When you think of Long Island, NYC, high-end vacation spots and luxurious neighborhoods probably come to mind. After all, Long Island has been rated as one of the best places to live in the USA by Money Magazine because of its great schools, the amazing cultural scene, and its proximity to Manhattan.
The best thing about Long Island is that it offers such a varied locale that has something for everyone. You can find two Native American reservations, four counties, and a number of towns and villages that boast a unique combination of nature, entertainment, and art.
If you’re looking for an apartment, you’re probably also looking for the best neighborhoods in Long Island as well. Here’s what you need to know about this idyllic and quiet area in the southeast part of New York, as well as our picks for the best neighborhoods in Long Island.
5 Best Neighborhoods In Long Island
- Stony Brook
The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $1,800.
A quiet hamlet in Nassau County, Massapequa is great for young families and empty nesters. While this neighborhood is known for being quiet and calm, you will still find great choices when it comes to shopping and entertainment.
There is a range of different dining options, from Italian to Chinese, to good old American fare. Residents can visit nearby shopping centers such as Holiday Park, Sunrise Mall, and Sears. What’s more, Massapequa has a station on the Long Island Rail Road, making it easy to commute around New York City. Since you can quickly get to Midtown or the Financial District, Massapequa is a great place for young professionals.
What It's Known For
Massapequa is great for families with small children because of the abundance of schools in the area. You’ll have your pick of six elementary schools, as well as middle and high schools.
You will also be close to Massapequa Reserve, where you and your family can spend a sunny weekend hiking along the trails or having a picnic. The Massapequa Cove is a great place to brush up on your fishing skills!
The average rent of a 1-bedroom apartment is $1,711.
Located near Long Island’s North Shore, Plainview is an upscale neighborhood in the town of Oyster Bay in Nassau. Its low crime rates and expansive parks make it one of the most popular places for families in NYC. Its quiet and affluent vibe is similar to Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
While it was originally a farming community, the current atmosphere in Plainview is largely suburban with a wide range of dining and shopping choices for residents. Some of the shopping centers include Woodbury Plaza and Plainview Shopping Center.
What It's Known For
One of the best things about living in Plainview is that you’ll always be within walking distance of a park! There are numerous community parks that dot the neighborhood. The largest is the 19-acre Plainview-Old Bethpage Community Park, which features numerous outdoor activities such as softball fields, tennis courts, and even an Olympic-sized swimming pool! Residents also love visiting Borella Fields, where you’ll find a soccer or baseball game almost every weekend.
The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $1,610.
Commack is a census-designated place (CDP) in the heart of Suffolk county. This quiet, suburban setting is popular with retirees and young families because of the abundance of coffee shops, boutiques, and parks.
This might not necessarily have the best bar and club scene, but if you’re looking for a warm and welcoming place for your family to settle down in, consider calling Commack home!
What It's Known For
Residents have their pick when it comes to outdoor activities, from hiking along the trails at Whitman Hollow Park to having a picnic at Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve. However, take note that only residents of Smithtown are allowed to visit the park; non-residents are required to be a guest of a local!
It’s also important to note that Commack does not have its own train station. If you want to commute in and out of Commack, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Network services the nearby towns of Huntington, Northport, and Smithtown.
The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $1,618.
Stony Brook has one of the most unique vibes out of all the Long Island neighborhoods because of its blend of “tourist destination” and “college town”. The atmosphere is fun and lively, as most of the residents are singles and young professionals. You’ll find the same college atmosphere as you would find in other neighborhoods such as Union Square or Bushwick, but with cheaper rent.
This neighborhood is connected to the LIRR by the Stony Brook station, so getting around is no problem! Many of the neighborhood attractions are quick bike rides away from each other. Stony Brook also has one of the lowest crime rates in Long Island.
What It's Known For
You’ll never find yourself at a loss for things to do in Stony Brook because of the great local amenities. During the day, you can tour the numerous museums and attractions around the neighborhood, such as The Jazz Loft, and the Avalon Park & Reserve.
When the sun goes down be prepared to go bar hopping! Brew Cheese is a local favorite where you can try wines from the nearby Harmony Vineyards. Stony Brook is one of the best places to live for those who love nights out!
The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $1,620.
Holtsville is the kind of place that feels like home because of the friendly residents and welcoming atmosphere. In this small neighborhood, it seems like everyone knows each other and you’ll get smiles everywhere you go!
The low crime rates and tightly-knit community make it perfect for families. However, you might need to have your own car to move around since there is no train station in this neighborhood. Commuters need to visit nearby Medford or Ronkonkoma to access the LIRR network.
What It's Known For
The most popular attraction in this neighborhood is the Wildlife and Ecology Center Animal Preserve, so if you love getting in touch with nature, this is a great place for you. Residents who want to experience a bit of nightlife can visit nearby Sayville where there is an abundance of restaurants and bars.
The local amenities are more geared towards building a quiet community, so you’ll find a lot of activities for kids such as the Country Fair Entertainment Park and the Tiki Action Park.
Long Island Weather
Long Island experiences somewhat extreme weather because it lies in between a “transition zone” that has both a tropical and continental climate. This means that summers tend to be hot and humid, while winters tend to be cold and dry. Luckily, this also means that spring and fall tend to be mild and pleasantly cool.
Due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island benefits from cooling ocean breezes along the South Shore. However, it can also mean that occasional tropical cyclones should be expected throughout the year.
If you love experiencing the four seasons, then live in Long Island to get the best experience year-round.
Long Island Transportation
Long Island is one of the best places to live in New York because of the LIRR. You can easily commute to NYC via this network, although keep in mind that peak hours mean a tight squeeze as the LIRR is the second busiest railroad in the U.S. If you have a car, however, the Long Island Expressway allows you to travel along the whole island easily and quickly.
Aside from the LIRR, Long Island also has three bus lines running through it: the Nassau Inter-county Express, the Suffolk County Transit, and the Huntington Area Rapid Transit. These three bus lines are interconnected, and you can visit virtually any neighborhood in Long Island by traveling through them.
There are also three airports in Long Island, namely LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK), and Long Island MacArthur Airport. Of these three airports, JFK is the largest one. Every year, around 75 million passengers go through JFK. Long Island MacArthur Airport is the smallest and handles mostly domestic flights.
Cost of Living in Long Island
If there’s one drawback to living in Long Island, it’s the cost of living. While it’s not as expensive as nearby Manhattan, an average family of four needs around $140,000 annually to live comfortably in this area. The high cost of living is largely in part to the high taxes, particularly the property tax and sales tax. However, the high taxes are offset by the quality of schools, parks, and museums.
As with any area in New York City, the neighborhoods in Long Island are diverse, colorful, and offer their own pros and cons. The key is finding the right neighborhood for you.
Arguably the best thing about renting an apartment in Long Island is that you can get the best of both worlds: you can rent an affordable apartment AND you can commute to New York City quickly. What’s more, Long Island offers a great mix of urban entertainment, natural attractions, and suburban living. With great schools and parks all around, Long Island is the best place for young families and empty nesters.