As one of Brooklyn‘s off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods, Carroll Gardens offers a plethora of cultural activities – from Shakespeare in the park from Smith Street Stage to cocktails at Clover Club.
Over the years, this historically Italian district has evolved into a much-coveted, upscale neighborhood with not one, but two main arteries lined with indie boutiques, easygoing bars and eclectic eateries (the pizza scene is excellent). The vibe is overwhelmingly family-friendly and wholesome, with kids in strollers and on scooters everywhere you look. We’ve selected the best things to do in this Brooklyn neighborhood.
Clover Club has all the elegance of an Upper East Side bar infused with the relaxed vibes of Brooklyn. It’s the craft cocktails that draw locals in, best enjoyed by the cozy log-burning fireplace. Try the eponymous Clover Club, a kind of gin sour, mixed with egg white to give it that smooth finish. The food is worth ordering, too – try the buttermilk fried chicken “handwich” served with potato chips.
Float down the Gowanus Canal on a canoe. Yes, it does have all the accoutrements of an urban waterway, but there’s beauty to be found in this unique blend of nature and industry: Queen Anne’s lace and other native flora pop up around the shoreline, and you might even spot a beautiful white egret flying between the sailboats. Local faves Ample Hills Ice Cream and Royal Palms Shuffleboard are standing by for post-canoe fun.
The Red Hook ball fields have long been the Brooklyn nerve center for soccer practice, especially promoted by the city’s Latino population. On summer weekends, Mexican, Central American and South American street vendors set up shop, slinging out tamales, enchiladas and arepas. Make a day of it by taking a dip at the enormous Red Hook Pool, one of the largest in the parks system, or stroll down Van Brunt Street, Red Hook’s main thoroughfare with quirky shops, bars and restaurants.
Anne Bauso contributed additional reporting to this article.