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The Best Hostels in New York City | Backpacker’s Guide To NYC Hostels

The complete guide to the top-rated and most-loved hostels in NYC and other tips for finding your perfect hostel.

New York City

Unlike its European counterparts, New York City doesn’t have a large selection of hostels and NYC hostels are fairly expensive (well, everything in NYC is expensive). Just like any city, NYC’s hostels range from total junk to really nice and that’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best hostels in New York City.

Quick Facts About NYC Hostels

Here is some helpful information to help guide your NYC hostel search:


A bed in a good hostel will cost anywhere from about $50-$90/night with an average of around $65 per night. The cheapest hostel you’ll find will cost around $45/night but the quality most likely won’t be great. 

NOTE: These are “high-season” prices for the cheapest bed option — off-season prices will be 20% cheaper. Also, prices are often a little more expensive on Friday and Saturday nights than on weeknights. 

Check Hostelworld to get exact prices for your dates.


  • Cheap Beds & Good Hostels Go Early: There are only a handful of nice hostels in NYC so beds in these places get booked quickly. That’s why it’s wise to book your hostel early during the busy season because waiting until the last minute can get expensive. 
  • Check Location: There are a handful of hostels in lower Manhattan but some are in upper Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. These are all fine areas but if you want to be in the “heart” of NYC then be sure to pay attention to the location.  
  • Bed Configuration: Most hostels have multiple bed configurations and that affects the price. For example, a hostel could have one room with 8 beds and another with 4 beds. In general, rooms with more beds are cheaper but you also have to deal with more people in your room.
  • Private Rooms: Private rooms in hostels can be expensive but they can make sense for groups, families, and couples wanting privacy and the hostel vibe. In fact, a lot of hostels in NYC only have private rooms. 
  • Weekend Rates: Expect to pay an extra on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Check-In Times and Cleaning Times: Many hostels have late check-in times (around 2 pm-4 pm) but nearly all will let you store your bags if you arrive before check-in.
  • New To Hostels? Check out our Hostels 101 Guide to learn everything you need to know about finding the perfect hostel.

The Best Hostels in New York City

We’ve stayed in so many hostels that we’ve lost count — so we know all the little things that separate good hostels from great hostels. Below are the criteria that we use when we rank hostels.

  • Overall Quality: We take a holistic look at the hostel to see the positives and negatives. Our goal is to find amazing hostels that are still affordable.
  • Location: Most hostels we list will be centrally located or at least close to public transportation.
  • Price: We try to filter out the super-expensive hostels to help find the best price-to-quality ratio.
  • Vibe/Atmosphere: Every hostel has a personality. Some are party hostels and some are quiet. We try to note the atmosphere so you can find a place to stay that matches your travel style.
  • Past Guest Reviews: Every guest has a different experience so we look at the good and the bad. We suggest you take a few minutes to read prior reviews.

We encourage you to check out Hostelworld to do a bit of searching for yourself.

NOTE: All prices listed below are the cheapest option available during the busy (i.e. expensive) season. Prices will often be 20%+ cheaper during the slower seasons.

American Dream Hostel NYC

One of the best hostels in NYC is the 15-year-old American Dream Hostel. First, they offer a great free breakfast and free snacks. Next, American Dream Hostel is located in the heart of Manhattan so you’re very close to all the best sights and neighborhoods. They have a kitchen so you can save a little money by cooking for yourself.

This hostel doesn’t have any large dorm rooms so they only have private rooms (single, twin, double or triple) with shared bathrooms. Because of this, American Dream Hostel is a bit more expensive than other hostels that have dorm rooms with multiple beds.

The Local NYC Hostel

The Local NYC is one of the nicest and most modern hostels in New York City. This hostel is located in Queens but it’s only a quick subway ride into Manhattan (one-stop) or to Brooklyn. They have a great rooftop terrace with amazing views of the NYC skyline. They also have a bar and chill-out spots to relax and meet other travelers. The beds are nice and the staff does a good job keeping the hostel clean. They also have a female-only dorm. 

Freehand Hostel New York

Freehand New York is a brand new and upscale hostel located in NYC’s hip Flatiron neighborhood. The Freehand is located inside the former George Washington Hotel so the hostel’s design has a cool old-school NYC vibe. They also have a great bar.

But this is an upscale hostel and it comes with a fairly upscale price. The Freehand only has private rooms — everything from a single room to a four-person room (but you have to book the entire room). So this is a better option if you’re traveling with other people. 

HI NYC Hostel

HI NYC Hostel is the most booked hostel in NYC and it’s part of the well-respected Hostelling International hostel chain. It’s a true traditional hostel with dorm rooms, a large kitchen, plenty of chill-out space, and an outdoor terrace. It’s located in the fairly quiet Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan and it’s an easy 15-minute subway ride to the heart of NYC. They also have both male-only and female-only rooms.  

NY Moore Hostel

NY Moore Hostel is located in the cool and up-and-coming Brooklyn neighborhood of East Williamsburg. That means you’re only a subway stop away from the uber-cool Williamsburg neighborhood and 20 minutes to downtown Manhattan. They don’t have free breakfast but they do have a well-stocked kitchen if you want to make yourself a meal. 

Chelsea International Hostel New York City

Located in the cool Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, Chelsea International Hostel is a basic and budget-friendly hostel in an excellent location — you’re only a few blocks from the iconic Greenwich Village and the West Village. The hostel is clean but it’s a fairly no-frills kinda spot (but they do have free breakfast and a pizza night).

International Student Center Hostel NYC

International Student Center is located on a quiet leafy street in Manhattan’s iconic Upper West Side. You’re only a two-minute walk from Central Park and a quick 10-15-minute subway ride to downtown Manhattan. This hostel doesn’t have a free breakfast but they do have a guest kitchen. The hostel is a bit old but the staff is friendly and they do a good job of keeping it clean. They also offer female-only rooms. Overall, it’s a great value. 

Q4 Hotel NYC

Q4 Hotel is located in Queens but you’re still super close to Manhattan. They get pretty good reviews overall and they have a cool rooftop terrace with some solid city views. But the best reason to stay here is the price as it’s one of the cheapest hostels in NYC. Plus, they have female-only dorms available. 

Hostel photos from American Dream Hostel, The Local NYC, Freehand New York, HI NYC Hostel, NY Moore Hostel, Chelsea International Hostel, International Student Center, Q4 Hotel

Hostel Packing Advice

Staying in hostels poses a few unique packing challenges so I’m here to help by recommending a few of my must-have items. Check out my Hostel Packing List for the full list but below are the absolute necessities:

More NYC Budget Travel Tips From The Savvy Backpacker

Hostels in NYC

Looking for more ways to save money when visiting NYC? Check out these articles we’ve written:

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