The 20 Best Things to Do in Brooklyn, New York

Located at the west end of Long Island, Brooklyn shares a land border with Queens and it can be reached by bridge or tunnel.  Brooklyn has grown to become a hot spot for the arts and for its beautiful luscious green parks and gardens.  Check out these 20 popular attractions to create a memorable vacation, be it a short or long one.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Brooklyn Botanic Garden conservatory and plant in New York City, U.S.A

One of America’s oldest and best gardens is The Brooklyn Botanic Garden, located inside Prospect Park and hosts more than 1 million annual visitors.

 It features more than 10,000 plants from around the world that are grouped into themed areas like Butterfly World and Gardens for a Changing Climate. 

With tours, events, and activities for kids and adults seasonally, this is the perfect place to visit the entire family.  You will not find a more beautiful place in Brooklyn, New York than this, so bring your cameras and snap away!

Address: 990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225

Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Manhattan’s Brooklyn Heights is as classic as it gets when it comes to New York. This neighborhood has been featured in countless films and books and is a great destination for long walks by the water. 

There are lots of benches to sit and enjoy a quick bite and relax.  The view from Brooklyn Heights Promenade is unbeatable. Grab a coffee and head up for an afternoon stroll.  

Dumbo

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – MAY 4, 2020: Iconic Manhattan Bridge and Empire State Building view from Washington Street in Brooklyn, New York

Dumbo is a neighborhood located in Brooklyn and is one of New York City’s oldest neighborhoods. The name Dumbo is a shortening of the Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass.

It comprises about 130 acres that are mainly waterfront and extends from Atlantic Avenue south to Vinegar Hill and Cadman Plaza West east to Atlantic Avenue. The main streets are connected by promenades overlooking both Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn. 

Topped by new luxury residences, cobblestone streets connect Red Hook with Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

You can also find great restaurants to stop and enjoy a delicious piece of Brooklyn with local eats and drinks.   

Dyker Heights

New York, USA , December 27, 2017. Famous giant Christmas decorations of houses in the neighborhood of Dyker Heights, in southwest of Brooklyn

This is one of Brooklyn’s most famous neighborhoods, its located in southwestern Brooklyn and is characterized by its Victorian homes.  

If you get the chance to visit around the holidays, it will be a real treat!  The majority of homeowners take it upon themselves to present unique, dazzling, beautiful holiday displays and lights, making it such a joy to walk by that you probably won’t even feel the cold. 

It has become such an event that now there are food trucks strategically parked so you can get a hot cup of cocoa or coffee to keep you warm as you continue your venture.   

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Manhattan Downtown urban view with Brooklyn bridge in sunset

The Brooklyn Bridge Park has become a local favorite for both morning runs and afternoon strolls along the East River Shoreline.  

You can enjoy year-round activities such as boat launching, fishing, swimming, a pebble beach, and the historic Jane Carousel.  The grounds also contain sports fields, basketball courts, basketball courts, and several concessions.  

Bring a blanket, enjoy a nice quiet picnic, and enjoy the beautiful views.

Williamsburg

Brooklyn street scene with block of buildings near the Williamsburg Bridge in New York City

Williamsburg is a neighborhood heavily influenced by artists and recent college graduates in the early 1990s. With their influence, the area has become one of the most popular in Brooklyn, with excellent restaurants, bars, and shopping.

In 2014 a High School Senior won a “Lost Time” photography contest out of  255,000 art submissions to The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.  Colossal Media was able to bring his photography to life in partnership with the Alliance for young artists and writers.

The depiction was so perfectly and tastefully done that it was dubbed the Mona Lisa of Williamsburg. Take the time to venture out into the neighborhood to appreciate the street art that Williamsburg has to offer in Brooklyn, New York.

Luna Park in Coney Island

NEW YORK CITY – OCTOBER 11, 2015: Luna Park with unidentified people. Its an amusement park in Coney Island opened on May 29, 2010 at the former site of Astroland, named after original park from 1903

Luna Park is a staple of Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York. It’s one of two amusement parks that have been around since 1903 and is home to the famous Cyclone and Thunderbolt Roller Coasters.

Luna Park offers an array of options for all-day fun with its selection of kiddie rides and arcade games. If you want to ensure your day is packed with adventure and excitement, Luna Park is where you want to be but try to get there early to avoid the long lines for rides.

Address: 1000 Surf Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11224

Brooklyn Museum

Exterior view of the Brooklyn Museum Fountain on a sunny Spring day in Brooklyn, NY

The Brooklyn Museum is a top-notch museum that houses some of history’s most exciting works of art. Visit it, and you’ll find objects from many famous artists such as Picasso and Andy Warhol.

The museum has been open since 1897 and is housed in a striking brownstone building on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn Heights. When you visit, you will discover what makes Brooklyn unique among cities: its people, culture, and history.

Address: 200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Brooklyn Brewery

Young bearded brewery worker with glass of beer evaluating its visual characteristics after preparation while working in processing plant

The Brooklyn Brewery is a thriving microbrewery known for its diverse beer portfolio. 

A quick and convenient trip from Manhattan via subway or water taxi, the brewery offers an engaging experience for first-time visitors, who can enjoy craft beer tastings paired with delicious food and take a tour that explains how beer is made.

Breweries like Brooklyn Brewery have helped make New York City an international hub for breweries of all sizes.

Address: 79 N 11th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Prospect Park

Bridge in The Prospect Park , Brooklyn, USA

Situated at 4th Avenue and East 9th Street, Prospect Park covers over 800 acres of Brooklyn. The park offers a variety of activities and sights for visitors to enjoy.

 A zoo, an Audubon center, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art are included in this park.  Its rolling hills and trees add an element of beauty that is hard to rival by any other park in Brooklyn, New York.

Walk down its paved roads or stroll around any of its several lakes for a scenic view, go bird watching, play ball, and listen to outdoor concerts.  

95 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, NY 11215

New York Transit Museum

Brooklyn NY – USA – Jul 9 2019: Vintage subway train car in New York Transit Museum located in downtown Brooklyn

If you love history, then you will enjoy visiting The New York Transit Museum, which offers a great collection of New York subway and related relics in a unique underground venue.

The subway system still connects to this museum, so it’s easy to rotate exhibits. you can expect to see restored subway cars in the repurposed station and historical photographs that showcase how the system was built and how they have evolved over the years.

Also covered are the trolleys (horse-drawn and electric) and bus systems —a must-see for any transit and NYC history fan.

Address: 99 Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Barclays Center

NEW YORK CITY – AUGUST 30, 2016: Pedestrians pass under the distinctive architecture of the Barclays Center, a recently constructed sports and entertainment complex in Brooklyn.

The Barclays Center is a world-class sports and entertainment arena located in downtown Brooklyn. Opened on September 28, 2012, it is owned by Brooklyn’s two major professional sports franchises: The NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and NHL’s New York Islanders. 

However, Barclays Center also hosts many other events such as concerts and family shows throughout each year. Events like Britney Spears, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez can all be seen at Barclays Center.

Address: 620 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

East River Ferry

New York City, USA – March 19, 2017: Tourist boats on East River in front of Manhattan, A East River ferry boat travels the Hudson River

New York City’s ferry service runs seven days a week and provides access to numerous attractions for tourists.  For those looking to take in some of Brooklyn’s best sights without walking too far, hopping on one of these ferries is a great way to get around town.

The magnificent views of the city are also excellent and photo-worthy at $2.75 per ticket; what better way to enjoy being on the water with amazing views.

From: 54th Ave on 2nd St, Long Island City, NY 11101

To:   Pier 11,  Gouverneur Lane at South Street, F.D.R. Drive, Manhattan, NY 10005et 

Brooklyn Heights

Row of Colorful Old Brownstone Homes in Prospect Heights Brooklyn along a Sidewalk during Autumn

Just north of Manhattan but with a decidedly slower pace, Brooklyn Heights is another charming neighborhood that adds to Brooklyn’s eclectic mix. 

The neighborhood—home to many writers and artists (and therefore often called America’s first suburb)—is also known for its historic buildings and a wide array of bars and restaurants. 

You should visit Brooklyn Heights if you like: drinking good beer, literary history; old churches; or just getting away from it all for a day.

Brighton Beach

New York / USA – September 19 2019: store with russian books, music and souvenirs at Brighton Beach. Russian district in New York

Brooklyn’s Little Russia is a neighborhood of high-rises, old-school restaurants and shops, and—of course—gorgeous beaches. If you’re looking for an awesome place to relax after wandering around New York City all day, Brighton Beach is where you should go. 

Smorgasburg-Prospect Park

Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg has become a must-see when visiting New York. Located at Williamsburg waterfront and Prospect Park, Smorgasburg has over 100 different vendors of foods from all over New York.

Some vendors come from around the world, serving tasty dishes, including vegan meals.  Arrive early (before 11 am when the food trucks open for business) to mark your spot as it gets super crowded.  

Address: Breeze Hill, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY 11225

Industry City

Once a sprawling industrial hub for shipping and manufacturing, Industry City is now a 3.2 million-square-foot office complex hosting more than 1,000 small businesses.

It’s also home to plenty of shops and restaurants that are sure to please any Brooklyn visitor’s taste.   Check out their website for workshops, concerts, and special events.

New York Aquarium

Located on Brooklyn’s scenic Atlantic Avenue waterfront and featuring more than 100 species of aquatic wildlife from around the world, New York Aquarium is a true urban oasis. 

Home to many threatened and endangered animals such as sea otters, California sea lions, and harbor seals, you’ll also find more than 1 million fish here.   

Address: 602 Surf Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11224

Fort Greene

Fort Greene is a historic Brooklyn neighborhood encompassing two sections. The Fort Greene Historic District comprised 98 acres and was developed between 1838 and 1840 as a residential area for middle-class families. 

Today it’s home to many of Brooklyn’s most notable cultural institutions, including The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), which hosts film festivals and concerts.

The Pratt Institute is one of America’s oldest art schools, and Fort Greene Park is one of Brooklyn’s largest green spaces with its ice skating rink.

Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch

Brooklyn is home to a few significant attractions (Coney Island and Prospect Park), but it’s also filled with hidden gems. 

One such gem is the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch, one of many Civil War monuments scattered throughout Brooklyn. For both locals and tourists alike, it provides beautiful views of New York Harbor. 

Address: 20 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Conclusion

There you have it! 20 reasons to visit Brooklyn, New York.  Take your time to enjoy the museums, gardens, and historic buildings and all that Brooklyn has to offer as it can be a breath of fresh air from the busy New York City life.