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]

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New York Walking Tours

The best way to discover NYC is to do it by foot. Despite its size, New York City is easy to navigate - just think of all those iconic buildings on the horizon, you just can’t get lost! For those eager for some amazing stories, we have partnered with the best NYC tour companies to offer our passholders a great selection of free walking tours. Be it Wall Street, Central Park, Greenwich, Brooklyn Bridge, or the Bronx, wherever you are there is a walking tour available to you. Best of Brooklyn Walking Tour in Williamsburg Go see why everyone’s talking about Brooklyn! Prepare for a relaxed stroll through trendy Williamsburg, a laid-back district of boutique shops, restaurants and restored lofts. Fashion Windows Walking Tour WindowsWear’s Fashion Window Walking Tour is NYC’s premiere fashion tour. Food on Foot Tours See and taste New York like a New Yorker! To experience a culture you must experience its cuisine and since New York is the melting pot of the world, its vast array of cuisines really showcase the city's diversity. Graffiti & Street Art Walking Tour of Brooklyn Discover an exciting world of graffiti taggers and street artists while viewing some of the most visually incredible murals in New York City. Greenwich Village Walking Tour Greenwich Village earned a reputation as a magnet for bohemians and intellectuals, discover why on this walking tour. Harlem Gospel Tour Enjoy the beautiful sounds of a famous NYC Gospel choir, learn the history of Gospel music, and view gorgeous Brooklyn homes and churches during this tour. High Line-Chelsea-Meatpacking Tour Come take a walk on the High Side! Explore NYC’s only elevated park, known as the Highline. NYC Slavery and Underground Railroad Tour Learn about the dramatic history of slavery and the Underground Railroad in NYC. Secrets of Downtown: Tour Lower Manhattan Lower Manhattan has sights beyond the well-known landmarks that can be overlooked. which you'll learn all about on this tour. SoHo-­Little Italy-­Chinatown Walking Tour Ready for some authentic Big Apple? It doesn’t get more real than a visit to SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown. The Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO Neighborhood Tour Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and learn the amazing and dramatic story of this world-famous New York City Landmark, while enjoying gorgeous views of the Manhattan skyline. Wall Street Walking Tour On this unforgettable tour of the financial district you’ll discover the origins of Wall Street and get to know the men who built it from a street curb bazaar to the global center of wealth and power it is today.
Kirsten McCroskrie
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Tips for Ice Skating in New York

When the temperature drops, the ice skates come out (or at least, they should.) Follow our tips for ice skating in New York--what to know, where to go, and how to get the most out of this winter sport. The Rink at Rockefeller Center The jewel in the crown of New York ice skating rinks, this is where all the tourists (and plenty of New Yorkers ) want to go, and what everyone wants to photograph. Not surprisingly—it’s got a stellar location, and a prime New York setting in Rockefeller Center. What to know: It’s pricey. A general admission skate will set you back $25 for an adult ticket. During holidays and peak holidays, it goes up to $28 and $35. Add in a skate rental, and that will set you back another $18. Expect it also to be very, very crowded. You can reserve tickets (on their own, which start at $60, or as part of a package, such as breakfast with Santa, or a seat to see the Rockettes). Should you go? If it’s on your bucket list; you are planning on proposing (or being proposed to); or if it’s part of your perfect holiday fantasy, then yes. Otherwise, you can get great pics and feel like part of the experience simply by watching the skaters from afar. Winterland Rink Image credit: The Howard Hughes Corporation What to know: Now in its second year of operation, the rooftop Winterland skating rink offers season passes as well as daily tickets. (You will need to pick an arrival time, although you’re free to skate as long as you like once you're there.) Go for the skating, stay for the views; you’ll see the Brooklyn Bridge, the East River, and the Manhattan Skyline. Bryant Park Free admission! Yes, it’s true—admission to the Rink at Bryant Park is free, and there’s no catch. (If you need to rent skates, there is a fee for that.) What to know: The rink is open daily, and you’re surrounded by lots of other stuff to do, especially during the holidays (the holiday market!) The main branch of the library is nearby, there are lots of good food options, and there’s something especially fun about skating right in the middle of the city with grand buildings surrounding you. (You’ll also find a lot of special events in Bryant Park, so check the schedule.) New this season: You can reserve your skate time online. Should you go? Probably. Everybody should go at least once. The Rink at Brookfield Place One of New York’s great little (almost) secrets. The small rink (nothing to sneeze at though; it’s over 7,000 square feet) is located behind the shopping mecca Brookfield Place--and it has an unbelievable view. (Yes, that’s New Jersey over there, looking surprisingly fetching.) What to know: Tickets are $15, skate rentals five. Note: It doesn’t open until noon during the week. So do some shopping inside, then come out and get re-energized. Should you go? Why not? It might not be worth making a special out-of-your-way trip, but if you’re nearby, it’s a fun destination. Wollman Rink in Central Park Few rinks are prettier than Wollman, located in the middle of Central Park; it’s hard to imagine a nicer city setting to ice skate. What to know: It’s got amazing views of the city skyline as well as Central Park, and it’s less pricey than Rockefeller Center ($12 for adults for public skating, a great deal). You can even get a season pass, as well as a locker for the season. Note: Public skating sessions are cash only. Should you go? Yes. Good price, great views; a kind of quintessential New York skating experience. Abe Stark Rink Located on the Coney Island Boardwalk, the rink, open since 1970, is only open on weekends and some holidays. What to know: In the plus column, it’s only $10 to skate, with $5 skate rentals, and they offer skating lessons. Plus it’s indoors, which in February you’ll appreciate. (Oh, and if you were wondering, Abe Stark was a three-term Brooklyn Borough president, known as Mr. Brooklyn.) Should you go? If you’re in Brooklyn and you’re looking for a kind of classic, non-touristy skating experience, then yes. Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers A New York classic! A large indoor rink great for public skating, birthday parties, and outings of any kind; the two rinks are among the most popular in New York. Photo courtesy Chelsea Piers What to know: Factor in some pretty great views, a snack bar right nearby, and plenty of other things to do when you’re done skating, and you’ve got a winner. Check out their group rates and private lessons, too. Should you go? If you’ve got a group or are looking for something fun to do (it’s open year round, a big plus) then yes. Looking for some cultural winter fun? Check out these must-see art exhibits!
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