Photo Credit: Photo by Brandon Jacoby on Unsplash
Brooklyn Travel Guide: Explore This New York Borough
Brooklyn is a vibrant and diverse borough that is home to a community of unique cultures that share art, food, music and ideas. Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights are historical neighborhoods known for producing some of the most culturally significant figures to the culture, including Lena Horne, Mike Tyson and Jay-Z. There’s a thriving culinary scene filled with delectable soul food, comfort Caribbean cuisine and authentic African delicacies.
Brooklyn, New York, Quick Travel Facts
- Best time to travel: March to May (off-season), September to January (holiday season)
- Time zone: Eastern Standard Time (EST)
- Noteworthy: Brooklyn Book Festival (October), Dyker Heights Christmas Lights (December), New York Fashion Week (February and September), Rolling Loud NYC, AfroPunk
- Best for: Friend Trips, Solo Travel, Food Tours, Concert Trip
Whether you’re looking to reconnect with your roots or simply visit a dynamic and exciting city, Brooklyn brings the sights, tastes, and touches of the world into this beautifully rich and colorful melting pot of art, food, culture, and life. It is something that you have to experience for yourself.
Play: Things to do in Brooklyn, New York
The Brooklyn Pop-Up is a rolling market that curates indoor and outdoor retail events with a revolving roster of artisans and vendors. They showcase Black-owned and women-owned businesses throughout the year and often feature over 40 vendors. The events are more contemporary and laid-back with a variety of tables that include accessories, fashion, jewelry, beauty and home goods. It’s sidewalk retail therapy with sustainable designs and handmade crafts that to take with as a souvenir.
Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
A visit to the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights in Brooklyn after Thanksgiving should be on everyone’s bucket list. Bringing the Christmas spirit to this diverse borough, this holiday light display is one of New York’s best attractions during the holiday season. There are over-the-top decorations, such as a life-sized Santa in his sleigh, Frosty the Snowman and nutcrackers. There are also oversized wreaths and all kinds of Christmas trees.
It’s a sight to behold for any traveler of any age during this time of year. Christmas lights and music span multiple blocks throughout the Kings County hub.
The Brooklyn Museum is home to some of New York’s most cultural art exhibits. From a large exhibition space of ancient Egyptian art to modern-day American installations, this premier institution holds incredibly impactful and educational pieces. The museum also holds works by impressionist masters, like Claude Monet and Judy Chicago.
There are plenty of events for the whole family to enjoy throughout the year. Some include performances by the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra, interactive painting classes and creative art camps and educational programs.
Peace + Riot
From Moroccan poufs and cultural cleansing ritual tools to Sadé sweatshirts and Brooklyn street art, Peace + Riot offers a curated range of products inspired by owner and Brooklyn native, Achuziam Maha-Sanchez’s African and Caribbean heritage. Peace + Riot has a chic and universal appeal. It combines the global tastes of history and culture with an eclectic vibe of interior design and iconic New York fashion.
The brick-and-mortar store carries home decor, gifts, books, candles and more. The home decor pieces are elegant, and the gifts range from games to personal accessories.
Gourmet: Best Restaurants in New York
Clover Hill in Brooklyn Heights
Clover Hill is one of the heartbeats of the culinary scene in Brooklyn Heights.
Clover Hill is truly unique because of the Executive Chef Charlie Mitchell. Mitchell is the only Black Michelin-star chef in New York Cit. He is also the winner of the 2022 MICHELIN Guide New York Young Chef Award. The menu takes consumers on a journey of flavor profiles, cultural cuisines and the thoughtful fusion of local and global foods.
This 30-seat Michelin-star restaurant has taken the beauty of the city’s culture and created a top-rated eatery. The flavors are seasonal and the menu is exciting. It takes a mix of humble and coveted ingredients to new heights. With a hint of romanticism, the atmosphere feels cozy and extravagant. It is almost like a love letter to the borough, as much as a love letter to food.
You’ll be giving a chef’s kiss in the air after dining at Brooklyn Beso.
For over ten years, this Black-owned restaurant and bar has provided the Brooklyn community with Latin and Caribbean fusion dishes. It also has given a lively atmosphere of flavor, music, dancing and drinks. The bright colors around the dining room keep things light, but the menu options spice things up.
From their unique menus to the late-night music events, a reservation at this stellar Afro-Caribbean Brooklyn mainstay is a must.
You don’t go to a restaurant to leave hungry. Bellyful NYC understands the assignment.
The mood of the restaurant and bar is rooted in Pan-African culture. It makes those wonderfully mouthwatering Jamaican flavors all the more exciting to try when visiting. Whether you’re craving the hearty richness of curried vegetables and ital stew or a lighter seafood soup, you’ll leave satisfied.
When you can’t decide between drinks or dessert, Tipsy Scoop is to the rescue. It’s an ice cream shop with a twist: creative and whimsical liquor-infused ice cream. Owner Melissa Tavvs was inspired by her family’s love of ice cream and cocktails. Flavors range from light and citrusy to the more indulgent and decadent.
The secret formula is their trade secret — a custom-made ice cream base that creates a perfect formula of frozen creaminess, even with a higher alcohol content.
Head straight to Harlem for some satisfying soul food at BLVD Bistro. From husband and wife duo Carlos and Markisha Swepson, BLVD Bistro is bustling with visitors who can’t get enough of the menu. With southern fusions, including barbecue short ribs with candied yams and smoked turkey collard greens, it is a must-visit location. They proudly carry Black-owned wines and spirits along what making unique cocktail blends inspired by the culture.
Dept of Culture Brooklyn
The Dept of Culture Brooklyn has begun to turn heads in the culinary mecca of New York City. With a menu rooted in North Central Nigerian cuisine, Executive Chef and founder Ayo Balogun launched this restaurant from the IYA EBA popup dinner series around the city. The intimate setting plus a four-course meal inspired by Balogun’s Kwara state homeland makes this a special occasion. Dishes, like Indigenous Nigerian rice, Egusi and Dodo ati ice cream, create this visually and flavorfully beautiful harmony of culture.
Cafe Erzulie may be your answer to a fun night out. This cafe and flower shop may look quaint and serve delicious Haitian-inspired food and coffee during the day; however, the real fun begins at night when the cocktails, island-spiced menu and rhythmic music come out to play. The cafe and backyard garden will envelop your senses as you kick back and enjoy the Caribbean tropical night.
Cafe Erzulie is open for private events and hold public events all year round. There is weekly live music nights and Guest DJ mix concerts. The public events are for 21+ crowds, and you must RSVP for a good view of the stage area. On Friday and Saturday nights, they provide bottle service when noted.
Stay: Best Places to Stay In Brooklyn, NY
This beautiful Black-owned Bed & Breakfast is 15 minutes from Manhattan and has all the charm needed for a relaxing getaway. Akwaaba Mansion was constructed in the 1860s as a landmark mansion. It has 14-foot ceilings, ornate fireplaces and an Italianate villa architecture design. The beautiful mansion has an Afrocentric décor and cultural antiques that create a warm and welcoming vibe.
The tree-lined community of Stuyvesant Heights serves as the main draw. This stay has a glassed-in sun porch for enjoying a savory Southern breakfast or afternoon tea. It also has a secluded garden to walk through.
You can stay in one of four uniquely decorated guest rooms. Each room includes luxury bath robes, custom bath amenities, and private jacuzzis. The hotel mansion has WiFi throughout the property and a guest library, TV and game room. If you’re ready for more relaxation, this Brooklyn stay offers luxury massage packages and a personal concierge.
Luxury Boutique Studio – Red Hook
This local boutique studio in Red Hook will make you want to stay longer. This seaside studio rental is in an optimal location for exploring the seaside village surrounded by restaurants, breweries and more. It has rustic charm with a modern vibe. There’s dimmable vintage lightbulbs, reclaimed wood floors and a two-seater antique cast iron soaking tub. The morning light and beautiful sunsets will make you want to finish your day trip in the city early.
Sunny Williamsburg Artist’s Loft
This 1,100 square feet Williamsburg loft will fulfill your dream of being an artist living in New York City. With stunning artwork on exposed brick walls, this artist’s loft will make you feel like a creative trekking the city for your next muse. The library and media area of the loft overlooks a lush green garden. If you’re feeling like a culinary artist, there’s an open kitchen with a 6-burner Viking stove. The loft is close to the train, so it is easy to travel in Brooklyn or to another borough.
Get Away: Getting To and Around Brooklyn, NY
There are two major airports in New York: La Guardia Airport (LGA), John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK). Both are located in Queens, but with so many forms of transportation, it is easy to get to Brooklyn.
Brooklyn has plenty of ride-share services, such as Uber and Lyft, that make it easy to get around.
Public transit is plentiful around New York. There are trains and buses that run all day and night throughout the boroughs for convenience and affordability. There are also city bikes and bike-sharing companies stationed throughout the city, so you can take your time enjoying the sights of Brooklyn.
Explore Brooklyn On Foot
You can definitely walk anywhere in New York. Brooklyn has some beautiful sights making it perfect to get some exercise and find hidden gems around the city.