Brooklyn Heights neighborhood in New York City.

City Guide / New York City

New York City Neighborhood Guide: Brooklyn Heights

By Ruthie Fierberg | Oct 25, 2021

If you’re thinking about moving to New York City, it can be hard to nail down exactly which New York neighborhood throughout the five boroughs of NYC will be right for you, between Manhattan, Queens, The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.

Brooklyn is actually the most populous of the quintet, and the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood sits just across the Brooklyn Bridge from downtown Manhattan, claiming the area from Atlantic Avenue to Old Fulton Street and Court Street, and Cadman Plaza West to the East River. Within these bounds is the Brooklyn Heights Historic District, the first historic designated in the whole city.

This New York neighborhood is peaceful, with tree-lined streets, cobblestone sidewalks, and a variety of idyllic architecture such as brick Federal houses, brownstones, and charming carriage homes. Its location also means there are plenty of places to relax by the waterfront and take in the picture-perfect view of downtown Manhattan. While living in Brooklyn Heights comes with a higher price tag, the perks are certainly worth it. 

Thinking about moving to Brooklyn Heights? Here’s our guide to the best restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, outdoor attractions, gyms, nightlife, and transportation in the area.

Best restaurants in the area

Brooklyn Heights isn’t exactly a foodie destination, but there are enough restaurants in the area for some great dinners out. Colonie is a bit of a hybrid of American and Italian, combining simple yet flavorful vegetable apps with sumptuous meat and seafood pastas. We recommend trying the fazzoletti! If you like Colonie, hop on over to Gran Electrica, a Mexican restaurant run by the same owners. 

Meat lovers will adore Henry’s End, and if you’re lucky enough to be living in the city during the fall, add their annual autumn wild game festival to your calendar and be prepared to try a delicious menu of seasonal rotating meats. 

Chez Moi is your classic French bistro in the area (with dollar-oyster happy hour during the week!), while Boutros is a high-end Mediterranean spot built for sharing. 

A neighborhood staple for the past three decades, Noodle Pudding offers the best of old-school Italian comfort food (also cash only and without a website—but don’t let that deter you!). If you’re looking for pizza specifically, you’ll want Table 87, home to the original franchise location and the frozen pizza line of thin-crust, coal-fired pies. 

Warm up with a bowl of fresh, homemade ramen at Kogane Ramen. For those who enjoy spice, go for the modern take on Thai food at Pinto or the Indian food at the casual Mint Heights.

Where to get groceries

In the center of Brooklyn Heights, you’ll find Key Foods and Gristedes. Trader Joe’s sits right on the border of BK Heights and Cobble Hill (to the south). Closer to the river is the gourmet Town Market.

Fresh Start Marketplace serves the works but is especially excellent for produce, as well as prepared foods and a bakery. Sahadi’s was first established in Brooklyn in 1895 in Little Syria and has been at its current Atlantic Avenue location since 1948. Find all your traditional groceries plus over 200 bulk bins of dried fruits, spices, nuts, olives, and coffee beans. The shop also serves a variety of delicious cheeses and smoked fish, as well as traditional foods like hummus, kibbe, kebabs, and other prepared foods.

Brooklyn Only Foods opened in 2019 and sells—you guessed it—foods and specialties only made by local Brooklyn independent businesses. Way to shop local!

Where to get coffee

Grab a cup of coffee/art at Kaigo Coffee Room, which features specialty coffees and very Instagrammable lattes. Fresh-roasted coffee from farm-to-cup establishment Devoción and pastries from Colson Patisserie make Vineapple Cafe a great stop for your morning brew (as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner, while you’re at it). You’ll love the garden view! 

You can’t go wrong with outposts of chains like Gregorys Coffee and Joe Coffee Company (which also serves ice cream at this location). If it’s baked goods you’re after with your java, Ebb & Flow Bakery on the waterfront can’t be beat.

Outdoor attractions

Brooklyn Bridge Park is the main event in BK Heights. Stretching from DUMBO (the neighborhood to the north of Brooklyn Heights) down to Pier 6 along the river, the park boasts waterfront promenades, playgrounds, and public art installations. 

By the Fulton Ferry Landing, listen to live music from Bargemusic, the city’s floating concert hall. Farther down, near Pier 1, take in the views at the Granite Prospect, or observe the flora of the Salt Marsh and water gardens. 

Pier 2 is for athletes, as you’ll find basketball, bocce, roller-skating, handball, and more. The Pier 2 Uplands provide a quiet oasis with water features to cool down in the summer and beautiful greenery.

The Pier 3 lawn at Brooklyn Bridge Park is perfect for lounging, or you can spend a fun afternoon getting lost in the installation of the Pier 3 Labrinth. You can also stick your toes in the sand of the beach at Pier 4 (but no swimming!), or wander around the Bird Island nature preserve.

Pier 5 offers soccer fields, while Pier 6 features Swing Valley, Slide Mountain, and the Water Lab for an active day with the family at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

For the best views of Staten Island, Governor’s Island, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the World Trade Center, South Street Seaport, Fulton Fish Market, and the Brooklyn Bridge, walk the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. 

Once you’ve explored the Brooklyn Heights area of the park, you might wish to return for the northern portion that lines DUMBO. On Main Street, visit Pebble Beach, or climb the outdoor bouldering facility The Cliffs.  Farther down at the Empire Fulton Ferry, relax on the Fulton Ferry Lawn, take a ride on the 100-year-old Jane Carousel, and stroll around the Max Family Garden. Away from the water, enjoy the flowers of Cadman Plaza Park and pay respects at the Brooklyn War Memorial. 

Local gyms and workout spots

Equinox has a Brooklyn Heights location, as does Orangetheory. One of Eastern Athletics’ two locations is in Brooklyn Heights—and it’s the one with the spa (score!). You’ll find personal training, a pool, pilates, squash courts, billiards, and table tennis, as well as youth programs. 

Everyday Athlete, which caters specifically to women over 40, is run by Alejandra Belmar, whose practice combines functional strength training, yoga, pilates, cross-training, integrative medicine, meditation, and mindset coaching. 

Form Fitness offers personal training as well as group classes in strength training, banded strength training, and mobility.

Nightlife

Bar-hop along Atlantic Avenue, where you’ll find the divey Montero, the trendy Bohemien Bar, The Long Island Bar, PIPS, Floyd, Le Boudoir, and Elsa. The Bohemian is best if you’re in the mood for a one-of-a-kind cocktail, organic and bio-dynamic wines, and craft beer. The Long Island Bar had been in the Montero/Sullivan family for generations until 2013, when Joel Tompkins and Toby Cecchini, author of “Cosmopolitan: A Bartender’s Life,” restored the watering hole. This bar serves classic cocktails and has a modest but sufficient wine list. 

Italian joint PIPS boasts an extensive wine list and classic Italian cocktails (see: negronis and spritzes). Floyd, NY, is best if you want an activity (aka bocce) with your beer. Le Boudoir is the place for cocktails made with more South American liqueurs like Campari, Pisco, and Cachaça. 

Frozen, fruity, and flavorful drinks lie in wait at Elsa, as does a robust selection of whiskies, bourbons, ryes, scotches, cognacs, tequilas, mezcals, and digestifs. 

Of course, Atlantic isn’t the only street of bars. Go to The Binc, aka Bubble Inc., for a simple yet tasty cocktail or a glass of something sparkly. The Brooklyn Heights Social Club located inside the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge is the closest you’ll get to a dance club in the area, but all you need is one when you have these stunning views.

Things to do

Brooklyn Heights holds onto its tranquil reputation because it’s more of a place to observe and soak in the architecture, history, and views than to get busy. That said, the New York Transit Museum is located in the area and is open Friday through Sunday. Learn about the feats of engineering, technology, and design as you romp around vintage subway cars, city buses, and a timeline of actual turnstiles, as well as rotating exhibits. 

And, if you travel just north to DUMBO, you’ll get some solid retail therapy with the Empire Stores and satisfy your inner art lover with Off-Broadway’s acclaimed St. Ann’s Warehouse.

Transportation

A monthly Metrocard ($127 for 30 days) is the best bang for your buck and works for subways and buses throughout New York City. It’s more common to have a car in the neighborhoods further out in Brooklyn, if at all, but the majority of Brooklynites rely on public transportation to get around New York.

Conveniently, Brooklyn Heights has stops on the 2/3 at Clark Street and Borough Hall (as well as a 4/5 at Borough Hall), an A/C stop at High Street, an R at Court Street all that can take you further into Brooklyn or up to Manhattan. 

Aboveground, you can take MTA buses. As is true in any of the five boroughs, Uber and Lyft are everywhere and convenient ways of direct transport from point A to point B.

Land the perfect apartment in Brooklyn Heights

If you like the idea of moving to an apartment in Brooklyn Heights, Landing offers fully furnished apartments with flexible lease terms, concierge services, seamless transfers, and all the amenities you need to start living in your new home. Browse our available apartments in Brooklyn Heights, or contact us to learn more about how a Landing membership works.

Still looking for the right New York City neighborhood for you? Browse our other New York City neighborhood guides!

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About the author

Ruthie Fierberg

Ruthie Fierberg is an independent arts journalist, editor, moderator, on-camera host, producer, and theatrical consultant based in New York City. She is the creator and host of the podcast Why We Theater on the Broadway Podcast Network, which digs into the onstage works we love to create the offstage change we need. Find more at ruthiefierberg.com and follow her IG: @ruthiefierceberg / Twitter: @RuthiesATrain.