Although Manhattan is technically only part of the greater metropolis that is New York City, when the vast majority of people say they are going to visit New York, they mean they are going to Manhattan. This densely populated island is packed with tourist attractions, world-class restaurants, excellent clubs and bars, one of the best theater districts in the world, and famous landmarks recognized the world over. In short, there is so much on this little strip of land that it is no surprise people want to come to Manhattan on vacation. It should also not be surprising, therefore, that finding a cheap hotel in Manhattan can be a problem.
To tell the truth, finding a cheap hotel in Manhattan is not really the problem. The city is so full of hotels that there are plenty in every price range, from backpacker hostels to the most opulent five-star laps of luxury on earth… But many of the budget hotels in Manhattan are located in neighborhoods that are unpleasant at best or parts of town that are essentially budget hotels and nothing else, forcing you to go quite a ways to get even a decent (and reasonably priced) bite to eat. And even though Manhattan is an island, it does take awhile to get from the top to the bottom, so just saying you want to stay in Manhattan does not really narrow your options enough.
Perhaps the highest number of budget beds are in the Theater District, especially concentrated around Times Square. This area used to be not only gritty but downright dangerous – thankfully, it is no longer unsafe, but it is not the most desirable area to stay in. The Times Square neighborhood is full of cheap hotels, but not much else. Neighborhoods to look at for a nice combination of hotels that do not cost a fortune and a nice atmosphere to stay in include the Chelsea Garment District, Gramercy Park and the East Village. If you have a bit more money to spend on a hotel, you can also look at the Upper West Side, Upper East Side and Greenwich Village.
Finding not only a good deal, therefore, but also a budget hotel with character and the kinds of amenities you would expect from a two- to three-star hotel in most other cities, is the biggest challenge in Manhattan. A few budget hotels that have risen to the top include: Second Home on Second Avenue near Union Station, Cosmopolitan Hotel in TriBeCa, East Village Bed & Coffee in the (you guessed it) East Village, the Chelsea Lodge in the (once again, no prizes for guessing) Chelsea District and the incredibly arty Gershwin Hotel.