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 rowhouses and brownstones.
You could easily spend a day here wandering its leafy streets, shopping at small local shops, and people-watching in Washington Square Park.
This post covers things to do in Greenwich Village, in particular, the West Village, with recommendations from a native New Yorker.
Included are the top sights to see, places to eat and shop, and where to see live music and theater.
We are a group of local tour guides who lead daily walking tours of Greenwich Village and throughout New York City.
Some of us live here, have lived here, and we all work here.
And in the video below, Renee, a tour guide with us, Free Tours by Foot NYC, takes you on a virtual walk of the neighborhood.
We know a thing or two about this place. We even wrote and published an audio tour of the area.
Here's a sample talking about the Friends Building.
Now, without further ado, let's get to the post.
Top Things To Do In Greenwich Village
Below we list the best attractions and things to do in this wonderful neighborhood (including seasonal events so you can see what's happening when you are visiting).
To get to know this special neighborhood, join one of our pay-what-you-like guided tours!
We also offer a GPS audio tour you can take at any time.
There's plenty to do year-round including all the things to do in this post.
Here are a few events scheduled for this month and next:
The inaugural Light Up The Village Block Party will be held on December 1 from 3 pm-7 pm when W. 8th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue will be lit with holiday lights.
Free live music will be provided by the legendary Brass Queens, a 9-piece brass band.
Vendors selling gifts will be there and hot drinks will be on hand!
Christmas Celebrations in Washington Square Park
The Christmas Tree lighting occurs the first week in December (check back with us for the exact date).
On December 17 at 6 p.m., Unsilent Night, the annual noise-making one-mile parade takes place. It's free to join in the merriment.
On Christmas Eve at 5 p.m., join the locals in the park for Christmas caroling.
This annual festival takes place between January 11 - 18, 2024, and features 100 bands across the city, but with many performing in Greenwich Village, the home to many famous jazz clubs.
See the website for details and tickets. Don't wait to buy them as this event will sell out!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Watch 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 the IFC Center
The IFC Center is an arthouse cinema showing first-run independent, foreign, and documentary features across its five screens.
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!
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!
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).
Greenwich Village Seasonal Events and Activities
June: IFC Human Rights Watch Film Festival (first week in June); Washington Square Music Festival (Tuesdays in June)
October: Annual Village Halloween Parade October 31
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 a.m. 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!
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 are 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 are 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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Head to Washington Square Park to relax. Spend some time people-watching and enjoying the buskers and street performers.