Julie United States 11 Comments

Brooklyn is becoming one of New York City’s hot spots to visit. With historic neighborhoods, a fabulous food scene, and some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline, this is a great place to add to your New York itinerary.

Brooklyn is enormous. I recently read a statistic that if Brooklyn were a separate city, it would be the third most populated city in the United States (after Los Angeles and Chicago). However, since it is one of the five boroughs, it gets added into the mega city of New York.

Since Brooklyn is so large, it’s impossible to visit all of it in just one day. This one day itinerary focuses on the neighborhood of Williamsburg and the areas along the East River. Think of today as a mini food tour combined with some of the best views of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge.

How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each point of interest. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

One Day in Brooklyn

We start in Williamsburg, a neighborhood that has changed quite a lot in the past twenty years. Since the late 1990’s, Williamsburg has undergone a staggering amount of renovation. Buildings have been restored and brand new, stylish high-rises have been erected along the East River. Along with these changes came an influx of artists, musicians, and a vibrant nightlife.

Brooklyn Street Art

Now, these city streets are dotted with nightclubs, restaurants, and boutique shops, making this a great place to spend one day in New York City.

9:30 am: Breakfast at Bakeri

We start with breakfast at Bakeri, a popular little spot in the center of Williamsburg. Enjoy a pastry and a cup of coffee, or eat healthy and have a bowl of yogurt with granola or Breakfast Kasha, a blend of whole grains, milk, fruit, and hazelnuts.

Breakfast in Brooklyn

This is a small place so finding a table can be a challenge if you are here when it is busy, but it’s worth it. The yogurt and granola is delicious!!

Getting here from Manhattan: If you are staying in Manhattan, the easiest way to get here is by taking the L line from Manhattan to Bedford Avenue/North 7 St in Brooklyn.

10:30 am: East River Park

From Bakeri, it’s just a short walk to the East River Park, for a nice view of the Manhattan skyline.

East River Park

11:00 am Brooklyn Bowl

On our visit to Brooklyn, we stumbled across this very fun spot. The Brooklyn Bowl is a bowling alley – bar – nightclub combination. This is not your average bowling alley.

While you bowl, you can have a drink, order some food (although I’d pass on the food here…there are a lot of great restaurants to try after this visit), and listen to the hip music they play. Later in the day, the place becomes even more animated, when live bands take the stage.

Brooklyn Bowl

Brooklyn Bowl Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Bowl does not take reservations. It’s first come first served and we were told that the line gets quite long later in the day. Lanes are rented by the half hour. If you only play one game, you will be here for about one hour.

  • Sunday through Thursday: $25 per half hour
  • Friday and Saturday: $30 per half hour

On weekends, the Brooklyn Bowl opens at 11 am. On weekdays, it opens at 6 pm. If you follow this itinerary on a weekday, you will have to skip the Brooklyn Bowl or do this itinerary in reverse so you are here in the evening.

After 6 pm, no kids are allowed (you have to be 21 years or older).

Visit the Brooklyn Bowl website here.

The Brooklyn Brewery

If you like the idea of taking a brewery tour or doing a beer tasting, visit the Brooklyn Brewery. It is located next door to the Brooklyn Bowl.

Brooklyn Brewery

Similar to the Brooklyn Bowl, the brewery opens at 6 pm on weekdays and at noon on weekends. Children are permitted to tour the brewery. For full details on hours, pricing, and what to expect, visit the official website here.

Noon: The Meatball Shop

Now it’s time to start our mini food tour of Brooklyn. The Meatball Shop was one of our favorite meals during our weekend trip to NYC.

The menu is hysterical. Take your pick from one of several types of “naked balls” and add your favorite sauce. We ordered the classic meatball with the classic tomato sauce and the spicy pork meatball with the parmesan cheese sauce. Both were delicious but the classic was definitely our favorite.

Meatball Shop Menu

Meatball Shop Brooklyn

They also serve sandwiches, shakes, and floats. Kara ate waffle balls with fruit and whipped cream.

If you want to pace yourself for today’s food tastings, consider ordering just one meatball. There are still a lot of great restaurants to try today!

1 pm: Take Your Pick: French Café, Beer Garden, or Cheese Shop

These three restaurants sit just several blocks apart. You can visit all of them (lunch at Juliette’s, a beer or a drink at Radegast, and then end with a cheese tasting) or pick your favorite.

Juliette’s is a lovely French-style café. It’s very cozy with a charming, uniquely decorated atmosphere.


Just down the street is lively Radegast Hall and Biergarten. This is the spot to get your Bavarian food and beer fix. Feast on schnitzels, wursts, and giant pretzels with mustard. Or, just have a pint of German beer and enjoy the atmosphere.

Radegast Hall Brooklyn

The Bedford Cheese Shop offers wine and cheese tastings. They also can prepare sandwiches if you prefer a budget meal.

Bedford Cheese Shop

Bedford Cheese

2:30 pm: East River Ferry to Dumbo

It’s time to say goodbye to Williamsburg and head south to the Brooklyn Bridge. The most scenic way to do this is to take the East River Ferry to Dumbo.

Walk west to the East River Ferry and board the ferry at the North Williamsburg ferry port. Take the ferry two stops to Dumbo. Along the way, you will have fantastic views of the Manhattan skyline and sail under the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge. For just $2.75 per person, this is a gorgeous yet budget way to travel in New York City.

About our experience. We skipped this, unfortunately. It was a very cold day in February during our visit and we just missed the ferry. Since the ferry runs roughly every 45 minutes during the winter months, we had no desire to shiver in the cold until the next one arrived, so we took an Uber to Dumbo.

For an updated ferry schedule (so you can plan your arrival time), click here.

3:30 pm: Brooklyn Heights Promenade

From the Dumbo ferry pier, walk south along Brooklyn Bridge Park to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. The view across the East River to Manhattan is phenomenal from here. Unfortunately, we don’t have any photos to share, because it was snowing like crazy during our visit and we could barely see the buildings on the other side of the river. But this is one of the best spots to get that iconic photo of the Manhattan skyline.

5 pm: Dumbo

Dumbo is an acronym for “down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass.” This is another spot in Brooklyn that has changed in the recent years. It was once a seedy area with abandoned warehouses and now it is filled with restaurants, shops, offices, and apartments. It’s worth a stroll and a chance to take this iconic photo of the Manhattan Bridge.

Dumbo Brooklyn

This photo was taken at Washington Street and Water Street.

You can also stroll along the waterfront, visiting Main Street Park and Empire Fulton Ferry State Park for more views of the Manhattan skyline.

Manhattan Skyline

Brooklyn Bridge ViewManhattan Skyline February

6 pm: Dinner at Juliana’s Pizza

There is no shortage of amazing pizza places in Brooklyn, and Juliana’s is one of the best. Some people even say that Juliana’s serves the best pizza in New York City.

Juliana’s Pizza is located next to the Brooklyn Bridge, just a few minutes walk from Dumbo. They do not take reservations so be prepared to wait in line. It’s worth it.

Julianas Pizza

NYC Pizza

We waited in line for about a half an hour for a table. On the menu are salads, pizzas, and pastas, as well as a variety of desserts.

The pizza is very good. It’s similar to pizza you would get in Naples, Italy, with a thin crust, simple but delicious tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, basil, and a dash of olive oil. You can order the plain and simple margherita pizza or take your pick of toppings. Enjoy!

8 pm: The Brooklyn Bridge

End the day with a walk over the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. This is one of the best free things to do while in NYC.

It snowed during our walk over the bridge, creating an almost magical experience.

Brooklyn Bridge in Snow

Brooklyn Bridge Snow

Once in Manhattan, take the subway or Uber to your hotel or to a nightclub for drinks.

About this Itinerary

This itinerary works best on a Saturday or Sunday, for two reasons. The Brooklyn Bowl opens at 11 am on Saturday and Sunday, but during weekdays, it does not open until 6 pm. If you are here on a weekday, you will have to skip the bowling alley or do this itinerary in reverse, so you get here at the end of the day.

Also, the popular touristy sites in Manhattan can get very busy on the weekends, whereas Brooklyn remains rather mellow and uncrowded.

We visited Brooklyn on the Saturday of President’s Day Weekend (mid-February). We did this itinerary but in a slightly different order, which is why we do not have photos to share from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. In the afternoon, we visited Dumbo and while we were at dinner at Juliana’s Pizza, it started snowing. By the time we visited the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, it was snowing so hard that we could barely see the Manhattan skyline. But the snow did make for a magical walk across the Brooklyn Bridge!

Read More About New York City

If you are planning a trip to New York City, don’t miss these articles. Our Where to Stay in New York City article includes recommendations for hotels in Brooklyn.

Do you have plans to visit New York City soon? Comment below if you have any questions!

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Comments 11

  1. Hi Julie, we will be’ in NY from December 24 till 29 day of leasing. Howard would you suggest Us to schedule the TripAdvisor? We’re afraid to find many sites closed. Besides, we got the citypass for 6 attractions, with this card we don’t Havel to buy tickets to skip lines, do we?. Looking forward to your answer we thank you in advance. GP

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      The 25th is the day when many sites can close in NYC. In order to know exactly which sites are closed, you will have to check the hours on each website. We give links to each website in this article and our 5 day New York City itinerary. I have not personally used the City Pass, but the City Pass website should give you the full details on whether or not you can skip the ticket lines. I assume you can but I recommend double checking this. Cheers, Julie

  2. I love your write -up! Brooklyn resident here and this is a good scratch of the surface. Just one minor correction. If Brooklyn was its own city, it would be the FOURTH largest city, behind New York, Los Angeles, and narrowly missing Chicago. 🙂

    However, Brooklyn is New York’s most populated borough and there is so much to see that it could fill its own trip to NYC!

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  3. My husband and I are staying near times square. We would like to start the morning by walking the bridge and work our way back. How to get to DUNBO?

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      At the end of the Brooklyn Bridge there will be steps that you can take down to street level. It’s less than a five minute walk from here to Dumbo. Just walk in the general direction of Dumbo and you will see the Manhattan Bridge. Use Google Maps to help point you in the right direction. Cheers, Julie

  4. Great tips Julie! My wife and I did a modified version of your itinerary on the Sunday of Labour Day weekend and really enjoyed ourselves. We were driving so we started in Williamsburg, near the Brooklyn Bowl (which was a lot of fun btw) where we found easy street parking – remember it was Sunday! After spending time taking the delights and sights of Williamsburg, we took the East River ferry to Wall Street, hopped on the free ferry to Staton Island to take in fantastic close-up views of downtown Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, before making our way back to Brooklyn by way of the pedestrian walk on the Brooklyn Bridge (which was jam packed btw but worth it). We could have taken in the Ground-Zero memorial (a must-see) and the 911 Museum but we had already done so on a previous visit, and we wanted to spend time in the Dumbo area which we did – fantastic pizza at Ignazios right near the Ferry pier btw and some great roof-top decks were in full view with lots of people taking in the sunset. Thanks again, Julie

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