118 Best Sights in Brooklyn, New York City

Court Street

Carroll Gardens
Court Street is the eclectic main artery of Carroll Gardens. It's a quick lesson in gentrification, too, as you'll see shops like D'Amico, the third-generation coffee roaster, and tax offices sharing walls with cool dive bars and yoga studios. But Court Street, and Carroll Gardens in general, is not a story of "us versus them": sit on a bench in leafy Carroll Park and you’ll find nannies with strollers and octogenarian Italian men playing bocce coexisting in perfect harmony.
Brooklyn, NY, USA

Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park

Coney Island

The star attraction at Deno's is the towering 150-foot-tall Wonder Wheel, a New York City landmark. The Ferris wheel first opened in 1920, making it the oldest ride in Coney Island, and the spectacular views from the top take in a long stretch of the shoreline. Other rides for tots here include the Dizzy Dragons, the Pony Carts, a brightly painted carousel, and the Phoenix Family Thrill Roller Coaster. For older kids, there's also Stop the Zombies, a virtual-reality arcade game.

Domino Park

Williamsburg

Once the grounds of the Domino Sugar Factory, this sprawling riverside park tastefully incorporates clunky metal remnants of its refinery past, including its Artifact Walk, an elevated walkway with Manhattan skyline views. There's also a playground, a garden, dancing fountains, and Tacocina, a walk-up eatery from Danny Meyer of Shake Shack fame. You’ll see locals hanging out at the bocce court or playing with their pooches at the dog run, but most of all, you’ll be able to marvel at a truly spectacular view of the Williamsburg Bridge, seemingly right above your head.

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DUMBO First Thursday Gallery Walk

DUMBO
This monthly happening provides after-hours access to more than 20 of DUMBO's galleries, retailers, and exhibition halls, plus happy hour specials at neighborhood bars and restaurants. Maps are available throughout the neighborhood.

DUMBO Walls

DUMBO

Keep an eye out under and around the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway, where walls display longstanding street art by the likes of CAM, Cey Adams, Apolo Torres, and Yuko Shimizu. The project is sponsored by the DUMBO Improvement District and the New York City Department of Transportation Urban Art Program.

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

Every holiday season, Dyker Heights becomes aglow with utterly extravagant light displays. Driving is convenient, but walking can be more fun, if the weather is agreeable---between 11th and 13th avenues, and from 83rd to 86th streets are a good bet. Here are a couple of tips: take a thermos of hot chocolate to keep you warm, and if you're driving, don't wait until the days right before Christmas because the traffic can get horrendous.
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Brooklyn, NY, USA
Sight Details
Rate Includes: Dec.

East River State Park

Cherished by residents for its grassy knolls and superb Manhattan views, this park contains vestiges of the 19th-century dock that once occupied these 7 acres. On Saturday, more than a hundred vendors sell artisanal goods at the Smorgasburg open-air market (see Chapter 8, Park Slope and Prospect Park, for full listing). The park can get crowded on summer weekends, so don't be surprised if you find yourself scavenging for an open patch of grass.

Flatbush Reformed Church

The last Dutch director-general of New Netherland, Peter Stuyvesant, ordered a church built at this site in 1654, making this one of the oldest places of worship in New York. The current Federal-style stone building, the third at this location, was completed in 1798 and features Tiffany stained-glass windows. The complex, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, also includes the 1853 Greek Revival and Italianate parsonage and the 1924 church house.
890 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn, NY, 11226, USA
718-284–5140
Sight Details
Rate Includes: Check with church office (Tues.–Thurs. until 1 pm) to access church midweek, Grounds and cemetery: daily 7–3. Sunday services: 11 am.Check with church office (Tues.–Thurs. until 1 pm) to access church midweek.

Franklin Park Reading Series

Crown Heights
This Crown Heights reading series at the Franklin Park bar and beer garden occurs on the second Monday of each month. Previous readers have included headliners like best-selling author Hannah Tinti and comedian Michael Showalter.

Gleason's Gym

DUMBO
Want to be like Mike (Tyson)? Head to this athletic institution dating to 1937, whose illustrious alumni include the likes of Muhammad Ali, Jake LaMotta (the real-life boxer whose life is depicted in the movie Raging Bull), and Brooklyn's own Iron Mike. The gym sells one-day memberships for would-be ringmasters, as well as tickets to amateur boxing and Muay Thai matches.
77 Front St., Brooklyn, NY, 11201, USA
718-797--2872
Sight Details
Rate Includes: $10 one-day spectator; $20 one-day workout

Gowanus Canal

Once a bustling commercial waterway serving the neighborhoods of Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, and Park Slope, the nearly 2-mile Gowanus Canal is now one of the most polluted bodies of water in the United States and is designated an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site. Seven bridges cross the 100-foot-wide canal, which may sometimes smell, but is still photogenic. Juxtapositions of nature and industry—and a wealth of sunlight—make the waterway an urban charmer. The Gowanus Canal Conservancy organization is a nonprofit dedicated to making the canal and its shores a healthy part of the community.
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Gowanus Open Studios

The factories, warehouses, and studios of Gowanus foster many an artisan, and for one weekend in October, literally hundreds of makers open their work spaces to the public. There are events all weekend, with studios open noon to 6 pm on weekends.

Greenpoint Film Festival

Greenpoint
To see what’s behind North Brooklyn’s reputation as a haven for avant-garde artists and filmmakers, check out the four-day-long Greenpoint Film Festival, held every May. It features films in four categories (Documentary, Narrative, Experimental, and Animation), plus Q&As with filmmakers. The festival also includes an "Environmental" themed section with a special emphasis on Greenpoint.

Greenpoint Gallery Night

Greenpoint
Locals and visitors alike have the chance to go gallery-hopping two Friday nights a year thanks to Greenpoint Gallery Night, which is fortunate because many of the neighborhood's art spaces fly under the radar. (Some are open to the public throughout the year, usually on weekends.) One place to start is 67 West Street, which houses many small galleries, including the Greenpoint Terminal Gallery and Calico, then follow the map of participating galleries posted online.

Greenpoint Historic District

Greenpoint
Landmarked in 1982, this historic district is lined with beautiful town houses. The area extends roughly from Calyer Street north to Kent Street, between Manhattan Avenue and Franklin Street. The brick homes date from the 1850s, when Greenpoint was a major hub for shipbuilding and manufacturing. Walking along Franklin Street, north of Greenpoint Avenue, it's easy to feel like you've stepped into an Edward Hopper painting.

India Street Pier

Greenpoint
This spruced-up, modern pier serves the NYC Ferry's East River route. Take in the stunning views of Midtown while you wait for the ferry to arrive.

Industry City

A makeover and an influx of 21st-century businesses—some in a marvelous food court—have reinvigorated the mammoth former Bush Terminal complex of factories and warehouses. Reincarnated as the 6-million-square-foot Industry City, the space, still evolving, hosts "designers, innovators, start-ups, manufacturers, and artists." Tenants worth checking out at the Food Hall include Colson Patisserie, Blue Marble Ice Cream, and Avocaderia, what may be the world's only avocado-centric restaurant. Events include sample sales, food festivals, and family-friendly dance parties.

Invisible Dog

Boerum Hill
A 19th-century factory building that for a few recent decades was home to the maker of the famous "invisible dog" leashes is now an interdisciplinary arts center with more than two dozen studios for artists. The gallery exhibits their works and those of their peers from Brooklyn and beyond, and other spaces host musical performances, dance recitals, and other cultural events.
51 Bergen St., Brooklyn, NY, 11201, USA
347-560–3641
Sight Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon.; open by appointment only Tues. and Wed.

Kensington Stables

Just around the corner from Prospect Park, the Kensington Stables are the last remaining part of a riding academy founded in 1917, when the horse and carriage was the main mode of transportation around the area. Experienced staff lead trail rides (from $42 per person) for all skill levels, through wooded and stream-filled Prospect Park.

Kings County Distillery

DUMBO
New York City's oldest whiskey distillery bottles award-winning craft moonshine, bourbon, and other booze in a 115-year-old building in the sprawling Brooklyn Navy Yard. The distillery is open for 45-minute tours that include tastings and admission to the Boozeum, the spirited on-site museum. Tours are available Tuesday through Sunday at 3 and 5 pm, and on Saturday every half hour from 2 to 5 pm. (last tour at 5 pm). Reservations for weekday tours are recommended. Check the website for special events.
299 Sands St., Brooklyn, NY, 11205, USA
347-689--4180
Sight Details
Rate Includes: Tours $14, Mon. 10--6; Tues.--Fri. 10--10; Sat. 12--10; Sun. 12--8

LeFrak Center at Lakeside

Prospect Park

The highlight of this 26-acre space in Prospect Park is the pair of all-season open-air rinks—for ice skating when it's frigid, and roller skating otherwise. Walkways, an lakeside esplanade, and the Music Island nature reserve—all part of the original Olmsted and Vaux plans—contribute to this area of the park that's a pleasant place for a stroll or skating lesson, or to grab a bite to eat at its Bluestone Cafe (open year-round). In the summer, kids can cool off at the splash pad in the summer by day, while DJs spin at theme roller-skating nights on weekends by night.

Luhring Augustine

East Williamsburg
Probably the neighborhood's most established gallery, this annex of the Chelsea original is worth a stop to see whatever show is up and to appreciate its soaring space and cantilevered ceiling.

Luna Park

Coney Island
The Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel are Coney Island's most famous attractions but they're only the beginning—Luna Park has 19 other rides, including the Slingshot, which will send you soaring and somersaulting more than 90 feet into the air; the Thunderbolt roller coaster with its 90-foot drop; and the Steeplechase, where you'll experience the sensation of riding a horse at top speed around a race track.
1000 Surf Ave., Brooklyn, NY, 11224, USA
718-373–5862
Sight Details
Rate Includes: Closed hrs vary, but are generally mid-Oct.–early May. Check website for details., Seasonal hours vary but generally Mar.–May, weekends only (plus daily Apr. 3--12); June–Aug., daily

Manhattan Bridge Archway Plaza

DUMBO
In 2008, city planners transformed this industrial storage lot into an 8,000-square-foot venue for seasonal markets, performances, and other events. On Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm from April to October, the soaring space and surrounding Pearl Street blocks host approximately 80 vendors and food trucks as part of the Brooklyn Flea.

McCarren Park

On warm weekends, locals flock to this park that forms the border between Williamsburg and Greenpoint. The 35 acres include baseball diamonds, benches, tree-lined paths, and plenty of dogs out enjoying the sunshine with their owners. Across Driggs Avenue are a running track, soccer field, and tennis courts. The outdoor McCarren Park Pool, open in summer, tends to hit capacity pretty quickly. There's a skating rink in winter.

Monsignor McGolrick Park

Greenpoint
The tree-lined allées and historic colonnaded pavilion (1910) of this park in southeastern Greenpoint evoke 18th-century France. Neighborhood kids skateboard and play on the paths after school and on weekends. On Sunday between 10 and 4, local purveyors like Brooklyn Grange (rooftop farmers) and Ovenly (bakers) sell their wares at the farmers' market.

Moore Street area street art

Bushwick and East Williamsburg have become synonymous with street art, and there are some impressive, constantly changing murals over by Roberta's restaurant. Start on White Street, at Seigel Street, then head south on White to Moore Street, east on Moore to Bogart Street, then north on Bogart and east on Grattan Street.

Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts

Fort Greene
Since 1999, MoCADA has been showcasing emerging artists, sociocultural and political installations, and exhibitions relating to peoples of African descent. MoCADA also sponsors dance performances and children's programming throughout Brooklyn. Check their website for details on upcoming events.
80 Hanson Pl., Brooklyn, NY, 11217, USA
718-230--0492
Sight Details
Rate Includes: $8, Closed Mon. and Tues.

Narrows Botanical Gardens

This 4.5-acre verdant gem of a park between busy Belt Parkway and sleepy Shore Road is modest but worth a visit for a peek at its colorful rose gardens, flower-covered meadow, and waterfront views of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. A walk through the volunteer-staffed sanctuary, amid the butterflies, will leave you thinking you’ve discovered your very own secret garden. Plus, there are chickens wandering around, always a fun sight for urbanites.

New York Distilling Company

This young distillery makes two kinds of rye and three types of gin. The knowledgeable staff is delighted to explain their nuances; visit on a weekend afternoon for a free tour and tasting (check the website for additional tour times). The bartenders at the attached Shanty bar, open nightly (weekends from 2 pm), make a serious gin gimlet. Be warned: the Dorothy Parker and Perry's Tot gins are potent.
79 Richardson St., Brooklyn, NY, 11211, USA
718-412--0874
Sight Details
Rate Includes: Distillery tours: weekend afternoons