A visit to Brooklyn deserves more than a day trip
Jan. 14, 2019 | Updated Feb. 1, 2019
Highway control sign pointing cars towards Brooklyn.
I live in Brooklyn, NY. I’m also somewhat of a travel expert, so people often ask my opinion on their travel plans. When I encounter someone visiting New York City, or planning a trip, they might ask me what should they do in Brooklyn. Usually the visitor is interested in the condensed tour of Brooklyn, since they are planning to spend 90% of their time in Manhattan. Manhattan is the nerve center of the New York region, so it makes sense that travelers would plan their trips around soaking up as much of NYC’s central borough as possible. But tourists set themselves up to miss a lot by thinking that Brooklyn is something that can be seen in a day.
By population, Brooklyn is the largest of New York’s five boroughs. Roughly a million more New Yorkers call Brooklyn home than live in Manhattan. If Brooklyn was its own city, it would be America’s fourth largest behind New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago – as of today, it is only slightly lower in population than Chicago.
Brooklyn has contributed much of the iconic imagery and culture that people around the world associate with New York City. The Brooklyn brownstone is one of the most recognized types of urban architecture in the world, thanks to the Cosby Show and various Spike Lee movies. The Brooklyn Bridge is easily one of the most famous bridges in the world. And there may not be any urban beach and boardwalk more famous than the one at Coney Island.
Honestly, a trip to Brooklyn could easily fill a week, which is why this week we will share an itinerary for how to spend seven days in Brooklyn. Today we will cover where to stay, and your first day.
Where to stay in Brooklyn?
The obvious answer is that you should find a place on Vezpuchi! Yes, it is a shameless plug, but in case you forgot, we are a home exchange platform. There are so many neighborhoods that are interesting in Brooklyn that it’s hard to say exactly which is the best, so we’ll try to identify some by varying tastes.
Brooklyn is well served by the NYC subway system. Currently, there are 17 subway lines that serve the borough. You might opt for a location near downtown Brooklyn if you want to use the subway to get to various points of interest in the borough. The neighborhoods of Downtown Brooklyn, Fort Greene, or Park Slope are the closest to the largest subway hubs.
Much of the nightlife tilts to local neighborhood bars and restaurants, which are spread throughout the borough. Nightclubs, on the other hand, tend to be concentrated in Williamsburg and Bushwick. If nightclubs are more of your scene then the neighborhoods of Williamsburg, Greenpoint, East Williamsburg, or Bushwick would be great options.
Perhaps you prefer a neighborhood with quaint coffee shops, charming restaurants, and a nice classy bar or two. If that’s you then the neighborhoods of DUMBO, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, or Red Hook may suit your preferences.
Brooklyn is still an artists’ mecca. If you want to be around the artists and creators, and generally prefer a more edgy vibe then areas like Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, and Prospect Heights, or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens might be what you want.
Monday - Day One: Brooklyn Bridge, Fulton Mall, Brooklyn Macy's, City Point, Dekalb Market, Boerum Hill
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge is a great way to start a visit to Brooklyn. At a tourist’s pace, it will take about an hour to cross the bridge in one direction, while capturing your Instagram-mable shots. Start your trek across form the Manhattan side, which you can reach by either biking across the bridge, or using the subway to reach one of the nearby stations on the Manhattan side. The closest subway stations to the Manhattan side of the Bridge are Brooklyn Bridge – City Hall/Chambers Street and City Hall. The Fulton Street Station is also a short walk away.
From the Brooklyn Bridge, walk over to the Fulton Mall for shopping and sightseeing. Fulton Mall is not an enclosed shopping mall, as the name might suggest. Instead, it is an open-air shopping district along Fulton Street in downtown Brooklyn. Your first stop should be the downtown Brooklyn Macy’s department store. The Macy’s building was initially constructed in the 1880’s, with the most recent additions added in the 1920s and 1930s. Macy’s recently completed a multi-year renovation to modernize the space and convert under-utilized parts of the building to office space.
After checking out Macy’s, take the short walk from there to the new City Point Shopping Center
. At City Point you’ll find a variety of shopping, from specialty stores, to furniture, to big box (Target). On the basement level of City Point is Dekalb Market
, which is a food hall with dozens of vendors serving up cuisines from all parts of the globe.
For evening plans, Boerum Hill is a 10 or 15-minute walk from Fulton Mall. You’ll find a few good restaurants to grab dinner in this neighborhood. You’ll also find a few great bars for a drink. Bijan’s
is a great Persian restaurant and bar in this neighborhood that has both good food and drinks.
A visit to Brooklyn deserves more than a day trip - Day Two
A visit to Brooklyn deserves more than a day trip - Day Three
A visit to Brooklyn deserves more than a day trip - Day Four
A visit to Brooklyn deserves more than a day trip - Day Five
A visit to Brooklyn deserves more than a day trip - Day Six
A visit to Brooklyn deserves more than a day trip - Day Seven
Stephon Owens is the Founder and CEO of Vezpuchi.