If you're thinking about walking the Brooklyn Bridge, consider crossing it heading toward the Brooklyn side from Manhattan. You'll still get stellar views, and there's so much to do once you reach this borough.
Here are nine places to explore, including a few indoor locations to find shelter from the heat in summer or cold in winter, use the bathrooms, and grab a bite or drink. Once you've exited the bridge, head to historic Brooklyn Heights, which is about a 10-minute walk away and a great place to spend an afternoon.
Stroll on the Promenade
Walk to the very end of Brooklyn Heights' little shopping street, Montague Street. If you're hungry, pick up a slice of pizza or sandwich at Lassen & Hennings along the way for a picnic. Then, head toward the Promenade, a walkway with breathtaking views of the Big Apple's skyline. You can take photos from here of the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, and New York Harbor.
Walk Through Victorian Brooklyn Heights
Brooklyn Heights was built by bankers, shipping magnates, and industrialists in the late 1800s and early 1900s, so you'll get a sense of how Brooklyn's rich and powerful once lived. Take this detailed walking tour that points out some of the architecture in this area, or if you're not a fan of unguided walks, take an organized tour to learn more about the historic buildings here.
Visit the Brooklyn Historical Society
Visit the Brooklyn Historical Society for exhibits featuring highlights of the borough, including the waterfront, businesses, Jackie Robinson and other Brooklyn icons, and more. And, it's located in a gem of a building, with a wonderful wood-paneled library, interesting exhibits, and an active calendar of lectures and movies. They also offer a popular Free Fridays monthly program. One Friday a month, the museum is free of charge from 5pm-9pm, and they host a series of activities, lectures and other events.
Explore the New York Transit Museum
Even kids who dread museums will have fun at the New York Transit Museum. It's underground in a former subway station (the entrance to the museum looks like a subway entrance), interactive, and it even houses old trains and mass transit memorabilia. The museum has numerous programs for both kids and adults, including tours, writing workshops, and art projects for young ones. In addition, the museum offers tours around New York City, including one of a defunct train station and others with rides on vintage trains. If you're in search of a unique New York City gift or souvenir, they have an incredible gift shop filled with transit-themed items.
Eat at the Neighborhood's Best Restaurants
Brooklyn Heights has a slew of unforgettable restaurants. You can easily spend an entire vacation sampling the food in Brooklyn Heights. Here are some highlights. For a romantic night out, head to the River Deli overlooking a cobblestone patch of Joralemon street. This former deli that's transformed into an intimate restaurant serves Sardinian cuisine and is a great place for a date. Just note that it's cash only. Or head to Noodle Pudding, a local favorite Italian restaurant.
Shop for Locally Made Food
Those who love to cook will have a great time gathering spices at the markets on Atlantic Avenue. Stop in Sahadi's for an array of Middle Eastern spices and gourmet foods. Or head to the neighboring Damascus Bakery for spinach pies and other treats. Budget diners should take advantage of their falafel sandwiches, which are less than $5 and are a great food to bring on a picnic at Brooklyn Bridge Park, located at the end of the Atlantic Avenue.
Drink at a Historic Bar
If you want an old-school drink, you should go to Montero's Bar & Grill (73 Atlantic Avenue, a short walk from the waterfront), which dates back to the 1940s and was a watering hole for sailors and people working at the docks. The decor will make you feel as if you stepped into a time machine. Karaoke fans must head to Montero's on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 10 p.m.
Play With Cats
Brooklyn Cat Cafe, located in Brooklyn Heights on Montague Avenue, is Brooklyn's first permanent cat cafe. After filling out a waiver (everyone has to fill one out to enter the cafe), a $7 fee will get you 30 minutes of pure kitten and cat love. Spend your visit watching kittens play or indulging in the many treats they sell at the cafe. If you do fall in love with a cat, you can apply to adopt one.
Shop for Handmade Crafts at the Brooklyn Women's Exchange
The Brooklyn Women's Exchange was founded in 1854 as a way for women to earn income by selling their handmade crafts and needlework—a safer alternative to factory work. It continues to be a place to sell items from craftspeople in Brooklyn and around the country. The shop is located at 55 Pierrepont Street and is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.