The East Village is a culturally vibrant neighborhood with a reputation as the countercultural beacon of New York City. From its origins as an immigrant neighborhood and site of 1980s social activism to its current status as a foodie destination peppered with restaurants and cocktail bars, the East Village merges old school and trendy.
The hip and sometimes grungy East Village is a prime destination for food and drinks. Culinary walking tours offer foodies the option of exploring the mainstays, including Japanese restaurants in Little Tokyo and old-school Italian eateries (often called "red-sauce" restaurants by locals). To get the most out of the Village's drinking establishments, try a guided tour through the burgeoning cocktail scene to taste top-notch libations and locally produced spirits. Beer drinkers can opt for brewery tours, which not only introduce travelers to the village's best ale houses and craft beer but also typically include transportation so you can explore without hopping on the subway. Other options include pub crawls, activist history walking tours, and ghost tours.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The East Village is a perfect destination for urban adventurers, foodies, and fashionistas.
- Walking tours are an efficient way to see all the sights, since the neighborhood is best explored on foot.
How to Get There
Located east of Broadway between 14th and Houston streets, the East Village is best accessed by subway. Hop the 4/5 train to Union Square, the 6 to Bleeker Street, or the F to the 2 Avenue Station. Alternatively, the M14 bus runs crosstown on 14th street, and the M15 bus runs uptown on 1st Avenue and downtown on 2nd Avenue.
When to Get There
The East Village is a fantastic year-round destination, though spring and autumn bring perfect light-sweater weather and blue skies. Summer can be hot and humid, while winter is often windy, snowy, and cold. You’ll want to arrive early in the day for sightseeing and shopping. Plan a weekend evening visit for a night on the town, but show up early, as many restaurants don't take reservations.
Where to Take a Break
Take a few minutes to rest in the centrally located Tompkins Square Park. An East Village icon situated in Alphabet City, Tompkins Square is central to the neighborhood's social activism and culture. The park’s benches, playgrounds, and chess tables are situated beneath leafy, American elm trees and offer a perfect place for relaxation.