Every time I visited New York, I fell into the typical tourist routine—Times Square, Central Park, Broadway, maybe venturing down to Chelsea Market. No shots on these popular sights, but there’s way more (and way better things!) to see than the Midtown tourist trap. Now that I’m a New York resident, I like to take staycations and explore everything New York has to offer that’s not centered around overpriced pizza shops and the madness of Times Square. Read on for my guide to a fun-filled day in Brooklyn!
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge
Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a Big Apple local, walking the Brooklyn Bridge is a must-do. So when my best friend Christine and her brother Blake came to visit, it was the perfect opportunity for me to play tour guide for the day and show them around my neighborhood. The best strategy is to walk the bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan, so you can see the New York skyline. There’s no better view, plus you get a clear sightline to the Statue of Liberty.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Once across, you can either walk or cab back over, or hop on the subway at nearby Fulton Street across the East River to Brooklyn Bridge Park.
This 85-acre park is home to some of the best New York views and there’s plenty to do. Lemonade and ice cream stands dot the pier, or bring a blanket to hang on the grass and watch the ferries go by.
There’s no shortage of dining options nearby, from Shake Shack and Luke’s Lobster to the Michelin-starred River Café. But my favorite spot is Grimaldi’s Pizza, which opened under the bridge in 1990. Come here for no-nonsense service, red checkered tablecloths and the best coal-fired thin crust pizza cooked in their signature brick ovens. It’s cash only and there’s usually a line (seriously, they have stanchions and a doorman for crowd control) so get there right when it opens for lunch!
DUMBO’s View of the Manhattan Bridge
Water Street in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is home to the incredible view of the Manhattan Bridge framed by Brooklyn-style lofts. But it’s also what caused a great Gossip Girl conundrum—this is the image viewers would see when cutting to the Humphrey loft, but in the pilot, it’s mentioned Dan and Little J live in Williamsburg. 🤷 Regardless, it makes for a gorgeous view.
What are your favorite Brooklyn activities? Leave ideas in the comments below!