The symbolic heart of Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park is one of NYC’s most recognizable public spaces. Pass beneath the Washington Arch—the giant structure marking the park’s Fifth Avenue entrance on the north side—and you’ll see the energy that makes the place so special. NYU students congregate around a central fountain; sunbathers lie on the lawn; musicians sit on benches strumming guitars; and canines run gleefully amok in two dog runs. The park’s black-brick paths and vintage-style streetlights lend it a 19th-century feel, as does a majestic bronze statue of Garibaldi.
What can I see there? The Washington Square Arch, for one thing. The landmark honors the first president of the United States and was inspired by Paris’ Arc de Triomphe.
Some guy asked me to play chess. Should I do it? The park is a haven for some serious chess players, who occupy the tables in its southwest corner. You can play—just don’t bet money, even if someone asks you to.
Is there anywhere to eat or drink nearby? Lots of places. Nearby restaurants include the Mario Batali–affiliated Otto Enoteca Pizzeria and Babbo. Beer hall Amity Hall and Ramen Takumi are popular among college students, as is longtime cheap-eats staple Mamoun’s Falafel.
Is the park haunted? Some say yes, as the park is located on the site of a 19th-century burial ground.