What to Do in Brooklyn for a Day or Two

what to do in Brooklyn for a day
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This post was originally published on IHG’s Guide to Brooklyn.

The distinct culture, deep-rooted history and magnetic energy of Brooklyn make it one of the most beloved and revered destinations in America. Celebrated around the world for its big-city excitement and unique brand of authenticity, this buzzing New York City borough–the city’s most populous–constantly attracts visitors from around the globe.

Check out the great activities we’ve listed below, whether you’re trying to figure out what to do in Brooklyn for a day or two, or you’re planning to move in and become one of the many satisfied inhabitants of Brooklyn. It’s nearly impossible to run out of things to do in this exciting borough.

Things to See in Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge

(Image via Pixabay by tpsdave)

Brooklyn Bridge & Park

You should have no problem finding things to do in Brooklyn, an iconic destination that has inspired many of the world’s most famous citizens. As soon as you cross the East River on the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, you’ll immediately know you’ve arrived in one of the world’s great cultural epicenters.

This National Historic Landmark connects Brooklyn to Manhattan, and has been heralded in film, television and literature for generations. Visit the 85-acre Brooklyn Bridge Park for great Manhattan skyline views, public art installations, athletic fields and playgrounds for children and adults alike, and even a restored 1920s-era merry-go-round called “Jane’s Carousel.”

Museums & Family-Friendly Activities

For local history, see the four-story Brooklyn Historical Society building, where you can peruse archives of photography, newspapers and a large library of research from borough’s past. Other museums and family-friendly places to put on your must-see list include New York Transit Museum, Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge, and Brooklyn Children’s Museum.

For a full day of outdoor and cultural activity, head to Prospect Park where the Zoo, Museum of Art and Botanical Gardens all offer great ways to spend a few hours. The Brooklyn Museum is the second largest in New York and features artifacts that stretch from ancient Egyptians to modern day, while the Transit Museum, housed in a 1930’s subway station, has interesting displays all its own.

Brighton Beach

Ride an East River Ferry to get off your feet for awhile and see the city from the water. Or, head to Brighton Beach for a day in the sun and the chance to walk along the picturesque boardwalk. Nearby, Russian restaurants and bakeries serve up delicacies you’ll savor to the last bite. More delicious eats can be found on Smith Street, a hotspot for foodies and grumbling stomachs across the city.

Coney Island

Coney Island is another beach destination you won’t want to miss; it’s the widest beach in the area and boasts amusement rides and entertainment that will bring smiles to the young and the young at heart.

Coney Island
Coney Island

(Image via Pixabay by Michelle)

Brooklyn’s Neighborhoods

Hear the soaring chorus of voices at the famous Brooklyn Tabernacle. Stroll the rolling hills of Green-Wood Cemetery, where you’ll find monuments and tombstones of a surprising number of famous figures.

Brooklyn is also a hotspot for new residents of New York City. The neighborhood of Williamsburg has attracted an impressive array of new restaurants, ranging from casual to fine dining, and varying in cultural diversity. There are also many bars, lounges and performance venues where you can find unique discoveries to make your visit unforgettable.

Brookyln neighborhoods
A Brookyln neighborhood (Adobe Stock photo)

Find the Best Hotels in Brooklyn

Your choices for Brooklyn Hotels range from rooms between culturally rich and trending neighborhoods to business-friendly establishments that put you close to downtown Manhattan, and many of the area’s central locations for business and government. You can expect around-the-clock amenities and services at many Brooklyn hotels, including 24-hour restaurants and room service, as well as all-day business center access.

Where to Stay in Brooklyn

(Image via Flickr by Ann Althouse)

Brooklyn Heights, the area’s oldest neighborhood, and downtown Brooklyn are usually preferred locations for business travelers looking to stay near Manhattan. Diverse neighborhoods like Fort Greene offer amazing architecture, reputable cafes, arts, entertainment and cultural experiences that put New York City’s reputation as a cultural melting pot on display.

The neighborhoods of Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights both offer boutiques and cafes, while Cobble Hill is worth walking through for the houses and neighborhood buzz alone. Williamsburg is the city’s creative hub, home to some of the best restaurants and most talented live entertainment. The nightlife here needs no introduction and party-goers won’t have to look far to find a cold drink and a bumping bass line.

How to Get to Brooklyn

The New York City metropolitan area is served by three key airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.  JFK, at just 11 miles distance, is the closest airport to Brooklyn. It offers convenient service to Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg and Bushwick via Air Train, with less than an hour of travel time. LaGuardia Airport (LGA) is 16 miles away from central Brooklyn.

Taxi or private transportation services are advised to and from LaGuardia, as there is no direct public transportation into Brooklyn. Newark Liberty is 21 miles from Brooklyn, with arrival times usually within an hour using the Air Train, then the Path train or NJ Transit to either Penn Station, the World Trade Center or Manhattan’s 33rd Street. Another option is the Airport Express Bus which goes to subway-connected Manhattan locations like Grand Central Station, Bryant Park and the Port Authority Bus Terminal.


Enjoying your time in Brooklyn is all about knowing what there is to do and getting out to enjoy it. We love Brooklyn. Don’t you? Do you have other suggestions for what to do in Brooklyn for a day that we’ve left off the list? Tell us about them in the comments.

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what to do in brooklyn

What to Do in Brooklyn for a Day or Two

3 thoughts on “What to Do in Brooklyn for a Day or Two

  1. Katie and Nicola says:

    Great website, we love your destination guides and just pinned a couple to our boards! We spent some time in Brooklyn early last year and loved the experience so much, we only went over there for a ‘rainbow bagel’ at The Bagel Store and it was totally worth the effort, plus we got to see everything above. Thanks for a great read!

  2. Nancy Smith says:

    We will be coming to NYC in Dec. 2018. (Dec. 6-14) Would like to know what specifically we should see in Brooklyn at that time. Have heard they have great Christmas lights/decorations. Also we will be staying in midtown Manhattan and would like to visit Brooklyn Tabernacle on Sunday. What’s the best way to get there and how long will it take?

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Hi Nancy. Unfortunately, I don’t know what will be going on in Brooklyn during that week. I would recommend Googling for specific events. You can also use Google Maps to chart your journey to the Tabernacle. It will show you the best way to go and how long it will take.

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