Brooklyn is home to slightly more than 2.5 million people and is one of the 5 key areas of New York City. It is considered the most populated of all the five regions and is known as a top destination for tourists since it plays host to several interesting sites and destinations all of which are exciting and rival those in Manhattan.
Brooklyn also has a lot to offer in terms of sight-seeing and fun activities to engage in. From a simple walk across the iconic Brooklyn bridge to spending some time in a botanical garden, there are several ways you can spend your day while in Brooklyn.
In the event you are visiting Brooklyn for the first time and you feel a little overwhelmed by all the number of things to do then consider this shortlist for 12 things you should do while in Brooklyn.
Table of Contents
The twelves things are
1. A visit to the Brooklyn Bridge park
The Brooklyn Bridge was first open to the public back in 1883. It is only until the year 2008 that construction of the Brooklyn Bridge Park commenced. Previously, the site where the park is presently situated was designated as a ferry landing site and also as a trading post. Back then, the business was a boom right until the construction of the bridge kicked off. This in turn immediately halted the ferry industry overnight. In fact, only after the city started debating the sale of the ferry’s landing stages did the idea of the park become fully embraced. By March 2010, the very first 6 acres of Brooklyn Bridge Park was officially open to the public.
The park is a modern photographer’s dream spot. This is mainly because it guarantees breathe taking views of Manhattan’s skyline as well as that of the Brooklyn Bridge. As a matter of fact, George Washington is said to have stood in this area. This shows you the significance of this spot in the American revolution. Lastly, this same spot is also in the history books as the stage for the battle of Long Island.
In addition to the above, it is equally worth noting that the Brooklyn bridge links up Manhattan and Brooklyn hence its significance. The best part is, you can either choose to walk across it, drive across, bike across or simply choose to admire it from any one of the multiple vantage points scattered around the city. You should also know that the bridge has a dedicated pedestrian walkway that’s above the roaring car traffic below which makes the walk across such a wonderful stroll.
Everything taken into consideration, the Brooklyn Bridge is a must-see when visiting this area. As a matter of fact, not only is a visit to the bridge an enjoyable experience for visitors or tourists, even many locals still find themselves charmed by the sight of the bridge hence repeatedly making trips to it.
2. Enjoying a roller coaster ride at Coney Island and Lunch at prospect park
o Roller coaster ride at Coney Island
In case you are a huge fan of spending time outdoors, for instance, at the beach or in amusement parks then a trip to Coney Island would do you well. This is because Coney Island plays host to several amusement parks from where you can enjoy classic rides such as the Ferris wheels, roller coasters, bumper cars, etc. Keep in mind, Coney Island is also situated at the beach meaning while visiting you also have the opportunity to cool off by dipping your toes in the water when the day gets extremely hot. Latest actions taken by New York city have collectively been geared towards persevering the history of Coney Island. All the three key rides of Coney Island: The Cyclone Roller coaster, the parachute jump, and Wonder wheel Ferris have also been declared to be landmarks.
Coney Island though might seem like a world apart; it is simply a train ride away from Manhattan. Known to be busiest during the summer period, the Island plays host to an aquarium, minor league baseball team, an amphitheater as well as several great eats. Simply put, Coney Island is such a scenic stretch of Brooklyn that should feature prominently in any and every Brooklyn travel itinerary.
o Lunch at Prospect Park
First off, it is important to note that Prospect Park was designed by the same architects who planned for Central Park in Manhattan. With construction reportedly finished in back in 1867, the park has since served as an ideal spot for Bike rides, picnics as well as BBQs. Also situated at the park is the grand Army plaza. And at the entrance of the plaza is the famous soldiers and sailors arch that was unveiled in 1892 in dedication to soldiers of the Union army. The grand army plaza also plays host to a farmer’s market every weekend.
All of the above collectively should make the entire experience at Coney Island and Prospect Park worth remembering.
3. Visiting and learning about art at the Brooklyn Museum
When the Brooklyn Museum opened its doors to the public, the founders pictured a scenario where it would serve to allow for the collection and sharing of the rich artistic works from across the globe. And true to their word they managed to make that a reality. This is clearly evident from the fact that the museum plays host to slightly more than 1.5 million pieces. In fact, it is the city’s second-largest collection of art at the moment. With views of the constantly rotating African art, oceanic art, Japanese art, Egyptian art and even European art that are several decades and centuries-old be sure to learn a lot about ancient architectural materials from across the city. Before making your way into the museum, pause momentarily and state at that fun fountain at the entrance of this prestigious art museum. Though tours are available, it is important to note that the museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. For the rest of the week it is open until 6 pm in the evening except for Thursdays when it closes at 10pm.
4. Visiting the Brooklyn Navy Yard
Up until 1979, the historic Brooklyn navy yard used to serve as a working naval shipyard. At the moment, the yard serves as home to Rooftop Reds, the Brooklyn garage, and the County Distillery. It also plays host to a must-visit museum “the BLDG 92” that’s dedicated to the history and is usually open on the weekends. At the museum, they offer public tours, educational programs as well as access to archives. Feel free to check out the Brooklyn yard’s event page for more details about everything from bicycle tours to the famous trivia nights.
5. Visiting The New York Transit Museum
This museum is unique and is housed in a decommissioned subway station situated downtown of Brooklyn. One thing which makes the museum unique is the fact that it has a collection of vintage subway cars. As you step into the museum will promptly make you feel like you just stepped into a machine right from the moment you start perusing through the cars some of which date back to the year 1907. Through the museum’s exhibits and collections of memorabilia expect to learn more about the history of mass transportation within Brooklyn and the rest of New York City. In case you have your kids accompanying you, make it a point to attend any one of the many public programs meant for kids. Also, feel free to take advantage of the art programs and host tours amongst other events on offer at the same museum. Lastly, make sure that you check out the gift shop since it has some of the best transit themed souvenirs.
6. Go Shopping at the Brooklyn Flea market
Brooklyn flea is by far the city’s premier flea market regardless in spite of its location and is always busy in spite of the season. In fact, it is reported to have garnered massive media coverage more than an entire block of local stores in some of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods. Most of the people in the Big Apple who have a preference for vintage clothing or furniture know and frequent the Brooklyn flea. Part of the market’s huge success is attributed to the fact that it largely deals in high-quality merchandise. Simply put, regardless of whether you are interested in simply just browsing through the items on offer or if you are actually looking to shop then Brooklyn flea is a must stopover. It is one of the city’s top weekend destination throughout the year.
7. Seeing a Movie at the Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg
Nitehawk Cinema is Williamsburg’s dine-in theater. It features an array of cinematic treats from the rarely seen 35 mm films to the new independent features. In fact, this year, Nitehawk cinema is expected to open its second location somewhere in park slope just across from Prospect Park. In case, you are interested in an alternative movie theater from where you can eat and drink then get a ticket for a show at the syndicated which is situated in neighboring Bushwick. It serves as a suitable alternative since it plays both first run as well as retro movies.
8. Smelling Flowers at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
A visit to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a must-do. Depending on the time of the year, expect to freely walk through the Cherry Esplanade, the Magnolia Plaza, the Cranford Rose Garden, the Shakespeare Garden, the Fragrance Garden among many others. Consider the botanic garden a great place to make some truly brag-worthy photos while in Brooklyn.
9. Visiting the Animals at the Prospect Park Zoo
Visiting the prospect zoo is yet another must-do. Open all year round, the zoo features a petting zoo as well as several exhibit areas. In case you were accompanied by the rest of your family then a visit to the zoo will provide the much desired bonding session particularly for you and your children. This is mainly because it has several wonderful outdoor and indoor exhibits specially tailored for little ones.
10. Skating at Lakeside
Lakeside Prospect Park is estimated to cover at least 26 acres. It offers year-round fun activities and other special events that include ice and roller skating, biking and even boating. On weekend nights, the roller rink is known to the Lola Star’s Dreamland Roller Disco with themed nights that range from Emo Prom to Party like It’s 1999. Also common is the Prince Themed Skate Night.
11. Attending a Show at the Bell House
Attending a show at the Bell House is perfect for when you don’t have any evening plans. Situated at the Gowanus section, the bell house is famously known as the best spot to go and see comedy skirts as well as concerts. In case, that is something that interest you then check their calendar for a detailed list of shows or events lined up. It is also here than game shows from NPR as well as WNYC are recorded.
12. Exploring Street Art in Bushwick
Situated in a decommissioned warehouse, Bushwick’s walls are filled with some of the best art pieces in Brooklyn. In case you are an art enthusiast, then a visit to the Bushwick is a must-do. In fact, to enjoy exploring street art, it is advised that you dedicate an entire day. Start your street tour at Bushwick’s collective along Troutman street that’s on St Nicholas Avenue. Here you will have the opportunity to explore colorful murals that have been painted on the walls of neighboring blocks.
Even though this is the stretch of Bushwick that’s commonly associated with street art, you should know that there are alternative notable murals scattered elsewhere in the neighborhood. For instance, there are notable murals in Bushwick that are in East Williamsburg border right next to Morgan Avenue. Feel free to stroll through this section of Bushwick as well. Just remember to make stops at friends NYC that’s on Bogart street. Here, besides getting vintage threads expect to come across a collection of new clothes as well as jewelry even as you continue walking through the street art of Bushwick. Right from the moment, you will set foot in Bushwick expect to develop a feeling similar to that of having stepped into the world’s best museum.