Once heavily industrial and populated mostly by Hassidic Jews, first-generation Italians, and Puerto Rican immigrants, Williamsburg became the neighborhood of artists and recent college graduates in the early 1990s. Thanks to their influence, the neighborhood has become one of the most popular in Brooklyn, with excellent restaurants, bars, and shopping. Industrial lofts have been renovated and converted into gorgeous apartments, and gigantic condominiums have popped up, reshaping Williamsburg from the new East Village to the new SoHo.
Eat in Williamsburg
You'll find not one, not two, but three of Brooklyn's best hamburgers in Williamsburg, not to mention locavore success stories like Egg, and some of the best brunches Brooklyn can offer. Consult lists of Williamsburg's best restaurants and read up on reviews. Be prepared to wait almost everywhere you go, however. Practically no restaurants in Williamsburg take reservations.
How to Get to Williamsburg
- The easiest way to get to Williamsburg from Manhattan is to take the L Train to Bedford Avenue and you'll find yourself in the thick of things.
- If you are coming from Queens or South Brooklyn, take the G Train to Metropolitan Avenue and Bedford Avenue is just a few blocks away.
- There's always the Williamsburg Bridge if you feel like walking or cycling in from the city, or the East River Ferry has one stop in Williamsburg at North 6th Street, or another in South Williamsburg on South 11th Street. The North 6th Street stop is preferable if you're looking to get a good feel for the neighborhood.
The Williamsburg Bridge
Not only does the Williamsburg Bridge offer a convenient way to get to and from Williamsburg if you're on Manhattan's Lower East Side, but the views from the center of the bridge are also remarkable, and you can make a whole day out of it with the restaurants and bars directly underneath the bridge. Peter Luger is one of the oldest steakhouses in Brooklyn, and Dressler is the only restaurant in the neighborhood with a Michelin Star.
Drinking in Williamsburg
There are even more bars in Williamsburg than restaurants. Consult this list of the best, organized by category, to suit your interests.
- For fancy cocktails, don't miss Hotel Delmano.
- For oysters: Maison Premiere.
- For the best dive bar: The Levee.
- Best Biergarten: Radegast Beer Hall or Brooklyn Brewery
- Best wine bar: Woodhul Wine Bar
The Waterfront and The Brooklyn Flea
- If you're in Williamsburg on the weekend, don't miss The Brooklyn Flea on Sundays at the Williamsburg waterfront.
- The Northside Piers complex also contains benches for lounging, and this area is also the pick-up for the East River Ferry.
- On Saturdays, Williamsburg's Food Market, Smorgasburg, is there, and Sunday's you'll find the Flea. People come from all over Brooklyn and this is the best place for people watching.
Free Movies in McCarren Park
During the summer, free movies are shown in the park, amongst other free things to do in Williamsburg.
Music and Venues
- The Residences - swanky and expensive
- Hotel Williamsburg - Bed and Breakfast
- Hotel Le Jolie - solid and affordable
- Zip112 - hostel
Edited by Alison Lowenstein