Living in Manhattan – The Complete Guide
Manhattan. If you can make it here, they say you can make it anywhere. If you’re looking for slow living, you won’t find it here. But living in Manhattan, you will find some of the best working and educational opportunities in the country, and the world. In this Manhattan city guide, we’ll tell you everything your need to know about where to live and how to enjoy in the city of dreams to its fullest.

Three Things to Know about Living in Manhattan

Your Car is Useless

Paying for parking in the City is obscenely expensive, and finding a home or apartment with private parking is near impossible. Add that to the insanity of Manhattan’s traffic, and there’s really no reason to keep driving. Save yourself the time and money, and ditch the vehicle.

Worried about getting around? NYC is one of the most walkable cities in the country. Plus, there are buses and subway trains 24/7, 365. Unlike other urban areas, there’s a new subway going where you want to be, likely in the next 15 minutes. So getting around without a car really isn’t much of a hassle until you want to get out of the city.

It’s Hard to Get Lost

Remember the movie, “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”? Total hogwash. New York is a grid system! Want to figure out where you are going? Simply find the nearest crossroads and do the math.

Figuring out the subway system can be a little harder. One thing to be careful about is which direction you’re going. One side of the tracks will get you to Union Square, while the other will leave you up at 125th street. Luckily, there are plenty of stops in between, and transfers are free once you’re past the gates.

The New York Attitude is Real

New Yorkers are some of the most welcoming, loving people in America. They also want you to get the heck out of their way. Manhattanites know where they are going, and seriously own the streets of the city. So if you want to do well in Manhattan, don’t crowd the sidewalks, don’t bother anyone with headphones on, and never make eye contact with someone holding a clipboard– they either want your signature or your money.

A few other don’ts: Don’t call it the Big Apple. To anyone in the tristate area, Manhattan is just “The City” because it is the only city that matters. Don’t go to Times Square for NYE. It’s crowded and freezing, and way less fun than it looks on TV. Finally, don’t be afraid to be yourself. Got a freak flag? Let it fly in Manhattan.

Who Lives in Manhattan

No matter your background, language, financial status, or family size, there is a place in Manhattan for you. Manhattan is home to the elites of the Upper East Side, post grads who stayed in town after graduating from NYU, young professionals starting their careers and the CEOs that run Wall Street.

Manhattan’s demographics illuminate the city’s incredible level of diversity. Manhattan is about 45% Caucasian, with 27% of residents identifying as Hispanic, 15% as Black and 10% as Asian. Manhattan is renowned for welcoming residents of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Additionally, the city has relatively even splits between men and women, and married and unmarried citizens.

Cost of Living in Manhattan

It’s no secret that living in Manhattan is expensive. Living in Manhattan costs 50% more than the American average. Residents can expect to pay “New York City prices” on just about everything, from groceries, to utilities and rent, to personal services.

Thinking of buying a house in Manhattan? You can expect to pay upwards of $1,000,000 for a condo in the city. The famous Brownstones, however, go for much more, sometimes selling for $5,000,000 or more. Renting in Manhattan is also costly, with the median rent resting at $1,500 per month, not including utilities. Again, the cost of living in Manhattan varies wildly depending on the area of the city you are in.

Manhattan Neighborhoods

Manhattan’s neighborhoods can be as small as a cross street, or encompass a square mile. Manhattanites are proud and particular about their neighborhoods, and are happy to tell you why their district is the best in NYC. Here are a few neighborhoods in Manhattan that stand out.


Tribeca stands for the “triangle below canal street.” It’s known as the the number one Manhattan neighborhood, according to Business Insider. Tribeca residents love the safe, upscale style of this district, which is home to fine dining experiences and boutique shopping opportunities. An affluent neighborhood, renters in Tribeca pay about $4,100 per month on average for a one-bedroom apartment. It’s also home to some of NYC’s celebrity residents, including Beyonce and Jay-Z.


South of Houston St, you’ll find the trendy neighborhood of SoHo. Filled with cast-iron buildings and lines with cobblestone streets, SoHo is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Manhattan. It was developed by artists in the 20th century, who were drawn to the area’s large loft spaces and warehouses. Kindled by its artisan residents, SoHo has grown into a neighborhood offering every amenity, specialty stores and a one-of-a-kind community.

Gramercy Park

If you’re looking for easy access to the rest of the city, while being a little bit removed from the action, Gramercy Park may be the place for you. Developed in the 1800s, the area was intended for well-to-do families living in Manhattan. Gramercy is well known for its gorgeous brownstone houses and clean, well-maintained streets. The actual park in Gramercy Park is exclusive, and getting a key to the park is quite an accomplishment, as the only people with access are those who live directly along its perimeter.

Manhattan’s Weather

Like most of the mid-Atlantic, Manhattan enjoys a full four seasons, with blistering cold winters and blazing hot summer days. Throughout the year, the temperature in Manhattan can range from 14 degrees to the 90’s. It’s important to note that downtown Manhattan gets even hotter than the surrounding suburbs. The close quarters of buildings and concrete jungle that is New York amplifies the heat.

Precipitation in Manhattan is a common occurrence. Because it’s so close to the coast, Manhattan is significantly affected by hurricanes that travel up from the South. Manhattan is also famously hit by “Nor’Easters” that bring anywhere from several inches to multiple feet of snow to the city.

Manhattan Attractions

You could spend a lifetime in Manhattan and never get bored. Tourists flock to sites like the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Tower. Times Square’s bright lights, costumed greeters and enormous landmark stores are fun to experience, once or twice. But what makes the city unique are the attractions that keep you coming back for more.

Theater on Broadway

Broadway shows outshine theater anywhere else. Yes, we’re probably biased. But it’s TRUE. Broadway is the home of the most amazing shows ever created, and Manhattanites have the privilege of living just steps away from the iconic stages that line the street. Whether you’re seeing Hamilton for the first (or fifth) time or catching classic like the Lion King, Broadway has shows that fascinate, illuminate, and inspire.

Get Out in NYC’s Parks

Walking through Central Park, you manage to leave the city while right in the middle of it. Miles of trails encourage walkers, joggers and bikers to get up and go. Street performers draw huge crowds to show off their talents. But Central Park isn’t the only great park in NYC. A personal favorite to locals is Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan. Though it’s small, Bryant Park makes up for its size in events! Evening movies bring tourists and locals together during the summer months. An ice skating rink and pop up shops mark Christmastime. Bryant park has different events all year long, making it fun to go back to again and again.

Step Back in Time at a Speakeasy

Fun fact: NYC is still home to a number of speakeasies. For a quick history lesson, speakeasies were illegal bars open during the Prohibition Era. They were often found in the back of cafes and bookstores, or in the basements of private homes. Today’s Manhattan speakeasies are an ode to Prohibition living. You’ll have to search to find them, and some even have a password you’ll need to get in! Once inside, you can enjoy the 1920’s decor and vintage cocktails made by Manhattan’s best mixologists.

Working in Manhattan

Manhattan has work opportunities in every industry imaginable, but the majority of residents here operate in White Collar lines of work. The top employers in Manhattan are finance, healthcare and professional services such as marketing. With the wide range of schools in Manhattan, there are also plenty of opportunities in Education, as well. The average income in Manhattan is $75,000 per year, but salaries can vary greatly depending on your industry, with many Manhattan residents making significantly more than the average.

Schools in Manhattan

Manhattan is home to some of the best schools in the country. From pre-K to college, students can explore hundreds of educational paths through both public and private school systems. Some of the best public high schools in Manhattan include Eleanor Roosevelt High School, the Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics and New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math.

Higher education in Manhattan is just as prolific. New York University is top rated for it’s Arts programs, including one of the nation’s top Theater programs. Columbia offers an Ivy League education and respected Law School. Juilliard trains our best musicians. And the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers exceptional courses in math and engineering.


Manhattan is crazy and loud, works hard and plays hard. It’s a city of dreams, and living there is a truly unique experience. If you think Manhattan is calling you, pick up the phone and get moving!

Transitioning to a city as intense as Manhattan can be stressful, so if you need help with moving to Manhattan, NYC Great Moving is here for you. We’ll take care of everything from packing to transport and delivery, so you can focus on starting your new life as a Manhattanite.