NYC Greenwich Village Walking Tour, New York

NYC Greenwich Village Walking Tour (Self Guided), New York

The tree-lined streets of Greenwich Village with its cafes, bars and restaurants, jazz clubs and Off-Broadway theaters amid the brownstones will enthuse you as a visitor. Writers and poets, artists and radicals, runaway socialites, and others seeking freedom from conventional lifestyles have long flocked to this spot, lit most famously by the counterculture figures of the 1950s and '60s: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, James Baldwin, Bob Dylan and others.

Many streets are as quietly residential as they were in the 18th and early 19th centuries, and as diverse and inclusive as ever, housing everything from classic Manhattan landmarks to innovative young restaurants to attractive stores along the sidewalks that invite you to spend some time browsing and see what you possibly can purchase.

One of NYC’s best outdoor areas, the Washington Square Park is a great way to start an exploration. Surrounded by pre-Civil War townhouses, modern and Beaux-Arts buildings, and several notable monuments (including the triumphal arch honoring George Washington), it’s also adjoined by the lovely Washington Mews with its gorgeous cobblestone road and beautifully preserved stable houses.

Among other points of interest are the historic Jefferson Market Library, the highly exclusive Grove Court (located on the eponymous street), and The Bitter End (NYC's oldest rock'n'roll club) on Bleecker Street.

Take this self-guided walking tour to better orient yourself in the Village and to combine sightseeing with some action!
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

NYC Greenwich Village Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: NYC Greenwich Village Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » New York (See other walking tours in New York)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Author: doris
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Washington Square Park
  • Washington Mews
  • Jefferson Market Library
  • Christopher Street
  • Grove Street
  • MacDougal Street
  • Caffe Reggio
  • Bleecker Street
Washington Square Park

1) Washington Square Park

Once the delta of a river, this friendly town square-cum-park has adapted to the many needs of New Yorkers over the decades and is still one of the most frequented meeting points for many in New York City – from students to nearby residents to tourists. Whether it be sketch artists, quirky street performers, seasonal events (like the Halloween Parade), chess hustlers or would-be social media models, it's always rife with energy and activity – a physical and spiritual heart of Greenwich Village.

Aside from the human aspect, the scenery is superb. Aside from manicured plants and trees, there's the triumphal European-style Memorial Arch (built for the centennial of George Washington's 1789 inauguration) and giant fountain, which make for top-notch photo-ops. There are plenty of places to kick back and relax, sunbathe on the grass, listen to music, or cool off in the tall fountain spray. Due to its smaller size, however, Washington Square also feels somewhat less overwhelming than Central Park which, of course, is spectacular in its own way. Take advantage of taking it all in, and make sure to explore the surroundings – the essence of romantic 19th-century NYC!

The areas close to the park are also good for shopping and – in some cases very cheap – eating, as many students are both foodies and on a budget.
Washington Mews

2) Washington Mews

Located close to Washington Square Park, the Mews is one of those unusual spots that you'd want to discover during a walk in the huge city of New York. A small cobblestone street (or more like an alley) closed by two gates at both ends and lined on each side with vine-covered two-story houses, it seems to have been transported into the modern city from another age. The place actually has a long historical legacy since it housed the stables servicing the wealthy 19th-century elite's Greek revival rowhouses on Washington Square North. For the last seven decades, however, the converted staples have been used as private residences, offices, and NYU facilities.

An icon of the neighborhood, it has an amazingly peaceful atmosphere and is a great place to go for a stroll, contemplate the facades and colorfully painted door – and, of course, take a few pictures. The gates are always unlocked during the day, so you shouldn't run into any trouble accessing it.
Jefferson Market Library

3) Jefferson Market Library

Currently a NYC public library, the odd but interesting red-brick building on the West side of 6th Ave goes way back to 1833 when it was the location of a country market fitted with a wooden fire watchtower and a bell weighing 9,000 pounds. Fishermen, hucksters, and poulterers populated it until 1877 when it was all erased to make space for the Jefferson Market Courthouse. In a 1885 national architectural poll, the High Victorian Gothic-style building was voted among the 10 most beautiful in the U.S.

It's a must-stop for any architecture/history buff, and by getting a guest pass, one can roam around inside for free, going up and down the spiral staircase. When open, the upper floor is a magical place to read, surf through the wi-fi, or perhaps get some work done for a few hours.

If you're looking for a lush retreat, ask for directions to the library garden – a little bastion of greenery that can be enjoyed by everyone. With just a bit of forward planning, it can be the perfect spot for a self-catered lunch, coffee, or reading on a bench.
Christopher Street

4) Christopher Street

Though newer LGBT generations have taken their business to places like Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen, and parts of Brooklyn these days, Christopher Street continues to be the symbolic heart of NYC's lesbian and gay community, having played host to an influential and sexually permissive bohemian scene.

Here, among the cafés, leather and adult shops, is the site of the formerly Mafia-run Stonewall Inn (now a gay-pride-flag-waving karaoke bar with the same name) and of the eventual Stonewall Riots of 1969 – a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations described as "one of the most, if not the most, pivotal event leading to the liberation of queer rights". Just across the street, the gated triangle known as Christopher Park is where commemorative statues of four life-size white-painted figures (a gay couple and a lesbian couple) have posed for pictures since their unveiling in 1992, joined by two monuments to Civil War heroes.

Down Christopher St, at No. 121, you'll find the historic Lucille Lortel Theatre – one of Off-Broadway's most notable showplaces for new work and revivals by both established and up-and-coming playwrights, where major figures like Eugene Ionesco and Edward Albee have their name engraved into the sidewalk's solid bronze stars.
Grove Street

5) Grove Street

Albeit very short, covering a span of only five blocks, Grove Street retains a rustic, old-world, greener feel, complemented by some of the most quintessential bistros, restaurants and cafés in Greenwich Village.

At No. 59, MARIE'S CRISIS (partly named after Thomas Paine's masterful essay, "The American Crisis") has been around forever and is definitely a good place for both locals and tourists, who will be made most welcome. Characterful, totally NYC, and inexpensive, this piano bar offers a wonderful chance to belt out show tunes – old and new – with the resident pianist. The crowd itself mostly consists of Broadway artists who want to chill off doing what they know to do best: sing!

Also brimming with character is the 1822 wooden frame house – one of the most complete such in the city – at 17 Grove Street, as well as the highly exclusive Grove Court, a gated alleyway hidden between No. 10 and 12 (you'll have to peer through the gate!) with a cluster of strongly attractive brick townhouses from the 1850s.

Grove St intersects Bedford St, one of the oldest Greenwich Village byways. Right on the corner (above the Little Owl) you will always see a flock of people taking pictures of the building that served as the exterior for Monica's apartment in "Friends", though the TV sitcom was shot entirely in L.A.'s Warner Bros studios.

Nearby at 102 Bedford St is the original 'Twin Peaks', designed in 1830 as an artists' residence, with two peaks in its gabled roof, while at No. 86 is the unheralded entrance to CHUMLEY'S (Mon-Sat: 5:30–11:45pm) – one of NY's classic Prohibition-era bars (definitely take a peek inside!).
MacDougal Street

6) MacDougal Street

A legendary slice of New York nightlife, MacDougal Street was the dynamic heart of Greenwich cultural life from the 1920s to the '70s, and though it remains clogged with cafés, dives and delicious restaurants (plus interesting record stores), its current patrons are more likely to be students looking for variety, than aspiring artists.

The spirit of rock 'n roll is alive at CAFE WHA? (Sun-Thu: 8pm–2am; Fri, Sat: 8pm–3:30pm), a former haunt of famed poets and musicians, where Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix used to jam. With their own fusion of rock, soul, and reggae, the house-band are an absolute joy, and if you stay long enough, you will hear something that you like. The servers are quick with the drinks; as for the food, it's probably better to eat before going if you're hungry.

Check out the variety of mouth-watering eateries on MacDougal St, like MAMOUN'S FALAFEL (11am–5am), renowned for its tasty, inexpensive Middle-Eastern fare (priced for college kids but of the highest quality) or, if you're looking for delicious authentic Indian street food, THE KATI ROLL COMPANY and/or THELEWALA. Family treats include the MINETTA TAVERN, a welcoming upscale bistro with a menu based on top tier ingredients. If lucky enough to score a reservation, you'll get an opportunity to eat the perfectly crafted hamburger prepared with two different types of meat – one very expensive and the other extraordinarily expensive, but both worth it.

Reservation is the key to the COMEDY CELLAR, also. Neither the fare or the drinks are particularly noteworthy, but that's really not why folks go there. A world-renown comedy club with a top-notch show, the venue has a good intimate feel to it, and you never know who could spring up and drop a quick 10-15 minute set. Great talents such as Jerry Seinfeld, Louis CK, Aziz Ansari, or Dave Chapelle come here spontaneously to entertain the crowds. Don't plan on taking photos, recording video or audio.
Caffe Reggio

7) Caffe Reggio

With a claim to being the cafe that introduced America to the cappuccino (the original 1902 La Pavoni "Ideale" coffee machine – still looking brand new – is in a corner to prove it!), this spot has lots of old-world charm and a serene/relaxed atmosphere with classical music piped at just the right volume. Add in the huge Italian Renaissance paintings, solid-wood benches, antique clocks, and dim lighting, and you've got the perfect setting for a more intimate afternoon.

Order a cappuccino or a pot of tea and indulge in Italian desserts such as the chocolate cannoli or the pecan pie. The tables are mostly a bit too small for dining unless you are lucky to take the few large ones they have. It's definitely a good place to work, chat with a friend or read a good book, however – and not super pricey.

Sit near the window in the evening or get a sidewalk table and 'people-watch' at night!
Bleecker Street

8) Bleecker Street

A former main stomping ground of the Beatniks, the '60s Folk music revival, and the off-Broadway movement, Bleecker Street is still in business: home to TERRA BLUES, THE RED LION, and THE BITTER END (NYC's oldest rock'n'roll club), which are must-visits for live music lovers. A lazy afternoon here may consist of browsing through record stores, sampling some of NYC's best pizza, grabbing an espresso, and soaking up the downtown fashion scene, especially at the shops/boutiques west of 7th Ave.

Foodies love Bleecker for MURRAY'S CHEESE (No. 254; 8am–9pm) – offering every kind of temptation associated with cheeses, deli meats, and specialty foods – and the popular MAGNOLIA BAKERY (No. 401, at the corner of West 11th Street), the cupcakerie that launched Manhattan's minicake trend.

At the corner of Bleecker and Carmine streets is the unmistakably Renaissance-style church OUR LADY OF POMPEII (free admission), where you can witness classical Italian touches everywhere: in the mosaics on the walls, the beautiful paintings on the dome, the elegant altar and the gracious marble floors.

Is Bleecker Street one of New York's most vibrant and eclectic arteries? Undoubtedly so. It's also bisected by some of the prettiest thoroughfares, such as the particularly scenic Bank Street, lying in the center of the Greenwich Village Historic District's finest 19th-century architecture.

Walking Tours in New York, New York

Create Your Own Walk in New York

Create Your Own Walk in New York

Creating your own self-guided walk in New York is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
New York's Central Park Walking Tour

New York's Central Park Walking Tour

Arguably the most famous public park in the world today, Central Park has been called the lungs of New York City – literally “central”, it is where Manhattanites go to get a sense of space and air. Plan for at least half a day to wander along its many pathways, take a rowboat on the water, enjoy the landscaping and the numerous man-made wonders, spend some time at the zoo or bring a pair of...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
Midtown Manhattan Walking Tour

Midtown Manhattan Walking Tour

Welcome to the iconic New York City that so many tourists dream about before they visit – spectacular skyscrapers, iconic public buildings, large neon flat screens above ground level and the non-stop activity on city streets.

They say if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere, and Times Square, Broadway, is definitely a part of that slogan. Day time or night time, it’s one of the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Columbia University Walking Tour

Columbia University Walking Tour

Established in 1754, Columbia University is the oldest institution of higher education in the state of New York and the fifth-oldest in the United States. A member of the prestigious Ivy League, this renowned institution boasts a diverse campus designed along Beaux-Arts planning principles. Columbia's main campus occupies more than six city blocks in Morningside Heights, New York City, and is...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Brooklyn New York Walking Tour

Brooklyn New York Walking Tour

Named after the Breukelen village in the Netherlands, Brooklyn, one of New York City’s five boroughs, occupies the western tip of Long Island. Its history began in the 17th century as a small Dutch settlement on the East River shore; Brooklyn Heights, or Clover Hill, is where the village was founded, in 1646.

By the 19th century, Brooklyn had grown into a sizable town. The iconic Brooklyn...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Midtown Manhattan Shopping Tour

Midtown Manhattan Shopping Tour

Midtown Manhattan, alongside other things, is also the shopping hub for New York City. Attesting to this are the ever-busy Times Square and Rockefeller Center areas replete with designer goods offerings and street vendors at every corner.

The famed Fifth Avenue has long been synonymous with a shopper's paradise where you can find every kind of store imaginable, ranging from the affordable...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Best of Lower Manhattan Walking Tour

Best of Lower Manhattan Walking Tour

Every part of Manhattan is terrific, but if you are looking for one that showcases the best overview of New York City’s history and architectural styles, it’s Lower Manhattan. This is where it all started, where New Amsterdam was founded, where Canal Street used to be a canal, and where Wall Street used to be a wall marking the end of town. It’s also where the city has seen the most tragedy,...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

NYC Beer Tour

NYC Beer Tour

There are many great places to drink in New York City. Still, discerning connoisseurs are likely to find themselves awash in a sea of mediocre beer without first gaining a proper lay of the beer land. For those whose curiosity and taste buds urge them to venture beyond ubiquitious draft staples like...
Bar Tour of Lower East Side, New York City

Bar Tour of Lower East Side, New York City

The Lower East Side has been described the most livable neighborhood in NYC. Unique and dynamic, LES has boutique shops, cafes and restaurants alongside great bars and museums.In this historic neighborhood, residents strive to preserve its roots. Here, you can find young professionals who challenge...
NY Villages Best Tea and Coffee

NY Villages Best Tea and Coffee

This is a guide to the best tea and coffee shops and houses in the East, West, Washington Square and Greenwich Villages of Manhattan. None of these are chains, so tourists looking to avoid Starbucks can find sanctuary in this app. All of these run the gamut between W and E 14th Streets, and down 1st...
9 Best Drinking Places in Upper West Side, NY

9 Best Drinking Places in Upper West Side, NY

With “Bar Tour of the Upper West Side” sample a cross section from NYC’s great gamut of drinking establishments, including a Belgian Brasserie, a wine bar, Irish pubs, and one dive — just for fun! These spots offer something a little extra, like craft beers, inspirational artwork, a chance...
NYC Souvenir Guide: 15 Authentic New York City Products to Take Home

NYC Souvenir Guide: 15 Authentic New York City Products to Take Home

In keeping with the song, one might think that, if they can make it in New York City, they can make it anywhere. Well, not always... Some of the things made in New York City aren't made anywhere else, and you'll definitely want to try or keep at least some of them to prolong your NYC...