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When people think about visiting New York City, they think of the larger than life sights and sounds of Manhattan. But when it comes to NYC’s five boroughs, Brooklyn is the city’s gem. With over 2.6 million residents, Brooklyn (formally known as Kings County) is the most populous — and beloved — part of the city. On the cusp of everything cutting edge, Brooklyn is known for its diverse ethnic hotspots and thriving street- and art scene. From the brownstone neighborhoods in Bedford-Stuyvesant to the beachfront regions in Coney Island, travelers young and old are flocking to get a taste of what makes Brooklyn great. Here are some of the top spots to add to the ‘gram.
1. Brooklyn Bridge
Celebrated in songs and movies, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the city’s most iconic man-made wonders. Proudly looming over the East River, this historic bridge offers a scenic journey between the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Since its completion in 1883, the bridge has attracted millions of tourists and locals to its stunning view overlooking Brooklyn and other city landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and Governors Island. Whether you choose to stroll, bike or simply admire the mile and more-long expanse, you’re in for a picture-perfect backdrop.
2. Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk
Home to Brooklyn’s biggest playground, Coney Island has been NYC’s most popular tourist attraction since the early 20th century. Located in the southernmost part of Brooklyn, it is the only neighborhood in the city where you’ll find an amusement park, beach and great food all in one place. Lined with historic and memorable attractions, Coney Island’s famous three-mile beach and boardwalk is lined with many attractions. Brooklynites and tourist can count on some fun in the sun with a hot dog from the original Nathan’s Famous or visiting the New York Aquarium and nearby Luna Park.
3. Botanic Garden
Among the most popular sights to visit in New York’s largest borough is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Known to be a much calmer retreat than Coney Island, the Botanic Garden is a 52-acre urban oasis in New York’s famous concrete jungle. First designed by the Olmsted Brothers in 1910, this botanical garden houses more than 18,000 plants from all over the world, including one of North America’s largest rose collections. No matter the season, there’s always something in blossoming at this Brooklyn garden— from beautiful crabapples in December to flowering cherry blossom trees in spring — you’ll catch a perfect shot of a greener side of BK, perfect for Instagram.
4. Brooklyn Museum
Opened in 1897, Brooklyn Museum is one of the most-visited cultural attractions in NYC. The museum is New York City’s second-largest in physical size and holds an art collection with roughly 1.5 million works. Spanning from ancient Egypt to the contemporary art of today, the Brooklyn Museum is a unique place, much like the city itself. Browse some art and share its beauty with those who can’t experience it firsthand.
5. Prospect Park
Located in the heart of Brooklyn, Prospect Park welcomes 10 million visitors every year. The 585-acre park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who also designed Manhattan’s Central Park. The park features a zoo, an ice rink, and dozens of athletic and recreational facilities, plus a variety of activities and events throughout the year, making it a worthwhile destination for locals and visitors.
6. Grand Army Plaza
Also designed by Vaux and Olmsted, Grand Army plaza was one of the first features of Prospect Park. In 1975, Grand Army Plaza became a National Historic Landmark. At the center of the plaza you’ll find Brooklyn’s Arc de Triomphe or The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, known for being the backdrop for many insta pics. On the southeast corner of the plaza sits Brooklyn’s Central Library, the largest in the borough’s public library system, and this area is a familiar sight to Brooklynites and Instagrammers alike.
7. Bushwick Collective
Bushwick Collective is a street gallery located in Bushwick Brooklyn, just off of Flushing Avenue. The gallery begins on Jefferson Street and continues on Troutman Street towards Saint Nicholas Avenue in Bushwick, a vibrant area in Brooklyn. Joseph Ficalora, a native of Brooklyn, curated the collection based on a no-free-wall movement, and draws visitors from the city and beyond.
This Brooklyn neighborhood known by the acronym which stands for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass” is one of New York City’s most Instagrammed landmarks. Located on the the cusp of Brooklyn and Manhattan, Dumbo is a recognizably vibrant area that encompasses some of the best art and restaurants in Brooklyn.
9. Brooklyn Promenade
The Brooklyn Promenade, a one-third-mile pedestrian parkland along the East River, is a favorite destination of residents, tourists and couples looking to catch a view of the NYC’s skyline. Breathtaking views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty are both visible from here. Snap a few for your followers — there are no bad angles here.
Featured photo of the Manhattan Bridge in Dumbo by Moussa81/Getty Images
Know before you go.
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