The Empire State, the big apple, and the city that never sleeps; New York has many names and wears many hats. It’s loud, cold, and sometimes dirty. It’s also very, very big. So why not slow things down and experience a more relaxed version of NYC. Williamsburg is a part of Brooklyn, known for its laid back lifestyle and (slightly) cheaper rent than Manhattan. It’s also a great place to explore if you only have short amount of time in the city.
Maybe you’ve already visited New York’s major landmarks, or perhaps you’re just looking for a different, more authentic experience. In either case, Williamsburg is the place to be. With hip boutiques and vintage shops, trendy cafes and bangin’ nightclubs, Williamsburg is the ideal spot to experience life as an NYC hipster. We spoke with Christian Neumeier, a Lokafyer living in New York, who shared some insider info on how to spend a perfect day in this trendy hood.
Getting to Williamsburg from the airport
Lucky for you, Williamsburg is actually closer to the airport than Manhattan and while JFK is a busy place, there are plenty of options for your commute. For about $60, an uber ride can get you to your hotel less than 20 minutes. There is also an AirTrain for just $7, but this could take over 45 minutes. NYC is such a great city for walking around, and with an expansive subway system, renting a car is not worth the effort.
But first, Coffee
NYC is the city that never sleeps, so it comes to no surprise that New Yorker’s love their coffee. And who takes more pride in coffee than hipsters? Enjoy Australian style coffee (and the best avocado toast in town) at Sweatshop Coffee Brooklyn. And for dairy-free folks, venture further east to Dun Well Donuts and choose from over 200 vegan donut flavours to go along with your French press coffee.
Enjoy a morning workout followed by celebratory brunch
McCarren Park. park is charming 35-acre green space that is always bustling with soccer matches, family outings, and morning joggers. Whether you’re a runner or a yogi, an outdoor morning workout is a great way to get your day going, and build up an appetite.
For New Yorkers, brunch is not just a meal, but a way of life. A day in the city would not be complete with treating yourself to decadent mid-morning meal. So, after your workout, head over to Grand Street and try your luck at Le Barricou, a charming French bistro that’s always packed on weekends. Or if you don’t want to wait, try Dar525 for yummy middle-eastern dishes in a cozy setting.
Be bold with a hipster makeover
Get yourself a new ‘do at the Hello Beautiful, a punk-rock inspired salon that has been in Williamsburg for almost 20 years. Or if you’re feeling extra adventurous, walk into a tattoo shop, such as Live by the Sword, and choose a sweet design off the wall.
But if you have commitment issues, a new wardrobe is a fun (and temporary) way to change up your look. Explore the countless rows of vintage goodies along Bedford Avenue at Pema or Artists & Fleas. If you haven’t yet satisfied your shopping addiction, there are plenty more thrift shops and flea markets that will keep you busy for hours. Smorgasburg and the Brooklyn Flea Market are both popular choices among locals.
Indulge in a posh dinner
And when you’ve finally worked up an appetite, indulge with dinner at The Bedford. This cozy gastropub focuses on simple dishes sourced from local ingredients. If you’re visiting in the fall, they even have a pumpkin themed tasting menu. Or if veggies are more your thing, it’s definitely worth making a reservation at Modern Love. This swanky spot along Union Avenue offers vegan comfort food in an elegant setting. Don’t leave without trying the brownie and cookie dough ice cream.
Take in the view and experience the electronic sound of Williamsburg
One of the best things about Williamsburg is it’s proximity to the water and the great views of the Manhattan skyline. After dinner, head to Edge Park to enjoy the sunset and warm glow of golden hour.
Williamsburg is literally bursting at the seams with great bars and patios. So make the most of it while the weather’s still warm(ish). Start your night with a rooftop cocktail or massive pint of European beer, at Berry Park, a German inspired barrom. Once the wind picks up, it’s time to head inside and get the party started. Enjoy the electronic sound of Williamsburg at the new and mysterious SCHIMANSKI New York, a two-storey nightclub that keeps techno and house music pumping until 4am, six days of the week.
With so much to do, see, and eat, it’s no wonder locals love Williamsburg. By the time you hit your pillow that night, you’ll be so in love with Brooklyn you’ll have forgotten all about Manhattan and Times Square. You might even be tempted to stay another night.