Brooklyn, also known as Kings County, is one out of five of New York City’s boroughs.
Home to 2.5 million people, Brooklyn is the second-highest populated county in the United States and the most populated in New York State. Brooklyn is home to many diverse crowds and is a mosaic of culture and ethnic communities. Each neighbourhood boasts a different culture, crowd, and community.
Much more than just Jay-Z’ home town, bagels, and pizza - however, we do an affinity for all three, Kings County is a thriving hub of entrepreneurship, resilience, and creativity.
Photos by Ales Prochazka (@aprojbc) and Beau Hayhoe (@beauhayhoe)
We spoke to Brooklyn’s finest Beau Hayhoe, a menswear writer, and blogger, to get the inside scoop on all of the city’s best sights to see and visit.
Beau writes freelance for Maxim Magazine, Huckberry, The Manual, Gearmoose, and Effortlessgent. And he’s recently made the leap of becoming a full-time writer at his own blog: The Style Guide.
Photos by Beau Hayhoe (@beauhayhoe) and Yonghyun Lee (@thoutbox)
Beau has been living in Brooklyn, New York for the past six-plus years, having moved there to pursue his career. Originally born and raised in Michigan, Beau brings a flair of the Midwest to the big city.
See Brooklyn through Beau’s eyes, then plan a trip to see it for yourself!
Brooklyn VS Manhattan
Out of all the neighbourhoods in New York City, why live or visit Brooklyn opposed to the concrete jungle Manhattan?
It’s not a hidden fact that living in New York is much pricier than other states or countries. However, you are paying for the urban environment, infrastructure, and non-stop activities. If you are planning a trip to the Big Apple, you can make the biggest bang for your buck depending on what neighbourhood you stay in.
Brooklyn is a lot more spacious than Manhattan, and the prices reflect that as well. Manhattan’s average cost of living is 1.3 times greater than in Brooklyn.
Photos by Kevin Rajaram (@kevinrajaram) and Berenice Melis (@brrknees)
Beau has called Midwood, a neighbourhood in Brooklyn his home for the past few years and is a fan of the areas spacious setup and community feel. Midwood is situated right between Prospect Park and Coney Island.
Midwood has “more space and is a little more affordable,” and “more elements that reminded me of Michigan and the Midwest,” says Beau.
Right between Prospect Park and Coney Island, Midwood is a mix of an urban and suburban environment. You can find a mix of families and younger career-driven people living in this area. Midwood is an exciting area but still allows for relaxation and reflection.
If you do stay in Brooklyn, but want to see Manhattan for the day, it’s just a subway ride away.
Photos by Jerome (@jrmswny)
“It’s always nice because when I am coming back from Manhattan, I’m able to stop at places around in Brooklyn as I’m coming home,” says Beau.
What really drew Beau into living in Brooklyn was its music scene. Big into music and a fan of indie rock, Brooklyn had the appeal of being the next wave of new music.
How Long to Stay in Brooklyn
Photos by Yonghyun Lee (@thoutbox)
New York City is so large, it’s best to designate time to each borough you want to see. Each borough is practically a city of its own, and Brooklyn is no exception.
‘When I did have friends come to visit, we would definitely focus on Brooklyn - I mean I’m a little biased,” says Beau.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Beau would show his visiting friends around the borough for at least a few days. A few days ensures that visitors get the whole feel for the area.
Where to Stay in Brooklyn - Best Hotels and Airbnbs
Brooklyn is an area that is cool and edgy, while also being smart and effortlessly sophisticated. Brooklyn’s urban spirit is easily reflected in its hotels and Airbnbs. Check out some of our favourites below!
Photos by The Tillary Hotel (@thetillary) and Hotel Tonight (@hoteltonight)
Check into your home away from home, The Tillary Hotel, located in downtown Brooklyn. The Tillary Hotel mixes outdoor and indoor public areas to encourage socialization and mingling. Brooklyn’s style and tastes are intertwined throughout the entire hotel. From the fashionable lobby floor that features plush chairs, vintage game boards, and Reggae music to modern and comfortable suites, each room tells a story. Rest easy after a long day of exploring the city, at this modern and stylish hotel.
Photos by The Williamsburg Hotel (@wburghotel)
For a mid-priced and convenient option, Beau recommends booking a stay at The Williamsburg Hotel. This boutique hotel is located in the North of Brooklyn and is conveniently located right by the Manhattan side of the bridge. Enjoy the interior of the hotel designed by UK based design firm Michaelis Design Studio. The hotel boasts double-ceilings floors, exposed brick, and a stellar electric style. Wake up to the New York City skyline as natural light beams down from your suite’s floor to ceiling windows.
Photos by The Wythe Hotel (@wythehotel)
Look into booking a room at the trendy and hip Wythe Hotel. A carefully restored 100-year-old Brooklyn waterfront factory, the Wythe boutique hotel combines rustic and modern interior design elements. From lofts, king-sized or bunk bed suites, each room features modern accommodations such as full-service minibars, heated floors, and Goldie bath products. Recharge in style at this modern boutique hotel.
If you really want to be immersed in Brooklyn culture, book a stay at a local Airbnb!
If you are looking for a quiet stay not too far from downtown Brooklyn, check out the Botanical Bedstuy Airbnb. This Airbnb is a private apartment on the top floor of a townhouse and is minutes away from the subway. Enjoy sunny and airy decor, featuring wall to wall art and plants. The cozy and stylish space combines Parisian and New York influences. Plan your day at this welcoming and homey Airbnb.
The Romantic Rooftop 360 NYC views + Huge Outdoor Deck Airbnb is a perfect spot for the weekend warrior. The name of this spot says it all - enjoy a large patio and large windows overlooking the Brooklyn skyline. In the heart of Brooklyn, this Airbnb is located in between bustling Cobble Hill and hipster Boerum Hill. The studio includes a small kitchenette (stove and mini-fridge), perfect for small breakfasts and coffee preparation. Hosts encourage trying out all of the unique restaurants and cuisines the city has to offer! Get immersed in the urban lifestyle at this central location.
What to Do in Brooklyn
Photos by Upstate Stock (@upstatestock) and Billy Kwok (@billykwok)
If you are the type that needs to jumpstart the day with a cup of joe, we’ve got the perfect caffeinated brew for you. Fuel up for your long day of exploring the city at Upstate Stock, Beau’s go-to coffee shop.
Not your typical coffee counter, Upstate Stock also has a great selection of super cool homeware and apparel. Forget your mask at home? No problem, shop locally made masks at Upstate Stock, and follow local health guides in style.
“From there, stroll along the water, hit domino park or hop straight to Rough Trade NYC which is one of my favourite spots,” recommends Beau.
The Brooklyn has 30 miles of shoreline, and you would be surprised to discover that they actually have sandy beaches!
Photos by Jerome (@jrmswny) and Anthony Fomin (@aginsbrook)
If you enjoy cycling, and the weather allows it, check out the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Park. Instead of the hustling and bustling scenes of cyclists zooming in between cars during downtown rush hour, you can actually enjoy a luxuriously paced and scenic ride along the Brooklyn water!
The Greenway is a pedestrian and cyclist only path. Paths run along the waterfronts of Williamsburg, parts of Brooklyn Bridge Park, Bay Ridge, Bath Beach and the Belt Parkway in Eastern Brooklyn.
If you didn’t bring your own bicycle, rent a bike through New York City’s Citi Bike rentals. There are 950 bike rental stations across the city, so you will likely see then throughout your visit. Single ride bike rentals last up to 30 mins and are sold for $3/trip and day passes which are unlimited amounts of 30 minute rides, are sold for $13.15/day.
For a relaxed picnic or the perfect people watching spot, head to Domino Park. Situated at a former sugar refiner along the waterfront, enjoy the green space in an urban environment. Pack a picnic, or grab some tacos from nearby food stand Tacocina, and you have a recipe for an incredible afternoon with friends.
Photos by Timo Wielink (@timowielink) and JP Valery (@jpvalery)
Head to Beau’s favourite spot and Brooklyn’s hidden gem Rough Trade NYC for some killer records. The I Love NY tees are always popular, but why not get a souvenir that you'll actually use? This independent record shop has been serving Brooklyn since 1976. When shopping at the record shop, Beau finds that he often has to stop himself from buying too much.
“Browse the bins for a while and leave with some purchases… Drop them off (at your hotel), because you’ll probably walk out of there with a lot of purchases,” says Beau.
Attractions in Brooklyn
You can act cool all you want, but you know you want to see at least a few attractions. You are in the Big Apple for goodness sakes.
Check out these attractions, that even a Brooklyn local would approve of:
Photos by Mathew Lejune (@mathewlejune) and Brian Lundquist (@bwl667)
See the Grand Army Plaza right outside of Prospect Park. The plaza marks then entrance of the park and was the park’s first element to be built in 1866. The land in which the plaza was built was a battleground of the Battle of Long Island, which was one of the first major battles during the American Revolution. Today, the plaza is a national historic area open for the public enjoyment. If you are around on a Saturday, make sure to check out the year round Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, a farmers market open Saturday from 8 AM to 3 PM. Purchase some fresh product, or baked goods to enjoy while exploring the rest of Prospect Park.
Photos by Adam Gong (@radiantsnaps)
Walk along the cobblestone paths of Dumbo, one of Brooklyn’s most explored neighbourhoods.
“You’re going to see cool views, especially if you're walking by the water,” says Beau.
Dumbo - an acronym for “down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass”, is a neighbourhood made up of old warehouses turned into trendy boutiques and restaurants. Find something unique at the local flea market or discover the local art galleries.
Photos by Colton Duke (@csoref)
If you’re visiting Brooklyn, you can’t miss the Brooklyn Bridge - we mean that plainly and rhetorically. Built in 1883, was the world's longest suspension bridge at the time of its opening. Spend the evening in Brooklyn Bridge Park, 85 acres of public space and right by the East River overlooking the bridge. As the sun sets, see the city skyline turn orange as the rays of light flicker between the bridge’s suspension cables.
Best Breweries in Brooklyn
“I’m a craft beer guy… Big time,” says Beau.
In this climate, who doesn’t appreciate a cold one. Beau recommends checking out local spot Three’s Brewing. Coincidently enough there are three locations of Three’s Brewing across New York City, two of which are in Brooklyn. Check out the Three’s Brewing outpost in South of Williamsburg, for a large patio and tasty burgers from the Meat Hook at Threes. This joint makes the greatest lunch and serves up the coldest mid day beers. Beau recommends trying the Vliet Pilsner for a perfectly consistent everyday beer.
Photos by Brooklyn Brewery and Toby Stodart (@tobystodart)
Come tour the Brooklyn Brewery, located and operating in the heart of Brooklyn since 1884. If you’re living in Canada, you’ve likely seen Brooklyn Lagers iconic green and white cans stocked in your local Beer Store. The Brooklyn Lager is also sold in over half of the United States and over 30 countries.
“Its definitely ubiquitous. I would never say no to a pint of it,” notes Beau, describing the popular lager.
Where to Eat Dinner in Brooklyn
After a long day of exploring, it’s important to refuel and reground with your loved ones at the dinner table.
Photos by Westlight (@westlightnyc) and Adisorn Polsaen (@adisorn_polsaen)
Enjoy a gourmet meal paired with an immaculate view of the city skyline at Westlight. Located on the 22nd floor of the William Vale Hotel, this roof top cocktail bar boasts beautiful views and modern flavours. With a dynamic and extensive drinks list, and creative small plates inspired by global flavours, this is the perfect spot to relax with friends or impress that special someone.
Photos by The Castello Plan (@thecastelloplan)
Just South of Prospect Park, you’ll find Beau’s frequent favourite, The Castello Plan. This coffee, brunch, and dinner spot features excellent cocktails, craft beers, and small plates with an American flare.
The detailed dishes set at an economic price makes this restaurant a popular choice among locals. Reminisce over new and old memories with friends in The Castello Plan’s intimate dinning room or outdoor patio.
Nightlife in Brooklyn
Photos by Elsewhere (@elsewherespace)
Covid-19 has changed our idea of a night out, but Elsewhere somehow fits in the middle.
“You’re always gonna find something cool and neat at Elsewhere” says Beau.
A live music venue, nightclub, and arts space, Elsewhere is a bit of everything. Housed in a converted warehouse in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Elsewhere is giving the neighbourhood its daily dose of creativity, progressive music, and community.
Enjoy the open air, and a magnificent view of the skyline on Elsewhere’s rooftop bar, open Fridays and Saturdays until 11 PM. Enjoy craft beer, cocktails, and wine, while listening to the livestreamed guest DJ spinning the funkiest beats.
Shopping in Brooklyn
It doesn’t hurt that our source of Brooklyn knowledge is a fashion specialist. Take it from a pro and check out some of Beau’s favourite boutiques and shops in Brooklyn:
Photos by Buck Mason Williamsburg and Roberto Ourgant (@rourgant)
“Buck Mason comes right to mind in terms of menswear,” says Beau.
Visit Buck Mason in Williamsburg for high quality pieces that will last throughout the seasons. Founded in California, Buck Mason has become a go-to spot to get mens apparel made with high quality materials and sustainable practices. The Williamsburg, Brooklyn outpost of Buck Mason has everything the modern man needs in his wardrobe.
Walk down Smith Street for a cultural Brooklyn experience. Dotted with restaurants, bars, bakeries and boutiques this street has something for everybody.
As you walk down Smith Street, don’t forget to check out Article & for unique and wearable woman’s clothing. The boutique was created to fill the fashion needs of creative professionals. The store features clothing and jewelry designed by independent designers from the United States and abroad. Find something special at Article &.
Look out together, without looking like a typical tourist. See Beau’s go to pieces to pack in a weekender bag for a trip to Brooklyn. Versatile and stylish, you can make numerous of outfits with just packing these simple pieces:
- A good denim jacket. You can never go wrong with a classic. “I’m a big fan of pockets,” says Beau. Beau recommends wearing a jacket that allows you to keep your essentials on your body while exploring the city.
- Field jacket. Similar idea to the denim jacket, a well crafted field jacket can keep your wallet and hotel keys secure while you’re out and about the city.
- Black jeans. Perfect for a night out - trendy but not overly dressy.
- Blue jeans or chinos. Both jeans and chinos are great day time options.
- Brown leather trucker boots. “You can wear (these boots) with black or blue jeans” advices Beau. Perfect for the minimalist packer, leather boots can be worn day or night.
- High top sneakers. “Can’t go wrong there, especially in Brooklyn,” says Beau.
- Chambray shirt. “It’s going to pull double duty during the day or during the night,” says Beau.
- Cotton blazer. A perfect and easy layer to spruce up any outfit. “You can even it wear on the plan to free up space in your weekender bag” recommends Beau.
- Casual or dressy leather strap watch. Perfect for that final touch.
Photo by David Lexcano (@_thedl) and Monte & Coe (@monteandcoe)
From those nine items, you can easily build quite a few outfits. When luggage space is limited for a weekend trip, versatility is key. Mix and match, and look good no matter what you're doing.
The best thing about travelling is seeing new places and gaining new experiences. The worst? It’s hands down the actual travelling to your destination part.
To curb lengthy airport wait times, and streamline travel time, Beau recommends not to check in a luggage at the airport. Instead, use a weekender as a carry on.
“Even if I'm going somewhere for four to five days, or you know a week, I’m not taking more things than (what can fit in a weekender bag),” says Beau. “I’m not going to check in a bag, I’m taking the weekender bag right on the plane”.
If you ever struggle with fitting all of your items in your weekender or duffel bag, Beau recommends to “put your socks in your shoes”. Maximize limited packing space by packing efficiently.
Photos by Dominik Scythe (@drscythe), Monte & Coe (@monteandcoe), and Florian Can Duyn (@flovayn)
Beau also recommends rolling up a tote bag to pack inside of your weekender. When you arrive to your destination, you can use that as your day bag, opposed to feeling like you have to empty out your weekender. Time is precious and it’s important to make the most out of your trip.
For an extra Monte and Coe tip: If there’s no space left in the overhead compartments, our weekender bags fit perfectly under airplane seats. #carryuswithyou and enjoy the flight!
Now that you have the inside scoop on all things Brooklyn, it’s time to start planning your next trip!
Don’t forget to use one of our travel hacks while you're making your way over either, you’ll thank us later.
Say hi to our new friend Beau when you make it to Brooklyn.
You can find Beau via Instagram or Twitter. Check out his blog, The Style Guide, for all things menswear. Sign up for Beau’s newsletter, The Style Guide in Brief, for inspiration on what to eat, sip, shop, read and listen to.Looking for that perfect bag to accompany you on your trip? Check out our newest collection of weekender bags.