The Top 8 Things to Do in Red Hook, Brooklyn

Spend a day exploring this unique Brooklyn neighborhood.

Walkway near historic 19th century warehouses on BearHistoric 19th century warehouses on Beard Street Pier, now a cluster of shops and offices, in historic shipping yards of Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY, USA. Constructed in pre-Civil War 1850s at Erie Basin Park.
Barry Winiker / Getty Images

While Red Hook may be a little out of the way, this intriguing neighborhood in northwest Brooklyn is a great place to check out. Spend a day strolling along cobblestone streets, sampling Latin American food at Red Hook Ball Fields, or enjoying views of Lower Manhattan from one of many waterfront parks.

To reach Red Hook, take the B61 bus from Downtown Brooklyn or Park Slope. If you're coming from Manhattan, take the subway—the closest stops to Red Hook are the Smith–9th Street station or Carroll Street Station, each reachable by the F or G trains, though you'll have to walk a further 20 minutes to reach Red Hook from either stop. For a more direct option from Manhattan, try NYC Ferry's South Brooklyn route, which docks at Atlantic Basin. While you'll have to pay for the route on weekdays, you can also catch a free NY Waterway ferry from Manhattan; it'll take you straight to the Red Hook Ikea.

01 of 08

Embrace Red Hook's Foodie Scene

A lobster roll at Red Hook Lobster Pound in Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York

Mr. Tin DC / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

284 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231, USA
Phone +1 718-858-7650

Red Hook has always been known for its restaurants—Defonte's has been serving up incredible hero sandwiches since it opened in 1922, while Hometown Bar–B–Que is known citywide for its Southern style pulled pork, baby back ribs, and mac n' cheese. For amazing seafood, head to Red Hook Lobster for Maine-style lobster rolls (served cold with mayo) or Brooklyn Crab for all things crab, mussels, clams, and chowder.

02 of 08

Get Your Drink On

Drinks being poured at Van Brunt Stillhouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York

Van Brunt Stillhouse

40 Van Dyke St, Brooklyn, NY 11231-1529, USA

There's something for everyone when it comes to drinking in Red Hook, whether you're craving craft beer from Sixpoint Brewery, a glass of vino from Red Hook Winery (which sources grapes from its North Fork vineyards on Long Island), or prefer to sample rum, grappa, and whiskey at Van Brunt Stillhouse. For local vibes and affordable cocktails, stop by Sunny's Bar, the oldest in Red Hook, dating back to the late 1800s, or Brooklyn Ice House, a funky neighborhood bar with a sweet yard and patio.

03 of 08

Enjoy the View from Louis Valentino, Jr. Park and Pier

Valentino Pier in Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York

Wally Gobetz / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 

Ferris St &, Coffey St, Brooklyn, NY 11231, USA
Phone +1 212-639-9675

Located right on the water, Louis Valentino, Jr. Park and Pier offers a multitude of grassy spots perfect for reading, sun tanning, or gazing out at the boats sailing by on the water. Pack a blanket and enjoy a peaceful Brooklyn morning, then take a walk out on the Pier, which extends out into the Buttermilk Channel, once a key route for New York's early shipping trade back in the 1800s. With views of the Lower Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty, it's a great place to catch a sunset. Visit in summertime for complimentary kayak rentals by Red Hook Boaters and free movies on the Pier during events by Red Hook Flicks.

04 of 08

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Assortment of brownies at Baked NYC


359 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231, USA
Phone +1 718-222-0345 ext. 1

Red Hook bakery and coffee shop Baked has received rave reviews from practically everyone, including Bon Appetit and The New York Times. The homemade Oreos, Red Hook "red hot" cake, and, if you're feeling decadent, melt-in-your-mouth sweet and salty brownies, are all worth a try.

Also located near Louis Valentino, Jr. Park and Pier, Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies, serves up what Al Roker once referred to as the "last genuine key lime pies in the U.S." If you haven't worked up an appetite just yet, fear not; the four-inch tart is small and perfectly shareable. Chocoholics should try the Swingle, a frozen chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick.

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Shop and Snack Your Way Around Ikea

Ikea in Red Hook Brooklyn as seen from a water taxi

Tony Savino / Contributor / Getty Images 

1 Beard St, Brooklyn, NY 11231, USA
Phone +1 888-888-4532

Ikea only has one location in New York City, so, as you can probably imagine, folks from the area head to Red Hook regularly in search of new furnishings and to feast on some of those world-famous Swedish meatballs. On weekends, NY Waterway actually runs free ferry service from three Manhattan hotspots (Pier 79 in Midtown, Brookfield Place in Battery Park City, and Pier 11 at South Street) to a dock right in front of the Ikea store in Brooklyn. Get some home inspiration from the staged rooms, then, after navigating the store's maze, treat yourself with something tasty from the food court or pick up a box of freshly baked cinnamon rolls to take home.

06 of 08

Visit a Museum on a Barge

Waterfront Museum at Sunset in Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York

 PhotoJeff / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

290 Conover St, Brooklyn, NY 11231, USA
Phone +1 718-624-4719

The Waterfront Museum, located inside what is formerly the historic Lehigh Valley No. 79 barge, is open to the public on Thursdays and Saturdays. Explore the vessel, see the Captain’s original living quarters, and check out a collection of tools used by longshoremen and stevedores. Don't miss the whirling ball machine, a fantastic permanent art installation that mesmerizes all who encounter it. 

07 of 08

Sample Latin American Fare at Red Hook Ball Fields

Food trucks at Red Hook Ball Fields in Brooklyn, New York

Gary Stevens / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

155 Bay St, Brooklyn, NY 11232, USA
Phone +1 718-722-3211

If you've worked up an appetite, pick up an afternoon snack at Red Hook Ball Fields. From April to November, you'll find an assortment of food trucks and carts featuring culinary treats from Red Hook Food Vendors. Feast on fresh ceviche, hot chicken tamales, spiced corn on the cob, El Salvadorian style pupusas, and a multitude of tempting Latin American straight-off-the grill street food favorites.

08 of 08

Browse the Bookstores

Pioneer Works bookstore in Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York

Pioneer Works

159 Pioneer St, Brooklyn, NY 11231, USA
Phone +1 718-596-3001

Spend some of your time in Red Hook perusing the aisles of local indie bookstores. Pioneer Books is a part of Pioneer Works, known for being "a center for research and experimentation in contemporary culture." Its exhibition space is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 7 p.m., with a suggested donation of $10 per person.

Nearby, Freebird Books is a cozy gem of a used bookstore owned by Brooklyn resident Peter Miller. Expect ongoing literary events, a wide selection of reasonably priced books (both used and new), coffee, tea, wine, beer, snacks, and a relaxing outdoor patio.

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The Top 8 Things to Do in Red Hook, Brooklyn