During the decade that I lived in Philadelphia, I was lucky enough to have a BFF who lived in NYC (usually somewhere in Park Slope). I’d come up and we’d get drinks, eat brunches, go to shows, shop for vinyl – all the things that make visiting your BFF so much fun. And during that time, we got to experience the best things to do in Park Slope.
A few years ago, she wrote down her advice for me to share with you. But fast forward three years and this list needs updating! So here is her original list with a few new additions updated for 2020.
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The Best Things to Do in Park Slope, Brooklyn
In no particular order…
Explore Prospect Park
Built by the same architects as Central Park, Prospect Park gives Park Slope its name. Full of stuff like a dog beach, a concert pavilion, and a zoo, there’s something for everyone – though when I’m not just meandering around, I go with friends for an impromptu weekend picnic – we have a place known as “the spot” so we know where to meet up in the giant meadows.
This is great for anyone looking for what to do in Park Slope today since you can go anytime and enjoy the park all year.
Hit up the Farmers Market at Grand Army Plaza
Grand Army Plaza’s monument always reminds me of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, but cooler (because Brooklyn). If you’re looking for something to do in Park Slope this weekend, hit up this Park Slope landmark for it’s weekend Greenmarket – my fave place to buy Kale, apples, and Farm-fresh Goat Cheese.
Catch a show at BAM
I love weird theater and dance, author talks, and the occasional live podcast session. BAM provides all of these in spades.
Go Patrick Stewart Spotting
Patrick Stewart famously bought a Brownstone right by the park a few years back, and now seeing him at a café or shopping at Park Slope Food Co-op is a pretty common occurrence for locals
Sip Craft Beer in the backyard at Uncle Barry’s
Uncle Barry’s (A Bar) carries a rotating list of craft beers from all around the US, and their small backyard is perfect for a Saturday afternoon catch up with friends, or before an event at the Barclay’s Center.
Catch an Islanders Game/Nets Game/Circus/Jay Z concert at the Barclay’s Center
This monster arena was pretty controversial when it opened in 2012, but I think it’s been a really great addition to the neighborhood – the lack of street parking on game nights is no match for the money the crowds bring to local businesses. Also, I think it’s pretty.
Pro Tip: this is a great place to look for Brooklyn and New York Souvenirs!
Stuff yourself at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
Growing up in Kansas City, I’ve often been disappointed by the food they call “BBQ” in New York, but Dinosaur Barbeque restores my faith in BBQ. Though its Southern Style, not KC BBQ, the brisket is no joke, and the pulled pork makes me so so happy.
Nibble on Tapas and Cocktails at Blueprint
Blueprint is my go-to for catching up with a friend I haven’t seen in a while. Fancy pants cocktails, a giant wine list, and fabulous charcuterie plates make for a great evening of conversation. And they have a backyard!
Get fancy at Al Di La
This Italian trattoria has been in the neighborhood for ages and is the go-to for really excellent Italian food and wine.
Look for records at Music Matters
Though this shop is tiny, the selection is mighty. And if they don’t have what you’re looking for, chat up the owner, who mans the register and he’ll order it in time for your brother-in-law’s birthday (not that I would know…).
Caffeinate at the Hungry Ghost
Great coffee is easy to find in BK, but there’s something about the chill atmosphere of the Hungry Ghost that keeps me coming back. Also, the “no laptops allowed” rule keeps the good seats open for those of us popping in, not camping out.
Learn about the Battle of Brooklyn at the Old Stone House
The bottom floor of this precisely named building has been turned into a museum about the Battle of Brooklyn in 1776. I used to only hang out in the surrounding park until I learned about the museum after listening to the Hamilton soundtrack a few (hundred) times.
Get Cheesy at BKLYN Larder
They have the fancy cheese, the cured meats, the breakfast sandwiches. Did I mention the fancy cheese?
Chow Down on Bagel Pub Bagels
My cousin regularly makes me meet her blocks away from either of our houses because the bagels at Bagel Pub are a cut above the rest. My fave is Toasted Pumpernickel with Scallion cream cheese, but I hear an Everything with Lox is pretty good too.
Get Brunch at Dizzy’s
Dizzy’s is a pretty classic diner-on-the-corner, but the food is SO GOOD. Get there early, though it fills up fast, and you might have to go to one of the other 800 delicious places to eat brunch. Like Miriam. Or Alchemy.
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth at the Chocolate Room
A favorite for those looking for what to do in Park Slope at night, the Chocolate Room is a classic post-dinner stop for many a first date. However, I think it is great anytime for a quick pick me up, a chocolate cocktail, or picking up a refill for your at-home stash.
5 Things to Pack for Your Trip to New York
The Lonely Planet New York guidebook. It can be kind of a pain to find the major guidebooks once you land, or you’ll find them overpriced. I always like to pick mine up ahead of time.
An Unlocked Cell Phone so that you can use a local sim card while here to help navigate public transportation and when you’re on the road. (For people without American cell phone plans).
Backup Charging Bank for your cell phone since you’ll be using it as a camera, GPS system, and general travel genie.
A Great Day Bag so you can carry what you need with you (like your camera, snacks, water, sunscreen, cash, etc). My current favorite is the Pacsafe Citysafe, which is especially great for New York because it has many anti-theft features designed to deter pickpockets. It also transitions to a night bag more easily and won’t embarrass you if you go to dinner directly after sightseeing all day.
More New York Travel Resources
Headed to New York? Check out my guides to renting a car in NYC, my Hamilton-inspired list of things to do in New York, and how to visit the Statue of Liberty. And of course, if you want New York Instagram captions, check out my massive list of New York quotes and fun New York Puns.
Planning on doing a bit of shopping? Check out my New York souvenir and gift guide.
Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!
Before you leave for New York make sure you have a valid Travel Insurance Policy because accidents happen on the road. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’ll be hanging out in large cities where pickpockets can pray on tourists.
I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for three years, and I happily recommend them. If you get sick, injured, or have your stuff stolen, you’ll be happy to have the ability to pay for your medical bills or replace what’s stolen or broken.