brooklyn bridge
Travel,  USA

A Guide to Williamsburg, Brooklyn (And Its Artsy Side)

A few days spent wandering Williamsburg, Brooklyn, offer a slower-paced side of New York with an artsy and cosmopolitan vibe.

New York City can be intimidating, impersonal and nearly impossible to cover in just a few days. But for the people who live there, the city is a lot smaller. It often consists of the few blocks around their homes: the local grocer, the late-night pizza joint and nearby park.

And when you’re visiting New York, taking on the city in a more manageable bites lets you savor that local atmosphere.

Exploring Williamsburg, Brooklyn

williamsburg brooklyn

williamsburg brooklyn

Brooklyn has niche perfume shops, cozy cafes and bookstores. Are you missing out by neglecting Manhattan and its famous downtown? It won’t feel that way.

Brooklyn was once notorious for high crime rates, drug dealers and drive-by shootings.

But parts of it have experienced a true Renaissance – especially Williamsburg.

It now boasts a sizable hipster culture, a strong art community and plenty of pubs and nightclubs. Though the artists who first flocked to Williamsburg because it was affordable are no longer doing so. Rents have skyrocketed since the 1990s.

And the ethnicities in Williamsburg give the neighbourhood a vibrant and cosmopolitan feel, along with great street food. There are Hasidim Jews and Puerto Ricans in South Williamsburg, and Poles and Italians in the North Side, among many others.

Waterfront views

new york

new york

Small parks offer views of the Manhattan skyline looming across the East River.

Brooklyn is all the more desirable now because of the waterfront district. A decline in industry left many warehouses decrepit and vacant. And the district was rezoned in 2005 to allow residential buildings.

The glittering Williamsburg Bridge connects the Lower East Side of Manhattan with Williamsburg.

As the sun sets, the golden New York lights reflect in the river.

For more on slow travel, read What is Slow Travel?

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A Slow Travel Guide to Williamsburg, Brooklyn


  • john

    In 2017 I did a fantastic walking tour of lower Manhattan. It was free with the LGA shuttle ticket. It covered sites and events from pre-revolution to more modern times. I don’t know if this service is still offered.

  • Truehappiness1111

    Peace food cafe is the best for me. Also I tried not to cover too much land feeling exhausted. Instead I try to enjoy myself whatever I am doing when I travel. That is the point of it after all right? To be happy travelling? 🙂 I had one of the best spiritual experience when I was in NYC this past Christmas. Planning on visiting again! Glad you enjoyed your trip!

    • Dee

      Yes, I always like to remind myself that the point is to enjoy the trip whenever it feels like I’m packing my itinerary too tight or rushing. I hope you’ll get to return to NY soon!

  • Mel

    We loved DUMBO but didn’t make it to Williamsburg or the Met so these are firmly on my list for next time. Thanks for sharing the great pics and ambience 🙂

    • Dee

      Thank you, Mel! I’m happy you like it.. I love returning to the same place to explore it more and more each time, and I hope you’ll make it back to New York soon.

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