Bordering the nearby neighborhoods of Greenpoint and Bushwick, Williamsburg is a Brooklyn neighborhood filled with a dynamic atmosphere, inviting travelers to shop at unique small businesses, grab a drink at a number of local dive bars, and search for fading facades that offer a glimpse into Williamsburg’s ever-evolving identity.
Here’s our curated itinerary of both iconic and under-the-radar neighborhood locations to guide your walk through Williamsburg.
Bonus: If you’re in the mood for an audio tour around the neighborhood, check out our Williamsburg audio tour, which features the suggested locations below and more neighborhood favorites. You can experience the on-demand walking tour at your own pace, whenever fits your travel plans best.
Shopping: Beacon’s Closet, Artist & Fleas
If you’re looking to add a few vintage pieces to your closet, you’re in luck.
At 74 Guernsey St, you’ll see a sign with a neon baby in thick rimmed glasses, which means you’ve arrived at Beacon’s Closet, a sanctuary for all things preloved and vintage. Carrie Peterson founded the store after moving to Brooklyn from Arizona and has since created a space internationally recognized for its vintage clothing. Stop by and see what gems you can find for sale!
Artist & Fleas (70 N 7th St) is another classic Williamsburg shop you’ll want to check out. Artists & Fleas is a space where makers bring their goods to market, and you can search for some incredible items from over 40 sellers to commemorate your trip to New York.
Indoor Entertainment: The Gutter, Brooklyn Bowl, National Sawdust
Welcome to the neighborhood of dive bars and bowling alleys galore.
The Gutter (200 N 14th St) is a dive bar and bowling alley combo. The alley’s old-school, retro dive bar atmosphere neatly conforms to the neighborhood’s aesthetic -- scruffy but intentional, like a well-kempt beard. If you’re in need of a drink or a turn on the lanes, The Gutter makes for a fun, casual evening.
Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Ave) is quite the elaborate bowling alley with its lit up stage and disco balls welcoming all who walk through its doors. You can check their upcoming events page to see what shows will be on during the time of your trip. One thing you’ll notice about Brooklyn Bowl is the ubiquity of Brooklyn Brewery beer on tap - more on that below!
At 80 N 6th St, you’ll find National Sawdust, a non-profit performing arts and music venue that hosts a number of events year-round. See what they have scheduled here if you want to catch a performance during your trip.
Food and Drinks: Brooklyn Brewery, Smorgasburg, Van Leeuwen Ice Cream
Yes, you can get a drink and grab a bite to eat at the entertainment venues mentioned above, but here are some more options if you’re looking for something quicker as you’re exploring outdoors.
Brooklyn Brewery (79 N 11th St) is hard to miss - you’ll find one of many colorful Williamsburg murals right next to the building. When Brooklyn Brewery first set up shop in 1990, this area was a post-industrial no-man’s land of abandoned warehouses and factories. Today, over 3,000 people visit the Brooklyn Brewery taproom on a normal weekend. Most will crack open a bottle or can and pause a moment to glance at the trademark cursive “B” printed on the label of their lager. This logo was designed by one of the most celebrated designers, Milton Glaser, who also made the I Love New York logo.
You’ll also definitely want to stop by Smorgasburg depending on the season in which you’re visiting New York (check here to see if they’re open during your trip). Smorgasburg is a perfect place to sample a variety of food from local vendors, and you’ve probably seen tons of “food in the air” style Instagram photos from this particular location. Located in Marsha P. Johnson State Park, the area itself is worth checking out for some great views of the city skyline. The park was actually renamed in February 2020 to honor Marsha P. Johnson, a gay rights activist and self-identified drag queen. She was an important figure in the Stonewall uprising of 1969 and a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front.
If you’re visiting New York during the summer months (although they’re open year-round and there’s never a bad time for ice cream), stop by Van Leeuwen Ice Cream (204 Wythe Ave) for a seriously cool selection of flavors. What started as a single ice cream truck has evolved into a multi-million dollar business in 44 states, and founder, Ben Van Leeuwen, is always creating inventive flavors. From limited edition flavors like Kraft Macaroni & Cheese to Sicilian Pistachio, you’re sure to have a difficult time deciding what to order.
History: Hecla Iron Works, Dr. Brown’s, Domino Park
Williamsburg isn’t all dive bars and bowling alleys. For the history buffs, Williamsburg has plenty of hidden details that you need to see.
At 101 N 10th St, you’ll find a handsome warehouse that’s actually a landmarked building called the Hecla Iron Works. It was completed in the late 1890s and was named after Mount Hekla, an active volcano in Iceland. It was originally a design studio and foundry established by two Scandinavians: Niels Poulson who’s Danish and Charles Eger who’s Norwegian. You can spot iconic works that were made right here by Hecla around the city, including the clock in front of the Flatiron building, the Lullwater Bridge in Prospect Park, and the decorative railing of the Dakota on the Upper West Side. You can also see their work in the Grand Central Terminal and the New York Stock Exchange.
Currently a stylish wellness spa, 103 N 10th St used to be the site of the old Dr. Brown’s Soda Factory. Dr. Brown’s is an iconic brand of old Brooklyn. Their labels are snapshots of New York monuments: On their Cream Soda, you’ll see the Statue of Liberty. On their Cel-Ray, the Brooklyn Bridge.
Domino Park is a great place to relax for a bit or enjoy an evening picnic, and there’s also a lot of history here. At first, it might be surprising to see this candy-colored waterfront park so close to a rusted-out former factory. But if you look closer at the barrel-like structures and the teal color scheme throughout the park, you’ll realize that James Corner Field Operations, the park’s designers who are also behind the High Line, designed the park around the factory’s artifacts. For over 150 years, this area was one of the sugar-refining capitals of the world, and today, the remains of the Domino Sugar Factory, which eventually closed in 2004, serve as a backdrop for the newly developed Domino Park.
As always, in addition to these suggestions, wander around and see what catches your attention. You never know which neighborhood spots might end up being some of your favorite New York memories.
If you want to add a bit of Williamsburg to your playlist, we've got you covered. You can check out our curated Spotify playlist, featuring songs inspired by your walk through the neighborhood.
Want to discover more stories in Brooklyn? Explore at your pace, on your schedule with Gesso - browse available tours!
Show us where your curiosity takes you and share your travels with us @gesso.app on Instagram.