The Greenwich Village is a staple in popular culture, often the backdrop for movies and television shows. From NYU to Washington Square Park, tourists flock to the neighborhood to see what it’s all about. Greenwich Village is synonymous with youth, vibrancy and creativity for me, and I’m happy to share my favorite things to do and places to go on the latest Local Spotlight on Greenwich Village.
Located on the west side of lower Manhattan, Greenwich Village has historically been a haven to artists and the counterculture movement. Postwar, the Village became the center of the bohemian scene, writers, poets and artists. While the neighborhood still maintains its roots and is home to musicians and comedians, massive commercialization has turned this into one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city.
(The West Village is a subset of Greenwich Village that begins from Seventh Avenue westward and will be the focus of another Local Spotlight series).
Washington Square Park
Almost occupying 10 acres in the heart of the neighborhood, Washington Square Park is one of the best known parks in the city and is a meeting ground for students and artists to perform. The northern border of the park is the famous Arch, celebrating the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as President of the United States. Be sure to also sit by the fountain for some of the best people watching!
I never get tired of visiting the Comedy Cellar, my favorite comedy club in the city. Many of the top comedians drop in and perform unannounced for lucky guests, and I’ve been fortunate to see Amy Schumer, Judd Apatow, Aziz Ansari, and more! There are now multiple locations offering shows nightly, but I still prefer the original Macdougal location on the weekends. Make a reservation in advance online and the most expensive shows are only $24. Check out the Olive Tree Café upstairs after the show where oftentimes the comedians wind down.
Blue Note Jazz
The Blue Note Jazz Club, founded in the early 1980s, is where some of the most famous musicians have performed. The club still maintains a soulful vibe with regular and guest performances occurring almost nightly with a special Sunday brunch series. Slightly more expensive than other jazz clubs around the city, it is wise to book your tickets online in advance.
While not traditionally the best place to shop, stroll the streets for various vintage shops and boutiques with eclectic designers and rare finds. A local favorite is Strand, an independent bookstore on the northern part of the neighborhood specializing in new, used and rare books.
Food & Drinks
You really can’t go wrong walking the streets of Greenwich Village with casual eateries and rowdy bars abound for NYU students, but below is my selection of tried and true favorites:
Burger: Minetta Tavern
If you ask a local where to find the best burger, you will most likely hear the black label burger from Minetta Tavern over and over. A staple in Greenwich Village, the restaurant evokes French vibes with blue and white tile with white tablecloths in red booths. Still busy as ever, reservations are recommended.
In a retro glam location, Carbone is some of the best Italian in the city. I think Al Capone would approve of this classic spot.
With multiple locations around the city, Artichoke is a pizza experience like any other. Known for their ridiculously large pizzas by the slice with creamy artichokes on top, you will need to walk miles and miles to burn it off!
While offering more than just breakfast, I recommend trying Jane for their breakfast or weekend brunch, where the spacious restaurants serves up all of the favorites in a comfortable environment. Bonus – brunch reservations are allowed here!
American: Blue Hill
The original Michelin restaurant, Blue Hill is hidden below street level and showcases local food sourced by their farms in Massachusetts and New York. Choose their tasting menu for a celebration or fancy location.
Lounge: Air’s Champagne Parlor
Recently opened, Air’s Champagne Parlor is an exciting lounge to open. With a focus on bubbles and small plate pairings, be sure to visit from 5-7pm for a great happy hour special.
Cocktails: Bar Moga
Another newly opened bar, Bar Moga has a Japanese 1920s vibe with delicious cocktails.
Pub: Blind Tiger
For a more traditional bar, visit the Blind Tiger and try one of their numerous craft beers on draft.
$$$: Walker Hotel
$$: Marlton, Washington Square Hotel
Have you ever been to Greenwich Village? What was your favorite part? Did I miss anything?
I’d love to hear from you!
xx Jet Set Steph