One Day in West Village & Greenwich Village - NYC
This West Village and Greenwich Village guide is all about how to spend a perfect day in this trendy NYC neighbourhood. We’ve listed the top things to do in Greenwich Village as well as some off the beaten path attractions to help you plan the perfect day in New York’s Greenwich and West Village.
Greenwich and West Village is one of our favorite places in New York. We can never get enough of this bohemian NYC neighborhood. Whenever we visit New York, we always come back to explore this part of the city with its diagonal streets, relaxed atmosphere, unique boutiques and abundance of eateries. When you need a break from the skyscrapers and chaotic NYC atmosphere, it’s time to spend a day in West Village.
Table of Contents
Are Greenwich Village and West Village the Same
Yes and No. The West Village is the westernmost part of Greenwich Village, so when New Yorkers refer to the Village, they usually mean Greenwich Village and West Village. Most New Yorkers don’t call the area Greenwich Village but only the West Village or the Village when they refer to this area.
Getting to Greenwich Village/West Village
Greenwich Village is located in Lower Manhattan, just below the Meatpacking District. Generally speaking, the area of the Village is from 14th street to Houston St and from the Hudson River to Broadway St. The area that is considered as the West Village stretches from the Hudson River to Broadway St. Getting to the Village is relatively easy, there are many subway and bus stations all over the Village, check out how to get to Greenwich Village with public transportation.
About Greenwich Village
If you’ve ever wondered why this area is called Greenwich Village, the name originates from the Dutch word ‘Groenwijck’ which means ‘Green District’. In the 17th century, during the days of the Dutch occupation of Manhattan, this area lay just outside of New Amsterdam and was filled with streams and meadows, which explains its current name. But other than green fields, Greenwich Village is known for being the cultural heart of Manhattan.
During the 20th century, this NYC neighborhood had a diverse population that included poets, artists, musicians, gays, and other non-conformist residents. Famous icons of the Beat Generation, like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsburg, were part of the scene, and so were well-known musicians such as Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix.
Other than artists and musicians, the LGBTQ community also has deep roots in Greenwich Village, and the famous Stonewall Inn has played a significant part in the fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States.
Although nowadays, it’s not the artist haven it used to be due to the current high rents, it’s still considered a cultural center, and it’s one of the hippest neighborhoods in New York. Walking through the intertwining streets, you’ll find many unique shops, trendy restaurants, comedy and jazz clubs, beautiful historical buildings and hidden parks. The area is always filled with youthful vibes, mainly since the NYU campus is located nearby, and students like to hang out in the neighborhood.
Things to Do and See in Greenwich and West Village in One Day
We love getting lost in the diagonal streets of the Village and find hidden gems. Everyone will find something to do here. From history, architecture and art to shopping and food – let’s start planning your perfect day in West Village.
Visit Washington Square Park
The most famous landmark in Greenwich Village must be Washington Square Arch, which is found in Washington Square Park so start your morning by visiting this NYC landmark. Washington Square Park is one of the most popular parks in New York, always packed with locals and tourists alike. It’s located at the foot of Fifth Avenue, and it’s the heart of Greenwich Village and the NYU campus. It is always nice to check out the local scene around the park. At any given time, you’ll find here chess players, musicians, dog walkers and sunbathers. You might recognize parts of the parks from Hollywood movies or TV series which were shot here such as I Am Legend or Person of Interest.
There are two prominent landmarks in the park, the fountain and Washington Square Arch which was constructed to mark 100 years from George Washington’s inauguration as president of the United States. The original arch was made from plaster and wood in 1889 and due to its popularity, it was replaced by a permanent marble arch in 1892. It was modeled after Paris’ Arc de Triomphe. In addition to these two monuments, strolling around the park, you’ll find additional statues, leafy pathways, vintage-style streetlights, and outdoor chess tables.
Insider Tip: There are many events in Washington Square Park (especially in the summer months) such as dance lessons, outdoor screenings and music festivals, so make sure to check the park’s event calendar.
Get Lost in the Photogenic Streets of Greenwich Village
The streets around the Village are one of its best features. Unlike the grid-like construction of the streets of Upper and Midtown Manhattan, the streets here have a more organic structure, which makes them hard to navigate but an excellent place to get lost in, in search of hidden gems. There are many beautiful buildings, photogenic alleys and gated parks to explore. Strolling through West Village’s streets, you might get confused for a moment since it feels more like a European city than the hectic NYC. Instead of modern skyscrapers, you’ll stumble upon leafy streets, historic brownstones, and ivy-covered brick houses. Architecture lovers would enjoy exploring the various architectural styles that can be found in the Village from Federal to Victorian Gothic Style.
Most Beautiful Buildings in Greenwich Village
Some of our favorite spots in West and Greenwich Village include these buildings.
- Jefferson Market Library – This New York City landmark, was built in 1875-1877 and was used as a courthouse for many years. It was turned into a library in 1967 after two years of renovations. Thanks to its Gothic elements and ornamentations, it’s considered one of the best examples of High Victorian architecture in America, and in 1977 it was included in the list of National Historic Landmarks. Address: 425 6th Ave, New York
- Church of the Ascension / First Presbyterian Church – Both of these churches demonstrate the Gothic Revival style of the 19th century in NYC. Address: 5th Ave & W 10th St /12 W 12th St
- The Twins – According to a local legend, the two identical houses on Commerce St. were built by a sea captain for his feuding daughters. Though this legend isn’t necessarily true, this spot is still charming and stands out in the local scenery. Address: 39 and 41 Commerce Street
- The Ivy House – Not an historical landmark but just a beautiful house that is completely covered with ivy. If we’re not mistaken, this used to be Annie Leibovitz’s house. Address: Corner of Greenwich Street and West 11th.
Insider tip: If you’re looking for more famous locations, you can check the buildings that appeared on Friends (as the exterior of Monica’s apartment) and Sex and the City (as Carrie Bradshaw’s Apartment). Address: Monica’s apartment: 90 Bedford Street at the corner of Grove Street, Carrie’s apartment: 66 Perry St.
BTW Fans of Sex and the City might enjoy this excellent Sex and the City Hotspots Tour
Most Beautiful Streets in Greenwich Village:
Other than the buildings we’ve already mentioned, there are a few pretty streets in Greenwich and West Village that will be perfect for your Instagram feed. These are some of our favorites: Gay Street, Grove Court (between 10-12 Grove St.), Barrow Street and Perry Street, Charles Street.
Stop by Stonewall Inn and Monument
The Stonewall Inn has played a significant role in the fight for LGBTQ rights. Back in the days, being a homosexual or lesbian meant you were discriminated, threatened, and arrested on a regular basis. Even serving alcohol to homosexuals was forbidden by law. The Stonewall Inn started as a restaurant, but in the late 1960s, it was a successful gay bar, at a time when the gay community had trouble finding such refuge. In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, after yet another police raid, the local community decided to fight back. This spontaneous act of resistance provided momentum for the LGBTQ movement and led to the first gay pride parades in the United States and around the world. Though the original bar was closed after the riots, it reopened in the 1990s, and nowadays, it’s a friendly gay bar with a lively atmosphere, which includes karaoke and drag shows. Across the street, you can visit the Stonewall Monument at Christopher Park. Address: 53 Christopher Street.
To learn more about the history of the Village and its landmarks and the famous artists like Bob Dylan and Edgar Allan Poe who used to hang out here, you can take a guided walking tour
Look for Hidden Parks and Gardens
There are many secluded spots in West Village that are perfect for some relaxation time. You’ll pass by these hidden parks and gated gardens without noticing them, but inside you’ll be transported to an English courtyard or a blooming flower field. Try and visit at least one of these hidden spots during your one day in West Village since they are perfect if you want a break from the hectic city life.
- Jackson Square – A lovely triangle park with a European feel, thanks to its classic decorations and the black three-tiered fountain in the middle of the park. It’s a blooming oasis amid this urban landscape. Address: 8 Ave &, Greenwich Ave.
- The Jefferson Market Garden – This Gothic-style library has a secret garden inside. This beautiful gated garden is open to the public during the season (April – October). Watch the blooming tulips in the Spring, follow the path to the gold-fish pond and learn about the plants and flowers. Address: Entrance on Greenwich Avenue between Sixth Avenue and West 10th Street | Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 9:00 am to dusk
- The Gardens at St. Luke in the Fields – The private gardens of this church are open to the public. This is one of the only places where you feel as if you’ve left New York City and landed in a garden of an English townhouse. Depending on the season you’ll find here lavender, roses and cherry blossoms, which attracts many birds and butterflies to this blooming haven. Address: 485 Hudson St | Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 10:00 am – dusk, Sunday: 10:00 am – dusk, The Gardens are closed on holidays.
Shopping in Greenwich Village & West Village
Although shopping is never at the top of our bucket list, we love the shops around Greenwich Village. During your one day in West Village, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to do some shopping. This neighborhood is the best place to find unique shops and trendy boutiques. Most people consider Soho as the shopping mecca of NYC, but personally, we prefer the unique shops that can be found here. They have more character and variety. Usually, we start wandering through the streets and find all kinds of unique boutiques and cute shops. The best streets for shopping are probably Bleecker Street and Christopher Street.
Here are some of our favorite stops at the Village: Stationery addicts should stop by Greenwich Letterpress for unique and original cards (15 Christopher Street). For hand-decorated ceramics and a lovely textile collection, check out John Derian West (18 Christopher Street). Cheese lovers would love Murray’s Cheese that offers American and foreign dairy products (254 Bleecker Street). For unique tea and coffee blends, check out McNulty’s Tea and Coffee (109 Christopher Street – since 1895!). At Olivers & Co you’ll find delicious olive oil, spreads, and vinegar from all over the world (249 Bleecker Street). At David’s Tea, you’ll find everything tea-related, including teaware and unique gifts (275 Bleecker St).
Where to Eat in Greenwich & West Village
It took us a while, but now let’s talk about the important stuff, where to eat in Manhattan’s West Village. Don’t worry, there are plenty of trendy restaurants and cool coffee shops around. Both Bleeker St. & MacDougal St. have lots of options and great atmosphere. If you’re looking to taste food from around the world, Christopher St. might be your best bet, since you’ll find there Thai, Chinese, Cuban and Peruvian fare. West 4th St. and Hudson St. also have lots of great options, but honestly, there are so many delicious eateries in West Village, so just stroll around and sit wherever you like. We couldn’t include all of our favorite eateries in this Greenwich and West Village one day guide but here are some recommended places for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner or a snack in Manhattan’s West Village:
Restaurants, Bars & Coffee Shops in Greenwich Village
For a coffee and croissant, check out Buvette, a French bakery/bistro that is opened daily at 7:00 am. For a healthy breakfast, you can stop by Coco & Cru or Banter. For a light lunch, check out Citizens Of Bleecker, Rosemary’s or Balaboosta. For dinner, you can have a steak at Minetta Tavern, taste some Italian cuisine at L’Artusi or some tacos with delicious margaritas at Tacombi.
Desserts and Sweets in Greenwich Village
Lovers of doughnuts must try one of the delicious and creamy doughnuts of the Doughnut Project. If you’re looking for unique ice cream, try one of the soft serves at Kith Treats or Popbar‘s all natural and creamy popsicle. For delicious cupcakes, check out Molly’s Cupcakes or the famous Magnolia Bakery. And if you’re looking for gluten-free treats and baked goods, stop by Posh Pop Bakeshop.
Check out these cool food tours in Greenwich Village
Catch a Show in Greenwich Village – Jazz, Comedy & Theatre
Greenwich and West Village really come alive at night time, so make sure to spend at least one night in this NYC neighborhood. If you’re wondering what to do in Greenwich Village in the evenings other than have dinner or sit at a bar, you’ll find many off-Broadway shows, comedy clubs and live music venues in the Village.
Off-Broadway Theatres in Greenwich Village
Many of New York’s old off-Broadway theatres are located in the Village, and if you are on a tight budget, these shows are usually less expensive than the ones on Broadway. To end your day in West Village, check out some of these theatres:
- Cherry Lane Theatre – New York City’s longest continuously running Off-Broadway theatre. From its early days in 1924, the Cherry Lane Theatre has put a spotlight on non-traditional and experimental creations. Many ground-breaking productions have been shown here from both anonymous and well-known play writers. Check out the latest program here. Address: 38 Commerce St.
- Minetta Lane Theatre – This neighborhood theatre was opened in 1984. It is operated by Liberty Theatres, Inc., which also operates the nearby Orpheum Theatre (home to the famous Stomp show). For the current show calendar at Liberty Theatres Address: 18 Minetta Lane
For more information about Off-Broadway theatres in the area.
Jazz Clubs in the Village
The Village has been home to many Jazz clubs and Jazz bars over the years. Some of the most well-known names in jazz history have played at some of these neighborhood bars. If you’d rather end your day in West Village with a musical performance, check out these clubs:
- Blue Note Jazz Club – One of the most well-known Jazz clubs in Greenwich Village that has hosted many famous names over the years. It has more of an intimate and cozy atmosphere, and if you’re lucky, you might spot some celebrities in the audience. Check out the updated performance calendar here. Address: 131 W 3rd St
- Village Vanguard – One of the oldest music venues in the Village, which hosts the best of the most talented jazz performers in the world. Check out the upcoming jazz performances here. Address: 178 7th Ave
Comedy Clubs in the Village
If you are looking for a laugh, don’t forget to include a visit to a comedy club in your West Village one-day itinerary.
- Comedy Cellar – The Comedy Cellar was established in 1982. Over the years, it has been hosting newcomers as well as some of the biggest names in the industry. Some of its most famous performers include Dave Chappelle and Louis C.K. For the updated line up check out their website (note that some of the performances are at their nearby venue, the Village Underground). Address: Comedy Cellar: 117 MacDougal St #1267 (between W 3rd St. & Minetta Lane). Village Underground: 130 W. 3rd Street (between 6th and MacDougal St.)
- The Lantern Comedy Club – This club/bar hosts pro and upcoming comedians. The entrance is free, but you are required to purchase a drink. For the upcoming shows check out their website.
Where to Stay in Greenwich Village
This is one of the most sought-after neighborhood in New York City and since there aren’t many hotels in the area, we’re afraid there are no budget-friendly options here. Check out these recommended hotels in Greenwich and West Village:
Check out all the hotels in Greenwich Village
That’s it for our things to do in Greenwich Village guide. We hope this guide will help you plan your perfect day in West Village & Greenwich Village. Let us know in the comments if you find any more hidden gems or great spots we should include in this guide!