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

One of New York City’s five boroughs, Brooklyn 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, but also abounds in a variety of recreational, cultural and historic attractions.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s main entrance is literally across the street from the train station. Interesting pathways lead to different styles of gardens with more variety than one would hope to see. A wonderful place to just hang out! Don’t come thinking you will lay out a blanket, because they won’t allow it anywhere.

The Brooklyn Museum is adjoining, and has some great permanent collections: the 3rd or 4th largest Egyptian collection in the world, the permanent installation of Judy Chicago’s “Dinner Party”, a nice selection of American art and lots more. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Public Library, with its extremely large entrance looking right out onto Grand Army Plaza, proves that libraries are clearly not “dead”. An amazing borough resource with all sorts of things going on, plus the books! And then there’s the gorgeous architecture, so stop by and be amazed.

For a detailed view of Brooklyn and its other key attractions, such as the sprawling Dekalb Market Hall, the popular New York Transit Museum, or the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, follow this self-guided walking tour and explore at your own pace.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

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: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.4 Km or 3.4 Miles
Author: doris
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • Brooklyn Museum
  • Mount Prospect Park
  • Brooklyn Public Library
  • Grand Army Plaza
  • Dekalb Market Hall at Brooklyn Downtown
  • New York Transit Museum
  • Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Brooklyn Botanic Garden

1) Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Rated as one of the best botanical gardens in the US, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden is a safe, clean and well-manicured park – a quiet oasis in the middle of the bustling city. Commissioned in 1910, this 52-acre area houses a variety of specialty gardens and has over 10,000 species of plants placed in unique themed landscapes. Among them are 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. There is also a Cherry Tree walk and esplanade with over 200 species of Asiatic Cherry trees. The best time to visit the BBG is late April when the annual cherry blossom festival gets underway.

Other unique gardens within the 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 park, 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 periodical festivals and special occasions, so check their calendar online to find out what's in bloom at the moment.

The entry is free on Friday mornings, before 12 PM, but the prices are very reasonable anyway, considering how much there is to see. There is also a great shop and a cafe.
If you look for serenity, go during a week, if you can, when there's nothing "on" so you can wander around in quiet, absorbing the beauty with every turn of the path. This is especially true of the Japanese Hill and Pond Garden, which are simply magnificent.

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

2) Brooklyn Museum

With the space of 560,000 square feet (52,000 m2), the Brooklyn Museum is New York's second largest in physical terms and by far one of the most interesting. It holds a collection of roughly 1.5 million items, ranging from historic objects to artifacts and pieces of architecture. Here, alongside permanent exhibitions, featuring objects from around the globe, you will find temporary themed exhibits that run for six months or more.

Opened in 1897, the museum was initially called the Brooklyn Institute for Arts and Sciences. The Beaux Art style 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 complex.

A significant part of the collection is antiquities, specifically those from Egypt – spanning over 3,000 years. African, Oceanic, and Japanese art make for notable collections as well. American art, starting from the Colonial period, has a strong representation either. Several rooms within the museum display parts of historic houses reconstructed in a bid to showcase the evolution of art and architecture through ages. Among the presented artists here are the likes of Mark Rothko, Edward Hopper, Norman Rockwell, Winslow Homer, Edgar Degas, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Max Weber. The museum also has a "Memorial Sculpture Garden" featuring salvaged architectural elements from all over New York City.

On the first Saturday of a 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 cafe located on the premises.

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, convenient 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 a month (except September): 11am-11pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Mount Prospect Park

3) Mount Prospect Park

Mount Prospect Park, the second highest point in Brooklyn, once offered sweeping views over New York City as far off as New Jersey. Very much so, in fact, that in 1776 the location was used as a lookout point by the Continental Army.

The park was commissioned in 1860 after a reservoir was built on top of the hill, in 1856, and the Brooklyn City Council decided to maintain the surrounding land as a park to preserve the purity of the water. Thus, Mount Prospect Park came into being, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. In 1996, major changes occurred, thanks to the efforts of the City Council Member, Mary Pinkett, seeing playground for children reconstructed with new play equipment, safety surfacing, picnic tables, swings, a new fountain and drainage system added.

Sadly, today the park no longer commands the same view as it did centuries ago, as a lookout post. Still, the place is quite enjoyable, dog-friendly recreational ground suitable for the whole family. Tai Chi lessons are given here every morning and the playground gives hours of entertainment for kids. Also, the park is located conveniently close to some important cultural venues like the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Public Library.
Brooklyn Public Library

4) Brooklyn Public Library

Designed to resemble an open book, the Central Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library is one of the largest Art Deco buildings in the United States. Originally designed in Beaux Art style by architect Raymond Almirall, it was later redesigned, in an Art Deco style, by architects Githens and Keally after World War I and the Great Depression made the construction too expensive to complete in the 1930s. As a result, all the original expensive ornamentation was removed and the third floor demolished.

The present building comprises two floors with a space of over 350,000 square feet, and includes a large auditorium, called the S. Stevan Dweck Center for Contemporary Culture, used for hosting lectures, public readings, musical concerts and family events. Other than housing the administrative headquarters of the Brooklyn Public Library System, the Central Branch serves about a million readers each year.

Upon entry, visitors are greeted with a massive “gate” which is decorated with a variety of gold icons, including various historic and literary figures, such as Moby Dick and Walt Whitman. Other than the traditional rows of books covering a universe of topics, this library offers computers for research and plenty of seating. The staff are very helpful and cheerfully offer assistance to the visitors.

Why You Should Visit:
The Central Branch library is a great space to duck out of the summer heat with small kids. The children's section provides "bundles" on a range of topics which makes it easy to gather books for a curious toddler who doesn't have the patience to locate books but can spend hours in this friendly environment. Books, toys and brightly painted murals on the walls make it a true hidden gem of Brooklyn!

You can also obtain a passport in a very short time at this library. There is a fee for obtaining your passport, but it sure beats dealing with the wait at a post office and other locations.
Avoid the bathrooms if you can, they are the worst kept secret of the neighborhood and are used by runners and park goers in addition to library patrons.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Grand Army Plaza

5) Grand Army Plaza

Grand Army Plaza forms entrance to Prospect Park, Brooklyn, and is dominated by the ornate Arch of the Soldiers and Sailors crowning the gateway. The plaza is named after the Grand Army of the Potomac, otherwise known as the Union Army – victors in the American Civil War. When it was first built in the 1860s the space was simply called The Plaza, and was the first traffic free parkway in the world that connected a park with the main roads.

The Arch of the Soldiers and Sailors was dedicated and the plaza was renamed in 1892. Today, the plaza is halved by 59th Street, with the northern half featuring a gilded bronze statue of General William Tecumseh Sherman, one of the Civil War heroes, and the southern half featuring the Pulitzer memorial fountain, a gift from the Pulitzer publishing family. A great monument to the Civil War period, Grand Army Plaza is studded with many busts and monuments of prominent American statesmen and war heroes and, as such, is an attraction for those who love history.

On Saturdays it hosts a popular farmers' market with lots of stalls and interesting people. As one of the centers of the fabulous borough, with tonnes of restaurants and cafes, plus a nice green respite just steps away, this place is a definite must see for anyone visiting NYC.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Dekalb Market Hall at Brooklyn Downtown

6) Dekalb Market Hall at Brooklyn Downtown

Brooklyn's own version of the Chelsea market (albeit somewhat smaller), DeKalb Market Hall is a new major addition to the culinary map of the United States fit to beat all the other food markets out there hands down. Located in the City Point development in downtown Brooklyn, DeKalb houses an array of local and regional food outposts serving so many different cuisines that you'd be struggling to know where to begin.

Want a jerk chicken? – done; steam buns? – you're covered; pierogi and kielbasa? – just like they make it back in Poland; and that’s just to start. With more than 40 trendy and delicious places under one roof, you simply can’t go wrong at DeKalb! There are Asian vendors selling ramen, noodles and everything in between, a bakery, a great bar selling craft beer on a tap and in cans, many dessert places, a BBQ, Hawaiin comfort food, a cheesebar, a creamery, hamburgers, you name it. They even have a Katz's Delicatessen here saving you the trouble visiting their iconic, crazy-busy original Lower East Side location if you want.

As an extra bonus, there's even a Trader Joe's to go shopping at afterwards – very convenient! And what's more, DeKalb also hosts daily entertainment and programming, with a custom show kitchen and a stage for live concerts which only adds to the great vibe. The place isn't too brightly lit, has a perfect size (quite big actually!) and has other sit down restaurants (and even a Whole Foods Market!) at the edges, plus communal seating areas, chairs, tables and benches all around. The food and the atmosphere are great, and there literally is something for everyone – meat lovers, vegetarians, vegans alike. Visit here, you won't regret!
New York Transit Museum

7) New York Transit Museum

The New York Transit Museum on – or rather under – Schermerhorn Street in Downtown Brooklyn is dedicated to the history of NY's transport system.

Head down the stairs into a de-commissioned, but beautifully renovated 1936 subway station to view an incredible array of vintage subway cars, exhibitions about the underground tunnel systems and the people who built them, plus antique street-level buses and trolleys. There are also fascinating displays of ticket machines, fire hydrants, and signage.

If your visit to Downtown Brooklyn falls between Thanksgiving and New Year, don't miss the Nostalgia Train and taking a ride on one of the vintage, but fully operational, 1930 R1/9 cars through nine stops on the subway system.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Fri: 10am–4pm; Sat, Sun: 11am–5pm
Closed Mondays and major holidays
Brooklyn Heights Promenade

8) Brooklyn Heights Promenade

If you’re looking for different and uncommon – but picture-perfect – views of the Manhattan skyline, the East River, and the Brooklyn Bridge, don’t hesitate to head off to this area. Easily the most scenic spot in Brooklyn, the Promenade also overlooks Brooklyn Bridge Park, which offers an additional destination to relax and appreciate the vantage points along the waterfront.

The pedestrian walkway stretches nearly two thousand feet, and while much of it is a flat, elevated platform, it actually consists of four stories. Despite the somewhat confusing topography, the Esplanade is certainly walkable.

There are several benches lining the path, and people make good use of them, whether they're reading, conversing over coffee with a friend, or just sitting and enjoying the view.

Oddly, although the Promenade is built over the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the noise doesn't ruin the calm, reflective atmosphere. If anything, it's a reminder that these peaceful places exist amid the hustle and bustle of everyday life in New York City.

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.
Times Square to Central Park

Times Square to Central Park

A leisurely self-guided stroll from Times Square to Central Park will take you to some of NYC’s prominent locations, each worth visiting in their own right.

At 49th Street, Fifth Avenue lives up to its lofty reputation with the Rockefeller Center, one of the world’s biggest business and entertainment complexes, and a triumph of Art Deco architecture. Like the neighboring Times Square, the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
New York's Central Park Walking Tour

New York's Central Park Walking Tour

The first public park built in America and the most famous in the world today, Central Park has been called the lungs of New York City – literally “central”, it is where Manhattanites go to get a sense of space and air. Plan for at least half a day to wander along its many pathways, take a rowboat on the water, enjoy the landscaping and the numerous man-made wonders, spend some time at the...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
NYC's Chinatown and Little Italy Walking Tour

NYC's Chinatown and Little Italy Walking Tour

New York's Little Italy and Chinatown were places that attracted Italian and Chinese immigrants in the late 1800s, with densely packed ethnic communities having grown around them, as they brought their customs, food and language. In the 1960s, however, right around the time that Italians stopped coming to the city in large numbers, Chinese immigrants did the opposite, hence why Little Italy...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Columbia University Walking Tour

Columbia University Walking Tour

Established in 1754, Columbia University is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest in the U.S. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence, a member of the prestigious Ivy League, and is ranked among the top universities in the world.

Columbia's main campus was designed along Beaux-Arts planning principles and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
NYC Greenwich Village Walking Tour

NYC Greenwich Village Walking Tour

The tree-lined streets of Greenwich Village with its cafes, bars and restaurants, jazz clubs and Off-Broadway theaters amid the brownstones will enthuse you as a visitor. Writers and poets, artists and radicals, runaway socialites, and others seeking freedom from conventional lifestyles have long flocked to this spot, lit most famously by the counterculture figures of the 1950s and '60s: Jack...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
George Washington's New York

George Washington's New York

While not really a New York fan himself, George Washington held the city in high esteem, calling it “a post of infinite importance,” and is even credited with coining the term “New Yorker”. The scene of some of Washington’s greatest military trials and political triumphs, NYC is a home to several important sites associated with his life and career, such as Fraunces Tavern, Bowling Green,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Bar Tour of Lower East Side, New York City

Bar Tour of Lower East Side, New York City

The Lower East Side has been described the most livable neighborhood in NYC. Unique and dynamic, LES has boutique shops, cafes and restaurants alongside great bars and museums.In this historic neighborhood, residents strive to preserve its roots. Here, you can find young professionals who challenge...
NY Villages Best Tea and Coffee

NY Villages Best Tea and Coffee

This is a guide to the best tea and coffee shops and houses in the East, West, Washington Square and Greenwich Villages of Manhattan. None of these are chains, so tourists looking to avoid Starbucks can find sanctuary in this app. All of these run the gamut between W and E 14th Streets, and down 1st...
NYC Souvenir Guide: 15 Authentic New York City Products to Take Home

NYC Souvenir Guide: 15 Authentic New York City Products to Take Home

In keeping with the song, one might think that, if they can make it in New York City, they can make it anywhere. Well, not always... Some of the things made in New York City aren't made anywhere else, and you'll definitely want to try or keep at least some of them to prolong your NYC...
NYC Beer Tour

NYC Beer Tour

There are many great places to drink in New York City. Still, discerning connoisseurs are likely to find themselves awash in a sea of mediocre beer without first gaining a proper lay of the beer land. For those whose curiosity and taste buds urge them to venture beyond ubiquitious draft staples like...
9 Best Drinking Places in Upper West Side, NY

9 Best Drinking Places in Upper West Side, NY

With “Bar Tour of the Upper West Side” sample a cross section from NYC’s great gamut of drinking establishments, including a Belgian Brasserie, a wine bar, Irish pubs, and one dive — just for fun! These spots offer something a little extra, like craft beers, inspirational artwork, a chance...