Brooklyn, The Borough of Homes and Churches, The Borough of Trees, whatever name feels right for you, is a diverse and vibrant locality in the south of New York City. From lush, green gardens to fun parks and even the sea, Brooklyn is full of many fun activities to suit all ages. As you step off the train, bus or car from Manhattan, it will feel like a completely different part of the world; a family orientated area and much more relaxed overall than Manhattan or other inner city areas.
If you are considering visiting Brooklyn, but have seen the wealth of options of activities available, do not look any further. Below is a list comprised of the 10 best things to do while in Brooklyn and it will allow you to cover every aspect of this wonderful Borough at least once.
10 Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge
Before you even step foot in Brooklyn, you will have the option to cross the world-famous Brooklyn Bridge. Whether it is by foot, car or bike, it is a must-do activity when visiting New York. Connecting the Boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, the bridge has a separate walk-way so if you decide to walk or bike, you can have the peace-of-mind of not getting in the way of a car.
It may be a long walk or bike, and if you would rather appreciate its beauty from afar, there are many viewpoints for you to take in the surroundings.
9 Pizza in Dumbo
If you know pizza, you will know Brooklyn pizza is one of the most famous variations in the world. Pair it with the once industrial region of Dumbo, and you have the perfect combination of food and unforgettable views. After crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, it is the first locality you will come across and is known as the hip, trendy part of Brooklyn, with St. Ann’s Warehouse Theatre and the world-famous Pizzeria Grimaldi at your disposal.
The area may also look familiar, even if you have not yet traveled there, and you would be correct, as it has featured in many films and TV series.
8 Brooklyn Botanic Gardens
Located in Crown Heights, the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens provides the perfect opportunity to escape your thoughts and enter tranquillity among the chirping birds and blossoming flowers. Established in 1910, the gardens cover 52 acres and are most famous for the Sakura Matsuri Festival where over 70 trees come to life with vivacious and robust flowers, bringing joy and peace to visitors.
The Botanic Gardens are also the home of the first ever Japanese themed garden throughout the United States, rightfully named the ‘Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden’.
7 Brooklyn Navy Yard
Serving the US Navy until 1979, the Brooklyn Navy Yard now serves as a rooftop bar, restaurant and a museum. This makes for an in-depth view of naval history in America proceeded by a drink and nibbles in an open-style industrial setting.
If you find your peace in a setting like this, you will be happy to know that there are many activities in this immediate area to keep you occupied for as long as you like. Eat, drink, learn, or quiz yourself, fate is in your hands.
6 New York Transit Museum
Step back in time at the New York Transit Museum. Set in an appropriate location, a retired subway station, the museum adds to the overall mix of the industrial and hipster feel of Brooklyn. A few hours at this museum will open your eyes to the progress of transport in the city of New York, and I definitely recommend taking a tour around, as the technicalities of trains and transit vehicles cannot be explained by the average Joe.
If you have kids, no problems, the museum offers tours and art programs, among other events to keep them occupied.
5 Drinks with a view
Northern Territory, an Australian themed rooftop bar, is the perfect setting to take in the panoramic Manhattan skyline, followed by a scintillating sunset. You would be mad not to try a classic Aussie meat pie, or lamb lollies, but if that is not your thing, then don’t worry, they have you covered with a wide variety of cocktails, frozen drinks and other alcoholic beverages.
Northern Territory is where you will find me after a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, guaranteed.
4 Salvage at Brooklyn Flea
Brooklyn Flea Markets is a staple of the area and is loved by locals and tourists. The markets themselves move around the Borough, however, they run year-round and is regarded as one of the leading flea markets in New York. This is due to the high quality of artifacts and vintage items for sale, and anyone who has attended a flea market before knows that this is not quite the case in most places.
Brooklyn’s hip and happening locals come out in force for these markets and it makes for a very entertaining and enjoyable browse through some excellent items.
Once a place for struggling artists, Williamsburg has fast become the epicenter of Brooklyn’s individualistic, or ‘indi’, and hipster culture. Locals were not happy when ‘conventional’ society made a successful push to have their stores in the town, such as Apple and Starbucks.
Despite the rift between the hipster and mainstream societies, Williamsburg locals have found a way to make it work, and what a job they have done, with a massive food hall, Whole Foods opening, and Bedford Avenue maintaining their indie way of life while incorporating aspects of mainstream society.
2 Coney Island
If you are visiting Manhattan prior to Coney Island, you will be stunned at how much of a difference in the atmosphere there is between the two areas. One concrete jungle, always busy and people rushing, compared to that of the sea, tranquil, open and people strolling along minding their own business.
Now, it is not to say you shouldn’t visit Manhattan, you would be crazy not to, but there is a significant difference between the two areas which are only a train ride away from each other. Aside from soaking up the sun on the free public beach, you can visit the aquarium, theatre, or walking along the Coney boardwalk taking in the serenity.
1 Thrift Shopping
Much like a trip to Manhattan is not complete without visiting Central Park, Lady Liberty of the Empire State Building, you have not properly visited Brooklyn until you have experienced the true art of thrift shopping.
There is one store in particular store called ‘L Train Vintage’ that sells affordable, hip clothing, all with entertaining stories behind them. Don’t worry, they have clothes for both sexes, and if one store doesn’t have what you want, then the other will Jeans for $5? We think yes!