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The best way to enter Washington Square Park is from the north, on 5th Avenue. As you pass high-end medical offices and views of the Empire State Building, you will emerge by the enormous archway and memorial that rises well above the rest of the park. Proceed under the arch and walk to the center of the park for another of its highlights. Here, you will find an enormous fountain that was once a popular hangout for bohemians, academics and artists.
Built in 1871, the park is named after the Washington Square Arch, a memorial erected to celebrate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as president of the United States. Take a walk around all the beautiful gardens enclosed in this area.
On the western side of the park, play a game of chess for money. The men who play here are skilled, so be careful if you have not studied chess before. For the seasoned player there are enough opponents to fill multiple afternoons. In the past, they included director Stanley Kubrick, who made money by playing matches here.
Sit for an impromptu concert. Buskers come to the park with accordions, guitars and even baby grand pianos to play a wide variety of genres of music. Some are highly skilled and sell their music on CDs.
Washington Square Park is located in Greenwich Village. The West Village is only two blocks to the west and the Bowery is only two to the east. While the park has undergone major restorations and is much safer than it has ever been, it is still best to visit during the day. Though the center is usually lit and crowded later in the day, avoid walking alone through the western side of the park at night.
While you’re in the Washington Square Park area, visit the IFC Center on 6th Avenue, and see an independent film. Enjoy a walk in this cluster of New York City’s most charming and distinctly European neighborhoods. Linger for a while in an antique book shop and sit down for an afternoon cappuccino.
Would you like to make your time spent at Washington Square Park even more unique? Remember to try some of these things to do:
Peruse our New York things to do page to find many more activities in the area.
Located in Midtown, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Madison Square Garden, Macy's, and Empire State Building. Times Square and Broadway are also within 15 minutes. 34 St. - Penn Station (Fashion Av.) is only a 2-minute walk and 28 St. Station (7th Av.) is 4 minutes.
Located in Midtown, this boutique hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Times Square and Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Broadway and Central Park are also within 1 mi (2 km). Times Sq. - 42 St. Station is 12 minutes by foot and 34 St. - Penn Station is 14 minutes.
Located in Midtown, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of 5th Avenue and Grand Central Terminal. Chrysler Building and St. Patrick's Cathedral are also within 10 minutes. Grand Central - 42 St. Station is 5 minutes by foot and 5 Av Station (W. 42nd St.) is 5 minutes.
Located in Hudson Square, this boutique hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of New York University, One World Trade Center, and National September 11 Memorial. Federal Reserve Bank of New York is 1.4 mi (2.2 km) away. Canal St. Station (Varick St.) is only a 2-minute walk and Canal St. Station (W. Broadway) is 6 minutes.
Located in Bowery, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of New York University, 5th Avenue, and Washington Square Park. Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Brooklyn Bridge are also within 2 mi (3 km). 2 Av. Station is only a 2-minute walk and Bowery St. Station is 5 minutes.
Located in Midtown, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Times Square and Empire State Building. Broadway and Grand Central Terminal are also within 1 mi (2 km). 34 St. - Penn Station is only a 2-minute walk and 34 St. - Penn Station (Fashion Av.) is 3 minutes.
Located in Bowery, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Washington Square Park and Union Square Park. Brooklyn Bridge and New York Stock Exchange are also within 2 mi (3 km). Bowery St. Station is only a 2-minute walk and Grand St. Station (Chrystie St.) is 4 minutes.
Located in Midtown, this boutique hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Empire State Building, Madison Square Park, and Macy's. 33 St. Station (Park Av. S) is only a 4-minute walk and 28 St. Station (Park Av. S) is 5 minutes.