15 Best Things to Do in West Village, NYC

West Village, NYC
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West Village is a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan which technically belongs to Greenwich Village.

However, many New Yorkers consider both villages as separate places.

West Village is one of the city's most prestigious and fashionable residential areas.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, small presses, art galleries, and experimental theater flourished in the village.

New York City's history as a haven for avant-garde and alternative culture started in the West Village.

Many wealthy and famous celebrities also live there now.

West Village is also serene enough that you might forget that you're staying in a city of 8.5 million people.

Enjoy this serenity as you stroll down tree-lined streets of brick townhomes and brownstones with the occasional café or restaurant.

Despite its small size, the West Village offers plenty of sights and activities.

Here are the best things to do in West Village, New York City.

Get Bamboozled at the Museum of Illusions

Exterior of the Museum of Illusions
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Explore the fascinating world of illusions, which will astound you while challenging your faith in your senses.

Enjoy the holographic collection at the Museum of Illusion and examine each optical illusion in detail.

Pay special attention to each exhibit if you don't want a headache once you leave.

Close view of Museum of Illusions building
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How do your eyes see things your brain can't comprehend?

Answer that question by learning amazing information about vision, perception, the human brain, and science.

Visit the playroom filled with fun and instructive games and puzzles.

Kids love the Museum of Illusions, but it welcomes everyone of all ages.

Explore the Magnificence of the Hudson River

The waters of Hudson River
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The Hudson River is the western boundary of the West Village.

It's also one of the most beautiful sites in New York City.

The Hudson River measures 315 miles and runs through eastern New York, flowing from the Adirondack Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean.

The Mohican people once lived on the river's lower section banks.

They named it Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk because of the river's extensive tidal range.

The sunsets over the Hudson River are some of the most spectacular in New York.

There are many ways to enjoy the river, whether on a romantic date or on a stroll with family and friends.

You can go for a brisk walk or have a picnic on one of the many benches or rocks lining the water.

Likewise, you can take a ferry ride for an up-close view of the Statue of Liberty.

You can go kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding if you're raring for something more adventurous.

No matter how you enjoy the Hudson River, you will have a memorable experience.

Learn the Lessons of the Past at the Historic Stonewall Inn

Exterior of the Stonewall Inn
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On June 28, 1969, New York City Police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in the West Village.

The violent raid triggered the Stonewall Riots, which evolved into a series of protests and demonstrations from the LGBT community.

Today, people consider the events at Stonewall as the catalyst for the modern LGBT rights movement.

In 2000, the National Register of Historic Places added the Stonewall Inn to its record.

The site became a National Historic Landmark in 2016.

History plaque of the Stonewall Inn
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Today, the Stonewall Inn is a popular destination for tourists worldwide who want to learn about its historical significance.

Years after the protests, the Stonewall Inn State Historic Site arose to chronicle the history of the LGBT rights movement.

Stroll along Bleecker Street

Street sign of Bleecker Street
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If you visit New York City, you must take a stroll along Bleecker Street.

Discover the fantastic eateries, bars, cafes, shops, and clubs lining the street.

Bleecker Street is one of the most well-known streets in New York City, passing through the West Village, Greenwich Village, and NoHo districts.

Bleecker Street is arguably the most beautiful street in the West Village, with charming brownstones and quaint cafes.

It's the perfect place to take a stroll on a sunny day.

Exterior of Bleecker Street Pizza
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The financier Anthony Lispenard Bleecker gave his name to the street after the government built the road on their family farm.

Bleecker Street is forever busy.

Many students will begin their days with their laptops at one of the cafes in the morning.

People walking along Bleecker Street
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Enjoy the Atmosphere of Grove Street

Exterior of the famous Friends building at Grove Street
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Explore the trendy streets of West Village and discover tiny nooks of history on Grove Street.

The street is famous for its quaint townhouses.

For example, check out a group of vivid brick-red townhouses tucked between 10 and 12 Grove Street.

Find them a ways from the main road along a cobblestone path known as the Grove Court.

Cars along Grove Street
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You can also find the apartment complex featured in the famous sitcom "Friends" at the intersection of Grove and Bedford Streets.

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation claims that the apartment complex dates back to 1822.

Then, it became one of the last intact wood-frame homes in NYC because of fire regulations.

Performers also set up shop in the area in front of the street to provide extra entertainment.

Walk around the James J Walker Park

James J. Walker Park is one of the smaller parks in the West Village.

The two-acre park features a baseball field, bocce courts, playgrounds, restrooms, handball courts, and a memorial to two firefighters.

It served as a burial ground for St. John's Chapel, once located on the site of the current Jefferson Market Library.

The park gets its name from James J. Walker, mayor of New York City, from 1926 to 1932.

Take a break from exploring the city and relax in the green space.

The James J. Walker Park is also the perfect place to see the fireworks on the 4th of July.

Visit the Jefferson Market Library

Exterior of the Jefferson Market Library
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The Jefferson Market Library is a beautiful Gothic Revival building that was once a courthouse.

The library, now part of the New York Public Library system, houses a collection of books, DVDs, and CDs.

Free public events, author readings, and concerts occur in the library's events space.

Frederick Clark Withers designed the building, completed from 1877 to 1879.

View of the top of Jefferson Market Library
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It is one of the significant examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the United States.

In 1945, the city planned to demolish the building because it had stopped working as a courthouse.

A group of neighborhood preservationists fought to have the building turned into a library under the direction of Margot Gayle and Ruth Wittenberg.

The Jefferson Market Library became a set for the film "Miranda" in 1948.

It became a New York City Landmark in 1967 and a National Historic Landmark in 1977.

Building sign of Jefferson Market Library
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Take a Picture at Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment

Steps leading to Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment entrance
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Standing in the center of the West Village is 66 Perry Street.

If you've seen the hit HBO series "Sex and the City," you'd recognize this place as Carrie Bradshaw's apartment.

The 1833 brownstone building has become a popular tourist destination for show fans.

Although they filmed the apartment's interior on soundstage, the show shot its exterior.

Exterior of Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment
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You can find Carrie Bradshaw's apartment on a quiet, tree-lined street in the West Village.

Many buildings on the block are also brownstones, making it easy to imagine Carrie strolling down the street in her high heels.

Check Out Christopher Park

Gay liberation sculpture at Christopher Park
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Christopher Park is a quaint park hidden in the West Village.

Even though this West Village park spans only a fraction of an acre, you'll see many things behind its grand 130-year-old fence.

For instance, this park sits across the street from the Stonewall Inn.

Christopher Park also contains George Segal's gay liberation sculptures, attracting art lovers and people interested in the gay rights movement.

American Civil War enthusiasts will especially appreciate the memorials to General Philip Henry Sheridan, his Fire Zouaves, and Colonel Ephraim Elmer Ellsworth.

People at Christopher Park
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The park gets its name from Christopher Street, which runs along the southern edge of the park.

The park's central feature is a large fountain with two men and two women standing back-to-back, representing the diversity of the West Village.

The park is a well-known gathering place for the LGBTQ community.

The annual Pride march also starts there.

Marvel at the Beauty of the Grove Court

Exterior of Grove Court
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Standing between 10 and 12 Grove Street is Grove Court, a hidden gem that tourists overlook.

This secluded brick-lined cul-de-sac features several elegant brick-red townhouses.

Developer Samuel Cocks built them in 1854.

Cocks originally intended for working-class families to live in his houses, but they later became apartments.

Brick sign of Grove Court
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Due to the earlier residents' drinking habits, people once referred to the place as "Pig's Alley" or "Mixed Ale Alley."

Grove Court didn't get its current charming look and name until 1921.

That year, Alentaur Realty subdivided the site, then sold and remodeled each of the six homes separately.

The residences were converted back into single-family homes in the 1970s.

Today, they are now some of the most expensive properties in the city.

Watch a Show at the Cherry Lane Theater

Exterior of Cherry Lane Theater
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The Cherry Lane Theatre is New York City's oldest continually operating off-Broadway theater.

It opened in 1923.

In 1817, the building started out as a silo on the Gomez farm.

In 1836, it became a brewery, and then a tobacco warehouse, and a box factory.

Entrance door of Cherry Lane Theater
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The owners then transformed it into a theater under Evelyn Vaughn and a group of actors.

The Cherry Lane Theatre fueled some of the most innovative dramatic performances in the history of the American stage.

The vibrant Playhouse was the birthplace of the Downtown Theater movement,tThe Living Theatre, and the Theatre of the Absurd.

Many prominent 20th-century playwrights and figures in American drama sought refuge at the Cherry Lane Theater.

See the Exhibits in the Whitney Museum of American Art

Exterior of Whitney Museum of American Art
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The Whitney Museum of American Art is a sight to behold.

Art patron and philanthropist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney founded the museum in 1930.

The Whitney's collection holds over 25,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, films, and artifacts of 20-century and contemporary American art.

It also focuses heavily on works from living artists.

A person admiring the Whitney Museum of American Art exhibit
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Younger and lesser-known artists have traditionally used the Museum's Annual and Biennial exhibitions to showcase their work.

The Whitney is also home to various rotating exhibitions, which have featured the work of artists such as Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keeffe, Jasper Johns, and Andy Warhol.

The Whitney Museum of Art also offers a variety of public programs, including discussions, lectures, performances, and films.

Rooftop sculpture of Whitney Museum of American Art
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Other Things to Do Nearby

Spend a Night with Friends at the Comedy Cellar

Entrance to The Comedy Cellar
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The Comedy Cellar has become a staple of the New York City comedy scene for over four decades.

Television writer and producer Bill Grundfest founded the comedy club in 1982.

The Comedy Cellar features a lineup of top comedians every night, including icons Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, and Hannibal Buress.

The club featured extensively in Jerry Seinfeld's 2002 documentary "Comedian" and a 2006 Pepsi commercial starring Jimmy Fallon.

Likewise, you can grab a bite after the show at the Olive Tree Cafe, a restaurant affiliated with the club.

Many comedians hang out there after their sets, too.

Visit the Uncommons

The Uncommons is the first board game cafe in Manhattan.

It's also a great place to unwind with friends, family, or even by yourself.

With a diverse selection of board games, from classics like Monopoly to modern games like Settlers of Catan, this place will please every board game fan.

The café also serves various food and drinks, including sandwiches, salads, pizzas, pastries, and desserts.

The Uncommons has 65 seats, a party area, and a wide selection of food and beverages.

Check Out the New York City Fire Museum

Exterior of New York City Fire Museum
Leonard J. DeFrancisci, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can find the New York City Fire Museum inside a former firehouse built in 1904.

The Museum exhibits the history of firefighting in New York City, including fire equipment, uniforms, and photographs.

The New York Fire Department has battled fires for a long time, dating back to the Dutch colonial era.

Interior of New York City Fire Museum
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Learn about the history of firefighting in New York City and the brave people who dedicated their lives to protecting the city.

The New York City Fire Museum features an extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia.

The Museum has an online version where visitors can view its exhibits.

Have a Picnic in Washington Square Park

Aerial view of Washington Square Park
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One of the most well-known parks in New York City is Washington Square Park, a 9.75-acre public park in Greenwich Village.

It is a popular gathering spot and a hub for cultural expression.

Over the years, Washington Square Park has served various functions for its neighborhood.

People surrounding Washington Square Park's fountain
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Washington Square Park is well-known for its fountain.

Likewise, the Washington Square Arch also honors George Washington, the man who named the park.

George Washington and Alexander Lyman Holley helped establish the American steel industry.

They followed up the development of the Bessemer process for mass-producing steel.

The park has dedicated monuments and statues to them to honor their achievements.

The Garibaldi Memorial, a bronze statue of the Italian patriot, also stands in Washington Square Park.

People at Washington Square Park
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Final Thoughts

The West Village in New York City is a great place to explore and learn about different cultures.

Many museums, parks, and other attractions offer something for everyone.

Learn the history of firefighting in New York City, and explore a board game café.

Enjoy a picnic in one of the city's most well-known parks.

Book a trip today!

You might find more things to do in West Village, NYC after you arrive.

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