A weekend in Brooklyn is an incredible getaway for parks, street food and modern art. Here’s my itinerary for a perfect 2 days in Brooklyn.
Stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge and explore the mouthwatering food trucks, street art and thrift shops that make Brooklyn every culture lover’s dream.
Spend a weekend in this bustling borough that’s transformed itself into a hipster haven.
And you’ll fall in love with this more laid-back and artsy cousin of Manhattan.
Unwind at one of Brooklyn’s fabulous city parks for sweeping views of Manhattan’s sky scrapers. And take some time to explore Brooklyn’s thrift boutiques, niche shops and weekend festivals.
Whenever I visit New York, I always put Brooklyn on my itinerary alongside the famous Manhattan landmarks. I always end up spending more time there than expected!
So here’s my guide to the ultimate weekend in Brooklyn – and how to plan your perfect 2-day itinerary.
Use it to explore the more local side of the borough and its hidden gems.
Weekend in Brooklyn itinerary day 1: great views and street food
MORNING: Stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge
Kick off your weekend in Brooklyn with a stroll across this 1.1-mile historic suspension bridge.
You’ll get sweeping views of Manhattan and start your day at a strategic location that gives you easy access to lots of local attractions.
Allow about an hour (round trip) to walk across the bridge and admire its neo-Gothic architecture. And get there early to avoid the afternoon crowds.
Completed in 1883, this Brooklyn icon was an incredible engineering feat for its time. And today it’s a beloved symbol of the borough.
Insider’s tip: Don’t miss the plaques along the way with great info about the history and architecture of this gorgeous bridge.
Start your stroll in Brooklyn and walk towards Manhattan for the best views.
And if you’re an early riser, catch the sunrise on the bridge. You’ll get Brooklyn Bridge nearly all to yourself – and snap some incredible photos.
The entrance to Brooklyn Bridge is right across the street from the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall subway station.
AFTERNOON: lunch in Dumbo
DUMBO (or Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is the lively little neighborhood you’ll enter right after you walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Nestled at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, DUMBO is known for its microbreweries, flea markets, street cafes and art galleries.
And don’t miss the incredible views of Brooklyn Bridge from DUMBO’s narrow side streets.
Head to Washington Street for the perfect photo opp and capture the bridge looming high over rows of Brooklyn homes.
Once packed with warehouses and transport ferries, DUMBO is now one of Brooklyn’s chicest districts.
Head to Westville Dumbo on Washington Street for mouthwatering American classics and a great little patio.
And you can’t not have pizza when you’re in Brooklyn. Head to Grimaldi’s (my favorite) right under the bridge for some thin crust goodness. Other pizza places like Front Street Pizza and Juliana’s are also great choices – though expect lines at lunchtime.
AFTERNOON: Thrifting at Brooklyn Flea
(photos: Sam Hollenshead)
If you’re in DUMBO on Saturday or Sunday (from April to December), then don’t miss the local edition of Brooklyn Flea for vintage treasures amid a bustling atmosphere.
Browse the hundreds of vendors offering anything from silk kimonos and Nirvana records to jewelry made by local artists.
Known as one of New York’s best urban experiences, Brooklyn Flea is brilliant to browse, people-watch and catch some neighborhood spirit.
Set aside an hour or two to browse, and snack on the array of foods from artisanal vendors.
There’s also artwork and unique Brooklyn souvenirs like vintage tea kettles, quirky watercolors and old Brooklyn street signs.
Ranked as one of America’s best markets, Brooklyn Flea is a real New York experience.
LATE AFTERNOON: lounge at Brooklyn Bridge Park
Give your sightseeing feet a rest and stop for a break on the green fields of Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Take in the Manhattan views and spot the Statue of Liberty in the distance as you watch the river flow.
And don’t miss local treasures like Jane’s Carousel, a restored 1920s merry-go-round inside a glass pavilion.
Take a stroll along Pebble Beach, watch the locals play beach volleyball and bring your takeout to munch on the picnic tables.
Once a busy industrial waterfront, Brooklyn Bridge Park has been transformed into a green oasis in the city and a favorite local hangout.
The park hosts outdoor movies, concerts and waterfront workouts so check their website for the latest.
EVENING: Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Wind down your first day in Brooklyn with an evening stroll along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, a historic walkway that overlooks the glittering Manhattan skyline.
Walk down this 1/3-mile-long stretch and gaze at the twinkling skyscrapers in the distance and the old Brooklyn townhouses in this historic district.
And stop on a bench to take in the views and feel the cool evening breeze from the lake.
Then get off the promenade and head into Brooklyn Heights, full of old brownstones, lively eateries and a great bar scene.
Brooklyn Heights is known for its historic brownstones with some 600 houses dating to before the Civil War.
And it’s one of the prettiest areas of Brooklyn. You’re spoiled for choice with dozens of upscale restaurants and exclusive boutiques amid historic mansions.
Soak in the atmosphere at Montero’s, a vintage bar open since 1939 with great live music and an unpretentious crowd.
And don’t miss Bargemusic for classical music inside New York City’s floating concert hall. Moored under the Brooklyn Bridge, Bargemusic hosts year-round concerts in a cozy room overlooking lower Manhattan.
Weekend in Brooklyn itinerary day 2: Bushwick and Williamsburg
MORNING: Wander around artsy Bushwick
Finish your weekend in Brooklyn in Bushwick, a lively Hispanic neighborhood with some great street art.
Head to Troutman Street for some of the city’s best street art and a collection of daring murals by renowned New York and international artists.
Known as the Bushwick Collective, this open-art museum includes block after block of graffiti on every inch of brick (and sometimes cars too).
If you’re an art lover, you’ll spend hours wandering the side streets filled with gorgeous imagery and poignant stories. Fill up on the great Mexican food in this area for fuel.
Catch some artists at work on the ever-changing street art that moves and shifts with times. The Bushwick Collective is different every time you visit Brooklyn.
The collective started in 2011 to liven up this industrial part of Brooklyn, and it’s now one of the borough’s top attractions.
Focus on Troutman Street between Irving and Cypress Avenues for the most breathtaking art. And leave some time to wander the side streets.
AFTERNOON: Explore Williamsburg
Head to hip Williamsburg for your second day in Brooklyn to dig into food trucks, breweries and vintage shopping at this hipster mecca.
Walk down Bedford Avenue for the borough’s best indie shopping. Load up on vinyl at Earwax Records, craft your own necklace at Brooklyn Charm and browse the racks at 1970s vintage shop Amarcord.
If you’re in Williamsburg on a Saturday, then head straight to the Smorgasburg Food Market for an open-air foodie paradise and a taste of Brooklyn’s best artisanal foods at bargain prices.
And set aside an hour or two to just wander around Williamsburg and explore. You’ll stumble into mouthwatering vendors, cutting-edge art galleries and indie shops to find your own hidden gems.
EVENING: Dinner and beers in Williamsburg
Stay in Williamsburg for the night and start the fun at Brooklyn Brewery, where you can take a tour and sample the microbrews in the tasting room.
And stop by the famous Joe’s Pizza for a thin slice of classic Brooklyn pizza. A true foodie destination, Joe’s Pizza has been named one of the best pizzerias in the world.
End the day at Westlight for gorgeous views of Manhattan over cocktails and a mouthwatering menu. It’s one of the best restaurants and rooftop bars in the borough.
WHERE TO STAY IN BROOKLYN
The Williamsburg Hotel has tall windows with sweeping views of the city. Don’t miss their chic bars and the idyllic rooftop pool. And their location puts you in the heart of Williamsburg and your second day of sightseeing.
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge is nestled alongside Brooklyn Bridge and minutes away from the borough’s best eateries and city parks. It’s an eco-luxury hotel with city views, an incredible rooftop pool and lots of verdant native greenery.
A weekend in Brooklyn is an incredible way to experience the artsy, hip and bustling borough that’s a haven for hipsters and culture lovers.
You won’t regret adding these Brooklyn gems to your New York sightseeing itinerary. And you just might find it hard to go back to Manhattan!
I would love to hear from you. What are your favorite destinations in Brooklyn?