Planning a trip to Brooklyn? We share the best things to do in Brooklyn NY, so you can see the best that Brooklyn has to offer.
Brooklyn is often referred to as the “up and coming” borough of NYC. Do not let that fool you. It is the most populous borough in NYC, teeming with things to do and enjoy.
Brooklyn is filled with unique art museums, the ‘mother of all markets, and amusement parks full of fun and excitement. Hotels in Brooklyn are fantastic and come in all price ranges. You can also find exquisite cafes and restaurants here. In short, Brooklyn is an attractive destination for your next vacation. Let’s look at some of the best places and things Brooklyn has to offer.
Best things to do in Brooklyn NY
The Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge is by far the most iconic landmark of NYC. Thousands of cars regularly pass through the bridge. Endless pedestrians and sightseers populate the upper walkway to get a spectacular view of Brooklyn Heights and Lower Manhattan.
There’s also the nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park full of amazing sports activities to do (volleyball, basketball, or soccer) and picnic spots. It has the six famous Brooklyn piers, the main street parks, and the Fulton ferry landing. There are many playgrounds and a popular Jane’s Carousel for children. You can hop into a swimming pool, join a fitness class or even go boating!
One of NYC’s top attractions and often referred to as the “mother of all markets”, it is the place to be if you wake up one morning and only feel like shopping, eating, and drinking. It’s held in DUMBO (80 Pearl St.) and Industry City (241 37th St.) every week. Here you can find countless homemade foods crafted by local artisans. Everything from bagels, doughnuts, sliders, and grilled cheese, you name it.
You will find hundreds of vendors selling handcrafted jewelry, art, and crafts, vintage clothing and furniture, antiques, and collectibles. The market moves indoors between November and March due to the cold.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a beautiful 50-acre garden with a Japanese hill-and-pond garden as the centerpiece. It even has a teahouse and Shinto shrine. The garden also has an Elizabethan-style ‘knot’ herb garden and one of North America’s largest rose collections. It is the perfect place for a little peace and quiet in a roaring city.
The garden hosts an annual Japanese festival in late April and early May, the time when the park is glowing with cherry blossoms. The garden contains conservatory houses that have the largest collection of Bonsai in America and rare rainforest trees.
Based on Coney Island and named after the original park, Luna Park is an amusement park full of thrilling rides and sandy beaches. It’s a very popular summer destination and one of NYC’s largest attractions. Here you’ll find family-friendly rides, a scream zone, a go-kart track, the very popular Coney Island ‘Funny Face’ Tickler Ride, and the historic Cyclone Roller Coaster.
Besides a vast array of fun rides, you can find Nathan’s Famous where you can get beer and snacks. Throughout the summer, the park hosts fireworks every Friday night.
Brooklyn Academy of Music
The Brooklyn Academy of Music, unlike its name, is a multi-arts center. The place also hosts film, opera, and performance art. The academy is Brooklyn’s oldest and leading cultural venue. Performers like Anna Pavlova, Pablo Casals, and Sergei Rachmaninoff have graced this place. BAM hosts multiple shows a day.
Situated at the edge of Prospect Park, Brooklyn Museum is the second-largest art museum in NYC and one of the largest cultural institutions in the United States. The museum boasts an impressive collection of foreign art. It was the first museum in the US to exhibit African objects as artwork.
There are around 4000 Egyptian pieces of artwork. Art from people like Georgia O’Keeffe, John Singer Sargent, George Bellows, Cézanne, Monet, and Degas grace the halls of this museum. There is also an entire section devoted to feminist art.
New York Aquarium
The New York Aquarium is the one and only Aquarium in NYC. It’s situated in Coney Island. Here you will find a living re-creation of the Pacific coastline. The Aquarium boasts various East River species alone with sea jellies and sharks! Here you will also find Glover’s reef, an impressive collection of around 35 species stocked in a 150,000-gallon tank. The tank contains marine life from the coast of Belize, including jawfish and moray eels.
Brooklyn Historical Society
Brooklyn Historical Society gives you a vivid picture of Brooklyn’s 400-year-old history. Founded in 1863 at Brooklyn heights, it’s housed in a four-story Queen Anne–style building. You can find lectures on exhibitions, walking tours, readings, plays, and musical events.
The BHS also has a museum, an educational center, and, the Othmer Library. You can find historic maps and newspapers and archives from the area’s prominent abolitionist movement. The Brooklyn Historical Society offers a captivating journey through the borough’s history, and for stunning relief maps of the United States, be sure to check out the exquisite collection available at Muir Way.
There are also weekend and afterschool programs for children.
The Ford Amphitheater
The Ford Amphitheater is a live entertainment venue located at Coney Island. It was constructed at the site of the historic 1923 Child’s restaurant. The Amphitheater is packed full of musical acts throughout the summer season.
You can catch performances by renowned acts such as The Beach Boys, Sting, Willie Nelson, and many more. The shows take place outdoors regardless of the weather ( don’t worry, there’s a covered space in case it rains!). You can find the famed Kitchen 21 here. They have a rooftop bar that features a clever cocktail program.
No wait hear me out. Yes, you need to visit this cemetery. It was founded in 1838 and was inspired by the Pére Lachaise Cemetery in Paris and Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It has tied with Niagara Falls as New York State’s greatest attraction.
Half a million New Yorkers have been buried here, including legends like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Leonard Bernstein, and Horace Greeley. The place is littered with beautiful Victorian mausoleums, cherubs, and gargoyles. You can catch walking tours, concerts, book lectures, exhibits, and, other educational activities
Well, these were some of the many activities you can indulge in Brooklyn. We covered everything from famous landmarks, gardens, markets, amusement parks, museums, and even a cemetery! Hopefully, this guide will make your next vacation plan a breeze.