New York is home to some truly legendary neighborhoods. SoHo’s shopping attracts visitors from across the globe. Greenwich Village has been the epicenter of cool for a century. The Upper East Side’s museums are serious business, as is the food and culture scene in Harlem.
One Brooklyn neighborhood, though, has become the across-the-river outpost for the best that New York has to offer. Williamsburg has something for everyone, and there’s much more to the neighborhood than Bedford Avenue. Here’s a brief beginner’s guide to Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Where to eat
There is no shortage of great restaurants in Williamsburg, from the scrumptious (if nap-inducing) Sweet Chick, to the New York City-staple Peter Luger. Low-fuss favorites like La Superior and Dim Sum Bar are your go-to’s for delicious meals under $15, but Williamsburg also has its fair share of splurge spots. Lilia slings some of New York’s best pasta out of a natural-light soaked space that was once an auto body shop, making this restaurant worth the trip from any borough. You’ve probably seen their impossibly-squiggly mafaldini on a dozen or so food Instagram accounts, and rest assured: it’s as tasty as it looks.
Where to drink
Whatever your drink of choice, Williamsburg has you covered. The borough’s best flat white can be had at Sweatshop, an Australian coffee shop that also serves some light bites. Their space is a bit cramped, so grab your coffee to go and stroll down to the water’s edge. After hours, take your pick from dozens of excellent watering holes. For date nights (first, or fiftieth) try The Four Horsemen. While a bit of an obvious choice, Horsemen’s extensive natural wine list and inviting atmosphere is likely to turn it into your usual spot. For something a bit more unusual, people flock from all over to (the temporarily closed) Baby’s All Right. Sort of dive-y, but still very friendly, you’re as likely to encounter a Vogue columnist as you are an impromptu concert at Baby.
Where to shop
If you took an eye-dropper full of SoHo and placed it in Williamsburg, the result would be Bedford Avenue. For this reason, Bedford and its surrounding streets is the unofficial shopping district of Williamsburg. Big-city staples like Madewell and lululemon have set up Williamsburg outposts, but the neighborhood still has its fair share of oddities. Awoke Vintage is perfect for perusing, and Mociun Fine Jewelry & Home’s retail showroom and offices are located on Driggs Avenue. Mociun’s hand-crafted jewelry and ceramics are as eclectic as the neighborhood they’re made in. Oh, and there’s also a Supreme store — if you’re into that.
Where to unwind
Though Williamsburg may have more of a neighborhood vibe, there are definitely times that it can feel every bit as bustling as the city. Fortunately, Williamsburg has plenty of perfect places to unwind. A stroll along the water’s edge offers fresh air and excellent views of lower Manhattan, but a trip to the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center makes for an ideal reprieve from the frenzy of the neighborhood. The WAH Center’s building, a former bank built in 1867, transports you back in time before you even break the building’s threshold. Inside lies one of Brooklyn’s largest collections of fine art, making this museum a great place to lose a couple hours–while finding your inner peace.
Where to live
With Williamsburg seemingly growing more appealing by the day, it’s no surprise that living there costs a pretty penny. In fact, you’re likely to find yourself paying Manhattan prices (or more) to call the ‘Burg home. Enter Common. With marginally lower rates than most other places in the neighborhood and included luxury amenities—like professional cleanings, in-suite laundry, high-speed WiFi, and furnished rooftops and movie rooms, living at Common means that you have more freedom to explore all of the incredible spots that we’ve listed here.