Manhattan’s vibrant Chelsea district.

Available Facilities: Free internet, complimentary breakfast, non-smoking rooms, centrally located in a residential neighborhood.

Review from a Guest: “Truly the worst place I’ve ever stayed in the world… Chelsea is an awesome place to stay, and the hostel is as cheap as you can get in this area.” – Will Treet, London, United Kingdom.

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The Vanderbilt YMCA

⭐️ Rating: 9.2/10 | 📍 Location: 224 E 47th St, New York City, NY | 👉 View on Booking.com

The Vanderbilt YMCA
Credit: The Vanderbilt YMCA

An urban retreat located in the heart of New York City, The Vanderbilt YMCA boasts a unique combination of budget-friendly accommodations with a touch of luxury. This centrally-located establishment showcases a range of fantastic amenities, including a fitness center and swimming pool, all designed to cater to the modern traveler whilst celebrating its historic YMCA heritage.

On my recent trip to NYC, I stumbled upon the Vanderbilt YMCA, and oh, what a find it was! The rooms, while compact, were equipped with all the essentials – A/C, a cozy bed, and even a TV. But what truly stood out was the impeccable cleanliness and convenience. Whether I wanted to take a quick dip in the pool or work out, I had everything within arm’s reach. Venturing out, I was thrilled to find restaurants, shops, and even the iconic Chrysler Building mere minutes away. And the staff? They were always on hand, ensuring my stay was nothing short of brilliant. Ever fancied grabbing a quick bite from a street vendor or taking an evening stroll to a nearby attraction? This place has it all.

Why just read about it? Dive into the bustling streets of New York City and discover the charm of The Vanderbilt YMCA for yourself. The vibrant energy, combined with its historical character, promises an experience you won’t soon forget.

The hotel is close to the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Market, Greenacre Pocket Park, and St. Bartholomew’s Church.

This hotel is an excellent choice for Urban explorers, budget travelers, and those seeking a central NYC experience with a touch of history.

Available Facilities: Free High-Speed Internet (WiFi), Pool, Fitness Centre with Gym/Workout Room, 24-hour front desk, and Air-conditioned rooms.

Review from a Guest: “Great dorm-like accommodations. The rooms are small but sufficient. Security is their priority and location is top-notch.” – Sandra Smith, USA.

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The Harlem YMCA

⭐️ Rating: 9.2/10 | 📍 Location: 180 W 135th St at Seventh Avenue, New York City | 👉 View on Booking.com

The Harlem YMCA
Credit: The Harlem YMCA

Drenched in history and pulsating with the vibrancy of New York culture, the Harlem YMCA stands as a testament to the Harlem Renaissance. In the heart of a rich and artistic community, this accommodation isn’t just a place to lay your head, but a doorway into the past, present, and future of Harlem. From state-of-the-art rooms to a generous array of services, every aspect is tailored to ensure you’re steeped in comfort and culture during your stay.

Strolling through the corridors, I felt the weight of history on my shoulders. The murals whispered stories from the Harlem Renaissance, and I found myself humming to the legendary beats that once resonated in these halls. Each morning began with a refreshing dip in the pool, followed by aqua aerobics – an experience that got my day off to an invigorating start! The local restaurants served soulful food, transporting me on a culinary journey through the heart of Harlem. The hotel’s location meant I was never too far from the vibrancy of the city, yet the calm and serenity within the YMCA felt like a world apart. I left with a piece of Harlem in my heart, and I can’t help but wonder, wouldn’t you want to feel the same?

Don’t let the chance to be part of this unique experience slip away. Dive into the rhythm of Harlem and let The Harlem YMCA captivate your senses.

The hotel is close to: Bill’s Place, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Salem United Methodist Church, and Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

This hotel is an excellent choice for History enthusiasts, culture vultures, solo travelers, and families looking for cultural immersion in NYC.

Available Facilities: Free internet, Pool, Fitness Center with Gym/Workout Room, Steam room, Baggage storage.

Review from a Guest: “The app is a good tool. You can do workout activities online and connect to a nutrition app. The downside is that in-person activities are often canceled. It’s a shame that residents have to leave the neighborhood for consistency.” – Adrienne C, USA.

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East Harlem Hostel

⭐️ Rating: 8.5/10 | 📍 Location: New York, NY | 👉 View on Booking.com

East Harlem Hostel, a gem in New York, offers a unique stay experience with its prime location and commitment to sustainability. Just steps away from cultural landmarks like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park, this hostel is a haven for travelers seeking a blend of city exploration and eco-conscious living. Its standout features include free WiFi, air-conditioned rooms, and a non-smoking environment, all contributing to a comfortable and environmentally friendly stay.

My stay at East Harlem Hostel was an unforgettable blend of comfort and sustainability. It felt great knowing I was staying at a place that cares deeply about the environment, with their impressive 13 out of 29 sustainability steps. The free WiFi was a lifesaver, allowing me to plan my city adventures effortlessly. The air-conditioned rooms were a perfect retreat after exploring nearby attractions like Central Park. One day, I just lounged around, enjoying the hostel’s calm and friendly ambiance. Do you know that feeling of finding a place that just feels right? That’s East Harlem for you!

Don’t just take my word for it, discover the charm of East Harlem Hostel for yourself. Imagine waking up in a cozy, eco-friendly space, ready to explore the heart of New York. This is your chance to experience the city like never before!

The hotel is close to: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, Yankee Stadium, Strawberry Fields, and St Patrick’s Cathedral.

This hotel is an excellent choice for Eco-conscious travelers, city explorers, and cultural enthusiasts.

Available Facilities: Free WiFi, Non-smoking rooms, Heating, Air conditioning, and Water-efficient amenities.

Review from a Guest: “A cozy retreat in the heart of New York! Loved the eco-friendly approach and the easy access to major attractions. Definitely coming back!” – Emily, Canada.

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Nap York Central Park Sleep Station

⭐️ Rating: 8.2/10 | 📍 Location: New York, NY | 👉 View on Booking.com

Nap York Central Park Sleep Station stands out in the bustling heart of New York with its unique blend of comfort and convenience. Offering a serene escape amidst the city’s hustle, this innovative sleep station provides cozy sleeping pods, free WiFi, and communal kitchens. It’s an ideal retreat for travelers seeking a modern, affordable stay near Central Park, merging practicality with the excitement of city life.

I recently discovered a hidden gem in the heart of New York – Nap York Central Park Sleep Station. Imagine a tranquil oasis amidst the urban jungle, where each restful night in a comfy pod recharged my energy for the next day’s adventures. The shared lounge was a great spot to mingle or relax, and the convenience of a communal kitchen added a homely touch. Plus, the location? Unbeatable! I was just steps away from iconic New York landmarks. Did I mention the eco-friendly practices? It’s a sustainable choice that doesn’t compromise on comfort or convenience. You really have to experience it yourself to understand the charm of this place!

Don’t miss out on the unique experience Nap York Central Park Sleep Station offers! It’s a blend of modern convenience, eco-conscious living, and unbeatable location. Hurry to book your pod – it’s a New York adventure that awaits you in every restful sleep!

The hotel is close to: Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, Museum of Modern Art, Broadway Theatre, and Central Park.

    This hotel is an excellent choice for: Travelers seeking a unique, affordable, and centrally-located stay in New York.

    Available Facilities: Free WiFi, Facilities for disabled guests, 24-hour front desk, Daily housekeeping, Air conditioning

    Review from a Guest: “Clean rooms, basic kitchen facilities, and friendly staff. Convenient location for exploring New York.” – Robert, Netherlands.

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    NY Moore Hostel

    ⭐️ Rating: 8.1/10 | 📍 Location: Brooklyn, NY | 👉 View on Booking.com

    The NY Moore Hostel in Brooklyn is a unique gem for travelers seeking an authentic New York experience. With its close proximity to Barclays Center and excellent subway connections, guests can easily explore the city. The hostel stands out with its artistic graffiti-style decor, offering a vibrant atmosphere. It’s a sustainable choice, implementing eco-friendly practices. The highlight is its cozy, comfortable rooms and free coffee at reception, making it a home away from home.

    I recently had the chance to stay at the NY Moore Hostel and it was an absolute delight! From the moment I arrived, the friendly staff made me feel welcome. The dormitory-style rooms with modern furnishings were a pleasant surprise. I loved the artistic touch in the hostel’s design, showcasing local graffiti art that added to its charm. The free coffee always available at the reception was a lifesaver, especially during those early mornings. The hostel’s location in Brooklyn, with easy subway access, made exploring New York a breeze. The sustainability efforts here are commendable, making me feel good about my stay. It’s the little things, like the option to reuse towels and the energy-efficient lighting, that add up to a memorable experience.

    Imagine waking up in a vibrant, art-filled environment, sipping free coffee as you plan your New York adventure. That’s the NY Moore Hostel experience! If you haven’t stayed here yet, you’re missing out on a unique, sustainable, and comfortable stay in the heart of Brooklyn. It’s time to make those travel dreams a reality!

    The hotel is close to Barclays Center, Justice Gilbert Ramirez Park, and Brooklyn Bridge.

    This hotel is an excellent choice for Solo travelers, backpackers, and eco-conscious guests.

    Available Facilities: Free WiFi, Family rooms, Non-smoking rooms, Facilities for disabled guests, 24-hour front desk.

    Review from a Guest: “Very clean and spacious hostel. The free coffee and tea is great, and the location is well connected to the subway.” – Branko, Spain.

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    See also
    Best Rooftop Hotels in New York City

    My Final Thoughts on Best Hostels for Backpackers in New York City

    In the sprawling metropolis of New York City, I’ve been fortunate to stumble upon hostels that encapsulate the true spirit of backpacking. These havens offer more than just an affordable stay; they gift travelers a slice of the city’s diverse tapestry. With their prime locations and vibrant atmospheres, they truly are a backpacker’s dream. The unique blend of comfort, convenience, and camaraderie in these establishments has etched unforgettable moments in my travel diary. So, from my heart to yours, I hope you find your own NYC corner and stories that you’ll hold dear for a lifetime.

    FAQs about Best Hostels for Backpackers in New York City

    What Makes The Evelyn Hotel a Top Choice for Backpackers in NYC?

    In my experience, The Evelyn Hotel offers a delightful blend of affordability and a prime Manhattan location. Not to mention, the staff is incredibly kind and accommodating.

    How is the HI New York City Hostel for Budget Travelers?

    I’ve found that HI New York City Hostel stands out with its pristine rooms, exceptional staff, and unbeatable location just a few steps from the subway. It’s a gem for those traveling on a budget.

    What Can One Expect at the American Dream Hostel?

    During my stay, the American Dream Hostel provides an affordable experience in NYC. Though the rooms might be compact, the staff is friendly, and the 24/7 open kitchen is a treat.

    Why Should Backpackers Consider West Side YMCA?

    While it might not be a luxury abode, West Side YMCA offers backpackers an affordable NYC experience. I appreciate its proximity to the subway and essentials like supermarkets.

    Is the Chelsea International Hostel Good for Backpackers?

    Absolutely! During my visits, I’ve enjoyed its central location in the Chelsea area. It’s a workable and affordable spot in the heart of Manhattan.

    What Features Does The Vanderbilt YMCA Offer to Guests?

    Having stayed there, I can vouch for its comfortable dorm-like accommodations. From HD cable TV to clean restrooms and convenient washers & dryers, it’s been a pleasant experience.

    How Does The Harlem YMCA Cater to Budget Travelers?

    For those seeking a no-frills, convenient spot in NYC, The Harlem YMCA has been a great find for me. Its proximity to public transport and the range of facilities despite the low cost makes it a go-to choice.

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