This year we’re working hard to create a complete travel guide that compiles all of our favorite travel destinations and the must-visit spots within each. While we typically focus on longer-form guides, we thought it would be fun to mix things up a bit. So, starting today, we’ll be adding in additional city guides that are designed to show you one creative person’s ideal 24 hours in any given city. Today we’re keeping things at home, starting with my personal favorite spots in (North) Brooklyn. Brooklyn is far too big of a borough to see in 24 hours, so I’ve shared the places I actually go to on a regular basis. From the local dog park where I take Hope to the store where I pick up delicious ingredients for dinner, it’s all in here. So if you find yourself in Greenpoint or Williamsburg, I hope this guide will keep you well fueled (lattes at Five Leaves), well entertained (movies at Nighthawk) and well shopped (Moon River Chattel and Sprout Home, to name just a few). I hope to see you around the neighborhood! xo, grace
Click through to read about my 15 favorite spots to hit up in a 24 hour visit to north Brooklyn…
1. Five Leaves 18 Bedford Avenue (at the corner of Lorimer): I get coffee at Five Leaves every. single. morning. Hope and I go to off leash at the same time every morning and then swing by to pick up my soy latte and Julia’s cappuccino. When I’m feeling like a little extra, I get a chocolate croissant. Say hi to Carlos and Austin, the main guys behind the coffee machines. One of our favorite waitresses, Frederica, just left, but our other favorites, Jackie and Lisa, are always there. You can never go wrong with their LEGENDARY ricotta pancakes or the pavlova for dessert.
2. McCarren Park: I’ve always been that weirdo that hung around and watched dogs play in the park when I didn’t even have one yet. Now I look a little less weird walking around with an actual dog by my side. Every morning between 8am and 9am, the cutest crop of dogs come to play without their leashes on. If you’re visiting and on your way to meet someone for breakfast, swing by and enjoy the explosion of cuteness that is off leash. In non-dog-related news, you can also ice skate in the McCarren Park Pool in the winter and swim there in the summer. I prefer just lounging under the trees in the summer with a picnic. Also keep an eye out for summer concerts on the tennis courts!
3. Catbird 219 Bedford Ave: I wasn’t the first person to fall in love with this store and I certainly won’t be the last. I go here, without fail, for Christmas gifts every year and trust it for any jewelry or super-girly need I may have. Lovey-dovey initial rings? Check. Sweet smelling bath salts? Yup. These girls also pretty much created the trend in stacking rings. I love this store so much I even got my wedding ring here. Hooray for Catbird!
4. Moon River Chattel 62 Grand street: This trusted shop is my go-to for bedding, tabletop and hardware. Everything has a “country home” sort of feel and has just the right amount of rustic mixed in. You can buy great new art and design books here, as well as reproduction antique hooks and baskets. Across the street at their Annex you can buy great salvage pieces like barn doors, old desks and beams.
5. Sprout Home and Floral 44 Grand street: This is one of the few shops in my neighborhood (besides Five Leaves) where I’d truly consider myself a regular. I buy flowers here on almost a weekly basis and hit up the separate plant shop in the spring and summer for new potted plants. Sprout has the best and most interesting selection of cut flowers in Brooklyn, period.
6. Nightwood 111 Grand Street: Nadia and Myriah’s woodworking and textile design has the sort of traditional-meets-contemporary feel that Brooklyn is so known for right now. I love their indigo-dyed wooden furniture and Nadia’s wall weavings. Look for special pieces from local artists like brass lighting, too.
7. Smorgasburg (Williamsburg waterfront): I’ve come to prefer the food version of the Brooklyn Flea over the actual flea itself. The vendors are new, exciting and full of great ideas. I love coming here for lunch any time, but it’s especially fun in the spring and summer when you can hop a ride to the Smorgasburg on the East River Ferry. (Don’t miss the Lumpia Shack- that’s my fav)
8. Brook Farm General 75 S 6th S: Brook Farm feels a bit off the main drag in Williamsburg, but is worth the visit. I love their selection of high-quality bedding and towels and their simple but timeless tableware. It’s a great place to go for a housewarming gift or just a little New Year cleaning gift.
9. Nighthawk Cinema 136 Metropolitan Ave: Amy turned me on to Nighthawk, a cool art theater that serves you food and drinks while you watch the movie (often theme-appropriate for the film). Come early- it can be tough to get a seat together with friends or a loved one if you’re too close to start time.
10. East River Ferry (for rides to and from Dumbo): This is the best thing that ever happened to Greenpoint. The G Train is notoriously slow and unreliable, so when the weather is warm, I prefer (no, LOVE!) taking the ferry to spots like south Williamsburg and Dumbo. It’s a gorgeous ride down the East River and a fun way to see the city and get some (relatively) fresh air. You can also bring your bike and take the ferry to midtown and downtown Manhattan and ride on from there.
11. Ash Box Cafe 1154 Manhattan Ave: At the tippy top end of Greenpoint is my favorite lunch spot. Run by a sweet team of people who all wear straw hats with floppy flowers on them, this Japanese cafe specializes in homemade tofu, fresh salads, onigiri and one heck of a killer egg sandwich. It is, without a doubt, my favorite egg salad sandwich around. Be sure to try their house made elixirs if you have time- they’re strong but tasty and helpful if you’re feeling run down.
12. Selamat Pagi 152 Driggs Ave: Selamat Pagi is owned by the same people who created Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream and it is DELICIOUS. We stumbled onto it earlier this fall and fell in love instantly. It’s tasty, affordable and full of great dishes to share. The fried rice is a must.
13. Rachel’s Garden (corner of Nassau and Eckford): This is my neighborhood grocery store. I know, a little odd to include, but it’s so delicious and so chock-full of fresh produce and incredible Polish specialties I couldn’t resist adding it. It’s where we go to buy almost everything we eat and if you spend over $50, you get a free giant chocolate bar.
14. Glasserie 95 Commercial St: This place is blowing up like CRAZY right now. The lines for dinner are super long, but I think it’s best at brunch time. Go early to avoid the line and get TONS of the flaky bread with labneh. It’s addictive.
15. Word Bookstore 126 Franklin St: My favorite local book store, led by an incredible team. They have a wonderful selection of art and food books, as well as great letterpress cards.