Though Manhattan is the smallest of New York City’s five boroughs, it’s undoubtedly the most famous of the quintet. In fact, it’s probably fair to say that when the majority of people across the planet think of New York City, it’s the borough of Manhattan that they’re picturing in their head. That’s because Manhattan is home to an assortment of New York’s most popular neighborhoods, attractions, and landmarks. It’s also where you’ll find some of the city’s trendiest shopping destinations, finest dining experiences, and world-class art institutions. While Manhattan’s extensive grid system and expansive public transportation network make it ripe for individual explorations, many visitors opt to conduct their New York City adventures as part of one of the numerous guided tours that operate here and cater to a wide-range of sightseeing interests.
Manhattan may rank last among the boroughs in overall size, but it’s first in population density, owing in no small part to the fact that most of its roughly 1.7 million residents all live crowded together on the compact island of Manhattan. Depending on who you ask—and you better believe New Yorkers have very strong opinions on the subject—Manhattan has nearly 50 distinct neighborhoods, and while these neighborhoods don’t have official boundaries, they do each tend to possess their own distinctive attributes, traits, and characteristics. Ask ten different locals for their favorite Manhattan neighborhood and you’re liable to get ten different answers, but generally speaking some of Manhattan’s most popular neighborhoods include Chelsea, Greenwich Village, Midtown, SoHo, Times Square, the Upper East Side, and the West Village.
Spread out across the neighborhoods of Manhattan are some of New York City’s most beloved tourist attractions. In the mood to see some iconic works of art? Manhattan proudly boasts the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Hoping the kids can learn something while having loads of interactive fun? The little ones will have a blast at Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and the American Museum of Natural History. Dreaming of snapping that perfect selfie in front of the New York skyline? Manhattan’s got multiple mind-blowing observation decks like Top of the Rock, the Edge at Hudson Yards, and the Empire State Building. Skyscraper or no skyscraper, is the day too beautiful to spend another second indoors? You can head straight toward Central Park, the High Line, Washington Square Park, Union Square, Riverside Park, or any other of Manhattan’s fabulous public green spaces to enjoy all the outdoor charms New York City has to offer.
And if all those major attractions weren’t appealing enough, Manhattan has some of New York City’s best shopping and dining. In Manhattan you’ll have your pick of popular shopping destinations like Fifth Avenue, NoLita, Chinatown, East Village, and the Meatpacking District, while no matter what type of cuisine excites you the most, you’ll find plenty of it here.
Below you’ll find a few of Manhattan’s most popular neighborhoods. More Neighborhoods to explore are in the sidebar.