The Best Things to do in Greenwich Village

By Go City Expert

Certain parts of New York are simply iconic, from Central Park to Lincoln Center. To that list you’d have to add Greenwich Village, home of beat poets, cool jazz, and, lately, good restaurants and shopping.

Here are some of the best things to do in Greenwich Village.

Washington Square Arch

Washington Square Park, not surprisingly, is named for George Washington— he was actually inaugurated in New York as the country’s first president. The original arch was made of wood and designed to commemorate the inauguration. The marble one that stands there now was designed by the notable architect Stanford White. You can see statues of Washington and other noted leaders throughout the park, as well as performers, chess players, dog walkers. Even protesters. It’s an essential historic stop on any tour.

“Friends” apartment

Whether you’re obsessed with Friends (the show, not your actual ones) you have to admit that the apartment in the series is pretty iconic. The apartment - at least the exterior - is real, and you can stop by and take a few pics for posterity. It’s located at 90 Bedford Street on the corner of Grove. There’s also a great restaurant called Little Owl on the ground floor. Take your photos, find a fountain to jump in, go have a coffee, and your Friends experience will be complete.

Macdougal Street

Once known for being the epicenter of cool - Bob Dylan played his first gig there; Hemingway drank there; and numerous other luminaries lived, worked, or hung out there - Macdougal Street is another one in the Village that has seen an urban renaissance. Go stroll it for its history, as well as its places to eat. For starters, the once-legendary Caffe Dante is now simply Dante, and has rebranded itself as a bar/restaurant that’s known for being a great date spot. Stop by Café Wha? where Jimi Hendrix and Dylan used to play, and grab a drink and some oysters at the Mermaid Oyster Bar. But mostly, just go soak up the vibes.

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Photo courtesy of Cafe Wha?[/caption]

Stonewall Inn

The site of the 1969 riots that launched the gay rights movement, the Stonewall Inn is a bar, entertainment space, and historic landmark all in one. It’s in the heart of Greenwich Village, on Christopher Street, and is a vital part of the history of the Pride movement. It’s also the first LGBT-history site in the country listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, and the first LGBT-history site in New York City. Go have a drink, buy a t-shirt, listen to some music, maybe play some drag bingo and be a part of the history.

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Photo courtesy of The Stonewall Inn[/caption]

IFC Center

There are movie theaters, and then there’s the IFC Center, the premiere home of independent cinema in New York. Go not just to impress your friends by knowing that the latest New Wave film is playing here, but for a quintessential New York experience. It has five theaters, plenty of premieres of independent, documentary and foreign films, and a documentary festival every fall. Plus cult and classic movies on weekends. The ultimate NYC film experience, and a classic Greenwich Village one to boot. And if all this New York history has given you a hankering for more, while you're downtown, go check out Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

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Photo credit: IFC Center[/caption]

Blue Note

There are jazz clubs, and then there’s the Blue Note. If the name is familiar, they have branches around the globe, and it's hosted just about every jazz great. Opened in 1981, it’s now one of the premiere jazz clubs in the city. You’ll see headliners like Chick Corea and McCoy Tyner as well as legends like Stevie Wonder and Liza Minelli. But you’ll also get to see up and coming jazz musicians. If you like jazz- or just want to experience a piece of New York nightlife history- check this one out.

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Photo credit: The Blue Note[/caption]

Bleeker Street

Once the center of a kind of urban hippie chic, Bleeker Street fell into disrepair, boasting empty storefronts and a desolate feel. But it's bounced back, and is now home to lots of chic stores and restaurants—definitely worth a visit. Visit vegan darling By Chloe, beloved by celebrities. And it's kosher, to boot. Also worth checking out: Bessou, which offers modern Japanese comfort food--yes, that’s a thing. The Porto Rico Importing Co. has been in business since 1907, and is a must-stop for tea and coffee lovers. Coffee is roasted daily; you’ll find some teas you won’t find anywhere else.) And The Village Tannery has been offering up its leather goods since 1973—it’s even open at night. Now you feel like you’re in the Village.

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Photo credit: Porto Rico Importing Co.[/caption]

Spending New Year’s in New York? Here are some ways to make the most of it.

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A Guide to Places to See in New York

New York; a place of dreams and ambitions, as well as some of the most iconic landmarks in the world. These are just some of our favorite things to do in the city that never sleeps. Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour To really familiarise yourself with the city and discover all the best places to see in New York, a Hop on Hop off Bus Tour is the way to go. The Big Bus Tour company has over 25 stops across the city as well as at the most famous museums and landmarks and the great thing, you can create your own sightseeing itinerary and jump on and off when you want. Take advantage of a free one-day ticket with The New York Pass. Empire State Building Probably one of the most iconic buildings in New York, and a definite must-see in New York, the Empire State Building towers over Midtown Manhattan at 102-stories. This famous art deco skyscraper commands some of the best views in the city and visitors can rise to the Top Deck (102 floors up!) to watch the sunset or enjoy the equally stunning 360 views from the 86th floor Main Deck. Tip: go for sunset when you can watch the city light up in all its glory. 9/11 Memorial & Museum Pay tribute to the victims of the 2001 attacks at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in Downtown Manhattan. Located on the site of the original World Trade Centre, visitors can step back into the past and learn of the ill-fated day nearly two decades ago with over 10,000 artifacts on display. 2,000 harrowing interviews and first-hand accounts, photographs, and testimonies also make up this harrowing but humbling experience. Entry included in The New York Pass. American Museum of Natural History A great one for the kids, the American Museum of Natural History is not only one of the largest museums in the world but is home to fascinating pre-historic skeletons, ancient fossils, and giant meteorites. For anyone – old or young – with a curious mind, this museum will have you hooked from the minute you step through the door. Top exhibits: its 94-foot blue whale and a 122-foot long dinosaur skeleton. Those alone make it one of the top places to see in New York. Food on Foot Tours New York and food: two of the best things paired together. Head off the beaten path and venture into some of East Village’s most iconic eateries, or into Midtown for true New York staples. New York is famous for its diverse culinary culture so what better way to taste your way around the city than a Food on Foot Tour. Inside Broadway Walking Tour You can’t go to New York and not experience Broadway. An institution in its own right, this time you can go behind the scenes to experience what life is like on stage and learn from the stars about how to become a Broadway actor and make it big. This two-hour guided tour will take you around the Theatre District and let you in on some insider secrets, so for any budding actor or theatre enthusiast, this one is a must-see in New York. Brooklyn Bridge Connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge is perhaps one of the most photographed landmarks in the city. Jump on a bike, or if you’re on foot you can join a tour or go at your own pace. Tip: it’s one of the best spots to see the iconic skyline of skyscrapers in Downtown Manhattan. Central Park Sightseeing Walking Tour A leafy sanctuary just off Fifth Avenue, set between the Upper West and Upper East Sides, Central Park is the most popular green space in Manhattan. If you’re looking to tick off what to see in New York, put Central Park on your list. If you’re visiting in summer bring a picnic and if it’s too cold get lost amid the paths through enchanting woodlands and lakes. Tip: there’s a section of the park, Strawberry Fields, dedicated to John Lennon. Grand Central Station The true hub of New York, Grand Central Station isn’t just a bustling commuter causeway – it’s an architectural delight in its own right and has been accredited status as a US National Historic Landmark. Thousands of people pass through Grand Central Station daily so the people watching is second to none, but don’t forget to look up at the ceiling mural or admire the original Tiffany clock – the largest of its kind in the world measuring in at 48-feet! Explore this Manhattan landmark at your own pace with an audio-tour. Ellis Island Operating as the immigrant check-in for Europeans coming to America, Ellis Island is one of the most historically important sites in the country. The Immigration Museum is a must-see in New York and showcases the history of over 12 million immigrants who entered the United States. Almost half of all American people descended from those who crossed through the golden door of Ellis Island so perhaps you’ll be able to trace some family roots there yourself.
Kirsten McCroskrie
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Visiting Carnegie Hall

Like London’s O2 Arena and Sydney’s Opera House, Carnegie Hall New York is the place to go for live acts when visiting the Big Apple. This historic landmark dates back to the early 1890s and has been showcasing world-class performers since its opening. Carnegie Hall has hosted over 50,000 events, a world record, and continues to be revered as a place of legacy and prestige for all music lovers. Carnegie Hall history When walking through the streets of New York, you can’t miss the grandeur of Carnegie Hall in Midtown Manhattan. Designed by architect William Burnet Tuthill, it was built by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and was one of the last buildings of its size built entirely from masonry. Inside, its welcoming foyer and celebrated white and gold auditorium nods to a Florentine Renaissance inspired design and its lobbies are hung with signed portraits by those who headlined this renowned venue. Carnegie Hall has three separate performance areas; the Main Hall or Isaac Stern Auditorium, the Zankel Hall and the Weill Recital Hall. The majestic Main Hall is the largest and can seat an audience just shy of over 2,800. Also known as the Isaac Stern Auditorium, it was renamed after the violinist to thank him for his generous donations to save the hall from demolition in the 1960s. This hall is considered the most prestigious of all in the United States when it comes to classical music but now also headlines more popular acts, too. Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall has passed through many names and was even used as a cinema for over 30 years. It is one of the more adaptable performance areas and this new modern renovated space welcomes the likes of classical, pop, and jazz artists from around the world. The Joan and Standford I. Weill Recital Hall is the venue’s smallest but most intimate performance space. Decorated with large draping chandeliers and soft blue velvet curtains you’ll find chamber music concerts and debut performances here along with panel discussions. The latest addition to the Hall is the Judith and Burton Resnick Education Wing which hosts programs run by the Weill Music Institute and Ensemble Connect. The Rose Museum is worth spending some time in, too, to discover the 400 artifacts and exhibitions showcasing some of the most famous acts to have played in Carnegie Hall NYC. To name a few, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Nina Simone, Ike & Tina Turner... If that isn’t impressive enough, the Beatles performed here twice during their New York tour of ’64, and guess who holds the record for the most consecutive sold-out performances at this iconic venue? Liza Minelli – she sold-out 17 consecutive shows at the Carnegie Hall! Visiting Carnegie Hall One of the best ways to experience 125 years of this historic landmark is by tour and Carnegie Hall tickets are included in the purchase of a The New York Pass. The sightseeing pass offers a free tour (60-75mins) led by an expert guide where you can learn of Carnegie Hall’s three separate performance areas; the Main Hall or Isaac Stern Auditorium, the Zankel Hall and the Weill Recital Hall, as well as the Carnegie Hall Archives and the Rose Museum, too. You’ll learn anecdotes and stories of the famous performers to grace the stages, such as the long-standing folklore that a tourist pedestrian on Fifty-seventh Street asked the musician Jascha Heifetz as he was leaving on the day, "Could you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?" and Heifetz quipped, "Yes, Practice!" Location: 881 Seventh Avenue (at 57th Street)How to get there: Subway: Q R, to 57th StreetOpening times: Box office: Mon-Sat 11am-6pm, Tours subject to availability* Carnegie Hall tickets can be pre-booked online or by phone to avoid disappointment and their box office is open Mon-Sat 11am-6pm. Or, make the most of a free guided tour included in your The New York Pass.
Kirsten McCroskrie
People at a crosswalk in NYC
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New York City tourism: how safe is NYC for tourists?

TV, news and social media might have you wondering, 'how safe is NYC for tourists?' But we're here to put your mind at ease: the truth is that New York City is one of the safest big cities in the world. Visitors are constantly under the protection of the city's vigilant police force. Having said this, that doesn't mean that you don't need to be cautious to stay safe. If you're visiting New York and you're wondering if New York City is safe, do some research to prepare yourself for your trip. Familiarizing yourself with the city's hazards, and being pragmatic, and prepared is all you need to ensure peace of mind. How safe is NYC for tourists? The crime rate is relatively low in New York City. When crimes occur they usually don't take place in tourist-heavy areas around Manhattan. For example, most sightseers are unlikely to visit Harlem, the Bronx, or other boroughs where crimes are most likely to occur. That being said, there are a few things a tourist in New York City should be wary of. Is Central Park safe at night? As any local will tell you, it's never a good idea to go through Central Park at night. While Central Park is an iconic tourist attraction during the day, it is technically supposed to be closed late at night and in the early hours of the morning. The vast majority of cases of crime and violence in the park occur at night. It may seem tempting to take a stroll in Central Park after dark, but it's safer to wait for the sun to come up. Generally speaking, you want to stay away from areas of the city when they are empty and deserted. Is the Financial District safe? Many commercial areas of the city like the Financial District tend to become deserted after business hours. The fewer people there are in an area, the less safe it's likely to be in a big city. Is the New York subway safe? It's especially important to be vigilant on the subway in New York, and avoid taking the train late at night if possible. If you're riding the subway, try to stay in cars where there are many people rather than choosing a vacant car. Being in an empty train car isn't a safe option for tourists, particularly if you look lost (or are actually lost) or are new to the city.  Probably the biggest threat in New York is pickpocketing. Protect yourself by wearing a wallet on the inside of your clothing and staying away from panhandlers. Tips for staying safe in NYC ❗Try to look like a local. When you're dressing for sightseeing, try to take note of what the locals are wearing and emulate that if you can. If there's a thief or pickpocket around, they're going to target those who seem unfamiliar with their surroundings. Don't openly wander around with your head buried in a map - familiarize yourself with NYC's grid system, and plan your movements over breakfast or brunch. Soon you won't need a map to travel. ❗Keep your valuables well hidden. To avoid pickpockets, always make sure that your valuables are hidden. Be discreet when you're using your smartphone or a digital camera. Showcasing any valuable possessions regularly could prove to be dangerous and make you a prime target for mugging. ❗Travel in groups when you're unfamiliar with an area. If you're not familiar with the city and you're vacationing in a group, try not to go off by yourself. Being alone and obviously from out of the area could make you a target if you have the misfortune of finding yourself around the wrong people. There are plenty of tours available with The New York Pass® ❗Research destinations before you go. The more research you do, the better able you'll be to find what you're looking for. The nyctourism.com website is a great place to start for researching essential information to help you feel like a local before you get there. ❗Ask police officers for help. During your stay in New York City, you're probably going to see many of the ubiquitous NYPD cars and officers. You can expect New York City police officers to be very helpful when it comes to providing directions, and addressing any concerns you have about safety or dangerous situations. ❗Take extra precautions in touristy places like Times Square. Never leave your valuables unattended - and don't put your purse on the floor or hang it off the back of your chair while dining. Remember, asking if NYC is safe doesn't matter if you disregard all precautions, so just because NYC is considered one of the safest cities in the world to travel to, you still need to be careful in any city that is considered safe to visit. Experience everything New York City has to offer with The New York Pass®  Planning your New York trip? With The New York Pass®, you can explore big-name landmarks, local hotspots and epic tours, all on one pass, all for one price. Not only that, but you'll enjoy savings of up to 50%, compared to buying individual attraction tickets.   ✈️ Buy The New York Pass® ✈️ 
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