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Things To Do In Greenwich Village

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This post covers things to do in Greenwich 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.


Top Things To Do In Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village is like no other part of NYC. It is lively, historic and charming.

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

Below we list the best things to do in this wonderful neighborhood, called simply The Village by locals. We also recommend restaurants and hotels.

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 any time.


1. Washinton 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

Stop by the southwest corner of the park to see 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.


2. See The Friends Building

If you come across a small crowd looking up at the building on the corner of Bedford Street and Grove Street, here's why: this is the building where the Friends lived!

Read more about visiting the Friends building and where to see other Friends locations in NYC.


3. Have a Capuccino at Cafe 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 Village is all about.


4. Stroll Down Bleecker Street

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

Bleecker Street is now a destination for vibrant nightlife, great restaurants and boutique shopping. It’s hard to believe it was once farmland!

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 cafes and venues along the 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.


5. See 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.  re

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.


6. 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.


7. Eat Like There's No Tomorrow

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

There are also many upscale restaurants and one of the best pizzerias in New York City. Below we list some of our favorite places to eat.

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. Stop By Carrie Bradshaw's Stoop

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

Carrie Bradshaw's stoop

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!


9. Shop Small

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

It's few neighborhoods in NYC where can you can still find record stores for those who still listen to vinyl!

It's 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 book stores 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.


10. See The Historic Stonewall Inn

The Stonewall Inn was the sight of a 4-day uprising that paved the way for the Gay Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

The Stonewall Uprising was a defining moment in the LGBTQ fight for civil rights.

Its historic significance makes it a destination in Greenwich Village.

Stonewall Inn

It is still an operating bar, and a living memorial to the events of June 28, 1969. Read more about the Stonewall Inn Uprising.


11. 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.


12. Walk in Bob Dylan's Footsteps

If one name is synonymous with Greenwich Village, it has to be Bob Dylan. He lived in the Village and hung out at the many beatnik cafes writing songs.

He performed 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.


13. Get to Know the 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.


14. Visit Nearby Neighborhoods

At the far northwest boundary of Greenwich Village is 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.


 

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 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. ($$)

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 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+)

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. 


Nightlife

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

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, see a comedy show or a high-quality off-Broadway production.

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 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 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. 

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.

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. 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 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 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.


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 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 Pizza, Both are fast, cheap, and delicious! 

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 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.

 

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About The Author

Courtney

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”.
Updated: August 11th, 2022
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