I’ve lived in Brooklyn Heights for over seven years and absolutely love calling this charming neighborhood home. This small nook of Brooklyn is right on the East River and offers so much to see and do. I first fell for the beautiful tree lined streets and gorgeous brownstones but it is the warm community that keeps me calling Brooklyn Heights home. If you’re visiting and looking for an updated guide on how to spend your time here, this post should be helpful to you.
What to Do in Brooklyn Heights
Brooklyn Heights is a storied neighborhood – dating back to 1834. Many consider it the first official neighborhood of the United States according to home records! The entire neighborhood is classified as historic to ensure it maintains protected. Brooklyn Heights was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. It has a list of famous residents both present and past and has inspired famous names in history like Walt Whitman and Truman Capote.
Where Is Brooklyn Heights Located
Brooklyn Heights is largely residential and is bounded by Old Fulton Street near the Brooklyn Bridge on the north, Cadman Plaza West on the east, Atlantic Avenue on the south and the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway. I love that I am in walking distance to Dumbo, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Downtown Brooklyn nearby.
How To Get To Brooklyn Heights
Brooklyn Heights is also a great place due to its accessibility to Manhattan. It features a variety of subway lines so you can easily pop up from a subway station and begin enjoying the neighborhood. The subway lines 4, 5, R, 2, 3, A and C all reach the Heights. I find the Clark Street station for the 2/3 train the best to be able to experience Central Brooklyn Heights the moment you get off the train. But you can also begin by entering the neighborhood at Court Street which has stations near Brooklyn Heights.
Downtown Brooklyn is a short few minute walk to Brooklyn Heights and also offers a variety of subway lines for more accessibility. If you get off at Jay Street Metrotech – take Johnson Street over towards the heights.
It is also accessible via the NYC Ferry Dumbo station.
Read on for how to make the most of your time while in the neighborhood.
Brooklyn Heights Promenade
The Promenade is my favorite place in the neighborhood. On weekend days where I don’t have any morning plans I love to pick up a coffee and muffin on Montague Street and head over to one of the promenade benches and settle in for people watching, peeping the beautiful lower Manhattan skyline and catching up on my podcasts. You get amazing views of Lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge Park runs along the East River and just below the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. It offers sweeping views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan and you’ll be able to easily spot the Statue of Liberty and watch the Staten Island Ferry go in and out of the terminal. There are running paths and bike paths, piers for recreational sports and playgrounds for kids. You’ll also find communal grills and picnic tables for use.
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge never gets old – even for this local. From Brooklyn you can get on the bridge easily via the stairs at Cadman Plaza East. Once on the bridge, you get amazing views of Lower and Midtown Manhattan, the Manhattan Bridge and DUMBO.
Columbia Heights features some of the most expensive real estate in Brooklyn. This six block street is worth strolling down to look at the beautiful architecture and some spectacular brownstones.
Loads of shops and restaurants abound on Atlantic Avenue – the main thoroughfare that runs through a lot of Brooklyn and separates Brooklyn Heights from Cobble Hill.
Montague Street is the high street of Brooklyn Heights. It offers a variety of shops, the fan-favorite Brooklyn Cat Cafe and several restaurants. The street dead-ends into the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.
The last block of Remsen Street beginning at Hicks Street is a personal favorite of mine. Gorgeous homes to view and the start of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.
I love the architecture in this neighborhood so much – patricianly the small streets featuring decades old carriage houses. The best spots to see them are Hunts Lane, College Place and Grace Court Alley.
My favorite quiet street to stroll down. Don’t miss nearby Joe Coffee and the oh-so-photogenic carriage house on Pineapple Street between Willow and Hicks. Willow Street also features another favorite carriage house between Clark and Pierrepont Streets.
The Fruit Bowl
So named because of Brooklyn Heights’ streets named Orange Street, Cranberry Street and Pineapple Street, the Fruit Bowl as locals often refer to it is the heart of Brooklyn Heights. It’s worth strolling each of these streets and on Orange Street you’ll also find the historic Plymouth Church.
The Center for Brooklyn History
Formerly known as the Brooklyn Historical Society, you can visit the beautiful building at 128 Pierrepont Street on the corner of Clinton Street if you’re a history buff.
Joralemon is the fastest way down to Brooklyn Bridge Park but also happens to be one of the most delightful streets in the neighborhood thanks to its block of colorful homes beginning after crossing Hicks Street as you head towards the East River.
Take a Walking Tour
If interested in knowing more about specific historical buildings in the neighborhood, a variety of walking tours exist that will give you details into the streets and homes.
Have a Picnic
Grab your favorite picnic items from Lassen & Hennigs and pack them up to head to the Brooklyn Bridge Park greens for a picnic. If you get the right spot, you’ll be able to enjoy a stellar sunset in certain seasons.
New York Transit Museum
The New York Transit Museum is a great place to take kids. Enjoy interactive exhibits and learn a bit of history about the role transportation has played in New York City, too.
In the summer, book at Pilot to enjoy drinks or dinner on a boat docked in the East River. You’ll get to enjoy sunset if you time it right as the sun sets behind lower New York City.
Lassen & Hennigs
I love this old school deli’s homemade desserts (get the sprinkle cookies or a slice of red velvet cake) but they also make delicious muffins and sandwiches that I truly can’t get enough of. Don’t miss their inexpensive cold brew or the yummy pre-made grab & go salads. They also make a great bagel. I highly recommend hitting up this spot and enjoying what you pick up over on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade just two blocks away.
This Middle Eastern grocery store is a foodie’s paradise. It’s been open since 1948 on Atlantic Avenue and is world famous for good reason. Come here for their prepared food offerings and any interesting grocery item your imagination can dream up.
Colonie is a great spot for brunch or dinner. Reservations recommended.
You cannot miss a stop at the Instagram bakery L’Appartement4f on Montague Street. Their croissants, cookies and bread are my very favorite in New York City. They are perfect to grab before you head to the Promenade or Brooklyn Bridge Park. Arrive early if you want to ensure you can get what you want and at lunch time don’t miss the baguette sandwich. Truly such a gem of a spot!
Newer in the neighborhood is Cloudy Donut which is baking up vegan donuts from a small storefront just off Joralemon Street on Columbia Place. I didn’t find them worth waiting in line for personally but if you want a sweet treat on a cute street – this will fit the bill.
The Long Island Bar
Ok, The Long Island Bar is technically in Cobble Hill – but given it is just across Atlantic Avenue – and an institution frequented by those of us in Brooklyn Heights – I had to include it. The Long Island Bar has been serving food and drinks for almost 55 years on this charming corner in Brooklyn. You can’t beat their burger and martini. It’s one of my favorite meals in my neighborhood!
Also technically in Cobble Hill but so close to the Heights I had to include it. I adore the stylish atmosphere of Elsa and their inventive, delicious cocktails. You can’t beat their back patio on a summer evening either.
The best restaurant in the neighborhood and my personal favorite go-to since opening, Inga’s Bar is serving up a great burger and is home to a bar that feels like you’re drinking among all your neighbors you haven’t yet met but would like to.
Henry Street Wine Bar & Kitchen
A great date night spot with delicious food and good wines. Henry Street also serves a great happy hour.
Ella Crown Bakehouse
Ella Crown serves up delicious, large and gooey cookies that make the perfect sweet tooth satisfier!
Looking for a good, casual dinner spot? Dellarocco’s is a neighborhood favorite for their pizzas and salads. They have plenty of outdoor seating but I also enjoy picking up some pies to bring to Brooklyn Bridge Park to share with friends.
Visit Nearby Dumbo
The waterfront neighborhood of Dumbo is just down the hill from Brooklyn Heights. Combining a visit to both is worthwhile. Check out my full guide of What to do in Dumbo.
. . .
If interested in Brooklyn Heights, be sure to follow me on Instagram where I am always sharing neighborhood favorites.
Have you been to Brooklyn Heights? I would love to hear your thoughts on the neighborhood!
Download my Full Guide to New York City full of all my long time favorites.
You May Also Like:
- A Guide to My West Village Favorites.
- My Favorite Spring Spots in New York City.
- The Best Coffee Shops in New York City.