Youth hostels in New York City

Which hostel to stay in New York City?

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Going on a trip to New York is a dream for many people – but all added up, this dream comes at a price that is far from negligible. As such, any way of lowering the total price is of course good to take. One of the areas where you can save the most money is of course accommodation.

To save a lot on your budget, how about staying at a youth hostel in New York? These establishments, which are sometimes quite different from what you might imagine, are often the best way to find accommodation for the best price in New York 😊

Sleeping in a youth hostel in New York City... a good plan?

youth hostel new york

Many travellers still have preconceived notions about hostels and see them as only Plan B (or even Plan C). They think it means sleeping in dubiously clean dorms on creaky bunk beds, or that these establishments are only for backpackers and party-goers under 25.

That may have been true 30 years ago, but it certainly isn’t the case today, and especially not in New York. New York City's hostels are by no means second-rate establishments – quite the opposite. Hostels are modern establishments, well-decorated and, above all, particularly welcoming. They are secure, often very well maintained (which is not always the case with hotels), and it is even possible to enjoy some privacy. Indeed, even if hostels do have dormitories, most also have private rooms – sometimes even with private bathrooms.


They are of course not just for backpackers and in most cases have no age limit. They can even be perfect for family trips. In addition, they are often very well equipped – even better than most hotels.

In short, as you can see, hostels in New York are actually far from some of the clichés one can have about them. There is one cliché that is absolutely true though – hostels are often the best way to find affordable accommodation in a prime downtown location.

Not all hostels offer the same level of service, some are quite basic while others are  just as good as well-known hotels. No matter the case, they are almost always better value for money than the standard hotels.

It is no wonder that youth hostels are becoming more and more popular. Even though there are now a few in Manhattan itself,  you'll need to book very early if you want to get a place in one of the best youth hostels in New York City – long before your departure date (especially if you're travelling during the peak tourist season). If you are still unsure of where to stay in New York, this article should help!

My favourite hostel in New York 

nap york central station

If you are going to New York soon and are looking for a nice hostel, I recommend the Nap York Central Park Sleep Station. Conveniently located in the Hell's Kitchen neighbourhood, a 5 minute walk from Central Park and 10 minutes from Times Square, this hostel offers a shared kitchen and very clean air-conditioned rooms for 6 people with en-suite bathrooms. For one person in a basic dorm room, expect around £85 for one night 🙂


The best youth hostels in New York City

HI NYC Hostel

Hostelling International NYC is one of New York's most reputable hostels and is located on the Upper West Side on Amsterdam Avenue – a lively street close to all amenities. It is a ten-minute walk from Central Park and two minutes from the nearest underground station.

It is a very cosmopolitan establishment with a lot of students and people under 30, but families and older travellers also regularly come here.

hi nyc hostel new york
hi nyc hostel

The hostel is spread over 4 floors and has a pleasant terrace, a large common room with a large TV screen and sofas, two fully equipped kitchens, a library, a laundry room, a bar with a pool table and table tennis, and a large computer room with about 10 machines.

One of the big strengths of HI NYC Hostel is its atmosphere and the quality of its staff. Many activities are organised every day of the week (visits, parties, barbecues, film screenings...).

This hostel offers dormitories for 8 to 12 people (for women, for men or mixed) where you can spend a night for about £56 per person. There are also private rooms for 4 people, with single beds only, which can be rented for about £66 per night.


Interfaith Retreats

Interfaith Retreats is located in the Chelsea neighbourhood of Midtown Manhattan, a 3-minute walk from Madison Square Garden and High-Line Park, 2 minutes from an underground station, and within walking distance of restaurants, cafes and art galleries. Proceeds from the hotel are used to provide meals for the homeless. Travellers are welcome to help with the distribution of the meals if they wish.

Interfaith Retreats is a vegetarian hostel that stands out from all the other hostels because of its much more relaxed and calm atmosphere. As the name suggests, this place offers a true spiritual retreat in the centre of the world's busiest city – but it may be of interest to anyone who simply wants to enjoy the peace and quiet.

There are no dormitories or private rooms here, only "pods" – private capsules which are in fact very small single rooms with a single bed and a shared bathroom on each floor.

These small pods start at around £109 per night, which is still a very affordable price for such a well located establishment.

The Local NY

local NY
local NY hostel new york

This is the only hostel in this selection that is not located on the island of Manhattan. The Local NY is a hostel on Long Island in Queens. Its location is still excellent, as the Square Court underground station is less than a 5 minute walk away – and from there, it will take less than 10 minutes to reach the heart of Manhattan.

The place looks like a large loft with a rather simple, but very modern decoration. There are large shared rooms (mixed or not) with 4-6 bunk beds and a bathroom, but there are also single rooms and double rooms with queen-size beds.

Facilities at The Local include a bar, a large laundry room, a well-equipped communal kitchen and a large communal area with a large screen lounge, a computer corner with 3 computers and a reading area.

Beds in the dormitories start at around £59 per night, while the popular double rooms start at around £157.


West Side YMCA

West Side YMCA Hostel is located on 63rd Street, in Upper West Side, less than 5 minutes walk from Columbus Circle and the Broadway theatres – and only 50 metres away from Central Park. The location is truly excellent, in the heart of Manhattan – right next to several bars, restaurants and underground stations. It is also only 9 km away from LaGuardia Airport, perfect if that’s where you land!

It is a very friendly establishment, run by a really dynamic team and offers many activities for travellers. It has a large common lounge with a bar and a big screen, an internet corner and a laundry room – but also a spa, a sauna, an indoor swimming pool, and many other facilities.

The hostel offers single rooms with a bed or bunk beds for 2 people. The price for a room for 1 is around £108 per night, and £117 for a room for 2.

Have you thought about a tourist pass? 🎫 

tourist pass new york

If you plan to discover the city’s highlights during your stay in New York and would rather save money, I strongly recommend purchasing a New York City Pass. This tourist pass will give you various advantages throughout your stay, including access to 5 main tourist sites. You will choose among the activities / tours in the pass’ list (2 are mandatory but 3 you will choose yourself) 😃


Advantages and disadvantages of youth hostels

Still not convinced that a hostel is the right place to stay during your trip to New York? It's true that, although there certainly are many advantages, there are also some drawbacks. To help you decide, here is a short summary of the good and bad points.

The advantages of hostels:

  • Prices are more affordable. Hostels often offer the best value for money to stay in the heart of the Big Apple.
  • There are plenty of facilities. Hostels offer free wifi access with computers, a large communal lounge with TV, desks and a library, a bar with games (pool, darts...) and sometimes even a swimming pool and a rooftop.
  • Travellers are more independent thanks to some of these facilities. Most of the time, these establishments provide their guests with a laundry room to do their laundry and a kitchen equipped to cook their own meals. This is not only very convenient, but also helps save even more money on food 👍
  • The atmosphere is extremely friendly. Staying in a youth hostel guarantees meeting other travellers. They will be having the same experience as you – visiting New York! – so you'll have no trouble finding things to talk about and get to know each other. In addition, hostels often organise group activities to make it even more fun 😄

The disadvantages of hostels:

  • If you really want to save as much money as you can, you will have to give up some privacy. Many youth hostels offer private rooms, and even if their prices are still attractive, they are of course much higher than a single bed in a dormitory.
  • Comfort is often not as good as in a real hotel. The beds in the dormitories are often quite basic, especially as they are usually bunk beds. Even in the private rooms, the quality of the beds is rarely as good as in a real hotel.
  • There is less choice than with hotels, because there are less hostels in the city. To get a place in one of New York's best hostels you will need to book well in advance.

That's it for this article on hostels in New York. If you're still unsure of what to do in New York, feel free to check out my article on the subject 😉

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