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Insider’s Guide to Brooklyn

Insider's Guide to Brooklyn

Hop-On, Hop-Off Brooklyn Bus Loop

Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus

Spend a day exploring the vibrant borough of Brooklyn! Using the Brooklyn Hop-on Hop-off But Tour loop as a guide, this insider’s itinerary will help you make the best decisions about where to go and what to see in this trendy, up-and-coming part of the city.

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge is a must-do when in NYC, and doing it on the upper deck of an open-top bus is one of the best ways (second only to walking or biking across!).

The Brooklyn Bus tour passes by the Barclays Center, Atlantic Avenue, Fort Greene Park, the Brooklyn Public Library, and so many other famous sites.

Brooklyn Bridge Promenade

Hop on or off at: Camden Plaza Stop on the Brooklyn Tour

We encourage you to either start your day by walking across the bridge to the Promenade, and then hopping on the tour, or, finishing your day by hopping off at the Brooklyn Promenade and walking back to Manhattan. The walk from one end of the bridge to the other takes, on average, about 1 hour - 1.5 if you add in the extra time you’ll need for photo ops!

Either way, the Brooklyn Promenade offers unparalleled views. Stroll the waterfront on this one-third-mile stretch along the East River where the views of Manhattan, framed by the Brooklyn Bridge, are breathtaking.


Hop off at: Brooklyn Bridge Stop on the Brooklyn Tour DUMBO is a neighborhood nestled between the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge, and stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. This up-and-coming trendy neighborhood is home to some cute indie clothing boutiques, upscale restaurants and cozy cafes. As you walk towards the waterfront, you will come across St. Ann's Warehouse – a performing arts theater. This is also where you will find DUMBO’s thriving art gallery scene.

Insider’s Tip: For a great lunch option, try Gran Electrica which serves up extraordinarily good Mexican cuisine. Must tries on their menu include Guacamole and margaritas! (Located at 5 Front St)

Empire Stores

Stop: Brooklyn Bridge Stop on the Brooklyn Tour

One of the last standing brick warehouses that overlooked Brooklyn’s East River, this recently restored historic building has brought shopping, community, culture and creativity back to Brooklyn’s waterfront.

Here you will find stores like West Elm, Almondine Bakery, Galapagos Art Space, and Jacques Torres Ice Cream.

Take the stairs up to the roof, where the landscaping along with plenty of wooden benches creates a place of peace and tranquility. Not to forget the breathtaking views you’ll get of Lower Manhattan!

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Bridge Park, appropriately named since it’s located right beside the bridge, is an 85-acre park facing the East River. The park is visited by thousands of visitors each week who come for stunning views of Manhattan. The park also offers free outdoor movies, kayaking, and also rowing.

After exploring the renowned DUMBO neighborhood and its surrounding areas, hop right back on the bus and head over to our next recommended stop: Brooklyn Botanical Garden.

Prospect Park

Grand Army Plaza Entrance at Prospect Park

Hop off at: Brooklyn Botanical Garden/Brooklyn Museum Stop on the Brooklyn Tour

Located right in the heart of Brooklyn, Prospect Park is 585-acres of pure beauty and recreation! There’s plenty to do around here, including – biking, strolling along the lush and beautiful Long Meadow, dog watching at Dog Beach, and even horseback riding. Here are a few things to do in and near Prospect Park:

Grand Army Plaza - Start your Prospect Park tour at the Grand Army Plaza. Although located in between intersection of streets, the inner oval area of the Plaza is an open space, which hosts the colossal Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch. The Plaza also features reliefs of presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, the Bailey Fountain, memorials dedicated to Civil War generals Gouverneur K. Warren and Henry Warner Slocum.

Prospect Park Zoo - From the Grand Army Plaza, walk along Flatbush Avenue to get to Prospect Park Zoo. This 12-acre zoo houses nearly 630 animals spread over different exhibits.

The Discovery Trail, at the World of Animals exhibit, showcases animals in their natural habitat including black-tailed prairie dogs, porcupines, red pandas, emus, North American river otters, and other animals.

The Animal Lifestyles building features a number of indoor habitat exhibits. Here you can find pallas cats cotton-top tamarins, meerkats, emerald tree boas, dwarf mongooses, among many others.

The Animals in our Lives exhibit has both indoor and outdoor exhibits featuring the many relationships between animals and people. A fully functional barn with sheep, cows, goats, ducks, and geese are a hit with the kids!

The zoo also offers a variety of children's educational programs, runs a wildlife theater and connects with the local community through volunteer programs.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden- After you’ve spent quality time at the zoo, walk around to Mary Pinkett Avenue to get to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The Botanic Garden was founded in 1910 and expands over 52-acres. The garden comprises of a number of specialty gardens and plant collections and also houses the Steinhardt Conservatory. Some of the specialty gardens you can walk through and enjoy are the Cherry Esplanade, the Japanese Hill and Pond Garden, the Cranford Rose Garden, Children’s Garden, and the Water Garden.

Insider Tip: Visit the C. V. Starr Bonsai Museum located inside the Steinhardt Conservatory. The Bonsai Museum is home to one of the oldest collections of Bonsai plants in the country. The conservatory also has three climate-themed plant pavilions, an aquatic plant house with tropical water plants, insect-eating plants, and orchids, and an art gallery.

Park Slope Neighborhood- After you’re done exploring the Botanic Garden, cut through Prospect Park to get to Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood. Park Slope is divided into North and South Slopes and features tree-lined streets with beautiful historic brownstone buildings!

Walk along 7th Avenue to explore and experience the diversity of the area. The mix of indie clothing boutiques, friendly bars and casual yet trendy restaurants is guaranteed to give you a complete taste on Brooklyn. This is the perfect time to grab a late lunch or early dinner before you continue on with the rest of your tour.

Head over to Purbird for some traditional American cuisine – salads, sandwiches, wraps, mashed potatoes. A must try on their menu are the Jalapeno mashed potatoes! Or go to Gristmill for wood-fired pizza, draft beer and a wide selection of wine.

Whether you walk back or take the bus, note the amazing views of Manhattan as you cross the bridge and make your way back to the city.