Brooklyn New York Walking Tour, New York (Self Guided)

Brooklyn, one of New York City’s 5 boroughs, occupies the western tip of Long Island and is connected to neighboring Manhattan via the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. The area is known primarily these days for its ethnic diversity; it also abounds in a variety of recreational, cultural and historic attractions. The most notable landmarks include Park Slope, Prospect Park, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Museum and the Central Library overlooking Grand Army Plaza. For a more detailed view of Brooklyn and its key attractions, follow this self-guided tour and explore.
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Brooklyn New York Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Brooklyn New York Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » New York (See other walking tours in New York)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 km
Author: doris
Prospect Park Zoo

1) Prospect Park Zoo

Located in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York, this Zoological Park has over 125 species of animals and birds from around the world. From a small menagerie, the park has grown into a large wildlife conservation center where living exhibits are housed in conditions similar to their natural habitat and endangered species are preserved.

In 1866, a plan for a zoo was made in the west of Prospect Park. At the time it consisted of a wild fowl pond and a sheep pen. In 1890 an informal menagerie was built that housed animals donated by prominent and wealthy individuals. A new zoo was dedicated based on the designs of Aymar Embury II in 1935 within red brick buildings depicting scenes from Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book. In 1988, the facility underwent major restoration and became a wildlife park providing natural habitats and comfortable environments for animals and birds.

Today, it is an education center for children and visitors can view animals from a winding outdoor trail. They can also view indoor exhibits in dioramas and visit a section where children are encouraged to observe wildlife by drawing what they see. There is a barn with domesticated animals to give children a farmyard experience. Conducted tours and education programs are provided by volunteers at the zoo.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden

2) Brooklyn Botanic Garden (must see)

Rated as one of the best botanical gardens in the US, this safe clean and manicured park is a quiet oasis in the middle of the bustling city. The best time to visit is late April when a cherry blossom festival is held every year. The Brooklyn Botanical Garden has many specialty gardens within a 52-acre area. It was declared open in 1910 and has over 10,000 species of plants placed in unique themed landscapes. There is a Cherry Tree walk and esplanade with over 200 species of Asiatic Cherry trees. Themed gardens include a Japanese Garden, a bonsai garden within the Steinhardt Conservatory, a rose garden with over 1500 species and a Plant Family garden where plants are grouped by family to show their evolution.

Other unique gardens within the botanical park include the Shakespeare garden with plants and flowers mentioned in his plays and poems, a fragrance garden for the visually impaired with signposts in Braille and a Children’s garden designed especially for the benefit of young visitors. The Brooklyn Botanical Garden has two gift shops and a garden reference center that serves as a resource to professional and amateur botanists. A Beaux Art style conservatory within the garden called the Palm House serves as a venue for weddings and events with space for over 300 guests.

Why You Should Visit:
The BBG is known for its occasional festivals and special occasions, so check their calendar online for those and also to find out what's in bloom at the moment, on which they keep careful watch.
If you're looking for serenity, though, go during the week if you can when there's nothing "on" so you can wander quietly, absorbing the beauty with every turn in the path. This is especially true of the Japanese Hill and Pond Garden, which are simply magnificent.

Entry is free on Friday mornings before 12 PM but prices are very reasonable considering how much there is to see. There is also a great shop and café.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Fri: 10am-4:30pm; Sat-Sun: 10am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Brooklyn Museum

3) Brooklyn Museum (must see)

At 560,000 square feet (52,000 m2), the Brooklyn Museum is New York City's second largest in physical size and holds an art collection with roughly 1.5 million works. It has a variety of collections ranging from historical objects to exhibits related to art and architecture. It has permanent objects from around the world and hosts themed temporary exhibitions that continue for over six months.

The Brooklyn Museum began as the Brooklyn Institute for Arts and Sciences. It was opened in 1897 and derived its funding from the New York City government. The Beaux Art building was designed by a firm of architects called McKim Mead and White. In 2004, a new pavilion designed by James Stewart Polshek was added to the old structure.

Significant areas of the collection include antiquities, specifically their collection of Egyptian antiquities spanning over 3,000 years. African, Oceanic, and Japanese art make for notable antiquities collections as well. American art is heavily represented, starting at the Colonial period. It has several historical rooms consisting of parts of old houses reconstructed to showcase art and architecture through the ages. Artists represented in the collection include Mark Rothko, Edward Hopper, Norman Rockwell, Winslow Homer, Edgar Degas, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Max Weber. The museum also has a "Memorial Sculpture Garden" which features salvaged architectural elements from throughout New York City.

On the first Saturday of every month, the Brooklyn Museum hosts a free evening of public entertainment. Guided tours by docents are available. Visitors can also browse at the bookstore or relax at the café located within the building.

Why You Should Visit:
This museum has it all: A fantastic permanent collection, which includes Judy Chicago's 'The Dinner Party' (don't miss it!), temporary exhibits, plus a beautiful building, a great central location, helpful staff, free coat check, and other amenities. So if you are nearby or don't want to wait in lines to see Manhattan museums, check it out!

Try taking the elevator to the 5th floor and working your way down for each exhibit as opposed to walking up the stairs.

Opening Hours:
Wed: 11am-6pm; Thu: 11am-10pm; Fri-Sun: 11am-6pm;
First Saturday of the month (except September): 11am-11pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Mount Prospect Park

4) Mount Prospect Park

The second highest point in Brooklyn, the Mount Prospect Park once offered sweeping views of New York City as far as New Jersey. It is small, with a large open field and a separate children’s play area.

The location of Mount Prospect Park was used in 1776 as a lookout point by the Continental Army. A reservoir was built at the top of the hill by the City of Brooklyn in 1856 and it was decided that the land around should be maintained as a park to preserve the purity of the water. Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed Mount Prospect Park around the reservoir. In 1996, major changes were made through the efforts of the City Council Member, Mary Pinkett and the playground was reconstructed with new play equipment, safety surfacing, picnic tables, swings, a new fountain and drainage system.

Mount Prospect Park does not command the view today as it did when it was a lookout post. It is now an enjoyable dog friendly recreation ground for the whole family. Tai Chi lessons are available every morning and the playground gives hours of entertainment for children. The park is located near important institutions like the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Public Library.
Brooklyn Public Library

5) Brooklyn Public Library

Designed to resemble an open book, the Central Library of the Brooklyn Public Library is one of the largest art deco buildings in the United States. The building also houses a large auditorium called the S. Stevan Dweck Center for Contemporary Culture where events like lectures, public readings and musical concerts are held.

The Brooklyn Public Library was originally designed in Beaux Art style by architect, Raymond Almirall. World War I and the Great Depression made the construction too expensive for completion. In the 1930s, architects Githens and Keally redesigned the structure in an art deco style removing all expensive ornamentation and demolishing the third floor of the Almirall building. The present building has two floors with a space of over 350,000 square feet.

Besides serving the public as a library, the Central Library is the administrative headquarters of the Brooklyn Public Library System. Over 300 staff members are employed by the library. About a million people use its services each year and online services where people can access newspapers, like editions of the historic Brooklyn Daily Eagle from 1842 to 1902, are also available. The Central Library building of the Brooklyn Public Library was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Grand Army Plaza

6) Grand Army Plaza

The Grand Army Plaza forms the entrance of Prospect Park, Brooklyn. The ornate Arch of the Soldiers and Sailors is located at the entrance, and the plaza is named after the Grand Army of the Potomac, which was the name of the Union Army during the American Civil War. It was the first traffic free parkway in the world that connected a park with the main roads.

When the laying of Prospect Park was commissioned in 1860, architect Calvert Vaux submitted a plan in 1865 with an elliptical space in front. When it was first built, the space was simply called The Plaza. The Arch of the Soldiers and Sailors was dedicated and the plaza was renamed in 1892 to honor the Union Army who were the victors in the American Civil War.

Today, Grand Army Plaza is divided into two by 59th Street. The northern half has a gilded bronze statue of one of the heroes of the Civil War, General William Tecumseh Sherman. The Southern half has the Pulitzer memorial fountain, a gift from the Pulitzer publishing family. The Plaza is studded with busts and monuments dedicated to prominent American statesmen and war heroes.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Park Slope

7) Park Slope

Park Slope in Brooklyn is regarded as New York City’s most desirable neighborhood. It has many historic brownstone buildings and gets its name because of its location on the western slope of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

The Park Slope neighborhood runs from 15th street in the north to Flatbush Avenue in the south. Prospect Park lies on the Eastern border and 5th Avenue in the West. The location was originally inhabited by the Lenape Native American people. Before it became a peaceful residential location, it was the scene of the battle of Brooklyn in 1776. During the civil era, a lawyer and railroad developer Edwin Clarke Litchfield purchased the land that is now Park Slope and sold it to residential developers. The first residents were wealthy New Yorkers. In the 1950s, wealthy and upper middle class New Yorkers left for suburban locations and it became a working class neighborhood. In the 1960s and early 70s, it was home to hippies and artists. The neighborhood was given the status of a landmark district in 1973 and then saw an influx of upper middle class and wealthy residents once again.

Today, visitors enjoy walking down the leafy streets of Park Slope with its historic brownstones and eateries serving an array of menus. The American Planning Magazine rated it as one of the greatest neighborhoods of America because of its architectural and historic features, diversity of residents, local businesses and an active and involved citizenry.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Greenwood Cemetery

8) Greenwood Cemetery

Green-Wood Cemetery was founded in 1838 as a rural cemetery in Kings County, New York, now in Brooklyn. It was granted National Historic Landmark status in 2006 by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Located in Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn, it lies several blocks southwest of Prospect Park, between Park Slope, Windsor Terrace and Sunset Park.The cemetery was the idea of Henry Evelyn Pierrepoint, a Brooklyn social leader. It was a popular tourist attraction in the 1850s and was the place most famous New Yorkers who died during the second half of the nineteenth century were buried. It is still an operating cemetery with approximately 600,000 graves spread out over 478 acres (1.9 km²). There are several famous monuments located there, including a statue of DeWitt Clinton and a Civil War Memorial. The gates were designed by Richard Upjohn in Gothic Revival style. The main entrance to the cemetery was built in 1861 of Belleville brownstone.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in New York, New York

Create Your Own Walk in New York

Create Your Own Walk in New York

Creating your own self-guided walk in New York is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
New York's Central Park Walking Tour

New York's Central Park Walking Tour

It is the first public park built in America, and the most famous park in the world today. Enjoy a great relaxing time, surrounded by natural beauty, gazing upon numerous man-made wonders - fountains, monuments, sculptures, bridges and arches. Central Park offers over 50 delightful attractions. Take this walking tour to explore the beauties of the Central Park.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.3 km
New York's Top Museums Walking Tour

New York's Top Museums Walking Tour

New York is an amazing city, that offers something for everyone. It is home to top-notch museums of art, architecture, photography, natural history, television, radio and technology. Take this tour to explore the most visited museums in New York City.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.4 km
The Best of New York's Lower Manhattan

The Best of New York's Lower Manhattan

Lower (aka Downtown) Manhattan is a cluster of attractions. Following the September 11 attacks and ensued reconstruction of the area, the skyline of Lower Manhattan has been transformed and dominated by the newly-built One World Trade Center. The site of the former World Trade Center now holds The 9/11 Memorial & Museum. Lower Manhattan contains many other historic buildings, such as the old...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 km
Downtown NYC Nightlife

Downtown NYC Nightlife

No matter what nightlife style you have, New York City has them all. Nightlife in this city is much more a state of mind than anything else, and there are bars and restaurants open at any hour of the day. Here you can find swanky lounges, high octane dance clubs, sophisticated piano bars, old-fashioned Irish pubs and much more. Take this walking tour to experience the amazing New York's Lower...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.1 km
Shopping Tour in New York City

Shopping Tour in New York City

New York is considered to be a shopper's paradise. It features some of the best shopping centers in the world. Each of these places, like Manhattan Mall, Brook Shopping Center or Rockefeller Center offers a unique style with one-of-a-kind shops. Take this tour to explore the most famous shopping centers in New York City.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 km
Chelsea Nightlife

Chelsea Nightlife

No matter what nightlife style you have, New York City has them all. Nightlife in this city is much more a state of mind than anything else, and there are bars and restaurants open at any hour of the day. Here you can find swanky lounges, high octane dance clubs, sophisticated piano bars, old-fashioned Irish pubs and much more. Take this walking tour to experience the amazing New York's Lower...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 km

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Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in New York for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best New York has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting New York's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the New York CityPASS, New York Pass, NY Sightseeing Pass, or New York City Explorer Pass.

A city pass combines all or multiple NYC's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip lines at major attractions, thus saving your precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of New York hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: JW Marriott Essex House New York, Moderne Hotel, The Manhattan Club.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as New York, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of New York typically costs somewhere between US$30 and US$125 per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of New York City in comfort listening in the headsets to prerecorded commentary in a variety of foreign languages, and be able get on and off at any of the stops along the three interconnecting routes as often as you like. The tickets are valid for one, two, three, four or five days and can be upgraded to include a night tour as well.

- Hop a ferry from Manhattan to visit two of New York's most iconic sights - the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. This 4-hour journey is an absolute must for those in the city for the first time as it allows visitors to follow in the footsteps of millions of migrants who reached this way the U.S shore up until the mid 1950s in pursuit of the American dream.

- Take the Wall Street tour created by a former investment banker and walk behind the scenes of something as quintessentially American as NYC financial district to see where billions of dollars change hands every day, making America what it is.

- Explore the home base of two of New York City’s most colorful ethnic communities that gave this fascinating metropolis much of its flavor. Embark on a guided tour of Little Italy and Chinatown to explore the popular restaurants and shops, discover the hidden gems and learn the stories surrounding these and other locations retold by an expert local guide.

- Spare a couple of hours in the morning or afternoon to pedal your way through the beautiful Central Park in NYC on a fun and educational bike tour to observe the park's most famous attractions, watching the surroundings, and learning interesting facts about the landmarks en route from a knowledgeable group leader.

- Take a big bite out of the Big Apple on a half-day food tour of Brooklyn, the newly-emerged culinary center of New York and the national food epicenter. Come and see where the dining trends of today's America are born out of the old ethnic traditions and dispersed further afield. Quench your appetite for a diverse and cutting edge food scene while touring one of New York City's coolest and tastiest boroughs.

Day Trips

If you have a day to spare whilst in New York City, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Niagara Falls, Philadelphia and Lancaster County, or Hamptons on Long Island. For as little as circa US$170 to US$530 per person you will get a chance to discover the beauty and the awesome might of the roaring waterfall, take a daring boat ride behind its curtain, or drive through the beautiful countryside to the home of the Amish people known for their plain living and resistance to modern technologies, or enjoy a day away from the hustle and bustle of a big city in a quaint 300-year-old seaside village, and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight from your hotel or a designated place in New York City and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle (or even boat, whenever applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.