1. Blog
  2. NYC Apartments
  3. Brooklyn
  4. Top 6 NYC Neighborhoods
    for West Coast Transplants

Top 6 NYC Neighborhoods
for West Coast Transplants


Tell us if this describes you.

You’re a West Coast native. You’ve got the laid-back attitude and the dry sense of humor. You have fewer opinions on bagels than most of the people in this city, and more opinions on coffee (Dunkin’ is not an alternative to Starbucks).

Now look, we know not all West Coasters are a monolith. But let’s be real, when those of us from the West Coast take the thrilling jump to NYC, no matter how exciting it is, it can still take a bit of adjustment. Depending on where you’re from, it might be a minute before you’re used to the density of the city, the non-stop pace of life, and the access to decent public transit.

And when you’re in the process of moving to New York, it’s super valuable to know what neighborhoods might help you feel a little bit more at home. 

Below are our recommended neighborhoods based on a few factors: proximity to green spaces for walking, biking, and hiking, (don’t talk to me about what East Coasters think a “mountain” is…); access to healthy local food options; and places where housing is a bit less cramped. 

Drumroll please…

new york city

#6: Coney Island, Brooklyn

Probably best known for its boardwalk and theme park, Coney Island is a sweet, quiet residential neighborhood in southeast Brooklyn.

And it has beach access.

If you grew up on the water, you know there’s something sanity-saving about being able to watch the tides, hear the cry of seagulls, and breathe in fresh salt air. Especially with the frantic energy of NYC, it’s a luxury to live in a place like this, where mother nature retains her perpetual, soothing rhythms. 

Gotta warn you SoCal folk, though… beach here is not the same as beach there. Winter equals snow, not putting on a jacket when it hits the low 60’s. Sorry.

During the summer, those of us who went to DisneyLand growing up can also appreciate the joyous crowds riding the Cyclone, and the smell of cotton candy and funnel cakes. Coney Island was the most popular amusement getaway in the country while the west coast was still being settled. You gotta give ‘em that one.

For green spaces, you have not only the beach, but Kaiser Park and Coney Island Creek Park. That, and the incredible Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is only a short bike ride away.

During the summer months, there’s a diverse, local, and delicious farmers market held at the Coney Island Hospital twice a week. And in the winter you can always subsist on Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, right?

Explore Coney Island Apartments.

#5: ​​​Park Slope

Trendy Park Slope in the middle of Brooklyn may be one of the pricier neighborhoods on this list, but it certainly has the amenities. The entire neighborhood feels calm and residential, with tree-lined streets and charming brownstones. 

It’s also the location of the extremely popular Park Slope Food Co-op, which has been running since 1973. This cooperative provides members with certified organic, fresh produce and food year-round. Moreover, the neighborhood is packed with vegetarian, vegan, organic, and locally-sourced restaurants. 

Park Slope is also right next to the fantastic Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s answer to Central Park. It contains multitudes: running, hiking, biking trails. It’s got the zoo and botanical gardens. Then there’s the lake and the Lefrak Center

While Prospect Park is our only land-locked neighborhood on this list, it is a truly magical place to reconnect to that nature that’s so easy to find on the west coast.

#4: Bath Beach, Brooklyn

Bath Beach is definitely one of the chiller, more residential neighborhoods on this list. If you want to be close to the city while not feeling like you’re in the city, this is a perfect neighborhood for you.

Located in south Brooklyn, Bath Beach is exactly what it sounds like… on the beach. And for those of us who miss the gorgeous Pacific Ocean, having water nearby is a huuuge gamechanger.

Green space is plentiful with Bensonhurst Park on the east side of the neighborhood Dyker Beach Park on the west. If you’re a preppy kid from Riverside or Temecula, you’ll also be happy to hear that the latter has an 18-hole golf course.

There are amazing paths along the water for bicyclists as well. The Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway is an ambitious 26-mile bike path construction project, currently underway. 

For you fancy eaters, just a couple blocks away is the Bensonhurst Greenmarket, open Sundays from May to November. And for those of us who love lemongrass and chilis, you’ll be happy to know there’s a wide variety of authentic Asian restaurants along 86th St. 

Explore Bath Beach Apartments.

#5: Inwood, NYC

This is the only neighborhood on this list in Manhattan, and it’s no surprise. The island is infamous for being busy, busy, busy… cramped, cramped, cramped. But make your way to the northernmost tip, and you’ll find yourself in beautiful, green Inwood. 

This neighborhood is surrounded on three sides by water, and contains some of the best outdoor spaces in the city. New Yorkers love to brag about Central Park, but even in Manhattan’s famous nod to nature I can never fully forget I’m in the city. In Inwood, though? You’re in a whole other world.

Inwood’s natural marvels cannot be understated. Nearly half of the neighborhood is taken up by the stunning Inwood Hill Park on the northwest corner. This incredible 196-acre park boasts NYC’s last natural forest, and it’s last salt marsh. With miles of hiking trails, and acres of trees blocking city noise, it’s the perfect place to escape the omnipresent east coast bustle.

Buildings around here are limited to seven stories due to zoning restrictions. That, in addition to the hillier landscape, makes the streets less grid-like, and more akin to a suburb, leaving everyone a bit more room to stretch out. 

Plus, Inwood has one of the coolest year-round farmers markets in the city. The Inwood Greenmarket features products from local farmers located almost exclusively in the New York and New Jersey areas. With certified organic meats, fruits, vegetables, and dairy available, there’s something for you no matter how left coast your diet is.

inwood ny

#2: Dumbo, Brooklyn

Nope, it’s not a neighborhood with a flying elephant. DUMBO is an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, and is a neighborhood in west Brooklyn, known for its hip culture and waterfront views.

If you’re missing nature, Dumbo is right next to the 85-acre Brooklyn Bridge Park on the East River. With iconic views of the Brooklyn Bridge and lower Manhattan, this nature may not be immersive, but it sure is gorgeous. Plus, there’s almost too much to do. Basketball, biking, birdwatching, bocce, bouldering… and those are just the “B’s”. 

A few blocks away is the Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket, open Saturdays year-round. Local farmers sell their diverse wares, and everybody wins! If you’re missing west coast seafood, you’ll also be excited to know that one of their regular vendors is American Pride Seafood, who sell wild-caught fish and shellfish from Suffolk County, NY.

The charming cobblestone streets of this neighborhood will feel familiar to anyone from San Francisco. And if you’re a Silicon Valley programmer type, you might be interested to know that Dumbo is also famous for being the tech hub of Brooklyn. Start-ups like Etsy, Gothamist, Zipari, and Red Antler are all located here.

And if you’re a SoCal native? Well, the iconic views from this neighborhood make it a popular location for movie shoots. Strut on by without gawking and you should feel right at home.

#1: Astoria, Queens

This charming neighborhood is popular among trendy NYC-crashers for its delicious food scene (Greek is the specialty), wonderful parks, fun and quirky museums, and proximity to Manhattan. Though this northwest Queens neighborhood can feel a bit more urban (depending on your location), it’s still much slower-paced than the city.

We could talk for another 1,500 words about the gorgeous parks and green spaces Astoria has on offer, but two highlights are the astonishing Astoria Park, with the largest pool in NYC, and Randall’s Island Park, a quick hop across the water providing access to an enormous outdoor paradise.

Another one of these featured spaces, Socrates Sculpture Park, hosts a farm stand courtesy of Hellgate Farm on Saturdays during the summer months. During the summer, you can also check out the Ditmars Park Farmstand for fresh, delicious, local food options.

Even when it’s cold outside, Astoria still provides plenty of great foodie options. Try the Green House Farmer’s Market or the United Brothers Fruit Market for the most mouth-watering produce in town. And I haven’t even mentioned the restaurant scene!

Explore our Astoria Apartments.

astoria ny

Find your bliss.

Like I said, us folks from the best coast aren’t a monolith. Maybe your requisites for a perfect neighborhood differ drastically! You do you, boo. 

And don’t get me wrong — there are several solid runners-up in Queens and the Bronx (lookin’ at you, Forest Hills and Kingsbridge.) 

That’s the great thing about New York City. Each neighborhood has its own character, its own amenities, and (sadly) its own price point. Do your own research, explore your options, and you’re bound to settle somewhere great.

I’ll just be over here, enjoying public transportation… and missing real mountains.

new york ny apartments