We're partial to Brooklyn, since we call it "home," but Brooklyn is also deservedly a travel destination in and of itself. In fact, when friends have visited New York City, after getting a small taste of all there is to see and do in Brooklyn, they've expressed the opinion that on their next visit, they'd like to focus entirely on our borough.
Okay! So, if we were putting together an itinerary for a long weekend in Brooklyn, here's what'd be on our list.
Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge. This is one of our favorite things to do with visitors--and it's completely free. Not only do you get phenomenal views of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Heights, but the architecture of the bridge itself is phenomenal to photograph from the perspective of standing on the actual bridge.
Take the Subway. If you're in Manhattan, you can easily find a subway line that will zip you into Brooklyn. Many subway lines converge at the Atlantic Center, which is right near BAM (the Brooklyn Academy of Music), where you can get your dose of performing arts and culture, or the Barclay's Center, where you could catch a basketball or hockey game, or maybe see a legendary recording artist performing in an arena concert.
Williamsburg and Bushwick have lots of fantastic bars and restaurants, ranging from hipper-than-thou pizza restaurant Roberta's to the most iconic and storied steakhouse in all five boroughs--Peter Luger's. It's also home to great venues for live music and the Brooklyn Brewery, which offers tours of the brewery, and opportunities to sample their craft beers.
The Middle of Brooklyn.
The centerpiece of Brooklyn is Prospect Park--it's the "Central Park" of Brooklyn, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and with plenty to see and do. In the winter, you can go ice skating at the Wollman Rink. In the summer, picnic on the Longmeadow or the Nethermeade, or check out a concert at the Bandshell. There are sports fields, walking and biking trails and paddleboats to rent. There's a zoo, a carousel, multiple playgrounds, and on some weekends in the summer, a phenomenal foodie pop-up paradise known as "Smorgasburg." You could also go horseback riding--there's a stable just outside the park in Kensington where you could book a trail ride through the park.
Adjacent to the park, you could check out Brownstone Brooklyn along the tree lined streets in Park Slope, or visit the stunning Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. And the Brooklyn Museum is right there, as well--one of the largest and best art museums in the United States. If you're there on the first Saturday of the month, head to the Brooklyn Museum in the evening for their free-to-the-public "First Saturday" event--with lectures, tours, live music, dancing and a beer truck.
South of the park, you could wander through the streets of Victorian Brooklyn, checking out some of the enormous and beautiful houses on Albemarle Road, or maybe even showing up as a looky-loo at a weekend real estate open house.
On Avenue J, DiFara's pizza is legendary. You'll have to be patient, because Mr. DiFara makes the pies by hand, one at a time. But it's the quintessential Brooklyn pizza experience, so just chill out and wait.
This one's easy. Go to Coney Island. Eat a hot dog. Get a tattoo. Ride the Cyclone (unless you're recovering from back surgery because the historic wooden coaster is a super rough ride), and if you're there in the summer, catch a Brooklyn Cyclones minor-league baseball game. If you're there on the 4th of July, go to the hot dog eating contest. If you're there a week or so before the fourth of July, check out the Mermaid Parade. Coney Island is FUN!
Admittedly, as residents, we're partial to Brooklyn. But there's a lot to see, do and eat, here. When planning your visit to New York City, make sure that you put Brooklyn on your list.