10 Best Things to Do in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Explore this arty neighborhood

Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Bridge
Jerry Trudell the Skys the Limit / Getty Images

Bushwick, which neighbors Brooklyn's astoundingly popular Williamsburg neighborhood, has a storied past. In the 19th century, it was a vital part of America's beer history and known as the beer capital. By the 1970s, all of the breweries in Bushwick had closed. For a long stretch of time following, this Brooklyn neighborhood was neglected and many of the buildings were shuttered. However, in recent years, Bushwick has experienced a renaissance. Factory facades have been transformed into canvases for talented street artists and creative types are flocking to the area. 

After enjoying the open-air museum of the country’s best street art, stop in the galleries and discover works by emerging artists, or simply browse through bookshops or have a meal at the many restaurants popping up all over the area. Don’t forget to stick around after dark because Bushwick is teeming with artistic haunts, from cutting edge theaters to performance spaces.

01 of 10

Check Out the Street Art

Counter Culture
Michel Arnaud/Getty Images

You can spend the day in the world's best museums in Manhattan, but 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. If you're visiting during the summer, the Bushwick Collective hosts a block party on the first Saturday in June which attracts quite a crowd. However, you can stroll through these few blocks on your own any time of year.

Although this is the stretch of Bushwick known for street art, there are also other notable murals in the Bushwick/East Williamsburg border near the Morgan Avenue stop on the New York City subway's L train line. 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 your walk through the arty streets of Bushwick. 

02 of 10

Shop for Books

Molasses Books
Molasses Books
770 Hart St, Brooklyn, NY 11237, USA

Bushwick boasts three bookstores that sell used books. Just a few blocks from the Bushwick Collective is Molasses Books, which evokes a college bookstore vibe. The laid back atmosphere of the bookstore and cafe leaves it the ideal place to pursue the shelves of books. You can also barter for books at this bookstore housed in an old barbershop. To add to the retro appeal, they have a nice selection of pulp classics.

If you're on a budget, check out the worthwhile selection of one dollar books on two shelves outside the shop. You can easily spend a day reading and sipping coffee or a beer at Molasses. Continue shopping for more new and used books at the incredible Human Relations Bookstore with a selection of new and used literature and non-fiction (they also have two shelves packed with plays). Your final stop is Better Read Than Dead, a small cleverly named small local favorite bookstore filled packed to the brims with great reads.

03 of 10

Go to a Brewery

People drinking in a brewery
King's County Brewers Collective
381 Troutman St, Brooklyn, NY 11237, USA
Phone +1 929-234-6557

In 2016, Bushwick became home to its first brewery in 40 years when the Kings County Brewers Collective opened its spacious taproom. Order one of their smartly named brews including Short Term Goals, Sandcastles, Secret Smoke, Flying Canoe, and others. The brewery is an excellent addition to Bushwick, reviving the once long-gone beer scene. You can have a drink at their spacious location on Troutman Street. If you want to learn more about Bushwick's beer history, consider taking a Bushwick Brewing Tour

04 of 10

Take in Some Indie Theater

House of Yes


Raffi Asdourian/Flickr/CC BY-NA 2.0

207 Starr St, Brooklyn, NY 11237, USA
Phone +1 917-623-9669

The Bushwick Starr, an Obie-award-winning not-for-profit theater in the heart of Bushwick, has a full season of plays and also hosts a popular reading series, as well as a puppet and poet festival. Since 2007, Bushwick Starr has been the home to emerging artists. The theater's website features up-to-date show listings.

If you don't want to watch theater, but would rather partake in a theatrical and circus-like experience, you must visit the House of Yes, a former ice warehouse, which is now a popular performance space-slash-nightclub. The venue, with aerial acts, packs in a hipster crowd outfitted in funky threads. 

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05 of 10

Indulge in Some Good Eats

Display of pizza's

At one time, people only trekked to Bushwick for Roberta's, the legendary pizzeria which is still a staple in the foodie world. However, now the restaurant scene in Bushwick is flourishing, with new restaurants opening each month.

Of course, Roberta's should be on your list. The perpetually packed artisanal pizzeria makes some of the best wood-fired pizza. But other perennial favorites in the neighborhood include the French restaurant housed in a former garage, Le Garage, and Faro, a neighborhood favorite that serves handmade pasta made from local grains.

If you're on a budget and want a Mexican dinner for under $10, visit Los Hermanos Tortilleria, where you can watch tortillas being made as you dine on tacos, tostadas, and other Mexican classics. It's cash only, but tacos are only $3 each.

Don't forget to save room for dessert and stop in at Fine & Raw Chocolate factory for a chocolate shake or to pick up a bar of artisanal chocolate. The factory is located near the Morgan Street subway station. 

06 of 10

Dine at the Movies

40 Bogart St, Brooklyn, NY 11206, USA
Phone +1 718-386-3399

Syndicated serves up a menu of duck confit nachos, porchetta, and the perfect Dark & Stormy cocktail while screening retro flicks. The theater's schedule of films will appeal to all film lovers, with a repertoire of classics mixed with current indie films. If you’ve ever wanted to dine on something more substantial than a soft pretzel or thickly buttered popcorn or wanted to down some booze while watching classics, this is the spot for you. 

07 of 10

Go Gallery Hopping

Galleries on Willoughby Street
Alison Lowenstein
1329 Willoughby Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237-3003, USA
Phone +1 212-334-9255

Bushwick is home to a lively population of artists who live and work in the neighborhood's old loft buildings. Tour the studios at Bushwick Open Studios, which usually takes place in late September. But throughout the year, you can spend a day browsing through Bushwick Galleries.

Just a short walk from the mural-lined streets that make up the Bushwick Collective is a stretch of galleries on Willoughby Street. Stop in Koenig and Clinton, which relocated from West Chelsea to a light and airy gallery along that street. The Microscope Gallery and Stream Gallery are also worth visiting. 

08 of 10

Have a Drink

The Rookery Bar
The Rookery Bar
618 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211, USA
Phone +1 718-388-2114

Drinkers will delight in the eclectic offerings in Bushwick. For a kitschy night of drinking, consider having a beer at the Bushwick County Club, which has a mini golf course on the property. Or have a cocktail at the stylish The Rookery, where you can drink "the Final Word" and other creatively named drinks while dining on curry vegetable pie from their inventive pub grub menu.

The Johnson's, a Brooklyn outpost of a popular Lower East Side bar, has cheap beer and a large patio. Have a drink at The Evergreen a local favorite neighborhood bar which was described as the "hipster version of Cheers." If you miss the 80's, down a funky-named cocktail at Jupiter Disco.

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09 of 10

Ride the M Train Into the City

M Train

Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0 

You can find some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline from the M train, which runs through Bushwick. Jump on the M at Central Avenue and right it over the Manhattan bridge. The view is especially good at night when the skyline glitters.

10 of 10

Dig Through Incredible Vintage Wares

No trip to Bushwick is complete without checking out Urban Jungle, a massive thrift and vintage store that's jam-packed with every single article of clothing you can imagine. Whether you're looking for a pair of American-flag patterned cut-off jean shorts or a cozy grunge-inspired flannel for the fall, Urban Jungle is the spot to find hipster duds befitting of the neighborhood.

Watch Now: Explore Bushwick and Other Brooklyn Neighborhoods
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10 Best Things to Do in Bushwick, Brooklyn