In October, The Daily Beast declared Ridgewood as America’s coolest neighborhood. When I first read the article, I thought, really?!
Ridgewood, a neighborhood in Queens that butts up against the hipster-cool Bushwick, has always been the neighborhood that I never really even noticed I was in when I was actually in it.
So, is Ridgewood actually cool?
Nestled on the border of Queens, this under-the-radar gem has been whispered about among the hipster circles, igniting debates over its true coolness factor. Join me as we unveil the secrets and uncover the truth about whether Ridgewood is actually cool.
5 Things That Make Ridgewood Oh-So-Cool
(and even though it’s a Queens neighborhood, Ridgewood is actually maybe Brooklyn’s coolest neighborhood)
Ridgewood — An Artist Epicenter
Ridgewood, my friends, is a canvas of creativity. From its unassuming streets to its hidden corners, artistic expressions blossom in unexpected places.
Be prepared to stumble upon awe-inspiring murals adorning building facades and mind-boggling installations that transform mundane alleyways into immersive experiences. It’s like a never-ending open-air gallery, inviting you to explore and appreciate the raw artistic talent that permeates Ridgewood’s DNA.
Even the streets that aren’t covered in street art have their own special kind of artistic appeal. Street art in Ridgewood is still evolving; if you want the coolest Brooklyn street art, the Bushwick Collective murals around the Jefferson L stop are still the best.
Foodie Delights in Ridgewood
One cannot truly assess the coolness of a neighborhood without delving into its culinary scene. Fear not, fellow foodies, for Ridgewood is here to impress! The neighborhood boasts a diverse range of gastronomic experiences, catering to every palate.
Sample mouthwatering empanadas from local family-owned joints, or treat your taste buds to delectable vegan delicacies from trendy cafes. And let’s not forget about the neighborhood’s burgeoning craft beer scene, where you can sip on unique brews while engaging in lively conversations with the locals.
A Strong Community
Ridgewood may be small in size, but it’s big on community spirit! Warm and welcoming, this neighborhood offers a tight-knit atmosphere that will make you feel right at home.
Visit the local farmers market and strike up conversations with the farmers, or join one of the neighborhood’s many street fairs to experience the true essence of Ridgewood’s vibrant community.
Whether you’re engaging in lively debates at a coffee shop or cheering alongside neighbors at a local sports event, Ridgewood fosters a sense of togetherness that is nothing short of heartwarming.
Ridgewood — A Fun Place to Explore & Wander
In Ridgewood, the mundane quickly transforms into the extraordinary. You’ll find yourself stumbling upon hidden speakeasies tucked away behind unassuming storefronts, secret gardens blooming with colorful flowers, and whimsical boutiques that hold treasures you won’t find anywhere else.
The thrill of discovery is part of Ridgewood’s allure, with surprises waiting to be found around every corner. Embrace the spontaneity and let the neighborhood’s mysterious charm sweep you off your feet.
Personally, I like taking the L train to Bushwick, usually getting off the subway around Maria Hernandez Park and then making my way east into Ridgewood.
Exploring Ridgwood: My Favorite 10 Places to Visit: Bars, Restaurants, Shopping, & Nightclubs
- Rolo’s: Start your Ridgewood adventure at Rolo’s, a trendy coffee shop that sets the perfect tone for the neighborhood’s cool vibe. Sip on a handcrafted espresso while immersing yourself in the artistic ambiance and striking up conversations with local creatives.
- Purgatory: Ready for a bizarre night out? Start at Purgatory, a queer (gay-friendly) bar and live music venue on the edge of Highland Park. It’s technically in the Bushwick part of Brooklyn, but it’s such a vibe and aesthetic, I always assume it’s in Ridgewood.
- Sundown Bar: When the sun begins to set, make your way to Sundown Bar, an inviting watering hole that exudes a relaxed atmosphere. Enjoy a refreshing cocktail or locally brewed beer while basking in the cozy ambiance and mingling with fellow local Ridgewood dwellers. They have some of the best cocktails in the neighborhood.
- Trans-Pecos: Calling all music lovers! Trans-Pecos is an intimate music venue that hosts an array of underground shows and performances. Immerse yourself in the eclectic sounds of emerging artists, embracing the unique musical energy that Ridgewood is known for.
- Blessed Buy Basement Thrift: Discover a treasure trove of vintage wonders at Blessed Buy Basement Thrift. This basement thrift store gem offers an ever-changing selection of clothing, furniture, and quirky collectibles. Let your imagination run wild as you explore the (often very messy) aisles and uncover unexpected treasures.
- Milo’s Yard: Craving some al fresco relaxation? Head to Milo’s Yard, a charming dive bar with a pool table and juke box perfect for enjoying a laid-back afternoon of day drinking.
- Cozy Corner Bar: Wrap up your Ridgewood adventure with a visit to Cozy Corner Bar, a neighborhood institution loved by locals. This unassuming dive bar is a welcoming spot to unwind, sip on a cold beer, and engage in spirited conversations with Ridgewood’s friendly residents.
- Nowadays: Experience Ridgewood’s vibrant nightlife at Nowadays, a beloved outdoor venue offering a unique blend of music, drinks, and community. Dance the night away under the stars, enjoy delicious food from local vendors, and connect with like-minded individuals in this lively setting. My favorite party? Mister Sunday which takes place every Sunday in the summer, from the afternoon to just past sunset. I once saw celebrity gay journalist Ronan Farrow at the club.
- The Deep End: Dive into Ridgewood’s most vibey gay dive bar. Underneath the bar is the club/event space H0LO which hosts various LGBTQ parties each month.
- Bonus Room: This dive bar right on Wyckoff Ave is a fun chill spot to hang with friends. With multiple TVs and a pool table in the upper area in the back of the bar, a lot of people come here to watch whatever sports are happening that day.
After delving deep into the enchanting world of Ridgewood, it’s safe to say that this hidden Brooklyn (err, actually Queens—but let’s say Brooklyn) neighborhood gem truly lives up to its cool reputation.
With its thriving art scene, tantalizing culinary offerings, strong community spirit, and delightful surprises, Ridgewood has all the ingredients to make any traveler swoon.
So, fellow adventurers, pack your sense of curiosity and embark on your own exploration of Ridgewood – a neighborhood that exudes coolness in its own unique way. It’s time to uncover the secrets and create memories in this unpretentious haven on the edge between Brooklyn & Queens.
Remember, the true coolness of a neighborhood lies not just in its reputation but in the experiences and connections you forge along the way. Ridgewood awaits, ready to surprise and delight you at every turn.