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Best Things to Do in Greenwich Village (Approximately Top 10)

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Greetings, Internet Stranger, and welcome to the best things to do in Greenwich Village! The Village is one of the coolest and most beautiful neighborhoods in New York City. Do you like exploring historic buildings? We’ve got tons of them here.

Would you perhaps prefer the chance to listen to street musicians in Washington Square Park and then go see where Bob Dylan used to jam? I’ve got you covered! How about just some amazing food, ranging from cheap slices of pizza to gourmet fine dining? The Village has all that and more!

Join me for 24 hours of exploring the best things to do in Greenwich Village, and I guarantee you’ll love it as much as I do. (I’m biased, though. I’ve lived here all my life!)

best things to do in greenwich village

Best Things to Do in Greenwich Village

Where to Stay?

If you’re a tourist in New York City, you’ll probably be staying in a hotel while you explore the best things to do in Greenwich Village. I mean, maybe you have a kind relative who will let you crash in their spare room, but that kind of space is rare in Manhattan.

I recommend staying in the Artezen Hotel in Lower Manhattan. It’s very easy to get to the best things to do in Greenwich Village from here. Just take the C train up to West 4th street, and you’ll be at the start of this itinerary in a jiffy. Plus, the rooms are affordable and cozy, and there’s free snacks, coffee, and fancy bath products in your room.

best things to do in greenwich village

If you’d like a convenient and affordable hotel in NYC, click here. And if low prices and a great location scare you, just click here. This search engine will help you find the perfect place to stay as the base for your day of the best things to do in the Village. With hundreds of options to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something for your schedule and budget.

best things to do in greenwich village

Best Things to Do in Greenwich Village

Morning: Secret Food Tours New York

As a solo traveler, I’m a big fan of walking tours. You get to meet fun people and hear a local’s thoughts on your destination. Food tours are obviously the best kind of walking tour because you get a meal included with the information. That’s just science.

I like the company Secret Food Tours and have used them in several different cities. That’s why I was amused to find that they have a tour in the Village neighborhood.

I happen to have lived in the Village my entire life (except for the 3.5 years I spent in college). I’ve seen the neighborhood go from overrun by eccentric artists to…overrun by crazy tourist fans of Sex and the City. When the tour guide asked me where I lived, I responded, “Around the corner!”

So I assume it will count as high praise when I say that I thoroughly enjoyed taking this tour of my own backyard. I’m sure you’ll appreciate it just as much when you take the tour. You can book it for yourself easily by clicking here. Then get ready for…

Approximately Top 5: Village Food

best things to do in greenwich village
1) Bagels on the Square

We begin our tour with every New Yorker’s favorite way to start the day: the bagel. Our guide, a fellow native New Yorker named Thalia, explained that bagels had been brought to the United States by Eastern European Jews.

In Europe, Jewish people were only allowed to bake bread if they boiled it after baking it. That twice-cooked process is where the bagel’s famous chewy on the outside and fluffy on the inside texture comes from.

As I chewed on my bagel from Bagels on the Square, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why did they make Jewish people boil the bread? Was it an anti-Semitic comment on their hygiene?” I have to say that I am Jewish and my personal hygiene is excellent. But Jewish people are skilled at bringing good out of suffering, and bagels certainly count as a blessing.

best things to do in greenwich village
2) Reuben Sandwich

This sandwich is a mildly controversial inclusion on a list of New York City foods because there’s some debate over its origin. Some people say that the Reuben was invented in New York City, and some say it was invented in Omaha, Nebraska. I personally think we should let Omaha have this one. After all, we are New York City, and they are Omaha. Let’s be magnanimous!

If you believe the New York origin story, the Reuben was created by deli owner Arnold Reuben for an actress customer. She expected him to name the sandwich after her, but he chose to name it after himself instead.

That’s where the phrase, “as self-centered as a sandwich maker” comes from. Anyway, we got ours at charming neighborhood bar, The Barrow Street Ale House. I’d been here for drinks before, but I didn’t realize they served good food here.

What no one debates is that the Reuben is made from Rye bread surrounding corned beef, melted Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, and sauerkraut. It is 100 percent not Kosher and very delicious. You have the salty meat, the fat from the dressing, the sourness of the sauerkraut, and the slight sweetness of the rye bread coming together.

But I couldn’t help but wonder, “What exactly is Russian dressing made of? I always assume it’s made with the tears of peasants.”

best things to do in greenwich village
24 Hour Tip

If you like cocktails, get the drink upgrade with the tour. For less than 10 dollars, you get a refreshing “secret cocktail” made with grapefruit and tequila to go with your Reuben. I don’t recommend ordering more than one though. We still have more fun and drinks ahead of us tonight!

best things to do in greenwich village
3) Molly’s Cupcakes

Cupcakes are in some sense what made Greenwich Village what it is today. It used to be a more quiet, artsy neighborhood until a little show called Sex and the City came along and introduced the world to Magnolia Bakery and its cupcakes.

Suddenly every young woman who wanted to grow up and be Carrie Bradshaw was lining around the block to get her cupcake on in my neighborhood. Then high-end stores starting coming in and pushing local businesses out. So this is just a long way of me saying that I don’t always approve of cupcakes, politically speaking.

However, Molly’s Cupcakes is a much less touristic choice than Magnolia. It was named after the founder’s third grade teacher because she used to bring cupcakes for her class. That’s why some of the proceeds for Molly’s go to help local schools. We sampled the red velvet cupcake which is colored with natural red…beet juice!

But I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why couldn’t I taste the beets at all?” All I could taste was sweet, fluffy, cupcakey goodness with a freshly made cream cheese icing.

best things to do in greenwich village
4) Everything Donut

Our next tasting was in tribute to the first European settlers of the area: the Dutch! Remember that New York was once called New Amsterdam. (I know there’s a song about that.)

The Dutch had a favorite treat, which was a fried dough called olykoek. No one knows exactly how for sure, but someone had the bright idea to take the middle out of the olykoek and voila! The doughnut was born.

Our treat from The Doughnut Project was probably my favorite stop on the tour. That’s because we got the most NYC creation possible: the Everything Doughnut. This mythical creature was topped with a sweet cream cheese, but then all of the savory toppings from a proper everything bagel. You had sesame seeds, poppy, garlic, salt…If you like sweet + salty together, this is definitely for you.

One person on our tour thought it was weird, but he was clearly a Philistine who doesn’t deserve doughnuts. I ate every crumb of mine.

But I couldn’t help but wonder, “What would the Everything Donut taste like if you tried to put smoked salmon in the middle?”

best things to do in greenwich village
5) A New York Slice

No New York food tour is complete without a slice pizza. We went to Rivoli Pizza II for a traditional version of a classic NYC slice. Thalia pointed out that the proper way to eat a New York pizza is to fold the slice in half first.

She also said that one reason the pizza crust in NYC is so good is our water. Our tap water comes from reservoirs in the Catskill Mountains. So basically every time you drink New York City tap water, you’re drinking artisanal mountain spring water for free! Just another reason this is the greatest city in the world!

I did not eat the end of my pizza crust. I never do. It’s just empty calories, and who wants pizza crust without tomato sauce and cheese on top?

But I couldn’t help but wonder, “Are there people out there who like to eat the pizza crust?”

best things to do in greenwich village

One of the rules of the Secret Food Tour is that there’s always one bite that’s supposed to be a surprise on the day of the tour. So Thalia asked us to keep the location of this bite a secret. I’m not even going to tell you what it is. But since they have a picture of this bite on the tour’s website, I don’t feel guilty about sharing my picture.

But I couldn’t help but wonder, “How would Secret Food Tours punish me if I did tell you what this bite was? Could they send Secret Food Ninjas to hunt me down?”

24 Hour Tip

Those are all the secrets of the food tour that I can share with you for now. You’ll have to go ahead and book the tour by going here to find the rest for yourself!

best things to do in greenwich village

Best Things to Do in Greenwich Village

Afternoon: See A Movie

Greenwich Village is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in New York and probably the entire United States. So you should definitely spend some time of your itinerary just walking around and exploring all the lovely historic buildings.

If it’s a nice day, you should also relax in the historic Washington Square Park. Seriously, this park is so famous that it was being featured in movies all the way back in the 1920s! There’s always some fun street performance going on here.

But one secret I as a local can tell you is that Greenwich Village is home to the best concentration of art-house movie theaters anywhere in the world! You have at least three wonderful places to choose from, so allow me to take you through my favorites with…

Three Fun Facts: Greenwich Village Movie Theaters

best things to do in greenwich village
1) What If I Like Really Old Movies?

Then the movie theater for you is the Film Forum, located conveniently on Houston Street. Film Forum does show recent releases of art and foreign films, but it’s best known for its amazing collection of classic movies. Here is just a small list of movies I have seen at the Film Forum:

  • Breathless
  • A Hard Day’s Night
  • Rear Window
  • Kind Hearts and Coronets
  • The Best Years of Our Lives
  • 8 1/2
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  • Ace in the Hole
  • Planet of the Apes
  • Story of a Three-Day Pass

As you can see, Film Forum has literally everything a classic film lover could want. So take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape, and go see Planet of the Apes on the big screen!

best things to do in greenwich village
2) What If I Like Cool Movies?

Then the IFC Center over on 6th Avenue is the theater for you! This movie theater used to be called The Waverly, and it was famously sung about in the musical Hair. (“I met a boy called Frank Mills/On September twelfth right here/In front of the Waverly/But unfortunately/I lost his address.”)

The IFC is the place you want to go if you wish to see a collection of anime films or a midnight showing of Eraserhead or a new and obscure independent film. I saw an adorable documentary called Duty Free here, about a man who helps his retired mother check off all the items on her bucket list.

If you like eclectic independent films, this is definitely the theater for you! You’ll be able to see a movie you wouldn’t be able to find most places and impress your friends back home.

best things to do in greenwich village
3) What if I’m looking for something really classy?

Oh, that’s good! We like classy! The Angelika Film Center is the place to go for a glamorous movie experience like in an olde-tyme movie palace. They’ve got better food and beverages than most movie theaters do, and yes, that means you can get booze here. But you can also get classic movie snacks like Junior Mints if you so choose.

The Angelika tends to show prestige dramas like Nomadland and Minari, both of which I saw here. So if you want to be extremely well-informed at next year’s Academy Awards, this will be the theater for you!

best things to do in greenwich village

Best Things to Do in Greenwich Village

Evening: Dinner at Loring Place

There are so many fantastic restaurants in Greenwich Village, but one of my favorites is Loring Place. It’s famous for glamorous pasta dishes, but you don’t have to get pasta here. (However, you really should get pasta here.)

The waiter told me that I ordered all the best dishes on the menu. Now, it’s possible that he says that to all the guests, but everything I ordered was amazing, so maybe I just am that talented.

If you want to follow in my footsteps, start with the Brussels sprouts salad. I’m honestly not sure why this was so delicious, but I suspect it was the copious amounts of cheese in the salad.

best things to do in greenwich village

You can’t go wrong with any of the pastas, but I especially love the whole wheat spaghetti with spinach and chilis. Maybe it’s just fun to make your vegetables spicy. Who can say?

best things to do in greenwich village

If the vanilla sundae with pretzels, walnut toffee, chocolate-cookie fudge, and Meyer lemon is on the menu, just get it. You can thank me later. It’s super sticky and decadent, but frankly we deserve this because we ate all our Brussels sprouts and spinach tonight.

best things to do in greenwich village

Best Things to Do in Greenwich Village

What to Pack?

  • A cell charger so you can take photos of all the best things to do in the Village
  • If you’re looking for a guidebook to NYC, this is my favorite choice. It will introduce you to even more of the best things to do in Greenwich Village.
  • My book Get Lost, that I wrote myself with all my best travel tips. This book will show you exactly how solo travel can take your life from BLAH to amazing!
  • The most reliable travel umbrella that is small enough to fit in my purse, but strong enough to stand up to powerful winds
  • These great TSA approved clear toiletries bags, so I can always keep spare toothpaste and travel sized toiletries in any carry-on.
best things to do in Greenwich Village

Best Things to Do in Greenwich Village

How To Get There

Now, I wish I knew where you lived, Internet Stranger, because I could send you a box of New York’s finest fusion tacos. But sadly, I do not, and so I can’t tell you exactly how to get from your home to New York City so you can find the best things to do in Greenwich Village

However, if you need to take a plane or car to get to New York City, I recommend Expedia for the best way to find the cheapest flight or car rental, depending on how you want to get around. Just click here to start looking for the best possible deals on your flight or car rental, so you can head out to find the best things to do in Greenwich Village ASAP.

That’s the Best Things to Do in Greenwich Village!

What do you think are the best things to do in Greenwich Village? Which film palace sounds like the best fit for you? And would you eat smoked salmon on an everything donut? Please email me at and let me know.

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 Hours with the best things to do in Greenwich Village.

And there’s a million other things to do in New York City. Want to spend Christmas in New York? With the Brooklyn Bridge? What about 24 hours in Manhattan? How about the Bronx? Or the best museums in Manhattan? I’ve got you covered here!

Best Things to Do in Greenwich Village (Approximately Top 10) 1