New York is one of the most exciting places on the planet. But life in big cities often comes with significant stressors – not to mention a high price tag. Fortunately, there are many cities near New York that are great alternatives.
Read on to discover our favorites, from urban streets to the bucolic countryside. Plus, these cities are all within 50 miles of Manhattan, so commuters and students alike have easy access to the Big Apple.
Below, we’ll share what life is like in the following cities:
- Jersey City, NJ
- Hoboken, NJ
- Fort Lee, NJ
- Elizabeth, NJ
- Montclair, NJ
- New Rochelle, NY
- White Plains, New York
- Ossining, New York
- Yonkers, NY
- Stamford, CT
- Distance from downtown New York: 3.4 miles
- Average rent for a bedroom: $ 2,742 (down 8.4% from last year)
- Average rent for two bedrooms: $ 3,839 (down 7.5% from last year)
Jersey City is located on the Hudson River, just a few miles from Midtown Manhattan. It is New Jersey’s second most populous city, with a vibrant restaurant scene, great shopping, and beautiful waterfront parks.
Jersey City residents can enjoy the perks of living in the big cities while enjoying additional space, more affordable rent, and other suburban perks.
Jersey City is also home to many public transportation options, making it easy to travel without a car. Streetcar systems, bus lines, and water ferries connect you to New York City and other parts of New Jersey. For residents who choose to drive, easy access to the Holland Tunnel and the New Jersey Turnpike will make getting around easier.
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- Distance from downtown New York: 3.9 miles
- Average rent for a bedroom: $ 3,027 (down 15.1% from last year)
- Average rent for two bedrooms: $ 3,906 (down 13.9% from last year)
Hoboken is just north of Jersey City, which means people here also get amazing waterfront views and a short, easy ride to Manhattan. However, Hoboken is a smaller town with a friendlier, more suburban feel.
Hoboken is also home to a thriving arts scene, proving that culture doesn’t just exist in big cities. With the Barsky Gallery, Mile Square Theater, and the Hoboken Historical Museum right in your backyard, you’ll never be short of things to explore.
Families love Hoboken because it is safe, easy to navigate, and has a lot of great schools.
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- Distance from downtown New York: 12.4 miles
- Average rent for a bedroom: $ 2,456 (down 21.7% from last year)
- Average rent for two bedrooms: $ 3,248 (down 16.7% from last year)
Fort Lee is another great option for people who want a big city feel without the hassle of the big city. This city sits just south of the George Washington Bridge, which connects Upper Manhattan and offers easy access to the Bronx. Fort Lee is known for its many skyscrapers, some of which offer magnificent views of the Hudson River or the New York skyline.
History buffs will also love Fort Lee, which is older than America itself. The district was originally a revolutionary war encampment and served as the headquarters for General George Washington.
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- Distance from downtown New York: 14.7 miles
- Average rent for a bedroom: $ 1,466 (up 24.9% from last year)
- Average rent for two bedrooms: $ 1,500 (up 6.4% from last year)
Elizabeth is a vibrant, diverse and historic city located south of Newark.
The fourth largest city in New Jersey, it is also the most densely populated in the state. As a result, people here live a more urban lifestyle. There are plenty of shops and restaurants to keep residents busy, as well as a very active nightlife.
The city’s central location is ideal for commuters and travelers. Elizabeth is accessible via New Jersey Transit and sits at the crossroads of several major freeways, including New Jersey Transit. Are you traveling outside the tri-state area? Newark International Airport is just a few miles away.
Elizabeth has plenty of affordable housing options, making her a great choice for city dwellers on a budget.
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Photo source: Les jardins Montclair
- Distance from downtown New York: 17.7 miles
- Average rent for a bedroom: $ 2,387 (down 7.3% from last year)
- Average rent for two bedrooms: $ 3,203 (down 2.7% from last year)
Montclair is close to several major cities including Jersey City, Newark and, of course, New York. However, Montclair’s lush green landscape, rolling hills, and historic homes make this town feel secluded from the concrete jungle.
Montclair offers a relaxed, suburban atmosphere, perfect for those looking to escape city life. However, there is still a lot to do here. Visit the Montclair Art Museum or Montclair History Center for your dose of culture, or spend the day shopping and dining in the charming downtown area.
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- Distance from downtown New York: 19.5 miles
- Average rent for a bedroom: $ 2,388 (down 3.8% from last year)
- Average rent for two bedrooms: $ 3,304 (down 4.5% from last year)
Yonkers sits on the Hudson River just above the Bronx, making a great alternative for those looking for city life. It’s an urban environment with a distinctly “young” feel, unlike some of the other suburbs on our list, which are more appealing to families.
Yonkers has a very active nightlife, where residents can enjoy everything from nightclubs to craft cocktail bars.
However, Yonkers also has plenty of opportunities to get out into the wild. One of Yonkers’ main attractions is Untermyer’s Park and Gardens. The park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and offers 150 acres of landscaping, Greek-style stonework, and views of the Hudson River.
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- Distance from downtown New York: 22.2 miles
- Average rent for a bedroom: $ 2,422 (down 0.3% from last year)
- Average rent for two bedrooms: $ 2,770 (down 2.0% from last year)
New Rochelle sits at the southern tip of Westchester County, providing residents with easy access to New York City, neighboring Connecticut, and upstate New York.
It has long been a popular suburban city as it connects directly to Manhattan via the Metro-North Railroad. Interstate 95 also passes through New Rochelle, which gives drivers direct access to the city at several points.
Like many parts of Westchester County, New Rochelle also has a wealth of historic sites dating back to the Revolutionary War.
New Rochelle is known for its excellent public schools and plenty of green spaces, making it a popular destination for locals looking to settle down and start a family.
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- Distance from downtown New York: 29.1 miles
- Average rent for a bedroom: $ 2,431 (down 9.2% from last year)
- Average rent for two bedrooms: $ 3,351 (down 16.5% from last year)
White Plains is another popular town in Westchester County. Like its neighbor New Rochelle, White Plains offers Metro-North rail service and several freeways for an easy commute to Manhattan.
However, White Plains is more than just a bedroom community. It’s also a bustling town in its own right, with a bustling city center that serves as a hub for Westchester’s commerce. Residents can enjoy concerts, sporting events and more at the Westchester County Center or simply relax in one of the many parks. Whether you prefer urban adventures or suburban relaxation, White Plains has something for you.
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- Distance from downtown New York: 37.4 miles
- Average rent for a bedroom: $ 2,514 (up 4.2% from last year)
- Average rent for two bedrooms: $ 3,325 (up 3.6% from last year)
Ossining may be close to New York City, but this peaceful community feels like worlds apart.
This village is located on the Hudson River, providing residents with a friendly coastal community with an abundance of waterfront activities. It also has a historic city center with plenty to do and see.
Ossining is on the Metro-North Hudson Line, which offers easy access to the city and the countryside. An express train from Ossining takes travelers to Grand Central Station in less than an hour. However, the train can also be taken further upstate to towns like Peekskill and Cold Spring, where some of the best hikes in the Hudson Valley await.
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- Distance from downtown New York: 39.5 miles
- Average rent for a bedroom: $ 2,283 (down 6.3% from last year)
- Average rent for two bedrooms: $ 2,926 (down 5.8% from last year)
Stamford is one of the largest cities in Connecticut, which makes it another great alternative to New York City. This city offers a nice balance between urban and suburban and is popular with young professionals and families.
Metro-North offers a direct train service to Manhattan every 30 minutes. Passengers will reach Harlem in under 45 minutes, or they can continue to Grand Central Station, which is a few more minutes away.
Stamford is close to other charming Connecticut towns, such as Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan.
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Make one of these cities near New York your next home
New York State, New Jersey, and Connecticut offer great alternatives to New York City. Our interactive search tools and apartment finding tips make it easy for you to explore the best cities near New York City.