The West Village, with its leafy streets, grand brownstones and outdoor dining, has a bohemian charm reminiscent of cities in Europe.
The neighborhood, bound by Sixth Avenue to the east, West Street to the west,14th Street to the north and West Houston to the south, is its own enclave within Greenwich Village that deserves its own look.
While it is impossible to list everything there is to do in the Village — West Fourth Street has enough to do that it could be the subject of its own story — we’ve selected a few must-see places in the neighborhood that you’d be crazy to miss on a day out.
Start with breakfast at La Bonbonniere or a quiet coffee at Sant Ambroeus
La Bonbonniere at 28 Eighth Ave. might look like your average greasy spoon but it is one of the most popular diners in the city, frequented by construction workers, locals and celebrities alike.
Walking in, you’ll see a small bar with stools and mismatched tables surrounded by news articles, signed celebrity headshots and posters — like its own wall of fame — but it’s not much to look at.
But the appeal is in its comfort food, its staff and the laid-back atmosphere that makes it a place to eat and linger. Celebrities who have made it their place include Philip Seymour Hoffman (who lived nearby before he died in 2014), Ethan Hawke, Julianne Moore and others.
M14 bus driver Luis Lopez stops in every morning for some coffee and a bagel.
"It’s the best," he said. "There’s a lot of history … and it was the only spot open during Hurricane Sandy. Marina [Cortez Arrieta], the owner, kept it moving."
If you’re less of a breakfast person but enjoy sitting and reading in the morning, head to Sant Ambroeus (259 W. 4th St.), which is open by 7:30 a.m. during the week and 9 a.m. on weekends. Order a shot of espresso or an Italian cappuccino and a croissant, or go for their Bloody Mary and avocado toast on the weekends. If the weather is nice it’s a good place to see and be seen.
Grab a good read at Casa Magazines from the ‘Last King of Print’
It is mind-boggling just how many magazines there are in this small newsstand shop. According to Mohammad Ahmed, dubbed "The Last King of Print," there are about 2,000 titles in stock at any given time, from fashion magazines selected by models to medical journals that doctors like to read. The shop, which he bought in 1995, is integral to the character of the neighborhood — it’s a small, family-owned business that attracts all kinds of people.
Follow West Fourth Street to get a feel for the neighborhood
One could walk West Fourth Street from top to bottom and really understand what the West Village is all about. It’s like the spine of the neighborhood, locals say. If you started at Eighth Avenue and walked south down West Fourth, you’d pass by many of the Village’s hot spots and maybe a celebrity or two.
Grab a beer at the Stonewall Inn and mark the uprising’s 50th anniversary
The Stonewall Inn at 53 Christopher St. is a must-see when visiting the Village because it is part of the neighborhood’s identity.
June 28 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, when LGBTQ patrons of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village clashed with police, who had been increasingly raiding the bar and making arrests related to New York’s sodomy laws. The riot touched off six days of demonstrations around the Stonewall Inn and is considered the cornerstone of what has become the modern-day LGBTQ rights movement.
Across from the bar is the Gay Liberation Monument in Christopher Park, which features four white figures — two standing men and two seated women — by artist George Segal, showing the public comfort and freedom to which the gay liberation movement aspired, according to NYC Parks.
Browse stores on West 10th and Charles streets
If you’re looking for clothes or trinkets, check out Madame Matovu, Vintage Thrift West and Pink Olive.
Madame Matovu (240 W. 10th St.) — Filled with vintage treasures, it may be hard to resist stopping in. The collection is curated by the store’s owner, Rosemary Wettenhall, who travels the world to find pieces for it. There is a range of prices from $20 on up, too, so you don’t need to spend a fortune.
Vintage Thrift West (242 W. 10th St., right next door) —This is the clothing store for Vintage Thrift, a shop in the East Village that sells gently-used furniture and home goods to benefit the United Jewish Council of the East Side. Here you will find vintage and/or designer men’s and women’s apparel and accessories.
Pink Olive (30 Charles St.) — It might be impossible to walk away from Pink Olive with a bad gift. The little shop by Grace Kang specializes in "celebrating the little things," and sells cards, locally poured candles, mugs, ceramics, art and much more, according to Maggie Anderson, who was behind the counter this week. It’s celebrating its third anniversary on Saturday.
Grab some vinyl and a slice
If you’re a vinyl collector, it’s worth heading south to The House of Oldies.
At 35 Carmine St., this small shop has more than 1 million records in stock and boasts the largest Beatles collection in the city. Bob Abramson opened it in 1968 and has seen the likes of John Lennon, David Bowie, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page come through, according to the New York Post. As the name says, it’s mostly oldies, so don’t expect to find your new favorite band here.
Across the street, you’ll find Carmine Street Comics and Unoppressive Non-imperialist Bargain Books, which share a space at 34 Carmine St. On the left, you’ll find old Marvel comics and on the right, sits poetry, philosophy, history reads and an entire section of books about Bob Dylan. The space has a full schedule of public events and a studio for comics artists to display their talents.
If the line is any indication, Joe’s Pizza at 7 Carmine St. is the quintessential New York slice. On a nice day, expect the line to be out the door, but trust us, it’s worth it. It goes fast and by the time you have your slice(s) in hand, you’ll have forgotten about the whole ordeal.
Joe’s Pizza, which has been around for 38 years, is still supervised by its owner Joe Pozzuoli, who is originally from Naples, Italy. He keeps the prices low (starting at $3 per slice) and forgoes the "fancy pants pies," according to the website.
Relax at Washington Square Park or the Jefferson Market Garden
On a nice day, Washington Square Park feels like the center of the city. Artists and musicians perform while tourists take photos and NYU students chill out between classes. It’s the ultimate place to take a load off, watch people get schooled in chess and take in what makes New York City the best.
(Note: Don’t miss the North Washington Square homes or the Washington Mews behind them if you’re a history junkie.)
If you’re in the mood for a smaller venue to sit in, head to the lush Jefferson Market Garden adjacent to the library of the same name on Greenwich Avenue between Sixth Avenue and West 10th Street. This oasis is full of blooms with tulips in full glory in the spring. It’s open April through October from 9 a.m. to dusk and offers an oasis to the weary walker.
Head back to West Fourth for dinner
Corner Bistro (331 W. 4th St.) — Identifying itself as one of the last Bohemian bars in the West Village, Corner Bistro has a famous chuck burger and delicious shoestring fries. By the lines that form to get a seat, it’s worth a stop.
The Cubby Hole (281 W. 12th St.) — A lesbian bar that’s been a neighborhood favorite for those gay, straight and otherwise since 1994. Andy Cohen, who can often be seen walking his dog and his baby around the neighborhood, has said it is his favorite spot to get a drink and hang out. Come back at night for fun.
Cafe Cluny (284 W. 12th St.) — Kitty-corner from the Cubby Hole, this bistro is a great place to grab brunch (a brioche French toast, avocado toast and fresh pressed juice), lunch or dinner.
Tartine (253 W. 11th St.) — A French cafe, bakery and restaurant, Tartine is a go-to at any time of the day. It’s "bring your own wine" and starts getting packed in the afternoon and remains that way through midnight, especially on a nice night.
Extra Virgin (259 W. 4th St.) — As its name implies, olive oil is at the forefront of this Mediterranean eatery that is great for eating al fresco.