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20 Great Things to Do in the West Village (+Helpful Advice)

Best things to do West Village

This list of the best things to do in the Greenwich Village is written by Antonina Pattiz, the founder of New York Simply (an official NYC partner of Apple Maps).

As a local New Yorker, I’m often asked about the most charming areas of New York City. The answer is always simple, always the same — The Greenwich Village. Between the cobblestone streets, old-world charm and the most endearing corner cafes you’ll ever see, visiting the West Village feels like stepping foot on a movie set. So, without further ado, let’s cover the best things to do in Greenwich Village.

Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The 10 Best Neighborhoods & 3 to Avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s my favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.

best things to do West Village

Best Things to Do in the West Village

Table of Contents: Best Things to Do in the West Village NYC

Best things to do West Village NYC
Buvette West Village

Grab a Bite at Buvette

Stepping into Buvette feels like stepping foot into an authentic Parisian cafe. Which is precisely why grabbing a bite here is one of my favorite things to do in Greenwich Village. The interior couldn’t be cozier, but it’s the high quality food that shines brightest here. Having visited Paris a few times, I can confirm that everything tastes authentic (the escargot especially!).

So swing by to rest your legs for a few minutes and linger over a warm coffee or chilled glass of wine. But take note, getting into Buvette is a challenging task during peak hours. Reservations can be made online (but they’re limited), so most folks opt to wait. If you’re visiting for brunch, the wait can be 1+ hours long, so heads up.

Website: Buvette
Address: 42 Grove St, New York
Featured in: 10 Most Charming Cafes in New York City


Best things to do West Village NYC
Friends Apartment Building  NYC

See the Iconic Friends Building

Who among us didn’t grow up watching Friends? Arguably one of the most popular TV shows of all time, it ran for 10 seasons and amassed an enthusiastic fan base. The show was set in New York City but was actually filmed in California. But because the show was set in NYC, you can see the exterior of the famous building where Rachel, Monica, Chandler and Joey lived.

The building is used in the opening credits and it’s super easy to find because there’s usually a huddle of tourists at one of the corners eagerly taking photos (hard to blame them, this is so cool!). The corner cafe, Little Owl, is actually really delicious! Don’t hesitate popping in for a meal if you’re hungry.

Location: 90 Bedford Street at the corner of Grove Street.


3 Days in New York City

Have Cocktails at the Best Bar in the World

Caffe Dante dates back to 1915. It served as a staple for the community before slowly fading into oblivion before two Australians decided to breathe new life into the historic institution in 2015. The result was striking! Within a few years of opening, Dante was named the best bar in the world in 2019 & 2020.

The menu is well-curated with small fare and the drinks are perfectly executed. The hardest part about this experience is getting reservations because this is one of the most romantic things to do in Greenwich Village. The dirty martini is the best in the city (fighting words, I know).

Website: Dante
Address: 79-81 Macdougal Street & 551 Hudson Street
Good to know: Dante has incredible happy hour from 3-5pm daily where select cocktails are priced at $10.


Village Vanguard New York City

Catch a Jazz Show at Village Vanguard

Home to some of the most significant jazz clubs in the world, the music scene in the West Village is hard to beat. If you have an occasion to celebrate, I suggest making reservations at a local jazz club for an experience you won’t easily forget.

The West Village is home to a handful of knock-out spots, but the most notable are Village Vanguard and Blue Note Jazz Club. Village Vanguard is an intimate West Village jazz club that has been serenading New Yorkers since 1935 with legendary performers like Miles Davis.

Website: Village Vanguard
Address: 178 7th Ave S, New York, NY
Featured in: 15 Best Jazz Clubs in New York City


Three Lives & Company NYC

Visit Three Lives & Company

Founded in 1978, Three Lives & Co. is quite possibly the most beloved bookstore in New York City. New Yorkers have been relying on this welcoming local gem (and the well-read staff) for more than 43 years. Creaky floors, warm-toned wooden bookshelves and colorful books — you’ll be hard pressed to find a more charming way to spend an afternoon in the West Village.

Website: Three Lives & Company
Address: 154 W 10th St, New York, NY
Featured in: 12 Most Charming Bookstores in New York City


Washington Square Park

Enjoy Washington Square Park

Located in the very heart of Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park is easily one of the most beautiful parks in New York City. Best known for the grand marble arch that commemorates the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration, the park is a huge hit with locals.

The inviting atmosphere makes Washington Park a great NYC park for people-watching. The energetic mood is contagious and you’ll notice park visitors from all corners of the world congregate on the various benches and grassy patches.

Website: Washington Square Park
Featured in: 15 Iconic New York City Parks (That Locals Love)


original Magnolia Bakery NYC

Get a Sweet Treat at the Original Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery took the world by storm, largely because it was prominently featured on Sex and the City. The bakery is known for making decadent cakes and delicious cupcakes, but the banana pudding is where it’s at.

Grab a container to go when you feel that sweet tooth craving hitting you hard for a dessert you won’t soon forget. You can find a handful of Magnolia Bakery locations throughout the city, but visiting the flagship bakery is one of the most unique things to do in Greenwich Village.

Website: Magnolia Bakery
Address: 401 Bleecker St, New York, NY
Featured in: 10 Charming Bakeries in the West Village


Best things to do West Village NYC

Visit the Famous Sex and the City Brownstone

If you’re a fan of Sex and the City (or merely know about the show because you don’t live under a rock), you should swing by the home of the fictional main character, Carrie Bradshaw.

The brownstone is located at 64 Perry Street, one of the prettiest streets in the West Village, and merely wandering around is a great time. And for those of your wondering if Sarah Jessica Parker lives in the West Village, the answer is yes. In fact, she lives a mere block away from the famous Sex and the City brownstone.

“In New York, you’re always looking for a job, apartment or a boyfriend.”

Carrie Bradshaw

Grove Court West Village in the fall

Swing by Grove Court

The whole of Grove Street is known for being a charming tree-lined street with beautiful townhouses, but the real star of the show requires some leg work. Seek out 10 Grove Street to see a row of brick townhouses that look like a scene out of a movie.

You can peek through the gate to see the pretty scene, but it’s private property so you won’t be able to wander around. Grove Court is especially pretty in the fall when the residents decorate the cobble-stone path with vibrant pumpkins. To that end, if you’re looking for charming things to do in Greenwich Village, add this to the list.

Further Reading: The West Village in Autumn (Photo Journal)


Visit the Birthplace of America’s Cappuccino

Caffe Reggio is known for two things — bringing the cappuccino to America and serving some of the best cappuccinos in NYC to this day. Reason alone to visit! Opened in 1927, this exciting green exterior of this cafe is irresistible to locals and tourists alike, attracting hundreds of folks every day.

You’ll typically find most tables full and lively chatter spilling from every corner of this charming postage-sized cafe. Sit down for a few minutes to enjoy the famous cappuccino before exploring the West Village further.

Website: Caffe Reggio
Address: 119 MacDougal St, New York, NY


Best things to do West Village NYC

Go Shopping on Bleecker Street

Home to small boutiques and splurge-worthy brands, Bleecker Street is considered one of the cutest places to shop in the West Village. Honestly, even if you don’t intend to buy anything, I still suggest strolling down Bleecker Street to get a feel for the charm of the West Village.


Best things to do at night NYC
Corner Bistro west village

Grab Midnight Burgers at Corner Bistro

The Corner Bistro is a classic West Village burger joint that has been a staple for many (boozy) New Yorkers. For 50 years they’ve been serving what many locals consider the best burgers in NYC. Unlike Minetta Tavern, this place feels more casual and comfortable (the staff are super relaxed).

Open as late as 4am from Thursday through Saturday, it’s a great midnight stop if you find yourself in the area after a fun night with friends.

Website: Corner Bistro
Address: 331 West 4th Street, New York


Stonewall Inn NYC

Learn About the Stonewall Inn

It’s easy to forget that the fight for gay rights was riddled with turbulence. Before the 1960’s it was illegal to be openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) and the laws in NYC were especially harsh towards those the LGBTQ community.

Things took a massive turn during the infamous Stonewall Uprising, which took place at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969. Frustrated by unjust raids, the patrons at the Stonewall Inn decided to fight back and riots ensued.

These riots catapulted the LGBTQ+ community into the limelight and led to the re-evaluation of the relationship between the police and the LGBTQ+ community. In effect, these events completely changed the course of history in America, which is why Stonewall was deemed a national historic landmark in New York City.

Website: Stonewall Inn
Address: 53 Christopher St, New York, NY


Enjoy a Performance at the Comedy Cellar

If jazz is not your thing but you’d still like some entertaining things to do in the West Village, swing by Comedy Cellar, considered one of the best comedy clubs in New York City. The Comedy Cellar first opened in 1980 and hosts long lines every day of the week. They don’t have headliners, unlike most comedy clubs, rather they have 5 to 7 comics perform 15-20 minute skits per night.

As such, you never know who to expect on stage, but you’re guaranteed to have a good time because the Comedy Cellar always attracts top-notch talent. Needless to say, this is one of the best thing to do in the West Village for anyone in search of a lighthearted evening.

Website: Comedy Cellar
Address: 17 MacDougal St, New York, NY


John's of Bleecker Street NYC

Get a Pie from John’s of Bleecker Street

John’s of Bleecker Street is an iconic New York City pizza shop that was founded in 1929. Much like the walls adorned with photos of countless celebrities and windows dressed in awards, the pizza here will keep you coming back for years. The pizza is served fresh out of the oven so you can expect hot and delicious pizza within 20-minutes of sitting down (if you’re lucky enough to forgo an hour long wait).

Website: John’s of Bleecker Street
Address: 278 Bleecker St, New York, NY
Featured in: 15 Best Pizza Joints in New York City

Note: John’s does NOT sell pizza by the slice, you need to purchase a whole pie. But don’t worry, after your first bite, you would have regretted having only one slice anyway.


Enjoy a Meal at Minetta Tavern

If you’re keen on old-school vibes (leather booths, cozy wood panels and waiters in waistcoats), make a beeline for Minette Tavern. Dating back to 1937, Minetta Tavern was taken over by the mastermind behind Balthazar’s, Keith McNally in 2009. The restaurant has served the likes of Ernest Hemingway and E.E. Cummings. And you know what I usually say, “if it’s good enough for Hemingway, it’s good enough for me.”

Website: Minetta Tavern
Address: 113 MacDougal St, New York, NY


Murrays Cheese West Village

Visit Murray’s Cheese Flagship Store

I need all my cheese lovers front and center. Swinging by Murray’s Cheese flagship store is one of the best things to do in Greenwich Village for foodies. Murray’s Cheese has been around more than seven decades. If you’re not a fan of cheese (who even are you?!), you’ll still find yourself tempted by the tantalizing smells wafting from the shop. The mac and cheese is the star of the show (some consider it the best in the country), highly recommend ordering if you’re peckish.

Website: Murray’s Cheese
Address: 254 Bleecker St, New York, NY


Visiting the Greenwich Village (Post Summary)

  1. Grab a coffee (or bite) at Buvette
  2. Check out the iconic Friends Apartment Building
  3. Visit Three Lives & Company
  4. Get a treat at the original Magnolia Bakery
  5. Take a photo with Carrie Bradshaw’s home
  6. Swing by Grove Court & Grove Street
  7. Order a cappuccino at Caffe Reggio
  8. Stroll down Bleecker Street
  9. Have a celebratory dinner at Petite Boucherie
  10. Have a drink at the best bar in the world (seriously)
  11. Visit the starting place of the LGBTQ+ Movement in America
  12. Catch a jazz show
  13. Have a laugh at the Comedy Cellar
  14. Relax at a speakeasy
  15. Get a pie from John’s of Bleecker Street
  16. Enjoy Washington Square Park
  17. Stroll the High Line
  18. Relax in Abingdon Square Park
  19. Get inspired at Bookmarc
  20. Grab a steak at Minetta Tavern
  21. Taste all the cheese at Murray’s Cheese
  22. Enjoy a late night burger at Corner Bistro

Visiting the West Village (FAQ)

(FAQ)
What is the most beautiful street in West Village?

Grove Street is the most beautiful street in the West Village. Known for quaint row houses, tree-lined sidewalks, and a sense of tranquility that’s hard to find in bustling Manhattan, Grove Street captures the essence of the West Village’s enchanting character.

What is special about West Village NYC?

The West Village in NYC is renowned for its European charm, historic architecture, and bohemian past, setting it apart from the city’s urban sprawl. Its winding, cobblestone streets defy Manhattan’s grid, leading to unexpected discoveries of quaint cafes, boutique shops, and intimate jazz clubs

What’s the difference between West Village and Greenwich Village?

The West Village is part of Greenwich Village. The two areas are divided by 7th Avenue (everything west of 7th Avenue is considered West Village).


What to Do in the West Village (Helpful Map)

As always, don’t hesitate to let us know if we missed anything. Cheers!


Taylor S.

Friday 22nd of December 2023

Ah! this is the best list I've found online for the West Village, thank you so much for sharing all of your recommendations. Your photos are SOOOOO beautiful by the way!

I'm visiting NYC in April and am planning my trip around these guides, they're so helpful!

Taylor S. Montreal

Antonina

Friday 22nd of December 2023

Taylor, thank you for your kind words!! I'm so happy you're finding the guides helpful, that's exactly what we're about! We love NYC and we love visitors!! Don't hesitate to reach out with any questions that pop up while you're planning your trip, we're here for you!

Olivia Hunt

Wednesday 5th of April 2023

Hi there! I represent a theater in West Village and am planning some neighborhood social events that are free and open to the public. I would love to get in contact with your team to collaborate on bringing this opportunity to New Yorkers!

Please feel free to email me.

Best, Olivia

Steve

Wednesday 19th of October 2022

Totally missed out on McNulty’s Tea & Coffee on Christopher Street. In business since 1895!

Drew

Thursday 14th of July 2022

I walked through Washington square yesterday with my 13 year old son. Between the homeless in the fountain the dealers and users on the west side corners the open air weed market in the middle it’s not somewhere I’m recommending to tourists even Tompkins is cleaner nowadays

New York Simply

Friday 15th of July 2022

Thanks for sharing your experience Drew. We couldn't omit mentioning Washington Square Park from the list because of its iconic history, however your comment could help someone else plan their visit.

JM Golden

Monday 11th of July 2022

All good suggestions. But you left out one very important “must visit”: Jones Street, between Bleecker & W4th, the site of the cover photo of “Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan”, the album that put him on the map of the greatest poet/lyricist of his generation.

Mac Murphy

Monday 18th of December 2023

Wait, seriously??? I never put that together... That's awesome. I'm going to check that out this weekend. Thanks JM!