Things to do in Brooklyn

Things to do in  Brooklyn

Move over, Manhattan

With a rich immigrant history, world-class dining scene, and diverse neighborhoods, there are lots of things to do in Brooklyn, arguably New York City's hippest borough. Trendy Williamsburg is the epicenter of Brooklyn’s shopping, street art, and nightlife scene, while green spaces such as Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens offer a welcome escape from the urban grind. Plus, the views just can't be beat—from the Manhattan skyline at Brooklyn Heights Promenade to the iconic span of the Brooklyn Bridge from its namesake park on the East River shore.

Top 15 attractions in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Bridge

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Extending for 1.3 miles (2 kilometers) across New York City's East River, this 19th-century bridge sees constant foot, bike, and car traffic thanks to commuters and sightseers alike. After a construction beset by tragedies—at least 20 people died during the building process—this steel-wire suspension bridge, then the world's largest, finally opened to the public in 1883.More

Dyker Heights

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Dyker Heights is a tree-lined family neighborhood located in southwest Brooklyn. The picturesque community began as a luxury housing development at the end of the 19th century. Christmastime here is particularly special. During the festive season, residents put up colorful lights and decorations that draw visitors from across the city.More

Williamsburg

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Brooklyn is New York's coolest borough, and Williamsburg is hipster mecca. Packed with galleries, music venues, and arts spaces, Williamsburg is a prime destination to soak up Brooklyn's eclectic culture. From its cupcake shops and dive bars to its independent movie theaters, Williamsburg is an ideal place to shop and indulge.More

Coney Island

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When sweltering summer temperatures hit the city, New Yorkers flock to this kitschy seaside resort and amusement area. As well as a boardwalk and almost 3 miles (5 kilometers) of sandy beach, Coney Island is home to roller coasters and amusements, New York Aquarium, and Nathan’s Famous, a landmark hot dog joint that started out as a stand in 1916.More

Dumbo

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Its name may suggest cartoon elephants, but Dumbo—a waterfront neighborhood in the north of Brooklyn—is actually one of the borough’s most stylish and photogenic enclaves. Dumbo’s cobblestone streets and converted warehouses are home to trendy galleries, boutiques, coffee shops, and one of the city’s truly iconic pizzerias.More

Brooklyn Bridge Park

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On the shores of the East River and in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge Park offers an expanse of green and unmatched views of the Lower Manhattan skyline. Spanning some 85 acres (34 hectares), the park hosts destination eateries, the restored antique Jane’s Carousel, seasonal events, and other attractions.More

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

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Crossing the mouth of upper New York Bay and linking the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island, the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge (previously Verrazano-Narrows) is the longest suspension bridge in the U.S. A marvel of engineering, the bridge was completed in 1964, and more than 200,000 vehicles pass on it daily.More

Brooklyn Heights

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The historic Brooklyn Heights neighborhood is well positioned—just one subway stop from Lower Manhattan. A stroll along the Brooklyn Bridge Promenade for waterfront and city skyline views is a must-do, as is a walk through its streets to see elegant brownstones and visit some destination bars and restaurants.More

Domino Park

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Williamsburg's Domino Park is one of the best spots in Brooklyn to view the Manhattan skyline and rejuvenate after a day exploring New York's hippest borough. Enjoy the East River breeze while you stroll along the park's elevated walkway, get sporty with drop-in volleyball, or just chill on the grass and soak up the sunshine.More

Prospect Park

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Encompassing more than 500 acres (202 hectares) in the heart of Brooklyn, Prospect Park is an ideal space to escape the bustle of the borough. The park offers wooded walks, sunbathing, and car-fee biking and jogging—a perfect stop for those who want a taste of the outdoors in New York.More

Grand Army Plaza

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Framing the northern corner of New York City’s Prospect Park in Brooklyn, the oval-shaped Grand Army Plaza boasts a 19th-century military arch, fountain, statuary, tree-dotted lawns, and classical-style gazebos. Set within a traffic circle on Flatbush Avenue, the plaza serves as the park’s main entrance.More

Carroll Gardens

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A South Brooklyn gem, Carroll Gardens’ brownstone-lined blocks are ideal for an afternoon stroll. Small cafés, antique shops, and boutiques abound on Smith and Court streets. And for foodies, Carroll Gardens—known for its bakeries, pizzarias, and white-tablecloth Italian restaurants—is a haven. Arrive with an appetite.More

Empire Fulton Ferry in Brooklyn Bridge Park

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Named after the 17th-century Brooklyn to Manhattan ferry, Empire Fulton Ferry is one of the most scenic spots in Brooklyn Bridge Park. At the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, the park offers picnic areas, riverside walkways, and one of NYC’s top viewpoints, looking out over the East River to the Lower Manhattan skyline.More

Brooklyn Historical Society

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Marvel at the Brooklyn Historical Society building's stately, Queen Anne-style architecture and grand exterior design. Inside, the modest Brooklyn Heights museum brims with art, archival documents, and exhibitions on the borough's history. Don't miss the ornate Othmer Library and the gift shop filled with local products.More

Brooklyn Brewery

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Founded in 1988, Brooklyn Brewery if a staple of Brooklyn's craft beer scene. Located on Brooklyn's bustling Northside, the brewery houses a production facility, tasting room, and store with beer-related merchandise. Tours run daily, and the tasting room is open on weekends; it's a perfect spot to hang out and drink up.More

Trip ideas

Williamsburg

Williamsburg

Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)

Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)

Gantry Plaza State Park

Gantry Plaza State Park

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Ghostbusters Firehouse

Ghostbusters Firehouse

Empire Outlets

Empire Outlets

Top activities in Brooklyn

New York Eats Experience: Brooklyn Food, History & Culture Tour
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NYC Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO Food Tour
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New York Aquarium Admission

New York Aquarium Admission

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$29.95
Brooklyn Neighborhoods Small-Group Bike Tour
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Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge Bicycle Tour
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A Day in Brooklyn Bike Tour

A Day in Brooklyn Bike Tour

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Private Sail New York with Brooklyn Sail (Reserve the entire boat)
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From Dumbo to Downtown

From Dumbo to Downtown

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Private Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO Food Tour
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All about Brooklyn

When to visit

Springtime in Brooklyn is one of the best times to visit. From the blooms in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to the return of Smorgasburg (the large-scale, open-air street food event), spring sees the borough shake off the winter blues and blossom into life. As the summer heat moves in, you'll find more to things to do, including attending annual festivals like the West Indian Day Parade, the concert series in Prospect Park, and outdoor film screenings in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Getting around

New York City’s robust public transit network makes exploring the city easy, and that's certainly true in Brooklyn. The borough is served by more than a dozen subway lines across 170 stations, while major hubs like Atlantic Avenue–Barclays Center Station also connect to the Long Island Railroad. Buses, taxis, and rideshare services offer street-level transit options, and the borough is also pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly.

Traveler tips

Though often overlooked in favor of green spaces like Prospect Park, Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery offers another way to temporarily escape the urban hubbub. A National Historic Landmark located on a former Revolutionary War battlefield, the 478-acre (193.5-hectare) cemetery is the final resting place of luminaries like Jean-Michel Basquiat and is crisscrossed by walking trails. It also offers impressive views of the downtown Manhattan skyline.

Local Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
EST (UTC -5)
Country Code
+1
Language(s)
English
Attractions
34
Tours
150
Reviews
1,948

A local’s pocket guide to Brooklyn

Claire Bullen

Writer and editor Claire made her home in Brooklyn for years. Though she's since relocated to London, she still returns every year to see old friends and revisit favorite spots and discover new ones (and misses it so!).

The first thing you should do in Brooklyn is...

load up on carbs. You haven’t really been to Brooklyn until you’ve had pizza at Di Fara or Lucali and bagels at La Bagel Delight or Court Street Bagels—and for liquid carbs, the beer at Other Half is on point.

A perfect Saturday in Brooklyn...

Skip the brunch scene, and grab the best bagel and coffee you can find. After browsing the Fort Greene Park Greenmarket or Greenlight Bookstore, hit the Brooklyn Museum — then grab a beer at Gold Star Beer Counter or BierWax.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

walking across the Brooklyn Bridge as the views never get old, even if the crowds do. And it’s worth going to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (adjacent to Prospect Park) throughout the year — yes, even in winter.

To discover the "real" Brooklyn...

don’t just stay in Williamsburg or Park Slope — Brooklyn has many neighborhoods. Visit Brooklyn’s Chinatown in Sunset Park, nosh on vareniki and other Eastern European staples in Brighton Beach, and swing by Little Haiti for a dose of Haitian culture.

For the best view of the city...

you can go to the famous intersection in Dumbo at Front and Washington streets, where the Empire State Building is perfectly framed by the Manhattan Bridge. But for a less clichéd view, head to Green-Wood Cemetery to see the whole skyline.

One thing people get wrong...

Don’t let their sometimes brusque exterior fool you — most New Yorkers really look out for each other. Sure, they’ll get annoyed if you break certain social codes (spatial awareness helps), but the prevailing attitude is that we’re all in this together.

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People Also Ask

What is Brooklyn, NY, famous for?

Brooklyn is a byword for all things hip and trendy, thanks to its edgy art, dining, and nightlife scenes. Brooklyn is New York City’s most populous borough and has long been known for its diverse communities, brownstone buildings, green spaces like Prospect Park, and culinary highlights like coal-fired pizza.

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How do I spend a weekend in Brooklyn?

The best Brooklyn weekends mingle outdoor excursions with cultural pursuits. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge, visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and discover Coney Island’s shoreline amusements. Explore the art galleries and restaurants of Williamsburg and Bushwick, visit the Brooklyn Museum, and catch a Brooklyn Nets game.

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What activities are popular in Brooklyn?

Popular activities in Brooklyn include walking the Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Heights Promenade, exploring Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and going on a pizza tour. Sports fans frequent the Barclays Center, and summer visitors go to Coney Island and Brighton Beach.

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How do I spend a day in Williamsburg, Brooklyn?

Begin a Williamsburg day out by browsing the hip shops and cafés that line Bedford Avenue. In summer, get snacks at the Smorgasburg food court; in winter, cozy up with brunch at Pies and Thighs. Visit the waterfront Domino Park, drop by Brooklyn Brewery, and scope out street art murals.

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What is there to do in Brooklyn for free?

Brooklyn offers many free attractions. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Heights Promenade, visit Prospect Park, go on a self-led street art tour, explore the scenic Green-Wood Cemetery, and hit the beach and boardwalk at Coney Island. Some attractions, such as Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and Brooklyn Museum, have free admission days.

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Where should I avoid in Brooklyn?

Brooklyn is generally a safe place to visit, and most neighborhoods won’t pose safety issues. Because of the borough’s size and scale, focus on visiting the areas that are home to popular attractions: Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope, Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, Dumbo, and Bushwick are all good choices.

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