Where to live in New York for Students

new york

As a new student, your first year of freedom comes with a challenge: finding the ideal apartment. There is no “correct” way to arrange your college living area, unlike your childhood bedroom. 

There are only appropriate and awkward methods to stuff your goods into every corner and hole of whatever space you can find. It’s not easy to choose where to live in New York—and it can be even more challenging if you’re trying to go to school while living off-campus and working part-time. 

But there are plenty of options that balance affordability, convenience, and charming neighborhoods. 

With this caveat in mind, here’s a rundown of New York’s best neighborhoods for college students, from all over the city, that are all convenient commuting distances from campus(es) and affordable. 

You can also see how this site explains furnished apartments for students in New York City. 

Morningside Heights

Morningside Heights has long been a destination for young New Yorkers, and students continue to flock to the neighborhood in droves. 

With its historic brick-lined brownstones and proximity to Washington Square Park and the Village, Morningside Heights is built for making friends and exploring new locales. 

But rent can be prohibitively expensive—students who choose to live here should expect to pay around $2 per square foot more than their counterparts in surrounding neighborhoods. 

However, this high price tag might not scare away families looking to relocate—many hotel options are available, housing tends toward cheap studios that won’t tax your parents too much, and there are plenty of employment opportunities in Midtown (and even Wall Street) if you decide that you want to go off on your own after college.

Washington Heights

You may have heard Washington Heights described as the new Brooklyn, and this isn’t too far from the truth. 

Washington Heights is one of those few neighborhoods with a rich and cultural approach that won’t embrace change anytime soon. 

Still, the primary reason to move up to Washington Heights is affordability and the generous apartment sizes. 

In this neighborhood, you can be sure to find three-bedroom apartments, something somewhat surprising, but also beneficial, as you can have a lot of free space if you don’t want to have three beds in one house and use the extra rooms as storage space. 

The average monthly rent comes up to around $1000 a month, with only a 15-40 minute commute to most places in the city, which will ensure you won’t be late to any important events or activities you may want to attend. 

With the low rents and short commutes in this neighborhood, Washington Heights remains a prime choice with regards to housing and the future unpredictability of housing markets.


Inwood is one of those neighborhoods that may seem like a sleepy and uninteresting part of the city, but certain people may find it to be just what they need in this part of the city. 

Inwood has indeed remained somewhat of a residential area for senior citizens and you won’t be finding any big parties or events happening often, but with an average monthly rent of $983 a month, and pretty spacious apartments which go up to three-bedroom accommodations, you are sure to feel relaxed and right at home if you are a more introverted person who enjoys the quiet. 

If you are more sporty and want to challenge yourself, you can cycle throughout the different neighborhoods of the city and even make your way to the other side of the city through the designated Greenway, or enjoy canoeing with the Inwood Canoe Club.

Roosevelt Island

If you are new to New York City, you may not have heard of Roosevelt Island, but rest assured that this island is a major part of the housing market and drives a lot of market trends that lead to rent prices throughout the other neighborhoods city. 

You are looking at about $1658 a month for a three-bedroom apartment and space isn’t that much of a problem, but the commute may be a little frustrating. 

You have to ride the Roosevelt Island Tram every day to get off the island, and if you are in a hurry in the morning this can greatly hinder your resolve to continue living there, and making your way to your university or other major landmarks can be a bit tough at times. 

One of its redeeming qualities is its low rent price and the fact that you can get so much more space for a lower price. 

Also, with the relocation of Cornell Tech on the island, many young people are starting to head towards the island looking for housing and even bringing along new events and services focused on students and a younger demographic. 

Exploration can also be a major part of living there, as the island is home to major historic events that will pique anyone’s interest, even sometimes driving rent prices due to its rich and checkered past. 

Roosevelt Island is the medium point on commute and affordability but it is worth considering if you can handle these obstacles.

In Conclusion 

These neighborhoods are great for new students who want to experience city life while also focusing on their studies and work. 

Whether you want low commute times, affordable rent, or a combination of these factors, these neighborhoods each can offer something that students want, and renters will often take advantage of this fact to make the most out of their apartments. 

New York City is one of the biggest trade centers in the USA, and students starting their new, independent life in this bustling metropolis should scout every possibility and option before making their decision. 

However, these neighborhoods are often at the top of everyone’s list, so be sure to make your decision quickly and choose before the market changes and you lose out on the chance to live in one of these historic and wonderful neighborhoods.