In Travel

Local’s Guide: 24 Hours In Brooklyn, New York

Cross the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn, one of New York's five boroughs. The Long Island locale is full of hip cafes, bars and places to explore.

Move over Manhattan, New York’s bohemian borough of Brooklyn should be your destination on your next visit to the city that never sleeps. From skee-ball in hipster hangs to rooftop bars with million dollar views, here’s how to make the most of the Big Apple’s biggest neighbourhood.

With over 2.5 million residents, if Brooklyn was a city in its own right – it would be the fourth largest city in the United States. That’s pretty remarkable when you think about it.

It’s the most populous of all the New York boroughs and is jam-packed with enough exciting stuff to keep you occupied for 24 days, let alone 24 hours. This is how to do it best.

8:30am: Breakfast at Five Leaves

brooklyn new york guide

Loaded hot cakes. Photo: Five Leaves

This nautically themed cafe-cum-bar in Greenpoint is a great place to start your assault on all things Brooklyn. It was actually the brainchild of the late Aussie actor Heath Ledger – who tragically died before he could see his dream realised – but his family and business partner Jud Mongell have had this popular place buzzing since 2008.

Get in early to avoid the queue, and tuck into their famous ricotta pancakes – fresh, fluffy and topped with a thick dollop of honeycomb butter. Nab yourself a table outside (if the weather is conducive) and watch this trendy part of Brooklyn come alive.

10am: Shop and browse at Artists & Fleas

brooklyn new york guide

Browsing in Williamsburg. Photo: Artists & Fleas

Stroll down the lively Bedford Ave until you hit North 7th Street and wander into the hive of activity that is Artists & Fleas (weekends only). Home to over 100 individual sellers and vendors, you can cruise and choose from chocolate and curios, to trinkets and truckers hats – and even some very cool pieces of art (made from old NYC Bike Maps).

If it’s the warmer time of year (April through to October) and you’re still peckish, head to the seasonal Saturday institution that is Smorgasburg – America’s largest weekly open-air food market that often attracts up to 30,000 people each weekend. Right on the Williamsburg waterfront, there’s food from all over the world to munch on with the Manhattan skyline as your backdrop.

12pm: Drink craft beer at Brooklyn Brewery

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The OG craft beer brewery. Photo: Brooklyn Brewery

Just around the corner (on N11th St) is another New York institution, the Brooklyn Brewery. Open during the week for ‘small batch’ tours (via appointment only) and then from 12pm on the weekend, here’s where you can get right to the source of some of America’s most popular craft beer. Join a free tour and check out all the behind-the-scenes beer action before quenching your thirst with a brew straight from the very building you’re standing in.

1:30pm: Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

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Right about now is probably a good time to walk off some of the morning’s excesses and do a bit of sightseeing at the same time. Jump on the subway at Bedford Ave and get the L train across to Manhattan, before making your way down to City Hall. Grab a pretzel or bagel from one of the famous NYC street vendors and head east to the start of the Brooklyn Bridge. Completed in 1883, this suspension bridge spans the East River and is one of the oldest road bridges in the US.

You’ll get some stunning views of lower Manhattan, as well as of Brooklyn and you’ll even get a glimpse of the good lady herself – the Statue of Liberty. Once you’re safely back in Brooklyn, go for an explore around Dumbo (which stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) and find some of the graffiti and street art that this area is famous for. Maybe pop into Brooklyn Roasting for an afternoon pick-me-up and check out their cool collection of vintage vinyl records.

4pm: Play skee-ball in a dive bar

Skeeball at King’s Hardware. Photo:Daryn Nakhuda/Flickr CC

A trip to New York isn’t complete without a game of skee-ball in a cool and seedy dive bar. Head back up to the hipster haunt that is Williamsburg and seek out Full Circle Bar. Here they’ve got cheap beer and free skee-ball – which is an arcade-style game where you roll balls up an inclined lane to try and get the most points. You’re sure to while away many an hour in this hip and happening place.

6:30pm: Dinner at Lucali

Selecting a venue for dinner in a metropolis like Brooklyn can be a daunting task, with so many amazing places to try. But in Lucali, you’ve got arguably one of the best pizza restaurants in all of New York. Jay-Z and Beyoncé are regular customers and David Beckham swears by the joint. It’s BYO and there’s only a handful of toppings to choose from but it’s well worth the trip down to Mark Iacono’s cosy little place in Carroll Gardens. Try the delicious plain pie (a margherita pizza) and keep an eye out for any marriage proposals, where the chefs spell out ‘MARRY ME’ in mushrooms.

8pm: Get your game on at the Barclays Center

Since you’re down in this part of Brooklyn, why not head across to the Barclays Center and get your fix of American sport. Depending on the time of year, you’ll hopefully have the choice between the Brooklyn Nets for some basketball action or the New York Islanders for some ice hockey. Grab a ticket, a gallon of soda and scream the house down for your newly adopted Brooklyn team.

11pm: Drink in the view from your very own rooftop bar

Wythe Hotel, complete with The Ides rooftop bar. Photo: Wythe Hotel

It’s almost time for bed, but don’t forget you’re in the city that never sleeps. So why not have a nightcap at the fancy Ides Rooftop Bar, atop of the Wythes Hotel in Williamsburg. It has one of the most stunning views of Manhattan and is well worth paying a couple of extra dollars for your drinks.

Toast the Big Apple as you look over to that famous skyline and end the night on a high. Better yet, book a room in the hotel below and your bed is literally stumbling distance from this amazing rooftop bar.

Published 15 November, 2017