New York City is one of the most exciting places on the planet. But big-city life often comes with significant stressors — not to mention a hefty price tag. Luckily, there are plenty of cities near New York that are great alternatives.
Read on to learn about our favorites, from urban streets to the bucolic countryside. Plus, these cities are all within 50 miles of Manhattan, so commuters and students 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, NY
- Ossining, NY
- Yonkers, NY
- Stamford, CT
- Distance from downtown NYC: 3.4 miles
- One-bedroom average rent: $2,742 (down 8.4 percent since last year)
- Two-bedroom average rent: $3,839 (down 7.5 percent since last year)
Jersey City is on the Hudson River, just a few miles away from Midtown Manhattan. It’s the second-most populous city in New Jersey, with a bustling restaurant scene, great shopping and beautiful riverfront parks.
Jersey City residents can enjoy the perks of big-city living while also savoring extra space, more affordable rent and other benefits of the suburbs.
Jersey City is also home to numerous mass transit options, making it easy to get around without a car. Light rail 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 New Jersey Turnpike will make commuting a breeze.
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- Distance from downtown NYC: 3.9 miles
- One-bedroom average rent: $3,027 (down 15.1 percent since last year)
- Two-bedroom average rent: $3,906 (down 13.9 percent since last year)
Hoboken is just north of Jersey City, which means that people here also enjoy stunning waterfront views and a short, easy journey to Manhattan. However, Hoboken is a smaller city with a friendlier, more suburban feel.
Hoboken is also home to a thriving art scene, proving that culture doesn’t just exist in the bigger cities. With the Barsky Gallery, Mile Square Theatre and Hoboken Historical Museum in your backyard, you’ll never run out of things to explore.
Families love Hoboken because it’s safe, easy to navigate and full of excellent schools.
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- Distance from downtown NYC: 12.4 miles
- One-bedroom average rent: $2,456 (down 21.7 percent since last year)
- Two-bedroom average rent: $3,248 (down 16.7 percent since last year)
Fort Lee is another great option for people who want a big-city feel without the big-city inconveniences. This city lies just south of the George Washington Bridge, which connects to Upper Manhattan and provides easy access to the Bronx. Fort Lee is known for its many high rises, some of which offer beautiful views of the Hudson River or the New York City skyline.
History buffs will also love Fort Lee, which is older than America itself. The borough was originally a Revolutionary War encampment and served as headquarters for General George Washington.
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- Distance from downtown NYC: 14.7 miles
- One-bedroom average rent: $1,466 (up 24.9 percent since last year)
- Two-bedroom average rent: $1,500 (up 6.4 percent since last year)
Elizabeth is a lively, diverse and historic city located south of Newark.
The fourth-largest city in New Jersey, it’s also the state’s most densely populated. As a result, people here live a more urban lifestyle. There are plenty of shops and restaurants to keep residents busy, plus a very active nightlife scene.
The city’s central location is great for commuters and travelers. Elizabeth is accessible via the New Jersey Transit and is at the crossroads of several major highways, including the New Jersey Transit. Traveling outside the tri-state area? Newark International Airport is just a few miles away.
Elizabeth has lots of affordable housing options, making it a great choice for city-dwellers on a budget.
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Photo source: The Montclair Gardens
- Distance from downtown NYC: 17.7 miles
- One-bedroom average rent: $2,387 (down 7.3 percent since last year)
- Two-bedroom average rent: $3,203 (down 2.7 percent since last year)
Montclair is near several big cities, including Jersey City, Newark and, of course, New York City. However, Montclair’s green scenery, rolling hills and historic homes make this city feel worlds away from the concrete jungle.
Montclair offers a laid-back and suburban feel, which is perfect for those looking to escape city life. However, there is still plenty to do here. Visit the Montclair Art Museum or the 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 NYC: 19.5 miles
- One-bedroom average rent: $2,388 (down 3.8 percent since last year)
- Two-bedroom average rent: $3,304 (down 4.5 percent since last year)
Yonkers lies on the Hudson River, just above the Bronx, serving as a great alternative for those looking for city living. It’s an urban environment with a distinctly “young” feel, unlike some of the other suburbs on our list, which are more attractive to families.
Yonkers has a very active nightlife scene, where residents can enjoy everything from nightclubs to craft cocktail lounges.
However, Yonkers also has plenty of opportunities to get out in nature. Untermyer Park and Gardens is one of Yonkers’s key attractions. The park is on the National Register of Historic Places and offers 150 acres of landscaping, Grecian-style stonework and Hudson River views.
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- Distance from downtown NYC: 22.2 miles
- One-bedroom average rent: $2,422 (down 0.3 percent since last year)
- Two-bedroom average rent: $2,770 (down 2.0 percent since last year)
New Rochelle lies at the southern tip of Westchester County, giving residents easy access to New York City, neighboring Connecticut and upstate New York.
It’s long been a popular commuter town as it directly connects to Manhattan via the Metro-North railway. Interstate 95 also runs through New Rochelle, which offers drivers direct city access at multiple points.
Like many parts of Westchester County, New Rochelle also has a wealth of historical sites dating back to the Revolutionary War.
New Rochelle is known for having great public schools and plenty of green spaces, making it a popular destination for city residents looking to settle down and start families.
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- Distance from downtown NYC: 29.1 miles
- One-bedroom average rent: $2,431 (down 9.2 percent since last year)
- Two-bedroom average rent: $3,351 (down 16.5 percent since last year)
White Plains is another popular city in Westchester County. Like its neighbor New Rochelle, White Plains offers Metro-North railway service and multiple highways for an easy commute to Manhattan.
However, White Plains is more than just a bedroom community. It’s also a bustling city in its own right, with a busy downtown area that serves as a hub for Westchester commerce. Residents can enjoy concerts, sporting events and more at the Westchester County Center or simply relax in one of the numerous parks. Whether you prefer urban adventures or suburban relaxation, White Plains has something for you.
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- Distance from downtown NYC: 37.4 miles
- One-bedroom average rent: $2,514 (up 4.2 percent since last year)
- Two-bedroom average rent: $3,325 (up 3.6 percent since last year)
Ossining might be close to New York City, but this peaceful community feels like it’s worlds apart.
This village is right on the Hudson River, offering residents a friendly, coastal community with an abundance of waterfront activities. It also boasts a historic downtown area with plenty to do and see.
Ossining is on Metro-North’s Hudson line, which provides easy access to both the city and the country. An express train from Ossining takes travelers to Grand Central Station in less than an hour. However, the train can also be taken farther upstate to towns like Peekskill and Cold Spring, where some of the Hudson Valley’s best hiking awaits.
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- Distance from downtown NYC: 39.5 miles
- One-bedroom average rent: $2,283 (down 6.3 percent since last year)
- Two-bedroom average rent: $2,926 (down 5.8 percent since last year)
Stamford is one of the largest cities in Connecticut, making it another great NYC alternative. This city provides a nice balance of urban and suburban and is popular with young professionals and families.
Metro-North offers 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 just 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 hunting tips make it easy to explore the best cities near New York.