Williamsburg, Brooklyn is lively and vibrant, featuring dynamic architecture, locals, food, and music. Originally a separate city until 1855, it later merged with Brooklyn and was annexed by NYC in 1898, yet it maintains its independent identity. The neighborhood offers a lively art scene on its streets and bustling nightlife at local bars.
After years of exploration, I’ve compiled top recommendations for dining, sightseeing, and activities, highlighting the neighborhood’s resilience even during challenging times like COVID-19. Without further ado, let’s jump into the best things to do in Williamsburg, Brooklyn!
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (10 Best Neighborhoods +3 to Avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Things to Do in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Table of Contents: Fun Things to Do Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Table of Contents: Williamsburg Things to Do
- Things to do Williamsburg Brooklyn
- Spend the Evening at Domino Park
- Sift Through the Racks at Awoke Vintage
- Enjoy Drinks on a Rooftop at Westlight
- Celebrate a Special Occasion at Peter Luger
- Spend a Rainy Day at McNally Jackson
- Eat Your Weight in Goods at Smorgasburg
- Or Just Go For a Stroll in Marsha P. Johnson State Park
- Show Off Your Skills With Axe Throwing
- Grab Brunch at Sunday in Brooklyn
- Soak Your Stress Away at The Bathhouse
- Catch Some Sun at McCarren Park
- Enjoy Some of the Best Pasta in Brooklyn at Misi
- Go on the Hunt For the Best Coffee Shop
- Grab Beers at Brooklyn Brewery
- Hang Out at the Pier
- Quick Recap of the Best Things to Do in Williamsburg NYC
- Things to Do Williamsburg (Helpful Map)
Spend the Evening at Domino Park
Address: 15 River St, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Hanging out at Domino Park is one of the best things to do in Williamsburg thanks to the impressive Manhattan skyline that looms across the East River. The views are unrivaled and there’s a magic that comes with being by the water (especially during sunrise & sunset!).
The five-acre park sits on the Williamsburg waterfront and offers ample seating facing the water where many New Yorkers find come to clear their minds. They have giant reclining chairs that are a great place to tan or otherwise just enjoy the view.
Domino Park is also great place to bring kids to burn off energy if you’re in need of a break. Along with plenty of room to run around there is also a playground for kids to enjoy. With that said, during the summer you’ll find all the kiddos swarming around the two water features the park offers in a blissful frenzy. It’ll be hard finding a better thing to do in Williamsburg with kids!
Sift Through the Racks at Awoke Vintage
Awoke Vintage is gaining popularity, and rightfully so. Starting as a single store in Williamsburg, it has expanded to three thrift stores across New York City in just a decade. The shop has a delightful charm, and its inviting neon sign outside makes it impossible not to stop by—it’s one of the best things to do in Williamsburg.
Thrift shopping in NYC can be hit or miss, but Awoke Vintage has made it easier. Just follow them on Instagram, check out their stories, and message them if you see something you like. They’ll send you an invoice, and you have an hour to pay before the item goes back on the shelf. Plus, you can choose to have it shipped or pick it up in-store.
Here is a quick round-up of other great vintage stores in Williamsburg:
- Brooklyn Woke Vintage | 158 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249, United States
- Chickee’s Vintage | 135 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249, United States
- L Train Vintage | 629 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211, United States
- Monk Vintage | 500 Driggs Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211, United States
Enjoy Drinks on a Rooftop at Westlight
What better backdrop for a photo than the sweeping views of New York City? Westlight is one of the best rooftop bars in Brooklyn located on the 22nd floor of The William Vale hotel in Williamsburg.
The meticulously crafted drinks and delectable small bites are just a few reasons why a visit to Westlight is considered one of the best things to do in Williamsburg. With floor-to-ceiling glass panels, this Brooklyn rooftop bar provides a 360° view of the city.
This is my go-to rooftop bar in Brooklyn and one of my favorite things to do in Williamsburg when I have friends visiting from out of town. After every visit I fall more in love with the NYC skyline. I highly recommend ordering the fries here, I dream about them often!
Celebrate a Special Occasion at Peter Luger
Enjoying the unforgettable steaks at Peter Luger is a top-notch experience in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Dating back to 1887, this cash-only establishment takes great pride in focusing on perfectly cooked dry-aged steaks and keeps frills to a minimum (luckily for us).
We celebrated my husband’s birthday at this iconic NYC restaurant and landed on the porterhouse for two. The steak came out sizzling hot (generously buttered, of course) and within one bite we found ourselves speechless. The filet minion portion of the cut had a velvety smooth texture that is hard to put into words and get out of your head.
Local’s Tip: If you’re visiting during the lunch hour make sure to order the burger (often considered one of the best burgers in New York City).
Spend a Rainy Day at McNally Jackson
Website: McNally Jackson
Address: 76 N 4th St Unit G, Brooklyn, NY 11249, United States
When looking for charming New York City bookshops, run, don’t walk, to McNally Jackson. This beloved bookstore was originally founded in 2004 by Sarah McNally — whose parents own Canada’s largest independent bookstore chain.
The flagship store is located in the heart of SoHo and — to nobody’s surprise — spread like wildfire over the course of 15 years. There’s currently three locations across NYC and one of them happens to be in Williamsburg. Visiting is one of the best things to do in Williamsburg, the bookshop is huge, clean and modern. It’s easy to get lost among the shelves as you pick up titles that catch your eye, looking for gems.
The bookstore is warm and inviting for people of all backgrounds so its become a neighborhood hub for bookworms. Visiting is one of the best things to do in Williamsburg with kids since they have a dedicated seating area and book selection.
Eat Your Weight at Smorgasburg
One of the top things to do in Williamsburg for foodies is Smorgasburg, often dubbed “The Woodstock of Eating.” It’s a highly anticipated event in NYC during spring, gaining the title of the largest weekly outdoor food market in the U.S. With vendors from across the city gathering in one place, you can sample a wide array of cuisines.
The Williamsburg location, held at Marsha P. Johnson State Park every Saturday from April to October, is the original and most popular spot. With over 60 vendors, it’s a food lover’s paradise, attracting 20,000-30,000 visitors weekly.
Stroll in Marsha P. Johnson State Park
Address: 90 Kent Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Marsha P. Johnson State Park, running beneath the Williamsburg Bridge, is a cherished green space for locals and fitness enthusiasts. Unlike traditional parks, it follows the river, resembling more of a promenade.
The Manhattan views are irresistible and there’s a few pockets of greenery great for picnics. Formerly known as East River State Park, it was renamed in 2020 in honor of Marsha P. Johnson, a transgender woman of color and advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.
Show Off Your Skills With Axe Throwing
Whether you’re just trying to impress a date or you need to let off some steam, one of the best things to do in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is to throw some axes. And yes, it’s just as therapeutic as it sounds! At Hatchets & Hops folks can enjoy one of the best bars in Williamsburg while literally chucking axes at targets.
I suppose in retrospect mixing booze and sharp weapons sounds a tad dangerous… but Hatchets & Hops does a great job at creating a safe and welcoming environment. The bar sticks to beer and cider and leaves the liquor for “throwing axes in the woods” — their words not mine.
Oh and not to mention there is a highly trained instructor hanging out with you the whole time. Between the instructor and the cages that surround the targets safety is paramount when you’re enjoying one of the best things to do in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Grab Brunch at Sunday in Brooklyn
Sunday in Brooklyn is a neighborhood favorite, aiming to be a go-to spot for cocktails, dinner, and the best brunch in NYC. With an open and bright feel, including a summer rooftop garden and wood-burning ovens in winter, it’s a perfect hangout.
Their standout dishes include cheddar biscuits with sausage gravy and thick pancakes with hazelnut maple praline syrup. Whether lounging in the living room-like atmosphere or enjoying the seasonal delights, brunch at Sunday in Brooklyn is a top pick in Williamsburg.
Soak Your Stress Away at The Bathhouse
I know I’m not the only one with enough knots in my back to warrant a badge from the Boy Scouts. Luckily one of the best things to do in Williamsburg is to stop at The Bathhouse to relax and unwind. The spa pulls all the stops to make you comfortable. Located inside a former warehouse, it has a cool and mysterious allure. There’s an array of pools and saunas to loosen up your tense muscles but you can take it a step further.
The Bathhouse offers a slew of massages (that can be booked as a couples massage, too) to get you back to tip-top shape. And as if it’s not already one of the best things to do in Williamsburg, The Bathhouse even offers scrubs. They have packages you can book where you can exfoliate your body and leave you looking like a newborn baby.
Catch Some Sun at McCarren Park
Address: 776 Lorimer St, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Right on the border between Williamsburg and Greenpoint, McCarren Park is a hotbed for anyone hoping for a breath of fresh air. It’s impressive that the more than 100 year old park has managed to remain a popular stomping ground for locals.
The park has plenty of fields and courts that enable you to partake in a variety of sports. The ability to play soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball all within the park makes visiting one of the best things to do in Williamsburg. As you’d expect, this is also one of the best things to do in Williamsburg with kids. With tiny NYC apartments the park is a gem that provides energetic littles to burn off some steam.
The park even has a pool! Since it’s operated by the city you can enjoy one of the best things to do in Williamsburg for free, the pool will only cost you a brief wait in line! For opening dates and FAQ’s check the NYC Park’s website.
Enjoy Some of the Best Pasta in Brooklyn at Misi
Before I receive any hate mail, yes I am fully aware Misi is a new kid on the block in a town full of historic Italian restaurants. However, I’d be remiss not to mention it as one of the best things to do in Williamsburg, the food is damn good!
Misi makes all their pasta by hand and every bite is a testament to their skill. I’ve tried the spinach and mascarpone filled tortelli, sheep’s milk ricotta filled occhi, and buffalo butter fettuccine and making me choose just one is akin to making me pick a favorite child.
And do yourself a favor, when visiting make sure to order the whipped ricotta toast, you’ll thank me later. Pair it all with a glass of wine and you’ll understand why enjoying a meal at Misi is easily one of the best things to do in Williamsburg!
Go on the Hunt For the Best Coffee Shop
Sure, going from bar to bar is a good way to spend an evening, but what if you don’t drink or you’re bored on a random Tuesday at noon? To that I say, go cafe hopping! If you’re in the neighborhood and are searching for fun things to do in Williamsburg Brooklyn, I challenge you to bop around coffee shops to find the best one.
Williamsburg is renowned for having some of the NYC’s best cafes. It’s easy to walk the busy streets and come across numerous coffee shops that overflow in the area. You’ll be hard pressed to find a list of things to do in Williamsburg that doesn’t mention the elite coffee scene, so might as well see what all the fuss is about!
Quick round-up of the best coffee shops in Williamsburg:
- Qahwah House
- Partners Coffee
- Hungry Ghost
Further reading: Need more options? Check out 10+ Bold Brooklyn Coffee Shops.
Grab Beers at Brooklyn Brewery
Brooklyn Brewery needs no introduction. This New York City microbrewery has made headlines for their perfectly balanced lagers that can be found in stores across the country, heck I even saw them in a grocery store in Paris.
Visiting has to be one of the best things to do in Williamsburg whether its for a casual hangout or date night. You’re greeted by cozy leather couches, wood-trimed everything and ample picnic tables. Come to think of it, it’s very reminiscent of those epic basement hangouts we all dreamed of in high school.
And as if it wasn’t already one of the best things to do in Williamsburg, the Brooklyn Brewery makes ordering a breeze. Every table is equipped with a QR code, simply scan and place your order. The food and drinks will be delivered when ready!
Locals tip: Brooklyn Brewery offers brewery tours, if interested, you can read about the small batch tours
Hang Out at the Pier
Address: Kent Ave. bet. N. 4 St. and N. 7 St.
There are few places in New York City as relaxing and calming as Williamsburg. Having so much access to parks along the water the vibes are simply too elite to replicate. With so many public spaces to choose from, one of the best things to do in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is to plant yourself on the pier and relax.
Formally known as North 5th Street Pier and Park, the space is prefect for anyone looking for solace in this hectic city. The killer skyline views are reason alone to visit. You can expect to see folks using the pathways for daily exercise, picnic blankets being splayed out and every bench filled.
Quick Recap of the Best Things to Do in Williamsburg NYC
- Hang out at the pier
- Grab beers at Brooklyn Brewery
- Enjoy drinks on a rooftop at Westlight
- Go thrifting at Awoke Vintage
- Go on the hunt for the best coffee shop
- Show off your skills with axe throwing
- Go for a stroll in Marsha P. Johnson State Park
- Enjoy some of the best pasta in Brooklyn at Mini
- Catch some sun at McCarren Park
- Celebrate a special occasion at Peter Luger
- Eat your weight in goods at Smorgasburg
- Spend the day at the Bathhouse
- Get lost in McNally Jackson’s
- Grab brunch at Sunday in Brooklyn
- Spend the evening at Domino Park
Further Reading for Williamsburg
Bakeries in Williamsburg: 15 Wonderful Bakeries in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Local’s Love)
Best Pizza in Williamsburg: 10 Spots to Grab The Best Pizza Williamsburg Has to Offer
Where to Drink in Williamsburg: 22 Bustling Bars in Williamsburg
Best Brunch in Williamsburg: 15 Brunch Spots in Williamsburg Brooklyn
Further Reading for Brooklyn
Things to Do in Brooklyn: 25 Best Things to Do in Brooklyn (Perfect for First Time Visitors)
Best Pizza in Brooklyn: 12 Best Brooklyn Pizza Spots That’ll Keep You Coming Back!
Where to Find the Best Bagels in Brooklyn: The 10 Best Bagels in Brooklyn (The Local Foodie)
Breweries in Brooklyn: 10 Thirst-Quenching Brooklyn Breweries Guaranteed to Impress
Things to Do Williamsburg (Helpful Map)
And there you have it folks, my rundown of the best things to do in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. As always, don’t hesitate to let me know if we missed anything.