What’s Going on in Williamsburg | 10 Things to Do and See

Photo of Laura Farrell
9 February 2017

There’s more to Williamsburg than hobo-inspired fashion, gluten-free diets and craft beer; Williamsburg is a scenic Brooklyn neighborhood that takes you away from the Manhattan madness and into a world of local artisans and a laid back yet buzzing atmosphere. Williamsburg is packed with one-of-a-kind shops and landmarks that often go unnoticed by tourists, yet it offers a unique NYC experience. Check out our list of ten things to do and see in Williamsburg.

Blue Bottle Williamsburg | Image Courtesy of Blue Bottle

Perk Up at Blue Bottle

Coffee Shop, Tea , American, $$$
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Blue Bottle Coffee, Brooklyn, New York
Blue Bottle Coffee is located in the historic Lewis Steel Building | © Blue Bottle
Hailing from Oakland, Blue Bottle coffee wholesaler, roaster, and retailer sets another location on its horizon. Now occupying the historic Lewis Steel Building, Blue Bottle utilizes a bunch of classic coffee crafting devices such as a vintage Probat roaster, a 1958 restored Faema Urania level espresso machine, innovative Japanese Kyoto-style ice coffee drippers, and a La Marzocco espresso machine to achieve artisan coffee excellence that leave coffee drinkers around the nation embracing the Blue Bottle cup of coffee.

Craft a Fragrance at CBI Hate Perfume

Museum, Shop
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Brooklyn Brewery
Brooklyn Brewery | Image Courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery
Out of Chris Broscius’s proclamation that he hates perfume — especially the mass-produced, stuffy fragrances found in stores — came CBI Hate Perfume. Hundreds of glass vials line the shelves of his shop, fusing a fragrance chemist lab with a scent museum to offer original, handcrafted, and gender-non-specific scents. Through the use of 700 essential oils, scents can range from sweet to unnatural, with 14 grouped categories. A 15 ml essence will cost around $25, but customers can pay extra for a personal consultation with Broscius to concoct a unique scent.

Tour the Brooklyn Brewery

Brewery, Park
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Brooklyn Brewery lager is spotted all throughout New York, but it’s crafted locally in Williamsburg. For those wanting to learn about this distinguished brew beyond its appeal on the taste buds, The Brooklyn Brewery offers Saturday tours from 1 to 5pm, and hourly Sunday tours from 1 to 4pm. Friday and Saturday nights also welcome a happy hour and tasting events from Craft Beer Pong Tournaments, Breaking Aids Bike Night and more.

Eat at Smorgasburg

Farmers' Market, Market, Food Court, Food Stall, Food Stand, Philippine
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What happens when foodies mimic the Brooklyn Flea? Smorgasburg is born. Rounding in 75 to 100 vendors on the Williamsburg waterfront, packaged and prepared foods as well as beverages are available for all to buy. Regarded as one of Brooklyn’s most popular tourist destinations, Smorgasburg attracts over 10,000 guests every Saturday from 11am to 6pm. Smorgasburg’s season launched in April and will continue until November 17th. Vendors include Bolivian Llama Party, Grady’s Pool Party, and Queen Majesty Hot Sauce among many others.

Walk the Williamsburg Bridge

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Breathtaking cityscapes, views of the East River and a scenic route linking South Williamsburg to Manhattan’s Lower East Side are all available when you walk the Williamsburg Bridge. Two lanes for bikers and pedestrians provide comfortable travel for both parties who wish to take in the view. Cyclists enter a few blocks east of Washington Plaza, while pedestrians enter at Berry Street between South 5th and 6th Streets. Both pedestrians and cyclists may enter at Clinton Street and Delancey in Manhattan. Take in a view of the neighboring Brooklyn Bridge and up Manhattan, as well as an abundance of street art and graffiti.

Sulk in Artistic Expression at Brooklyn Art Library

Home of The Sketchbook Project collection, the Brooklyn Art Library incorporates a reading room where you can dive your nose into a book or enjoy a hands-on artistic experience attending artist presentations. An estimated 12,500 sketchbooks from more than 130 countries sit on the selves, including the works of inspirational minds such as Ms. Sumayang and her drawn memoirs, printmaker Steven Peterman, and Web developer Shane Zucker to name a few. For six years the Sketchbook Project has bound art supplies, vintage good, and an intimate glimpse into the imagination of eloquent and innovative worldwide artists. The library is open 11am to 7pm everyday.

Tune Up with Rough Trade Records

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This former HBO prop warehouse has given itself a facelift as the 15,000 square-foot space is now consumed with all things music. From magazines to records to CDs and a sizeable performance space, this London-based label establishes its third store, and claims the title of the largest record store in New York City.

Watch a Film at The Nitehawk Cinema

Cinema, Theater, Movie Theater
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This stylish bar and movie theatre creates the ultimate experience for film lovers. The Nitehawk Cinema has a downstairs bar paired with an upstairs cinema. The bar menu is curated by chef Saul Bolton, and offers a nice mix of craft brews—Brooklyn, Sixpoint, Goose Island—and specialty cocktails. The leather booths, dark features, burnished metal, and minimal movie paraphernalia sets the atmosphere for the bar, while luxurious chairs and triangular tables fill the cinema. The Nitehawk mainly plays indie flicks and certified blockbusters. It is advised to arrive early if you wish to eat, although you can order during the show. Alcoholic drinks are forbidden in the cinema due to New York State Law.

Visit the Music Hall of Williamsburg

Music Venue
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Brooklyn Bowl sign at The Linq
Brooklyn Bowl sign at The Linq | © Daniel Ramirez/Flickr
Overseen by The Bowery Present, the Music Hall of Williamsburg is a tri-level venue in an industrial-chic setting that host’s variety events from a small sit-down dinner to a large cocktail reception. The venue is equipped with a main ballroom and large stage, fantastic sight lines, green rooms, gorgeous bathrooms and industry-leading sound and lighting equipment. Top-notch indie acts and veteran critical favorites are sure to pack the house.

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