Once upon a time, travelers visiting New York City wouldn’t dream of staying anywhere outside of Manhattan. They’d enjoy the convenience of being a stone’s throw from the major attractions, but they’d also leave with gaping holes in their finances. However, the times they are changing, and budget-conscious tourists are increasingly looking to the outer boroughs. The trend has seen Long Island City emerge as one of New York City’s most desirable travel locales.

Why More Travelers Are Discovering Long Island City

Image by jlwelsh via Flickr

The Hotels are Cheaper and Better Value

Even a modest hotel in Manhattan is likely to set you back between $250 and $300. Add the cost of onsite parking, and you’re in for a very big bill. Hotels in Long Island City often cost less than half the price of their Manhattan counterparts, and many, like the La Quinta Inn Queens, also offer free parking and complimentary Wi-Fi.

It’s also not uncommon to find Long Island City hotels offering free shuttle services to the airports and Manhattan, as Z NYC Hotel does, and free buffet breakfasts each morning, like the Red Roof Inn Queens. All of these complimentary perks can really add up over the length of your stay.

Why More Travelers Are Discovering Long Island City

Image by Yelp Inc. via Flickr

Long Island City is Ideally Located for Air Travelers

Many travelers don’t realize that Long Island City is actually closer to New York’s most popular airports than Manhattan. It takes 15 minutes to get from LaGuardia Airport to Manhattan, three minutes more than it takes to get to Long Island City. The ride from John F. Kennedy Airport to Manhattan takes 29 minutes, eight minutes more than the drive to Long Island City. The time difference can be even more pronounced if you’re traveling during rush hour, so it’s worth considering if you’re relying on cabs or rental cars.

Why More Travelers Are Discovering Long Island City

Image by Dwayne Bent via Flickr [John F. Kennedy Airport]

Reduced cab fares are just one way you can save, though. Hipmunk.com’s guide to finding cheap flights to Long Island City has a few more tips.

An Exciting Arts Scene

If Manhattan’s arts scene seems a little stuck in the past, you’ll love the exciting vibe in Long Island City. It’s home to trendy modern galleries like the MoMA PS1, the Noguchi Museum, and the SculptureCenter. The Secret Theatre and the Chocolate Factory Theater have interesting programs to rival any in Manhattan.

Why More Travelers Are Discovering Long Island City

Image by Molly Dilworth via Flickr [SculptureCenter]

Long Island City is Enjoying Massive Tourism Growth

If you needed further proof that Long Island City is on the up, then consider the hotels currently in the works. Nearly half of them are outside Manhattan, including eight new hotels in Long Island City. According to Crain’s New York, the Queens city will soon welcome two new Wyndham properties and an Aloft by Starwood Hotels & Resorts. That means more choices for travelers, and more competition to keep prices low.

Why More Travelers Are Discovering Long Island City

Image by panda073 via Flickr [The Noguchi Museum]

Where new hotels arise, other tourist features will follow. In time, perhaps we won’t see so many people taking that subway to Manhattan to spend their days, because there’ll be even more in Long Island City to pique their interests.

Would you stay in Long Island City to save on your New York vacation? Have you ever stayed in this Queens district? Make sure to join the discussion below!

Why More Travelers Are Discovering Long Island City

Image by BEV Norton via Flickr [Street art in Ditmars]

Blog Post Type: Expert Opinion Piece


Lauren Katulka is a happily married freelance writer living on Australia’s Central Coast. When she’s not playing around with words she loves roller skating, spending time in the kitchen, watching indie films and cuddling her Devon Rex cat, Gizmo.