Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to a one day in Brooklyn itinerary. Quick, what’s the most greater monument in the world? Some might say that it’s the Taj Mahal. Others might vote for the Eiffel Tower. But while those places certainly dazzle the eye and mind, can you walk across them any time of the day or night?
Certainly not, which is why almost any New Yorker will say that the Brooklyn Bridge is tops, monument-wise. No one day in Brooklyn itinerary is complete without a stroll across the Roebling family’s greatest achievement.
Join me for a one day in Brooklyn itinerary and we will not only take a Brooklyn Bridge tour, we will dine among brownstones, and see the finest Christmas lights that mob money can buy! Let’s go!
One Day in Brooklyn Itinerary
Where to Stay?
If you’re a tourist in New York City, you’ll probably be staying in a hotel while you head out on the one day in Brooklyn itinerary. I mean, maybe you have a kind relative who will let you crash in their spare room, but that kind of space is rare in Manhattan.
I recommend staying in the Artezen Hotel in Lower Manhattan. It’s very easy to get to the start of our one day in Brooklyn itinerary from here. You’ll only be a short walk from the Brooklyn Bridge!
Plus, the rooms are affordable and cozy, and there’s free snacks, coffee, and fancy bath products in your room.
If you’d like a convenient and affordable hotel in NYC, click here. And if low prices and a great location scare you, just click here. This search engine will help you find the best deals and most appropriate location during your time on this one day in Brooklyn itinerary.
One Day in Brooklyn Itinerary
What to Pack?
- A cell charger so you can take photos all during your time in Brooklyn.
- If you’re looking for a guidebook to NYC, this is my favorite choice.
- My book Get Lost, that I wrote myself with all my best travel tips. This book will show you exactly how solo travel can take your life from BLAH to amazing!
- Want to learn how I saved enough money to travel 16 weeks a year? Check out my top secret How to Afford Travel digital system.
- I always travel with travel insurance from World Nomads. You never know when something might go wrong, especially in this day and age, and you don’t want to get stranded during your trip without help. But with travel insurance, you’re protected even if you’re attacked by a runaway egg cream during your one day in Brooklyn itinerary.
One Day in Brooklyn Itinerary
Morning: Meet the Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is surely one of New York’s most iconic landmarks. I’ve lived in New York my entire life (saving the 3.5 years I spent in college) and I’ve experienced old Brookie here at all possible times of the day or night.
The first time I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge on foot was at the tender age of four with my father. We were going to visit his girlfriend, who was a waitress in the South Street Seaport. (I had a strange childhood.)
My favorite times to traverse the majestic span of the Brooklyn Bridge are either early in the morning so you can see the sun rise or at night, so you can experience the city all lit up at night! But for the purposes of this one day in Brooklyn itinerary, you’ll probably end up walking over around 10 in the morning. Either it will be crowded or the weather will be bad…so win/win!
24 Hour Treat: Fancy Breakfast at Lafayette
Before we walk all the way to Brooklyn, we will need to fuel up on the Manhattan side of the bridge. We have a food tour later this afternoon, so I suggest beginning our one day in Brooklyn itinerary with my favorite meal: Fancy Breakfast. I live in Manhattan, and I can confidently say that my favorite Fancy Breakfast place in my neighborhood is French-esque Lafayette Grand Cafe and Bakery.
There are only two rules for Fancy Breakfast. First, it needs to be before 10 AM. Otherwise it is brunch, which is totally different. Also, the restaurant should be so nice that you look at the prices on the menu and feel very guilty for paying so much for breakfast. (Strangely, no one feels guilty for paying too much for brunch. Humans are odd.)
My favorite fancy breakfast dish at Lafayette are the scrambled eggs with truffle vinaigrette and chevre. The whole point of Fancy Breakfast is decadence, and nothing says decadence like truffles. In fact, I may add a third rule that you need to eat at least one truffle dish at Fancy Breakfast. Perhaps caviar would also be acceptable.
Lafayette is known for its pastries, and my favorite is the chocolate, coconut, and banana croissant. It’s like a magical trip to a tropical island colonized by the French! But take my advice and don’t finish the croissant. Ask for it to go because we will be finishing it for dinner tonight.
Now that we’re all full up, it’s time for our grand walk across the Brooklyn Bridge! Let me entertain you as we go with….
Three Fun Facts About the Brooklyn Bridge
1) why is the brooklyn bridge?
Back in the 1800s, Brooklyn and Manhattan were separate cities. Also, there was no bridge connecting them. When people wanted to cross from one city to the other, they needed to take a ferry. Unfortunately, one winter the East River got so cold that it froze over and the ferries couldn’t work. There are actual pictures of people walking over the ice-laden East River just to get to their jobs.
This horrible commute kind of makes all my complaining about the MTA seem petty! Anyway, it was at this point that New Yorkers realized that ferries are picturesque but stupid. We needed a man with a plan. We needed a bridge.
2) who built the brooklyn bridge?
New York City engaged a German engineer named John Roebling to build our Brooklyn Bridge beauty. Roebling had already successfully built a suspension bridge connecting Cincinnati, Ohio with Covington, Kentucky.
Unfortunately, Roebling had his foot crushed by a passing ferry. (See! Ferries are dumb!) He tried to cure his foot by…pouring water on it. I don’t see the connection here, but maybe I’m not a genius like Roebling. Anyway, the water therapy didn’t work, and Roebling died.
Fortunately Roebling’s son Washington was left to carry on the job of finishing the Brooklyn Bridge. Unfortunately, Washington also became sick, in a surprisingly non-ferry related incident. (He contracted something called caisson disease, which sounds kind of glamorous, but is actually something very unpleasant that can happen to people who build bridges.)
Fortunately, Washington’s wife Emily was also a capable engineer, and she and Washington were able to work together to finish the Brooklyn Bridge. There’s no unfortunately here! Emily became an organizer for women’s rights, and Washington lived to the ripe old age of 89. But it’s New York City that came out best of all because we get to look at this masterful Brooklyn Bridge every day.
3) can you Fool All of the Elephants Some of the Time?
Unfortunately, New Yorkers were skeptical that this newfangled invention called a “bridge” could work. And like New Yorkers through the ages, they insisted that the Roebling family prove this bridge wasn’t a racket. Naturally, the forces behind the bridge engaged the most trustworthy man alive at the time for the job: PT Barnum.
Barnum decided to prove that the bridge would not collapse by marching 21 elephants across the Brooklyn Bridge. Apparently this proved persuasive, as thousands of people cross the Brooklyn Bridge by foot every single day. If I had access to a time machine, I think I might pick the day May 17, 1884 first. The chance to see 21 pachyderms migrate from one borough to another is too good to pass up.
24 Hours: Brooklyn Bridge Tour
Afternoon: Brownstone Brooklyn Food Tour
Once you’ve crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, the only logical step is to find something to actually do in Brooklyn for our one day in Brooklyn itinerary.
Fortunately, Brooklyn is full of fascinating history, architecture, and filming locations from the various Law and Orders. (Chung! Chung!) I went to elementary school in Brooklyn Heights, which is one of the loveliest neighborhoods in the second greatest borough.
So I strongly suggest that you take the Brownstone Brooklyn Food Tour. This way you’ll get to see three gorgeous parts of Brooklyn (Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, and Cobble Hill) for the price of one. Of course, we’ll eat extremely well while doing it.
You can book this tour easily yourself by clicking right here. Then get ready for…
Approximately Top 5: Brownstone Brooklyn one day in Brooklyn itinerary
1) Bien Cuit
Our first stop is at the appropriately named bakery called Bien Cuit. (Bien cuit means well cooked in French.) The name is appropriate because their baguettes are cooked for an extra long time, and they have that funny little twist at the end that proves they are hand made.
You can choose from either a baguette or a croissant on this tour, but I suggest getting the baguette because it’s more unique to Bien Cuit. Of course, if you hate baguettes, I am sure the croissants are awesome too.
2) One Girl Cookies
If you say “Brooklyn Bakery”, One Girl Cookies is the first place to come to mind. I used to teach at a school in Brooklyn, and the two most popular teacher gifts from Brooklyn parents are cookies from One Girl Cookies and chocolate from Jacques Torres. Now if you ever need to go undercover as a well-to-do Brooklyn Heights parent, you are prepared!
One Girl Cookies is the literal love child of adorable couple Dawn Casale and David Crofton. Their family tree is even painted on the wall of the bakery.
Isn’t that cute? But as I always say, “Screw Romance! ME WANT COOKIE!” This is probably why I’m still single.
The tour continued the sensible practice of allowing us to sample many different items. We had three cookies: a seasonable brown sugar, an anything-but-basic chocolate chip, and a powerful mint sandwich cookie.
Most of us agreed that the mint cookie was the best. It was like an after dinner mint and an Oreo had a gorgeous and sophisticated baby. And then I ate the baby. #sorrynotsorry
3) Shelsky’s of Brooklyn
Of course, no one day in Brooklyn itinerary would be complete without a discussion of the people who truly made the borough great: the Jewish people! (Full disclosure, I am half-Jewish. So that makes me only half-biased.)
The most famous Jewish contribution to New York cuisine is the delicious marriage of bagels and lox, aka cured salmon. I definitely prefer the term lox to cured salmon because I always wonder how the salmon got sick in the first place.
Our guide explained to us that there were two main kinds of Jewish food stores: delicatessens and appetizing shops. Delis served meat products, not including pork. Appetizing shops served Kosher seafood products, so no shellfish, and dairy. According to Jewish food laws, meat and dairy products should not be served together. As you can see from my gorgeous lox and bagel bite above, Shelsky’s is an appetizing shop.
4) Damascus Bakery
On to the next immigrant group to make Brooklyn more delicious: the Middle East! Damascus Bakery has been in Brooklyn since 1930. It was founded by Hassan Halaby, an immigrant from Syria. Greg told us that Damascus Bakery is largely credited with popularizing the pita bread in the United States.
Now their products get shipped all over the world. They even provide chains like Starbucks and Olive Garden with bread products. But you won’t be having any mass-produced bread substances on this tour. We’re not even going to have the famous pita.
Our snack here was the biggest portion on the tour: a spinach and lemon pocket. Everything tasted as fresh as a daisy made of bread. The best part for me was the pungent lemon permeating every bite. Try to get that experience at Olive Garden!
5) Table 87
Time for Shark Tank! But we’ll be eating an amazing slice of coal-burning pizza, not sharks at all. Well, Table 87 is famous for being the first place to serve coal-burning pizza as single slices. Most places with an old-fashioned coal-burning oven would sell whole pizzas only, which I think is discrimination against single people.
Table 87 was on Shark Tank for their frozen pizzas, not their magical slices. If you love the pizza, you’ll be able to take a Sharky pie home with you. (It’s probably obviously from this post that I’ve never seen an episode of Shark Tank.)
6) Seasonal Treat
If you take this tour in the winter, at this point you’ll stop for coffee. But in warm weather, you get to try an Italian ice from Court Pastry. This frosty treat is the heart’s delight of every kid in NYC. We love to get them right as school gets out, as soon as the weather is warm enough.
These Italian ices are better than average because of the delectably soft texture. You don’t have to loosen up with your teeth before eating them. You can choose two flavors. I chose cherry, my fave, and custard, which I had never seen before. It’s a delicious creamy almond; if you like marzipan, you’ll love this.
7) Brooklyn Farmacy
Brooklyn Farmacy is a bit deceitful because it looks like an old fashioned soda shop, but it only dates back to 2010. In fact, this business has one of the best backstories of any place in Brooklyn. The owners had a dream to build a classic soda fountain. Unfortunately, they tried to start their business during the recession and loans were hard to come by. They just had enough money to start construction, but they weren’t able to take out an additional loan that they needed.
All hope seemed lost until a woman looking for directions stopped at the construction site. As fate would have it, she was the casting director for a show called Construction Intervention. They needed a final place for their first season finale and it turned out that Brooklyn Farmacy was the perfect fit.
The soda fountain got the money it needed to finish the renovation, Construction Intervention got its first season finale, and the denizens of Brooklyn got their ice cream sundaes. Everybody wins. (Except for Construction Intervention, which did not get a second season.)
Our final treat of the tour was the beloved egg cream. An egg cream is a classic New York soda fountain treat. You make it by mixing milk, seltzer, and Fox’s U Bet Chocolate syrup. The first time I had an egg cream was at the now-defunct Triplets Romanian Steakhouse.
The waiter fixed the egg cream at the table and poured the chocolate syrup in the drink while standing on a chair. (The Triplets who owned the steakhouse are now the subjects of a recent documentary called Three Identical Strangers. But I remember them best for their egg cream.)
One Day in Brooklyn Itinerary
Late Afternoon: Prospect Park
Every resident of Brooklyn loves to brag that the same guys designed both Prospect Park and Central Park, but they thought Prospect Park was their greatest achievement. It is indeed an expansive and lovely park! And it’s the perfect place to work up an appetite while we wait for dinner.
You have lots of options for activities.
You can check out a free musical performance. Check out the Prospect Park website to see what’s on when you’re there.
You can also go on a statue walk! We’ve got everyone from Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg…
the Marquis de Lafayette (hoh hoh hoh)
And what appears to be a very creepy statue of Death. Why do we have a statue of Death in a park. We do not want to go on a picnic with Death.
Or you can just stare at some water. (It’s very pretty water.) Don’t forget to laugh the next time you talk to someone who thinks NYC is only skyscrapers.
One Day in Brooklyn Itinerary
Evening: Dinner at Pasta Louise
Here we come to my favorite restaurant in Brooklyn! Pasta Louise is a truly special concept. Every evening, they serve one and only one pasta shape. (The shape changes on a regular basis.) But you can choose the pasta sauce you want on top. It couldn’t be more fresh and delicious.
Pasta Louise is crazy popular, so you need to make a reservation in advance on their website. Then you can indulge in…
A tangy heirloom tomato salad served with cucumber, chilis, and tangy green goddess dressing. Just look at all the amazing colors and shapes on the tomatoes!
Next I recommend the Cacio e pepe sauce. It’s extremely creamy but has a wonder bite from the pepper. Be warned that you might not be able to eat it all! The pasta the day I visited was a fun fluted shape called campanelle that picks up a ton of sauce.
You can choose different toppings on the pasta, and with the cacio e pepe, get the crispy spicy prosciutto. You’ll thank me later.
And let’s end the one day in Brooklyn itinerary right with a brownie sundae. You really can taste the vanilla in the house made soft serve. But it’s not too sweet because of the salted caramel sauce and salty peanuts. Of course, the soft brownie pieces just make the whole thing just that much more delicious!
One Day in Brooklyn Itinerary
How To Get There
Now, I wish I knew where you lived, Internet Stranger, because I could send you a box of New York’s finest lox and bagels. But sadly, I do not, and so I can’t tell you exactly how to get from your home to New York City so you can find this one day in Brooklyn itinearry for yourself.
However, if you need to take a plane or car to get to New York City, I recommend Expedia for the best way to find the cheapest flight or car rental, depending on how you want to get around. Just click here to start looking for the best possible deals on your flight or car rental, so you can head out to find this one day in Brooklyn itinerary right away!
That’s a One Day in Brooklyn Itinerary!
What would you do with a one day in Brooklyn itinerary? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in New York City right now? How can someone be smart enough to design the Brooklyn Bridge and still think pouring water on your foot can cure gangrene? Please leave your thoughts below!
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY have a one day in Brooklyn itinerary. And there’s a million other things to do in New York City. Want to spend Christmas in New York? What about 24 hours in Manhattan? How about the Bronx? Or the best museums in Manhattan? In (gasp!) Staten Island? I’ve got you covered here!