Brooklyn is booming and it’s nearly impossible to narrow down a “To Do” list to just five ideas. But it’s okay to leave a few things for your next visit to the city, right?
1. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
The expansive views up and down the East River make this 1.1 mile walk worth it. It also doesn’t hurt to know that you’re walking over a piece of history. The Brooklyn Bridge was the first steel suspension bridge ever built, boasting the longest span in the world (1600 feet from tower to tower) and the first permanent crossing between Manhattan and Brooklyn. On opening day in 1883, 1800 vehicles and more than 150,000 pedestrians made the crossing.
It’s easy to complete the walk in under half an hour. You will, however, want to leave at least an hour to stop and stare every 30 seconds or so and read the creative graffiti. Views are especially spectacular at sunrise and sunset. Access is from the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall metro stop (the 4, 5 & 6). Be sure to dress for the weather and stick to the right side – the pedestrian part – of the path in order to avoid the wrath of local cyclists.
2. Eat pizza
Brooklyn’s pizza perennially tops every “best of” listing for all five boroughs in New York. Pop over the bridge and you can judge for yourself.
Best Pizza (yes, this is its real name)
33 Havermeyer St.
From the website: Best Pizza was opened in the winter of 2010 by pizza man Frank Pinello. Located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in a former bakery, Best Pizza utilizes a century old, wood-burning oven to turn out some of the best slices in town. Influenced by his Bensonhurst roots, Sicilian heritage, and New York City pizzeria tradition, Pinello is dedicated to bring back Brooklyn’s glory days of high quality neighborhood slice joints.
Di Fara Pizza
1424 Avenue J in the Midwood section of Brooklyn
From the website: Each pie of pizza is hand crafted by the master himself, Dom [Domenico De Marco]. With several of his children supporting him in the kitchen, this legend cooks up to 150 pies every day. Many of the ingredients are imported from Italy and forms a taste that can’t be replicated. In his piping hot retro oven, Dom has each mouthwatering pie ready to be devoured in just minutes.
Emily/Pizza Loves Emily
Clinton Hill – 919 Fulton Street & Williamsburg – 364 Grand St.
From the website: We have a wood burning oven that centers as the hearth of the space where you will find Matt cooking pizzas from dough he has hand-mixed and mozzarella he has made by hand. Matt’s outlook on cooking for others is that when you put genuine love into the preparation of a meal, those who eat it can taste the sentiment behind it.
3. Sample the local beer
Pizza loves beer, too. Here are three options of many to sample local beers where they’re produced.
Other Half Brewing
195 Centre Street
From the website: Other Half Brewing Company was founded in 2014 by Samuel Richardson and Matt Monahan. We brew craft beers for draft consumption, bottles, and cans in limited release. We believe local breweries play an important role in their communities which is why, despite the challenges of running a brewery in NYC, we couldn’t choose anywhere but Brooklyn as our home. The brewery is located on the edge of Carroll Gardens, only two blocks from the subway. Our tap room is open to the public and we also offer tours of our brewery (by appointment).
79 N. 11th Street
Microbrewery with tastings & tours that offer an inside look at the creation process.
From the website: Starting with our flagship Brooklyn Lager, the portfolio of Brooklyn Brewery has grown to a wide-ranging collection of beers, always keeping an eye to traditional brewing techniques, even as Brewmaster Garrett Oliver and his team seek to push the boundaries of beer. It’s now easy to find a smooth Brooklyn Lager, hoppy East IPA or roasty Brown Ale in your favorite watering holes. BLAST!, Sorachi Ace and Greenmarket Wheat are standing by on shelves near you, ready to be taken to parties, barbecues or your favorite chair. Each season brings beloved seasonals like Brooklyn Summer Ale and Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout back to the shelves and taps, ushering in the joys of the changing weather.
King’s County Brewers Collective
381 Troutman Street, Bushwick
From the website: After several years of honing our brewing skills in tiny apartments, at the American Brewers Guild in Vermont, and professionally at breweries across the city, we all independently came to the same conclusion: wouldn’t it be FRICKIN’ AWESOME to open a new brewery in NYC? Flash forward in time, and after various trials and tribulations (and many long drinking sessions together), we realized that if we combined our efforts, we could build a bigger, better, more badass brewery than if we each tried to do it alone. And thus: Kings County Brewers Collective (KCBC) was officially born.
4. Visit the Brooklyn Museum
The Brooklyn Museum is New York’s third largest in physical size with a collection of roughly 1.5 million works. Founded in 1895, it is housed in a landmark Beaux-Arts building designed by architectural superstars McKim, Mead and White. Reasons for going? The architecture, its location on Prospect Park, the varied collection and, of course, the food at The Norm restaurant.
5. Explore Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge Park reflects the major economic and cultural changes happening in the borough over the past fifteen years.
Public Art – The park has become a hub for public art woven into the site’s natural landscape. New works are commissioned annually and thematic art exhibitions are staged throughout the year.
Talks & Tours – From May through October, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy hosts interactive and dynamic walking tours that cover the park’s history, sustainability, horticulture, and design, each led by experts in their fields.
Movies with a View – Movies with a View takes place every Thursday evening in July and August, drawing as many as 7,000 film fans each night.
Books Beneath the Bridge – Six Monday evenings in July and August feature readings by well-known authors as well as discussions, book signings, and more.
All the Park’s a Stage – What better location to watch a staging of Shakespeare than the Brooklyn waterfront? Since 2010, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy has partnered with theater groups from around NYC to bring Sir William’s work to life.
Bridge Grooves – A summer music series at Pier 1, Bridge Grooves features New York’s most exciting musicians.
Pier Kids – Sing, Act, Dance, and Draw! The Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy’s eight week children’s series encompasses culture, science, and literature.