13 Top Summer Things to Do in Brooklyn

USA, New York State, New York City, Panorama of Brooklyn
••• Christian Heeb / Getty Images

Brooklyn has tons of things to do in the summer, from running in the parks to swimming and boating for free. You can eat pizza in Bensonhurst, ice cream in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), and calzones in Carroll Gardens. Watch fireworks at Coney Island, go fishing off of Sheepshead Bay, and much more.

For starters, here are some great summer activities in Brooklyn. Have fun!

Edited by Alison Lowenstein

  • 01 of 13
    Crowds at Brooklyn Cyclones Game
    ••• Crowds at Brooklyn Cyclones Game. E. Freudenheim

    Coney Island is fun just about any time of year, with its roller coasters, quirky history, and seamy-artistic settings. But the weirdest and wackiest Coney Island event of all is the annual Mermaid Parade (June 16, 2018), an all-day affair with floats, adults, and kids dressed as sea monsters and mermaids and mermen, and a parade of antique cars, followed by a post-parade bash at the nearby New York Aquarium.

    You can also:

    • Ride the Cyclone
    • Attend a Brooklyn Cyclones baseball game on the boardwalk
    • See free weekend fireworks at Coney Island after sundown on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • 02 of 13
    Deweys Candy Store in DUMBO, Brooklyn
    ••• Deweys Candy Store in DUMBO. Ellen Freudenheim

    Brooklyn residents may get sick of the Brooklyn Bridge and even ignore the fact that there's a cool neighborhood right below it: DUMBO. If you haven't been, go. And if you are visiting Brooklyn for the summer, here's what to look for in DUMBO. Take a little walking tour of DUMBO's Front Street.

  • 03 of 13
    Brooklyn Brewery
    ••• Torresigner / Getty Images

    New York City's beer hall tradition has been revived in Brooklyn. Check out various locations, many in Williamsburg, where you can taste imported and locally brewed beers, and relax. It's summer!

  • 04 of 13
    New York City Public Pools Open For Summer
    ••• Mario Tama / Getty Images

    Enjoy a day at the beach or at a pool and soak in the sunny Brooklyn days. The best part? The beaches and pools are free all summer long. Don't forget to wear sunscreen.

    Continue to 5 of 13 below.
  • 05 of 13
    View of Brooklyn Bridge from DUMBO
    ••• View of Brooklyn Bridge from DUMBO. Ellen Freudenheim

    An afternoon can cover a trip to DUMBO and these activities:

    See the Visitors Guide to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

  • 06 of 13
    September 11 Memorial
    ••• Matthew T. Carroll / Getty Images

    Life's not all a bowl of cherries. Brooklyn was profoundly affected by the events of September 11, 2001. Go see for yourself how the borough of Brooklyn has memorialized that day and the people who lost or gave their lives on 9/11.

  • 07 of 13

    Attend Great Summer Concerts (Many Are Free!)

    It's amazing how many free musical events are held in Brooklyn throughout the summer. So get your calendar out and start making plans. There are at least nine major outdoor venues in Brooklyn with noteworthy concert series coming up this summer. Check out Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park, SummerStage in Red Hook, or Sunset Sounds in Industry City.

  • 08 of 13

    Go Boating in Brooklyn or Take a Ferry

    Sebago Canoe Club offers kayaking and canoeing on Jamaica Bay.
    ••• Sebago Canoe Club offers kayaking and canoeing on Jamaica Bay. Chris Bickford

    You have lots of opportunities this summer to get on the water.

    • Go boating on Jamaica Bay with the Sebago Bay Canoe Club! Weather permitting, every Saturday is open paddle in Jamaica Bay, a National Wildlife Refuge in Brooklyn. You simply will not believe you are in the city. 
    • Go boating off Brooklyn Bridge Park for free, with experts. You can't beat the views of the Brooklyn Bridge, lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty! Find out more.
    • Take a trip! Take the ferry from Brooklyn to Governors Island. Bring your bike or rent a bike there, and explore this fabulous old site for a weekend. The island is open on Fridays through Sundays, and special tours are offered on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
    Continue to 9 of 13 below.
  • 09 of 13
    SummerScreen Movies in Williamsburg
    ••• SummerScreen Movies in Williamsburg. Courtesy of SummerScreen

    Brooklyn offers a wealth of summer movie watching, from rooftop screenings of indie films to blockbuster movies shown in Brooklyn Bridge Park, to family-friendly movies in Williamsburg.

     

  • 10 of 13

    Take a Bike Tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard or a Movie Tour of Brooklyn

    Get Up and Ride Bike Tours in Brooklyn
    ••• Get Up and Ride Bike Tours in Brooklyn. E. Freudenheim

    Want to see Brooklyn by bike? Take yourself on a self-guided tour using NYC's bike route maps, or join a tour organized by the Brooklyn Historical Society, Urban Oyster, or other tour companies.

     

  • 11 of 13
    Mighty Quinn's barbecue
    ••• Mighty Quinn's barbecue at Smorgasburg in DUMBO. E. Freudenheim

    One of the highlights of the summer is the weekend outdoor Brooklyn Flea market. It's a happily curated jumble of old and new, trendy and cool stuff.

    Brooklyn Flea is held in two different locations, and it doubles as a social meeting place, shopping zone, and taste trendsetter. And, you can get lobster rolls, fish tacos, fabulous bite-sized cupcakes, homemade ice cream in season, and more at the food trucks and food stands at Brooklyn Flea. Find out more about food at Brooklyn Flea.

    Plus, don't miss the Saturday food fest at Smorgasburg, in the same location.

  • 12 of 13
    Sunrise over Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan, New York City
    ••• JulieanneBirch / Getty Images

    Like the best things in life, this happens only once in a while: NYC streets are closed to traffic so you can cycle, walk, hop, jump rope, or dance from the Brooklyn Bridge all the way to Central Park.

    Continue to 13 of 13 below.
  • 13 of 13
    Man on Stilts at The West Indian Day Parade, Brooklyn
    ••• Catrina Genovese / Getty Images

    This huge, raucous, happy affair on Labor Day weekend is one of NYC's biggest parades. Get the scoop on Mardi Gras in Brooklyn, such as when and where to find the Caribbean Labor Day Parade in Brooklyn.