Shelton Smith, who works in real estate, grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and has lived in New York for more than a decade. She spends her free time focusing on friends and family, contemporary art and travel.
Many Manhattanites and out-of-towners are crossing the Bridge to explore and experience NYC’s most populous borough. Few realize that if Brooklyn were its own city, it would be the country’s fourth largest. From the tried and true spots to the myriad of new spots that seem to be opening every day, Brooklyn has something for everyone. Most restaurants have small, daily-changing menus with the finest ingredients from local farms—but most don’t take reservations so be early or prepared to wait. This is part of the laid back and casual vibe. Many of the stores are filled with primarily Brooklyn made goods. The culture, the food, the shops, the arts, Brooklyn is about quality, creativity, pride and being local. Be prepared; after one visit you’ll be hooked on all that Brooklyn has to offer.
Mile End Delicatessan
Innovative, high-end Jewish deli.
97A Hoyt Street
Cozy, Northern italian fare with a seasonal, ever-changing menu. Try one of the house-made pasta dishes.
190 Dean Street
The Brooklyn Inn
Put something on the juke-box and play a game of pool at this old-style, famous bar.
148 Hoyt Street
Cool industrial-chic vintage furnishings store with many unusual and unique items.
369 Atlantic Avenue
The Brooklyn Circus
Super hip men’s clothing.
150 Nevins Street
Huge antique store with great finds!
351 Atlantic Avenue
Morning Tour Idea!
On a beautiful Sunday, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge down into the newly developed Brooklyn Bridge Park. Visit the famous Jane’s Carousel for a ride and then walk through the beautifully landscaped Park along the river and hit Smorgasburg (photo below), the Brooklyn Flea’s delicious, seasonal all-food market on Pier 5 (Check their website for days and times). You’ll find local eateries serving everything from duck-confit dumplings to fried chicken biscuits with artisanal pickles. Skip breakfast to save room for the many inventive, tasty options!
Consistently delicious old-school neighborhood spot known for their wild game menu among other fabulous treats.
44 Henry Street
Brooklyn Bridge Park
This 85-acre beautiful park running along the East river has revitalized the post-industrial Brooklyn waterfront.
Stroll on the Promenade after brunch to enjoy the wow views of Manhattan.
Roberta’s is all about the pizza and the fresh ingredients grown in their very own garden. Try Blanca, their upscale 12 seat tasting room if you can remember to make a reservation 30 days out!
261 Moore Street
Super small spot (no ressies) so go early for the daily changing seasonal menu with outstanding flavor in every bite.
255 Smith Street
Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain
This family owned business is a traditional soda fountain with a twist. Their motto is “fresh, friendly and local” and the desserts are to die for. And, they have over ten different kinds of ice cream floats!
513 Henry Street
American bistro with the best buttermilk-batter fried chicken!
524 Court Street
Delicious Vietnamese street food in a relaxed setting.
345 Smith Street
Old school cocktail bar.
335 Smith Street
By Brooklyn (photo below)
All Brooklyn-made goods including jewelry, artisanal honey, toys and candles.
61 Smith Street
Char No 4
Order the killer pulled pork sandwich topped with kale slaw. Wash it down with one of their 150 kinds of Bourbon.
196 Smith Street
You can’t go wrong with any of the daily specials at this tapas style spot. The fried artichokes are divine!
268 Clinton Street
In my book, the best pizza in Brooklyn, period! BYOB and get there early to put your name in for the first seating at 6. Truly worth the wait!
575 Henry Street
Go here for well-made, classic cocktails with yummy snacks and a delicious brunch. Try the deviled eggs that come in four flavors. Voted best cocktail bar by many top publications over the years.
210 Smith Street
Old school pub serving classic cocktails, hamburgers and oysters.
329 Henry Street
Stinky bklyn (photo below)
Best cheese shop in Brooklyn!
215 Smith Street
Pok Pok NY
127 Columbia Street
Whiskey Soda Lounge
On the Waterfront, this super inventive Thai place is first-come-first-served. Have one of the many Thai-influenced cocktails at their bar a few doors down, Whiskey Soda Lounge while you wait. The dishes are incredibly unique and bursting with flavor!
115 Columbia Street
Consistently good mexican with great views of the Brooklyn waterfront and Manhattan skyline.
187 Columbia Street
A new offering from the folks behind the well-known Franny’s, serving regional Italian dishes.
295 Flatbush Avenue
The famed Brooklyn Academy of Music offers the best in theater, ballet and music.
30 Lafayette Avenue
This groundbreaking new arena for Brooklyn is not only the home of the NBA Brooklyn Nets but offers much in the form of live music.
620 Atlantic Avenue
An amazing cultural center at the center of culture. From it’s contemporary art exhibitions to its live music and performing arts, BRIC offers free and low-cost programming and education for all ages.
647 Fulton Street
Holding NYC’s second largest art collection, The Brooklyn Museum is located in a stunning Beaux-Arts building on the edge of Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Visit “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier”, the first international exhibition dedicated to his work. Ends February 23, 2014.
200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Around the corner from The Brooklyn Museum, this 52-acre botanic garden offers a venue for learning or just taking time out to think and relax in one of the many specialty gardens. Sproutabl.com lists it among its “55 Stunning Botanical Gardens You Really Need to See Before You Die.”
990 Washington Avenue
Prospect Park (photo below)
This 585-acre Olmsted/Vaux designed park is a virtual urban oasis in the heart of Brooklyn with many different recreational activities available including a Zoo. Lakeside, the exciting new project, will bring two new ice skating rinks back to Prospect Park. Completion is planned for late Fall 2013 for this year round destination.
The amazing plant wall is just one highlight of this interesting space. The french-inspired food is delicious. Try the Quinoa dish!
15 Main Street
Vinegar Hill House
This cozy spot with ingredient-focused, hearty fare, is one you’ll want to come back to. The chicken liver mousse with vinegar onions and pistachios is delish and is cleverly presented in a tiny Ball jar.
72 Hudson Avenue
St. Ann’s Warehouse
An innovative performing arts institution with many interesting offerings.
29 Jay Street
This delicious farm-to-table spot is only a five minute walk to the Barclay’s center.
773 Fulton Street
Ici (photo below)
Homey french country atmosphere with wonderful food and fresh, local ingredients. Try to score a spot in the lovely garden in the back.
246 Dekalb Avenue
Classic Italian that will not disappoint. The bread is divine and for sale to take home with you!
243 Dekalb Avenue
Huge flea market in Williamsburg and Fort Greene. Check website for days/locations.
Thistle & Clover
Handpicked clothing from up and coming designers with locally made jewelry.
221 Dekalb Avenue
Cool new restaurant corridor in Gowanus!
Traditional, American seafood spot with killer clam chowder and delicious cocktails.
288 3rd Avenue
Runner & Stone
This cozy, all-day eatery and restaurant is known for its house-baked breads and pastries.
285 3rd Avenue
With a daily-changing menu, this unique space has smaller dishes that focus on ingredients and interesting combinations. Each dish is artfully presented and every bite so tasty. In the warmer months, have a drink in the backyard before dinner.
284 3rd Avenue
Fun for an afternoon cocktail on the back patio before crossing the bridge over the Gowanus canal for dinner at one of the above restaurants.
383 Carroll Street
Twig (photo below)
Known for its unique terrariums, this open studio and garden shop has do-it-yourself kits, gardening items and cool gifts.
287 3rd Avenue
A Di La
Northern Italian cuisine with classic dishes made with locally sourced ingredients.
248 5th Avenue
Always delicious contemporary Mexican in a casual atmosphere.
434 7th Avenue
Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store
Cleverly-edited urban general store with simply the best gifts. The store is such fun you don’t want to leave and has something for everyone and for every occasion!
232 5th Avenue
Amazing selection of women’s clothing and accessories with fresh and unique brands.
217 5th Avenue
The Good Fork
Delicious farm to table American fare with an Asian accent.
391 Van Brunt Street
Quaint wine bar with snacks and grilled pizzas, brunch too.
293 Van Brunt Street
Located in an old dining car, this is hands down my favorite spot for out of this world fare in Brooklyn. With a no-reservations policy, put your name in and wander down the block for a cocktail at their sister restaurant, Marlow & Sons while you wait. With no menus, the server writes the small, daily-changing menu on the paper tablecloth. You cannot go wrong with anything on the menu at this simple but perfect establishment but the burger is always to die for.
Best Southern brunch in Brooklyn with an amazing biscuit sandwich. Go early or be prepared to wait!
135 North 5th Street
Best pork chop ever!
355 Metropolitan Avenue
Most inventive and yummiest cocktails in Brooklyn! Try The Long Goodbye or Letters From Mexico.
Ides at the Wythe Hotel
Grab a drink at this rooftop lounge with gorgeous, twinkly views of Manhattan.
80 Wythe Avenue
Delicious cocktails in super hipster setting with a great outdoor patio.
451 Graham Avenue
The Brooklyn Flea’s fabulous seasonal food fair.
One of NYC’s top attractions, this flea market has it all! See website for winter location.
With a well-curated selection of men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, Bird was one of Brooklyn’s first fashion destinations.
203 Grand Street
Moon River Chattel
Amazing antiques and home furnishings store that has it all.
62 Grand Street
Spend some time perusing the affordable art in this gallery’s flat files before the Whitney snaps it up for its next Biennial.
177 North 9th Street
Handcrafted, unique jewelry made in Brooklyn. The braided wax bracelets make great gifts!
64 Grand Street
King & Grove Hotel
Full service lifestyle hotel with a rooftop bar and swimming pool in the heart of Williamsburg.
160 North 12th Street
Beautiful 70 room hotel in a converted factory on the Williamsburg waterfront with stunning Manhattan views.
80 Wythe Avenue