Things to Do in Greenwich Village

This post covers things to do in Greenwich Village, including where to eat, shop, and see art (all according to a local tour guide).

 


PLAN YOUR VISIT

Greenwich Village is rich in culture, history and has a fun atmosphere. It is quite family-friendly as well.

There are many famous sights to visit and the people-watching, especially in Washington Square Park, cannot be beaten.

You can find many affordable restaurants and enjoy the nightlife including bars, comedy clubs, and live music venues.



How To Get Here

Greenwich Village is located within the greater Lower Manhattan District.

 

Map of Greenwich Village

 

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.

Let Us Take You Here

We run our Greenwich Village Tour and our neighborhood food tour each several times a week.  See our full schedule.

Both can be taken anytime you wish as a GPS-led audio tour.


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

We have 2 posts on the NYC subway that are very handy:

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? 

 

Consider Staying in Greenwich Village

As we wrote above, there are many reasons to visit Greenwich Village. So why not stay here as well?

Check out the top-rated Greenwich Village hotels on TripAdvisor. We include some hotels at the bottom of this post.

Also, look at these inexpensive Greenwich Village hotels we recommend.


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 take 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, Both are fast, cheap and delicious! 

 

Artichoke Pizza Greenwich Village

 

Head to Washington Square Park to relax. Spend some time people-watching and enjoy 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 walk the High Line.

If you want to spend a full day and evening in Greenwich Village see our sections below on restaurants as well as things to do at night.

 

THINGS TO SEE AND DO 

Greenwich Village has so many sights to see and things to do, you could spend days here.

Below we list the top things to places to stop by to get a true sense of this wonderful neighborhood.

For a more in-depth exploration of the area, we recommend taking either our guided tour or our GPS audio tour

30 Virtual Tour of Greenwich Village

 

We also have a Self-Guided Greenwich Village Tour.

You could also listen to our NYC Travel Tips podcast episode on Greenwich Village.

This podcast offers bite-sized audio clips with tips on how to plan your trip to NYC. You can get our podcast wherever you get your podcasts.


1) Washinton Square Park

This park is the heart of Greenwich Village. Its arch and fountain are NYC icons. It’s one of the best places to sit and relax and watch the world go by.

 

Youtube Subscribe

 

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. 

Learn more about the park here or join us for one of our Greenwich Village Tours which visit the park. 


2) Beatnick and Hippie Roots

Greenwich Village, especially MacDougal Street, was the East Coast hub of the 1950s Beat Generation.

Writers like Allen Ginsburg and Jack Kerouac hung out at cafes drinking coffee late into the night.

A decade later the hippies took over. Some of the best musicians of the 1960s had their start in the Village. Jimi Hendrix played at Cafe Wha as did a still unknown Bob Dylan. 

 

 

In fact, Dylan lived in the Village and it is here where his career blossomed.

You might enjoy our self-guided tour of Bob Dylan locations in Greenwich Village.


3) Sightseeing Tours

There are loads of tours of Greenwich Village, including general walking tours, food tours, ghost tours, movie/tv locations, pub crawls…you name it, there’s a tour for it!

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

 

 

Also, several tourist discount passes include a free tour of Greenwich Village.

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


4) Theater

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.

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.  

 

 

Barrow Street Theatre offers productions of new plays or classics. The Minetta Lane Theater also offers a wide array of performances.

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


5) Architecture

In Greenwich Village, you’ll find some wonderfully preserved houses of a variety of architectural styles.

You can see the narrowest house in Manhattan,  just 10 feet (9m) wide!

Once the home of poet/playwright Edna St.Vincent Millay, anthropologist Margaret Mead later lived here.

 

 

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

Our Greenwich Village tours stop at several of these notable buildings.

 

6) Movie and TV Locations

You might already recognize some of Greenwich Village as it appears in dozens of films, TV shows, music videos and more. 

And though Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw lived uptown, her stoop is actually a building in Greenwich Village.

Read our post on Sex and the City locations to find out where her stoop is.

 

Where is Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment NYC

 

Also, the characters in the hit show Friends lived in Greenwich Village. Take a look at our post on how to visit the Friends building!

See what else was filmed here by reading our post on film locations in Greenwich Village.


7) Food Scene

Greenwich Village is known for its wide range of cuisines that reflect the ethnic diversity of NYC.

Below we have a long list of restaurants we recommend.

If you want to sample some of the Village’s best food, come on our pay-what-you-wish Food Tour of Greenwich Village.

 

 

Can’t make our scheduled tour? You can try our GPS-Enabled Audio Tour or our Self-Guided Greenwich Village Food Tour. Both of these tours 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.


8) Shopping

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

There are also lots of candy shops, small non-chain book stores and is the oldest apothecary in America!

 

 

It’s also one of the few neighborhoods in NYC where can you can still find record stores for those who still listen to vinyl!

Check below for recommendations of a few one-of-a-kind shops in Greenwich Village.


9) Parks

While Washington Square Park offers a lot of green space it can sometimes be a bit too lively for some. 

Fortunately, Greenwich Village has many small, gated, leafy parks. One of our favorites is the tiny, peaceful Minetta Triangle.

 

 

This park and the others like it in the Village are maintained by the city and are open to the public. If you see a sign that says “Greenstreets”, feel free to open the gate and walk-in. 

TIP: If traveling with kids, the best playgrounds are within Washington Square Park.


10) The High Line and other Nearby Neighborhoods

Speaking of parks, one park in NYC that is a must-see is the High Line, at the far northwest boundary of Greenwich Village. 

The High Line is on top of an abandoned elevated railroad and is an oasis in the city. The views are spectacular.

 

 

The history of the park is equally engaging and you can hear about it on one of our pay-what-you-wish tours of the High Line.

The neighborhoods surrounding Greenwich Village can easily be explored on the same day you visit the Village. 

South of Greenwich Village is SoHo and to the east is the appropriately named East Village!

See our posts on things to do in the East Village and our guide to SoHo if you decide to head to these neighborhoods, or check out our master post on things to do in NYC.


RESTAURANTS

Below is a long list of excellent dining options, but first, here are some highlights: 

John’s of Bleecker Street – 278 Bleecker St.  

Serving coal-fired oven pizza pies 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. ($$)

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.  

Tomoe Sushi  – 172 Thompson St‎.

Be prepared to wait in line for huge portions of some of the freshest sushi and sashimi around. Worth the wait. ($$).


Cheap (under $20)

Bleeker Street Pizza – 69 7th Ave

Named New York’s Best Pizza several times in a row.  Known for their Nonna pizza, with a thin crispy crust for less than $3 a slice.

Saigon Shack – 114 MacDougal St.  

Tasty and inexpensive Vietnamese noodles and sandwiches in a lively atmosphere.  CASH ONLY.

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!

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 grilled meats, cheeses, and vegetables.

Xi’an Famous Foods – 313 6th Ave.

Chinese noodle dishes, lamb cumin burgers, dumplings, and salads, with spicy flavoring.

Artichoke Pizza – 111 MacDougal St.

Their signature slice is a thick-crusted huge slice with a creamy white sauce and pieces of fresh artichoke.


Moderate ($25-$40)

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, spanakopita served in a bright space.

Buvette – 42 Grove Street.

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 so good that you can’t tell the difference between their vegan meatball sub and the real thing. Vegan versions of American classics and  


Expensive ($40+)

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. 

Pearl Oyster Bar – 18 Cornelia St.

Serving Maine seafood dishes like lobster rolls, clam chowder, and fried oysters.

Babbo – 110 Waverly Place.

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

Blue Hill – 75 Washington Pl.

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

 


 THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT

Greenwich Village is one of the most lively neighborhoods in NYC at night.

The fun starts when the sun goes down and doesn’t end until the sun comes up.

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

 

 

The Village also has many small theaters with high-quality off-Broadway productions.

There are lots of live music venues and some of the best jazz clubs in the city. 

You can find drinking spots of every kind of atmosphere and price range. Sidewalk cafes stay open late and are perfect for a cappuccino and people-watching.

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 End – 147 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.

Le Poisson Rouge  – 158 Bleecker St. 

This club offers an assortment of fun, folksy, funky music, at very affordable prices in an unpretentious environment.

Village Vanguard – 178 7th Ave South.

This renowned jazz club opened in 1935 and John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins were among the long list of performers. Most shows cost $30+ per person but line-ups are awesome. Reservations are a good idea.

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 1960s musical legends like Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix 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 beer. 

Stonewall Inn – 53 Christopher St. 

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

stonewall inn

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, under street level 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. 

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

The Lantern Comedy Club – 167 Bleecker St.

Comedy shows at The Lantern are free but there is a one-drink minimum. Luckily they have drink specials!

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

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. Cozy and a wide array of performances.


Cinema

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 

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, laptop bags and even takes 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. 

Book Book  – 266 Bleecker St. 

As the world of independent bookstores grows smaller, Book Book stands strong with great deals on new books, a bargain bestseller selection and a nice section of new York-related books. 

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 every-day 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 

Before you book a hotel for your trip, be sure to check out our blog post on locating cheap accommodations in New York City.

Inexpensive (under $200 a night)

Unfortunately, it’s slim pickings when it comes to inexpensive hotels in Greenwich Village.

You might find better rates at an Airbnb. Here are the two hotels under $200 a night still around.

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. 

Moderate ($200+ a night)

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.

Hampton Inn SoHo 54 Watts St. near Sixth Ave. 212-226-6288 or 800-426-7866.

Though closer to TriBeCa and SoHo, this modern, full-amenity hotel is a 15-20 minute walk away from the central Village with several buses and subway lines right outside.

It’s is a great location to explore other neighborhoods as well.

Marriott Courtyard SoHo 181 Varick St. bet. King and Charlton Sts. 212-414-8282.

Like the Hampton Inn, the Courtyard SoHo is not in Greenwich Village, but it is one block south of its boundaries.

The location is convenient and the rooms are what you’d expect from a Marriott, clean and decently-sized.

Expensive ($300+ a night)

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.

The Jade 52 West 13th St. bet. 5th and 6th Aves. 212-375-1300

A small boutique hotel located on a quiet street near all the action. Rooms are romantically decorated in the art-deco style of the 1920s. Worth the splurge.


Back to top


RELATED POSTS:

 

About the author

Courtney is a lifelong New Yorker fascinated with the city’s history, culture and cuisine. She loves exploring the world, as well as sharing her travel expertise with others.

She joined the Free Tours by Foot team in 2011, first as a guide and then as a writer. She has a law degree, a teaching degree and a worn-out passport. Her motto is “Have backpack, will travel”.