As the “City That Never Sleeps,” New York is one of the most densely populated cities in the world with about 8.5 million people distributed over about 470 square miles. Such a large amount of people living in one space makes the city a diverse melting pot of different cultures with pockets of vibrant music, food, art, and business. Outside of the bustling Big Apple are many other inviting neighborhoods throughout the state to put down roots as well. If you decide to move to New York, rest assured you’ll never run out of new activities to try or places to explore. The best places to live in New York will depend on your individual budget and lifestyle.
Where you live can have a large impact on your overall happiness level. There are many factors that can contribute to why residents live in certain neighborhoods, such as job and school locations, proximity to resources, or distance to family members. Families raising children tend to live in more suburban areas, while single adults who aren’t homeowners gravitate toward larger metro areas. But life in the city isn’t for everyone. A survey conducted by Wyndham Vacation Rentals found that people who live in big cities last just 18 days on average before they reach “peak stress levels”.
Though many people decided to move in 2021 after the pandemic, a report compiled by moving company Piece of Cake said that about 87 percent of New Yorkers moved within New York City and over 90 percent within New York State. Of those who moved, many chose neighborhoods on the west side of the city’s three largest boroughs – Brooklyn, Queens, & Manhattan. Red Hook, Long Island City and the West Village topped the list of neighborhoods.
Whether you’re moving or just looking to visit, StudyFinds is happy to provide you with a starting point to learn more about the best places to live in New York. Our list is made up of the top recommendations across 10 expert sources. Leave us a comment if we missed one of your favorite NY spots.
The List: Best Places to Live in New York, According to Experts
Albany, the state’s capital, is home to a multitude of restaurants, museums, and other hubs of culture just like you’d find in the rest of New York. “At the heart of downtown is Lark Street, lined with small businesses, churches, galleries and wine shops featuring New York state vintages,” says U.S. News.
Albany is located on the west bank of the Hudson River and is known as the “Tri-City” area. If you want to live in New York but don’t want to deal with NYC price tags, Albany is considered one of the most affordable places to live in upstate New York, with real estate prices and the cost of living about 40 percent lower on average. Thrillist adds “Its proximity to the Catskills and Adirondacks makes it a desirable location, and its multitude of small businesses, galleries, and culinary shops add valuable points, too.”
According to UpHomes, “Its ability to maintain an exciting and fun downtown district alongside a commercial center is one of its most impressive qualities. Plus, even though it is known as a large and progressive city, the area is not as expensive or as crowded as other similar areas.”
Syracuse is popular with many families and retirees, but also young professionals who enjoy how much there is to do within the region. The center of the city is less than 20 minutes away from suburban neighborhoods like Manlius, Baldwinsville and Liverpool, and even an easy drive to many wineries. UpHomes says “with access to the great outdoors, spend the day at an award-winning winery, try out a new hiking trail, or put the snow to good use by skiing and snowboarding.”
There are many kid-friendly activities to do in Syracuse, such as the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park. For adults, Armory Square is a great place for bars and restaurants. “The downtown core features shops, cafés, and restaurants, as well as beautiful historic buildings that have been lovingly restored to evoke the simpler days of old,” writes PlanetWare.
“Snow is certainly a part of the central New York lifestyle, considering residents get more than 120 inches of it per year. However, the region has much more to offer than just snow drifts and slushy water. Syracuse is more affordable than many other major U.S. metro areas, making it a popular place to live for families and retirees. Young professionals also enjoy the region, both for its prices and because there’s plenty to do,” writes U.S. News.
3. New York City
New York City itself is the epitome of everything a big city should be – full of life and an endless jungle gym for every possible interest you could have. NYC is also one of the most diverse cities in the country, with 36.4 percent of its almost 8.5 million residents being born outside the country. “New York City has transcended all else to be at the forefront of pop culture and for travelers, it’s often at the top of the list of places to visit in the United States,” mentions Touropia.
If you can afford the big-ticket price tag, The Big Apple is home to some of the world’s best food, art and culture, and more business opportunities than you can count. Chamber of Commerce adds “The Big Apple is a city like no other: a metropolis with the best job opportunities, nightlife, and culture in the world.”
“Separated into boroughs, residents have learned to classify each borough based on certain characteristics. Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island are all unique places to live within the city,” according to Up Homes.
Also located in Upstate New York, Buffalo is a very naturally beautiful place to live, full of lakes, rivers and foliage. The winters can be harsh, but the summers are generally mild.
NewHomeSource explains “The city has wintry weather (about 85 inches of snow per year) but locals are accustomed to and well-equipped for snowstorms. In contrast, summertime is lovely in the city, with average highs of about 80 degrees.”
Buffalo also offers just as much culture as living in the city without feeling overwhelming. You can find entire neighborhoods of Polish, German, Italian, Serbian, Hungarian, or Nubian residents and sample food of every kind. “Buffalo has a large number of parks, museums, galleries, and entertainment venues, making it a great place to live for people of all ages,” adds Nomad Lawyer.
“Located on Lake Erie, Buffalo is a prime waterfront destination that is only 20-miles away from Niagra Falls and is considered to be the best town to live in upstate New York,” adds Up Homes.
Rochester is best known for its low cost of living and top-rated schools. It has a rich history of manufacturing and is a great location to raise a family. “Living in Rochester offers residents an urban suburban mix feel and most residents rent their homes. In Rochester there are a lot of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks,” explains Niche.
Rochester is a new hotspot for food, with and eclectic mix of restaurants to suit every palette. Each year, the Rochester International Wine Competition and the Taste of Rochester highlight the culinary talents in the area. Life Storage reports “If you’re a self-proclaimed foodie, you’ll also love the city for its abundance of bars and restaurants to explore. Its close proximity to the Finger Lakes region also makes it a popular destination for wine trails and craft breweries galore.”
U.S. News points out: “Ultimately, Rochester’s biggest asset is its people. Residents are generally considered to be warmer, kinder and more welcoming than their downstate brethren.”
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- U.S. News
- Chamber of Commerce
- Nomad Lawyer
- Life Storage
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