Brooklyn is best explored on foot, and these five great walks will take you on a tour through the best of the borough, including favorite spots of locals, cafes, to scenic spaces and places you can take a rest and recharge during your walk. Choose from a stroll through a historic neighborhood with cobblestone streets to a walk around an edgy, trendy, industrial area. Whichever route you choose, this is an active way to explore Brooklyn. Or if you're not a fan of self-guided strolls and prefer for a more organized exploration, consider a guided walking tour.
Walk Through Park Slope and Prospect Park
Start your walk on 7th Avenue and 9th Street in Park Slope (you can get there on the F or G train), and walk down 7th Avenue toward Carroll Street. This is a busy main street in Park Slope with many restaurants and shops, so you might want to allow some time to explore this avenue. If you're in the mood for a coffee or want to bring some food to eat in Prospect Park for an impromptu picnic, stop by local favorite Connecticut Muffin located on 1st Street and 7th Avenue for a tasty treat. You can also rest on one of the benches outside the cafe.
Make a right on Carroll Street to make your way toward Prospect Park, but be sure to check out the stunning side streets, including Polhemus Place, along the way. When you reach Prospect Park West, turn left to walk along the park, continuing until you reach Union street. On Saturdays, this area is home to Greenmarket, a large, vibrant farmers market.
You'll be able to spot the arch at Grand Army Plaza, and you can cross the street to get a closer look if you'd like. And if you want to add on a visit to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden or take in some art, the Brooklyn Museum are both located on Eastern Parkway. Or you can head back toward the entrance of the park to spend the day there. Prospect Park is home to a carousel, historic house, nature center, roller and ice skating rink (seasonal), and a summer concert series in their beloved bandshell, amongst many other activities and events. You can easily spend a leisurely afternoon having a picnic of Prospect Park's Long Meadow. In the summer, Smorgasburg, a giant food market, is housed in the park on Sundays.
If you get hungry for dinner, head to Park Slope's 5th Avenue, which is home to numerous restaurants, bars, and cafes.
Stroll Through Brooklyn Heights
In search of breathtaking views of lower Manhattan and a stroll through some of the most charming streets in New York City? If so, you must head to Brooklyn Heights. Start your walk at Montague Street and Court Street (get there from the N, R, 2 or 3 trains). Walk down Montague Street toward the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. As you make your way to this scenic waterfront, spend time shopping and eating on Montague Street, which is home to boutiques and restaurants. Fans of Polish food might want to stop in Teresa's which serves large portions of classic Eastern European food and American comfort food. In the warmer months, you can grab a table outside on Montague Street. The restaurant is only a block from the promenade, so after your meal, you can head straight there. If you have kids in tow, consider making a stop at the large playground on the way.
Once you've walked the length of the promenade and taken in the gorgeous view, tour the streets of Brooklyn Heights. Walk from Hicks Street to Joralemon Street to see this quaint stretch of the neighborhood. This pocket of Brooklyn is home to historic brownstones and tree-lined streets. If you want to shop, walk along Henry Street toward the bridge to find a few shops and restaurants. If you'd like to pair your visit to this area with a walk on the Brooklyn Bridge, you can access the bridge by either walking down Clinton Street and through Cadman Square Park, or you can walk down Henry Street.
If you'd rather stick around Brooklyn, allow some time to explore Brooklyn Bridge Park, which runs through the Brooklyn Heights waterfront. The park has a roller rink, a swimming pool, and a luxury hotel.
See Street Art in Bushwick
Bushwick has transformed a lot within the past decade. For years, this Brooklyn neighborhood was neglected, and many of the buildings were shuttered. But it's now experiencing a renaissance. Factory facades have been transformed into canvases for talented street artists, and creative types are flocking to the area.
While Manhattan is home to world-famous art museums, you should know that the warehouse walls of Bushwick are filled with some of the best art in New York City. Start your street art tour at The Bushwick Collective on Troutman Street at Saint Nicholas Avenue, where the colorful murals are painted on the walls of the neighboring blocks. The Bushwick Collective hosts a block party on the first Saturday in June, which attracts quite a crowd, but even if you can't make that, you can stroll through these few blocks any time of year on your own, taking a DIY tour.
Although this is the most well-known stretch of Bushwick for street art, there are also other notable murals in the Bushwick/East Williamsburg border near the Morgan Avenue L stop. Stroll through this section of Bushwick, stopping in at Friends NYC on Bogart Street for some vintage threads, as well as a great collection of new clothes and jewelry, as you continue you'll walk through the arty streets of Bushwick.
Visit the Waterfront Around Red Hook
Red Hook is an industrial waterfront neighborhood that has become increasingly trendy in the past few decades. The area now houses high-end condos, a cruise terminal, galleries, a winery, distilleries, music venues, restaurants, and shops. The closest subway lines to Red Hook are the F and G trains that stop at Smith Street and 9th Street, but a couple bus lines (B61 and B57) also run to that area. Start your walk at Baked, a bakery where you can pick up a snack for your journey. Walk south on Van Brunt Street until you see Coffey Street. Take a right, and after a couple of blocks, the street will dead end into Valentino Park. Located directly on the river, the park offers a multitude of grassy spots perfect for reading or sunning or gazing out at the boats floating by. Pack a blanket, and enjoy a peaceful Brooklyn morning. On Tuesday nights in the summer, Red Hook Flicks hosts a summer-long free film festival at the pier, complete with local food vendors.
Fans of Key lime pie must head to the famous Steve's Key Lime Pie located next to the pier, then make your way to Red Hook Winery for a glass of wine. If you want something harder, you can walk to Widow Jane, a nearby distillery, or for a further walk through the area, head up to the Van Brunt Stillhouse, which is on the other side of Red Hook. Both distilleries offer tours and check out their websites for information.
In search of a casual place to dine with stellar views of the Statue of Liberty? Grab lunch at the cafe at Fairway, which has a menu of sandwiches, pizza, and salads. Or you can enjoy seafood at Brooklyn Crab. Both are a perfect way to end your walk around Red Hook. Top off your stroll with a ferry ride to Manhattan.
Start the walk on Bedford Avenue and North 7th street (the L train will take you right there). Walk down Bedford Avenue toward Metropolitan Avenue, stopping in shops, including the jewelry store, Catbird, and then head down North 3rd Street toward the waterfront. Make a right, and head to North 9th Street and shop for records at Rough Trade. After a visit to the record shop, walk across to East River State Park for views of midtown Manhattan. In the spring through the fall, Smorgasburg is located at the park on Saturdays.
Head back toward Bedford Avenue, and make a left on this street. This main strip is home to numerous restaurants, bars, and cafes, which are an ideal stop on your walk. Keep going until you reach McCarren Park, home to a public outdoor pool and a skatepark, as well as a popular farmer's market.
If you're in search of a cultural walking tour of Williamsburg and would like to explore the Hasidic neighborhood, head to South Williamsburg.