Brooklyn is one of New York City's fastest-growing boroughs, so don't allow old rumors about it being dangerous to deter you from visiting or living in this thriving urban area. This borough has plenty to offer both residents and visitors alike, including unparalleled views, open parks, several beaches, and plenty of public and private events.
Back in the early 2000s, some Manhattanites wouldn’t be caught dead living in a brownstone in Carroll Gardens or Prospect Heights, and certainly not in Clinton Hill or Bedstuy. However, the simple arithmetic of real estate has been a driving force of gentrifying neighborhoods and opening a slew of new businesses. Plus, visitors and residents alike can get more space and a better location in terms of transit in Brooklyn than in Manhattan, making Brooklyn the place to be.
Recently, college grads, young couples, new families, screenwriters, businesspeople, dreamers, graduate students, artists of all stripes, restaurateurs, professionals,... global citizens, immigrants, and people from New Jersey have all been relocating to this borough, adding to its diversity and culture.
There are probably about 100 reasons to visit Brooklyn (Kings County), but here are the top 10 advantages of living or being in this New York City borough. Be sure to also check out our "Ten Tips to Renting an Apartment in Brooklyn" and our guide to "Finding a Hotel or B&B in Brooklyn."
01 of 10
Fantastic Views—Especially From Rooftops
In Brooklyn, you can see the sky, which is a rare sight in Manhattan, where skyscrapers block the view of all but a sliver of the cloudless skies overhead. What's more, if you can get access to a rooftop through an apartment rental (even if just for a night), you'll have access to uninterrupted views of all of Manhattan's skyline—depending on where you are.
02 of 10
Open College Campuses and Plenty of Options
There are dozens of colleges, universities, and trade schools in Brooklyn where hopeful students can live and study in a relatively calmer part of New York City.
Some colleges, like Pratt Institute, even offer outdoor space on their enclosed campuses. If you're visiting Brooklyn or have time to pass in Brooklyn, consider visiting Pratt's Sculpture Garden, which is famous for its international art pieces placed around the campus lawn.
In Brooklyn, you can study law, medicine, architecture, design, Chinese, art, medicine—you name it. Check out "Where to Go to College in Brooklyn" or "EMT Programs in Brooklyn" for more information on getting a higher education in NYC.
03 of 10
Culture and Art Is Everywhere, All the Time
Sure, Manhattan is a world-class cultural center, but you don't have to face the city's hustle bustle every weekend to experience a unique New York vibe.
You can feed your inner culture vulture with visits to the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn Academy of Music, St. Ann's Warehouse, concerts in the parks, poetry readings at local cafes, and even some public free theater productions.
Graffiti is also a huge part of this diverse borough, especially in Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Bed Stuy. There are even guided walking tours around "East Williamsburg," so if you're visiting and looking to experience some art, just go walk around!
04 of 10
Bigger, More Eclectic Music Venues
From the Music Hall of Williamsburg to Littlefield in Gowanus, Brooklyn offers some of the best music venues in the city. These private spaces attract thousands of visitors a weekend and offer unique styles, international talent, and an eclectic crowd of artists and businesspeople alike.
Consider visiting the House of Yes in Bushwick, which has a different show or event each night of the week including musical productions, dance parties, and even some classes and workshops.
Other great venues include Output, Brooklyn Bowl, and The Knitting Factory in Williamsburg; The Paper Box, Brooklyn Mirage, and The Wick in Bushwick; and The Bell House, ShapeShifter Lab, and Analog BKNY in Gowanus.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
The Beach Is Just a Subway Ride Away
Brooklyn has beachfront property at Coney Island and Brighton Beach, and for visitors and local residents alike it's just a quick trip on the MTA subway or the Long Island Railroad from Atlantic Terminal straight to the Atlantic Ocean.
What's great is that from lower Brooklyn, especially deep Bushwick or even the beach neighborhoods near Coney Island, it's a quick trip via city bus to a slew of "hidden" beaches including Fort Tilden in nearby Queens.
06 of 10
Bigger, Less Crowded Parks
Brooklyn's parks are abundant, and not too crowded to use. And, in the summer, most of them have free or almost free concerts and movies every weekend. Although these parks can get crowded, they are often sparsely populated—or just spread out across the massive grounds of parks like Prospect Park.
Fort Greene in Clinton Hill, the Waterfront in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), the Coney Island Boardwalk, and Red Hook all offer visitors wide open spaces with plenty of activities like biking and baseball.
07 of 10
Back Yards and Rooftops
Although you can find apartments with backyards or rooftop access in Manhattan, they are extremely rare, which isn't the case with Brooklyn real estate.
Most apartment buildings, especially the further out in Brooklyn you go, have some form of outdoor shared space, and even though many apartments have signs on the roof access door that says an alarm will sound if you open it, most of these alarms have been deactivated.
If you're lucky enough to be in the ground floor apartment of a building less than five stories tall, you're most likely going to have access to your own backyard, and maybe even your own tree—after all, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn!
08 of 10
Neighborhood Communities Can Be Close-Knit
Brooklyn divides naturally into dozens of distinct, walkable neighborhoods, each with its own history and style, sometimes with a distinct ethnic flavor. Many of Manhattan’s wonderful quirky old neighborhoods have been gentrified out of existence, but they’re going strong here, and, as a result, Brooklyn’s bursting with diversity and personality.
The neighborhoods make Brooklyn a spectacular place to grow up, to raise a family, and to live a life. When you come from Brooklyn and a specific neighborhood in Brooklyn, you are coming from somewhere.
Discover Brooklyn's classic Italian neighborhoods or check out the thriving artist scene in Greenpoint where Polish immigrants and 20-something hipsters mingle. Or you can have a laugh at Park Slope, which is so gentrified it's even spawned a blog of locals who make fun ... of themselves.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Lower Prices—For Everything
Compared to the rest of the United States, Brooklyn is not cheap, but it is significantly cheaper than Manhattan or the richer areas of Queens. From clothing to food to happy hour prices and even rent, staying or living in Brooklyn is simply a more frugal way to experience New York City.
Check out one of the many thrift shops that oftentimes sell hand-me-down designer clothes for a fraction of the price. L Train Vintage has multiple locations throughout Williamsburg and Bushwick, and you're sure to find at least one thing you want every time you go.
10 of 10
Public, Free Events Year Round
Enjoy First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum, lectures at the Brooklyn Public Library, the views of the Statue of Liberty from Red Hook, bike riding in Prospect Park, a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, the West Indian American Labor Day Parade, and the Mermaid Parade—all free.
There are also a number of free things to do in Williamsburg and Bushwick including Bushwick Open Studios in the summer and one of many winter dance parties at the House of Yes.