With a population of over 2.5 million people, Brooklyn is the third most populous city in America - right after Los Angeles and Chicago! If you're thinking about moving to Brooklyn, then you're certainly not alone. iconic New York borough has plenty to offer its residents with it 69.5 square miles size too!
But Brooklyn is so much more than just a hipster playground, contrary to popular belief. Kings County is rich in history, with evidence of different immigrant communities everywhere you look. These enclaves have made delicious contributions to the borough over the years, and as a result, it is now the most ethnically diverse county in America.
With its exceptional schools, growing employment sector, and strong sense of community, Brooklyn continues to attract new people and families from all across the country. Here's what you need to know about moving to Brooklyn if you're thinking about it.
1. The neighborhoods of New York are well-known for a reason.
Many of Brooklyn's most famous areas are well-known even to those who have never visited the borough. Here are five noteworthy places in Brooklyn to explore as you decide where to live.
Discover Brooklyn's Williamsburg Neighborhood
Williamsburg is the face of Brooklyn, appearing in many films and TV shows. If you want to experience hipster culture firsthand, then this is the neighborhood for you. With plenty of nightlife options, brunch spots, art galleries and dance clubs, there’s always something to do in Williamsburg.
Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass or DUMBO is where those famous street photos of the Manhattan Bridge are taken. This area is recognized for its spectacular city views, a wealth of technological startups, art galleries, and happening markets.
If you're looking for an intimate community with excellent schools while still being close to all the action, Park Slope is perfect for you. With its iconic buildings and brownstones, young families and couples flock here. You'll be only a stone's throw away from Prospect Park, Brooklyn Academy of Art, and the Central Library when living in Park Slope. Plus, some of the best restaurants in all of Brooklyn are right at your fingertips!
If you're looking for a slice of history, then explore Brooklyn Heights with its pre-Civil War brownstones and grandiose churches. The promenade is especially popular on the Fourth of July where locals and tourists pack in to watch the fireworks.
Stuyvesant Heights, Brooklyn
If you're ever in New York City and are looking for some great African-American culture, then this is the neighborhood for you. It has classic Southern restaurants that will give your taste buds a treat. You can also explore various Caribbean flavors here too! In addition to good food, Bedford-Stuyvesant boasts lovely Victorian architecture as well as brownstones and different historic districts.
2. The cost of living in Brooklyn is expensive.
In October 2019, Streeteasy found that Brooklyn's average house prices were around $700,000 while the average rental price per month was about $2,700. So if you're looking to move here, get ready to do some serious research on neighborhoods - it'll be worth it in order to find a place you love at a good price.
Brooklynites are also loyal customers to their neighborhood businesses, cafés, restaurants, and bars. Before deciding, consider all of your alternatives and visit multiple areas.
3. Public transit in Brooklyn is the best way to get around.
The New York City subway and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) are two of Brooklyn's favorite pastimes, but the subway is still the quickest and most dependable way to get around town. There's a reason why the NYC subway is internationally renowned: It costs just $2.75 per trip to go anywhere in Manhattan at any time of day or night. In Brooklyn, there are 170 subway stations, with Atlantic Terminal being the main transit station served by the 2, 3, 4, 5 B D N Q R W trains.
Secrets the Locals Know About New York City's Subway System
While the subway lines are all important, certain ones are more vital than others. While some lines, such as the 4/5/6 and 1/2/3, operate on a regular basis, others — notably the notorious R and G trains — have a bad reputation among riders. According to a research by The New York Times , The F train has the lowest on-time performance of any subway line.
The MTA is taking active steps to return the subway system back to its glory days. However, residents should still anticipate delays and plan their commutes accordingly by incorporating additional time into their schedule or bringing a form of entertainment such as a book or podcast.
There are also several public transportation options in Brooklyn.
Though the subway is people's Number 1 form of transportation in Brooklyn, don't forget about all the other ways to get around.
If you're in Brooklyn and need to get somewhere, consider taking the bus instead of another mode of transportation. With 55 routes throughout the borough, there's bound to be a bus that can take you where you need to go. Just make sure to download the MTA's Bus Time app so that you know when buses will arrive and leave.
By using a public bike share network, residents of Brooklyn can explore their cities on two wheels with ease.
In 1894, the first bike path in America was built along Ocean Parkway, one of Brooklyn's major thoroughfares. Today, there are over 300 miles of bicycle lanes in Brooklyn, making it one of the most cyclist-friendly places in the United States. If you don't have a bike yourself, don't worry! You may rent a Citi Bike (NYC's very own bike share system) instead. For a—literally— breathtaking perspective, explore Prospect Park, the waterfront, or even cycle across the Manhattan Bridge.
Cabs in NY
In Brooklyn, you're far more likely to get a green taxi than a yellow one. Green cabs are only allowed to pick up passengers in the outer boroughs, such as Brooklyn and the Bronx. If you don't see many yellow cabs in your area, don't be alarmed. These days, most people choose Uber or Lyft because of their convenience.
From Williamsburg, this trip offers passengers a journey across the East River to Brooklyn.
Ferries were once a popular way to get around the city, but they declined in popularity in the 1960s. In 2017, though, ferries began having their renaissance. By 2018, 9 million people rode NYC Ferry annually, and that number is only expected to grow as the ferry system expands and new stops are added throughout the city. For residents of Brooklyn's large waterfront, the ferry may be the most fun (and quickest!) method to get around in Brooklyn or go into Manhattan on those hot summer days. You may see Downtown Manhattan, Governor's Island, and the Statue of Liberty while paying the same price as using public transportation.
How to Own a Car in Brooklyn
Street parking in Brooklyn is possible but difficult if you don't have a parking permit. New York City is the only large city without a residential street parking permit system, Gothamist journalist Stephen Nessen writes. If you're moving to Brooklyn and plan on bringing your car, depending on what neighborhood you choose to live in will determine how difficult it is to find street parking. Unless you're willing to spend around $200-$300 monthly for a parking spot in a garage, street parking is probably your best option. In areas with mostly young professionals who prefer getting around by bike or train, finding an open street parking spot isn't too difficult as long as you know when your block's scheduled street cleaning takes place - twice weekly in Brooklyn. The competition for street parking can be tough in areas where most residents own SUVs for taking the kids places. You may find yourself having to drive around the block more than once or twice.
Is it worth bringing a car to Brooklyn?
A car isn't required in Brooklyn, since the subway can take you just about anyplace. However, if you wish to bring one, don't be concerned: in Brooklyn, parking isn't difficult. You'll simply need to get comfortable with the borough's parking signs and alternating side parking regulations in order to avoid steep fines.
4. Because of its four-season climate, dress appropriately for Brooklyn.
After relocating to Brooklyn, you will find yourself spending more time outdoors than residents of most other cities. The IBTimes reports that "New York City residents often walk more than people living in any other U.S. city." This is also true for Brooklynites, so it is crucial to dress appropriately for the weather conditions.
Every season, you'll need comfortable walking shoes. Bring a lot of them—New York City is notorious for wearing out shoes, as you'll be walking all day. It rains often in Brooklyn, so bring an umbrella with you as well. There are four distinct seasons in Brooklyn, and you'll need clothing suited to each of them:
It is winter.
Hats, gloves, and scarves are also required accessories. Thermals are also a good idea since they reduce the chill on those windy days. In addition, some snow boots will come in handy. While Brooklyn does not experience as much snowfall as other midwestern cities, it can become quite slushy, making it difficult to walk to work with wet feet.
Starting in early spring and continuing through the summer, layering is crucial because the weather can be chilly and unpredictable well into the season. You'll want to keep long sleeves, sweaters, and pants on until about April. It will frequently rain, so make sure to bring a raincoat or a trench coat with you.
Summer in Brooklyn
The temperatures in Brooklyn will be warm in May and June, but it can get uncomfortably hot and humid by July through September. To make sure you're comfortable during these months, pack shorts, tank tops, light pants, and sundresses. And when you're headed to Coney Island, feel free to wear your flip flops—but around the neighborhood, most New Yorkers choose sneakers or sandals over flip flops because they break easily and don't protect your feet from things like broken glass on the sidewalk.
Autumn in New York is a jazz standard for a reason. The fall is one of the most pleasant seasons in New York, with vivid blue skies and comfortable temperatures that are ideal for exploring all of Brooklyn. All you'll need until November is a pea coat, scarf, and some comfy boots.
5. For foodies, Brooklyn is a true melting pot.
Brooklyn is home to endless ethnic cuisines, making it a true melting pot. You'll find everything from Jamaican jerk chicken and roti in Crown Heights to dim sum in Sunset Park's "Little Fuzhou" to sticky-sweet baklava in Sheepshead Bay. So no matter what you're craving, Brooklyn has got you covered. With new restaurants always opening, it can be difficult to pick where to go for date night or dinner with family and friends. However, sometimes you just want a classic meal at an iconic restaurant. If that's the case, Brooklyn has a number of great places that have been around for years serving loyal customers.
Iconic Brooklyn Restaurants
- Nathan's Famous: This international food chain has humble origins as a beachfront eatery on Coney Island that first opened in 1916. Today, Nathan's is a landmark and the ideal place to go for beach-goers looking to start summer off right with a fantastic frankfurter.
- Bamonte's: A fixture in New York since 1900, this red-sauce Italian restaurant with white tablecloths is beloved by its loyal customers, some of whom have been coming for over 40 years.
- There's more to explore at Junior's Restaurant than just cheesecake. The world-famous eatery has been around since 1950, and it offers an old-school diner ambiance along with classic Jewish deli dishes like pastrami sandwiches.
- Tom's Restaurant: A classic diner that has been serving up egg creams and cherry-lime rickets to Brooklyn since 1940. The all-day breakfast is not to be missed, but the real attraction is the fun retro kitschy decor. Just make sure you get there early on weekends!
More Brooklyn Food Favorites
Brooklyn is an excellent place to go if you're looking for some authentic Italian cuisine—especially pizza. If you can't decide whether you want a crispy thin crust or a soft Sicilian slice, don't worry! You'll be able to find whatever type of pizza tickles your fancy at any one of the renowned pizzerias scattered throughout Brooklyn, such as L&B Spumoni Gardens in Bensonhurst, Totonno’s in Coney Island, and Di Fara’s Pizza in Midwood. However, try not to get too caught up on trying to figure out which establishment reigns supreme-simply enjoy exploring all that each has to offer.
If you love food and planning your weekends around great eats, then Smorgasburg is a must-visit. This iconic food market can be found on the Williamsburg waterfront during summer saturdays and in Prospect Park on Sundays. Or, if it's winter time, head indoors to the Smorgasburg Winter Market where you'll find over 100 local vendors grilling up some deliciousness! Not only will you get an incredible meal, but by supporting small businesses, you're giving back to the community.
6. In Brooklyn, there isn't a concrete jungle of parks and recreation.
After relocating to Brooklyn, one of the most popular things people enjoy is its abundance of greenery. These parks are a haven of peace after a hectic day in Manhattan.
One of Brooklyn's largest and most popular parks, Prospect Park is perfect for a picnic, stroll, or jog.
Most people think of Central Park when they Manhattan, but if you ask a Brooklynite, they'll tell you that Prospect Park is where it's at. With 90 acres that include the borough's only lake, a zoo, soccer and baseball fields, Litchfield Villa, and the Boathouse and Picnic House (both popular wedding venues for trendsetting Brooklyn couples), there's something for everyone at this 1867 park. The Bandshell also hosts free outdoor concerts every summer. Plus, since Prospect Park is more rugged and wooded than Central Park, it provides serenity-seekers with an oasis to escape from city life.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
This 85-acre park runs along the East River waterfront in Brooklyn Heights and is divided into multiple piers, each with its own sports facilities, art installations, lawns, terraces, and playgrounds. You can explore greenways, gardens, beaches, and restaurants without ever leaving Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Green-Wood is a cemetery in Brooklyn, where I am interning.
Though it's not an actual park, Green-Wood Cemetery gives off those same positive vibes with its stunning green hills. Fun fact: In the 1800s, this American tourist destination was so popular that half a million people came every year! "Day-trippers and tourists used to come relax and stroll through the peaceful paths of Green-Wood; in 1860, over 500,000 visitors each year made it the second most popular attraction in New York State," says 6sqft journalist Lucie Levine. Green-Wood Cemetery is still attracting large numbers of visitors today, many of whom want to see one of the cemetery's famous parrots. And don't forget about Brooklyn' beach scene. There are three beaches in Southern Brooklyn: one in Park Slope and two on Marine Parkway.
The name was given to it by an American industrialist, who built a carnival there in the early 1900's. Coney Island is famous for its Wonder Wheel, Luna Park, and its annual Mermaid Parade and 4th of July hot dog eating contest. Every year, millions of people visit Coney Island to spend a day relaxing on the beach or enjoy a meal on the boardwalk.
In Brighton Beach, the sand is both white and creamy.
Brighton Beach is a quieter alternative to Coney Island to the east of it. The Brighton Beach neighborhood, known as "Little Odessa," has a large Russian community. On the boardwalk, Brighton Beach offers great Russian food.
Families in South Brooklyn appreciate Manhattan Beach, which is the least accessible of the three beaches. This beach is less crowded and more peaceful than its neighbors, although it's also the most distant.
7. It's possible to have a great time shopping in Brooklyn without moving out of the city.
Though Manhattan's Sixth Avenue boasts many great stores, Brooklyn has its own unique shopping experience with a variety of stores catering to all budgets and interests, from high-end designers to thrift shops to artisanal cheese shops.
Fulton Mall is an American shopping mall located in
The Fulton Mall is a pedestrian street with stores and eateries that runs through the heart of Downtown Brooklyn. It's regarded as one of Brooklyn's top shopping areas, and you'll find big names like Macy's, H&M, Gap, and Modell's Sporting Goods there.
City Point is an award-winning luxury apartment complex located in the heart of downtown Manhattan.
City Point is a major new development in Downtown Brooklyn that includes a Target, a Century 21, the city's first Alamo Drafthouse, and more. That isn't all, though: if you go down into City Point's basement, you'll discover DeKalb Market Hall, a food hall with several well-known and diverse New York City merchants including Katz's Deli, Fletcher's BBQ, Ample Hills Creamery, and the Arepa Lady.
The Atlantic Terminal was supposed to be the site of a giant baseball stadium for the Brooklyn Dodgers, but the plan fell through in the ’50s. Today, it’s located across the street from Barclays Center and functions as a multi-level shopping mall with Target, Victoria’s Secret Bath & Body Works, Burlington Coat Factory, and Marshall’s. In addition, due to its basement subway station, Atlantic Terminal is easily accessible for those who wish to complete some quick shopping.
The first Century 21
Did you know that the original Century 21 was founded in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn? The business is still located on 86th Street and sells high-end designer clothing and exquisite European accessories to customers from all across the world—if you're willing to dig a little to discover them!
IKEA is a Swedish company that sells furniture and home goods.
IKEA is a Swedish home furnishing store that has opened since 2008 in Red Hook, Brooklyn. IKEA is the ultimate shopping destination for Brooklynites searching for low-cost and apartment-friendly furnishings. This IKEA, in fact, has its own water taxi from Manhattan. However, residents of Park Slope or Borough Hall who do not have a vehicle may take one of the free shuttle buses to get there - just verify that you can carry your IKEA purchases on the reverse trip!
Boutiques in Brooklyn
Williamsburg, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, and Prospect Heights are popular destinations if you want to get away from the big box stores. These neighborhoods are known for their unique boutiques that cater to trend-conscious and environmentally aware consumers as well as artisanal businesses and craft stores for one-of-a-kind presents.
8. There are several great museums in Brooklyn.
Not many people know this, but you don't have to go into the city to enjoy art museums. Brooklyn has some world-famous ones as well that will make your weekends much more interesting, such as:
The Brooklyn Museum is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States.
The Brooklyn Museum is a world-famous landmark and the third largest museum in New York City. The museum’s collection contains over 1.5 million works of art, including Egyptian antiquities, Japanese art, and American art from the Colonial period.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, located in Brooklyn, is a research and teaching institution devoted to horticulture.
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a 52-acre botanical garden in Brooklyn, New York, that attracts over a million people each year. It's known for its bonsai collection, climate-themed plant pavilions, rose garden, and Cherry Blossom Festival. It has more than 200 cherry trees, making it the most popular cherry blossom viewing destination outside of Japan.
The New York Transit Museum is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of urban public transportation history in the New York Metropolitan area.
The New York Transit Museum is a haven for those who love trains, children, and all things vintage. The museum is located in an old-school subway station from 1936 and has rotating exhibits of restored trains. You can even take a ride on one of the 1930s subway cars during the holidays for a truly authentic New York experience that’s perfect for family fun.
Museum of Food & Drink (MOFAD)
Foodies rejoice! The Museum of Food & Drink, or MOFAD, is the world’s first museum completely dedicated to cuisine. Founded in 2015 and located Williamsburg, this innovative space works to preserve endangered regional dishes while educating people about food production and distribution. If you consider yourself a lover of all things edible, add MOFAD to the top your list of places to visit.
The Brooklyn Historical Society is the best place to learn about the history of Brooklyn. Visit the famous Othmer Library, which houses historical papers from around the world, including maps and atlases of Brooklyn. This museum is also a popular wedding location for couples wanting an elegant setting for their special day.
Are you thinking of relocating to Brooklyn, New York?
Whether you're moving to a new city for the first time, traveling with your family, or making a career switch, Brooklyn's culture and diversity will take your breath away. You'll never be bored in a borough this big because there are so many places to explore and people to meet.
If you're downsizing or just need some extra space, look into Life Storage. They offer self-storage for items that won't fit in your apartment, like furniture bulkier items. This is especially convenient if you live in a borough like Brooklyn where space is limited.