5 Things: A Travel Guide to Brooklyn Heights

5 T Brooklyn Heights

In “5 Things,” I’ll ask some of my favorite bloggers in cities all over the country to share insider travel tips on where to eat, shop, stay, and play in their neighborhoods (plus, what to pack to make the adventure complete). This week, Erin Boyle of Reading My Tea Leaves shows us the sights in beautiful Brooklyn Heights.

5 Things: Brooklyn Heights
Erin Boyle of Reading My Tea Leaves

My husband, James, and I have lived in Brooklyn Heights for just over three years and the quiet tree-lined streets that first attracted us to the neighborhood have equal appeal for visitors hoping to experience a respite from the crowds of Manhattan. In the summertime, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade fills with tourists hoping for a glimpse of the iconic downtown Manhattan skyline from across the river. We encourage visitors to pack a picnic blanket and lounge in nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park for a while. This may be New York, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a little break from the hustle.




The River Deli, 32 Joralemon Street, (718) 254-9200

The River Deli is one of our favorite spots in the neighborhood for a dinner out. It’s not fancy, or particularly trendy, but it’s affordable for young families, always yummy, and it’s tucked into a quiet corner that gives you a real taste of the neighborhood. Maybe best of all, it’s just a stone’s throw from one of the neighborhood’s greatest assets: Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Bonus: a window seat affords you some pretty nice neighborhood people watching).

If you’re planning a picnic, pick up supplies at Willowtown Store #7 on Columbia Place. And if you’re in the mood for something a little more refined, try dinner at Iris Café #9.




Holler & Squall, 119 Atlantic Avenue, (347) 223-4685

Holler & Squall on Atlantic Avenue is one of my favorite neighborhood shops to browse in on a lazy weekend. Filled with an eclectic mix of antiques, the shop always has a patinaed lamp or cozy Chesterfield sofa worth ogling (or splurging on). For something a little more family-friendly, BookCourt is just a few blocks away in nearby Cobble Hill and is a fantastic spot to pick up some vacation reading for adults and kiddos.





AirBNB — Brooklyn Heights

Largely a residential neighborhood, I think visitors to Brooklyn Heights get the best sense of the neighborhood by finding an Airbnb rental in their budget that they can call home for a few nights. To consider: proximity to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade! (The French doors on this rental look dreamy.) For folks hoping for a more traditional hotel experience, the Marriott in downtown Brooklyn is also close by.




Brooklyn Bridge Park, 334 Furman Street, (718) 222-9939

Brooklyn Heights gives visitors a chance to experience the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and its stunning views of lower Manhattan and New York Harbor, and the constantly expanding Brooklyn Bridge Park. James and I practically live in the park on the weekends, but it’s a place that’s as thrilling for out-of-towners as it is for neighborhood folks. For visitors, I’d recommend a morning walk over the Brooklyn Bridge (if you need to keep your reserves, just walk to the first tower and loop back around) and a lunchtime picnic at Pier 1. If you have kiddos, cool off at the splash pad at Pier 6 (and make things even easier on yourself by grabbing a pizza at the nearby Fornino outpost at Pier 6 or an ice cream from Ample Hills at Pier 5). If you’re visiting on a Sunday, the Brooklyn food fest extravaganza Smorgasburg at Pier 5 also provides plenty of lunch options. If you’re hankering for more of an adventure, catch a ride on the ferry to Governors Island (only $2.00) from Pier 6, and take a stroll around the leafy island before heading back to home base.



A favorite picnic blanket, $99

One of the best parts about the neighborhood is its newly developed waterfront and the chance the park gives you to relax and soak in the energy of the city, from a distance. Pack a blanket and a few snacks and let the salty harbor air wash over you as you give your feet a rest. This buffalo check blanket from the Brooklyn-based Kaufmann Mercantile is a classic option for picnicking families.

Thank you so much, Erin! We loved Brooklyn Heights when we lived in New York (Holler & Squall as well!) but I wish we’d been around long enough to make use of these suggestions and to see the new waterfront park. I’m so looking forward to returning one day!

And thank you to Shoko Wanger for her help with this series! 

P.S. More of the “5 Things” series. And you may recall Erin from this post, too.

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