“Which residential hall is the best?” This question is easily the most common one I get from prospectives, and I totally get it. Picking your residential hall is your first decision as a college student. So you spend hours browsing Reddit posts and watching YouTube videos to find res hall opinions like I did before my first year. Many of you do this because you don’t want to make the wrong choice. 

So, which first-year residential hall is the best? The answer entirely depends on YOU. 

Similarities Between Residential Halls

No matter which residential hall you choose, each contains laundry facilities, 24-hour campus safety, private bathrooms (no communal bathrooms, yippee!), and a room (with a twin bed, desk, dresser, and the like).

And since you will live in a first-year residential hall, you typically will only live with first-year students. At NYU, there are a couple residential halls for first-year and upper-level residents. But, typically, first years share the same floor of the building.

A map of the NYU Washington Square campus; star icons indicate the locations of first-year residential halls.
Each star represents a first-year residential hall!

Differences Between Residential Halls

Room styles, amenities, community, and location set each residential hall apart, and everyone values these things differently. For example, some people are overwhelmed by having a kitchen in their room and would rather have more space. Others hate community kitchens and would rather have their own! 

So the question is: Which residential hall is best for you based on your lifestyle preferences? I have some suggestions. 

I’ve done my best to categorize the different lifestyles first years have into archetypes. But these are just my recommendations based on the general knowledge I have of each hall. The archetypes are simply a guide—they’re not set in stone. You may not even know which one you are until you arrive on campus! 

Lifestyle Archetypes

The Naturalist

You value being close to nature. You don’t mind long walks to get where you want to go. When you’re stressed, you like to go to a park to escape.


  • Lipton (traditional-style rooms)
  • UHall (apartment-style rooms)
  • Founders (traditional-style rooms)

These three residential halls are a pedestrian-friendly distance away from parks! Lipton is very close to Washington Square Park, while UHall and Founders are close to Union Square. UHall and Founders also have courtyards within the building. So they’re great places to hang out when the weather warms up.

Yellow flowers blooming in Washington Square Park during the spring.
Imagine having this view of the park while studying!
The Athlete

You’re a varsity or club athlete or you simply enjoy working out. You value being close to athletic facilities and several dining options.


  • UHall (apartment-style rooms)
  • Paulson (traditional-style rooms)

These residential halls have athletic facilities nearby! UHall is very close to Palladium, which houses one of NYU’s largest gyms. At Palladium, you will find a swimming pool, basketball court, rock climbing wall, and typical strength and cardio machines. 

Paulson actually has a gym inside of it! It’s located in the lower levels of the building. Paulson’s athletic facilities include basketball courts, squash courts, a jogging track, swimming pool, and strength and cardio rooms. 

Both halls are close to dining halls too. So, if you’re like me and get hungry after an intense workout, you won’t be too far from dining options. If you like cooking your own meals, UHall is an apartment-style hall, so there are in-room kitchens!

Two students playing squash at NYU Abu Dhabi.
The Performer

You love to perform and crave spaces to practice. You also love meeting other artists and collaborating on projects.


  • Brittany (traditional-style rooms)
  • Paulson (traditional-style rooms)
  • Third North (apartment-style rooms)

These halls have music and dance practice rooms as well as black box theatres for students, so there’s a separate built-in space to practice. 

What’s more, Brittany and Third North feature arts-based themed engagement communities! Themed Engagement Communities (TEC) are environments for students to explore specific themes with their peers in the building. Members of the community will live on the same floor and are invited to events specific to that theme. 

For example, if you’re interested in music, Brittany has the FAME community, where students will go to concerts and other musical events to share their passion for music! If you’re interested in theatre and film, Third North has the Theatre Arts Company and Big Apple, Big Screen communities, where students engage with theatre and film in New York City.

While Paulson doesn’t have themed engagement communities, it offers the Arts House. Paulson is a residential college. So students are sorted into houses based on their interests. Then, students engage in programming to explore that interest. The Arts House is one of six houses in Paulson, where students develop their relationship with the arts in New York City. 

TEC and Paulson’s Art House allow performers to meet other artists and find community within their residential hall.

The Iris Cantor proscenium theatre, one of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts performance spaces.
Photo courtesy of Davis Brody Bond architecture firm
Students sitting in a small theatre.
The Busy Bee

You’re involved in everything. You might be in a million clubs, or you’re taking 18 credits of classes, or you have multiple jobs. You’re always busy, so you value proximity to campus and may be interested in leadership opportunities within your residential hall. 


  • Lipton (traditional-style rooms)
  • Weinstein (traditional-style rooms)
  • Paulson (traditional-style rooms)

All of our residential halls are no more than 10 minutes away from campus. But, I’d argue that these are the residential halls closest to the central buildings. This makes getting to classes, club meetings, and on-campus jobs on time easy! These halls also have dining halls in them, which makes it easier to grab meals and on-the-go snacks.

The Foodie

You value having great food options, inside your dining hall and out. New York City has such a diverse range of food and you want to try it all. You may also like to cook your own meals.


  • UHall (apartment-style rooms)
  • Third North (apartment-style rooms)
  • Weinstein (traditional-style rooms)

These halls are closest to well-known food hubs in New York City! Third North is close to St. Marks Place and Weinstein is close to MacDougal Street, which has dozens of diverse restaurants and cafes. 

If you prefer to make your own meals or bake, you’ll have access to private kitchens in UHall and Third North, which are apartment-style halls. They’re also close to grocery stores like Trader Joe’s. 

Weinstein residents do not have their own kitchen, but they do have access to four dining options in the building. This makes it super convenient to refuel (and save some money if you don’t want to break the bank eating off campus every day). 

The Introvert

After a long day, you need some alone time. You value having quiet study spaces and areas where you can get away from the rush of city life.


  • UHall (apartment-style rooms)
  • Paulson (traditional-style rooms)

These two halls include in-room common area spaces and quiet study spaces. UHall rooms have a small living room, serving as a perfect escape from your room without needing to go too far. And, if you’re tired of being in your room altogether, you can check out UHall’s spacious study lounge. 

While Paulson doesn’t have in-room common areas, it does have a number of spaces for introverts. For example, there are several study spaces, and the building is so big, you can usually find small nooks and corners to hang out in. 

If you prefer not to go anywhere, you have your room, of course, which you can make as cozy as you would like it to be!

Students in the lobby of the Paulson Center at NYU.
The Extrovert

After a long day, you want to meet new people and have places to hang out. You value having a lot to do in your residential hall. 


  • Weinstein (traditional-style rooms)
  • Paulson (traditional-style rooms)

Weinstein and Paulson include large common areas and are close to campus! Weinstein’s location makes it easy to attend on-campus events and meet up at common hangout spots like Washington Square Park and the Kimmel Center for University Life. In the spring it’s common for students to hang out directly outside of Weinstein or at the Washington Mews across the street, so you’re really in the center of it all. 

I know that I just said Paulson is great for introverts, but hear me out! If you travel to the lower floors of Paulson, there are so many opportunities to interact with students. With two cafes, athletic facilities, and multiple lounge spaces, there’s no limit to whom you can meet and where you can hang out with friends. 

Regardless of the residential hall that you’re in, your resident assistants (RAs) plan a lot of great events for you to meet new students! RAs typically take first years on outings to explore the city. For example, you may go to Broadway shows or sports events. But they also do a lot of great events in the building too! Going to events your RA puts on is just one of several ways to meet new people at NYU. 

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot to consider when deciding on a first-year residence hall. There are pros and cons to each hall, but, at the end of day, your residential hall is only one part of your NYU experience. So don’t overthink it! 

Sam Whitley (she/her) is a senior studying Dramatic Writing at Tisch School of the Arts with minors in Computer Science and Integrated Design & Media. Whether she’s developing a website or writing a TV pilot, Sam aims to create things that help make life easier for people. Outside of class, she’s rewatching her favorite animated TV shows, hitting the gym, and taking the LIRR home to visit friends and family. Despite her introverted nature, she loves meeting new people while working as an Admissions Ambassador and exploring NYC!