10 Best Things to Do in Bushwick, Brooklyn

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

Bushwick, located just next door to Brooklyn's beloved Williamsburg and Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhoods, has a storied past. In the 19th century, it played a vital role in America's beer history (the area was once known as the beer capital) until its breweries closed by the 1970s, leaving the neighborhood neglected and many of its buildings shuttered. In recent years, however, creatives have begun to flock to this vibrant part of Brooklyn—factory façades have been transformed into canvases for talented street artists, galleries have cropped up around the community, and new breweries have moved in.

Visitors normally begin with a self-guided street art tour, some of the country's finest, and a gallery hop before rounding out the day with a beer, sampling of Bushwick's innovative eats, or perhaps a night out at one of the quirkiest nightclubs in the country.

01 of 10

Grab a Fab Cup of Joe

Coffee at Lazy Suzy Cafe & Shop in Bushwick

Lazy Suzy Cafe & Shop

703 Hart St, Brooklyn, NY 11221, USA

Whether you're looking to start the day off with some caffeinated beverages or need the perfect afternoon pick-me-up during a big day of sightseeing, Bushwick has plenty of incredible coffee shops to suit any mood.

Head to Lazy Suzy Cafe & Shop for signature drinks like lattes made with honey cardamom, rose matcha, brown sugar, and lavender matcha; plus an assortment of teas (including interesting flavors like dragon pearl jasmine) and other espresso-based favorites. For cappuccinos, drip coffee, cold brew, and Guji Mane, a seasonal blend featuring South American and African flavors, try Mixtape Bushwick. Located on Broadway near the Halsey Street subway station, Little Skips East is another great spot, as is Dweebs, which is closer to the Knickerbocker Avenue stop.

02 of 10

Treat Yourself to Some Pastries

Circo's Pastry Shop in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Circo's Pastry Shop

312 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237, USA
Phone +1 718-381-2292

If you're in the mood for dessert any time of day, head to one of Bushwick's best bakeries for tasty snacks like cannoli, doughnuts, and freshly baked pastries.

Start at Circo's Pastry Shop, a neighborhood staple that's been serving up Italian cakes, cookies, cannoli, sfogliatelle pastry, and cheesecakes since 1945. If doughnuts are more your style, head to Milk & Pull, which features seasonal flavors as well as croissants, muffins, bagels, and other breakfast and lunch creations. For more of a traditional French bakery vibe, try L'imprimerie, where French bread and pastries are baked all day long in small batches to ensure they're at their freshest when you order.

03 of 10

Enjoy an Eccentric Night Out on the Town

Aerial performer at House of Yes

House of Yes

2 Wyckoff Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237, USA
Phone +1 646-838-4937

House of Yes is difficult to describe: It's a nightclub, but probably not like any other you've seen. An average night out might feature aerialists suspended by ribbons from the rafters, body painters, or any number of circus acts. Housed in a spacious former ice warehouse and covered in street art on the outside, House of Yes calls itself a "performance-fueled nightclub." When it isn't putting on the funkiest and most lively all-night ragers in Brooklyn, it serves as an incubation space for local creatives.

For a different kind of performance (i.e., one that doesn't usually involve trapeze artists and heavy drinking), there's The Bushwick Starr, a humble black-box venue that puts on regular plays and avant-garde performances. This not-for-profit theater is an Obie Award winner, so you know you can catch quality theater, dance, and puppetry acts—and for a price that won't break the bank. Apart from shows, the venue frequently hosts events ranging from workshops to festivals, for youth and the rest of the community.

04 of 10

Get Some Fresh Air

Maria Hernandez Park

NYC Parks

P33G+7F, Brooklyn, NY 11237-3262, USA
Phone +1 212-639-9675

It's no Central Park, but Bushwick's Maria Hernandez Park does occupy nearly seven acres between Knickerbocker Avenue, Irving Avenue, Starr Street, and Suydam Street. A makeover by the Bryant Park Corp. upgraded it from a vacant space to a lush urban playground complete with a basketball court, handball court, fitness equipment, a colorful playground, and a performance stage. Whether you're exercising or picnicking on a summer day, Maria Hernandez Park is the place to go for a breather in Bushwick.

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05 of 10

Check Out All the Impressive Street Art

Counter Culture

Michel Arnaud / Getty Images

You can easily spend the day wandering the halls of some of the world's best museums in Manhattan, but Bushwick's colorful warehouse walls are brimming with just as much intriguing art. Start your self-guided street art tour at The Bushwick Collective on Troutman Street at Saint Nicholas Avenue, where colorful murals are painted on the walls of neighboring blocks.

If you're visiting during the summer, the Bushwick Collective hosts a block party on the first Saturday in June that attracts quite a crowd. Although this particular stretch is best known for its street art, you can also find notable murals around the Bushwick and East Williamsburg border near the Morgan Avenue stop on the L subway line.

06 of 10

Shop for Vintage Books and Clothes

Molasses Books

Molasses Books

770 Hart St, Brooklyn, NY 11237, USA

Just a few blocks from the Bushwick Collective is Molasses Books, whose laidback atmosphere evokes college bookstore vibes. The former barbershop also houses a cafe, so you can lay into a good story while sipping a latte or beer. If you're on a budget, check out the worthwhile selection of dollar books outside. To add to the retro appeal, Molasses Books also contains an impressive selection of pulp classics.

Continue shopping for more new and used books at the incredible Human Relations Bookstore, which sports a vast selection of fiction, non-fiction, and plays, among other genres. The final stop on your literary walking tour is Better Read Than Dead, a small, local favorite bookstore that's typically packed to the brim.

No trip to Bushwick is complete without a round of vintage shopping. The neighborhood, like most of Brooklyn, is brimming with curated consignment stores approved by the local hipsters. Start by checking out Urban Jungle (L Train Vintage), a certifiable vintage mecca jam-packed with every single article of clothing you can imagine from almost every era. Whether you're looking for a pair of patriotic cutoffs or a grungy flannel, rest assured Urban Jungle has it within its seemingly infinite stock. Others go-to vintage shops include Collections BK, GG's Social Trade & Treasure Club, and Chess and the Sphinx.

07 of 10

Sample Craft Beer at a Local Brewery

People drinking in a brewery
King's County Brewers Collective
381 Troutman St, Brooklyn, NY 11237, USA
Phone +1 929-409-5040

When the Kings County Brewers Collective (KCBC, for short) opened its spacious taproom in 2016, Bushwick became home to its first brewery in 40 years. This hipster-friendly watering hole is known for its no-frills space on Troutman Street where dogs are always welcome, as well as its cleverly named brews, like Superhero Sidekicks, Savage Crush, and Brew Man Group, just to name a few. Needless to say, the brewery was an excellent addition, promptly reviving the neighborhood's once long-gone beer scene.

Want to learn more about Bushwick's fascinating beer history? Consider taking a Bushwick Brewing Tour

08 of 10

Get to Know Bushwick's Culinary Scene

Display of pizza's
261 Moore St, Brooklyn, NY 11206, USA
Phone +1 718-417-1118

At one time, people only trekked to Bushwick for its legendary pizzeria, Roberta's. Now, the restaurant scene here is flourishing, with new eateries opening every month. Roberta's should, of course, remain on your Bushwick bucket list, as the perpetually packed artisanal pizza joint makes world-class, wood-fired pies.

Other perennial neighborhood favorites include a French restaurant housed in a former garage, Le Garage, and Faro, which serves handmade pasta made from local grains. A Mexican dinner under $10 (it's cash only) can be found at Los Hermanos Tortilleria, where the tortillas are made fresh and tacos are only $3 each. Don't forget to save room for a dessert at Fine & Raw Chocolate factory, located near the Morgan Street subway station. 

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09 of 10

Enjoy Dinner and a Show at Syndicated

Movie at Syndicated Brooklyn

Syndicated Brooklyn

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

Syndicated serves up a menu of pulled pork sliders, baked empanadas, and the perfect frozen painkiller cocktail to sip on while you watch a retro flick. The theater's repertoire of classics mixed with current indie films appeals to all cinephiles, while its upscale cinema snacks would impress even the most critical foodie. If you’ve ever wanted to dine on something more substantial than a soft pretzel or wished the standard movie theater served craft cocktails, this is the spot for you. 

10 of 10

Go Gallery Hopping

Galleries on Willoughby Street

TripSavvy / Alison Lowenstein

1329 Willoughby Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237-3003, USA
Phone +1 212-334-9255

Bushwick is home to countless artists and creatives 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, for a glimpse of what keeps their brains busy. There's also art on display at the Bushwick Galleries any time of year.

Just a short walk from the mural-lined streets that make up the Bushwick Collective is a stretch of galleries along Willoughby Street. Stop in Koenig and Clinton, originally located in West Chelsea, the Microscope Gallery, or the Stream Gallery

Watch Now: Explore Bushwick and Other Brooklyn Neighborhoods
Article Sources
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  1. Bushwick Daily. "Bushwick's Oldest Brewery Celebrates Its 10th Year as a Historical Landmark." March 7, 2019

  2. Edible Brooklyn. "For the First Time in 40 Years, a New Brewery Opens in Bushwick." April 29, 2016

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10 Best Things to Do in Bushwick, Brooklyn