If you find yourself in Brooklyn this weekend, you're in luck, because there are tons of venues open to families, couples, and anyone with an appetite for any kind of music, as well as fabulous parks, a zoo, art galleries, comedy clubs, and museums.
Among the cultural activities in Brooklyn, you'll find a slew of art, history, and kids' museums.
- Brooklyn Children's Museum was created in 1899 as the first museum expressly for children age 6 months to 19 years. Its permanent exhibits include a kid-sized Brooklyn; Collections Central, where kids can create their own designs; and the Sensory Room, designed for children with autism spectrum disorders. The Brooklyn Children's Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday.
- The Brooklyn Museum, open Wednesday through Sunday, holds art classes for people age 6 through adult and has five floors dedicated to a wide variety of art from around the world.
- The New York Transit Museum, in Brooklyn's Downtown Cultural District, has exhibits on the transit history of the city's subways, trolleys, and buses, as well as regular weekend events such as workshops and walking tours.
- The historic Brooklyn Navy Yard was a working naval shipyard up until 1979. A museum dedicated to its history is open on weekends, with public tours, educational programs, and archives.
Parks, the Zoo, and Birds
Maybe you and your kids need some fresh air. If the weather's nice, head out to a park or the zoo where you can commune with nature year-round.
- Lakeside Prospect Park covers 26 acres and offers year-round activities and special events that include roller and ice skating, boating, and biking.
- The Brooklyn Bird Club features walks and talks about birding and includes an introduction to bird watching that's held throughout the year.
- The Prospect Park Zoo is open year-round and includes a petting zoo and several exhibit areas.
- The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is not to be missed. Depending on the season, you can walk through beauty in the Cherry Esplanade, Cranford Rose Garden, Fragrance Garden, Magnolia Plaza, Shakespeare Garden, or Herb Garden, among many others. It's a great place to make some brag-worthy photos, too.
- Brooklyn Bridge Park holds frequent special events, music festivals, and tours, and has an educational center.
- In addition to its famous boardwalk, Coney Island has a museum commemorating the island's vaudeville and amusement park history, concerts, a beach, rides, and a seaside aquarium with a shark tank, penguins, and otters.
Concerts and Performances
You can't come to New York without seeing a great movie, live show, comedy act, or dance program. But that doesn't just happen in Manhattan. In Brooklyn, you'll find lots of opportunities.
- Downtown Brooklyn TKTS sells tickets to Broadway Saturday night and Sunday matinees for up to half-price.
- The Brooklyn Academy of Music has a huge calendar packed with film, theater, dance, and music performances, as well as talks, visual art exhibitions, and programs designed specifically for children.
- Nitehawk Cinema, Williamsburg's dine-in theatre, features a wide range of cinematic treats, from rarely seen 35 mm films to new independent features.
- At Music Hall of Williamsburg, you'll find concerts playing nearly nightly and a varied program.
- The Knitting Factory in Williamsburg is a nightclub with such diverse offerings as poetry readings, standup comics, and experimental music.
- BAMcafe: Check out BAMcafe's free live music show for no cover at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It variously features rock, jazz, pop, and world music on Friday and Saturday nights.
- The Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College features performances and arts education programs.
- Bargemusic Concerts feature classical music on a barge floating in the East River near the Brooklyn Bridge.
Bowling, Flea Markets, and Art Galleries
Finally, there are a lot of activities that are a bit out of the ordinary.
- Brooklyn Flea. Ranked by the top travel magazines as the best markets in the U.S. and the world, Brooklyn Flea operates outdoor markets in the DUMBO neighborhood on Sundays from April through October.
- Plot your strategy for looking for a new apartment in Brooklyn.
- DIY art gallery tour: WagMag has an event calendar of open hours for galleries throughout the region.
- Royal Palms Shuffleboard: Be your grandparents and try this hot shuffleboard-and-bar venue.(Gowanus).
- The Bell House in Gowanus is a comedy-and-music venue where the NPR Program "Ask Me Another" is recorded.
- Go bowling, eat, and listen to live rock at Brooklyn Bowl, all at the same time. Chill on a leather Chesterfield sofa as you take a break from the lanes and have an adult beverage or a shake, malt, or egg cream. It just doesn't get much better than that.