Washington Square Park
More than 12 million people visit Washington Square Park every year, and with good reason. Washington Square Park is a local gem located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood and has been an epicenter of Lower Manhattan for more than a century. Not matter what time of the day you visit, you are sure to find it bustling with activity. This public oasis is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Located a stone’s throw from New York University, it is known for its eclectic atmosphere.
Washington Square Park History
Created in 1871, Washington Square Park takes its name from George Washington, who has multiple statues there in his honor. The park was formed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Washington’s inauguration as president. During construction, designer Stanford White put in the iconic Washington Square Arch, which looks out over the northern part of the city.
The park has hosted everything from political rallies to activists, to musicians, to street performers. For instance, Buddy Holly was known to visit Washington Square Park, where he’d listen to music and help guitarists perfect their chords. In 2007, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama held a 20,000-person rally that had the park teeming with activity.
Washington Square Park has also made its way into popular culture. It can be seen in movies, such as Avengers: Infinity Wars, Barefoot in the Park, and I Am Legend. Washington Square is also the setting for Henry James’ novel of the same name.
Washington Square Park Events
The park is a prime destination to kick back and relax after a long day of work or on the weekends. While there are plenty of attractions surrounding Washington Square, there is more than enough entertainment within its confines. Visitors can enjoy everything from the parade grounds, to live artists, to the playgrounds, and dog-friendly areas.
If you are a serious chess player, Washington Square has you covered. The chess tables attract some of the best and brightest players in the area. All you have to do is check out the southwest corner, which is home to the chess tables. There is no shortage of things to do at the park either. You can find regular morning classes for people interested in movement, yoga, and tai chi at Garibaldi Plaza. There are even free tango classes for people who want to experience “the authentic Buenos Aires Tango feeling.” Be sure to check out the park’s online calendar for further activities and happenings.
New York is one of the premier foodie cities in the United States. And a trip to Washington Square Park puts that iconic food at your fingertips. Whether you are looking for classic New York eats or something vegetarian, there are plenty of fantastic options in the vicinity.
Joe’s Pizza is consistently ranked as one of the best slices in the country. It is the ideal food to grab and explore the rest of the park. Other worthwhile options include Mamoun’s, which is a late-night eatery known for delectable falafel sandwiches. Visitors should also check out Peanut Butter & Co., whose iconic sandwiches feature iterations of this quintessential American snack. Last but not least, stop by one of Dominique Ansel’s two bakeries nearby, which are the birthplace of the world-famous cronut.
If you live in Lower Manhattan or are visiting the area, Washington Square Park is a must-visit. The rich history and unparalleled flair have made the park a New York institution. With the renowned image of the arch to distinguish the northern boundary, the park is one of the city’s most popular attractions.
Whether you want to listen to music, shop, sunbathe, or get some fresh air with your dog, Washington Square is worth the trip. The neighborhood is continually bustling with new and exciting things to do, so you are never short on entertainment. Even after being around for nearly 150 years, the park is lively as ever.