4 Best Sights in Red Hook and the Columbia Waterfront District, New York City

Louis Valentino, Jr. Park and Pier

Red Hook Fodor's choice
This small pier and park, named for a fallen firefighter, has awe-inspiring views of the Statue of Liberty and across the Hudson. You won't need prompting to take pictures. There are a few benches for relaxing.

Pioneer Works

Red Hook Fodor's choice
Occupying the 19th-century redbrick headquarters of the eponymous machine manufacturer, the Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation is a soaring three-level space dedicated to the arts. Reclaimed and retooled by Red Hook artist Dustin Yellin, the repurposed building is home to a collection of arts and science residency studios that showcase changing exhibitions and performance art. Lively opening parties, films, and concerts are open to the public as well. The backyard is a miniwonderland of landscaping and artwork.

Cacao Prieto and Widow Jane

Red Hook
Blending two very worthwhile pursuits, this redbrick building does double duty as both a chocolate factory (Cacao Prieto) and a liquor distillery (Widow Jane). Informative tours of the atmospheric premises (check out the chickens in the courtyard) start in the chocolate factory and then head to the distillery, with tasting samples of both sides of the business. The distressed-wood shop in the front room, with shelves of liquor bottles and gift items, is as lovely as the wrapping on the chocolate bars.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge

Red Hook
Back before the age of giant shipping containers, barges owned by the railroad companies plied the New York Harbor, transporting cargo. The restored all-wooden Lehigh Valley Railroad Barge Number 79 dates back to the beginning of the 20th century and currently operates as a small museum (Saturday 1--5 and Thursday 4--8) dedicated to Brooklyn's maritime heritage. Check out the 1938 Mary A. Whalen (weekdays 10--6, and second Sunday of the month May--September; Pier 11, next to the NYC ferry stop) nearby, too.