Travelers with bohemian tastes should veer off the well-worn tourist paths of Manhattan and head to Brooklyn, a neighborhood that beats with a hipster heart. Use this guide to make the most of your stay in this unique part of New York City.
Independent Hotels Have Real Charm
Hipsters steer clear of the faceless chain hotels and head to the quirkier independent establishments. Visit Hipmunk.com to secure a great rate on these Brooklyn hotel deals and others in the area.
Staying in NU Hotel Brooklyn feels like crashing at a pal’s loft apartment, complete with murals on the walls and hammocks and bunk beds in selected rooms. The friendly staff will even lend you a Brooklyn Cruiser bike to explore the city, just like any good friend would.
If you’re staying during summer it’s worth splurging on a room at McCarren Hotel & Pool. Its outdoor pool is one of the largest in New York and the perfect place for the hotel’s yoga classes. When the weather cools, warm yourself with a ride on one of the complimentary BKBCo. Bikes. The rooftop lounge, Sheltering Sky, is a picturesque place to chill after a busy day of sightseeing.
Shop Grand Street
Image via Flickr by The All-Nite Images
The unique stores on Grand Street make this Williamsburg strip the ideal place for a window shopping or finding the perfect souvenir of your stay. Most stores open around 11, so enjoy a lie-in before your shopping spree.
Hit Life: Curated, voted New York’s best his and hers boutique by Time Out, for unique apparel, accessories, and housewares. The vintage axes at Southside Guitars are worth a look, even if you’re not in the market. G Grippo art+design makes upcycling chic, with unusual green goods like ponchos made from old potato peelings and elegant dresses made from repurposed cashmere. Eco-Closet continues the sustainable theme.
Brooklyn’s diverse ethnic community and bohemian spirit make it one of New York’s most exciting food destinations.
Cheap and cheerful gets a quirky twist in the Park Slope neighborhood. Tuck in to British classics at The Chip Shop, burgers at poutine at Corner Burger, or tasty Peruvian fare at El Pollo, all within walking distance of the Hotel Le Bleu.
Hipsters will also feel right at home at its intimate, upmarket restaurants which celebrate seasonal produce. Pizza goes gourmet at Franny’s, and the French-American fusion of Ici is really something special. The Grocery has exploded after favorable Zagat reviews, but this family business still offers friendly service and creative fare.
Brooklyn’s also earning a reputation as one of America’s boutique beer capitals. Wet your whistle with some of the local brews on Urban Oyster Tours’ Craft-Beer Crawl.
Soak Up the Culture
Brooklyn’s arts scene is much grittier and less polished than that of Manhattan, which is just how the locals like it. The Brick Theater pushes the envelope with its youthful productions. The Music Hall of Williamsburg and Brooklyn Bowl are the perfect places to discover a hot new band, or you could take in a poetry reading at Pete’s Candy Store.
Where are your favorite hipster hangouts in Brooklyn? Share them with the rest of our readers below.
Lauren Katulka is a happily married Australian freelance writer contributing to a range of websites including Hipmunk.com, SoundsofOz.com, and many more. When she’s not playing around with words, she loves roller skating, spending time in the kitchen, watching indie films and cuddling her Devon Rex cat, Gizmo.