As New York City moves along the road to recovery, more shops, restaurants and attractions—at limited capacity, with new health and safety protocols in place—are opening up. Locals and visitors can help support them, and in doing so remind themselves what makes NYC the most exciting destination in the world. We’ve got a few itinerary suggestions to help you start exploring Brooklyn again. Wherever in the borough you may decide to go, make sure to follow the guidelines from the Stay Well NYC Pledge and check each individual business’ own rules. [Update, 10/7/20: Governor Cuomo’s cluster action initiative of October 6 has placed new restrictions on business activities in areas of Brooklyn, which may affect the status of select venues in this itinerary.]
Brooklyn Museum and Around
Head next to 85-year-old Tom’s Restaurant for outdoor breakfast—served all day long.
Stay overnight: Book a stay at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott New York Brooklyn, a healthy walk from the Brooklyn Museum.
Start with: At Coney Island’s New York Aquarium, which reopened August 27, check out the new exhibit Spineless to catch a glimpse of a Giant Pacific Octopus.
Start with: Visit Williamsburg to experience waterfront views; consider arriving via a walk on the Williamsburg Bridge if you’re coming from Manhattan. Head to Domino Park, built on the site of the former Domino Sugar Refinery, early in the morning (the park is open 6am–1am); there’s a playground and plenty of area to social distance and stretch out.
Eat here: A short ways north, outdoor food fair Smorgasburg has begun setting up on the weekends again with their Smorg to Go concept—takeout bites from some of NYC’s top food vendors.
Start with: Green-Wood Cemetery, which holds famous graves, stunning architecture, a pandemonium (aka “group”) of monk parakeets, the highest point in the borough and an ongoing public art project. Sophie Calle’s Here Lie the Secrets of the Visitors of Green-Wood Cemetery is near the 25th Street entrance; visitors can write down their secrets and bury them in the artist’s plot.
While the sun goes down: In the Brooklyn Army Terminal, at 1st Avenue and 58th Street, Rooftop Films has opened the Brooklyn Drive-In. For $35, you can park your car and watch an indie flick; screening times vary. New York Harbor provides the backdrop.
Stay overnight: The Wyndham Garden Brooklyn Sunset Park offers a prime location in the heart of Sunset Park.
Crown Heights and Prospect Park
Start with: The 52-acre Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which reopens on August 6 with advance timed-entry tickets available on its website. Full of natural beauty, the garden has more than 18,000 kinds of plants from all over the world.
Venture on: After visiting the garden, take a loop around Prospect Park using one of the park’s many nature trails.
Explore more: Make it a full day in the park with a visit to the Prospect Park Zoo. Tickets must be reserved in advance on the zoo’s website.
Start with: Stroll through Dumbo’s cobblestone streets and make your way to Brooklyn Bridge Park to enjoy views of Lower Manhattan. While on the waterfront, check out Public Art Fund’s Reverberation, the new large-scale exhibition by Davina Semo at Pier 1.
Eat here: Visit Grimaldi’s for thin-crust, coal-fired pizza or the recently reopened Time Out Market, offering a curated lineup of food purveyors and rooftop views of the East River and Manhattan skyline.
Fort Greene and Brooklyn Navy Yard
Start with: Fort Greene Park, which offers socially distanced yoga on Saturdays at 11am. (Just remember to register on the park’s website.) You can also explore Commodore Barry Park, the borough’s oldest, which offers more than 10 acres of green space, including athletic fields and playgrounds.
Eat here: While in the neighborhood, visit the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s recently renovated Building 77 and grab a bite to to-go from Russ & Daughters. Also at Building 77, Transmitter Brewing sells canned and bottled beer to-go and offers outdoor seating in their beer garden.
Explore more: Across the street from the Navy Yard, check out Carrie Mae Weems' mural We Go On! The piece is part of her larger Resist COVID/Take 6 project to raise public awareness about Covid-19 among communities of color.
Stay overnight: Extend your trip with a night at the neighboring Even Hotel Brooklyn, which features plenty of natural light, open space and a living green wall.
Waking and Biking Tours
Tour some of Brooklyn’s best-known destinations and get some exercise at the same time. Fit Tours NYC offers private excursions, including a Brooklyn Bridge Fun Run that takes guests on a casual run across one of New York City's most recognizable landmarks and down into Brooklyn Bridge Park. Brooklyn Bike Tours runs tours that feature pizza parlors, dessert spots and historic brownstones.
Stay overnight (and stay active): Spend the night at Nu Hotel Brooklyn, Downtown Brooklyn’s original boutique hotel, which offers guests complimentary use of Brooklyn Cruiser bicycles.