The real heart of New York is Manhattan, the place where the main tourist attractions are concentrated. In this driving on the boroughs of Manhattan let's see how the heart of the city is structured, which are the main areas and let's clarify the most famous district of New York.
The borough of Manhattan
First of all, it must be said that Manhattan and New York are not the same thing, even if there is often no difference between the two.
Manhattan is actually a borough of New York that together with Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island forms the city.
Manhattan is certainly the best known district that always attracts many tourists from all over the world.
It is a small island surrounded by the Hudson River, 20km long and about 4km wide. Despite its modest size, the most famous points of interest are located in Manhattan and it is no coincidence that the other districts are often not even considered, even if they are absolutely worth a visit.
In addition, Manhattan is made up of many neighborhoods, each with its own characteristics and particular charm.
The beauty of Manhattan is that you can practically get around on foot, especially if you choose a central area. In this way you will be able to appreciate every corner of the city and discover hidden gems.
In any case, the connections to the various areas and other districts are excellent.
Downtown, Midtown E Uptown
To understand which are the best neighborhoods in Manhattan, we must first make a distinction on the three main areas that make up the island:
- Upper Manhattan: the larger area that extends north of Central Park;
- Midtown Manhattan: the heart of Manhattan and the most touristic part;
- Lower Manhattan: the southernmost point of the district and the center of New York business.
Each of these areas is then divided into various districts, often very charming and characteristic.
Where to Stay in Manhattan
Downtown or Lower Manhattan is the lower part of the island, known mainly for the Finacial District, the famous Ground Zero and memorials such as the 9/11 Memorial.
From here you can walk to the famous Brooklyn Bridge and ferries to the Statue of Liberty leave from nearby Battery Park.
In addition, the area is famous for a number of characteristic neighborhoods, such as Chinatown and Little Italy, but above all for the lively and alternative areas of SoHo, Tribeca and Greenwich Village.
In general, the whole Downtown is a perfect base for a stay in Manhattan, the location is good and well connected to the rest of the city.
Midtown, between Uptown and Downtown, is the most touristic area of Manhattan and all of New York. This is where the most iconic attractions are located, such as Times Square, Central Park, MoMa, Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Broadway, Madison Square Garden and much more.
Also in Midtown South is the Chelsea district, where you can admire the Chelsea Market and the High Line.
Uptown or Upper Manhattan is the area north of Midtown and includes Central Park and the Upper West Side, Upper East Side and Harlem neighborhoods. The latter was once considered an unsafe neighborhood, now it is a redeveloped area but which has maintained its origins and its character. Obviously, you must always pay attention, especially in the evening, and not go off the more touristy routes.
Don't miss a Gospel mass or a jazz concert.
West of Central Park is the Upper West Side residential neighborhood, perfect for a stay in Manhattan in a quiet area a stone's throw from Midtown.
The Upper East Side is located east of the park and is one of the most luxurious areas of Manhattan, where several museums are concentrated, so much so that it is known as the theater district.
We have seen in detail how Manhattan is formed and what are the three main areas.
It is impossible to say which is the best neighborhood in Manhattan, also because each has its own peculiarities. For a first visit to New York I always recommend staying in the heart of Manhattan, close to the main tourist circuits. If you want to experience the authentic soul of New York then you can choose between the trendy neighborhoods of Chelsea, Greenwich Village or Tribeca. If you are looking for a residential area a few steps from the largest green lung of the city, Uptown is for you.
In any case I suggest you read the article on where to stay in New York where you will find a detailed description of each neighborhood and some advice to avoid spending exaggerated figures.
Start with the Best Guide to Visit New York
Tips, information, suggested itineraries and maps to visit the city of New York
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