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Pauline Frommer's Greenwich Village Scavenger Hunt Doc Searle/Flickr

Pauline Frommer's Greenwich Village, NYC, Scavenger Hunt

Learn a bit about New York City history, interact with the city's real-life Village People, and turn part of your vacation into a low-key Amazing Race with this do-it-yourself game/tour.
Currently—and surprisingly—one of the most popular touristic activities in the Big Apple is a game called "Escape the Room". It's just what it sounds like: participants are locked into a room filled with clues and have an hour to escape. It is a fun activity, but in a city this rich, do you really want to take a full hour just to be stuck in a room?

We at Frommer's suggest you turn the city itself into a playground. With this scavenger hunt, you'll explore one of the most vital and storied areas of Manhattan: Greenwich Village. The hunt includes some historic sites, quirky neighborhood spots and challenges that will force you to meet actual New Yorkers. It's best for groups of people, so that you can divide into teams, but even an intrepid couple can try it, competing against one another.

Some nitty gritty details first:

Where: Take the subway to either Union Square, 8th Street, 14th St (at Sixth Ave.) or Lafayette Place. The scavenger hunt's boundaries are Broadway (there are no scavengers sites on Broadway itself) to Sixth Avenue (there are scavenger sites there) and Washington Square Park (including the area within the park) to Union Square Park (including the area within the park). So if you go past 17th Street, you’ve gone too far north, and downtown, you shouldn’t go past West 4th Street. That's a fairly compact area, and it's all perfectly safe.

This scavenger hunt can be done in any order, but it must be done in the daytime.

I strongly suggest you divide your party up into two teams, so there's a bit of competition. When you can use your phones to look up information, the rules will say that you can do so. If it doesn't, please refrain from using your phones for research.

To get full points, you must do at least one challenge from each category. To make it competitive, give each team no more than 90 minutes to complete the hunt.


Find the statues of 3 important world leaders in Union Square Park (5 points for each statue)

Find the house of the woman who wrote the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty. Take a photo of the plaque on her house (10 points). You can research this on your phone.

Find where the author of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court once lived. Take a photo of the plaque (10 points) You can use your phone to research this.

Find the building where the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire took place. Take a photo of the plaque (10 points) You can use your phone to research this.

Take a photo of the “Chemist” shop that opened in the 19th century (5 points). You can research this on your phone. For an extra 10 points, take a photo of something on sale here that would have been on sale 100 years ago.

Find the public library that used to be a courthouse  (and is one of the city's finest Victorian structures). (10 points) Note: You can research this on your phone.

Take a photo of the statue of the man who helped unify Italy (10 points) Hint: He was known as the “Sword of Italian Unification". You can research this on your phone.

Find the triumphal arch that was created by architect Stanford White, the famed architect whose murder was depicted in the book Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow. (5 points; an extra 10 points if you can correctly state how many "W"s are carved on the arch) You can research this on your phone.

Find the hotel Where the Mamas and the Papas likely wrote "California Dreamin'" (it also was briefly home to such artists as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Barbra Streisand). (5 points) You can research this on your phone.

Take a photo in front of the recording studio where Gwen Stefani, U2, David Bowie, Christina Aguilera, D'Angelo, Lana Del Rey, and Sara Bareilles have all recorded music (10 points). You can research this on your phone.


Find an awning with a rooster drawn on it. Take a photo of the awning (10 points).

Find coconut water and take a photo of it (2 points for each different brand of coconut water you can photograph).

Find buildings that belong to New York University (2 points each building, the NYU logo must be visible in your photo).

Take a picture of the awning of a restaurant whose name is a palindrome (10 points).

Find a cobblestone street. Take a photo there. (5 points).

Take a photo of a church that also has a pre-school in it (5 points) You can research this on your phone.


If it's a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday, do a jam sampling at the Greenmarket in Union Square (10 points).

Climb to the top of the "Metal Mountain" in Union Square Park. Take a photo from its top. (10 points).

Take a photo with a man wearing a man bun (10 points).

Take a photo of a dog park (3 points. 15 points if you take a photo with one of the dogs).

Take a video of yourself singing loudly next to someone who is playing an instrument on the street or in a park (25 points).

Ask a New Yorker how to get to Carnegie Hall (5 points if they give you directions, 10 points if they make a joke).

Have fun!

For the answer key, click here.

Photo: Washington Square Park by Doc Searle/Flickr