15 Top Summer Things to Do in Brooklyn

Explore Brooklyn in the Summer

There are tons of things to do in Brooklyn in the summer, from running in the parks to attending a wonderful First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum. You can eat pizza in Bensonhurst, ice cream in DUMBO and calzone 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 15
    BrooklynBridgeWallStSkyscrapersSURREAL.jpg
    ••• Enjoy car-free Manhattan on a few Saturdays in August. Photo by E. Freudenheim 2014

    Like the best things in life, this only happens once in awhile: 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. Find out where, when and (if you really don't get it) why!

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    ••• Deweys Candy Store in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Photo © 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.

    DUMBO in a nutshell: how to get there, what  do in DUMBO

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    ••• Brooklyn Brewery building in Williamsburg. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery

    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!

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    Go Swimming in an Outdoor Public Pool, or Go to the Beach

    ••• McCarren Park Pool in Williamsburg. Photo Courtesy of NYC Parks Dept/

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

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    ••• View of Brooklyn Bridge from DUMBO. Photo © Ellen Freudenheim

    You can do these three things in an afternoon:

    See the Visitors Guide to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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    ••• Thousands march in the annual West Indian American Day Labor Day Parade. Photo courtesy of WIADCA, organizers of the West Indian Labor Day Parade

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

  • 07 of 15
    ••• WTC 911 memorial wall: skyline in bronze, at MCU Park in Coney Island. Photo by E. Freudenheim

    Life's not all a bowl of cherries. Brooklyn was profoundly impacted 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.

  • 08 of 15

    Get Cool When the Heat's Too Hot to Handle

    ••• Broad sandy beach at Coney Island and Brighton Beach. Photo by Ellen Freudenheim

    Global warming or just a heat wave. Whatever. But sometimes New York City weather is just too hot to handle. Where to go and what to do, in Brooklyn? Actually, you've got a ton of choices, from seeing movies in your local (air conditioned) public library to finding a beach or a pool, to window shopping at one of Brooklyn's (air conditioned) malls.

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  • 09 of 15

    Attend Great Summer Concerts (Many are FREE!)

    ••• Celebrate Brooklyn! in Prospect Park. Photo courtesy of BRIC

    Enjoy great concerts and outdoor music in Brooklyn! It's amazing how many free musical events are held here 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.

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    Go Boating in Brooklyn! Kayak! Canoe! Or, Take a Ferry to Governors Island

    ••• Sebago Canoe Club offers kayaking and canoeing on Jamaica Bay. Courtesy of 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! Check out the details of paddling on Jamaica Bay.
    • 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! Governors Island makes for a fabulous weekend outing. Take the ferry from Brooklyn to Governors Island. Bring your bike, or rent a bike there, and explore this fabulous old site. The island is open on Fridays-Sundays, and special tours are offered on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 am and 1 pm.
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    ••• SummerScreen Movies in Williamsburg. Photo courtesy of SummerScreen

    What fun it is to watch a movie outdoors on a summer evening! Brooklyn offers a wealth of summer movie watching, from rooftop screenings of indie films to blockbuster movies shown in Brooklyn Bridge Park ​to a classic film (like the 35th anniversary of Saturday Night Fever in Prospect Park's Bandshell to family friendly movies in Williamsburg.

    Check out the schedule of free outdoor movies this summer in Brooklyn!

     

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    ••• Crowds at Brooklyn Cyclones Game. Photo by E. Freudenheim

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

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

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    ••• Get Up and Ride Bike Tours in Brooklyn. Photo by E. Freudenheim, 2014

    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.

     

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    ••• "Mighty Quinn" barbeque at Smorgasburg in DUMBO. Photo by 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 trend setter. 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!

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    ••• Oaker Min / EyeEm/Getty Images

    Don't miss the free weekend fireworks at Coney Island. You can go on Friday or Saturday nights for a walk along the boardwalk, people-watching, and a show of fireworks after sundown.

    Find out more about fireworks at Coney Island!