Forget Manhattan! If you are looking for a cool vibe, neighborhood feel and local eats in NYC – check out DUMBO! That’s right! I’m talking about Brooklyn! Interested in a Brooklyn immersion weekend, complete with insider experiences and seriously good eats? Let’s embrace this neighborhood together. Use this quick, short guide, to find the best local eats, drinks and fun things to do. Brooklyn offers it all. Find out for yourself alternative things to do in New York in this Best of Dumbo Neighborhood Guide. Read on.
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Where to stay:
Look no further, than the iconic and newly renovated New York Marriott, located at the Brooklyn Bridge. Fun Fact: This Marriott is also Brooklyn’s largest hotel.
The Brooklyn Marriott (the hotel unveiled the final phase of its $45 million renovation in 2016) is the place to stay. A jumping off point for the borough, the Brooklyn Marriott celebrates Brooklyn’s artists, food purveyors and creative souls in general – which can be seen through both the physical and experiential offerings of its redesign. The Hotel has done a wonderful job of bringing this iconic Brooklyn Neighborhood feel from the outside into the hotel decor itself.
After all, when the hotel opened in 1998, it was the first newly built, branded hotel in Brooklyn in more than 60 years – Thus, it is fitting that it continues to embrace and support its community! The Brooklyn Marriott boasts their bold new transformation with inspiration that includes abstract Brooklyn bridge carpet designs, utilizing smoked glass, metal and cherrywood to complete a look that’s a combination of sleek and contemporary, just the right feel for this neighborhood. Best part, it’s close to amazing eateries and the views of NYC can’t be beat!
Craving a traditional New York Pizza? Look no further than a true Brooklyn iconic place, Juliana’s Pizza – specialty pies from a coal-fired oven by pizza, from legend Patsy Grimaldi. To complement the taste of the pizza, the owner of Juliana and his staff are warm, welcoming and treat people like family! They offer organic salads, fresh Calzone and other delicious delights.
Another amazing place to try is The Finch, a family-owned Authentic Mediterranean cuisine. I ordered the lamb sausage omelette which came with herb homefries and an organic spring mix. The lamb sausage is unforgettable! Tender, perfectly spiced with an overall, clean and wholesome flavor. The waitress was quirky, funny and treated us with exceptional kindness. The meats are kosher and every meal is made to order and fresh every day. The interior design of the restaurant was designed and decorated with salvaged materials from buildings torn down in the neighborhood as part of the plan to re-gentrify Brooklyn. Amazing to experience visually. For example, their sliding doors where they refrigerate beers at the bar, are actually old Doctor and Dentist doors from the 50’s (from a nearby former construction site). There’s just so much character there! That’s what this restaurant is…an experience for all of your senses. NOTE: The chef is also the owner of the place, so make sure to send back your compliments.
As an avid coffee lover, I am always looking for the best spots for quality coffee. As far as I’m concerned, the coffee at BROOKLYN ROASTING COMPANY in DUMBO is phenomenal. This Bean Roast-ery and Espresso Lab offers Fair Trade, Rain Forest Alliance and sustainable coffees in exotic flavors such as Nicaragua Matagalpa (embodying Nutmeg, Rootbeer, Walnuts, Raisins).
They also recognize and celebrate the inspirational nature of coffee! They love engaging with New York’s core cultural, artistic and educational institutions constantly. The BK Roasting House prides itself on only buying coffee beans from independent, small farmers, as well as from growers all over the globe. It’s their way of helping those small country men and women feed their families and grow their businesses! They call it FAIR TRADE!! They also roast their coffees daily to satisfy the most discerning coffee drinkers, like myself. This is a must try when visiting Brooklyn!
Ready for a stroll?
When walking around the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, make sure to check out the free art all around you, in the form of graffiti and murals – it is breathtaking! This amazing street art definitely characterizes Brooklyn. Artists come from all over the world to tag the district. There is so much to dissect in this complex art; so many hidden words and symbols within it that you can stare at it for days and never see it all. You can just hang out on your own or, even better, join a tour from a local – that is best. They are well informed about the history and how everything got started in this unique neighborhood.
Also, there is Dumbo with the most amazing waterfront views, the NYC skyline, and best Brooklyn Bridge shots that make for amazing selfies.
While there, what about a ride on Jane’s Carousel, located in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Also, every weekend there is a flea market where you can find many area boutiques and vintage shops represented. It’s a great way to shop locally, all in one place.
Looking for sweets?
There’s just nothing better than NY cheesecake! What about trying a slice (or maybe two) from the famous Junior’s Cheesecake! While this may seem like a “tourist” stop, Junior’s is also filled with many locals. My favorite is the Strawberry Cheese Pie. A true delight and not to be missed! If you prefer french pastries, try the Almondine Bakery. You will feel as if you’re visiting Paris!
If you love nature, relaxation and flowers, visit the Brooklyn Botanical Garden (a cab or uber ride from Dumbo). It is such a beautiful place, with a nice café, beautiful flowers, rose gardens and more (spread across 52 acres). Check online for different activities depending on the season – there are many family friendly activities including the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, a Japanese garden & much more.
You can’t go wrong with the Myrtle + Gold bar – A 65-seat bar/restaurant who offers guests a casual, comfortable bar and dining experience featuring12 taps of craft beer, plenty of bottled favorites and many creative cocktails that you cannot find anywhere else. This is a great place to relax and reminisce about your visit.
Clover Club Cocktail Bar – Known as a “throwback to the golden age of cocktail culture,” this bar is a great way to step back to a time when meeting for a cocktail was an EVENT! You’ll love the speak-easy decor and fancy drinks!
Over all, I love how most of the Brooklyn local businesses are focused on supporting local farmers by buying their fresh organic produce and supporting the growth of those economies. In addition, this neighborhood has the look and feel of downtown Manhattan but with an Artistic twist. It is definitely worth a visit and a wonderful alternative to the “other city” across the bridge. Check it out for yourself!