Living in New York City undoubtedly has its attractions, but protecting your savings account isn't one of them. The city is expensive, and it's showing no signs of getting any cheaper. And then there are the crowds and the tourists and the cramped apartments to contend with.
Fortunately, there's a way to enjoy the job opportunities and cultural attractions of the city without experiencing the flip side. Providing you're willing to commute just a short distance, you'll find plenty of great places to live right outside of NYC.
Look around, and you shouldn't have too many problems in finding somewhere that's affordable, attractive, and, by comparison to NYC, blissfully relaxed. Obviously, no one wants to spend half their life struck on a train, and luckily, you don't have to.
We've combed the area and found ten places that are within easy traveling distance to NYC. Some of them are big, some of them are small, and some of them are slap bang in the middle.
What they all have in common is their easy traveling distance to the city, their relative affordability, and their ability to offer commuters the best of the Big Apple with none of its downsides. Without further ado, here they are.
10. Old Bridge, NY
Located just 35 miles from Manhattan is the small city of Old Bridge. Accessibility into NYC is a breeze thanks to its convenient position near the I-95 North. The city also offers a Park & Ride service through NJ Transit.
Blessed with some great parks (including Cheesequake State Park, one of the oldest parks in the US), and offering enough shops, restaurants, and cultural venues to keep you entertained, it's an excellent (not to mention affordable) alternative to NYC.
9. Rockville Centre, NY
Rockville Centre is a small town of 24,201. Despite its size, it has a lively, vibrant atmosphere and a downtown that's positively booming. Foodies will love the huge selection of restaurants (over 100, by the last count), while beach lovers won't be disappointed with the short 10-minute drive to the ocean. The median property price of $661,000 might be high by national standards, but compared to the average for NYC, it's more than reasonable.
8. Jersey City, NJ
As the cost of living in NYC keeps growing, so does the interest in Jersey City. Despite the increased demand, rental properties are still reasonably priced - expect to pay around $2366 per month. Along with the attractive cost of living, residents can expect plenty by way of entertainment and cultural opportunities. Best of all, NYC is just a 13-minute drive away, putting the city in easy reach for commuters.
7. New Rochelle, NY
With a population of just 79,846, New Rochelle is a tiny speck in comparison to New York City. But bigger isn't always better. Over the past couple of years, the city's downtown has undergone extensive redevelopment, resulting in a vibrant, walkable center packed with retail space and recreational opportunities.
Rent is affordable (at least in comparison to the average for NYC) and the small community is friendly and diverse. By train, you can expect to be at Grand Central in about half an hour.
6. Carlstadt, NJ
If you like the idea of living somewhere where the median home value is just $401,300 and the median rental property is an equally attractive $2,082, you might want to consider Carlstadt.
Located on the fringe of East Rutherford in Bergen County, Carlstadt is an attractive city with an enticing food scene, a good selection of shops, and some first-rate entertainment options.
For nature lovers, the Hackensack Meadowlands Conservation and Wildlife Area provides countless opportunities for hiking and wildlife spotting. If all that wasn't enough to tempt you, the easy 30-minute commute into NYC just might.
5. Red Bank, NJ
According to Thrillist, Red Bank is the kind of place where every day feels like the weekend. With its combination of quaint charm and historic grandeur, it's certainly packed with attractions.
The dining options are legendary, as is the slightly weird and wonderful collection of small boutiques and shops (which include Kevin Smith’s comic book store, Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash). Over the past couple of years, interest in the city has driven up property prices. Even so, you can still snap up a single-family home for the very attractive sum of just $350,000.
4. Yonkers, NY
Curbed NY has named Yonkers as one of the best NYC commuter towns. It's hard to disagree. Blessed with low rental costs, scores of cultural institutions, parks, breweries, restaurants, and even an outdoor amphitheater, it's got more than enough to keep all tastes and budgets happy. Factor in the fact you can be at Grand Central in less than half an hour, and you can more than understand the appeal.
3. Armonk, NY
With a population of just 4,800 and a breadth that spans just 6 miles, Armonk is tiny. But despite its diminutive proportions, it packs a massive punch. The city is packed with first-rate restaurants, charming little boutiques, and some very hip bars. The Wampus Brook Park nature preserve and Kensico Reservoir provide plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun and recreation. Property is affordable, and you can be in NYC within the hour.
2. Newark, NJ
Rentberry.com has named Newark as one of the best places to rent near NYC. The smallish city of 280,139 people certainly has a lot to recommend it. Located just 11 miles from NYC, it's packed with attractions, including the biggest collection of Tibetan Art and the greatest number of cherry blossoms in the country. Rental prices are reasonable (expect to pay around $1804 per month) and the short 19-minute drive into NYC makes it a great option for commuters.
1. Union City, NJ
Set just 7 miles from NYC is Union City, a growing city with a growing reputation. In the last few years, New Yorkers looking for a cheap alternative to Manhattan and Brooklyn have been flooding into the city, and for good reason.
The median rental price is an attractive $2261 per month, leaving you with a lot more cash to play with come payday than you'd have in NYC. The city itself boasts plenty of attractions, including an outstanding transportation system, great walkability, and some stunning architecture. Amenities are bountiful, with scores of restaurants, bars, and shops to enjoy.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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