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The Ultimate Brooklyn Bucket List for College Students in NYC

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. John's chapter.

There is no place in the world like New York City. From its art museums, tourist attractions, hidden gems and magnificent views, there is something wonderful to discover every day, even for the locals. Despite the many iconic attractions being located in the borough of Manhattan, just over the river and across the city’s bridges, Brooklyn is one of the boroughs you must pay a visit. 

DUMBO (a.k.a. the Brooklyn Bridge)

Nestled underneath the Brooklyn Bridge, DUMBO is a charming district enchanted with a delightful fusion of cobblestone streets, creative galleries and breathtaking views. Start with a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge, then see the Manhattan skyline, the East River and the Statue of Liberty. Underneath the Bridge, wander in or around the Brooklyn Bridge Park, a waterfront oasis where you may have a picnic, take a ride on Jane’s carousel, visit art galleries, shop at the flea market or watch the night skyline. Additionally, DUMBO has various foodie locations to try such as Brooklyn Roasting Company and Celestine. Be sure to grab a snack from one of the food vendors in the area, as well!

Grand Army

Near the Barclays Center, Grand Army Plaza has its Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch right across from one of the city’s largest literary havens, the Brooklyn Public Library. Just a few blocks down is the Brooklyn Museum, where a seamless blend of art and history is portrayed in various captivating exhibitions. On the next block from the Museum is the lush and serene Brooklyn Botanical Garden, an escape from the city’s hustle and bustle and a haven for plant lovers. If you’re craving more greenery, Prospect Park is around the corner and it’s the perfect place for a walk, picnic, bike ride, etc. There are also restaurants nearby such as Olmsted, a restaurant offering a farm-to-table experience, or Tom’s Restaurant, known for its classic Brooklyn diner cuisine.  

Coney Island

Venturing further along Brooklyn’s landscape, Coney Island gifts NYC with its amusement parks and seaside charm. The Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk offers another escape from the chaos of the city where you can soak up the sun, stroll along the lively beach and relish in classic beachside food stands like, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs and Rita’s Italian Ice. Throughout the year events like the Mermaid Parade, Friday Night Fireworks, and Luna Park (one of the amusement parks) invite folks to experience a whirlwind of rides and carnival games. Nearby, the New York Aquarium immerses visitors in the mesmerizing world of marine life by showcasing a diverse array of sea creatures and wildlife. Lastly, don’t miss the chance to take a ride on the legendary Cyclone roller coaster!

Bushwick & Bed-Stuy

Home to the Notorious B.I.G., Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant are two vibrant neighborhoods in Brooklyn filled with artistic expression. Stroll through these streets and you’ll feel the rhythm and rhyme of legendary hip-hop artists’ influence in the air. The neighborhoods are also a canvas for street art, with every corner adorned in colorful graffiti and murals. When you’re feeling hungry, the neighborhoods offer various food spots from soul food joints to pretty cafes. Williamsburg, another well-known Brooklyn neighborhood for its nightlife and cuisine is only a bus ride away.

Bay Ridge

Nestled in the southwestern corner of Brooklyn, Bay Ridge provides stunning views of the Verrazano Bridge connecting Brooklyn to Staten Island. The neighborhood is also home to Japan Village, a food hall and supermarket located in Industry City where visitors can engage in an immersive cultural experience where you can savor Japanese cuisine and shop for authentic goods. Bay Ridge also boasts a wide range of dining options from traditional Italian eateries to Middle Eastern cafes and seafood restaurants along the waterfront. During the holiday season, Dyker Heights transforms into a dazzling winter wonderland with its extravagant Christmas lights displayed amongst its homes. 

After living my entire life in New York City, it’s safe to say Brooklyn is definitely worth visiting. Remember, there’s more to New York City than Manhattan, get out and explore everything the greatest city has to offer!

Sabrina Sarwar

St. John's '23

Sabrina is a native New Yorker attending St. John's University.