1. Visit Washington Square Park.
At the heart of Greenwich Village sits one of New York City’s most beloved city parks. Rich with an abundance of history, no trip to New York City’s Greenwich Village is complete without a visit to Washington Square Park.
Compared to the 840-acre Central Park, Washington Square Park is tiny at just under 10 acres. It’s easy to walk the park from end to end as part of a Greenwich Village visit. However, size doesn’t define Washington Square Park and the impact it’s had not only on Greenwich Village but all of New York City.
On any given day, you’ll see artists, musicians, chess players, families, NYU students, poets, and pets all bringing the park to life.
At the northern point of the park is the Washington Square Arch. The Arch was built in 1892 for the 100th anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration, which happened at Federal Hall in Lower Manhattan.
If you’re heading south on NYC’s famous Fifth Avenue, you’ll ultimately head right into the Washington Square Arch.
This Greenwich Village park also has a fascinating history! Before there were park benches and dog runs, this area was fertile farmland surrounded by woodlands and a stream full of fish.
New York City grew outward from what is now Battery Park and the Financial District, and Greenwich Village was considered a rural retreat north of the city.
This made the land where Washington Square Park is today perfect for a potter’s field. Starting in the late 1790s, up to 20,000 bodies were buried here and are still resting in peace below the park’s soil.
2. See the Friends Apartment Building.
For 10 seasons, the comedy sitcom Friends entertained millions of fans with endless laughs as we watched six twenty-something friends living in the big city, trying to make it through all that NYC life threw at them.
While the popular TV show was filmed on a Warner Brothers sound stage in Burbank, CA, Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, and Joey lived in Greenwich Village and drank coffee at the cleverly named Central Perk.
Today, the building at 90 Bedford Street at the corner of Grove and Bedford Streets is still recognized as the Friends apartment building. The show famously showed exterior shots of the building before cutting to the action inside.
On most days, the corner of Bedford and Grove Streets in Greenwich Village is bustling with groups of people taking selfies and staring up at the mostly nondescript 6-story building that was completed in 1899.
3. Walk along Bleecker Street.
Any visit to NYC’s Greenwich Village must include a walk along Bleecker Street. Not only is this one of the most popular areas in Greenwich Village, but it’s also one of the more famous streets in all of New York City.
Back when the area was mostly farmland, the Bleecker family owned a farm that had a road that ran right through the land. That road would ultimately be given to the city and forever named Bleecker Street.