Bushwick 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 and for a long stretch of time, this Brooklyn neighborhood was neglected and many of the buildings were shuttered. However, in recent years, Bushwick is experiencing a renaissance. Factory facades have been transformed into canvases for talented street artists and creative types are flocking to the area.
Spend a day exploring this bustling neighborhood, which neighbors Williamsburg. 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.
Craft your itinerary to Bushwick, with our top nine... things to do in the area. Enjoy exploring this hipster haunt!
01 of 08
You can spend the day in the world's best museums in Manhattan, but you should know that the warehouse walls of Bushwick are filled with some of the best art in NYC. 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. For a fun party, the first Saturday in June, The Bushwick Collective hosts a block party which attracts quite a crowd. However, you can stroll through these few blocks any time of year on your own, taking in a DIY tour.
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 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 walk through the arty streets of Bushwick.
02 of 08
Shop for Books
In the increasingly digital world, it's refreshing to know that three bookstores that sell used books opened in Bushwick in the past decade. 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 barber shop. To add to the retro appeal, they have a nice selection of pulp classics.
If you're on a budget, be sure to 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 08
In 2016, Bushwick became home to its first brewery in forty years. Kings County Brewers Collective opened its spacious taproom this summer. Order one of their smartly named brews including Short Term Goals, Sandcastles, Secret Smoke, Flying Canoe and others. Check out their website for upcoming beer events at Kings County Brewers Collective. This brewery is a great addition to Bushwick, reviving 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 08
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/ nightclub. The venue, with aerial acts, packs in a hipster crowd outfitted in funky threads.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Indulge in Some Good Eats
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, you should still put Roberta's 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.
Or head to the new Nigerian inspired cafe, Chica, which has a menu filled with bar snacks and Nigerian street food. If you're on a budget and want a Mexican dinner for under ten bucks, 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 three bucks.
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 with its intoxicating aroma is located near the Morgan Street subway station.
06 of 08
Syndicated serves up a menu of duck confit nachos, porchetta and the perfect dark and stormy while screening retro flicks. The theater's schedule of films will appeal to all film lover with a schedule 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 08
Go Gallery Hopping
Bushwick is home to a lively population of artists who live and work in the neighborhood's old loft buildings. You can tour the studios at Bushwick Open Studios, which takes place on September 22nd through the 24th. 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. Be sure to stop in Koenig and Clinton, which relocated from West Chelsea to a light and airy gallery on Willoughby Street. The Microscope Gallery and Stream Gallery are also worth visiting. If you'd like to check out the indie art scene in other parts of Brooklyn, here's a guide on where to see and buy affordable art in Brooklyn.
08 of 08
Have a Drink
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, while surrounded by 80s decor, although most people drinking there were probably don't remember that decade.