Things to do in Bushwick
What is there to do in Bushwick?
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Many years ago Bushwick Brooklyn was known as the “Brewing Capitol of the United States”. 50 + breweries were located in Bushwick in the late 1800s. This led to the creation of “Brewers’ Row” which you can find along Bushwick Avenue. Nowadays, many of the brewery owners from back then and other industry moguls built their large homes there.
Today Bushwick offers so much more than just the love for really good beer. Bushwick is colorful, very urban, electric and most importantly to this day it is still gentrifying. Bushwick is famous for its art that you can find both on the streets and inside galleries. Also, there are tons of great restaurants, hip coffee shops, urban tiki taverns, and a vibrant nightlife which makes Bushwick, Brooklyn worth a visit.
There are so many really cool things to do in Bushwick, so stay with me for my 15 reasons why Bushwick should be on your list when traveling to New York City:
How to get to Bushwick in Brooklyn
To get to Bushwick in Brooklyn, take the J Train to Gates Av, or Myrtle Av, or hop on the L Train and get off on Jefferson Street. The subway trip to Midtown Manhattan takes about 30 minutes. Bushwick finds its borders on Broadway, with its elevated train. The southwestern boundary is Bedford-Stuyvesant.
The Broadway border goes all the way from Flushing Avenue in the north down to Stewart Street heading right into the beautiful Evergreens Cemetery. From there Bushwick borders the cemetery to about Irving Avenue. In the northeastern, Bushwick separates from Ridgewood, Queens, including Irving, Wyckoff, St. Nicholas and Cypress Avenues.
- The Bushwick Collective – A stunning outdoor gallery founded by Joseph Ficalora who is a local resident always working on getting owners to donate space on their buildings for street art. One main area is Troutman Street between Cypress and Irving Avenues.
- Maria Hernandez Park – Locals come to play basketball and handball courts and enjoy the playgrounds with their kids. The park was named after Maria Hernandez Park who was shot in 1989. She was working on making the community a better place by fighting drug dealers in the neighborhood.
- Microscope Gallery – Microscope Gallery is a contemporary art gallery presenting art with an emphasis on moving image, performance, digital art and photography.
- Irving Square Park – Taking up the entire length of a city block this part in the heart of Bushwick is popular with picnickers, dog owners, and families holding events and festivities.
- House of Yes – Probably the most recognized club in the area for the past years. If you want to party, this should be your go-to spot.
The absolute best things to do in Bushwick
Bushwick New York Graffiti & Street Art
If you’re into street art and are looking for the best street art and graffiti in New York City, Bushwick is the best area to go to. It is actually one of my favorite things to do in Brooklyn. The most visible and best-known group of artists in Bushwick is The Bushwick Collective. Make sure to check out the crossroads between Troutman Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. The story behind the Bushwick Collective goes back to 2013 when a local of Bushwick, Joseph Ficalora, decided to turn his life around after losing his father.
He founded the Bushwick Collective and contacted artists from many countries, asking them to contribute their talents to the community of Bushwick. Their canvases are the industrial and residential buildings of Bushwick with a few rules simple rules to follow: nothing offensive to children, women and local businesses.
The Street art in Bushwick is not permanent and usually stays around for 12 months. Some murals have been in Bushwick for over 5 years. To get to the Bushwick Collective, you can take the L train to Jefferson Street station in Bushwick. There are a few more areas in Bushwick where you can go to experience the best street art in New York City.
Best street art tours in Bushwick New York
If you don’t feel like exploring Bushwick, Brooklyn on your own, join one of the many tours in Bushwick. From food tours to the best tours to check out the amazing street art. There are so many things to do in Bushwick in Brooklyn.
My favorite Bushwick Galleries
Within the past years, Bushwick in Brooklyn has evolved into an epicenter for alternative art and culture. With many empty warehouses years ago, local artists and businesses have turned these into the best galleries, studios, and non-profits in Brooklyn. A lot of galleries present contemporary art. Some of them attract emerging, and/or established artists.
Either way, it is worth it checking out the best galleries in Bushwick. My favorite gallery in Bushwick is the Microscope Gallery which was founded in 2010 by curators Elle Burchill and Andrea Monti.
Here are are few more galleries in Bushwick, Brooklyn, that you should visit, when you’re in the area:
- Interstate Projects – Founded by Tom Weinrich in March 2011 this gallery on recent MFA graduates and putting on some of the best shows in the neighborhood. (Address: 66 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237).
Norte Maar – A stunning gallery which is a 501(c)3 non-profit arts organization founded in 2004 by curator Jason Andrew and choreographer Julia K. They focus on visual, literary and performing arts (Address: 88 Pine St, Brooklyn, NY 11208).
Robert Henry Contemporary – Robert Henry Contemporary presents the compelling work of emerging and established local and national artists.
Relax at the nicest parks in Bushwick
Do you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city? Zone out at one of the nicest parks in Bushwick. Two of my favorites are Maria Hernandez Park and Irving Square Park.
Maria Hernandez Park was named after a local resident who was fighting drug dealers in Bushwick with her husband. She was shot many years ago which is why the city changed the name from Knickerbocker Park to Maria Hernandez Park. It’s a great place to go to play sports, go for a walk or just relax on the grass.
At Irving Square Park in Bushwick, you will get to enjoy the quietness Bushwick also has to offer. It’s a cute city park with curved paths among shade trees and lawns. Kids will love the playground. There is also a small stage for events and small concerts in the summer.
Check out the best Bushwick Bars
Bushwick in Brooklyn borders East New York and Williamsburg and attracts hipsters, artists and young professionals. No wonder that this area is so well known for a nightlife that many other neighborhoods have trouble competing with. Most importantly though, you will get away from the $14 and up glass of wine crowd. The best bars in Bushwick are reasonably priced, very welcoming and absolutely open to everything and everyone.
The best bars in Bushwick invite you to traditional cocktails, relaxing, very laid-back beer bars, urban tiki vibes, and bars who come with very interesting decor, like the Boobie Trap on Bleecker Street.
- Boobie Trap – (Address: 308 Bleecker Street, Bushwick)
- Abe’s Pagoda Bar – (Address: 108 Wyckoff Ave, Bushwick)
- Wonderville – (Address: 1186 Broadway, Bushwick)
- Yours Sincerely – (Address: 41 Wilson Avenue, Bushwick)
- Mominette – (Address: 221 Knickerbocker Ave, Bushwick)
- Dromedary Urban Tiki Bar – (Address: 266 Irving Ave, Bushwick)
- Pearl’s Social & Billy Club – (Address: 40 Saint Nicholas Ave, Bushwick)
The House of Yes in Bushwick
If you want to party like you most likely haven’t before ever in your life, have a night out at the House of Yes. The spectacularly decorated performance space inside a warehouse in Bushwick, Brooklyn hosts circus spectacles, immersive cinema, burlesque and cabaret shows, aerial extravaganzas, nightlife parties, morning raves, BBQs, and bubble baths.
Come and watch the best artistic producers, super talented circus acrobats, drag queens, strippers, sexy go-go dancers and the world’s best musical artists.
Get a cup of Joe at one of the best Bushwick Coffee Shops
While walking around the neighborhood, it’s always good to know where to get the best cup of Joe. Take a break and relax at my favorite coffee shops in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The coffee shops in Bushwick range from farm-to-table roasters, bright hip cafes and super trendy coffee shacks. The caffeine game in Bushwick is strong. As one of my absolute favorites, Lazy Suzy Cafe & Shop on 703 Hart Street has an awesome coffee selection and truly is a hidden gem.
At Altitude Coffee in Bushwick (250 Wyckoff Ave), you can also expect delicious coffee. Their coffee is carefully calibrated daily. My favorite coffee is Rocket Fuel which is a cold brew with chicory and maple syrup. Hearts Coffee Bushwick feels very welcoming and homey. Of course, their coffee is really good too.
Another great coffee shop in Bushwick is Abracadabra Magic Deli (190 Knickerbocker Ave.). Enjoy Turkish coffee here as well as pastries such as baklava. The coffee shop has a pretty cool vibe as well and it’s something you won’t see in Manhattan.
And last but not least but always on my list, when I’m in the area is Mixtape Bushwick (1533 Myrtle Ave). It’s literally just a hole in a wall covered in graffiti. They are known for yummy bagels and great coffee. Of course, there are many more great coffee shops in Bushwick, but these are my personal favorites and go-to spots when I’m around.
Dine at the best Restaurants in Bushwick
We all probably heard of Roberta’s in Bushwick. But there is so much more than Roberta’s when it comes to the best restaurants in Bushwick. From iconic pizzerias and Parisian neo-bistros to authentic Carribean food. Everything is reasonably priced and you can’t compare it with overpriced restaurants in Manhattan. These are my favorite places to eat in Bushwick:
- Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos – Mexican, $$$
- Roberta’s – American, $$$
Faro – Italian, $$$
Bunna Cafe, New York – Ethiopian, Vegan, Vegetarian, $$$
Ops – Italian, $$$
Sally Roots – Caribbean, $$$
Bunker Vietnamese – Vietnamese, $$$
Shopping in Bushwick
If you’re looking for Sephora, H&M, Zara, Whole Foods, don’t try to find it in Bushwick. Shopping in Bushwick so far has an independent retail business. Yes, this is rare in New York City, and while everything else in Bushwick went through massive gentrification, retail remained untouched.
There are a bunch of Bushwick thrift stores, boutiques, bookstores, vintage stores, vinyl stores, as well as shops by local business owners which will make your shopping experience more personalized. Check out these shops for your best Bushwick shopping experience:
- Urban Jungle – (Address: 118 Knickerbocker Ave)
- Vintage Friends – (Address: 56 Bogart Street)
- Molasses Books – (Address: 770 Hart Street)
- Vinyl Fantasy -(Address: 194 Knickerbocker Ave)
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I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 20 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!
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