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This post covers things to do in Greenwich Village, in particular, the West Village, with recommendations from a native New Yorker.

We include the top sights to see, places to eat and shop, and where to see live music and theater.


About Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village (called "the Village" by New Yorkers) is known for its interesting history and its unique energy, both of which make it worth visiting.

It's a popular neighborhood for those looking for lively nightlife as it is filled with restaurants, bars, live music and comedy clubs.

At the same time, the Village has a charm about it with its quiet, small side streets lined with historic brownstones.

You could easily spend a day here wandering its leafy streets, shopping at small local shops, and people-watching in Washington Square Park.


Top Things To Do In Greenwich Village

Below we list the best attractions and things to do in this wonderful neighborhood.

We also recommend restaurants and places to stay.

To get to know this special neighborhood, join one of our pay-what-you-like guided tours! See a preview of our Greenwich Village tour below!

We also offer a GPS audio tour you can take at any time.


Washington Square Park

This park is the heart of Greenwich Village. It's one of the best places to sit and relax and watch the world go by.

In the 1960s, hippies hung out here and played folk music. Today it's still a place where people gather, sing songs, hang out and be themselves. 

Washington Square Park

At the north end of the park is the historic Washington Square Arch, built in 1892 to commemorate the centennial of George Washington's inauguration. The arch marks the end of Fifth Avenue.

On the southwest corner of the park are the legendary chess tables where Bobby Fischer and other world-famous players have played.

You can even get in on a game if you dare!

Read more about the history of Washington Square Park here.


See The Friends Apartment Building

At the corner of Bedford Street and Grove Street, you may come across a small crowd looking up at a not particularly interesting building.

What makes this building such a famous attraction is that it is where Monica and Rachel lived from Friends, one of the most beloved tv shows of the 1990s.

There is some irony in the fact that Monica and Rachel, who did not have large incomes, lived in Greenwich Village, one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Manhattan.

But fans of the show know the secret of how they were able to afford living here.

Find out by reading our post on visiting the Friends building which also includes other Friends locations in NYC.


Get to Know the West Village on a Tour

We offer several Greenwich Village pay-what-you-wish tours, meaning that you get to decide how much your experience was worth. 

Several tourist discount passes include a free tour of Greenwich Village.

If you prefer to explore the Village at your own pace, use our self-guided Greenwich Village Tour or our GPS-enabled audio tour narrated by one of our tour guides.


Have a Cappuccino at Caffe Reggio

The United States owes a big thanks to this cafe and its original owner, Domenico Parisi, who introduced Cappucino to America in 1902.

Caffe Reggio

It's located at 119 Macdougal Street and worth a visit to sip on a frothy Cappuccino and people-watch on this very lively street.

Afterward, walk south on Macdougal St. to get a sense of what the West Village is all about.


Stroll Down Bleecker Street

Bleecker Street is one of the most popular streets in Greenwich Village, especially when it crosses into the West Village, where there are great restaurants and boutique shopping.

Bleecker Street is named for the Bleecker family who, in 1808, deeded a large part of this farmland to New York City. 

It’s hard to believe this street was part of a farm!

Bleecker Street Sign

For much of the 20th century, the Village was known as a neighborhood for bohemians.

In the 1950s and 1960s, it was a hub for Beatnik poets and writers like Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William Burroughs. 

The folk music scene blossomed in Greenwich Village in its intimate music venues along Bleecker Street, like The Bitter End.

You can still see great live music here (see the section on Nightlife below).

Some of the best bites to be had in the Village are stops on our pay-what-you-wish Food Tour of Greenwich Village.


Watch an Off-Broadway Show at the Cherry Lane Theatre

The Cherry Lane Theatre opened in 1924 and has presented works by some of the most famous American playwrights including Eugene O’Neill, Sam Shepard, and David Mamet. 

Cherry Lane Theatre

Greenwich Village has several theaters, some almost over 100 years old!

They offer all types of performances and they are generally less expensive than Broadway shows.

See the section on Nightlife below for a listing of other theaters.

Be sure to check our post about how to get discount tickets on Off-Broadway and Broadway shows and plays.


Admire The Historic Architecture

In Greenwich Village, you can find Federal-style homes from the early 1800s as well as Greek-Revival townhouses and the gorgeous Victorian Neo-Gothic Jefferson Market Library from the mid-1800s.

Peek through the gated entrance to Grove Court, located on Grove Street between Bedford and Hudson Streets.  

Grove Court

You'll see several attached three-story Federal houses built in 1847. They are now multi-million dollar condominiums.

At 75 1/2 Bedford Street, you can see the narrowest house in Manhattan. It's just 10 feet (9m) wide!

We stop by many of these historic houses on our pay-what-you-wish tours of Greenwich Village.


Walk Along One of NYC’s Smallest Streets

Snugly fit between Christopher Street and Waverly Place in Greenwich Village is Gay Street. At just one block long, it is one of NYC’s shortest streets.

In the late 18th century, the street was an alley for horse stables. As horse carriages were replaced by cars, the street widened. 

Gay Street

It was not lengthened though and is one of NYC’s shortest streets. (Read more about other famous streets in NYC).

The origin of its name is not definitive and one possibility is that it is named after the Gay family that lived in the area. 

It is pure coincidence that Gay Street is in a neighborhood known for its large LGBTQ community.


Eat Your Way Down Macdougal Street

Greenwich Village is known for its food scene. You can find an array of ethnic cuisine here at budget prices, especially along MacDougal Street.

Along Macdougal between West 3rd Street and Bleecker Street are Taco Village (Mexican), Thelewala (Indian), Saigon Shack (Vietnamese), Pommes Frites (Belgian-style French fries), Munchiez (Chinese snacks), Artichoke Pizza and Mamoun’s Falafel.

If you want to sample some of the Village's best food, come on our pay-what-you-wish Food Tour of Greenwich Village. We stop at Artichoke and Mamoun's because they are simply the best on the block!

Can't make our scheduled tour?

You can try our GPS-Enabled Audio Tour, which can be taken day or night.

Alternatively, you may also want to try a fully guided Greenwich Village Pizza & Gelato tour from the popular company Take Walks.

Below we list some of our favorite places to eat in all price ranges.


See The Stonewall Inn and Gay Liberation Monument

For four days in 1969, the Stonewall was the sight of a riot by the LGBTQ community in response to police actions that paved the way for the Gay Rights Movement in the United States.

Its historic significance makes it a must-see attraction in Greenwich Village. Across the street is a small park with the Gay Liberation Monument.

Stonewall Inn

The monument sculpture by artist George Segal commemorates the historic events at the Stonewall Inn and pays tribute to those who fought against the oppression of the LBGTQ community.

Stonewall is still an operating bar, and a living memorial to the events of June 28, 1969. It's officially a National Historic Landmark.

Read an in-depth history of the Stonewall Inn Riots.


Stop By Carrie Bradshaw's Stoop

For fans of the tv show, Sex, and the City, this is a must-see sight.

Although Carrie Bradshaw lived on the Upper East Side, her stoop is actually a building in Greenwich Village.

Our post about Sex and the City locations explains how to find the building.

Read more about other film locations in Greenwich Village. You are sure to recognize many of them!


See Great Basketball for Free

The iconic West Fourth Street Courts are where the best locals come to shoot hoops. 

Nicknamed “the cage” because of the 20-foot chain-link fence around the playing surface. This small non-regulation size court ups the ante and games can get quite intense.

West 4th Street Courts

Over the years the Cage has produced NBA stars like legendary Dr. J (Julius Irving), Dwight Howard, Jayson Williams and Anthony Mason.

Grab a spot along the chain-linked fence for the kind of close-up view you won't get at a professional game. 

The court is at 6th Avenue between West 3rd Street and West 4th Street.


Shop Small

Greenwich Village is the place to go if you’re looking for unique, eclectic or handmade items.

There are very few neighborhoods in NYC where you can still find old-school record stores selling vinyl.

The neighborhood is also known for its chess shops, conveniently located near Washington Square Park's chess corner mentioned above.

Chess Forum

There are also lots of candy shops, small non-chain bookstores, and the oldest apothecary in America, C.O. Bigelow at 414 6th Ave.

Check below for a list of some of the one-of-a-kind shops in Greenwich Village.


Hear Live Jazz

One of the very best venues to hear Jazz is the Village Vanguard at 178 7th Avenue South.

This renowned jazz club opened in 1935 and John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins were among the long list of performers.

Village Vanguard

Most shows cost $30+ per person but line-ups are awesome. Reservations are a good idea.


Walk in Bob Dylan's Footsteps

If one name is synonymous with Greenwich Village, it has to be Bob Dylan.

He hung out at cafes, writing songs, and conversing with Beatniks. He got his start performing at small venues like Cafe Wha and the Bitter End.

The cover of his breakthrough album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan was photographed on Jones St. in the Village.

Use our self-guided tour of Bob Dylan's Greenwich Village to see Dylan's haunts in the Village.


Visit Nearby Neighborhoods

At the far northwest boundary of Greenwich Village is the entrance to the High Line, an amazing urban park, built on top of an abandoned elevated railroad.

High Line

South of Greenwich Village is SoHo and to the east is the appropriately named East Village, both great neighborhoods to spend time in.


Have a Good Laugh at the Comedy Cellar

The Comedy Cellar at 117 MacDougal St. has been showcasing top-notch comedy since 1982. 

Comedians Chris Rock, Aziz Ansari, and Dave Chappelle have performed here. 

Comedy Cellar

Your ticket gets you between five to seven comics performing 20-minute sets. The chances are good that you’ll see at least one or two hysterical performances.

See more comedy clubs below.


See American Masters at the Whitney Museum

At the southernmost entrance to the High Line at Gansevoort St. and Washington St. is the esteemed Whitney Museum of American Art.

Edward Hopper painting

This museum's collection focuses entirely on contemporary American art from 20th and 21st-century artists like Edward Hopper, Jasper Johns, Georgia O'Keefe and Mark Rothko.

Admission is free on Fridays from 7 pm-10 pm. See our post on other free museums in NYC.


Catch an Independent Movie at IFC Center

The IFC Center is an arthouse cinema showing first-run independent, foreign and documentary features across its five screens.

IFC Center

This movie theater regularly has midnights and weekend classics series and occasional repertory series.

It's a popular spot in Greenwich Village for a night of entertainment.


Nibble on World Cheeses at Murray's Cheese

Since 1962, Murray's Cheese has been a prime destination for New York City's cheese lovers.

They have an incredible selection of cheese imported from around the world. Whatever you are craving, Murray's carries it!

Murrays Cheeses

Murray's also sells charcuterie meats and all sorts of savory and sweet treats to serve up with your cheese plate.

They even have classes such as "Hands-on mozzarella making" and "The basics of wine pairing". Murray's is not to be missed.


Sing Broadway Tunes at Marie’s Crisis Cafe

For a wacky night out, head to Marie’s Crisis Cafe, for cabaret sing-alongs that last into the wee hours of the morning. 

Marie’s is primarily a gay bar, but not exclusively. Anyone who loves show tunes is welcome!

Maries Crisis Cafe

Marie’s sits on the location where Revolutionary War era American philosopher and political theorist Thomas Paine lived for a while and died in 1809.

The current building was constructed in 1838 and used as a brothel, and eventually just a bar. It was bought in 1929 by Marie DuMont and the bar became "Marie's". The Crisis in the name comes from Paine’s pamphlet, The American Crisis. (1776).


Restaurants in Greenwich Village

Below are some of our favorite places to eat in the Village.

You can get more suggestions and details from our post on 14 Top Greenwich Village Restaurants.


Cheap (under $20)

Bleecker Street Pizza 69 7th Ave. 

Known for their Nonna Maria slice, with a thin crispy crust and fresh mozzarella cheese. It's so good we stop there on our Greenwich Village Food Tour!

Mamoun's 119 MacDougal St. 

This is the ultimate in cheap, amazingly good Middle Eastern food. A menu staple for Villagers for over 4o years, you cannot beat the prices and the taste. Open until 5 am every day!

Saigon Shack 114 MacDougal St. 

Tasty Vietnamese noodles and sandwiches. CASH ONLY.

MIGHTY Bowl 120 Macdougal St. 

Asian fusion, fresh ingredients, served over rice in a bowl 

Kati Roll Company 99 MacDougal St.

Authentic Indian street food. Wraps made of paratha or roti bread filled with flavourful fillings such as grilled meats, cheeses, and vegetables.

Artichoke Pizza 111 MacDougal St.

Their signature slice is a thick-crusted huge slice with a creamy white sauce and pieces of fresh artichoke. Also a stop on our Greenwich Food Tour!


Moderate ($25-$40)

John's of Bleecker Street 278 Bleecker St.  

Serving coal-fired oven pizza since 1929. Pies only, but you will have no problem gobbling down an entire small pie between two people. Great for families or groups. Cash only. ($$)

Bareburger 535 LaGuardia Place

Big burgers with interesting toppings and combinations. Huge sides of fries or onion rings and milkshakes. 

Las Ramblas 170 West 4th St.

Authentic tapas and sangria served in a cozy atmosphere that will transport you to Spain.

Top Thai Greenwich 235 Sullivan St.

Tasty Thai food, noodles, vegetables, and curry dishes

Snack Taverna  63 Bedford St.

Greek food like souvlakis, Mediterranean salads, hummus and spanakopita served in a bright space.

Buvette 42 Grove St.

Classic French dishes like coq au vin, croque monsieur, salade nicoise. Small portions but excellent flavors.

Jane 100 W. Houston St. 

A casual American bistro serving a value-priced brunch, lunch, and dinner. It can be crowded but worth the wait if you have the time.

Red Bamboo 140 West 4th St. 

A vegan restaurant that makes vegan versions of American classics like buffalo wings and meatball subs as well as Asian food that will fool you into thinking you are eating the real Sweet and Sour Chicken. Even meat-eaters like the food! 


Expensive ($40+)

Minetta Tavern  113 MacDougal St.

Once the locale of a speakeasy and bar frequented by authors Ernest Hemingway, Eugene O'Neill, and Dylan Thomas. Serves up Parisian steak in an American tavern environment.  

Lupa  170 Thompson.

Fun trattoria with Tuscan-style Italian dishes in a welcoming atmosphere. 

Loring Place NYC 21 W 8th St.

New American menu with upscale burgers, pan pizza, and pasta. 

Babbo 110 Waverly Place.

Italian cuisine by Mario Batali, a world-renowned restaurateur and Food Network show host. Reservations are a must. 

Blue Hill  75 Washington Pl.

The menu showcases local food and is located in what used to be a former “speakeasy”. Reservations are a must. 


Things to Do at Night in Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village is one of the most lively neighborhoods in NYC at night and is relatively safe to visit after dark.

For free nighttime entertainment, head to Washington Square Park where you can find buskers and impromptu jams.

Below are some of the best places to hear live music, the best comedy clubs, and the best venues for high-quality off-Broadway productions.

Be sure to also read our guide on things to do in NYC at night.


Live Music

Blue Note 131 West 3rd St.

This is one of the premier jazz clubs in the world featuring well-known and respected jazz and blues performers.

Be prepared to pay for the excellence of its performances.

Bitter End147 Bleecker St.

This historic venue opened in 1961 as a cafe with musicians like Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Arlo Guthrie played.

You can see a wide range of musical performances and book readings at a very reasonable cover charge in an intimate and historic atmosphere.

Cafe Wha 115 MacDougal St. at Minetta Lane.

From funk to rock, jam out night nightly with the amazing house band. Reservations are recommended.

Read our post to learn more about this venue where musical legends like Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Springsteen got their start.


Bars and Pubs

Blind Tiger Ale House 281 Bleecker St. 

If you love your craft beer, this is the bar for you. Their menu features 28 craft beers on tap that change regularly as well as a large list of bottled beers. 

Stonewall Inn 53 Christopher St. 

Get a drink in the always festive bar “Where Pride Began”.  Read our post about the Stonewall Uprising

124 Old Rabbit 124 MacDougal St.  

This bar is hard to find since it carries on in the spirit of the Prohibition era of the 1920s and replicates the feel of a ‘speakeasy’. 

Corner Bistro  331 W. 4th St. 

A village favorite for more than 30 years known for serving one of the best burgers in town to go along with your beer.  Low-key, friendly staff.

8th Street Wine Cellar 28 W 8th St. 

A cozy, basement wine bar that carries 20 wines by the glass and 90 wines by the bottle. Serves light food as well.

TIP: Greenwich Village is a prime destination for pub crawls. See our post on the best pub crawls and bar tours in NYC.


Comedy

Comedy Cellar  117 MacDougal St. 

Located in a cellar, this comedy club offers a chance to see a full evening of different comics both famous and up-and-coming.

Greenwich Village Comedy Club 99 MacDougal St. 

This is another excellent choice, boasting a full bar and food menu on location.

Our post on free comedy clubs in NYC includes locations in Greenwich Village. Have a look.


Theater 

Cherry Lane Theatre  38 Commerce St. 

New York City’s oldest continuously running off-Broadway theater. Since 1924, the theatre has presented the works of Eugene O’Neill, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sam Shepard, and David Mamet.  

Barrow Street Theatre 27 Barrow St. 

Catch an off-Broadway production excellent new play or classic works like Our Town and Waiting for Godot.

Minetta Lane Theater 18 Minetta Lane

A 300-seat theater that showcases off-beat plays, solo shows, comedy performances and more.


Movie Theaters

The Village has always been a place to find independent cinema.

Here are theaters where you can find indie, classic or foreign films that you won’t find playing in mainstream theaters.

  • IFC Center  - 323 Sixth Ave. and West 3rd St.
  • Quad Cinema - 34 West 13th St. bet. 5th  and 6th  Aves.   
  • Cinema Village - 22 East 12th St. bet. 5th  and 6th Aves. 
  • Film Forum - 209 W Houston St. bet. Varick and Sixth Ave. 

TIP: For even more ideas on how to spend an evening in Greenwich Village and other neighborhoods see our post on things to do at night in NYC.


Shopping in Greenwich Village

Some of the best Village shopping can be found along Bleecker St. from LaGuardia Place to Hudson St., 8th St. from Broadway to 6th Ave., and MacDougal St. from West 3rd St. and Bleecker.

The Village Tannery 173 Bleecker St.

This longtime, well-known local store sells handcrafted leather bags, wallets, belts backpacks, tote bags and laptop bags. They even take custom orders.  

Though the price range is hefty, these bags will last you many, many years to come. 

Land of Buddha 128 MacDougal St. 

This small shop is one of the few authentic Tibetan/Buddhist stores in the United States.

They specialize in Eastern antiques, jewelry, traditional Buddhist prayer paraphernalia, Tibetan clothing, and Himalayan crafts. 

Hamlet’s Vintage   146 West 4th St.   

When shopping in the Village it is practically mandatory to visit a vintage clothing shop.  

This shop will satisfy vintage connoisseurs due to its array of eras, styles and reasonable prices. 

Chess Forum 219 Thompson St. 

This shop is the last of a dying breed. Once the Village had a number of chess shops, catering to the chess players who hung out in Washington Square Park, and also a larger clientele as well. 

You too can play for $5 per hour per person to play. Children always play free. 

C.O. Bigelow 414 Sixth Ave.   

Opened in 1838, the store is the oldest apothecary in America.

This drugstore/cosmetics shop carries its own line of nice-smelling lotions and perfumes as well as everyday items you could buy at a chain store, but it wouldn't be as much fun. 

Generation Records 210 Thompson St.

Selling both newly released LPs and used albums as well, this store focuses on rock, punk, classic and metal, classic.


Hotels 

Unfortunately, it’s slim pickings when it comes to inexpensive hotels in Greenwich Village. But there are a few nice hotels.

Before you book a hotel for your trip, take a look at our post on Where to Stay in New York City

The Jane 113 Jane Street. This hotel also has shared bathrooms to help keep the costs down (though they do have rooms with private bathrooms). 

Though it is on the outskirts of Greenwich Village, it is located near the High Line and the Meat Packing District in Chelsea.


Incentra Village House  32 Eighth Avenue between West 12th and Jane Sts.

This very small hotel occupies two brick landmark townhouses built in 1841.

Their 11 attractive studios, some with fireplaces and all with private bathrooms, have Victorian- charm and modern amenities like air conditioning, television, and coffeemakers. 


Washington Square Hotel 103 Waverly Place between MacDougal St. and Washington Square North. 212-777-9515.

Location, location, location. It doesn’t get better than this in the moderate price range.

The rooms are small but comfortable. With so much to do in the Village, you’ll hardly be in your hotel.


The Marlton  5 West 8th St. bet. 5th and 6th Aves.

This boutique, nine-story hotel is in a prime Village location with cozy rooms in a historic building with lots of character.


Plan Your Visit

How To Get Here

Greenwich Village is located in Downtown Manhattan (also referred to as Lower Manhattan), just a 10-minute ride from Times Square.

The Village is bordered by 14th Street to the north and Houston Street to the south. It spans from the Hudson River to the west and Broadway to the east where NoHo and the East Village begin.

Map of Greenwich Village

The West Village is the part of Greenwich Village west of Sixth Avenue and the Meatpacking District is in its northwest corner.

You can use this Google Maps link for directions, but how you get here depends on where you are going, as there are several subway stations throughout Greenwich Village.


By subway

Multiple subway lines take you to different parts of Greenwich Village. 

  • A,B,C,D,E,F trains to West 4th Street Station
  • 6 train to Bleecker Street Station or Astor Place Station
  • N or R trains to 8th Street - NYU Station

See our posts on Navigating the Subway for some helpful tips.

By bus

M3, M8, M20, M55

TIP: Most hop-on-hop-off buses will have a stop near Washington Square Park. To see if a bus tour is right for you, read our post, Which New York Bus Tour is Best? 


How Much Time To Spend Here

If you want to get a good feel for Greenwich Village, try some great food, do a little shopping and relax in one of its parks, give yourself a minimum of 3 hours.  

You could easily spend an entire day and night in Greenwich Village by seeing all the sights, eating all 3 meals here and taking in some night entertainment.


Sample Greenwich Village Itinerary 

This sample itinerary covers a full day of activity with an optional evening out. 

Start your day with a fantastic bagel and coffee at the popular Bagels on the Square.

There’s no seating so take it to go and relax on a bench in Father Demo Square right across the street.

Use our GPS-led audio tour to see the sites in the neighborhood. The tour takes about 90 minutes, not including any time you stop to do some shopping or sit down.

When you are ready for a bite to eat, try Mamoun’s Falafel or Artichoke Pizza Pizza, Both are fast, cheap, and delicious! 

Head to Washington Square Park to relax. Spend some time people-watching and enjoying the buskers and street performers.

If you have the time and energy, you might want to explore one of the adjacent neighborhoods like Chelsea or SoHo or the High Line.

If you want to spend a full day and evening in Greenwich Village see our sections above on restaurants as well as nightlife.


Related Posts

About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.
Updated: July 15th, 2023
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