The gentrification of Williamsburg, which was once the epitome of quirky-hip Brooklyn, gives it much more of a polished Manhattan feel these days – with Michelin-star restaurants, expensive boutiques and shiny high-rise condos populating the riverside blocks. Our recommendations for 24 hours in Brooklyn’s most tourist-friendly neighborhood are guaranteed to be a good time.
If you’re coming from Manhattan, you’ll most likely take the L train to Bedford Avenue. This neighborhood thoroughfare (and the surrounding streets) is the best place to begin your day in Williamsburg.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Kick things off like you’re a local and it’s the weekend – with a big brunch and possibly an early cocktail. Try a healthy and indulgent mix of dishes at Cafe Colette, farm-to-table staples at Egg, or Moroccan-themed breakfasts at Cafe Mogador.
The farm-to-table menu at Egg includes brunch staples like biscuits and gravy, pancakes drizzled with Vermont maple syrup, and organic grits and eggs served with a choice of meat or kale. The restaurant’s farm, which utilizes organic- and permaculture-growing methods in the Catskills area of upstate New York, produces the ingredients used at Egg.
This part of Williamsburg is also home to the coolest boutiques you’ve ogled on Pinterest and Instagram. Shop delicate jewelry from local designers at Catbird, ridiculously hip indie labels at Swords-Smith, and masterfully curated retro clothing at Awoke Vintage.
Awoke is the brainchild of the Australian transplant Liz Power, who sensed a unique opening in the market upon moving to New York several years ago. Although Brooklyn has many vintage stores, most were either very cheap or very expensive, leaving little room in the middle of non-designer but exquisitely made garments and accessories. Awoke fills that niche, so come prepared to walk away with a well-priced treasure you’ve never seen the likes of before.
If the sun is out, stroll north along Bedford until you reach McCarren Park. This green space has a ton of amenities that make it a community favorite, including an outdoor public pool, communal barbecue grills, expansive sports fields and a running track. Grab a to-go coffee from The Bean and splay out on the grass for people- and puppy-watching. Alternatively, if the weather isn’t cooperating, catch a movie with table service at Nitehawk Cinema, enjoy bowling at The Gutter dive bar, or take a tour of Brooklyn Brewery.
Come evening, and you’ll find dinner options abound. Get oysters, champagne and Louisiana specialties at Maison Premiere, Detroit-style deep-dish pizza at Emmy Squared or (arguably) the best steak in the city at Peter Luger. Arrive early and you might even be lucky enough to snag a table at Lilia for Michelin-recommended Italian food.
The after-dark scene in Williamsburg has something for everybody. Catch one of New York’s bubblegum-hued sunsets from the roof of the William Vale or The Williamsburg Hotel while sipping cocktails, and then go to Bembe for salsa dancing or Kinfolk 94 for EDM DJs.
Residents adore this Williamsburg hotel for its panoramic rooftop view, while guests get to experience the beauty tucked inside. Not only is contemporary art found in all of the guest rooms, but the hotel also regularly hosts cross-disciplinary artistic events, including musical performances and conversations with authors.
If you make it to the small hours and still have energy to burn, book a late-night karaoke slot at Lion’s Roar Karaoke Lounge. One Williamsburg couple opens their apartment for hosted, private singing sessions until 4am on weekends. Bring a large pizza and take turns “serenading” the group until your voice turns husky and your eyelids grow heavy.
When you’re ready for bed, make sure your room is booked at the Urban Cowboy – a boutique hotel with a Wild West feel, and by far the coolest accommodation option in the neighborhood. After a few hours of rest, you’ll be ready and raring for your next New York adventure.
You have to fill out a kind of application form to stay at the Urban Cowboy, complete with your Instagram handle. Don’t let that put you off, though – this boutique B&B is so cool that you’ll want to linger and chat with the owners, who have created a Wild West feel complete with giant dreamcatchers, thick woolen throws and copper, free-standing tubs.
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meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.