Playing Tourist in Union Square
Union Square is bursting with awesomeness just awaiting your discovery – why travel anywhere else? Steps away from our idyllic park is the beating heart of New York City. At the center of food, culture and shopping, we’ve rounded up our top spots to keep you busy, relaxed and deliciously full during the ultimate Summer Staycation.
Authors, designers, musicians and more of your favorite celebrities flock to Union Square’s bookstores to discuss their latest novels, host a Q&A and sign your book. In July, The Strand (828 Broadway) hosts Sweetbitter’s Stephanie Danner (a former Union Square Café employee), and Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk, while Barnes & Noble (33 E 17th Street) brings New York Times best-seller Daniel Silva to talk his new novel, The Black Widow.
Cost: Free, or for the price of the book you were going to buy anyway.
We love the buildings in the Square and the stories they hold. Tomorrow (and every Saturday) take our walking tour to learn the details of the Islamic/Venetian designed Decker building, including which famous American Pop Art artist has history in the space. 2 PM by Abe Lincoln on the 16th Street Transverse. Happy weekend! #SeeYourCity #UnionSquareNY #NYC 📸 and tour guide: @bigoniontours
Do you know why your favorite neighborhood (Union Square, of course) has its name? Or how the Square came to be the vibrant and thriving community it is today? Take our 90 minute walking tour at 2 PM every Saturday to learn all the “Did You Knows” of the Square you can use to impress visitors. Meet at Abraham Lincoln the 16th Street Transverse in Union Square Park.
Find more events on our calendar, updated monthly.
If you think you need to venture upstate for farm-fresh produce, think again. The Union Square Greenmarket hosts (in peak season) 140 regional farmers, fishers and bakers for the freshest variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, breads, jams, pickles, flowers, ciders, honey and so much more. Visit the market Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday. On Friday, July 15th, join the market for extended hours and an outdoor beer garden on the North Plaza to celebrate their 40th anniversary. (Union Square Park North Plaza, 17th St. and Broadway)
Cost: Varies by vendor, but they rival any organic grocery store organic section.
Only in NYC
During the first three Saturdays in August, grab a Citibike from one of five Union Square docks and ride on a car-free Park Avenue down to Brooklyn Bridge or up to Central Park from 7 AM to 1 PM. The program brings a 300-foot-long inflatable slide, zip line, hammocks, fitness classes and craft workshops! (Curbed)
You don’t need to travel the country, or even the city, to discover some of the nation and world’s best chefs. Union Square boasts some of the best fine dining and casual grub.
Nix your train tickets and treat yourself to one of Michael Anthony’s award-winning dishes at Gramercy Tavern (42 E 20th St). The executive chef won the James Beard Award for “Outstanding Chef” in 2015.
Cost: Tasting menu prices vary $55-65 per person for lunch, $110-$125 for dinner with optional wine tastings.
Rated by the New York Post as the “perfect summer hot spot,” gather your crew for the best al fresco summer dining in the city at The Pavilion. Choose from Greenmarket fresh veggie entrées, a raw bar, barbecue ribs and more (North Plaza Union Square Park, 17th and Broadway).
Cost: Entrees $20+
Always known as one of NYC’s top pizza joints, Grub Street and New York Magazine recently dubbed Joe’s Pizza (150 E 14th St) as one of the “absolute best” in the city, going as far to say, “Joe’s is the definition of consistency.” With high turnover on pizza (slices fly off the counter and pies are constantly being baked) and low turnover on staff (cooks master their skills) you’re guaranteed the optimal thin crust, fresh tomato and blisteringly cheesy slice every time.
Cost: $2.25 slice, $17 pie
5 Napkin Burger
City-favorite burger joint 5 Napkin welcomes three new burgers that you must stop by and try in Union Square (150 E 14th St)!
Truffle Burger: Topped with taleggio, porcini ketchup, fried egg and truffle butter
Merguez: Moroccan spiced lamb & beef with harissa yogurt, sweet pickles and oregano roasted tomatoes.
Italian Turkey: Fresh ground turkey, smoked mozzarella, sweet & hot peppers and tomato jam