I promised myself that every time I come back, looking for things to do in NYC, I’ll include exploring a different borough.
I, like most visitors who are looking for things to do in NYC, tend to create a New York itinerary solely for Manhattan. I get it. It’s where all the well-known tourist attractions are found so naturally, those visiting NYC for the first time will gravitate to the touristy stuff.
Coming from Toronto, I am a short one-and-a-half-hour flight away which means I have the luxury of visiting the Big Apple more frequently.
The 48 Hour New York Itinerary Brooklyn Neighborhood Edition
Go, Brooklyn, Go, Brooklyn, Go, Brooklyn!
Don’t get me wrong, I will never get bored of Manhattan. The island is amazing!
All I’m saying is that when you say New York there are four other boroughs besides Manhattan to explore. Since my beautiful family resides in Brooklyn New York it was the obvious borough to explore first.
Every time I visit New York I must spend an afternoon/evening with my family (my aunt and her husband cook up this mouth-watering feast).
Pray. Eat. Laugh. Then talks of travel, politics, history, family etc. I look forward to it every year!
Ok, 2 days in Brooklyn. This will be a small taste of some awesome Brooklyn attractions, that will include foodie spots, beer spots, instagrammable spots and some history spots for those who like that stuff.
But first, let talk accommodations…
The Best Place To Stay In New York City
Well as you can probably imagine when it comes to accommodations there are tons of options. Naturally, Manhattan and its touristy areas will have the most pricey options but you can still find some reasonable selections. I’ve personally stayed in the Row NYC and from check-in to the room itself the place is fantastic. Right around the corner from Times Sq. too!
My brother stayed in 1 Hotel Central Park and 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge during the same weekend. He’s loved the 1 Hotel brand ever since staying in the one in Miami. He raved about these hotels nonstop while hanging out on the rooftop patio of the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge waited for is room to be ready. The hotel’s interior is stunning and the view of the Manhattan skyline and Brooklyn Bridge from the hotel’s patio is breathtaking.
However, if you’re like me and just want a place to rest your head without the bells and whistles then an Airbnb out in New Jersey will do just fine for your budget.
Here are the 3 we’ve stayed in, all are on or near The PATH line which makes getting into New York simple.
The iconic Brooklyn Bridge is where I ended my original 48 Hour New York Itinerary for Manhattan before heading into Brooklyn for my Aunt’s epic dinner. It stretches 1,825m (roughly 6,000ft!) and the New York landmark towers over the Hudson River connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn. The bridge’s upper level has a world-renowned pedestrian/cyclist walkway while the lower level of the bridge functions as a roadway for vehicles travelling to and from the two boroughs.
Insert elephant joke here_____. I, however, am too mature. DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. Not sure if it’s an East Coast thing but we tend to just call it like it is and it’s weird but obvious names are proof of my theory. I can’t confirm this for sure but I heard that comedian Jerry Seinfeld once said Dumbo was once called Down Under the Manhattan Bridge but the locals didn’t like being called DUMB so they added the overpass.
Anyways, this legendary Brooklyn neighbourhood is well known for its cobblestone streets, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and eccentric vibes.
Manhattan Bridge | Once Upon A Time In America
Although the Manhattan Bridge is often overshadowed by the famous Brooklyn Bridge, it set the precedent for modern suspension bridges in the U.S. Despite being the “little sibling” of the two bridges, the Manhattan Bridge has the one-up on the Brooklyn Bridge: it has a vehicle roadway on the upper level, a pedestrian/cyclist walkway on the lower level, and is part of the above-ground line for the D, B, Q, N trains.
One Girl Cookies
With all three of its locations in Brooklyn, One Girl Cookies is a one-of-a-kind “artisanal” bakery specializing in cakes, cookies, and pies. The company’s rich history is perfectly complemented by its deliciously rich sweets!
Yeah, it took me a while to get outta here!
Originally built in 1922 for Idora Park in Youngstown, Ohio, Jane’s Carousel has now become an iconic Brooklyn attraction. The carousel was purchased in an auction in 1983 by David and Jane Walentas who immediately restored the carousel to its original beauty.
Brooklyn Heights is an affluent residential area here in Brooklyn well known for its low-rise architecture and its many brownstone rowhouses.
Luke’s Lobster first opened in the East Village in 2009 bringing traceable, sustainable seafood to guests across the country. Working directly with fishermen they cut out the middleman for the best tasting lobster, crab and shrimp.
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
What used to be a fireboat house is now a small ice-cream shop serving delicious ice cream with an unreal view of the Manhattan skyline.
If there’s one thing Brooklyn is well-known for, it is the city’s celebration for the arts. Bargemusic, once a coffee barge, is now a quaint performing arts center overlooking the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline. The wooden floors, intimate setting, and the old-school aesthetic of Bargemusic make it an ideal place to enjoy live performances year-round.
When it comes to being hip and fad, Williamsburg takes the cake. This eclectic Brooklyn neighbourhood seamlessly meshes Orthodox Jewish culture with everything that is trending in contemporary culture. If you’re looking for bars, dining options, boutiques, thrift shops, the arts, or just about anything, Williamsburg is a one-stop shop for almost everything that’s trending in Brooklyn.
Smorgasburg Food Market
Smorgasburg Food Market is arguably the largest “weekly open-air food market in America” welcoming up to 30,000 patrons each weekend! I highly, recommend stopping by for locally sourced ingredients and yummy treats.
The northernmost Brooklyn neighbourhood with a large Polish community is often referred to as Little Poland.
Greenpoint Beer & Ale
According to their website, Greenpoint Beer & Ale makes flavorful small-batch ales, lagers, and brews beers five barrels at a time.
“Our aim is to make beer with respect and honour for the great brewing traditions of England, Belgium, and Germany while embracing the creative spirit for which the U.S. craft beer movement is known and loved.
Brewing on a five-barrel system gives us the flexibility to experiment freely, developing our own ideas about beer.
Southern French cuisine with a Marseille ambiance, that’s how I would describe Fada. Fada has been serving fine Southern French food since 2002 and carries the heart and culinary palette of South French cuisine all the way to Brooklyn.
Just a few steps away from Fada is “Woops! Bakeshop” (macaron heaven) with what seems to be an endless variety of flavours. Woops! has a macaron for just about every craving.
Toby’s Estate Coffee
Looking for a small artisanal coffee shop in Brooklyn minus the obnoxious hip vibes? Toby’s Estate Coffee, a “small batch roaster” prides itself on the quality and complexity of its world-sourced coffee. The dedicated team at Toby’s makes it its mission to provide customers with some of the best coffee west of the Atlantic!
Mast Brothers Chocolate
“The family that eats together stays together” This statement is literally true! Mast Brothers Chocolate is a Brooklyn-based family business that prides itself on sustainability, minimal processing, minimal sugar use, and organic ingredients.
How can you say no to chocolate that’s been well-received by The New York Times?!
“Williamsburg’s oldest record shop; still here in 21st century Williamsburg”. Need I say more? Earwax Records has been in Williamsburg since 1991 and continues to sell vinyl, CDs, cassettes, posters, and just about anything pertaining to music.
Places like this are nostalgic for me
When I was a kid I used to take apart and put together my Dad’s turntable. Needless to say, he was not impressed. But the smell of records, the cover art and the sound it produced are incomparable.
Five Leaves is an ideal place for having brunch while you’re in Brooklyn. The menu is a fusion of New American cuisine drizzled with a bit of Australian panache.
Greenpoint | Williamsburg
McCarren Park is a 35-acre park shared and loved by Brooklynites. It is the perfect place to enjoy all sorts of activities like bocce, basketball, handball, swimming, soccer, and much more!
The big white cursive “B” on a green backdrop. The logo is iconic, worldwide, and just a taste of all that Brooklyn has to offer. Since 1988, Brooklyn Brewery has been brewing quality craft beer. The Williamsburg-based brewery offers tours, beer tasting, and is the perfect place to try Brooklyn’s iconic beer.
Referring to a cluster of boutiques ranging from restaurants & dining to cultural centers, the Empire Stores make up the heart of DUMBO’s main shopping area.
St. Ann’s Warehouse
Don’t be fooled by the warehouse’s appearance. St. Ann’s has been one of Brooklyn’s leading performing arts institutions for the past 35 years with an array of off-Broadway and independent productions.
1Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
If there’s one word to describe 1Hotel Brooklyn Bridge that word is “unreal”. This Brooklyn hotel overlooks Brooklyn and Manhattan with an unparalleled view. On top of that, patrons can dine at the hotel while soaking in some of the best views of the city.
Pizza is an often debated topic. Finding the best NY pizza is an even more debated topic. I discovered the same debated topic in Naples, Italy. But when it comes to Grimaldi’s Pizza in Brooklyn, any attempt at a debate is squashed by the pizzeria’s world-class pies (pizza pies that is). Despite only opening their doors in 1990, Grimaldi’s feels like it’s been part of Brooklyn since Brooklyn was founded! Serving coal-brick oven pizzas by the pie, Grimaldi’s is a must-go-to stop when you’re in Brooklyn.
Look at the friggin’ line!
I am not finished with New York by any stretch of the imagination. Aside from the tourist attractions every time I come to Manhattan I feel like I’m coming to a new place. Nine times out of ten what I came to see gets replaced with where I am in the moment. Throw the Brooklyn borough of art into the mix and it’s another level of newness.
I think my New York Itinerary will always be evolving!
The brick and mortar stay behind to tell stories while people come and go. As for me, as long as Toronto stays 1:30 minutes away by plane I will always be coming and going to New York.