20 Best Things to Do in Greenwich Village, NYC

Greenwich Village, NY
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New York City is home to some of the most famous streets in the world, from Fifth Avenue to Broadway.

But not too far from the hustle and bustle of Midtown, you'll find one of the city's most historical neighborhoods: Greenwich Village.

Greenwich Village is a neighborhood in NYC's Manhattan borough, and it's one of the best places to visit in the city; it's full of history, culture, and fun things to do.

The term "village" is no accident; the area is full of community-oriented businesses, from bookstores to corner markets to coffee shops.

The streets are lined with architecture that's been around for over a century, and there are countless museums, art galleries, and public parks throughout.

With its rich history, unique architecture, and quaint side streets, it's no wonder that tourists flock to this part of the city.

If you're planning a trip there soon, here are the 20 best things to do in Greenwich Village, New York:

Stroll around the Washington Square Park

Aerial view of Washington Square Park
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The neighborhood of Greenwich Village contains one of the most visited and beloved parks in all of New York: Washington Square Park.

Washington Square Park is a great place to go if you want to enjoy some time outdoors while also learning a little bit of history.

It has everything you  want in a public space: people playing instruments, chess players trying to hustle you out of your money before you even know how the pieces move, and enough free events to keep you busy for a full week.

People sitting on Washington Square Park's benches
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Washington Square Park also features an arch dedicated to George Washington.

The arch has long served as a meeting place for students, artists, and political activists alike; today, it is one of New York's most popular tourist destinations.

If you want to take some time away from the bustle of the city, head over to the park's fountain and relax on a bench while taking in some sun.

There are plenty of great things to do in Washington Square Park, so don't miss out!

Pathway at Washington Square Park
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Visit the Famous Friends Apartment Building

Exterior of Friends Apartment Building
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If you're a die-hard Friends fan, the moment you set foot in this iconic apartment building is the moment you've been dreaming of your whole life.

The address of the apartment building that is used as Monica's, Rachel's, and Phoebe's apartment building in the TV show Friends is a real address in Greenwich Village, and it is located on the corner of Grove Street, at 90 Bedford Street.

Corner street of the Friends Apartment Building
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The Friends apartment building is featured on most episodes of Friends as well as other television shows during the 1990s and 2000s as background scenery.

Enthusiastic fans come from all over the world to visit this place, but if you're not a diehard Friends fan, there are more than enough things to do in this neighborhood that won't leave you feeling like an outsider.

Iconic locations from movies and TV shows are popular tourist destinations, so you'll want to be sure to check out this one if you're visiting New York.

Check Out the Exhibits in the Whitney Museum of American Art

Exterior of Whitney Museum of American Art
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A museum as good as the Whitney, located on the edge of the Village, is definitely worth a visit.

The Whitney Museum of American Art offers a wide variety of exhibits and programs throughout the year, from the high-brow to the low-brow.

Interested in learning about American art? There's an exhibit for that.

Or are you the kind of person who enjoys looking at paintings, sculptures, and photographs from different perspectives?

In that case, the Whitney has a collection that spans from the 17th century all the way up to today.

People at Whitney Museum of American Art's rooftop
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This museum is a great place to visit if you want to get in touch with your creative side.

The Whitney Museum is also home to some amazing exhibits that are always changing; these exhibits usually have many interactive components that make them fun for the whole family.

Whether you want to take photos of the cool architecture or want to look at some paintings, this place has plenty for anyone who wants to be inspired by works of art.

An outdoor sculpture at Whitney Museum of American Art's rooftop
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Celebrate Pride in the Stonewall Inn

Exterior of Stonewall Inn
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Greenwich Village is a neighborhood known for having a rich history of LGBT culture and events.

The Stonewall Inn is one of the landmarks and must-visit destination in the area; it was the location of a historic moment in the gay rights movement and has become a landmark for the fight for equality.

The bar is known for being a safe space for gays and lesbians to hang out, dance, and be themselves.

Stonewall Inn's neon sign
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'The Stonewall Riots' are considered the catalyst for the gay rights movements of the 20th century and happened at The Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969.

Today, The Stonewall Inn is one of the only places where you'll see drag queens taking over the dance floor rather than just performing on stage or hosting events.

Whether you're planning to visit this bar or any other place in Greenwich Village, make sure you take some time to stop and enjoy the famous New York City nightlife that you've heard so much about!

Memorial plaque of Stonewall Inn
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Laugh Your Heart Out in the Comedy Cellar

Entrance of the Comedy Cellar
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Are you planning to go to New York while ensuring that your trip will be memorable and one of a kind?

Then Comedy Cellar is the place for you.

The Comedy Cellar was established by a stand-up comedian, Bill Grundfest, in 1982, and since then, it has been the pride and joy of Greenwich Village, NY.

Stage of the Comedy Cellar
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The venue attracts some of the greatest comedians in the world because of its small size and intimate atmosphere.

In addition to being a comedic hotspot, Comedy Cellar also serves as a bar and restaurant; on any given night, you'll find yourself elbow-to-elbow with fellow comedy enthusiasts and partakers of terrific food.

If you're coming to see a specific comedian who's headlining a show, get there early to make sure you don't miss them.

Wander in the Lanes of Bleeker Street

Street sign of Bleeker Street
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Bleeker Street is a place for the young, hip, and artsy to congregate – it's lined with bars, cafes, and other venues for enjoying oneself.

Bleeker Street is a one-mile-long street that starts from the West Village and runs through Greenwich Village, and is bounded on the east by the Bowery.

If you want to do some shopping on your trip, but you're tired of going into large department stores and chain stores, then Bleeker Street is exactly what you need.

Buildings along Bleeker Street
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You'll find many interesting little shops with all sorts of things that are much more unique than what you'd find at Macy's or Bloomingdale's.

If it's the food you want to enjoy while you're here, just keep going up and down the street, and you’ll find plenty of restaurants, including some really delicious Italian restaurants and excellent pizza shops.

The area's nightlife is most popular with college kids and young adults because it offers a great variety of places to go and things to do, especially if you're into indie-rock music.

This is a fun place to visit—you can always find something new to do on Bleeker Street.

Bleeker Street's night scene
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Watch Indie Films at IFC Center

Exterior of IFC Center
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IFC Center is a multiplex cinema located in the heart of Greenwich Village.

The movie theater has five screens and has more than just an IMAX theater and other regular theaters, and it offers many different types of films, from independent films to Hollywood blockbusters.

IFC Center's marquee
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The IFC Center is great because it offers an eclectic mix of independent movies to choose from documentaries, foreign films, and art-house flicks.

It is a small theater that gives you an intimate experience with a big screen and an excellent sound system.

If you are looking for something unique to do in NYC, I recommend going to IFC Center for its diverse film lineup—you can also grab some food at their deli counter beforehand!

Entrance to IFC Center
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Learn the History of the Gay Liberation Monument

Daytime view of the Gay Liberation Monument
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While some countries are still trying to hide their gay history, America is taking steps to preserve it.

Manhattan's Greenwich Village has a few monuments dedicated to homosexual culture, including the Gay Liberation Monument on Christopher Street.

The monument was designed by George Segal in 1992 and was commissioned by Mildred Andrews Fund.

Closer view of the Gay Liberation Monument
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This 0.19-acre gated park features sculptures of two men, one with his hand on the other's shoulder, which is meant as a symbol of gay love and acceptance.

Opposite them, on a bench, statues of two women sit, one with her hand on the other’s lap.

The Stonewall riots, which occurred on June 28, 1969, were honored by the Gay Liberation Monument when members of the gay community resisted raids from the police against the Stonewall Inn; the riot marked the start of the modern gay rights movement.

Even though this monument isn't exactly the most conventional tourist attraction in New York, it certainly shouldn't be overlooked.

Pride flags around the Gay Liberation Monument
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Enjoy a Nice Afternoon in Secret Garden at St. Luke in the Fields

Exterior view of St. Luke in the Fields
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Secret Garden at St. Luke in the Fields is one of New York City's most treasured gardens.

Although the Secret Garden is located inside St. Luke in the Fields Episcopal Church, it's not just a space for going to church.

Even more than that, it's an opportunity for people to step back from their hectic lives and reflect on what matters most to them.

The garden is filled with inspiration—it's the perfect place to enjoy a moment of peace with oneself.

In fact, it's just secluded enough that you could easily spend a whole day there without even realizing that you haven't left the secret garden once.

If you’re looking for a place to go to escape the craziness of New York or just get some quiet time alone, this is the perfect place.

Browse Unusual Exhibits in the Museum of Illusions

Exterior of Museum of Illusions
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The Museum of Illusions is a small space with a big character – it has everything you'd expect from an eclectic New York attraction: kitschy but high-quality decor, an unapologetic sense of humor, gimmickry, and a fun-loving attitude.

There are many reasons someone might want to pay a visit to this unusual place.

If you're into photography, the museum has some excellent photo opportunities.

People standing in line at Museum of Illusions
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If you're into puzzles, there are plenty of fascinating ones to solve here—a museum employee will even be on hand to give you hints if you need them.

And if you're into magic tricks or escape rooms or anything else that requires a little bit of cleverness and ingenuity, then this museum could definitely be worth a stop.

If you're coming to New York City and want to enjoy a little bit of magic, you should visit the Museum of Illusions.

Enjoy a Performance in Cherry Lane Theater

Exterior of Cherry Lane Theater
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While in New York City, you have to visit the Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich Village.

This historic theater has been around since 1923, and it's one of the best places in New York City to see indie theater productions.

These days, you can catch any number of different performances at the theater, from comedy to drama to musicals.

Daytime view of Cherry Lane Theater's exterior
Ajay Suresh from New York, NY, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The theater boasts an intimate setting with a 60-seat studio and the main stage of 179-seat.

It's a great place to experience the new talent and discover well-established artists in an up-close setting.

The atmosphere here is one of casual elegance; you're not expected to dress in your fanciest fashions to come to see a show.

A visit to Cherry Lane is an invitation not only to see some great performances but also to take a step back in time and experience what it was like during some of the theater's greatest moments throughout history.

Have Fun in Pier 45 Lawn

People sunbathing on Pier 45 Lawn
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Pier 45 is a neighborhood gem nestled at the end of Hudson Street in historic Greenwich Village.

The pier has a long and interesting history, dating back to the 1700s when it was used for docking ships and floating food markets.

Nowadays, Pier 45 is most well known for its spectacular sunsets, but it also hosts a number of other events like concerts, children's theater, and festivals.

Sunset over the Pier 45
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The pier itself is part of the Hudson River Park, which was created in 1998 to both provide recreational space and improve the quality of life for residents living along the western bank of the Hudson River.

The boats parked at Pier 45 and views of Lady Liberty will make for wonderful Instagram shots, so make sure to bring your camera when visiting Pier 45 in New York City!

People strolling around the Pier 45
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Try New Products in Samsung 837

Exterior of Samsung 837
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The Samsung 837, located in the trendy Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, is a place where art and technology collide.

Samsung 837 is a spacious, multi-purpose space that features a blend of art installations and interactive products, all powered by the latest Samsung technology.

People trying out the virtual reality goggles in Samsung 837
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You can experience new technologies designed for your home or lifestyle, and it features a full range of products ranging from smartphones to smart TVs.

This "experiential flagship store" is a great spot to go if you want to learn more about the newest Samsung products and how they could benefit you or your business.

Samsung 837 at 837 Washington Street in Greenwich Village, New York, is a great place to visit if you want to get your hands on some of the most cutting-edge technology.

Samsung 837's phone showroom
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Bring Your Dog to Washington Square Park Dog Run For Larger Dogs

Daytime view of Washington Square Park Dog Run
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A large dog can be a handful to control, but that doesn't mean you should have to miss out on the fun of playing outside.

Washington Square Park has a terrific dog run for larger dogs that offers a place for your pup to run, romp and play with other dogs of all sizes.

The Dog Run is a spacious, grassy section of Washington Square Park, and it's well maintained.

People with their dogs at Washington Square Park Dog Run
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There are a few trees for shade, and there is plenty of room for your pup to run around and get a good workout.

You don't even have to worry about your dog getting lost in the crowd—there aren't too many dogs here at any given time, so you'll always be able to spot your pooch.

All of this makes this dog run a great place to bring your furry friend.

Dogs happily running along Washington Square Park Dog Run
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Take Photos of Carrie Bradshaw’s Apartment

Entrance to Carrie Bradshaw’s Apartment
Rob Young from United Kingdom, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a fan of the hit movie series Sex and the City, you can find one of the character’s apartment buildings in Greenwich Village—Carrie Bradshaw’s Apartment.

Portrayed by Sarrah Jessica Parker, Carrie Bradshaw is one of the more popular and iconic characters from this HBO series.

Seeing her apartment is a great bonus during your urban exploration of Greenwich Village, especially because of its gorgeous aesthetic.

While you can’t enter it, the beautiful facade of the building is as historic as it is pretty—perfect for photos to relieve some moments from the show.

You can find Carrie Bradshaw’s Apartment along Perry Street.

Explore What James J. Walker Park has to Offer

View of the James J. Walker Park
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Found along Hudson Street lies James J. Walker Park, one of the best recreational spaces in Greenwich Village.

There’s a little bit of something for everyone in this park, which was named after a prominent New York politician.

Whether you’re into sports, arts, or simply looking for a place to relax, James J. Walker Park is a great destination to make your trip to Greenwich Village more exciting.

Various art fixtures and murals can be found in this park, which makes it great as a place to take photos of.

And if you’re looking to break a swear, James J. Walker Park has a lot of sports amenities like basketball courts along with soccer and baseball fields.

Watch the Sunset at Hudson River Park Trust

People relaxing at Hudson River Park Trust
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Hudson River Park Trust is an amazing tourist destination that thousands of people flock to on a daily basis.

Situated on the western end of Greenwich Village along West Street, you’ll see amazing sunsets and serene views of the water at Hudson River Park Trust.

It’s also a popular destination to launch kayaks and canoes, so you can do this if you have one with you during your trip.

While lots of people visit it, it spans 500-plus acres which allows you to enjoy it without feeling too crowded.

With so much greenery and walking trails coupled with its scenic views, this is a can’t-miss spot to enjoy the Hudson River.

Chow Down at Saigon Shack

While Greenwich Village is teeming with all sorts of restaurants and cafes, few can probably match the popularity of Saigon Shack.

Both a culinary and tourist hotspot, this is one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in Manhattan that won’t break your bank.

While its exterior doesn’t reveal much (hence, a shack!) Saigon Shack will wow you with its festive decor and vibrant lighting that match well with its lively crowd.

Try their lemongrass chicken, banh mi, and pho for all the classic Vietnamese dishes that they do perfectly.

The restaurant also has a bar, which makes it a great place to visit for late night dinners.

Saigon Shack can be found along MacDougal Street.

Watch Live Performances at Blue Note Jazz Club

Exterior view of Blue Note Jazz Club
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Blue Note Jazz Club is a must-see if you’re into jazz music, especially since this is one of the most popular destinations for jazz lovers in New York.

Found along West 3rd Street, Blue Note Jazz Club is famed for its longevity, housing various legendary jazz performers who have been mainstays here since 1981.

Interior view of Blue Note Jazz Club
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One of the most anticipated bands here is the Ron Carter Quartet, so check their schedules on the date of your visit.

While the venue is small, it provides an intimate atmosphere to enjoy their many shows.

Food and drinks are also offered at Blue Note Jazz Club; a great addition if you’re looking for a holistic experience.

Final Thoughts

Greenwich Village is a place like no other in New York City; residents and visitors alike are welcome to indulge their eccentricities here, including their appreciation of the arts.

The neighborhood was home to many political demonstrations; this was where the Stonewall Riots took place, inspiring the gay rights movement.

It's also a cultural enclave that draws tourists from around the world and a significant number of celebrities.

Greenwich Village is a destination worth visiting for its history and culture, even if you're not living in New York City.

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