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Brooklyn, NY Travel Guide
Welcome to Brooklyn, the vibrant borough that pulses with creativity, diversity, and a unique blend of cultures. Nestled on the western end of Long Island, Brooklyn is a borough of New York City that captures the essence of urban living while embracing its rich history and community spirit. From the iconic brownstones to the bustling streets, Brooklyn offers an eclectic mix of attractions, culinary delights, and artistic treasures that make it a must-visit destination for travelers from around the world.
The ultimate guide to the coolest things to do and see in Brooklyn, NY
One of the defining features of Brooklyn is its diverse neighborhoods, each with its own distinct personality. Williamsburg, often hailed as the epitome of Brooklyn’s hipster culture, is a neighborhood that seamlessly blends old-world charm with contemporary cool. It’s also a favorite spot for cute dates.
Here, you’ll find an array of independent boutiques, artisanal coffee shops, and farm-to-table restaurants. Williamsburg also boasts a thriving nightlife scene, with numerous bars and music venues, including many welcoming LGBTQ+ bars, clubs, and venues that contribute to Brooklyn’s vibrant queer culture.
Adjacent to Williamsburg, Greenpoint offers a more laid-back atmosphere with its tree-lined streets and waterfront parks. This neighborhood is home to a mix of Polish heritage and creative energy, boasting charming cafes, vintage shops, and an array of delicious eateries. Head over to McCarren Park, a local favorite, for picnics, outdoor concerts, and even a public pool during the summer months.
Further south, you’ll find Bedford-Stuyvesant, commonly known as Bed-Stuy, a neighborhood with a rich African-American history and a burgeoning arts scene. Take a stroll along its historic brownstone-lined streets, and you’ll be captivated by the sense of community and the vibrant street art adorning the walls. Bed-Stuy is a neighborhood that embraces its cultural heritage while welcoming new waves of residents and businesses.
Bushwick, located east of Williamsburg, has emerged as a thriving artistic hub, attracting young artists, musicians, and creatives from all over. This dynamic neighborhood is known for its vibrant street art from the Bushwick Collective, warehouse galleries, and a bustling nightlife. Explore its many hip cafes, dive bars, and artisanal food spots that embody the trendy, alternative vibe that Brooklyn is famous for.
Crown Heights, located in central Brooklyn, boasts a rich cultural tapestry with a mix of Caribbean and Hasidic Jewish influences. This diverse neighborhood offers a vibrant culinary scene, with an array of Caribbean and kosher eateries. Don’t miss the beautiful Brooklyn Museum and the sprawling Prospect Park, where you can enjoy outdoor activities or attend one of the many events and festivals that take place throughout the year.
Moving west, you’ll encounter Park Slope, a family-friendly neighborhood known for its charming brownstones, leafy streets, and proximity to Prospect Park. Park Slope is home to a vibrant community of artists, writers, and young professionals. Explore the neighborhood’s quaint boutiques, cozy cafes, and local bookstores, and soak in the relaxed atmosphere that makes it a beloved destination for residents and visitors alike.
Lastly, Downtown Brooklyn is the bustling heart of the borough, with its impressive skyline and vibrant energy. Here, you’ll find a mix of shops, theaters, and restaurants, as well as cultural institutions like the Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). The area offers a perfect blend of contemporary urban living and historical charm, showcasing the evolution of Brooklyn over the years.
Brooklyn truly encapsulates the spirit of a modern metropolis with its diverse neighborhoods, thriving arts scene, and an abundance of culinary experiences. Whether you’re a hipster seeking out the latest trends or a traveler in search of authentic cultural encounters, Brooklyn welcomes you with open arms. So, come and explore the streets of this borough that never ceases to amaze, and let the vibrant tapestry of Brooklyn leave an indelible mark on your heart.
Hipster Brooklyn: A Local’s Guide to the Best Things To Do
I’ve lived in Brooklyn since 2018, moving to the borough knowing that its hipster days from the early aughts were long ago, but thinking it still was cool. As soon as I moved to Brooklyn, I realized Brooklyn is still the coolest part of New York City, and still very hipster and trendy.
Here’s a list of 10 hipster things to do in various neighborhoods across Brooklyn, including the specific hipster hotspots of Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick.
1. Explore Street Art in Bushwick
Bushwick is known for its vibrant street art scene. Take a self-guided tour to discover murals and graffiti by local and international artists, especially around the Bushwick Collective area.
2. Visit Smorgasburg
Smorgasburg is a popular food market that takes place in Williamsburg and Prospect Park (seasonal). Enjoy a wide range of delicious and eclectic dishes from local vendors.
3. Shop at Artists & Fleas
Located in Williamsburg, Artists & Fleas is an indoor marketplace where local artisans and designers sell their handmade and vintage goods, including clothing, jewelry, and art.
4. Take a Stroll in McCarren Park
Enjoy some greenery and people-watching at McCarren Park in Greenpoint. It’s a great spot for picnics, outdoor activities, and catching local vibes. Personally, I love the Saturday farmer’s market in the park—a great spot to buy flowers, fresh bread, or fruits & veggies. It’s fun to pick up picnic food supplies and then sit in the park and people-watch, especially across from the running track where there a lot of hotties!
5. Attend a Concert at Brooklyn Steel
This music venue in East Williamsburg hosts a variety of concerts and events featuring both established and emerging artists. Check their schedule for upcoming shows.
6. Sip Craft Cocktails at a Speakeasy
Brooklyn has its fair share of speakeasy-style bars. Places like The Cactus Shop in Williamsburg (in the back of a plant shop) or The Hidden Pearl in Greenpoint offer unique cocktail experiences in hidden settings. The Hidden Pearl is located in the back of restaurant Wanpaku and you can order the same dishes to eat at the bar. Very cool vibes and great for a Brooklyn date night!
7. Visit the Nitehawk Cinema
In Williamsburg, the Nitehawk Cinema combines the hipster love for movies and cheap drinks and dining. Watch a film while enjoying a meal and cocktails served to your seat. They do regular film series, including scary movie nights during Halloween season, and also fun brunches. I once saw the movie Clueless during brunch where the whole theater practically spoke the movie line-for-line. So fun!
8. Explore Vintage Shops in Greenpoint
Greenpoint has several vintage shops selling everything from used furniture to clothing, gifts, music records, or other bric-a-brac. Awoke Vintage at the northern end of McCarren Park sets up on the sidewalk outside of the park almost every weekend with large street sales. I also really like the Dobbin Street Vintage Co-op where I am always looking for new furniture and other home accessories.
Shopping in Brooklyn is always fun and you can hunt for unique clothing and accessories to add a retro touch to your hipster style from a local hipster shop in the world’s most hipster city!
9. Bike the Williamsburg Bridge
Rent a bike and take a ride across the Williamsburg Bridge, which offers beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline. It’s a great way to explore the area and get some exercise. It’s relatively easy to rent a Citibike for this popular route; I’d just recommend getting an e-bike which makes the climb up the bridge much easier.
10. Take a Brewery Tour
Remember that Brooklyn is a diverse borough with a wide range of activities and neighborhoods to explore. These suggestions should give you a good starting point for experiencing the hipster culture across Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick, but don’t be afraid to wander and discover hidden gems on your own.
The beauty of Brooklyn is its great for a walk (even a midnight walk!), so just get out and wander to explore on your own. That’s also one of the best ways to see new street art murals.
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