8 Best Sights in Brooklyn Heights, New York City

Brooklyn Bridge (Entrance)

Brooklyn Heights Fodor's choice

Most visitors cross the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan, but you'll get better views traversing the span from the Brooklyn side. It's a surprisingly long walk (more than a mile) that normally takes about 40 minutes, but the exhilarating views are good payment for your exercise. Many office workers commute this way, and a welcome recent addition is a separate bike lane carved out from a lane of traffic, making the walkway much less crowded during rush hour (7 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 6 pm). It's most magical and quietest in the early morning, but if you don't mind the crowds, it's worth making the trip at sunset in summer, when the lights of Manhattan come to life. There are two pedestrian access points for the bridge on the Brooklyn side. One is at the intersection of Tillary Street and Boerum Place, where it eventually splits to lead left for those on foot, right for those on two wheels; the second is the Washington Street underpass, which leads to a staircase up to the walkway.

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Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Heights Fodor's choice

This sweeping feat of green urban renewal stretches from the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO to the Brooklyn Bridge and south all the way to Pier 6, carpeting old industrial sites along the waterfront with scenic esplanades and lush meadows. The park has playgrounds, sports fields, food concessions, the wonderfully restored Jane's Carousel, and lots of grass for lounging. In the summer, there are outdoor movies on the Harbor View Lawn. There are pickleball courts on Pier 2. You can access the park at various points; just head down the hill toward the East River and you can't miss it.

Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Brooklyn Heights Fodor's choice
Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Jennifer Arnow

Strolling this mile-long path famous for its magnificent Manhattan views, you might find it surprising to learn that its origins were purely functional: the promenade was built as a sound barrier to protect nearby brownstones from highway noise. Find a bench, and take in the skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge; in the evening, the lights of Manhattan sparkle across the East River. Below are the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway (BQE) and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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New York Transit Museum

Brooklyn Heights Fodor's choice

History buffs, train geeks, and playful children will all appreciate this unique museum inside a decommissioned 1930s subway station. Exhibitions include detailed timelines of the transit system's construction and evolution over the decades, but the true highlight is the subway platform two levels down, featuring train cars of different eras of the subway, dating back over a century ago. Adults and kids alike can wander these cars, each a time capsule of vintage aesthetics and advertising, or sit behind the driving wheel of a replica of an MTA bus. There are also old turnstiles and other transit memorabilia. The gift shop carries subway-line socks, decorative tile reproductions, and other fun souvenirs.

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Brooklyn Borough Hall

Brooklyn Heights

Built in 1848 as Brooklyn's city hall, this Greek Revival landmark, adorned with Tuckahoe marble, is one of the borough's handsomest buildings. The statue of Lady Justice atop its cast-iron cupola was part of the original plan but wasn't installed until 1988. Today the landmarked building serves as the office of Brooklyn's borough president, and the backdrop of weekend skateboarders in adjacent Columbus Park.

Brooklyn Heights Historic District

Brooklyn Heights

Most of Brooklyn Heights, with picturesque brownstones spanning Old Fulton Street to Atlantic Avenue, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965. This includes the quiet "fruit streets"—Pineapple, Cranberry, and Orange Streets—named in the 19th century by one Lady Middagh, a resident who thought it was more democratic to get rid of the former names of aristocratic families. Ironically, Middagh Street still exists. One notable building in the area is 58 Joralemon Street, which at a glance appears to be a 19th-century Greek revival townhouse, but is actually a facade for an MTA ventilation shaft. 

Old Fulton St. to Atlantic Ave., between Cadman Plaza and Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Center for Brooklyn History at Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Heights

Four centuries' worth of art and artifacts bring Brooklyn's story to life at this marvelous, newly renovated space. Housed in an 1881 Queen Anne–style National Historic Landmark building, the center surveys the borough's changing identity through interactive exhibitions, landscape paintings, photographs, portraits of Brooklynites, and fascinating memorabilia. The Othmer Library’s magnificent reading room, with its stained-glass windows and carved wooden columns, transports visitors to an earlier era.

Plymouth Church

Brooklyn Heights
Built in 1849, this barnlike neoclassical Congregational church was a stop on the Underground Railroad. The famous abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher was the first pastor; a sculpture of him stands in the colonnaded courtyard visible from Orange Street. The brick building's open, theaterlike interior inspired many subsequent American Protestant churches. Three Louis C. Tiffany stained-glass windows were added in the 1930s. A fragment of Plymouth Rock is in an adjoining arcade.
75 Hicks St., Brooklyn, NY, 11201, USA
718-624–4743
Sight Details
Rate Includes: Tours available Mon. and Tues. by appointment only, or Sun. after services, Sun. services at 11 (at 10 in summer); tours by appt