17 Best Neighborhoods in Brooklyn (2022)
- Park Slope
- Brooklyn Heights
- Downtown Brooklyn
- Cobble Hill
- Carroll Gardens
- Bay Ridge
- Sunset Park
- Crown Heights
- Fort Greene
- Red Hook
- Clinton Hill
- Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Read on to learn more about the best Brooklyn neighborhoods and what makes each of them a great place to live.
The best neighborhood in Brooklyn is Park Slope. Park Slope is a quaint neighborhood located on the western slope of Prospect Park that is one of the most well-known, desirable, and safest neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The neighborhood’s sterling reputation precedes it as Park Slope has long been considered among the best New York City has to offer and was even named one of the “Greatest Neighborhoods in America” by the American Planning Society.
Park Slope is one of the best neighborhoods to raise a family in Brooklyn as it has some of the best public schools in the borough. Park Slope is home to an eclectic mix of residents, with picturesque townhouses and row-houses on the neighborhood’s well-manicured, tree-lined streets attracting families looking for classic Brooklyn brownstone homes, while the neighborhood’s thriving entertainment and restaurant scenes appeal to a younger, hipper crowd. 5th and 7th Ave, in particular, are home to many great boutiques, book & record stores, coffee shops, wine bars, and beer gardens. Prospect Park is also a major attraction and a great place to spend a weekend afternoon enjoying a picnic, barbecue, or bike ride.
Cobble Hill is another one of the best places to live in Brooklyn. This beautiful neighborhood is known for its rich history, reflected in its well-preserved 19th-century architecture, built in the Greek, Italian, and Romanesque revival styles, which has led to most of the neighborhood being designated The Cobble Hill Historic District.
Brownstones and row houses line the area’s tree-lined, cobblestone streets creating a relaxed, college-town vibe. With large Italian and French populations living in Cobble Hill, the neighborhood is home to many fantastic restaurants and bars, giving it a unique European vibe, and even plays host to Bastille Day celebrations each summer.
The area around Court Street (and Smith Street, a block over in neighboring Boerum Hill) in particular is a wonderful place to spend a relaxing afternoon grabbing a light lunch on a restaurant terrace or browsing the area’s many trendy boutiques and shops. The northern area of Smith Street has even been affectionately called Brooklyn’s restaurant row by the area’s residents due to its excellent culinary scene. With so much to do in such a picturesque setting, Cobble Hill is easily one of the nicest neighborhoods of Brooklyn.
Another one of the best Brooklyn neighborhoods is Carroll Gardens, which offers its residents the perfect setting to experience quintessential Brooklyn brownstone living with a touch of European flair thrown in. The neighborhood’s tranquil, tree-lined streets and park give the neighborhood a laid-back, relaxed air while its many trendy cafes, acclaimed restaurants, and chic boutiques create a vibrant social and entertainment scene.
Named for Charles Carroll, one of colonial America’s wealthiest men and the only Roman Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, Carroll Gardens has a rich cultural heritage. Over the years, Carroll Gardens has attracted many Irish, Italian, and most recently French immigrants, all of whom have left their mark on the neighborhood, influencing its character with their culture and traditions. This is reflected in the many mom-and-pop businesses and artisanal shops you’ll find in this tight-knit community.
Brooklyn Heights (originally known as Brooklyn Village) is a cozy, residential neighborhood known for its rich history, picturesque cobblestone streets, and stunning architecture. Located directly across from Manhattan, on the banks of the East River, this scenic Brooklyn neighborhood offers residents a convenient commute into the city and jaw-dropping views of New York City’s skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. The neighborhood is also home to Brooklyn Bridge Park, with its lively waterfront Promenade, as well as a great collection of trendy shops, chic cafes, and excellent restaurants.
The neighborhood is often referred to as the epitome of “Brownstone Brooklyn” by locals. The area’s streets are lined with iconic rowhouses, many of which predate the civil war, helping lead to the city’s creation of the Brooklyn Heights Historic District in 1965, the first such district in New York City, to ensure the preservation and protection of the area from unwanted development.
Historically the commercial and civic center of the borough, Downtown Brooklyn has seen a rise in residential real estate development in recent years, with dozens of new luxury condo towers and apartment buildings being built in the district. This residential development makes Downtown Brooklyn the best neighborhood in Brooklyn for finding a luxury rental apartment.
With its central location in the heart of Brooklyn, DoBro offers residents great access to public transportation and a quick, convenient commute to Manhattan, all while being just a stone’s throw away from the action in neighboring hotspots Dumbo, Fort Greene, and Brooklyn Heights. As in other primarily commercial nabes, evenings tend to be quieter, with fewer crowds and nightlife, creating a tranquil, family-friendly vibe. Attractions in Downtown Brooklyn include the Fulton Street Mall, with its many shops, cafes and restaurants, the NYC Transit Museum, and Barclays Center. The Brooklyn Academy of Music is also only a short walk away, in neighboring Fort Greene.
Located in the southwestern corner of Brooklyn and separated from the rest of the borough by the highway, Bay Ridge has maintained a cozy, small-town vibe even as many of the surrounding neighborhoods have gentrified. Known for its stunning waterfront parks that offer up spectacular views of the Verrazano Bridge, Bay Ridge is one of the nicest neighborhoods to call home in Brooklyn. The area is filled with cobblestone, tree-lined streets, and historic rowhouses.
Bay Ridge’s tight-knit community has long made the area popular with families, attracting many who were looking to plant roots in the area over the years, yet in recent times the neighborhood’s relatively attractive real estate prices have made Bay Ridge appealing to a more diverse crowd. This has, of course, led to rapidly rising real estate prices and an influx of new residents moving in from other parts of the city. The R train is the only subway to pass through the neighborhood, but those looking for a more scenic commute can enjoy taking the ferry to downtown Brooklyn’s business districts or Lower Manhattan.
Sunset Park is another one of the best Brooklyn neighborhoods thanks to its waterfront location and its namesake park, which boasts jaw-dropping views of the Manhattan skyline.
This charming neighborhood that was relatively sleepy for many years has quickly become one of the most desirable places to live in Brooklyn. Due to its great location and recent redevelopment, Sunset Park has experienced an influx of new, younger residents along with the businesses that cater to them, particularly in the western half of the district, closer to the waterfront.
Nowadays, the area can best be described as up-and-coming, with Sunset Park West being amongst four neighborhoods named “New York’s Next Hot Neighborhoods” by the NY Times. Overall, Sunset Park is a great place to call home, and there are still plenty of deals to be had on real estate here.
Dumbo, an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, is one of the nicest neighborhoods in Brooklyn, so it’s no surprise that the real estate market is red-hot. The area appeals to New Yorkers with its raw, industrial architecture, picturesque cobblestone streets, relaxing waterfront, and spectacular views of Manhattan.
Formerly a manufacturing district, the neighborhood was colonized by a mix of artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, and creative types who converted its many vintage warehouse spaces into luxurious residential lofts and tech startup offices. This, in turn, helped spark a development boom in the neighborhood, which led to the opening of many chic boutiques, trendy galleries, and a bevy of new bars and restaurants. The development has helped transform Dumbo from a lightly populated commercial district into the hip and flourishing residential district it is today, much like Soho and Tribeca before it. Dumbo is also one of Brooklyn’s safest and most family-friendly neighborhoods, as crime rates are low, and the public and private schools in the area are great.
Crown Heights is a great neighborhood in Central Brooklyn that is home to approximately 143,000 people. The area is best described as up-and-coming, as an influx of new residents have moved in during the past decade as they’ve been drawn in by attractive real estate prices. Crown Heights also benefits from a convenient location in the heart of Brooklyn, giving residents access to plenty of public transportation.
There’s more to Crown Heights than just cheap real estate and a good location. The area is known for its architecture and its many pre-war row houses and brownstones. Crown Heights also has an incredibly diverse population, and residents enjoy a wonderful mix of ethnic restaurants that have given the area a reputation as being a foodie destination. Additionally, folks who live here enjoy the many museums, parks, and green spaces in the neighborhood, including the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Museum, and Prospect Park, which borders this up-and-coming nabe.
With its picturesque tree-lined streets, 19th-century brownstones and open-air flea & farmers markets, Fort Greene may sound like your typical Brooklyn neighborhood, but in truth, Fort Greene is so much more. With its prime location, in the heart of Brooklyn, this district offers residents fantastic access to Manhattan as well as neighboring Boerum Hill, Prospect Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, and Clinton Hill. The neighborhood’s many parks and proximity to the Brooklyn Bridge also make it a biker and walkers’ paradise.
Fort Greene Park, which is named after Nathanael Greene, a revolutionary war general who built a fort in the park, was one of the first public parks in Brooklyn and gave the neighborhood its moniker. Fort Greene is also home to an array of trendy coffee shops, cool bars, and chic restaurants, making it great for foodies. The neighborhood has a rich history and has long been one of Brooklyn’s major centers for arts and culture. Over the years many famous writers and artists, including Truman Capote, Spike Lee, John Steinbeck, and Walt Whitman, have called Fort Greene home.
Located on the waterfront and separated from the rest of Brooklyn by the Gowanus Expressway (I-278), Red Hook has retained much of its historic charm and character. The neighborhood is a throwback to old New York with its red-brick buildings, cobblestone streets, and industrial warehouses. The relative isolation of Red Hook makes it attractive for families and those who want to be part of a tight-knit community.
Red Hook’s overall lack of transportation (the nearest subway station is almost a mile away) has also helped keep rents and real estate sales prices from rising at the dramatic rates seen in nearby Carroll Gardens and other parts of Brooklyn. Lately, however, the neighborhood has seen a wave of new infrastructure being built, including a new ferry service to Manhattan and other parts of Downtown Brooklyn as well as the introduction of Citi Bikes. There has also been some new real estate development. While some residents are worried about the changes this may bring, most residents are happy with changes and improved accessibility to the rest of New York City. Red Hook is still one of the most affordable neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
Clinton Hill is a centrally located and picturesque Brooklyn nabe that appeals to many people that are looking for a place to lay down roots. As the Pratt Institute and St. Joseph’s College are both located in the neighborhood, Clinton Hill also attracts a substantial stream of artists and students who call this community home. The laid-back vibe in the area has also attracted young professionals in recent years, as well. As this exclusive nabe grows, many luxury apartments and high-end restaurants have recently been built.
Although Clinton Hill is a smaller neighborhood, it boasts an incredible restaurant scene that resembles that of a much larger community. Sisters restaurant and cocktail bar is one of the most beautiful establishments in the area and is a popular place for happy hour or dinner and drinks. Another staple for many Clinton Hill residents is Mekelburg’s, which is part specialty grocery store and part bar.
Picturesque brownstones and brick rowhouses make up the majority of the homes in Clinton Hills. Towering above historic mansions and carriage houses are new condominiums and rental buildings. As is the case in most of NYC, real estate in Clinton Hill is pricey.
For many years Greenpoint was known as an isolated and sleepy hamlet with a large Polish population located on Brooklyn’s northernmost tip, but recent years have brought about a real estate development boom leading to its rapid transformation into one of the areas most exciting and vibrant neighborhoods. A young, artistic crowd has been drawn to Greenpoint, creating an eclectic mix in this family-friendly neighborhood, which you may recognize from its many appearances as a setting in film and television shows (including The Departed, Donnie Brasco, and Law and Order SVU, among many others). This influx of new residents has led to a bevy of trendy new shops, hip bars, chic cafes, and restaurants opening their doors along the neighborhood’s tree-lined streets. With its many parks, stunning views of Manhattan, vibrant entertainment scene, and creative yet tranquil vibe, Greenpoint has it all.
Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Prospect Lefferts Gardens is an incredible Brooklyn neighborhood located in the heart of the borough. The area gets its name from three local landmarks, Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, and Lefferts Manor. The neighborhood has recently attracted many new renters thanks to relatively cheap rents compared to other parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan. Apartments for rent in Prospect Lefferts Gardens provide incredible value, and the neighborhood has much to offer, starting with unparalleled access to Prospect Park. Most rentals in Prospect Lefferts Gardens are in low-rise buildings or multi-family homes.
There is a large Caribbean community in the neighborhood, helping to create a vibrant cultural and entertainment scene, with many excellent ethnic restaurants, as well as a bevy of chic lounges and trendy cafes.
A carefree, independent, and artistic hipster vibe is at the heart of Williamsburg, where you’ll find no shortage of restaurants, boutiques, cafes, rooftop bars, outdoor markets, and live music venues. Formerly a commercial district, Williamsburg was rezoned and redeveloped on a large scale starting in the mid-1990s, with its many industrial warehouses being transformed into luxury residential apartment complexes and lofts.
Nowadays, Williamsburg is one of the best neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The area has a vibrant cultural scene and is also home to many art galleries and some of Brooklyn’s coolest street art and murals. This rich cultural and entertainment scene has led many to compare the neighborhood with Berlin, even creating the moniker of “Little Berlin.” In addition, Williamsburg is conveniently located in the heart of Brooklyn, offering easy access to Manhattan, a lively waterfront with many parks and stunning views, as well as some of the best nightlife in New York City.
If you want to live in one of the coolest neighborhoods in Brooklyn, you need to check out Gowanus. This former industrial district has become one of the hottest parts of Brooklyn and has experienced an influx of young, hip residents who are drawn to the area’s incredible architecture and attractive real estate prices. As you’d expect, there has been a lot of new residential development, with old warehouses being converted to luxurious lofts and luxury rental towers being built.
The vibe in Gowanus is creative and artistic, and you’ll find lots of millennials living in this Brooklyn neighborhood. There are numerous breweries, coffee shops, lounges, restaurants, and gastropubs in the neighborhood, providing residents with plenty to do. There’s even a Whole Foods Market. Best of all, Gowanus enjoys a great location, bordering Park Slope and Carroll Gardens.
Up-and-coming Bushwick is quickly becoming one of Brooklyn’s coolest neighborhoods, making a name for itself as an industrial outdoor art gallery. In recent years Bushwick has attracted an influx of new residents, including a bevy of young professionals, artists, and other creative types, many of whom have been driven out of neighboring Williamsburg by ever-rising real estate prices as well as the recent L train shutdown. This has helped spark a renaissance in the neighborhood, with a multitude of new businesses moving in and opening their doors.
Knickerbocker Ave, traditionally the commercial heart of the neighborhood, has been transformed with art galleries, lounges, comedy clubs, bars, restaurants, and shops. The neighborhood has been quick to shed its former rough and gritty reputation and revitalize, now making itself known for its flourishing art and cultural scenes. Best of all, it’s still relatively easy to find an affordable place to live in Bushwick.
Best Neighborhoods in Brooklyn Bottom Line
Many of the best Brooklyn neighborhoods are located in the Northwestern part of the borough, near Manhattan, offering residents easy commutes, wonderful views, and world-class dining and entertainment. But Brooklyn is a very large borough with many great places to live. You can find nice Brooklyn neighborhoods throughout the borough and there's something for everyone in Brooklyn, whether you want to live in an area that's great for families, one that's by the water, or one that's more affordable.