Times Square, Radio City Music Hall, and Central Park. These are all things you won’t see in Brooklyn. But once you’ve finished facing the crowds and ticking off that list of the must-see attractions of Manhattan, it’s time to witness the best of Brooklyn!

Brooklyn is experiencing a renaissance and is attracting die-hard Manhattan locals who are settling in the more quiet communities. The manufacturing and industrial society of yesteryear has been replaced with trendy restaurants, chic wine bars, soaring high-rises, and groovy cafés. It’s a place where families stroll down the street and say hello to one another, children play in manicured parks, and food lovers dine in neighborhoods like Williamsburg.

We’ve only been to New York three times in our life and it took us two visits before we ventured across the bridge to explore the other side of the East River. Once we got there, we asked ourselves what took us so long. Some of the perks we found was that Brooklyn makes for a more affordable place to stay, but is also convenient, just a short subway ride to many of the major landmarks.

Gotta love Brooklyn

Viewfinder Tip: Buy a Metro Card for transit. $30 gets you unlimited travel for 7 days.  

If you are a movie buff like us, you’ll appreciate the sights of Brooklyn. Legendary films like Goodfellas, Once Upon a Time in America, and the cult classic, The Warriors, were all shot here. At every turn you’ll notice a familiarity that you can’t quite put your finger on, but suddenly realize that you are standing in a movie set. As we drove through Bay Ridge during our Slice of Brooklyn pizza tour, I felt giddy as I imagined John Travolta swaggering down 86th street eating his own slice of pie in the opening shot of Saturday Night Fever.

Our journey through Brooklyn started with a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. When visiting New York, it is a must-do activity for anyone, making for an amazing way to see the New York skyline.  Brooklyn actually offers some of the best views of that iconic skyline. At Brooklyn Bridge Park, you can stand on the grass and take in the magnitude of the Big Apple while enjoying the leisurely pace of the neighborhood. There’s the historic Jane’s Carousel that recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, along with shops, flea markets, and dining that dots the pier. At the turn of the century, this area was a thriving freight terminal containing 40 piers. As shipping declined here in the 1950s, it was mostly used for storage and warehouses, but has now been restored to an 85-acre park containing sports fields, concessions, volleyball courts, and more. It’s a great place for the whole family.

Not far away you can visit one of the most famous pizzerias in all of New York City, Grimaldi’s. Grimaldi’s is one of the few remaining coal-fired, brick-oven pizza joints in town. With over 100 years of tradition, it attracts movie stars and lines of tourists every day popping in to grab a piece of pie at one of the most authentic pizzerias around. Their checkered tablecloths and traditional methods will shoot you back in time.

You have to try the pizza in Brooklyn

For more food loving, a trip to Peter Luger Steakhouse in Williamsburg will take you to the number one rated steak house in all of New York for 28 years in a row! Serving steaks since 1887, this Michelin Star restaurant serves only the highest quality beef chosen at wholesale markets daily by family members.

While in Williamsburg, it’s worth walking around the trendiest neighborhood in New York while browsing the flower shops, booksellers, and artisan cheese shops. This is a place to take your time and soak in the fine Brooklyn lifestyle.

New York has one of the most extensive and comprehensive transit systems in the world and an interesting stop is the New York Transit Museum. When touring New York, we spend a lot of time in the subway, so it’s fascinating to learn about the amazing transit system that effortlessly gets us around the city. Located in a decommissioned subway station in Brooklyn Heights, you can explore old subway cars and vintage signs from different eras.

A trip to Brooklyn wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Coney Island. Once a decrepit relic of a place, it’s now a thriving beach resort area with busy amusement park rides like the Cyclone roller coaster, dating back to 1927, and the Wonder Wheel, dating back to 1918. There’s of course Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest and vendors all along the boardwalk. The boardwalk spans 2.5 miles all the way to Brighton Beach and makes for a great walk. 

 What’s your favorite thing to do in Brooklyn?