Brooklyn is a neighborhood that’s become a popular area for New Yorkers, and in the know tourists. 

It’s an area filled with delicious restaurants, cool art galleries, and some of the best vintage shopping around.

For tourists, it’s especially easy to stick to only exploring Manhattan, since that’s where most of the iconic sights are. 

Heck, it’s even easy for locals to get too comfortable in our neighborhoods and forget to venture out to explore others.

It’s an area I wish I would have spent more time in—if only the hour-plus subway commute from the UES been a bit quicker!

Any time I would go to BK, I’d make a complete day out of the trip in order to make up for the long train ride.

I highly suggest you do the same while you’re in town. You’ll be considered a lot cooler than your friends who visited and likely never made it into Brooklyn.

For the ultimate well-rounded New York visit, follow this guide to spending one day in Brooklyn. 

Things to Do Early Morning in Brooklyn

Cross the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

My favorite way to enter Brooklyn is to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s got one of the best views in the city, plus you’ll get in a little workout!

I suggest grabbing a coffee before starting your trek. There are plenty of coffee spots near the Manhattan entrance to the bridge.

My favorite spot is Birch Coffee, on Beekman St. (between Nassau and Willams).

It’s a short two minutes from where you need to enter and their coffee is delicious.

The walk takes about 30 to 45 minutes to cross, depending on how fast you walk. 

Grab Breakfast at Time Out Market

Once you’ve made it across the bridge, you’ll be in the neighborhood of Dumbo. 

It’s an adorable little neighborhood that offers beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline and boasts Time Out Market

My favorite breakfast spot in the market is Clinton St. Baking Company.

They’re famous for their fluffy blueberry pancakes, which are pretty epic!

Explore Brooklyn Bridge Park

Janes Carousel under the Brooklyn Bridge

After you’ve devoured some pancakes, stroll down the promenade and check out the waterfront. 

If you’re looking for the perfect place to get that epic street photo in front of the Brooklyn Bridge, just head to Washington Street for the perfect angle. 

Once you get your IG photo, head down the street to Jane’s Carousel.

It’s a 1920s ride that makes for a fun and a really cool Instagram story.

Local’s Tip: During the summer, keep an eye out for free movie nights in this park.

It’s perfect for a really romantic date night, or a fun night out with friends depending on the vibe you want, as well as the film that’s playing. 

Check Out Brooklyn Flea

If you’re visiting on a Saturday, then hitting up Brooklyn Flea is a must. 

It’s Brooklyn’s largest flea market, featuring hundreds of vendors selling everything from furniture to vintage clothing and antiques.

It even made the list of the best Flea markets in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure magazine.

To check it out, just head to the Manhattan Bridge Archway, near 80 Pearl Street.

They’re typically open Saturdays from 10 am until 4 pm. 

Things to Do During the Afternoon in Brooklyn

Hit Up Smorgasburg

Whether you’re in the mood for some vintage shopping or some delicious snacks, Smorgasburg has you covered.

It’s basically like a giant market that has a little of everything.

I always go for the food and stay for the shopping. 

During the warmer months, it’s outdoors, and in the winter you can find it indoors. 

Shop in Williamsburg

This is the perfect place to do some shopping at cool boutiques or vintage shops.

These are some of my favorite Williamsburg shopping destinations:

Hang Out in Domino Park

For a bit of chill downtime with amazing views of the Manhattan skyline, head to Domino Park

With its sprawling lawns and industrial style, it’s an amazing spot to catch the sunset, have a picnic, play some volleyball, or relax with a good book

Local’s Tip: This is a prime spot for a cool IG photo with the iconic NYC skyline in the background. 

Tour Brooklyn Brewery

Who wouldn’t want to spend the afternoon tasting beers? 

Brooklyn Brewery tours cover the brewing process, beer history, and their story. 

After the tour, you’ll get to sit down and taste through multiple brews.

It’s a great learning experience for beer fanatics and novices alike.

Fun Fact: They distribute their beer in over 30 different countries, including most of the United States.

Things to Do at Night in Brooklyn

Have an Amazing Dinner

Brooklyn has some of the best dining around these days, with some locations booking months in advance, while others have a strict first-come policy. 

Dining at some of these hot spots is a main draw for local Manhattanites to cross the bridge into Brooklyn for an evening out. 

These are my top spots to dine while exploring BK: 

See a Show

Brooklyn has no shortage of artistic offering. In fact, a lot of the time I’ve spent in Brooklyn has been thanks to the theater.

BAM and St. Anne’s Warehouse are two of my all-time favorite theater venues in all of New York

Both venues bring in world-class theater from all around the world.

I always hope things I miss in London get booked into one of these venues, and I’m rarely disappointed. 

If the theater isn’t calling your name, book tickets for a concert at Brooklyn Bowl, or Barclay Center.

Party at House of Yes

If you’re anything like me, after seeing an inspiring show, or epic concert, you’ll want to keep the night going. 

House of Yes is one of the most fun and original dance clubs in Brooklyn.

They have aerialists, world-renewed DJs, and epic theme nights. 

This is one place you can easily dance until the sun comes up!

Go Bar Hopping

If you’re not a dancer, but still want to keep your night going, check out some of these popular Brooklyn bars.

I’ve listed a few different neighborhood options so you can pick one close to your chosen show venue. 

Wrapping Up Your Day in Brooklyn

I’ve really loved exploring BK over the last decade, it’s a neighborhood that every NYC tourist should visit at least once. 

Plan on spending one day in Brooklyn during your trip, I can almost guarantee you won’t regret it!

You’ll certainly have experienced the non-touristy parts of NYC after checking out these spots.

I hope you have an absolute blast exploring BK. Let me know in the comments below what you’re most looking forward to seeing in Brooklyn!


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