Brooklyn Travel Guide
Welcome to Brooklyn, home to everything people miss when they visit New York — the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Bridge, and the best hot dogs in the city at Coney Island. Whether you're here for the French press-scented Williamsburg or the quieter life in Park Slope, there's something in Brooklyn for everyone — and that thing is Brooklyn pizza.
Historically, Brooklyn has been home to the offbeat and untraditional, from its incredible LGTBQ+ history to the Brooklyn Museum's entire floor dedicated to protest art. It's not built along a grid, inviting travelers to explore as they like through neighborhoods large and small. Brooklyn is also a popular destination for movie and TV buffs, given how frequently it appears in our most beloved media. You can see the police station used in Brooklyn Nine-Nine's exterior shots as you mosey toward Vanderbilt Street for some of Little Cupcake Bakeshop's Brooklyn Blackout Cake, or walk through idyllic Prospect Park and get a good look at the famous carousel.
Beautiful and less crowded than Manhattan, Brooklyn deserves as many accolades as the most popular tourist areas across the river.
Best Time to Go
Year-round. Like the rest of New York, Brooklyn is full of things to do, whether it's the height of summer or the cozy comfort of winter. Some things to keep an eye out for include:
The Greenpoint Film Festival, which features four categories of films (documentary, narrative, experimental, and animation) and Q&As with filmmakers, is held every spring (usually May) at the Wythe Hotel on Wythe Avenue. You'll be in the center of all of Greenpoint's best food and fun.
Afropunk Fest, known to its fiercest devotees simply as Afropunk, happens every summer from June through August in Fort Greene's Commodore Barry Park. Years past have featured performances from FKA Twigs, Alicia Keys, D'Angelo, SZA, and more. Afropunk is also a fashion destination for those with an eye for the freshest, most innovative streetwear.
The Brooklyn Book Festival is a fall staple, returning annually for a week in September to thrill book lovers worldwide. It's the largest free literary event in America. Yes, you read that correctly: The entire event is free, talks and signings included. Parties, events, and screenings fill the week leading up to the headline event at Borough Hall in Brooklyn on the final day of the festival. The festival's marketplace is a wonder in and of itself, and well worth a wander to grab special-edition copies of your favorites or snap up brand-new titles.
Don't miss ice skating at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park — this hidden gem boasts two outdoor rinks in the middle of the picturesque park. At $11 for weekend access to the rink and $8 for a skate rental, it's one of the most affordable ways to spend a memorable, classic New York winter day.
Eastern Standard Time
Things to Know
Tourism in Brooklyn isn't as big an industry as it is over the river in Manhattan, so hotel deals are easier to snag. If you have a specific neighborhood in mind, it's a good idea to research that area before you go; many neighborhoods have a central hub for public transportation, but are primarily serviced by one or two specific lines. Save yourself the headache by knowing which ones in advance. Brooklyn sidewalks are often narrower than those in Manhattan. It's important to be mindful of the people around you — in groups, try not to take up the entire sidewalk. Native Brooklynites will thank you for it.
Currency: U.S. Dollar
How to Get Around
Trains: Trains are accessed by Metrocard in all of New York. Each ride is $2.75, no matter how long you stay on the train. You can purchase Metrocards in most subway stations, and add value (such as $30 flat) or time (such as a week of unlimited rides for a set price). Brooklyn is serviced by almost all of the trains in New York City, but different lines go to different neighborhoods. Central hubs for transfers between lines are at Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center, Jay Street-Metrotech, and Lorimer Street. North Brooklyn is primarily serviced by the L, M, J, and G trains. South Brooklyn is primarily serviced by the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, B, F, D, G, N, Q, and R trains. The G train goes north to south in Brooklyn and does not cross over into Manhattan. It's a good way to move between the two areas.
Buses: Brooklyn has extensive bus lines, and buses can be accessed with a regular Metrocard. Buses cost the same as a subway ride, but in Brooklyn, they are sometimes easier ways to get from place to place instead of transferring between trains. All Brooklyn buses start with B — for instance, the B65 is Brooklyn route 65. Bus stops are clearly marked on the sidewalks with what buses stop there and which directions they go. Consult a map or an app such as MyMTA in advance to see if a bus will get you where you need to go more easily than a train.
Taxis: Taxis are pea-green in Brooklyn! Green taxis are borough taxis, meaning they can bring you into Manhattan, but their purpose is to bring people in and out of the boroughs other than Manhattan. You can find taxis on any main thoroughfare, such as Atlantic Avenue or Flatbush Avenue. You hail them as you would a taxi in Manhattan, by standing near a place the taxi can easily pull over and holding up your hand. A taxi is empty if the number on its roof is lit, and in service with a customer if that number is dim.
Rideshare: Uber and Lyft are always good options in Brooklyn, particularly if you're not in the mood to find a main highway or are far enough away from one that you don't feel like walking. Rides are plentiful and, as always, you can order a private car or join a carpool.
Things to Do
Neighborhoods to Know
Williamsburg: While its hipster reputation may be earned, Williamsburg is host to an avalanche of delicious restaurants across a host of price points, unique shopping, and some truly iconic tourist attractions. With its panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline along the river and its easy access to lower Manhattan and Union Square, it's easy to see why Williamsburg is a favorite Brooklyn destination.
Greenpoint: Nestled between Queens and Williamsburg is Greenpoint, an up-and-coming neighborhood boasting two parks and a Rite Aid that was once a roller rink and still has the disco ball to prove it. Eclectic and fun, Greenpoint is a vibrant mix of young and old, with trendy restaurants popping up next to decades-old neighborhood institutions.
Park Slope: If you're looking for a classic Brooklyn brownstone experience a stone's throw from beautiful Prospect Park, visit Park Slope. Family-oriented and quiet with lush, ivy-covered brownstones, Park Slope has been featured in many movies and TV shows as a gorgeous Brooklyn backdrop.
DUMBO: Just across the Manhattan Bridge is DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass — get it?), home to a historic waterfront and the first stop for anyone looking to explore South Brooklyn. With its combination of towering high-rises and old-Brooklyn charm, DUMBO has a little of everything, and the view can't be beat.
Cobble Hill: Scenic and cute, Cobble Hill is a hidden gem of Brooklyn with great coffee and a relaxing atmosphere. Retire here between more crowded destinations for a rejuvenating break in the small local park. Cobble Hill is also a favorite neighborhood for celebs who are somewhat over SoHo, and it features some of the coziest and most chic bars and restaurants in the city.
Crown Heights: Home to the Brooklyn Children's Museum and an easy walk from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Crown Heights is the neighborhood to be in for incredible Ethiopian, Sudanese, and Indian food, as well as fantastic nightlife.
Brooklyn, like much of the East Coast, is subject to fickle weather in spring and fall and occasional extremes in winter and summer. Rain is common between March and May and September and November, and temperatures often break 90°F in July and August. Winter is a little less predictable — but Brooklyn's handling of snow is different than Manhattan's, and it'd be well worth packing some waterproof boots if you plan to travel to Brooklyn in the winter with snow in the forecast.
The following are average Fahrenheit lows and highs by season.
Winter: 27° to 42°F
Spring: 35°F to 70°F
Summer: 64°F to 85°F
Fall: 42°F to 76°
Apps to Download
Ask Brooklyn Museum: Start a conversation with art historians and experts or find information about works on view