Downtown Brooklyn is in Brooklyn. In addition to the downtown area proper, it includes Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and the Navy Yard.
- Downtown Brooklyn, which is the central shopping and business area, anchored by Fulton St. west of Flatbush Avenue, looks similar to the downtown of almost any other major American city, with department stores, clothing and electronic shops, a Borough Hall, three universities, a major railroad station, the Brooklyn Academy of Music concert hall, the Barclays Center sports arena, many office buildings, and municipal, state and federal buildings and courthouses. Many subway and bus lines go to or through Downtown Brooklyn. A major construction boom has changed the face of this part of Brooklyn, adding many new highrises and a large number of new, wealthy residents in the first two decades of the 21st century, with further construction ongoing as of late 2021.
- Brooklyn Heights is a residential neighborhood with elegant buildings and historic churches. It is an expensive neighborhood to live in, partly because of its great views of the Lower Manhattan skyline. The area's brownstone buildings and shopping district give it a quaint yet thriving feel. Most of this neighborhood is a historic district, meaning that its beautiful old low-rise housing stock cannot be torn down, and it lacks the modern highrises of nearby Downtown Brooklyn. This is the richest neighborhood in Brooklyn, and more expensive than parts of Manhattan.
- Cobble Hill is a quiet neighborhood of bookstores, shops, and restaurants. Old-time Italian neighborhood with great pizza and Italian ices. Great restaurants and quite a number of bars along Court St. and Smith St.
- DUMBO is an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. Once popular with artists for loft space, it has now become popular with a richer, trendier crowd. Walk along the riverfront park for a unique and unforgettable view of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges and the Manhattan skyline.
- Fort Greene has some great restaurants and the Brooklyn Academy of Music which features an art-house cinema, theater, and concerts.
The Atlantic Terminal, at Atlantic Avenue, Flatbush Avenue & Hanson Place, is a terminus of the Long Island Rail Road; all LIRR trains that terminate or originate in "Brooklyn" refer to this station, which is in the same building as Barclays Center.
Almost every line that runs in Brooklyn runs through here. The major station here is Atlantic Avenue (over by Barclays Center), the biggest station outside Manhattan and a major transfer point. The B (weekdays only), D, N, Q, R, 2, 3, 4, and 5 (weekdays only) all stop here. There's little to see around it, but if you need to change trains this is the place to do it.
Another major station is Borough Hall, served by the 2, 3, 4, 5 (weekdays only), and R. This station will put you near most of the attractions. Clark Street, served by the 2 and 3 is the station closest to the Brooklyn Bridge.
The A, C, F, and G also ply parts of this neighborhood, but transferring to or from other lines can be a pain (although transferring between them can be done more easily). The closest points to transfer between these and the lines stopping at Atlantic Avenue are at Fulton Street in Manhattan (which is a very difficult station to navigate), Jay Street/Metrotech (where there is a transfer between the R and the A, C, and F), 4th Ave/9th St, and the Franklin Avenue Shuttle in Bed-Stuy.
Many buses connect Downtown Brooklyn with other neighborhoods of Brooklyn (see a PDF map here, and note the separate inset for Downtown Brooklyn at the upper right corner), but the B51 bus that used to traverse the Manhattan Bridge and connect Downtown Brooklyn with Manhattan was discontinued in 2010.
By bicycle or on foot
Both the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges can be crossed by bicycle and on foot. Wire mesh limits the view from the Manhattan Bridge, and you will be repeatedly rattled by crossing subways, so the Brooklyn Bridge is much more recommended for pedestrians.
- 1 Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St. This pretty building was built as Brooklyn's city hall in 1851 and is still a very significant official building in very active use.
- 2 Brooklyn Bridge (Pedestrian access at Tillary and Adams, or via staircase on Prospect Street between Cadman Plaza East and West; Subway: trains to High Street-Brooklyn Bridge, trains to Borough Hall, train to Court Street-Borough Hall, or train to York Street). Work started in 1870 on the first bridge crossing of the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn, finally completing in 1883 - a 1,595 ft suspension bridge and, as a plaque on it says, a "structure of beauty.".
- 3 Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont St (at Clinton; Subway: trains to Borough Hall, trains to Jay Street-MetroTech, or train to Court Street-Borough Hall), ☏ , fax: . W-Su noon-5PM. A museum and library dedicated to the history of Brooklyn. $6 adults, $4 seniors/students/teachers, free for children under 12.
- 4 Federal Building and Post Office, 271-301 Cadman Plaza East. This neo-Romanesque fairy castle was built in 1891, and a northern addition in very similar style was built in 1933. The older building is a busy post office serving Downtown Brooklyn and the northern addition houses the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York.
- 5 Manhattan Bridge. The Manhattan Bridge, just a bit to the east of the Brooklyn Bridge, with signposted access from Jay St. slightly over 4 blocks north (toward the river) of Tillary St., can also be crossed by pedestrians and cyclists, but if you do so, you will be rattled by passing subway trains that traverse the bridge, your view will be partly obstructed by mesh, and you won't be in a position to see much to the north of the bridge (so no great views of the Midtown skyline like you get from the Brooklyn Bridge walkway). It's still worth doing if you have enough time, though, partly because of the views of the Brooklyn Bridge that you can see from the Manhattan Bridge. As of November 2021, construction is taking place on the bridge; it narrows the path pedestrians and cyclists share in places, but access is otherwise unimpeded.
- 6 Micro Museum, 123 Smith St (between Pacific and Dean; Subway: trains to Bergen Street or trains to Hoyt-Schermerhorn Streets), ☏ . Su-F 9AM-9PM, Sa noon-7PM. A fascinating and always entertaining museum that extends far back into its tiny Brooklyn storefront. Over the years, Micro Museum has become a favorite with artists, adventurous locals and kids alike with its hilariously fun, and often interactive art. $2.
- 7 Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), 80 Hanson Pl (at Portland; Subway: train to Lafayette Avenue, train to Fulton Street, trains to Atlantic Avenue; LIRR: Atlantic Terminal), ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. W-Su 11AM-6PM. Suggested donation $4 adults, $3 students (16 and under), free for children 12 and under.
- 8 New York Transit Museum, corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street (entrance is on the northwest corner through a stairwell going down into the former subway station; Subway: trains to Borough Hall, train to Court Street-Borough Hall, trains to Hoyt-Schermerhorn Streets, or trains to Jay Street-MetroTech), ☏ . Tu–F 10AM-4PM, Sa Su noon-5PM, closed Mondays and major holidays. A self supporting arm of the MTA, it is housed in the Subway's former Court Street Station, on a spur line from the current A and C lines. Closed to passengers in 1946, it was reopened in 1976 as the New York Transit Exhibit and was popular enough to be made permanent. The museum is made up of two underground levels: the Mezzanine, which hosts exhibits on the construction of the subway, surface transportation in New York, fare collection and rotating exhibits on various transit-related subjects; and the station platform, which houses about 20 retired subway cars dating as far back as 1903 and a working signal tower. The museum sponsors events throughout the year, including simple art projects, walking tours on the subway, and rides on the museums' fleet of retired trains. There is also an annex of the museum in Grand Central Station in Midtown Manhattan. . $10 adults, $5 children (3–17) and seniors (62+). Seniors free on Wednesdays.
- 1 BAM Rose Cinemas, 30 Lafayette Ave (between Ashland and St Felix; Subway: train to Fulton Street, train to Lafayette Avenue, trains to Nevins Street, trains to Atlantic Avenue; LIRR: Atlantic Terminal). A good cinema in an old opera hall. Films shown are in between arthouse and mainstream.
- 2 Bargemusic, at the Fulton Ferry Landing (Subway: trains to High Street-Brooklyn Bridge or train to York Street), email@example.com. A truly hidden gem. This barge, moored permanently just under the Brooklyn Bridge, has chamber music fare every week with cheese, wine, plush seating, a fireplace, and gentle rocking to assist in your peaceful slumber. It also has a dynamite view of the lower Manhattan skyline.
- 3 Brooklyn Academy of Music, 30 Lafayette Ave (Subway: train to Fulton Street, train to Lafayette Avenue, trains to Nevins Street, trains to Atlantic Avenue; LIRR: Atlantic Terminal). Home to the impressive Brooklyn Philharmonic, BAM is one of the best places in the country to attend cutting-edge new musical and dance performances. The Next Wave Festival every autumn is a much-anticipated event of the New York performance scene.
- 4 Brooklyn Nets, Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Ave (Subway: trains to Atlantic Avenue – Barclays Center; LIRR: Atlantic Terminal). An NBA team that plays in the Barclays Center, an arena at 620 Atlantic Ave. Formerly the New Jersey Nets before 2012, the team was purchased and brought to Brooklyn by Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov (though he no longer owns the team), and it's the first major league team to call Brooklyn its home since 1958, after the Dodgers left to Los Angeles.
- New York Liberty, Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Ave (See Brooklyn Nets listing above). This WNBA (women's) team will join the Nets at the Barclays Center for the next WNBA season in 2020, after having been bought by the current owner of the Nets. Note that the WNBA season is played during the NBA's summer offseason.
- 5 New York Islanders, Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Ave (Subway: trains to Atlantic Avenue – Barclays Center; LIRR: Atlantic Terminal). An NHL team that began sharing Barclays Center with the Nets in the 2015–16 season, but now play only about half of their home games in Brooklyn. The "Isles" have moved the remainder of their home schedule to their former home of Nassau Coliseum (now extensively renovated) in the Nassau County suburb of Uniondale. In 2021, the Isles plan to move full-time into a new arena next to the Belmont Park horse racing track in another Nassau County community, Elmont.
- 6 Kane Street Synagogue (Congregation Baith Israel Anshei Emes), 236 Kane St (Subway: Bergen Street), ☏ . Built in 1856, on the State and National Registers of Historic Places and home to weekly religious services and cultural happenings.
- 7 St. Ann's Warehouse, 38 Water St (between Dock and Main; Subway: trains to High Street-Brooklyn Bridge or train to York Street), ☏ . A nondescript building on the corner of Water and Dock Streets, St. Ann's Warehouse delivers consistently impressive avant garde theater. $140 for five shows $119 for four, etc.
- 1 Sahadi's, 187 Atlantic Ave (between Court and Clinton; Subway: trains to Borough Hall, train to Court Street-Borough Hall, or trains to Bergen Street), ☏ . M-Sa 9AM-7PM. The most famous purveyor of Middle Eastern foodstuffs in New York City. Across the street, there is another store which is open later. If you like Arab food, don't miss a trip to Atlantic Avenue.
- 2 Blanc & Rouge, 81 Washington St ( train to York St). 11AM-10PM. A great small wine shop in the DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) neighborhood of Brooklyn. They have a great selection of Burgundies as well as other wines from all over the world and a very friendly and knowledgeable staff. A short walk from the park with stunning view of the Manhattan skyline.
- 1 Bien Cuit (the Smith St Bakery), 120 Smith Street (b/t Pacific and Dean) ( or to Bergen St), ☏ . Su-Th 7AM-8PM, F Sa 7AM-9PM. Bien Cuit offers a variety of house-baked breads and pastries served in a central Smith Street location with wifi and Crop to Cup coffee and espresso drinks.
- 2 Grimaldi's, 1 Front St (Corner of Old Fulton St.; Subway: trains to High Street-Brooklyn Bridge, train to York Street, or trains to Clark Street), ☏ . Su-Th 11:30AM-11PM, F Sa 11:30AM-Midnight. Located near Fulton Ferry Landing and DUMBO, only serves its coal-fired pizza by the pie, not the slice, and does not accept credit cards. Some people still consider it worth it, while others think it's a tourist trap. That said, for best results, line up before opening time, when their oven is at its hottest.
- 3 Juliana’s Pizza, 19 Old Fulton St (between Water and Front; Subway: trains to High Street-Brooklyn Bridge, train to York Street, or trains to Clark Street), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Open at 11:30AM every day. From the website: "Juliana’s heralds the return of Patsy & Carol Grimaldi—not only to the NYC restaurant scene, but to the original location under the Brooklyn Bridge where they founded Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. Unbeknownst to many, Pat & Carol ended their association with Grimaldi’s more than a decade ago when they sold the business (along with the name) to a customer." So you could say that this is the real Grimaldi's. New Yorkers skip the lines at Grimaldi's and get their coal-fired pizza here.
- 4 Junior's Restaurant and Bakery, 386 Flatbush Avenue Extension (at Dekalb Avenue; Subway: and late night trains to Dekalb Avenue, trains to Nevins Street, or trains to Hoyt-Schermerhorn Streets), ☏ . Su-Th 6:30AM-midnight, F Sa 6:30AM-2AM. Sure, you can eat their famous cheesecake in Grand Central, but why not try the original? With an ad announcing loud and clear that this is it, it's one of the first places you'll see coming off the Manhattan bridge. Home to what is known as "the most fabulous cheesecake," and also featuring New York deli items like tongue sandwiches, this restaurant has been a Brooklyn favorite for decades. The gracious waiters, dressed immaculately in suits and ties, are part of the atmosphere.
- 5 Mile End Deli, 97A Hoyt St (between Atlantic and Pacific Sts), ☏ . Breakfast and lunch M-F 8AM-4PM, brunch Sa-Su 10AM-4PM, dinner 6-11PM. A Montreal-inspired deli serving up poutine and smoked meat that has gained a huge following since it opened a few years ago.
- 6 Yemen Cafe, 176 Atlantic Ave (between Court and Clinton Streets; Subway: trains to Bergen Street, trains to Borough Hall), ☏ . Daily 9:30AM-10:30PM. Serves as an informal community center for the local Yemeni community, but don't be put off by the social club atmosphere; the staff are very friendly and welcoming, and the food (especially the lamb) is very tasty and inexpensive (two people can pig out for about $40). Note: This is a halal establishment that serves no alcohol and would not be an appropriate place to bring your own. Have the spiced tea, instead.
- 1 Jacques Torres, 66 Water St (between Dock and Main; Subway: trains to High Street-Brooklyn Bridge or trains to York Street). M-F noon-6:30PM, Sa Su 10AM-7PM. A small chocolatier on a sparse street in DUMBO near some of Brooklyn's best views of the Manhattan skyline. Go for the goodies, but stay for the "Wicked Hot Chocolate".
- 1 New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, 333 Adams St (at Fulton; Subway: trains to Borough Hall, R train to Court Street-Borough Hall, or trains to Jay Street-MetroTech), ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. The hotel’s luxurious accommodations boast a relaxed but modern atmosphere with state-of-the-art amenities. $215-467.
- 2 NU Hotel, 85 Smith St (at Atlantic; Subway: trains to Hoyt-Schermerhorn Streets, train to Bergen Street or Jay Street-MetroTech, or trains to Hoyt Street), ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. $144-372.
- 3 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, 60 Furman Street, ☏ , toll-free: , email@example.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge has expansive views of the East River and Manhattan skyline. Designed by local artists using native greenery and reclaimed materials. $352-850.
- Brooklyn Public Library (Business Library), 280 Cadman Plaza West (at Tillary; Subway: trains to Borough Hall, train to Court Street-Borough Hall, or trains to Jay Street-MetroTech), ☏ . M 10AM-6PM, Tu 1-8PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- Brooklyn Public Library (Clinton Hill branch), 380 Washington Ave (at Lafayette; Subway: train to Clinton-Washington Avenues or train to Clinton-Washington Avenues), ☏ . M 1-8PM, Tu W 10AM-6PM, Th 1-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- Brooklyn Public Library (Pacific branch), 25 4th Ave (at Pacific; Subway: trains to Atlantic Avenue; LIRR: Atlantic Terminal), ☏ . M Tu 10AM-6PM, W 1-8PM, Th 1-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
- Brooklyn Public Library (Walt Whitman branch), 93 Saint Edwards St (between Myrtle and Park; Subway: trains to Nevins Street or trains to DeKalb Avenue), ☏ . M Tu 10AM-6PM, W 1-8PM, Th 1-6PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5PM.
|Routes through Downtown Brooklyn|
|Theater District ← Financial District ←||N S||→ Prospect Park → Bed-Stuy and Flatbush|
|Midtown ← Financial District ←||N S||→ Prospect Park → Bed-Stuy and Flatbush|
|Theater District ← Financial District ←||N S||→ Bed-Stuy → The Rockaways|
|Midtown ← Chinatown ←||N S||→ Prospect Park → Coney Island|
|Midtown ← Chinatown ←||N S||→ Southwest Brooklyn → Coney Island|
|Midtown ← Lower East Side, Manhattan ←||N S||→ Gowanus → Coney Island|
|Long Island City, Queens ← Bed-Stuy ←||N S||→ Gowanus → Prospect Park|
|END ← Chinatown (weekends only) ←||N S||→ Prospect Park → Southwest Brooklyn|
|Queens ← Williamsburg ←||N S||→ Southwest Brooklyn → Staten Island|