Nothing says Brooklyn summer like stepping out into the sunshine and admiring the lush greenery and bright-colored flowers, while the familiar crescendo of a Mister Softee truck lullaby draws near. But if you’re looking for ways to celebrate the season beyond the everyday, here’s our list of the top 10 Brooklyn summer things to do.
After a Covid hiatus, outdoor concerts have been making a comeback. The SummerStage lineup features a number of shows throughout NYC including some in Brooklyn, at Coney Island Amphitheater. In Prospect Park, BRIC’s Celebrate Brooklyn! music festival offers ever more shows.
Head to Williamsburg on Saturdays or Prospect Park on Sundays from 11am to 6pm to sample foods from dozens of local vendors at Smorgasburg, one of NYC’s most popular outdoor summertime food markets. You could also opt for a Brooklyn Greenmarket or Farmers’ Market. And don’t forget about indoor foodie favorites like DeKalb Market Hall, Japan Village and TimeOut Market.
Start by picking the perfect Brooklyn picnic spot. Pack up some food and drinks, perhaps a blanket or chair, and bring a friend, dog or a book. Then sit back, unwind and enjoy your time outside until the sun goes down. Don’t feel like packing your own picnic? Hire Perhaps a Picnic, a company specializing in setting up personalized pop-picnics throughout NYC.
Whether you’re looking for your next picnic spot or simply want to be one with nature without leaving NYC, a Brooklyn park is always an option. Be sure to check the NYC Parks calendar before you go since there’s usually some kind of event going on.
Celebrate art and beer at Brooklyn Beer Garden in Bushwick. Radegast Hall & Biergarten in Williamsburg is the go-to spot for beer, live music and Oktoberfest celebrations when fall rolls around. If you’re a football fan (yes, we mean soccer), catch a game at Berry Park or Black Forest Brooklyn. Grab a bratwurst and pretzel while enjoying your beer at Spritzenhaus 33 in Greenpoint.
If you’re more the brewery type, try TALEA, a newer spot owned by two female brewers. DaleView Biscuits & Beer, is a great Black-owned brewery cooking up fluffy Carolina biscuits. And there’s always more to sample at Kings County Brewers Collective and Brooklyn Brewery.
Rent a jet ski or take a jet skiing tour right here in Brooklyn from Empire City Watersports. Splurge on a Brooklyn boat charter. Take a Brooklyn ferry ride. Or rent a kayak or stand up paddleboard at Wheel Fun Rentals.
If you’d rather observe the water from land, just head to one of Brooklyn’s many beaches or take in the waves from atop the Wonder Wheel with a jaunt to Coney Island.
Rooftop Films is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. NYC Parks is offering its annual Movies Under the Stars. Making use of Syndicated Bar’s outdoor space, Brooklyn’s Sidewalk Cinema is free with purchase of food or drink. Skyline Drive-In offers screenings against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline. And Our Wicked Lady hosts Monday night movies.
Check the Atlas Obscura website to discover Brooklyn’s many interesting hidden gems including the Brooklyn Savings Bank subway branch, the Brighton Bazaar which transports you from Brooklyn to Eastern Europe, a retired oil tanker in Red Hook, Brooklyn Taxidermy, Lite Brite Neon Studio, Plymouth Church which was once a part of the Underground Railroad and the City Reliquary Museum.
Looking to really get off the beaten path or can’t decide where to go? Get on a train and get off at a stop you’ve never been to. Go forth and explore the neighborhood.
While you’re en route to your Brooklyn summer outing, make the most of your journey by keeping your eyes peeled for cool street art and stopping to watch a basketball game, tennis or chess match you might pass. Amp up your adventure by walking or biking through an area of Brooklyn you rarely travel to, or walking across a bridge instead of taking public transportation.