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
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.
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.
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.