New Yorkerks today no longer prefer to completely leave the hustle-bustle when settling down. Rather, they have their eyes on Manhattan.
It is true that the locality is a little costly, and you might have to plan properly to know how to invest in the best possible manner. But when choosing a neighborhood for your family, it is crucial that you take note of a range of things.
You might want to stay in an area filled with lush green gardens and winding lanes. These localities are very different and offer a completely different vibe. And when you are moving with your family, the most important thing to consider is education. So, don’t forget to check out the schools.
Taking into consideration all these factors, we have designed this guide with the top 9 localities in Manhattan that you should consider. So, dive in!
Best Manhattan Neighborhoods For Families
- Greenwich Village
When you are in New York and looking for a cozy, leafy neighborhood for your family, Greenwich Village is an excellent choice. You would be surprised to find how peaceful the locality is with the green winding streets and low-rise apartments.
Aside from being picture-perfect, it has Washington Square Park in the vicinity. So, if you are a fan of live performances, you will have a great time attending community gatherings and watching beautiful performances by renowned personalities.
And if you want to visit the Union Square, even that is not too far away. Moreover, the New York University (NYU) is situated in the locality, which might be a bane or boon for you according to your preferences. That said, it does arrange a lot of events that are completely family-friendly.
But if you are a fan of cinema, you are going to absolutely love this locality for housing the Angelika Film Center and a few others too. Likewise, there’s the NYU Skirball Centre, which stages different shows and performances for the young population.
Furthermore, you do not have to worry about the kids because you will have the option of sending them to some of the best schools in Manhattan. At the same time, they will enjoy playing in the green parks.
This neighborhood is best suited for people who fancy living in brownstone houses without burning a hole in their pockets. You do not have to spend an entire life’s savings to get your hands on a cozy apartment In Harlem for the family.
It’s quite diverse in terms of characters, and you can pick either East, West, or Central Harlem for buying or renting a home. If you are a little old-school, consider the northern area as it has a big man-made lake and a great wildlife habitat where you can enjoy fishing during the weekend. And to attend live performances, you can head to the Charles A. Dana Discovery Centre.
On the other hand, you should give West Harlem a try for a more luxurious living. Here, you can enjoy the Riverbank State Park that has a skating rink and an Olympic-sized pool where your kids can train.
And on the far east, you will find Thomas Jefferson Park, which is a source of major attraction. It has several skateparks, active community gatherings, and even a mid-sized pool to keep you entertained.
Harlem is an excellent choice for art and museum lovers too. You will find two family-friendly museums here: the Museum of The City Of New York And El Museo del Barrio. They house both permanent exhibits as well as display works of contemporary artists.
Besides, this neighborhood won’t disappoint the book-lovers. If you have a thing for cultures, then the Schomburg Centre for Research will offer you a great time with its studies in Black Culture. And you will also find the Macomb’s Bridge Library that has a large collection of books.
Plus, you can see the Yankees play by just crossing the river to reach the Bronx!
- Washington Heights
If you do not have a huge budget but still want to enjoy the locality and the facility that Manhattan has to offer, then Washington Heights might be the place for you. Although there aren’t too many properties up for sale, you might just find one if you’re lucky and place the right bets.
People really like this neighborhood because their kids can access a large resource of books from the local library, which is extremely well-stocked. You can let your kids enjoy the children’s room which is as big as 3,300-square-feet. And not just for kids, it has special areas allocated for teens too.
Long story short, it has something for everyone, and you will never come out of this place disheartened.
The major reason that people put this area on their list is the beautiful Hudson River and the breathtaking views of New Jersey’s Palisades. It’s lush green setting will welcome you with open arms, no matter in which direction you walk.
And then you have Fort Tryon Park and Washington Park, which host events and programs all year round. So, you will never get bored and can always plan something with your family every weekend.
Apart from that, there is an ice skating park, where you can teach your toddlers how to skate. You will also see a lot of families enjoying quality time together.
The state department has recently planned to put up new parks and basketball courts in this neighborhood, which might increase the overall valuation. And because of the P.S. 187 public school gaining stark popularity in recent years, there might be a problem of overcrowding too. So, talk to the schools prior to moving to the locality to enquire if there are vacancies for admission.
The best thing is that the P.S. 513 Castle Bridge School is doing great work in reserving seats for underprivileged children. If you feel for the cause, you can join hands with the management to contribute and volunteer in their noble endeavor.
- Upper East Side
We know the Gossip Girl fans here are going to love us for keeping the Upper East Side on our list. But how could we not? Starting from world-class institutions to great neighborhoods, this locality has it all to build the craze.
Art lovers, you will have a gala time here as there’s the Metropolitan Museum and the Guggenheim within your reach, meaning you don’t have to travel a lot to visit them. In fact, one can lazily take a stroll and reach them within a few minutes.
And not to forget Central Park, which is one of the major attractions in Manhattan. You will also find other smaller but popular parks that frequently host dog shows, fancy-dress competitions, and the Easter egg hunt.
Aside from that, there are many lush green playgrounds such as the Billy Johnson playground and the Ancient Playground for your kids to play. They won’t be out of ideas to spend their weekends with friends because there’s so much that they can do. Moreover, there are some excellent public schools that will take care of your child’s education.
But what sets this locality apart from most areas in Manhattan is the presence of a number of highly prestigious private schools such as the Brearley School and Dalton, to name a few.
And you will have no complaints about the transport facilities. The Second Avenue subway line is easily accessible, and you can reach all the stations without any fuss. Plus, you will really like the fact that all the stations are entirely stroller-friendly. If you want to transport through waterways, there’s a ferry stop that you will find on East 90th Street.
Because the transport facilities have developed immensely over the last few years, this locality has drawn a significant amount of crowd. But the local bodies are trying to keep new developments to the minimum to maintain the sanctity of the place.
- Upper West Side
Although not as popular as its counterpart, the Upper West Side comes with its fair share of advantages.
For one, you can enjoy the beautiful scenic view of Riverside Park from this neighborhood. Apart from that you can visit the Hippo playground to spend some quality family time, which is just around the corner.
And not to forget the Bloomingdale playground that has introduced many engaging and interesting features. For example, they have introduced innovative sensory spaces, height-adjustable basketball hoops, and bathrooms that can be used by people of all genders.
Not only that, but it also has many museums to satisfy the history-lover in you. The Upper West Side is home to the renowned American Museum of Natural History, which is flocked by people all around the world. You will also find the New York Historical Society that will appeal to your children with its kid-friendly exhibits.
There is no doubt that it is one of the most family-friendly neighborhoods that you will find in Manhattan. During Halloween, you will see that there’s a number of block parties being organized, and your kids can collect candies from as many houses as they want. The area is pretty family-friendly in this regard too.
A bit on the education system – there’s no dearth of good public and private schools. Among the private schools, you will find Trinity School, Ethical Culture School, and so on.
Because of the high cost of real estate in this locality, this area offers a type of exclusivity- the luxury club. There are not too many options you’ll have as most of the properties are occupied by now. But your agent just might be able to find a good deal for you.
It is fair competition to the Upper East Side as the chic apartments draw a lot of wealthy families to this neighborhood.
Here, you have the Hudson River Park Pier 25 that attracts families mostly during the weekend. You will find a mini-golf course here and can get all your friends and family for a round of golf. Very recently, an ecological park has come up by the end of Pier 26 that houses two kid-friendly playgrounds and a science park.
And that’s not the end; there’s also a tidal pool that can help your kids learn about the intricacies of climate change. They would be able to learn a great deal about native wildlife in the region too.
You can also take your children a little north of Tribeca to make them enjoy the Children’s Museum of the Arts. And then there’s the Tribeca Film Festival that is organized annually! Take your significant other if you’re both hardcore cinephiles. And don’t worry about the kids; the production house also runs a series exclusively for young audiences.
Moreover, there’s no shortage of good elementary schools in the neighborhood. Around a decade back, the spruce Street School came up to cater to the growing needs of the community.
If you and your family are the new-age type and enjoy a more funky and poppy environment, Chelsea is the place to be. Throughout the week, you will find a range of activities being hosted that you and the kids can participate in. There’s a number of facilities and great cultural hotspots too.
But this does not mean that there’s an absence of serenity here. You can easily find cute little streets and Chelsea Waterside Park, where you can go for a walk in the morning. And then you have the Chelsea Piers that houses gymnastic space, an ice rink, and even a gym for toddlers.
We are aware that some families even consider moving to this neighborhood for the much-loved annual street fest organized by the Rubin Museum of Art. This is a jolly good time that residents of this locality look forward to for the entire year.
And if you are a parent, trust us when we say that you will thank the stars for the Chelsea Market. It is bustling and always has a carnival-vibe to it, which children absolutely adore. They have a large number of food vendors, and your kids will have a wide range of options to choose from.
Battery Park City
People generally prefer this locality for the semi-countryside vibe that it offers. Your kids can grow up playing in the neighborhood park and learning how to sail. How beautiful would that be?
The best part about this neighborhood is that it reflects great urban planning when it comes to families. You will find plenty of family-sized buildings that can house moderate to big-sized families. And there’s plenty of pools and parks that your kids can easily access.
We have seen many families arrange weekend picnics in their favorite Rockefeller Park and Teardrop Park, which are local favorites. Your kids can even become baseball and volleyball pros, too, if they wish, as there are many courts in the neighborhood.
Moreover, if you want to spend some solitary time with the family, you can just pick a spot at Battery Park City. From here, you can enjoy a great view of the Statue Of Liberty and a breathtaking view of the Hudson River.
Battery City Special Attractions
And then you have Brookfield Place too, which has quite a few top-notch malls where you will find products of national and foreign brands. If you are lucky, you can even get to experience a few installations and performances that can be enjoyed as a family.
The biggest attraction for kids, however, is Battery Park’s Seaglass Carousel and the playscape that is attached to it. Here, your kids can experience the fun of treehouse-style play areas and puppet plays too. If they are feeling experimental and sporty, they can even try their hands at rock climbing. There’s almost nothing that Battery Park City does not offer.
And not just that, there are a range of good public schools too which are quite sought after. So, we would suggest that you start enquiring about the admission process as soon as you move. It might take a while to get your kid admitted as the pressure is quite high.
A lot of people complain about this locality being an urban jungle. But the local planners have lately done a lot of good work to make this neighborhood family-friendly. It is very close to Times Square, and that’s a great boon for theatre lovers.
You can easily access the Theatre Row on 42nd Street, and your kids can also have a great time enjoying the shows that they host for young audiences.
And the most exciting thing that has happened a few years back is the Hudson Yards project. The local departments took up this mega-development project to turn this majorly industrial area into a luxurious and chic neighborhood. Even most of the properties in the locality come with swimming pools, and you can purchase them at moderately affordable rates.
Hell’s Kitchen mostly has public schools in the locality and admits kids through a lottery process. In case you have any problem admitting your kid, go ahead and try out the schools right outside the locality, such as P.S. 51 or P.S. 111. It is best if you are looking for a strong curriculum with a special focus on the arts for your kids.
How To Select Schools For Kids?
What can be a good school for one person, might not be the same for another. But when you are deciding where to settle, a good school is a major criterion that determines if staying in a particular locality would be good or not.
Each school comes with a different set of ideologies, support structures, and services that they offer to the kids and parents. When selecting a school for your kid, you should see their prior year’s results, the culture, and how supportive they will be.
If you are considering public schools for the kids, make sure to check the district schools in the areas where you are planning to move. Your kid can only be admitted to schools that are in your neighborhood. As the entire admission process is zonal, we would recommend that you check the area properly to know what options you have for schools in a particular area.
But remember that zoning for private schools is not a strict policy, and sometimes the school zones even change. If there is a problem of overcrowding, the chances are that other public schools in the vicinity would open their doors to tackle the problem.
The best way to know if a school would be a good fit for your kid or not is to visit it once personally. When sending your child to a school, it is very crucial to see what the school has to offer and whether your child would be able to adjust and adapt to the school’s environment.
To do background checks, you can even visit the Department of Education website on the internet and check the current plans and proposals. If a plan for rezoning is in the pipeline, it is best to know about it in detail before you make any decisions.
And with that, we have reached the end of this comprehensive guide.
We hope that you had a great time going through it and will soon find a good neighborhood in Manhattan. It is true that it does take a while to find the right one, but with research and the help of experts, you will be able to get your hands on remarkable properties at affordable rates.
Every family is unique and so are their needs. So, you need to first identify what it is that your family needs the most and select a neighborhood accordingly. Decide what makes your family live peacefully and happily and go for it.
If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to us in the comments section below. Until next time, fare thee well!