Manhattan’s urban glitz may overshadow its cross-river neighbor as the world’s image of New York City, but you could argue that Brooklyn today is the borough with the more interesting energy. It definitely has its own rich history too — way before you could cruise from Brooklyn it started off as a Dutch village, became the U.S.’s third most populated city… and spent hundreds of years independent before joining NYC at the end of the 19th century. Brooklyn continues to wear its motto “Unity makes strength” proudly on its flag, and examples can be seen in a diverse local culture shaped by artists, hipsters, families and various ethnic enclaves that call its dozens of neighborhoods home. It also wears its spirit on its sleeve! Despite increasing gentrification, interesting innovations continue to spring from here: food, fashion and music — plus quirky 21st-century curiosities like urban beekeeping, fixed-gear cycling and serious beards.
- Walk the Brooklyn Bridge, which keeps neighboring boroughs close and sightseers gawking at its distinctive brick construction and grand city views.
- Spend an afternoon in Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s answer to Central Park and the local center of nature, culture, live performances and more.
- Enter the park in the grandest fashion walking through the historic Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch.
- Grab a hot dog, hit the various amusement parks or just sightsee from the boardwalk at Brooklyn’s Coney Island.