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Washington Square Park In New York – A Complete Guide

Washington Square Park is one of New York’s most well known parks and is located in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of Lower Manhattan. Here is a complete guide.

How To Get To Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park is located at the base of Fifth Avenue, bordered by Waverly Place, University Place, West 4th Street, and MacDougal Street.

Subway

The West 4th Street, Washington Square Station is the nearest one to Washington Square Park.

Bus

Buses M1, M2, M3, M7, M20 and X27 all have routes that pass near Washington Square Park.

Car

There is no parking in Washington Square Park and although you might find parking in the area, it will be quite expensive and we would definitely recommend using public transport.

For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.

Washington Square Park Entrance Fee

It is free to visit Washington Square Park.

For all tourists visiting New York we recommend purchasing either the New York: Go City Explorer Pass with 95+ Tours & Attractions or the New York CityPASS®: Save 40% at 5 Top Attractions.

These are a great way of saving money when visiting multiple tourist attractions during your stay in New York.

Both include:

  • Top Of The Rock
  • Empire State Building
  • Statue of Liberty
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • 9/11 Memorial and Museum
  • And many more!

Washington Square Park Opening Times

Monday – Sunday: 6am to 12am.

Washington Square Park New York
Buskers in front of the famous marble arch.

Best Times To Visit Washington Square Park

The warmer months of the year are probably the best time to visit Washington Square Park if you want to sit back, relax and enjoy everything the park has to offer.

We visited early in the morning after exploring Brooklyn Bridge the night before, and used it as a wake up call before heading to Chelsea Market for lunch followed by The High Line.

Head to the centre of the park, near the fountain, if you are looking to see the street entertainers and artists.

If you prefer somewhere quieter, we would recommend the surrounding green spaces and gardens.

If you visit around Christmas there’s even a Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Bus Tour that ventures around the area and beyond.

The park is well lit and very pretty after dark if you can’t get there during the day.

We would recommend this as a great place to sit and ‘people watch’ if that’s your thing!

What To Pack

Photography Camera

Tripod

Day Bag

Power Bank

Reusable Water Bottle

Sunscreen

Lightweight Rain Jacket

Washington Square Park New York
Lauren made a friend in Washington Square Park.

Washington Square Park History

Named after the first American president George Washington, the area where Washington Square Park is situated was originally farmland.

In 1797 the Common Council of New York purchased the fields for a public burial ground and to this day, the remains of more than 20,000 bodies rest under Washington Square Park.

After this, in 1826, the area was turned into the Washington Military Parade Ground and consequently, in 1849/1850, the parade ground was reworked into the first park on the site.

During 1889, to celebrate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration, a temporary plaster and wood arch was erected at the north end of the park.

This arch proved to be so popular that in 1892 a permanent marble arch, designed by the New York architect Stanford White, was erected.

When in 1934, Robert Moses became the Parks Commissioner, he embarked on a mission to fully redesign the park.

Washington Square Park has continued to evolve over the years into the famous and iconic hub and meeting place that you will see today.

If you’d like to learn more about the history and discover where legendary artists, such as Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan hung out, check out the New York City: Greenwich Village 2-Hour Tour.

Washington Square Park New York
The trees were a little bare but the dog walkers were still out.
Washington Square Park New York
There’s plenty of seating in the park.

What To Expect At Washington Square Park

Covering nearly 10 acres, this beautiful park, in the heart of the Greenwich Village neighbourhood, is an icon of New York City.

It’s a little further down the map than the typical tourist spots of Top Of The Rock, Empire State Building and Madame Tussauds.

However, it’s renowned for celebrating diversity and nonconformity. This is a vibrant meeting place for students, locals and tourists alike.

There are lots of landscaped green spaces with pretty gardens, play areas for children and plenty of benches to sit on and soak up the atmosphere. There are even two designated dog pen areas!

Washington Square Park is surrounded by the New York University (NYU) campus, hence you will see lots of students and young people enjoying the park.

Things To See

There are usually lots of different street performers like jugglers, artists, acrobats and musicians to sit and watch. Sometimes you can even catch some street theatre.

In addition, there are the famous chess tables.

Enthusiastic chess players gather at the park’s west end, in an area known as Chess Plazza, where there are lots of chess tables available for them to enjoy their favourite game.

The park’s well known fountain is definitely worth seeing and is especially popular with tourists and locals in the summer months when it’s a great place to visit and cool off.

At the northern gateway to the park you will find the stunning, marble, Washington Square Arch.

Built to commemorate the centennial of George Washington’s 1789 inauguration as President of the United States.

Washington Square Park has appeared in many popular films and television shows, including Barefoot in the Park, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Law and Order, The Astronaut’s Wife, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and Avengers – Infinity War.

It’s also just a 10 minute walk from the ‘Friends Apartment’ that was used as the exterior for the apartment in the popular 1990s TV series.

An easy addition to your New York Itinerary if you have time!

Washington Square Park New York
A relaxed morning strolling around Washington Square Park.
Friends Apartment Building New York
Lauren outside the Friends Apartment Building in New York.

Where To Stay In New York

Luxury

The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

This Manhattan hotel in Midtown overlooks Central Park and is within walking distance of Fifth Avenue and Rockefeller Center.

Free cable and a bathrobe are provided in every room at the New York Central Park Ritz-Carlton. All rooms are elegant, with wood furniture and light colors. Many rooms also include a city or park view.

La Prairie Spa at the Ritz-Carlton New York Central Park offers massage and facial services, as well as a sauna. Guests can also work out in the state-of-the-art fitness center.

The 57th street subway station is just 2 blocks away, providing easy access to the city. Radio City Music Hall and the Broadway Theatre District are also both within 1 mile of the hotel.

Mid-Budget

citizenM New York Times Square

Located right in the heart of Manhattan, this hotel is just 1 minute’s walk from Times Square. It’s also within 5 minutes’ walk of Central Park and Columbus Circle.

A flat-screen TV and a small refrigerator with free water are available in citizenM’s rooms. Bathrooms include Hansgrohe rain showers and oversized bathroom amenities.

With the room iPad, all guests can control room lights, black-out blinds, curtains and temperature. As well as TV and radio channels.

Free high-speed Wi-Fi and express check in are on offer at citizenM New York Times Square.

Three outdoor terraces are provided at the New York Times Square citizenM. They feature a state-of-the-art fitness centre with yoga facilities.

After working out, guests can relax with drinks and sweeping views of the city on the exclusive rooftop bar.

Budget

Central Park West Hostel

Located in New York City’s Upper West Side, this hostel is a block from the 86th street underground station and 2 blocks from Central Park. It offers Wi-Fi and staff-organized events.

A shared kitchen, café area, and spacious lounge with a flat-screen TV are part of the facilities at the FIT Hotel. Lockers are also provided in the dormitory rooms and luggage storage is available.

The front desk of this New York City hostel is open 24 hours a day. It features daily housekeeping and free linens.

Times Square is only 10 minutes via underground journey.

For more places to stay in New York, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.

Planning Your Trip

Book Your Flight

Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight.

They search websites and airlines around the globe to find you the best possible routes and prices.

Book Your Accommodation

Use Booking.com to find the best accommodation deals.

They consistently return the cheapest rates on everything from guesthouses to hotels for all of your budget needs.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Use SafetyWing to find the best travel insurance for you.

They provide travel and medical incident insurance built specifically for digital nomads.

Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.

Book Your Tours & Activities

Use GetYourGuide to book your activities in advance.

They sell the best tours, excursions and activities to attractions around the world.

Conveniently book, download and access your tickets on the move all from your mobile.

Book Your Rental Car

Use RentalCars.com to find the best deals on rental cars in the area.

They compare all major car rental companies and allow you to easily book the perfect vehicle for your trip.

Buy Those Last Minute Bits

Use Amazon to buy everything you need for your adventure.

They offer next day delivery and you can use my travel packing checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.


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Washington Square Park New York