Williamsburg's waterfront has lots to offer: parks, flea markets, and more. Here are some ideas on the best ways to take advantage of the outdoor space and the great views of Manhattan.
Edited by Alison Lowenstein
The NYC Ferry is a great mode of transportation to South Brooklyn or to the city if you've got some free time and the weather is good. As you enter the space of the Brooklyn Flea / Smorgasburg, you'll see four large black columns in the river, and a sign for the East River Ferry. Queue up here. One way tickets are only $2.75, and they can get you to South Williamsburg, Dumbo, Red Hook, Wall Street, 34th Street, Governor's Island (on the weekends), and rounding back to Greenpoint and then Williamsburg. Stand on top of the ferry for great views of the city and of Brooklyn and a nice breeze - but hang on! This ferry moves surprisingly fast.
Every Sunday in spring, summer and fall, between North 5th and North 6th Streets at the waterfront, you'll find the Brooklyn Flea. This gigantic flea market originated in Fort Greene and expanded to Williamsburg, where it has become one of the most popular weekend activities for Brooklynites. People flock from all over New York to shop from about a hundred vendors selling everything from vintage clothing to handcrafted jewelry. There is a fantastic view of the Manhattan skyline right across the river, and plenty of food carts catering to the hungry.
Speaking of food, in the same space as the Brooklyn Flea (on Saturdays instead of Sundays) you'll find Smorgasburg, Williamsburg's food market. Instead of antiques and vintage clothing the vendors here are local food carts and restaurants selling snacks or full-fledged meals. There are lobster rolls, pizza, tacos, popsicles, oysters, ice cream sandwiches, and iced coffee, to name a few of the highlights. Smorgasburg is a foodie's dream, a great market to visit if you're interested in learning more about Brooklyn food businesses. You can also find the Smorgasburg in Prospect Park.
Northside Piers is a condominium complex built right alongside the water with fantastic views of Manhattan. It is located directly next to the space for the Brooklyn Flea, Smorgasburg, and the East River Ferry pick up. If you're interested in living at Northside Piers, consult this page for more information. The lovely park and pier that the complex built is open and free to the public, so take your goodies from the Flea or Smorgasburg and feel free to perch yourself for a picnic or a nice stroll along the water.
Located directly next to the Brooklyn Flea / Smorgasburg space you'll find the East River Park. This large park, made up of grass and a large concrete area, is mostly used for lounging and sunbathing, but during the summer Central Park's Summer Stage presents concerts here: some are free and some are ticketed. You can bring food into the park, but alcohol and dogs are not permitted.
Though the Bridge isn't exactly the waterfront, per se, it puts you on top of the river with great views of Manhattan. It's a great way to get from the city to Brooklyn, or vice versa. For more information about the history of the bridge, check out this page.
Restaurants Near the Williamsburg Waterfront
Underneath the bridge you'll find some of Williamsburg's best restaurants, including Peter Luger and Meadowsweet. Consult this page for more information on dining near the bridge. Or, if you're looking for a place close to the Brooklyn Flea, check out Mole, fantastic Tex-Mex restaurant located on the corner of North 3rd Street and Kent Avenue.