Brooklyn

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Brooklyn: Our most recommended tours and activities

  • New York City: Manhattan Island Helicopter Tour

    1. New York City: Manhattan Island Helicopter Tour

    Experience the best views in New York City from inside a helicopter, complete with large floor-to-ceiling convex windows for your viewing pleasure. On your flight you will see the beautiful Central Park, Hudson River, and New York Harbor, including the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum.

    You’ll also cruise past the Rockefeller Center, Empire State Building, the World Financial Center, and the Chrysler Building from up high, as well as the iconic Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Greenwich Village, South Street Seaport, and the Brooklyn Bridge, which dates all the way back to 1883.

    With tour narration and all heliport fees included, there is no better way to enjoy the dramatic and ever-evolving New York City skyline.

    Fantastic experience. It helped that we had a gorgeous day! Beautiful way to see the city. Our helicopter sat 5 people, 1 up front and 4 in the back in. 2-2 configuration so everything had a great window view.

  • New York: Harbor Lights Night Cruise Skip-The-Box-Office

    2. New York: Harbor Lights Night Cruise Skip-The-Box-Office

    Experience New York at sunset on a 2-hour cruise of the harbor, and take in all the sights and lights of Manhattan aboard a climate-controlled boat. Grab your friends, family and coworkers - or even a totally random stranger - and embark on an unforgettable journey of the harbor with "Lady Liberty" keeping watch! With a drink in your hand, purchased from the fully stocked bar, feel the breeze on your face and be mesmerized by the shimmering skyline. Get endless photo opportunities to make you an Instagram star as you sail past legendary attractions such as the Statue of Liberty and get perfect views of the Freedom Tower - One World Trade Center, Empire State Building, Pier 54 (Titanic Pier), Battery Park and more. See where millions of immigrants were processed when they arrived in America at Ellis Island, cruise past Governors Island, the South Street Seaport and Brooklyn Bridge. Get ...

    Very easy to get there. Professional, kind and helpful staff. On time. Beautiful views and easy ti take photos. Very clean and perfectly organize sitting areas. I will recommend to my friends. Thanks,

  • New York: 90-Minute Landmarks Cruise Skip-The-Box-Office

    3. New York: 90-Minute Landmarks Cruise Skip-The-Box-Office

    Spend just 90 minutes to take in many of the iconic sites of midtown and lower Manhattan on a Semi-Circle Cruise. You'll enjoy magnificent views of the world's most recognizable skyline and get a close-up look at Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. See it all with fun and knowledgeable tour guides who bring to life the breathtaking sights and the fascinating history behind the Big Apple. Sail down the Hudson, cruising around the Battery, and up the East River. You’ll pass under the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg Bridges to the United Nations – and then head back to Pier 83, the starting point for the tour.

    The captain knew much of the history surrounding the harbor and the Burroughs. It was time well spent.

  • From Manhattan: 4-Hour Dyker Heights Holiday Lights Bus Tour

    4. From Manhattan: 4-Hour Dyker Heights Holiday Lights Bus Tour

    Christmas in New York City is a magical time. From the beautifully adorned trees in Rockefeller Center and other locations to the Christmas windows of Macy’s, Bergdorf’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, the city is alive with the festive spirit and energy. However, nothing really says Christmas like Dyker Heights. Today, it is perhaps most famously known for its incredible lights displays, which usually arrive in late November and draw travelers from across the world thanks to their colorful holiday cheer. According to locals, residents have been decorating their homes—personally and professionally—since the 1980s, making it a true New York City winter wonderland. This picturesque residential neighborhood is located in the heart of southwest Brooklyn between Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Gravesend Bay. Originally founded as a luxury housing development in the late 1800s, the first house in this icon...

    A comfortable ride took us to Dyker Heights, where we took photos of the many decorated homes. The guide asked for a significant tip at the end of the tour, which I found unsettling as it was definitely not a tipping situation and neither her nor the driver had done anything out of the ordinary to please us - plus the tour is pretty expensive, considered it's basically a 2-hour ride in a bus.

  • From Manhattan: Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn Bus Tour

    5. From Manhattan: Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn Bus Tour

    After pickup, head north from Manhattan, going through the neighborhood of Harlem and crossing into the Bronx. Visit the Yankee Stadium, home of the legendary NYC baseball team. Enjoy a stop to take pictures and shop for souvenirs. Proceed to the South Bronx to see graffiti and street art masterpieces. Hear the stories behind each of the most famous pieces, snapping photos along the way. Next, head to Queens, the largest and most multicultural borough in New York. Visit Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, where you'll find the Mets' Stadium and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The final stop in Queens will be on Roosevelt Avenue, one of the borough’s main streets. See first hand how immigration has contributed to the vibrant life of this neighborhood, full of multicultural stores and restaurants. The last borough to visit is Brooklyn, where you’ll see the Jewish Quarters i...

  • New York: Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

    6. New York: Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

    Explore New York City and see the sights from the top deck of an open top bus. Admire iconic landmarks and monuments, from the Empire State Building to Times Square and the world-famous Brooklyn Bridge. Discover the unique neighborhoods of Chinatown, Little Italy, and the Upper East Side. The hop-on hop-off route covers iconic sights throughout New York City. Experience the diverse culture, beautiful parks, stunning architecture, and picturesque views both from the top of an open-air sightseeing bus, and on foot when you choose to hop-off to further explore. Hop-off and back on at your leisure to create your own customized itinerary around the city. Benefit from live bus tracking so that you will always know exactly when the next bus will arrive. Enjoy new, state-of-the-art audio commentary that is highly entertaining and engaging for adults and children alike. Choose from 3 ticket op...

    The downtown bus was great but the uptown bus wasn’t on cue when we passed specific sites. It would talk about them too early and when we reached them they were already talking about something else.

  • From Manhattan: Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Bus Tour

    7. From Manhattan: Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Bus Tour

    After pickup from Manhattan, the tour bus will take you through the Battery Tunnel directly to the borough of Brooklyn. Once you are in Brooklyn you'll head to the Dyker Heights district, an Italian-American neighborhood famous for its elaborate houses and gardens. Each year residents compete between each other to put up spectacular Christmas decorations, illuminations, and displays. Your tour guide will tell you about the origin and history of this tradition, before giving you free time to walk the streets to admire and take pictures of the houses. Once you have finished strolling around the neighborhood, you will get back on the bus to head to the Brooklyn Bridge. There you will enjoy the different viewpoints, with more free time to take pictures of the spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. Finally, you will return to Manhattan where the tour ends. You can feel free to ask you...

  • New York Pass: Access to 100+ Attractions & Tours

    8. New York Pass: Access to 100+ Attractions & Tours

    Use The New York Pass on your phone to allow you cash-free entry to over 100 New York tourist attractions. It’s a bit like an “all you can eat” buffet; once you’ve bought your New York Pass, you don’t have to pay to get into any of the attractions covered by the pass, and the more sights you see, the more money you save.

    The New York Pass records when and where you first use it, as well as how long it will remain valid. This means your pass is activated the moment that you first use it at any attraction or service. Your New York Pass is then valid for the number of days that you've purchased. 

    The full list of attractions:

    POPULAR EXPERIENCES

    • Empire State Building

    • Big Bus Tours: 1-day Classic Tour

    • Top of the Rock Observation Deck

    • 9/11 Memorial & Museum

    • Edge (Hudson Yards)

    • One World Observatory

    I didn’t have any problems with the pass. It was show/reserve and go experience, and it allowed us to do most of the attractions, including others we had planned. I had a good trip with it.

  • From Manhattan: 3.5-Hour Brooklyn Christmas Magic Tour

    9. From Manhattan: 3.5-Hour Brooklyn Christmas Magic Tour

    If you are looking for something to do in New York City during this holiday season make sure you put this on your list. It is cheery, it is bright, it is Christmas, it is New York City, and it is everything Christmas about Christmas. This Brooklyn neighborhood is out of this world during Christmas time. Dyker Heights Christmas Lights is the cutest and most spectacular area of houses decorated for the holiday season. It is blocks and blocks of Christmas lights and fantastic decorations. The neighborhood goes all out with beautiful nativity displays, nutcrackers, inflatable santas, garland, lights and more. The place glows with bright lights, buzzes sound, and bumps with holiday music on full blast. It is fun to see how some houses mix it up every year. It is a recommended experience and a perfect night out for families, groups of friends and even a date night. This is a great place to go...

    Daniel was very nice and knowledgeable. Small crowds due to COVID so we were able to enjoy without worrying. Everyone wore face masks.

  • New York: Go City Explorer Pass with 95+ Tours & Attractions

    10. New York: Go City Explorer Pass with 95+ Tours & Attractions

    Go City offers you a selection of over 95 must-see NYC attractions, museums, and tours for one low pre-paid price. Save up to 45% compared to buying separate attraction tickets, and see New York's most popular attractions with one easy-to-use digital pass.

    Choices include the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Ferry, 9/11 Museum and Memorial, Empire State Building, NY Waterways Tours, MoMA, and many more! There's no need to decide in advance, and you can take up to 60 days after using the pass to make your first visit.

    Your Explorer Pass also features special perks including gift shop discounts or a free audio guide at selected attractions, helping you make the most of your New York trip and save even more along the way.

    The New York attractions you can select include: 

    MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES

    • American Museum of Natural History

    • The Museum ...

    With the New York Explorer pass, we selected the 7 most important sights. Then I started planning the days. I got to know the subway and bus transportation in New York and planned where and how to go. Now I’m nearing the end and enjoying it more and more. I’ve been to the U.S. several times, but I’ve avoided big cities by far so far. However, I was in almost every National Park. I think we will enjoy that too.

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Brooklyn

Megan Indoe is a Brooklyn based travel enthusiast who shares her adventures with her husband and photographer Scott Herder across their travel channels on social media and their blog, Bobo & Chichi as well as their local adventures and tips in New York at Your Brooklyn Guide.

What should I do on my first trip to Brooklyn?

While DUMBO and Williamsburg are among what most visitors think of when they hear Brooklyn, there is so much more. One not to be missed place near DUMBO is the Brooklyn Heights Promenade which offers panoramic views of the New York Harbor, Statue of Liberty, World Trade Center and Lower Manhattan skyline, as well as the Brooklyn Bridge along the mansion and tree lined pathway with ample seating and views!

What are some hidden gems to see in Brooklyn?

A neighborhood that’s an absolute hidden gem to visitors to the city is the neighborhood of Red Hook. This neighborhood sits on the waterfront of the New York Harbor and has at least a dozen independent art galleries, incredible Statue of Liberty and sunset views at Louis Valentino Jr. Park and Pier, wine tasting at the Red Hook Winery, a great food and drinking scene, and awesome photography spots that many people are unaware of. Red Hook is a bit isolated in terms of public transportation since the subway doesn’t service this neighborhood, so you either walk the 15-20 minutes from Carroll Gardens and the nearest subway, take the NYC water taxi directly to Red Hook, or use Citi Bike rentals.

How much time should I spend in Brooklyn?

On a trip to New York City you need to spend at least a full weekend around Brooklyn as there really is so much this borough has to offer. For a first timer, you should spend one morning in and around DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights then head to Williamsburg in the afternoon and evening for some of the best thrift shopping in the city, great dining, bars, and nightlife plus additional waterfront views of the skyline from the parks dotted along the East River.

Day two could easily be spent at Coney Island or if historic amusement parks aren't your thing we recommend spending the morning in Park Slope by grabbing bagels and enjoying breakfast on a bench in Prospect Park, walking around visiting the Old Stone House historic landmark and shopping along 5th and 7th Avenues. After lunch, walk or Citibike through Gowanus to Carroll Gardens all the way to Red Hook and visit a brewery or go wine tasting, check out the views of the waterfront, and enjoy dinner at upper deck of Brooklyn Crab and grab dessert at Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pie.

What food is Brooklyn known for?

While in Brooklyn you can try just about any cuisine from around the world but if I had to pick two iconic meals to eat it would be bagels and pizza.

The secret ingredient to the city’s famous bagels and pizza is the New York City water which is some of the best quality drinking water in the country.

Our personal favorite bagel spots includes Bagel Pub which has a few locations around Brooklyn. Get an everything bagel and pick your favorite flavor of cream cheese or two! Another great bagel spot is Shelsky’s Brooklyn Bagel, which has two locations and they offer really great bagel, egg, cheese, and meat of your choice breakfast sandwiches on their bagels.

Brooklyn does pizza well and there are so many incredible pizza spots that you could spend a lifetime tasting them all. Juliana’s in DUMBO is where you can find one of the best pizzas in the city brought to you by someone who has been generationally in the NYC pizza business since the earliest days. Another great spot is Table 87 who does coal fired oven pizzas which are hard to come by in the city since being outlawed.

What is the best way to get around Brooklyn?

Getting around Brooklyn couldn’t be easier. You have many transportation options including the subway which connects the entire city and all you need is a credit card to tap or you can buy a MetroCard and pre-load it with money so you can get around the city for less than $3 a ride.

Depending on where you're wandering to in Brooklyn you can actually walk between some of the most popular neighborhoods - which is one of my favorite things to do since you typically walk through gorgeous brownstone filled streets and neighborhoods that really let you take in the beauty Brooklyn is known for.

Citi Bike rentals are easy and available in most parts of Brooklyn. Download the app and set up an account or link your Lyft account and when you need a bike you can check the app for the closest docking stations as well as find where you can dock the bike when you're done using it again. There are now electric Citi Bikes available too which are great if you don't want to work up a sweat but are a bit more expensive.

Taxis are not as common in Brooklyn but they do exist, you're better off using a rideshare app in this area so you're not searching for a cab.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Brooklyn?

There are a few great neighborhoods to stay in Brooklyn. If this is your first visit then you will want to pick one of the beautiful hotels with views in Williamsburg or DUMBO.

DUMBO is a bit closer to the rest of exploring Brooklyn and you have waterfront views of Lower Manhattan with easy access to iconic landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge. You can access the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian pathway in DUMBO to take you to Manhattan too.

Williamsburg has great hotel options, many of which have rooftop bars and/or pools with skyline views. This is a great neighborhood to stay in if you want easy access to Midtown and are looking for a fun area for nightlife in Brooklyn.

What is the best thing to do in Brooklyn for couples?

Couples should definitely take advantage of a gorgeous Brooklyn sunset from either a waterfront picnic in Brooklyn Bridge Park or from one of the many incredible rooftop restaurants like Harriet’s Rooftop Lounge in DUMBO.

What are the best annual events in Brooklyn?

In the summer you have to check out Smorgasburg which takes place on Saturdays in Williamsburg and Sundays in Prospect Park. Smorgasburg is best enjoyed with friends so you can sample and taste many different dishes available from the different food vendors and some of the most popular food trucks in the city.

What are the best areas for outdoor activities around Brooklyn?

Brooklyn has so many amazing parks to enjoy. Be sure to check out Prospect Park, Central Park’s Brooklyn sister designed by the same architects. If you’re familiar with Central Park you’ll notice the similarities but they are still very different parks. In Prospect Park you want to check out the picturesque boathouse, walk through the different arches including the newly refurbished Endale Arch near Grand Army Plaza, and if you’re visiting in the winter check out the ice skating at LeFrak at Lakeside for one of the largest ice skating rinks for a fraction of the price.

Another park that’s great for outdoor activities is Brooklyn Bridge Park. Continue on the waterfront pathway towards Brooklyn Heights to find all the piers that have different playing fields, picnic areas, and outdoor activities to enjoy plus designated grilling areas all with some of the best skyline views in the city.

What are the best beaches around Brooklyn?

Coney Island Beach is the best in terms of having multiple offerings in addition to having a beach you can lounge around at all day or swim. Hang out at the beach, or if its a weekend summer day and this stretch of sand is a little crowded you can walk 10 minutes and enjoy the quieter shores of Brighton Beach, home to a large Russian community. Be sure to walk along the iconic Riegelmann Boardwalk and witness century old rides like the classic Wonder Wheel and Cyclone roller coaster at one of America's oldest and most famous amusement parks.

Which neighborhood has the best nightlife?

There are a few great spots for nightlife in Brooklyn but the two most popular for nightlife include the nightclubs in Bushwick and bars in Williamsburg.

Which neighborhoods are best for families?

Park Slope is a very family-friendly neighborhood, which is why it's one of the most desirable neighborhoods to live in the entire city for families as well as DUMBO. You can find plenty of playgrounds and kid-friendly activities in both of these neighborhoods.

Which neighborhoods are the most budget-friendly?

If you're looking to save money consider staying and or dining in Bushwick which has the nightlife and great food options! Check out some of this neighborhoods tortilla shops like Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos for a delicious meal that won't break the bank as well as places that sell pizza by the slice, Joe's in Williamsburg is one of the best slice shops in the city and a great meal to save money.

Which neighborhoods should you visit if you'd like to splurge?

If you're looking to splurge you will want to book a room with skyline views at either 1 Hotel in DUMBO or the William Vale in Williamsburg. For dinner you can enjoy dinner at the River Cafe under the Brooklyn Bridge in DUMBO, just keep in mind there's a dress code here or if you really want to go all out secure a reservation in advance for Peter Luger's Steakhouse and enjoy one of the best steakhouses in the city. Typically you need to make a reservation months in advance and you will need to have cash on hand to pay.

Which neighborhood should couples add to their list?

DUMBO is full of romantic eateries with views, sunset spots perfect for an evening picnic like at Brooklyn Bridge Park or sit on the bench together watching the sun go down at Brooklyn Heights Promenade, and charming cafes.

What are some fun facts/history behind DUMBO neighborhood?

DUMBO is no doubt one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the city as well as packed with fascinating history and remnants from the past. This neighborhood is full of large brick buildings from the American industrious boom. Many of the luxe apartments and venues in this neighborhood are in transformed, historic warehouse buildings and you can still spot the historic Belgian blocks under the streets in certain areas. Underneath the Brooklyn Bridge is Fulton Ferry Landing which served as a ferry service between Manhattan and Brooklyn since the 1600s when Brooklyn was nothing but farmland. Next to Fulton Ferry Landing you can grab a scoop of award-winning ice cream from Ample Hills named after and paying homage one of the most famous Brooklynites and figures in American Literature, Walt Whitman who worked as the Editor of the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper in the Eagle Warehouse Building across the street.

Other Sightseeing Options in Brooklyn

Want to discover all there is to do in Brooklyn? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Brooklyn

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 7,417 reviews

Super trip with plenty of background information. Our guide always had the best spots in mind regarding coffee, lunch or a very much deserved ice ccremeclose to the end of our about 30-35 miles and 6 hours trip. Bikes are good. Give them a proper ride on the yard before the tour actually starts to check the shift gear, tire pressure,... as you will ride all day long and you want to be comfortable. No need to bring water bottles, as there is always a chance during the trip to get one in the neighborhoods. Don't forget sunscreen! Will come back for another trip!

The tour guide was sooo knowledgable that it was amazing. We enjoyed it a lot and learned a lot as well. Thanks Ela Weiss and family

The captain knew much of the history surrounding the harbor and the Burroughs. It was time well spent.

Excellent and informative! Our guide, Mike, was great! Highly recommend.

Amazing experience, it was the highlight of my trip to New York !