1. Dine at an exceptional Williamsburg restaurant and have a cocktail at a hip Williamsburg bar
See why North Brooklyn has become a destination for culinary adventures. You’ll find everything from fine-dining options like Antica Pesa and Bistro Petit to casual neighborhood gems like Dumont Burger and Lodge and ethnic eateries like Zizi Limona and Cantina Royal. Further indulge your palatte by having a drink at one of the many great local bars, whether it be a craft ale at Radegasthall Beer Garden, a rum cocktail at the speakeasy-style Grand Ferry Tavern, or a wine tasting at Brooklyn Oenology.
2. Tour the street art
Walking around Williamsburg, Brooklyn is like visiting an outdoor art gallery. The street art here is edgy and often political in nature. Because of the often short-lived nature of the works, it’s difficult to create a lasting map of their locations. Good areas to start exploring are a five block radius around the Bedford Avenue L stop and along the Williamsburg waterfront. Read more.
3. Walk across the Williamsburg Bridge
Though not as visually iconic as the Brooklyn Bridge, the Williamsburg boasts a rich history as an immigrant passageway, site of political protest, and canvas for street artists. A walk along the colorful pedestrian walkway affords inspiring skyline and river views as well as a good bit of exercise. The 1.4 mile span connects South Williamsburg to the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Read more.
4. Visit the City Reliquary
This small museum, dedicated to New York City history, showcases various obscure collectibles like old subway tokens, Worlds Fair memorabilia, and remnants from landmark buildings. The items are arranged in an eclectic style, making you feel like you are poking around an old curiosity shop. On your way out, stop by the shop and score some hip NYC-themed souvenirs designed by local artists. More info.
5. Watch a movie and enjoy table service at Nitehawk Cinema
At this Williamsburg movie theater, you can expect a comfy chair, a meal, a cocktail, and the best blockbuster and cult films on a big screen. Menu items, which are less Gobstoppers and more gastro-pub, vary from grilled sandwiches to small-plate snacks like meatballs, tater tots, and spiced popcorn. Attend a brunch screening and receive a menu inspired by that day’s film. It’s best to buy tickets online in advance. Read our full review.
6. Shop locally
Head to the main drag of Bedford Avenue and pick up a stylish hat at Goorin Bros., sort through the racks at Bespoke Vintage, or score a retro Brooklyn t-shirt from Brooklyn Industries. Next, check out the hot block of N. 3rd Street (between Berry St and Wythe Ave) for an eclectic mix including the Brooklyn Denim Company, Mast Brothers Chocolate, and the independent bookstore, Book Thug Nation. You’ll also find some stand-out shops along Grand Avenue (between Kent Ave and Havemyer St.) like Antoinette for vintage clothing, Jane for hip womenswear, and Adobe for home decor.
7. Visit the Brooklyn Brewery
For an entertaining and refreshing afternoon activity, stop by for a brewery tour. A friendly guide will lead you through the brewing process and offer a colorful history of beer-making spanning Williamsburg’s industrial past. After the talk it’s time to join the crowd in the bar to sample the craft brews from this famous local beer label. More info.
8. Go to the outdoor food festival, Smorgasburg
Join a crowd of locals and day-trippers making the most of a Saturday on the Williamsburg waterfront, enjoying good eats, people-watching, and breezes from the East River. At this foodie fest you can choose from a wide range of delicacies like Porchetta sandwiches, Japanese tacos, chickpea burgers, and freshly made doughnuts. Cool off with beverages from Brooklyn Soda Works and Stand Coffee. Smorgasburg runs on Saturdays from April to November. See our review here.
9. See a band at Music Hall of Williamsburg
Behind the retro marquee of an old movie theater, you’ll find this top-notch venue with an exceptional sound system and a steady stream of the biggest names in indie music. The medium-sized venue has three levels, but retains an intimate feel because you are never very far from the stage. Read more about this and other live music spaces in Williamsburg here.
10. Visit an art gallery
Williamsburg has long been home to a thriving art scene. And while most artists may now be priced out of living here, the artwork they produce can be appreciated at a number of exceptional galleries. The gallery spaces range from established Williamsburg galleries like The Boiler, to sleek new showrooms like Reverse, to unfinished garage-like rooms, pop-up shops, and tattoo parlors.The best time to go is during the Every Second Friday event, when galleries have evening opening receptions. Read more.
Photo credits: Street Art and Brooklyn Bridge (Vanessa Ray); City Reliquary (Laura Trevino); Nitehawk Cinema (Clay Williams of claywilliamsphoto.com); Bespoke Vintage (Vanessa Ray); Brooklyn Brewery (Bionic Grrl, used with Flickr Creative commons license); Smorgasburg (Chrissy Hunt, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, use with license); Music Hall of Williamsburg (Greg Chow, used with Flickr Creative commons license); art gallery (superk8nyc, Flickr Creative Commons rights reserved). Photos may not be reposted without permission.