By Danaé Reid
Over the past month or so, tourists have returned to New York in droves.
Because of the pandemic, places like Times Square, Penn Station, and Broadway were like ghost towns, but now that the world is slowly back up and running, it seems that the amount of tourists I interact with when I’m in those areas have multiplied significantly since January of 2020.
For a lot of people, New York is a simple and exciting getaway that is relatively inexpensive and filled with wonder, whimsy, fun, and history, so the fact that people gravitate to it doesn’t surprise me. What does surprise me, however, is the fact that people tend to do the popular touristy things without even leaving Manhattan.
That said, I’ve created a list of some things to do in Brooklyn if you want to experience a more relaxed and less crowded visit this summer.
1. Coney Island: Even though New York is considered an island, a lot of people don’t realize how many beaches are right here in the city. Whenever I tell people that we have as many beaches out here as we do, they’re always amazed by the fact because on the East Coast, beaches and city life don’t coexist.
Whenever people ask me what I recommend they do when they visit New York, I always recommend Coney Island because of the amusement park, the fact that you can easily take the train there, and the fact that not too many tourists go there, which makes it a perfect spot for family, fun, and sun!
1000 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11224, Phone: 718-373-5862
2. Brooklyn Botanic Gardens: If you love nature and plants, the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens is a GREAT place to visit with your family/friends/etc. With over 52,000 acres of land, you will be able to see some of the most beautiful flowers and plants that you’ve ever seen. Between the beauty of the Japanese pin-garden, the conservatory house, the fragrance garden and more, you will not regret spending time in this oasis in the middle of Brooklyn.
880 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, New York 11225, Phone: 718-623-7200
3. Brooklyn Museum: Much like the museums in Manhattan, the Brooklyn Museum has its own life and vibrancy. With five floors in total, you’re in for a treat! The art collections are so diverse and unique, thus creating an experience of a lifetime. And not only is there culture on the inside, there’s culture on the outside as well! The land the museum was built on is the ancestral homeland of the Lenape tribe.
Right now, there is a really fascinating exhibit called “KAWS: What Party” featuring famous artist Brian Donnelly’s art work” and it’ll be up until September 5, 2021. Tickets are hard to get and the museum isn’t open daily so make sure you do your research prior to attending.
The Brooklyn Museum is a rock toss away from the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, so if you’re in the area, consider doing a “2-in-one,” you won’t be disappointed.
200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11238, Phone 718-638-5000
4. Dumbo/Brooklyn Bridge: The Brooklyn Bridge and the waterfront are a two-stop shop. If you’re looking for a relaxing location with a multitude of food options, stores, recreational activities like skating rinks, parks, volleyball courts, or just a nice location to sit by the water, Dumbo is the area for you! And not only can you enjoy the peacefulness of the area, you can also see the Statue of Liberty in the distance.
A lot of visitors also enjoy taking photos on the bridge and riding bikes across it as well. This is a very popular spot for tourists AND locals to frequent and will likely be one of the more crowded spots on this list.
If interested, you can also seek out your guides that will tell you more about the history of the park as well.
334 Furman Street, Brooklyn, New York 11201, Phone: 718-802-0603
5. Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM): BAM was founded in 1858 which makes it Brooklyn’s oldest cultural venue. If you enjoy live classical performances, musical events, indie films and more, this may be a place that you want to check out. As the heart of downtown Brooklyn, you’ll also be close to the Barclays Center, Atlantic Avenue terminal, a huge shopping center, and more which makes this a great central location to visit during your trip to the city. Check out the schedule before coming to see who will be performing and if you’re interested. Ticket prices vary.
30 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217, Phone: 718-636-4100