When you’re traveling, time isn’t always a luxury you can afford. But two minutes might be all you need to take in that historic landmark. In 20 minutes, you can have lunch at that famous café. In 120 minutes, you can tour that iconic gallery. By shifting your sense of time, you can manage it, maximize it, and have a journey that’s as full as it is fulfilling.
Real estate agents across North America love to dub their city’s hippest neighborhood as “the next Brooklyn”, but nothing compares to the real thing. The borough has everything you need and more; it’s a place where new artforms, cuisines, and communities can be discovered around every corner. Manhattan may have the skyscrapers, the world-famous landmarks, and the Broadway musicals—but Brooklyn has a spirit that can’t be replicated.
The best way to experience Brooklyn in 48 hours or less? Follow this minute-by-minute itinerary through NYC’s most diverse district.
Rise and shine (and share!)
Colonia Verde serves one of the borough’s finest Latin American brunches—and when the weather cooperates, there’s no better place to sip a Michelada than their sunny back room in Fort Greene. Branch out from the typical brunch offerings and order Cauliflower Flatbread or Duck Confit Chilaquiles for the table.
“Manhattan may have the skyscrapers, the world-famous landmarks, and the Broadway musicals—but Brooklyn has a spirit that can’t be replicated.”
Ride around Prospect Park
Cycle through Brooklyn’s answer to Central Park—it was even designed by the same team. In the summer months, the Prospect Park lawn plays host to the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, which sees world-renowned acts from Grizzly Bear to Kronos Quartet take the stage.
Wander through the local museum
See some of the top art exhibitions in New York without battling the crowds found in Manhattan’s galleries. Brooklyn Museum not only has an incredible permanent collection—which features classical and contemporary works, and an African arts section—but also rotating exhibits like the world-touring David Bowie is, and retrospectives on artists including Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe.
“Buy yourself a latte at the in-store S,T coffee bar and spend some time browsing for a little piece of Brooklyn to take home.”
Have your coffee—and your souvenir too
Womenswear, accessories, art pieces—the curated collection at Sincerely, Tommy includes pieces from New York locals KEANE, Victoria Mingot, and Kahle, among others. Buy yourself a latte at the in-store S,T coffee bar and spend some time browsing for a little piece of Brooklyn to take home.
Spice things up at an early bird dinner
Head over to Pilar for delicious Cuban eats. This neighborhood spot has everything you need to refuel for the evening: fresh juices, rum cocktails, and Vaca Frita. Remember to get their housemade hot sauce on the side—and then request an extra bottle to take home.
Take it to the top
Starting at Brighton Beach, walk towards Deno’s Wonder Wheel: the best place in the city to watch the sunset. You’ll meet an array of characters from the local Russian community along the way, but of course, the Coney Island experience wouldn’t be complete without a hot dog from the original Nathan’s Famous—they’re well worth the wait.
“If you’re lucky, you’ll hit one of their in-store pop-ups, where you can pick up ceramics—some hand-painted with playful, feminist imagery—by Maggie Boyd.”
Go vegan or go home
Grub Street called Modern Love one of “the absolute best” vegan restaurants in the city—and for good reason. The Seitan and Waffles (with macerated strawberries and rhubarb butter) is exactly what you need to kickstart your second day in Brooklyn.
Choose your own adventure at Molasses Books
A true local spot, Molasses is a light-filled used book store with a lounge-like atmosphere for reading, chatting, and listening to a vinyl-only soundtrack curated by owner Matt Winn. If you’re lucky, you’ll hit one of their in-store pop-ups, where you can pick up ceramics—some hand-painted with playful, feminist imagery—by Maggie Boyd.
Stroll through the shopping district
You can find everything from clothing and accessories (Bird on Grand Street, The Kinfolk Store on Wythe Avenue) to craft beer (Brooklyn Brewery on North 11th Street) to offbeat antiques (Mother of Junk on Driggs) in the Williamsburg neighborhood. Plus, as you make your way towards Kent Avenue and the waterfront, you’ll get a beautiful view of Manhattan.
“…you can sip a glass of beer or wine while [the radio hosts] serve up tracks from all genres and reaches on the world”
Wine and chill at The Lot Radio
The Lot Radio is a locally run online radio station that operates out of a shipping container. Its hosts share a deep passion for music, and there’s a bar on site—so you can sip a glass of beer or wine while they serve up tracks from all genres and reaches of the world.
Listen to an up-and-coming artist
National Sawdust has been supporting and pushing Brooklyn’s music boundaries since 2015. With artist residencies and highly curated programs, it’s worth your time whether you recognize the performer’s name or not. Book tickets early as this unique venue has limited room..
Enjoy a late, low-lit dinner
Every place in Brooklyn has a history, and Glasserie is no exception: it was once a glass factory. Reserve a table on the patio to indulge in Mediterranean share plates (Green Almond Tabouli, Mushroom Kataif, Chicken Avgolemono) and watch the city lights sparkle—nice, from a distance.
Two days—48 hours—doesn’t seem like a lot. But what if you change your mindset: what if you think about it as 2,880 minutes? You can’t alter the passage of time, but you can change how you calculate it, perceive it, and use it. Make the most of every minute in Brooklyn with these local favorites, and then check out our local guides for Austin, Portland, and Toronto.