Top attractions in Brooklyn: All the best sights to visit in NYC

Check out Brooklyn’s coolest sights and top attractions, including the Brooklyn Bridge and other NYC landmarks.

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  • Top attractions in Brooklyn

    BLDG 92

    Top attractions in Brooklyn
  • Top attractions in Brooklyn

    Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Brooklyn Botanic Garden

    Top attractions in Brooklyn
  • Top attractions in Brooklyn

    Photograph: Michael Kirby

    Brooklyn Bridge

    Top attractions in Brooklyn
  • Top attractions in Brooklyn

    Photograph: Philip Greenberg

    Brooklyn Bridge Park

    Top attractions in Brooklyn
  • Top attractions in Brooklyn

    Photograph: Michael Kirby

    Brooklyn Heights Promenade

    Top attractions in Brooklyn
  • Top attractions in Brooklyn

    Photograph: Michael Kirby

    Brooklyn Flea

    Top attractions in Brooklyn
  • Top attractions in Brooklyn

    Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Brooklyn Museum

    Top attractions in Brooklyn
  • Top attractions in Brooklyn

    Photograph: Charles Denson

    Coney Island Cyclone

    Top attractions in Brooklyn
  • Top attractions in Brooklyn

    Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Green-Wood Cemetery

    Top attractions in Brooklyn
  • Top attractions in Brooklyn

    Photograph: Krista Schlueter

    New York Transit Museum

    Top attractions in Brooklyn
  • Top attractions in Brooklyn

    Photograph: Wendy Connett

    Prospect Park

    Top attractions in Brooklyn

Top attractions in Brooklyn

BLDG 92

Brooklyn is home to many of New York’s top attractions, including the Brooklyn Bridge and Prospect Park. Our favorite Kings County sights also include some up-and-coming attractions, such as BLDG 92, located in a former military residence at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.


RECOMMENDED: The 50 best New York attractions you have to see


BLDG 92

Located in a former military residence on the grounds of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, this small museum chronicles the mighty history of the former shipbuilding center—which, at its peak during World War II, employed close to 70,000 people. Permanent exhibits examine the yard’s origins and significance throughout history; for example, a number of massive vessels, including the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor and the Pearl Harbor casualty USS Arizona, were built at the Navy Yard. But the institution also looks to the manufacturing future of the space and increasing number of businesses moving in each year businesses (including Brooklyn Grange, which operates an apiary on site). The location includes a café, weekend bus tours ($18–$30) and an 8,000-square-foot exhibition space that features the permanent “Brooklyn Navy Yard: Past, Present and Future” exhibit, as well as rotating offerings. A free weekend shuttle departs from Jay St at Willoughby St every 15–20 minutes.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Those searching for a little peace and quiet would do well to spend a few hours at this verdant oasis. The garden—which abuts two other neighborhood gems: the Brooklyn Museum and Prospect Park—was founded in 1910 and features hundreds of types of flora, laid out over 52 acres. Each spring, crowds descend on the space for the Sakura Matsuri Festival, during which hundreds of trees bloom along the Cherry Esplanade. But equally impressive are serene spots like the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, the first Japanese-inspired nursery built in the U.S., and the Shakespeare Garden, brimming with plants (such as primrose and crocuses) mentioned in the Bard’s works. Start your journey at the Visitor’s Center, an eco-friendly portal (it has a green roof filled with 45,000 plants) that opened in May 2012.

Brooklyn Bridge

No mere river crossing, this span is an elegant reminder of New York’s history of architectural innovation. When it opened in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was a feat of engineering: It was the first structure to cross the East River and, at the time, the longest suspension bridge in the world. (It also made use of steel-wire cables, invented by the bridge’s original designer, John A. Roebling.) Now it attracts thousands of tourists and locals, who enjoy spectacular views of lower Manhattan and other city landmarks (such as the Statue of Liberty and Governors Island) as they stroll its more-than-mile-long expanse. Heads up, though: You may run into the occasional cyclist trying to navigate through the crowds on the pedestrian walkway.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Some city parks—Central and Prospect, most obviously—were built to replicate rustic fields and preserve serene woodland. Brooklyn Bridge Park, however, was not—and that's precisely why it has become so popular in the almost three years since it debuted. The project has transformed a chunk of the Brooklyn waterfront into a nearly 85-acre expanse; several sections house unique attractions such as Jane's Carousel, a restored 1920s merry-go-round, and riverside esplanades with gorgeous Manhattan views. Pier 5, the first part of the park designed specifically for “active recreation,” opened in late 2012, cementing the space as the city’s premier urban playground.

Brooklyn Flea

In the nearly five years since its debut, this market has elevated the vintage-shopping experience, setting a new standard for both goods and food vendors, and emphasizing local purveyors where possible. Its mini empire now includes markets in Fort Greene and Williamsburg, as well as two food-focused Smorgasburg outposts, and forthcoming locations in Manhattan and Philadelphia. When temperatures plunge, the fest moves to the handsome, cavernous lobby at Brooklyn's landmark Skylight One Hanson (through March). It's as good a people-watching spot as you'll find—plenty of established and wanna-be designers mill about—and the eats alone are worth the trip. Vendors change each weekend, so check the website the Friday before doors open to see who's selling.

Brooklyn Heights and Brooklyn Promenade

It’s easy to forget that you’re standing atop the hectic Brooklyn-Queens Expressway while strolling along this esplanade, which opened in 1950. But the thoroughfare is inextricably linked to the Promenade’s existence: Community opposition to the BQE—which was originally intended to cut through Brooklyn Heights—led city planner Robert Moses to reroute the highway along the waterfront. He also proposed building a park atop the road to block noise. Stroll, run or make out along its ⅓-mile length, pausing to appreciate postcard-ready views of lower Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty; then check out some of the 19th-century row houses down Brooklyn Heights’ tree-lined side streets, or head down to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Brooklyn Museum

Brooklyn’s premier institution is a less-crowded alternative to Manhattan’s bigger-name spaces. Among the museum’s many assets is a 4,000-piece Egyptian collection, which includes a gilded-ebony statue of Amenhotep III and, on the ceiling, a large-scale rendering of an ancient map of the cosmos, as well as a mummy preserved in its original coffin. Masterworks by Cézanne, Monet and Degas, part of an impressive European collection, are displayed in the museum’s Beaux-Arts Court. On the fifth floor, American paintings and sculptures include native son Thomas Cole’s The Pic-Nic and Louis Rémy Mignot’s Niagara. Don’t miss the renowned Pacific Island and African galleries (this was the first American museum to display African objects as art).

Coney Island Cyclone

Nothing offers a thrilling jolt of Brooklyn nostalgia quite like a ride on the Cyclone. The roller coaster dates to 1927, when Coney Island was a booming seaside resort, but shuttered for six years starting in 1969, marking one of many troubled economic periods for the ’hood. Aside from grabbing a beer and hot dog at Nathan’s Famous, riding the Cyclone is the thing to do at Coney Island on a lovely summer day.

Green-Wood Cemetery

  • Critics choice

A century ago, this site vied with Niagara Falls as New York State’s greatest tourist attraction. Filled with Victorian mausoleums, cherubs and gargoyles, Green-Wood is the resting place of some half-million New Yorkers, among them Jean-Michel Basquiat, Leonard Bernstein and Boss Tweed. But there’s more to do here than grave-spot: Check out the massive Gothic arch at the main entrance or climb to the top of Battle Hill, one of the highest points in Kings County and a pivotal spot during the Battle of Brooklyn in 1776.

  1. 500 25th St, (at Fifth Ave)
More info

New York Transit Museum

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Other archives may offer broader perspectives on city history, but we love the Transit Museum because it goes deep into one essential element of New York life: the public transit system. Opened in 1976 in a former IND subway station, the museum displays historic artifacts—including a collection of vintage train cars spanning the 20th century—as well as more timely pieces, such as works from the MTA’s Arts for Transit program.

  1. Boerum Pl, (at Schermerhorn St)
More info

Prospect Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Urban visionaries Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who most famously designed Central Park, also put their stamp on bucolic Prospect Park. Amenities like the Long Meadow and Nethermead offer plenty of space to pull up on a patch of grass and indulge in some people-watching, and the woodland expanse of the Ravine is a towering forest within bustling Brooklyn. But we also have to give props to Robert Moses: The controversial city planner was behind some of the park’s kid-friendly offerings, including the zoo and Wollman Rink (which is currently undergoing an extensive renovation).

  1. Prospect Park West to Flatbush Ave, (between Prospect Park Southwest and Ocean Ave)
More info


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