Brooklyn, home to diverse inhabitants, innovative creators and top foodie destinations, is a must-visit when travelling to New York City.
With many of its best attractions spread out, it’s the perfect borough to discover by bike — cycle lanes are increasing all the time and the expanding number of bike-share stations makes it even easier for visitors to explore on two wheels.
Here are five of the best Brooklyn bike routes.
Best for foodies
Start in Red Hook and grab coffee and made-from-scratch granola at Baked, inset below, before cycling down the street to New Orleans-style haunt Fort Defiance for a Breakfast Martini made with orange marmalade. Once you’re steady again, head to Cacao Prieto and Widow Jane, sister factories making bean-to-bar chocolate and bourbon respectively. Bike to 5th Avenue and head south to Sunset Park — Brooklyn’s Chinatown that’s also an enclave for Latin Americans — to browse the Asian markets and check out hole-in-the-wall dumpling and taco joints. Finally, make your way to Midwood for dinner at the borough’s best pizza parlor, Di Fara, open since 1964.
Best for Indie shoppers
Start at Williamsburg’s brand new Domino Park, which opened on June 10 on the East River site of the former sugar refinery. It features a waterfront esplanade, two bocce courts and a taco stand by Danny Meyer called Tacocina. Continue on Kent Avenue to modern homeware store BEAM, before turning onto North 4th Street to glimpse edgy jewellery at Mociun. Head to Bedford Avenue, where you can check out indie stores selling everything from used books (Spoonbill & Sugartown Books) to vintage clothing (Arbor Vitae). Carry on north to Greenpoint, where you’ll find Wolves Within, an artist-run clothing and accessories store and its nearby sister shop, Home of the Brave, which sells home goods.
Best for nature-lovers
Fuel up with a breakfast taco from King David Tacos, which has a cart at the Grand Army Plaza entrance to Prospect Park. Leave your bike behind to stop and smell the roses inside the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Hop back in the saddle and cycle through Brooklyn’s largest park, circling the lake before exiting at the Parade Grounds to Ocean Avenue, part of the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway. Cycle the 8km to Coney Island, where you can relax on the beach and bike the boardwalk. Grab a hot dog at Nathan’s Famous or a pizza from Totonno’s, both Brooklyn classics.
Best for culture hounds
The Empire Stores’ brick warehouse building sat empty on Dumbo’s iconic waterfront for decades until real-estate developers transformed it into a shopping, dining and cultural destination last year. Kick-off here, checking out the new outpost of the Brooklyn Historical Society and peeking into Gallery 55 on the ground floor, before biking to neighbouring galleries Janet Borden Inc. and Art in General. Ride to Powerhouse Arena, a bookstore known for its selection of art books, then bike to Prospect Heights. Stop in for a beer and some tunes at the new Bier Wax, a “vinyl record craft beer bar”. End at the Brooklyn Museum, which is currently hosting the David Bowie Is exhibit.
Best for street art aficionados
A lot of Brooklyn has been, shall we say, sanitised, but there are still some neighbourhoods with impressive street art. Start on the corner of Fulton and South Portland to see the famous Notorious B.I.G. mural by Lee Quinones. Then bike east into Bed-Stuy, stopping at the Ol’ Dirty Bastard ID-style portrait on the side of a convenience store on Putnam and Franklin Avenue. Head east to Bushwick, where street-art crew The Bushwick Collective blanket local buildings on St Nicholas Avenue and surrounding streets with graffiti by artists from around the world.