1. Blog
  2. Brooklyn Moves
  3. Manhattan vs Brooklyn: Which Borough Is Better?

Burning Questions

Manhattan vs Brooklyn: Which Borough Is Better?

Are you wondering whether living in Brooklyn vs Manhattan is the best choice for you? Brooklyn has become the hottest borough in New York City, growing much more rapidly than any other borough. Over the past decade, Brooklyn has transformed into the most desirable, trendiest spot in the entire city.

This has caused an influx of young families, professionals, hipsters, and artists to take up residence in neighborhoods like Park Slope, Bushwick, and Williamsburg. The differences between Manhattan and Brooklyn were stark, even as late as the 1990s. Now, they’re becoming more and more similar. However, distinct nuances still give these boroughs their unique identity. Let’s compare the livability of both Manhattan and Brooklyn and see which suits you best.

Brooklyn vs Manhattan: FAQs

Is Brooklyn or Manhattan More Populated?

Brooklyn is definitely more populated than Manhattan. With an estimated population of 2.6 million people (compared to Manhattan’s 1.6 million people), Brooklyn is not just the most populous borough in New York City, but if it were an independent city, it would rank as the third most populous in the entire United States.

Why is Brooklyn So Popular?

Brooklyn’s popularity is a testament to its vibrant, diverse character. It’s a place where the old and new converge, creating a unique cultural blend. As a creative hub, Brooklyn is teeming with art galleries, live music, and innovative eateries that push culinary boundaries. Add to this the scenic beauty of spots like Brooklyn Bridge Park and the iconic Coney Island, and you’ve got a borough that offers an enticing mix of experiences. However, deciding between Brooklyn vs Manhattan isn’t always an easy choice because they both offer their own unique blend of culture, history, and vibrancy. 

Why Do People Move from Manhattan to Brooklyn?

Someone may choose to move from Manhattan to Brooklyn because of…

  • Affordability: Brooklyn generally offers more affordable rent and real estate compared to Manhattan.
  • Space: Homes in Brooklyn often provide more space, both indoors and outdoors, than Manhattan apartments.
  • Community Feel: Many people appreciate the strong sense of community and neighborliness found in Brooklyn’s diverse neighborhoods.
  • Cultural Scene: Brooklyn has a thriving art, music, and food scene, with countless restaurants, galleries, and venues to explore.
  • Green Spaces: Brooklyn boasts numerous parks and outdoor spaces like Prospect Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park for recreation and relaxation.
  • Slower Pace: While still vibrant and energetic, life in Brooklyn can be less hectic than the non-stop pace of Manhattan.
  • Schools: Many families move to Brooklyn for its reputable schools and family-friendly environment.

Why Do People Move from Brooklyn to Manhattan?

Someone may choose to move from Brooklyn to Manhattan because of…

  • Career Opportunities: Manhattan is the hub of finance, technology, advertising, and many other industries, providing ample job opportunities.
  • Cultural Attractions: Manhattan is home to world-renowned cultural institutions like Broadway, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Central Park.
  • Vibrant Lifestyle: The energy and vibrancy of Manhattan, with its 24/7 lifestyle, is a big draw for many people.
  • Transportation Convenience: For those working in Manhattan, living there can eliminate long commutes from Brooklyn.
  • Prestige: The prestige associated with a Manhattan address can also be a compelling factor for some people.
  • Proximity to Work: Many people move to Manhattan to be closer to their workplaces, reducing commute times significantly.
  • Dense Urban Experience: Some people prefer the dense, urban environment and the high-rise living that Manhattan offers.

Living in Brooklyn vs Manhattan: How to Choose Which Borough Is Better for You

If you’re trying to decide whether to live in Brooklyn or Manhattan, consider the following pros and cons of each borough. 

Cost of Living in Brooklyn vs Manhattan

The average Brooklyn rent is $3,558 for a 660-square-foot apartment. The average Manhattan rent is $4,768 for a 703-square-foot apartment. Most people look for apartments below the average rent, meaning it is crucial to compare the prices of rent from various neighborhoods in the two boroughs. Even though the gap is getting smaller, Manhattan is still more expensive to live in overall. Read more about housing costs in New York City.

handful of $100 bills

While the average Brooklyn rent is quickly catching up to Manhattan, it likely will never be as high-priced as Manhattan. According to BestPlaces, a family needs a minimum annual income of $223,920 to live comfortably in Manhattan ($106,000 for a single person), whereas a family could get by with a minimum salary of $169,560 in Brooklyn ($89,200 for a single person). 

This doesn’t even include taxes or child care. Also, consider the fact that you’re in one of the most entertaining cities on Earth. You’ll want to include extra discretionary spending in your budget so that you can enjoy the food, adventures, and atmosphere of the city that never sleeps!

Unless you’re planning on finding one or multiple roommates, you would really need to be on rock-solid financial ground to consider becoming a resident in Manhattan. That being said, you can still find apartments in some fantastic Manhattan neighborhoods for $2k or less per month, so certainly consider these options if you’re hell-bent on living in Manhattan.

Unless you’re planning on finding one or multiple roommates, you would really need to be on rock-solid financial ground to consider becoming a resident in Manhattan. That being said, you can still find apartments in some fantastic Manhattan neighborhoods for $2k or less per month, so certainly consider these options if you’re hell-bent on living in Manhattan.

Skyline Views in Brooklyn vs Manhattan

Manhattan takes the cake for having the most legendary skyline of all the boroughs, but what use is that if you can’t even see it most of the time? Most Manhattan apartments will have their views obscured or limited by buildings around them. If skyline views are your thing, an apartment on the east side of the East River–perhaps Astoria, Williamsburg, or Greenpoint–might be your best bet.

View of Manhattan from Buckwick rooftop

The Atmosphere in Brooklyn vs Manhattan

There is no doubt that Manhattan is what makes New York so famous: the towering skyscrapers, the flashing neon lights, and the contagious, fast-paced energy. It can be an incredible life experience to live day-to-day in this dynamic borough.

Manhattan always has hoards of people, many of whom are tourists from all around the world, wealthy out-of-towners with pied-a-terre apartments, and students living on campus in the city. While this makes for an exciting, ever-changing atmosphere, it also makes it slightly more difficult to establish meaningful connections.

If you find yourself yearning for more of a suburban feel where you can still maintain easy access to Manhattan, Brooklyn might be the better choice. There is a greater sense of community here, and the neighborhoods in Brooklyn are more tightly-knit, making it much easier to make meaningful connections with quality people.

block party

Food Scene in Brooklyn vs Manhattan

Manhattan was always the capital for more refined, higher-end, fine-dining restaurants. Brooklyn, which has many Michelin-starred restaurants itself, is a worthy contender for fine dining. However, the borough also appeals to the masses with inexpensive, delicious food made with pride and served in a more casual atmosphere.

fine dining

As a whole, New York City has 453 Michelin-starred restaurants. Manhattan has 303 of those restaurants, outdoing Brooklyn in that category. But Michelin stars don’t always give the full picture. Foodies would miss out on SO MUCH if they relied solely on the Michelin guide when eating in New York City.   

The guide is heavily angled towards a specific type of classical French cuisine, which is always fantastic, yet is such a narrow lens through which to view excellent cuisine. Even chefs who have won Michelin stars have increasingly been handing them back, complaining that the system completely stifles creativity and takes the love and joy out of cooking.

Much like in the music industry, talented creatives are breaking free from the shackles of the rigid thinking systems, like the Michelin guide, that stifle and exploit their talents until there is no love left. Food that’s made with love tastes better than food made with seething resentment.

For this reason, an argument could be made that Brooklyn is the ultimate foodie paradise. Yes, you’ll find plenty of fine dining here. But you’ll also find way more casual foodie staples like Smorgasburg and Dekalb Market Hall, where eaters can enjoy high-quality cuisine at everyday prices.

There’s nothing like watching the sunset over the East River with Mofongo in one hand and a yellow labrador’s leash in the other. Manhattan’s food scene doesn’t always permit that kind of atmosphere.

independent chef

Attractions in Brooklyn vs Manhattan

From the Empire State Building to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the shows on and off Broadway, there is no better place for attractions than Manhattan. However, living in Manhattan means you will constantly be tripping over tourists who don’t know their way around the city.

If you’re a fan of museums and shows but want to stay in Brooklyn, remember it’s only a 10-20  minute Subway ride to the insanity of Midtown and all its attractions. Also, consider that Brooklyn has its own legendary attractions, like the Cyclone in Luna Park on Brooklyn’s Coney Island. You’ll also find Prospect Park in Brooklyn, which has a wide array of attractions, such as the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Prospect Park Zoo, that keep the community engaged with nature and entertained.

empire state building

So, Is Brooklyn or Manhattan New York City’s Best Borough?

metropolis moving truck

There are many fantastic reasons to love both Brooklyn and Manhattan. However, where you choose to live depends on what you’re looking for. The case for living in Manhattan is very obvious: You are essentially living in the center of the universe. Living in Manhattan gives you access to everything that makes New York City legendary without needing to cross the East River.

There is also a strong case for living in Brooklyn. It is a slightly more affordable (or less financially devastating) option for those who want to spend their time in Manhattan but leave the borough and go home to Brooklyn, where it is easier to establish meaningful connections with a community of creative, young, forward-thinking people. Brooklyn is also more family-friendly due to the strong sense of community that fosters an inclusive environment.

Regardless of which borough wins the Brooklyn vs Manhattan argument in your mind, Metropolis Moving can get you there! We have extensive experience with both boroughs to ensure a smooth transition into your new home, whether in Brooklyn or Manhattan. Get a moving quote today, and you’ll be on your way to living the life you envision for yourself.

map of New York City