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Things to do in Williamsburg: Bowling, brewery tours and beyond

Find things to do in Williamsburg, whether you’re an indie-film fan, a craft beer geek or a local-history buff.

What Williamsburg lacks in major museums and attractions, it makes up for in idiosyncratic institutions. In addition to shopping, eating and drinking, popular things to do in the nabe include checking out quirky displays at City Reliquary Museum, tastings at the Brooklyn Brewery, catching an art-house flick (with in-seat dining) at Nitehawk Cinema and bowling at Brooklyn Bowl.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Brooklyn Bowl

Critics' pick

This bowling alley and live music venue fully embraces the new mania for local nostalgia. The space takes its design cues from Coney Island with old freak-show posters and carnival-game relics, and all of the beer sold inside—by Sixpoint, Kelso and the Brooklyn Brewery—is made in the borough. This is a great place to kill a few hours with a big rowdy group: You can tackle a pitcher and the stoner-food menu from the Blue Ribbon team (delicious fatty brisket, Old Bay–fried chicken) laneside between frames. The plush tufted couches are the most luxurious alley seating we’ve ever seen.

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Williamsburg

Brooklyn Brewery

Williamsburg's craft-beer facility offers reservation-only small batch brewery tours (Mon–Thu 5–7pm; $8) and free general tours on Saturday and Sunday (see website for details). You can also sample suds in the tasting room.

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Williamsburg

City Reliquary Museum

Critics' pick

This quirky institution houses all sorts of New York City ephemera, from old postcards featuring the Statue of Liberty to a vintage subway turnstile, as well as permanent exhibits on the history of burlesque in NYC and the 1939 World's Fair. The museum is also an active presence in the community, organizing special events (like a bike parade) and fund-raisers.

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Williamsburg

Nitehawk Cinema

Critics' pick

This Brooklyn venue screens new indie releases and has a robust retro program. Each individual theater has full-service meals, plus there is a lobby bar and a downstairs café that stays open late.

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Williamsburg

3rd Ward

Critics' pick

Since it opened in 2006, 3rd Ward has established itself as one of the city’s most vital spaces, acting as a hub for Brooklyn’s artistic community. Anyone who becomes a member can take advantage of the photo studios and other facilities, or indulge in classes (like furniture design and stop-motion animation) to spark the creative juices. Stop by for one of the space’s weekly events, like Drink ’n’ Draw (a live figure-drawing class with booze ($10–$15), to experience the space at its best.

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Williamsburg

Black & White Gallery Project Space

Founder Tatyana Okshteyn is good at finding new talent. At a typical show opening, you can expect to see large-scale installations in the outdoor courtyard, and enthusiastic gallerygoers spilling onto the sidewalk.

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Williamsburg Free

The Boiler

This cavernous outpost of the venerable Pierogi gallery boasts towering walls and is well suited to the large-scale installations it hosts; special events such as performances and book launches are also held here on a regular basis.

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Greenpoint Free

McCarren Park Pool

Critics' pick

For the first time in nearly three decades, New Yorkers can cool off at the McCarren Park Pool. The newly renovated 37,950-square-foot pond fits 1,500 swimmers and features eight lap lanes, alongside a sand volleyball court and a recreation center.

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Williamsburg Free

Pierogi

One of Williamsburg’s more established galleries, Pierogi presents the Flat Files, a series of drawers containing works on paper by some 700 artists. Don’t pass up the chance to don white gloves and handle the filed artworks yourself.

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Williamsburg Free

Soloway

This Billyburg gallery, devoted to emerging young talents, describes itself as "a space created and run by artists." Its name comes from a plumbing and heating business that used to occupy the storefront location.

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Williamsburg Free
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