18 THINGS TO DO IN BROOKLYN: A FIRST-TIMER’S GUIDE

While the glitz and the glam of New York City draws in plenty of visitors, I tempt you to head over to trendy and vibey Brooklyn. With fabulous museums, remarkable vintage markets and great parks to enjoy year-round, Brooklyn is cool and ready to be seen by you. 

Home to iconic New York landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge, Prospect Park and much more, Brooklyn is the best. There is no shortage of great bars, delicious restaurants and chic cafes lining the streets, so get ready to be entertained in the various neighborhoods of Brooklyn! 

Whether you walk along the water’s edge or stop by Dumbo, be fully enthralled and fall in love with this unique and popular spot that so many call home!

Here are 18 things to do in Brooklyn that you’re not going to want to miss!

18 THINGS TO DO IN BROOKLYN: A FIRST-TIMER’S GUIDE

BROOKLYN MUSEUM

Explore cultures and societies from around the world at the Brooklyn Museum. Set along Prospect Park, this Brooklyn institution provides artistic treasures and significant artifacts for all to enjoy.

With a huge collection of Egyptian art, roam the rooms and find something that inspires and interests you. This museum is constantly rotating main exhibits, so check online to see if anything checks your boxes. While the Brooklyn Museum stands with some of the greatest museums in New York City, this museum has significantly less crowds, so you’ll feel free to stroll the halls and take your time enjoying art.

In our opinion, there are two great money-saving options for exploring NYC. If this is your first visit then opt for the New York CityPASS. It offers five popular tourist stops for one low price. If this isn’t your first visit, you are staying for more than a few days, or you are with kids and need a lot more flexibility then opt for the New York Sightseeing Pass. Pick Day Passes or the FLEX Pass, and then select from over 150 different attractions, big and small.

BROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN

Are you looking for a little peace and quiet among the bustling and flourishing streets of Brooklyn? Then pop over to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden where you can enjoy a serene oasis among hectic life. With different types of flowers, bushes, and trees to marvel and enjoy, walk the paths or sit under the warm sun, breathing in fresh air.

In the spring, take to the garden and watch as the crowds gather to watch the blooms along the Cherry Esplanade. Afterwards, wander through the first Japanese-inspired garden built in the U.S. and admire plenty of brightly colored plants throughout this amazing space! 

CONEY ISLAND

Experience a classic American Amusement Park at Coney Island. Soar the New York skies on thrilling rides and eat Nathan’s Hot Dogs at the city’s most exciting playgrounds. While Coney Island has gone through years of change and evolution, Luna Park has shed new light and brought upon exciting times.  

Walk the loud and vivacious boardwalk, pop into unique shops and enjoy summer movies series at this New York hot spot. Travel through time and experience life like it once was before the turn of the century. 

BROOKLYN BRIDGE

Get your cameras ready and walk the famous Brooklyn Bridge, which connects Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Heights. With its beautiful design and iconic stature, this structure is known throughout New York and America. 

Whether you go for a casual stroll along a part of the bridge or cruise on bike, this is a site to see. To avoid big crowds, I highly suggest going early in the morning or late at night. Afterwards, pop into Dumbo for lunch or dinner and enjoy views of the New York skyline. 

Looking for online tickets to attractions or cool tours offering insider info? Get Your Guide is our go-to resource for online purchases. Yes, there are a lot of NYC tours listed on their site…but here are the 7 most popular. They have sensational ratings, but book them now because they do go fast!

BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK

Sit on the Brooklyn waterfront and enjoy over 85 acres of unique and quirky attractions in one of Brooklyn’s best parks. From the park’s World War II memorial to a restored 1920’s merry go round, Brooklyn Bridge Park offers its visitors the chance to honor history in the present. 

Stop by Pilot at 6 Pier for a delicious cocktail on one of America’s most prized wooden Schooners. Get in that summer feeling with cold drinks, outdoor sports, and great company. Stroll the water’s edge and enjoy city living within a this park paradise.

A visit here is one of the absolute best things to do in Brooklyn!

PROSPECT PARK

Right next to Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Brooklyn Museum sits the large green space of Prospect Park. Located in the heart of Brooklyn, this park is the perfect place to work out, hang out or have a picnic on a sunny afternoon. 

With an impressive little zoo and plenty of summertime events, Prospect Park is adored by locals and tourists. Meander through the pretty neighborhood of Park Slope before entering the park to enjoy a good book or get some exercise. From people watching to outdoor games, sit within the bustling city and take in the world around you. 

NEW YORK TRANSIT MUSEUM

Hop on board and visit the largest urban public transportation museum in the U.S., at the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn. Understand your way around New York’s Metropolitan system and see how innovation and technology plays a role in American history. With exhibits, tours, and lots of educational programs, see the transportation system up close and relive history. 

Set within an old Brooklyn Heights subway station, see old cars, look at wonderful photographs and grasp the atmosphere within this inspiring museum. You’ll learn how tunnels were constructed and learn more about the vintage train carts.

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS PROMENADE

Have you been searching for the best panoramic views of the city? Well, the secret’s out and it’s time to get to Brooklyn Heights Promenade! With views of the Manhattan skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Statue of Liberty, this lovely walk gives you a few moments to embrace the city and snap some pictures.

Walk along the East River at night to see unbelievable views of the city lights. Whether you go by yourself, or visit with friends and family, these city views will blow you away. 

MAIMONIDES PARK

Batter Up! Grab your hotdogs and peanuts, take you seats for a game at Maimonides Park! The home team and primary tenant is the New York Mets-affiliated Brooklyn Cyclones of the High-A East. It’s time to experience America’s favorite pastime in Brooklyn!

With gorgeous views of the ocean and a setting that stands among some of the best fields in the country, be prepared to fall in love with baseball. This family-friendly activity is fun for all ages and can be enjoyed all season long. Snap a picture with the mascot Sandy the Seagull, and shout for a win! 

BROOKLYN NAVY YARD

The Brooklyn Navy Yard was America’s premier Navy shipping facility and launched immense war ships, like the USS Monitor, Arizona and much more. Today, the Navy Yard sits as a model for innovation and modernism in an urban and industrial environment. Home to over 450 businesses, the Brooklyn Navy Yard offers a livelihood for many New Yorkers. 

Within minutes of walking into Building 92, be completely blown away with its sheer size and impressive market. This food hub offers a glimpse into the old and restored building and visitors can enjoy flavors of the world in this amazing building. 

See and learn how the building has evolved over the years, and learn the story of people who worked here. After exploring the buildings and grounds, stop by Rooftop Reds end enjoy wine with a view. Relax at Brooklyn’s only rooftop vineyard and soak in some of the best scenery of the city! 

In our opinion, there are two great money-saving options for exploring NYC. If this is your first visit then opt for the New York CityPASS. It offers five popular tourist stops for one low price. If this isn’t your first visit, you are staying for more than a few days, or you are with kids and need a lot more flexibility then opt for the New York Sightseeing Pass. Pick Day Passes or the FLEX Pass, and then select from over 150 different attractions, big and small.

BUSHWICK COLLECTIVE

Take a stroll through the streets of Bushwick and see amazing murals featuring local artists and artists of the world. Featuring some of the best street graffiti and art projects in America, this collection of intricate and well-designed murals is here to inspire and intrigue all who walk by. 

This quirky neighborhood offers more than just amazing murals — it also features great restaurants and fun shops. I highly suggest bringing your camera and snapping some shots of these artistic treasures. Who knows, maybe you’ll see one being made right before your eyes!

Tip: Check online to see when the Bushwick Collective block party is. This fun event let’s visitors celebrate street art with food trucks, live music, vendors, and more.

BROOKLYN FLEA

Let’s get thrifty! Open every weekend, pop on over to Brooklyn Flea for a market experience like no other. With plenty of vendors ranging from vintage t-shirts and cool and eclectic jewelry, to furniture and antique collectables, this flea market’s curated stalls and electric atmosphere is one to experience. 

When the weather warms up, get walking to Dumbo, where you can shop till you drop with unique finds and quirky items. This is one of the most popular flea markets in New York and the setting is just astounding.

Walk from vendor to vendor and find yourself among the thriftiest people in New York. Act fast, bring bags and happy shopping!

DUMBO

Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, commonly known as Dumbo, sits a popular neighborhood with outstanding views, great atmosphere, and trendy shops! Featuring the Time Out Food Market, along with plenty of thrifty and quirky shops, Dumbo offers so many fun activities.

Get that classic New York picture at the Dumbo Manhattan Bridge View Photo Spot! With loads of art galleries and funky shops, go from shop to shop, before heading down to Brooklyn Bridge Park for gorgeous views of the skyline and bridge. 

DEKALB MARKET HALL

Come hungry, leave happy! Welcome to the biggest food hall in Downtown Brooklyn, DeKalb Market Hall, where innovation, culinary excellence and delicious flavors come together for a well-rounded experience. The large market has over 30 local vendors and offers some of the freshest foods in Brooklyn. 

Whether you’re a foodie looking to eat at the best places in Brooklyn, or you’re looking for a quick meal before you explore more of the city, DeKalb Market does not disappoint! With an emphasis on the many ethnicities and cultures throughout New York, DeKalb honors food diversity through its vendors and energetic atmosphere. Taste the world in Brooklyn! 

BROOKLYN CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

Get ready for a whole lot of laughter, play and creativity at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Whether you’re looking for a rainy-day activity to keep you and your family occupied, or you’re looking to spark imagination at this diverse and cultured facility, you’re in for a wild ride! 

With endless opportunities to play, explore and test new limits, children will love this museum that fosters growth, social skills, physical development, and emotion. Play at indoor miniature shops, get to know the many species that live around Brooklyn, and play at the Nest, the newest outdoor installation. 

Tip: Check online for the latest events and programs being featured throughout the year. 

BRIGHTON BEACH

I bet you never knew Brooklyn had beaches! Are you looking forward to taking some time out of your busy day along soft sand beaches and having a swim in the Atlantic Ocean? Brighton Beach is the place for you!

This lively neighborhood is rich in history, culture and flavorful food, and can’t wait to be discovered by you. This beach and boardwalk are significantly quieter than Coney Island, however, don’t let the laid-back beach days fool you. Brighton Beach knows how to have a good party. Come for the beach, stay for an adventure! 

WILLIAMSBURG SMORGASBURG FOOD MARKET 

Smell the fresh food and tuck into this outdoor market filled with amazing treats and vendors. From fresh tasty pizza to delicious bao buns, at the Smorgasburg Food Market, you’ll eat your heart out and leave full after an afternoon filled with divine cuisines.

Eat, drink and enjoy the company of friends, locals and tourists around you at this magical food market. Taste and experience some of the best delicacies of the local area.

Tip: The Williamsburg Smorgasburg Food Market opens in June! 

BROOKLYN ACADEMY OF MUSIC

While in Brooklyn, I highly suggest getting tickets for a show at BAM! Featuring both local and out of town companies, the Brooklyn Academy of Music is a cultural icon and is one of the oldest performing arts centers, showcasing some of the best talents since opening in 1861!

From dance, theater, music, opera and film, come for an experience like no other with an emphasis on the arts and international inspiration. From the classics, to more unique and modern forms of art, find a show that you fancy or discover a new show that blows you away at BAM! 

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