A guide of what to do in Greenwich Village and Chelsea.
This pair of neighborhoods in the lower west side of Manhattan are known for their Federal-style brownstones, cobblestoned streets, and trendy restaurants. Away from the skyscrapers of Midtown and the Financial District, this area has a neighborhood feel.
Greenwich Village, also referred to as the West Village, is defined as the section of Manhattan that is below 14th Street, above Houston, and west of Broadway. Chelsea sits just north of Greenwich Village and goes from 14th Street to 34th Street, west of 6th Avenue.
What to do in Greenwich Village and Chelsea:
The Whitney Museum of American Art:
The Whitney moved to the border of Greenwich Village and Chelsea in 2015, and can be found at the start of The High Line. The museum was founded by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (Anderson Cooper’s great-aunt) after The Met declined Whitney’s offer to donate 500 works of art. Whitney founded the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1929 to exclusively showcase American Art which she felt was under-represented in NYC museums.
Right now it is home to the blockbuster Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again exhibition which shows his portraits. The museum is known for hosting the Whitney Biennial, which takes place every two years and exhibits the works of lesser known and emerging artists.
The High Line:
The High Line is one of New York City’s newest attractions. Opened in 2014, it is a 1.45 mile elevated park that runs from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street. The park is home to gardens, art installations, and view points. The park provides visitors with a scenic walk from north to south (or vice versa) without having to wait for any street lights.
Sleep No More:
An immersive theater experience based on MacBeth at The McKittrick Hotel, my sister went and described her experience as being a bit creepy. Guests go from room to room where different performers are acting out different parts of the story.
See Carrie Bradshaw’s Brownstone:
Even though Carrie lived on the Upper East Side, Sex and the City filmed the exterior shots of her brownstone at 64 Perry Street in Greenwich Village. It’s fine to walk by and take a photo, you cannot sit on the steps and take photos – it is someone’s home. Note: this photo is of a very similar brownstone.
The Friends Apartment:
Exterior shots of the apartment where Joey, Chandler, Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe lived on Friends were shot at 90 Bedford Street, on the corner of Grove and Bedford Streets.
The Cosby Show Brownstone:
Even though the family lived in Brooklyn Heights, the show filmed the exterior of 10 Leroy Street in Greenwich Village.
See the Eduardo Kobra Murals:
The Brazilian streetartist had a residency in New York City and three of his works can be found in Chelsea. His mural of Andy Warhol, Frida Khalo, Keith Haring, and Jean-Michel Basquiat on Mount Rushmore is above the Empire Diner on Tenth Avenue and 22nd Street.
The mural Albert Einstein We Love NY Squared can be found at the corner of 21st Street and 7th Avenue.
The Mother Theresa And Gandhi mural is on the corner of 10th Avenue and 18th Street.
The Museum at FIT:
The Fashion Institute of Technology is home to a fashion museum where you can find exhibitions that explore topics like the role textiles play in forming silhouettes, the interplay between minimalism and maximalism, and Paris’s impact on fashion trends, along with work by students and faculty. Admission to the exhibitions is free!
The Magician at the Nomad:
One of the hardest tickets to get in NYC, this late night magic show in The Nomad hotel starring Dan White takes place every weekend. My sister very highly recommends it saying that it is sophisticated and not cheesy, and that the magic is impressive and mind-boggling.
The Strand Bookstore:
This 90-year-old independent book store is a gem. The space not only has thousands of books, it plays host to book signings, talks, and workshops. It’s technically across the street from the Chelsea border, but I wanted to mention it.
Washington Square Park:
Washington Square Park is one of the most well known parks in America. Dozens of movies have filmed here including When Harry Met Sally, Begin Again, and August Rush. More recently, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel filmed a scene here where Midge participates in a protest. The park has been the site of many large protests, including a march of 25,000 people supporting the women’s suffrage movement in 1915.
The park is known for the arch, it’s fountain, and it’s chess tables. It is also a performance space for musicians and street performers.
The Flatiron Building:
Just a hair outside Chelsea, the ironic Flatiron Building is on the corner of 5th Avenue and 23rd Street, and is one of New York City’s most recognizable buildings.
Upright Citizens Brigade:
This comedy group and improv theater was co-founded by Amy Poehler and tickets to shows are $10 or less!
Artists & Fleas:
Located within Chelsea Market, Artists & Fleas is part flea market and part marketplace for artists.
The Rubin Museum of Art:
A museum is devoted to displaying Himalayan art, not to the work of Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens. The collection has 3,800 objects spanning 1,500 years of history.
Chelsea Flea Market:
An open-air market that takes place on weekends on 25th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue. You can find antiques, vintage clothing, housewares, and more.
Where to eat in Greenwich Village and Chelsea:
Located in a Greenwich Village townhouse, this Italian restaurant has incredible pastas, and one of my favorite carbonaras.
Casa Apicii is formal enough for a special occasion meal, but not so expensive that it needs to be reserved for a special occasion.
The Empire Diner:
An old school New York City diner in a landmarked building, we loved the brunch at Empire Diner. The food is classic American with a dose of cool.
You will find items like a classic pastrami sandwich and cavatelli with truffle butter and broccolini pesto on the menu.
A neighborhood spot with sidewalk seating the serves Mediterranean food ranging from rigatoni bolognese to lemon crusted chilean seabass.
Chelsea Market is located in the former National Biscuit Company building – this is where the Oreo was invented! Today, the massive building is part food hall and part market. This is a great place to explore on a rainy day, or a place to stop by for a meal if you aren’t quite sure what you are in the mood for. Charles and I love Very Fresh Noodles.
Kesté Pizza & Vino:
A tiny restaurant known for serving Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizzas.
This is my favorite spot for pizza. If you are a fan of artichoke dip, this pizza is for you. It is topped with creamy cheese and chunks of artichoke. If you are not an artichoke fan, fear not, the pizzeria has more traditional pies too.
A Ukrainian dinner that is open 24 hours a day and is known for their blintzes and pierogi. It’s been around for since 1954 and is full of character, and the food is one of the best inexpensive meals in Manhattan.
This Japanese restaurants serves sushi and sashimi in addition to a wide range of cooked dishes.
Known for being one of the best spots for brunch, and they do accept brunch reservations. I loved the house-made biscuits and the relaxed atmosphere. It’s the type of place where everything is made from-scratch with fresh ingredients, without being pretentious about it.
Made famous by Sex and the City, Magnolia Bakery is famous for their cupcakes, and their banana pudding has a cult following.
Tea and Sympathy:
A small cafe that serves British comfort food and afternoon tea. They serve three meals a day, and Sunday Roast on Sundays. A shop next door sells British products.
One if By Land, Two if By Sea:
Known for being the most romantic restaurant in New York City, this restaurant has both a 3-course ($109) and a 7-course ($159) prix fixe menu.
Variety Coffee Roasters:
A beautiful little coffee shop that I love.
April Bloomfield’s gastropub in the Ace Hotel is known for it’s lamb burger, which is shockingly delicious. They also have incredible thrice-cooked french fries.
Just beside Chelsea Market you will find Starbucks Reserve, an upscale coffee experience where you can watch beans get roasted, try flights of espresso, and taste new menu items. This is one of those things that is hard to describe, it is cooler than I made it sound.
Marie’s Crisis Cafe:
A piano bar that first opened in the 1850s that is a hangout for musical theater performers and fans. The building was a whorehouse and a gay bar before becoming a piano bar. Things get lively at 8pm when the pianist arrives.
The Stonewall Inn:
This bar frequented by the gay community on Christopher Street was were the Stonewall Inn Riots took place in 1969. It was a turning point for the Gay Civil Rights Movement, and the first Gay Pride Parade took place in NYC on June 28, 1970 to mark the anniversary of the riots.
My favorite spot for a cocktail, this bar is decorated in a way that embraces the excess of the Victorian Era with elaborate interior design, and the longest bar in New York City. The space is filled with antiques including a stained glass window from Milan, a massive French fireplace, and Welch chandeliers.
One of my favorite hang outs when I lived in NYC, Fat Cat is a bar with live jazz, pool, ping pong, shuffle, and board games.
An über-trendy cafe that specializes in vegan, plant-based foods. They are well-known for their veggie burger and fries.
What to Know Before You Go:
One of the most important things to know is that most of the streets in Greenwich Village aren’t part of the numbered grid system. The streets have names, not numbers, which makes the area a little harder to navigate.
Have you been to Greenwich Village and Chelsea? Did I miss any of your favorite things in my guide of what to do in Greenwich Village and Chelsea? Let me know in the comments.