A popular entrance to Greenwich Village, West 3rd Street has a rather boring mixture of tourist traps and old village stand-bys. Since it ends abruptly at 6th Avenue (and I don't believe the fine people at the IFC Film Center would appreciate being driven through, though you're welcome to check), West 3rd is just one of many crosstown routes which die at the start of the West Village.
The heart of this area is the West 4th Street subway station which acts as a major hub between 7 of the IND lines. There's only two exits for this huge station, and oddly enough neither are actually on West 4th Street, but rather Waverly Place and West 3rd Street. As a result you get a lot of people exiting down here by the basketball courts and making their way to the interior of the neighborhood by way of West 3rd.
Along the street a series of nightclubs do their best to lure you in with promises of no cover, or low minimums, though that's rarely the deal once you get inside. Old newsstands, record stores, and magazine shops have somehow managed to survive over the years despite the inroads being made by the likes of McDonald's and Ace Hardware. For me one of the more charming things is the Minetta Garage (named for the street to the south which it connects to) which has signage and lighting which is just vintage enough to not be kitschy.
If you can come down here at the right time of day, you wont encounter too much trouble in terms of crowds. However if you find yourself down here on a weekend after 5 o'clock, I wish you the best of luck because many a well-intentioned visitor has been lost to the crowds of drunken pizza customers.