Washington Heights, Manhattan
Square footage: 400-600sqft
What you get: In Washington Heights, east of Broadway, you’ll easily be able to find a studio in a walk-up for this price point. Most of the housing stock is older, which means another added bonus: more square footage.
The neighborhood vibe: “It’s lively,” says Eric Cruz, licensed real estate agent with Citi Habitats. "People love being outdoors, so you’re going to hear the sights and sounds of the city. It’s not quiet, but in a good way." The neighborhood has a large Dominican population, which means there's tons of great, authentic Dominican food (including the city's best mofongo), but the Heights is also home to one of the city's best craft beer bars, Buddha Beer Bar, and a specialty burger joint. "The good thing is if you are on a budget, the cost of living is definitely cheaper," Cruz says, "The neighborhood has everything you need, but in mom-and-pop businesses." For the ultimate get-outside-the-city feeling, Washington Heights is also home to The Cloisters, the four-acre medieval art museum and garden owned by the Met.