Brooklyn Like You’ve Never Seen Before

By Lindsay Buckley,

Williamsburg is no longer just an affordable alternative to Manhattan – it’s a destination in its own right. On your trip to New York City, consider basing yourself at a hotel in this hipster enclave, where you can eat and drink your way down Bedford Avenue and peruse the kitschy shops and designer boutiques.

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Spend the weekend market hopping
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Williamsburg Flea Market
Photo by Antonio Rosario

Brooklyn’s finest artisans convene in Williamsburg each weekend with a smattering of vintage, handmade, and culinary delights. By day, eat around the world at Smorgasburg (Saturday 11am-6pm) or shop for quirky crafts at the Williamsburg Flea (Sunday 10am-5pm), both on the waterfront. By night, hit up the Brooklyn Night Bazaar (Friday & Saturday, 7pm-1am) for the best of both worlds PLUS live music, art installations, and mini-golf.

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Enjoy a drink with a view at a rooftop bar
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Rooftop bar Williamsburg
Photo by Eric McGregor

With its prime location on the East River, Williamsburg provides stellar views of Manhattan – particularly from rooftops. They’re best enjoyed on a sunny day or summer night with a drink at one of the neighborhood’s rooftop bars. Try an artisanal cocktail from The Ides at the Wythe Hotel, a huckleberry lemonade at Berry Park, or a “specialty drink” at Upper Elm.

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Experience the thriving coffee culture
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Williamsburg Coffee
Photo by Lindsay Buckley 

Williamsburg is a coffee lover’s dream. No matter where you are in the neighborhood, at least one high quality coffee shop is bound to be within a 5 minute walk. Be sure to try the New Orleans Cold Brew at Blue Bottle Coffee, a pour over from Toby’s Estate, the latte at Gimme! Coffee, or a french press from Black Brick – and don’t forget to do some hipster (er, people) watching while you caffeinate!

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Lunch at the Caracas Arepa Bar
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Cheap gourmet food Brooklyn
Photo by  Lindsay Buckley

For a great value meal, Caracas’ “budget Venezuelan eats” are hard to beat. Aptly named, its arepas steal the show with ample options for both carnivores and vegetarians. What’s more, their happy hour is til 7pm, 7 days a week. For a solid meal, try La Surena or De Pabellon, guacamole with chips, and a rum drink.

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Dinner at Maison Premiere
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Classy restaurants in Williamsburg
Photo by Maison Premiere

For a fancier dining experience, head to Maison Premiere: a delightful reflection of New York, Paris, and New Orleans in one classy establishment. Oysters and absinthe are what they’re known for here, and they have a wide variety of options for each. Try to snag a table on the outdoor patio for a romantic date!

Looking for that perfect Brooklyn pizza slice? We’ve got you covered right here.

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Catch some Zzzzs at the McCarren Hotel
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Hotels in Williamsburg
Photo by McCarren Hotel 

The centrally-located Williamsburg hotel pens itself as the “first full-service lifestyle hotel in the neighborhood”. It has a lot going for it: its modern rooms overlook McCarren Park, and its rooftop houses a bar and a saltwater pool with fantastic views of the city. And in true Brooklyn style, they offer free bike rentals.

Dive into the McCarren Park

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Or sleep at The Box House
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Loft hotel in Brooklyn
Photo by Box House Hotel

Just across McCarren Park in neighboring Greenpoint, The Box House offers a welcome retreat from the bustle of Bedford Ave and Williamsburg proper. Its industrial chic loft suites cater to small groups of 4-6 and feel more like a spacious apartment than a typical New York hotel room.

Industrial Chic in Greenpoint

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For more offbeat experiences in Williamsburg
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  • Drink beer, play table tennis, and check out the art gallery at PIPS (158 Roebling St)
  • Sample unique ice cream flavors such as tobacco leaf smoked chili huckleberry or beet pistachio honey goat cheese at OddFellows (175 Kent Ave)
Gourmet ice cream Williamsburg
Photo by Garrett Ziegler
  • Order drinks and dinner from your seats during a movie at Nitehawk Cinema (136 Metropolitan Ave)
  •  Enjoy a wine and cheese tasting at Brooklyn Oenology (209 Wythe Ave) or Brooklyn Winery (213 N 8th St).
Wine and cheese Williamsburg
Photo by Anne Helmond