Washington Square Park is a beloved area in lower Manhattan, especially for members of the NYU community. Located in Greenwich Village, the park is consistently filled with locals and tourists alike. The park serves as the center of New York University’s campus and is a common hangout for students. The park is surrounded by multiple university buildings – from the Silver School of Social Work and Steinhardt School of Culture, Education & Human Development to Elmer Holmes Bobst Library and Skirball Center for Performing Arts.

The fountain is Washington Square Park sprays patron as they play in the fountain
Washington Square Arch

The Washington Square Arch is one of the most recognizable areas in the park. The arch was built in 1889 to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration. Two depictions of George Washington were later included in the arch. Today, it is typical to see people posing with family, friends and loved ones to take a picture with the famous arch.

The Washington Square Arch with the Empire State Building visible underneath
A wide shot of Washington Square Park with the New York Skyline
Daily Happenings

No matter the time of day or day of the week, Washington Square Park is always abuzz. Whether it is a musician playing a baby grand piano or a dance group performing in front of the arch, there is bound to be an audience observing the various forms of entertainment. Other park-goers can be found lounging on the grass, jumping in the fountain or eating lunch on the benches lining the park’s interior. First time visitors to the park might recognize it because it’s been featured in numerous movies and television shows.

Events and Traditions

No matter the time of year, there is bound to be a special event happening in the park. In June, the Washington Square Music Festival introduced park-goers to various musicians throughout the week-long celebration. During the afternoon of October 31st, the Children’s Halloween Parade allows trick-or-treaters to debut their costumes to the Greenwich Village community. And every December, the Washington Square Association hosts the tree lighting ceremony under the arch. This is the second longest running tree lighting ceremony in New York City. The tree stays lit for the duration of the holiday season.

A man plays the piano in Washington Square Park
Three students walking through Washington Square Park.
A student sits in a sunny grass spot reading
A Fall scene in Washington Square Park with the leaves bright orange
Washington Square Part illuminated at night with the Empire State Building visible