With a history of activism, art and bohemian spirit, Manhattan’s Greenwich Village is home to small businesses and big ideas. Today the neighborhood is as diverse and inclusive as ever, housing everything from classic Manhattan landmarks to innovative young restaurants.
Discover Smalls Jazz Club, which hosts jazz performances until 4am
This music-lover favorite has been around since 1994 when it was founded by Mitchell Borden, who is a jazz violinist, former Navy submariner and registered nurse. Its diverse roots are still evident today. In between sets from international quartets and quintets as well as after-hours jam sessions lasting until 4am, Smalls Jazz Club hosts vocal workshops for aspiring jazz performers. Its speakeasy atmosphere lends all of these offerings a retro feel.
Grab a cappuccino at Caffe Reggio
Cafe, Italian, $$$
Caffe Reggio takes credit for introducing cappuccino to America in 1927. Since then, the staple of New York’s coffee culture has provided New Yorkers with an authentic European dining experience. Here, Italian staples like pasta with homemade pesto, ricotta cheesecake and popular cannolis are enjoyed among Italian Renaissance artwork, or on Reggio’s al fresco front patio.
Browse the artworks at Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit
This Greenwich Village tradition was founded by Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, who began hawking their paintings in the neighborhood’s park in 1931. Today, the biannual Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit
features art (fine arts, photography, sculpture and crafts) from around the globe. Locals can attend the display – and spot the next Alice Neel and Beauford Delaney, both former exhibitors here – at no cost.
Explore Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books, the unofficial home of politics
The shelves at Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books hold everything from the poetry of William Blake to civil service exam books. The compact store, which also houses Native American activist center Standing Rock East, has always been a place residents can research and practice politics – it hosted the Occupy Wall Street library in 2011 and was a headquarters for Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign run in 2016.
Savour chicken with a twist at Sticky’s The Finger Joint
Restaurant, American, Contemporary, $$$
A favorite kids’ menu staple gets a grown-up twist at Sticky’s The Finger Joint, where fried and grilled chicken tenders are served in inventive flavors like salted caramel pretzel and wasabi-ginger. The menu of graduated snacks features elevated classics like truffle fries and the popular fried green beans. Its late-night hours and familiar flavorful dishes make Sticky’s a great nightcap spot for kids at heart.
Check out the film cycles at IFC Center
Catch the independent, foreign and documentary films everyone is talking about at IFC Center. Past offerings have included a festival dedicated to Australian horror and a complete retrospective of Japan’s Studio Ghibli. Tip: A gamble on any of the center’s unfamiliar titles pays off thanks to its five state-of-the-art cinemas and gourmet snacks menu.
Catch a celebrity performance at Comedy Cellar
Frequent unannounced celebrity guests make Comedy Cellar one of New York City’s most popular comedy clubs. Come for sets from The Daily Show, Inside Amy Schumer and Broad City alums, and stay for surprise appearances by Jerry Seinfeld, Aziz Ansari, Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock.
Sit back and watch the street performers at Washington Square Park
Home to the famed Washington Arch, Washington Square Park
is beloved by all visitors. This iconic landmark is unmissable for its fountain, where New Yorkers like to cool off in the summer, and its street performers, which include singer-songwriters and the occasional amateur acrobat. More than anything, it’s a great place to watch New York’s colorful characters going about their business.
Enjoy ping-pong and shuffleboard at Fat Cat Jazz Club
Head to Fat Cat’s late-night jam sessions to hear up-and-coming jazz stars – Julliard students often pop in during the early hours. In addition to several shows a night, the bar offers a variety of entertainment, including billiards, shuffleboard and ping-pong. Whether you’re a jazz aficionado or just a casual fan, you’re bound to have a ball at Fat Cat.
Drop by the Stonewall Inn, where LGBTQ history was made
Bar, American, $$$
This rainbow-draped Greenwich Village pub is more than a prominent gay bar – it’s essentially the place that birthed Pride. In 1969, Stonewall patrons fought unfair treatment at the hands of the NYPD (known as the Stonewall Riots) and spearheaded mass protests throughout the city, marking the start of the Gay Rights movement in the United States. These days it’s a classic dive with welcoming bartenders and local people, and some raucous entertainment, including karaoke and legendary drag shows.