Local Highlights

What to do in Bushwick, Brooklyn for free


Bushwick has quickly taken over as one of Brooklyn’s trendiest spots. Priced more attainably than nearby Williamsburg, Bushwick still gives you all the fun of Brooklyn living. With eye-popping street art and the lively scene of people bustling about, you may ask yourself why you took so long to discover Bushwick.

Common Gates gives you the opportunity to get a first-hand look at what it’s like to live in this fun and funky New York neighborhood. With private furnished bedrooms, fully-furnished shared spaces, all utilities included, and in-suite laundry, all that’s left to do is for you to move in. When you want to explore the neighborhood outside your front door, what better price is there than free? Here’s a list of some of the best free things to do in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Take a Street Art Tour & Explore the work of the Bushwick Collective

One of the things that you’ll notice about this Brooklyn neighborhood is that there’s a lot of public art everywhere. Sometimes, this takes the form of well-done graffiti. The Bushwick Collective is a group that’s behind all the decorating and colorful murals in the neighborhood.

You can easily spend an afternoon exploring Bushwick street art from various artists as you walk around the neighborhood. You’ll enjoy each new mural you discover and it will start to become the scenery outside your new home.

Hang out at Maria Hernandez Park

Maria Hernandez Park is one green space to enjoy in this densely packed neighborhood. Enjoy a game of pick-up basketball with a friend or sit on a bench and enjoy the people-watching. It’s a quiet spot to chill out in a busy neighborhood that otherwise never seems to slow down.

Like almost everything else around here, there’s even graffiti in the park, too. It’s just more work done by local artists to add some color to their surroundings. This park is safe during the daytime and can be the perfect spot to chill with a cup of coffee from a local coffee shop or a slice of pizza and sit with a friend while enjoying the people-watching.

Explore the neighborhood’s history with a walking tour

You’ll likely notice that there’s a lot of new construction going on in Bushwick. But what takes some time and intention to notice is that there are a handful of really old buildings here, too. After all, Bushwick and Brooklyn have been part of New York City for hundreds of years.

Walk by the Lipsius-Cook Mansion on Bushwick Ave. to get a glimpse of what the area looked like back when this was one of the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods. Built in the late 1800s for Catherine Lipsius, owner of a successful brewery, the home was sold in 1902 to Dr. Fredrick Cook, the first man to climb Mt. McKinley and reach the North Pole. The building has been abandoned for some time, but it was declared a landmark by the NYC Landmark Preservation Commission.

A little further down Bushwick Ave., you’ll also find the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church Complex. It’s not fancy or grandiose, typical of the Dutch protestant tradition. But it is hard to miss because of its towering white spires. The church building was built back in 1854 and is still standing.

You also won’t want to miss the Bushwick Loft Museum, which is a fun and quirky exhibit. Recreating an authentic Bushwick loft circa 2010, you’ll find lots of humor here. Make sure to see the gift shop on your way out for some truly unique finds.

Window-shop at local businesses

Bushwick lends itself well to window-shopping, when you don’t necessarily have a lot of money that you want to spend. One place to check out is Molasses Books, which became Bushwick’s first independent bookstore when it opened its doors in 2012. Tucked into a side street just a block from the Maria Fernandez Park, this small, cozy bookstore doesn’t mind if you just sit and read. They have a selection of used books as well as new, and a bar in the back that offers coffee, wine, and beer. Sometimes they’ll even let you trade your own used books for a drink.

If you want to browse the work of local crafters and artisans, Better Than Jam is a gathering place for it. Whether you want unique, original clothing or jewelry or prefer to look for something to decorate your bedroom, you’ll find it here.

Another place you’ll want to check out–especially if you like music–is Rebel Rouser. This is an old school record shop in the best sense of the term. It’s where you’ll find vinyl records by obscure artists and kitschy collectibles. You could easily spend a fortune here but it’s just as much fun to browse the stacks.

Many Brooklynities love to go thrifting and the best place in Bushwick to do that is GG’s Social Trade and Treasure Club. This well-curated shop makes it easy to find bargains on one-of-a-kind pieces for your wardrobe and you can spend hours in here browsing the racks looking for that perfect piece. It’s great for window shopping, too, but be warned that you’ll be tempted to spend some of your cash. (Check the floor, though: sometimes they put out bags of free clothes that won’t make it to the racks.)

Hang out with a cool crowd at an open studio

One of the longest-running groups of artists in the neighborhood features their work at Bushwick Open Studios. While Bushwick Open Studios isn’t open every day, they do have special events throughout the year that allow artisans to showcase their goods. They typically only host events on weekends, just FYI.

They say that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but there is when you go to the dive bar Fine Time. Buying a beer is encouraged, of course, but you can still take advantage of the free popcorn and hot dogs either way. This is a great place to meet up with friends for happy hour on a zero-to-low budget or just sit and watch people. The owners and bartenders are chill and will make you feel welcome.

Bushwick is so lively and ever-changing that you’ll never run out of fun things to do and new places to see. This is just a small list of the many great places your neighborhood holds in store for you to discover. The sooner you get out and explore, the sooner you’ll feel like Bushwick is your home.

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