Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Brooklyn
- The Brooklyn Bridge spans about 6,000 feet (1,830 meters), and the walk across from Manhattan takes about 20 minutes.
- For a shot of Brooklyn's most popular photo op—a slice of the Manhattan Bridge between red-bricked buildings—head to the intersection of Washington and Water streets in DUMBO.
- Top views of the Lower Manhattan skyline can be seen from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.
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. Today crossing the Brooklyn Bridge is an essential New York experience. Visitors come in droves to admire the bridge’s dramatic neo-Gothic towers and the stellar views of Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn waterfront.
When sweltering summer temperatures hit the city, New Yorkers flock to this kitschy seaside resort. 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.
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.
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. For visitors, Christmastime here is something special, as locals put up colorful lights and decorations that draw visitors from all five boroughs and beyond.
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.
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.
A cultural beacon centrally located in New York's hippest borough, the Brooklyn Museum boasts a permanent collection of more than 1.5 million pieces and hosts several rotating exhibits yearly. The museum has a little of everything, from one of the largest Egyptian art holdings in the country to a robust American decorative arts collection.
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.
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a calming, 52-acre (21-hectare) oasis in the middle of a busy borough. Located adjacent to Prospect Park, the garden boasts an impressive selection of plants, flowers, and trees. The Children’s Garden addresses sustainability, while the Fragrance Garden encourages everyone to stop and smell the flowers.
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 Things to Do in Brooklyn
For some of New York City’s most famous chocolate treats, head to Jacques Torres Chocolate. Stop by the company’s flagship store in DUMBO, Brooklyn, or one of the other outlets around the city, and enjoy a variety of treats, from handmade truffles to mugs of luxurious hot chocolate and custom-made ice cream sandwiches.
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.
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.
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.
One of New York's favorite family-friendly destinations is the Brooklyn Children's Museum. Perfect for kids from 6 months to 8 years old, this interactive museum provides inclusive spaces, daily cultural and arts programs, and educational exhibits—from kid-sized stores in World Brooklyn to diorama habitats in Neighborhood Nature.
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.
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.
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.
Situated on the East River, between the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges, this former industrial site is home to numerous businesses, from jewelry makers to movie studios. The Brooklyn Navy Yard presents three floors of exhibitions, offers tours and tastings, and gives visitors the opportunity to buy Yard-made product at its gift shop.
Set on Atlantic Avenue in New York City’s borough of Brooklyn, the Barclays Center is an indoor arena staging top-tier entertainment and sports events. The striking-looking venue hosts the Brooklyn Nets basketball team, the New York Islanders ice hockey team, championship boxing, and concerts by premier music artists.
Offering everything from artisanal crafts to vintage clothes, Artists & Fleas is a weekend-only indoor market in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. As with its two NYC sister locations in Manhattan’s Soho and Chelsea neighborhoods, this flagship marketplace is a hot spot for curio-seekers, crafters, creatives, and souvenir hunters.
At the New York Transit Museum, visitors get a firsthand taste of the city’s history with vintage streetcars, historical photos, and rotating exhibits. Centrally located in a 1936 subway station in Downtown Brooklyn, the museum is popular with families for its hands-on, large-scale exhibits.
The major thoroughfare of Flatbush Avenue runs south through Brooklyn from the Manhattan Bridge to Jamaica Bay. Travel along the road to view multiple attractions, including Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, lively restaurants, art deco theaters, and historical neighborhoods such as Victorian-era Flatbush in the heart of Brooklyn.
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