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The Jefferson Market Garden
Photograph: Alvina Lai The Jefferson Market Garden

Greenwich Village attractions and museums to visit

Discover the best parks, gardens, libraries and museums Greenwich Village has to offer

By Kristen Zwicker and David Goldberg
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Greenwich Village is home to one of the best New York attractions—Washington Square Park—but there's plenty more to do during the day in the neighborhood. Visit a museum or have lunch in one of the city's best parks, and make sure to leave time to take a leisurely stroll around the quaint Village streets.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Greenwich Village, NYC

Best things to do in Greenwich Village

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1. Washington Square Park

4 out of 5 stars
Attractions Historic buildings and sites Greenwich Village

The hippies who famously turned up and tuned out in Washington Square Park are still there in spirit, and indeed often in person. In warmer months the park—which was once a potter’s field—is one of the best people-watching spots in the city, humming with musicians and street artists, while skateboarders clatter near the base of the iconic 1895 Washington Arch (a modest replica of Paris’s Arc de Triomphe). Plus, kids can splash in the area's fountain on sweltering days.

Hudson River Park, PIer 45
Photograph: Julienne Schaer

2. Pier 45

Attractions Parks and gardens West Village

This riverside park is especially popular in the summer, when New Yorkers can catch some rays and often a free outdoor concert, but the views are stunning all year round.

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3. The Stonewall Inn

Bars Lounges West Village

The birthplace of gay liberation says “yes!” to empowerment and “hell, yes!” to go-go boys. The high-energy dance music draws a mixed, flirty crowd. Drink at one of two bars, or shake your groove thing on the dance floor upstairs. Daytime brings gawking tourists, but the evenings are still for partying. Theme nights include the Latin house party Uncut Wednesdays, but true to the bar’s democratic spirit, everyone is welcome.

4. The Duplex

Theater Off-Off Broadway West Village

Setting the pace for campy, good-natured fun (though not classic glamour), the city’s oldest cabaret is still going strong at 55. A generous mix of regulars and tourists laugh and sing along with drag performers, comedians and rising stars in the cabaret room on the second floor. (Special showcases are still in the intimate game room, which is also upstairs and has a separate bar.) In the ground-floor piano bar, the merry singing waitstaff is entertaining enough to avoid charges of gimmickry, and the pianists are often excellent.

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5. New York City Fire Museum

Museums History West Village

An active firehouse from 1904 to 1959, this museum is filled with gadgetry and pageantry, from late-18th-century hand-pumped fire engines to modern equipment. The museum also houses a permanent exhibit commemorating firefighters’ heroism after the attack on the World Trade Center.

6. New York Public Library, Jefferson Market Branch

Attractions Libraries, archives and foundations Greenwich Village

Though the city's made up of five boroughs, it has just three public library systems. The largest—the NYPL—runs all libraries in Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx. Hours at the branches vary wildly, but all have a dedicated section of children's books, and many a separate room for the use of kids up to fifth grade. Storytimes, craft and cultural projects, and poetry writing workshops are just some of the offerings on tap; check the website (nypl.org) for detailed information on each branch.

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The Jefferson Market Garden
Photograph: Alvina Lai

7. Jefferson Market Garden

Attractions Parks and gardens West Village

This urban oasis offers city slickers a chance to tiptoe through the tulips—plus a bevy of other botanical delights—from April to October.

8. Rosemary's

3 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Italian West Village

The bambini at Rosemary’s are treated to their own menu of Italian delights like cheese bread with house-made mozzarella and focaccia ($6) and penne with marinara ($9). On cool days, a half grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup will warm those tummies and prepare them for a yummy bowl of gelato and sorbet ($6). Be sure to grab some Italian cookies for the trek back home ($4).

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9. Children's Museum of the Arts

Museums Childhood West Village

The CMA's 10,000-square-foot home has more than enough room to house its 2,000-piece collection of international children's art, including a huge center gallery to display it in. Artists lead workshops in classrooms, studios or the media lab, which has a sound station, clay bar and video-making equipment. Kids can work their bodies as well as their minds on the museum's second floor, where they'll find interactive art displays and a ball pit.

Abingdon Square Park
Photograph: Alvina Lai

10. Abingdon Square Park

Attractions Parks and gardens West Village

This small park in Greenwich Village is one of the oldest in New York City (the grounds were included in the dowry of Charlotte Warren, who married the Fourth Earl of Abingdon in the mid-18th century). Central Park architect and landscape designer Calvert Vaux helped to redesign the triangular park in the 1880s.

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11. AIA Center for Architecture

4 out of 5 stars
Museums Art and design Greenwich Village

Founded in 1857, the AIA New York is the oldest chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The insitute's storefront regularly hosts programs and exhibitions exploring housing, planning, historic preservation, urban design and more.

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