I have spent a lot of time in Brooklyn over the years.
Recently, I've been visiting friends there and getting to know the place from a local perspective. And my favorite time to be in Brooklyn? It's got to be the Spring! Between the warmer weather, the flowers popping up, and the cheerier vibe, I love Brooklyn in the Springtime.
The following are some of my favorite activities for when all the flowers start blooming. But don't worry, I share some activities for other seasons, too.
1. View The Flowers In Park Slope
There's only one thing better than tree-lined streets with rows of brownstones—and that's when those trees are flowering!
The magnolia trees are one of my favorites and they are all over Park Slope. Walk the streets between 1st Ave and Prospect Park in April and May for guaranteed pink-dappled streets.
2. Wander Prospect Park
Don't forget to check out Prospect Park in the Spring, too. The park has many similar flowering trees that leave colorful petal beds toward the end of the season.
Bring a picnic for some excellent people-watching. Or go to see the adorable little league games teeing-off in the sunshine at this time of year.
On a weekday, check out the Botanical Gardens for the cherry blossoms. I say to go on a weekday because during the Cherry Blossom Festival and on weekends it gets insanely crowded! I mean it's a sardine-packed experience not worth the ticket price.
3. Brunch At Pilar Cuban Eatery in Bed Stuy
I discovered one of the most amazing places to eat brunch in Bedford Stuyvesant ("Bed Stuy"). It's an authentic Cuban restaurant with one of the most amazing breakfast plates I ever ate.
Huebos y verduras includes 2 eggs (I had them poached), potato-leek croquettes, maduros, marinated butter beans, tomato and avocado salad. Of course I had to have a side of extra crispy bacon and an OJ. This meal makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
While I have no idea what authentic Cuban food is really like, my friend's Cuban-American roommate swears it's spot-on.
The first time I ordered the above meal was on a Saturday. I actually went back the next morning to order the exact same thing again—and my friend ordered it, too. Yes, it is that good!
While you won't wait long for your order, you should also snack on their plantain chips.
This is how food should be.
4. Chilling At Stonefruit
A block away from Pilar is a great place to grab a fancy tea or coffee and bring your laptop. Stonefruit Espresso+Kitchen recently reopened after a fire in the front part of the shop.
As a traveler, I can appreciate the vibe this place brings. It's a true workspace but made to feel like you're in a florist shop. That's because you actually can buy the plants on display here. They line the walls and sides of the back area of the cafe.
The atmosphere ends up being so warm and fresh feeling.
This is an especially great stop for those rainy days in April when you can't be outside enjoying the greenery. Come inside this cafe to get your fill!
5. Observing The Street Art
When my cousin visited last year, I mapped out a route for her to explore some of Brooklyn's best street art.
The Bushwick Collective started an open-air gallery of grafitti and street artists work in 2011. Since then it has exploded and expanded around Bushwick—a predominantly industrial park of Brooklyn.
The route I suggested to her was the following:
- Start Starr & Cypress
- Right on St Nicholas
- Left on Troutman
- Right Wyckoff
- Left Flushing
- Right Thames St
- Right Varick
- Left Grattan
- Left Bogart
- Right Varet
- Right White
- Right Seigel
- Left Bogart
- End at Morga n Ave Subway
Or you don't have to follow that specific path. You will see a lot of great street art when sticking to that general area. The following are some photos from when my partner, Ang, and I wandered the streets between Bogart and White just north of Flushing Ave.
6. Walking Across The Brooklyn Bridge
I've written about this before in my post about things to do in NYC, but it deserves to be on this Brooklyn list, too.
The best plan for walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is to start at the DUMBO (down under the manhattan bridge) area. There are nice skyline views and some other cool stuff to see as you make your way to the Brooklyn Bridge.
Crossing the bridge involves great city views and usually some little surprises along the way, too. Like these people with their super neat looking bicycles!
7. Exploring the Boardwalk Area
No visit to Brooklyn would be complete without a visit to the boardwalk.
You can walk from Brighton Beach on up to Coney Island. Brighton Beach is a bit quieter with a large Russian population. So you'll find lots of restaurants and shops with Russian food and Russian influences on the streets behind the boardwalk in the area.
One of my favorite aspects of the Brighton Beach area are the fruit and vegetable shops. I find the fruit here to be some of the best in the city—large, juicy, and sweet!
Of course, Coney Island has an amusement park, Luna Park, with tons to do including a rickety roller coaster, swing, and carnival games. Plus, there's the Ford Amphitheater for live shows and tons of food and drink stands that open up in the warmer months.
8. Chill at Surf Bar in Williamsburg
If the weather still isn't quite summery enough yet for your liking, you can get your fix at Surf Bar. Surf Bar has a beach/ocean decor complete with actual sand on the floor of the restaurant!
The best part to take advantage of in the warmer months is the outside dining out back. I always enjoy the palm trees and tiki bar feel as I chow down on clam chowder and shrimp tacos with friends.
The above highlights my personal favorites in Brooklyn. But I'm sure you have some of your own. What are your favorite Brooklyn activities or eateries? Feel free to comment below!