10 must see parks in Brooklyn

Published by: BouncePosted

Did you know Brooklyn is home to some of NYC’s most beautiful parks? The iconic 843-acre Central Park in Manhattan often takes all the glory, but if you look further, you’ll discover numerous Brooklyn parks that are just as gorgeous but less crowded and touristy. No matter the season, they provide a refuge from the stresses of daily life and a scenic spot for outdoor gatherings, recreation, and sports.

Take a break from New York’s bustling squares, festive watering holes, and bright lights, and spend time reconnecting with nature. The parks in Brooklyn have unique features and characteristics, offering a natural oasis among the city’s concrete landscape and towering skyscrapers.

Below is a list of must-visit parks for visitors and locals where you can enjoy spectacular views and fresh air. Some are quieter and more peaceful, while others are buzzing hotspots, hosting outdoor programs and events and offering opportunities for walking, ice skating, jogging, biking, and hiking. Don’t forget to drop off your bags at our bounce luggage storage facility in Brooklyn to participate in these activities without burden.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

No visit to this giant New York borough without a trip to Brooklyn Bridge Park, an 85-acre waterfront park that boasts sweeping city views, lush gardens, and riverfront promenades. But before it reached its fame as a world-class sustainable park along the East River, the site was once a deteriorated industrial space. Adding lovely flowers, young trees, and lush lawns transformed it from an environmentally hostile area into a robust landscape.

Today, Brooklyn Bridge Park is a preferred destination for New Yorkers and tourists to relax, spend time with family, stay fit, and challenge themselves and others, with facilities for volleyball, soccer, basketball, kayaking, ping pong, running, roller skating, biking, and more. It’s a place for discovering nature with over 12,000 plant species and wildlife that call it home. For art lovers, Brooklyn Bridge Park is also a place to admire art, from thought-provoking sculptures to freestanding art installations.

What’s more, it often hosts free regular and seasonal events, including concerts, movies with a view, walking tours, and other activities. You can come here anytime, as it’s open all day and doesn’t require an entrance fee.

Prospect Park

The sprawling Prospect Park is a must-visit spot for dog walkers, nature enthusiasts, animal lovers, or anyone looking for a vast open space to play. It’s one of the largest parks in Brooklyn, spanning nearly 600 acres. It was designed and built between 1865 and 1895 by the masterminds behind Central Park, Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmstead. Since Prospect Park opened in 1867, it has become a premier destination for residents and visitors for picnics, birdwatching, fishing, hiking, BBQs, bicycling, and many more.

This functional green space is known for its artificial watercourse and is home to a zoo, an ice rink, a carousel, the nation’s first urban-area Audubon Center, and dozens of recreational and fitness facilities. If you get hungry during your stroll, there’s a food cart and a snack bar in the area to refuel and replenish. There are also playgrounds for your little ones and restrooms through Prospect Park.

Marine Park

As the largest park in Brooklyn, Marine Park has plenty of green space for relaxation and outdoor fun. Acres of precious salt marsh and grassland await you here, as well as educational activities at the Salt Marsh Nature Center, the largest of NYC’s five nature centers. Behind Salt March Nature Center is a hiking trail where you can admire the borough’s idyllic beauty, watch birds, and observe unique flora and fauna.

From a raised platform called High Marsh Lookout on the edge of the water, you’ll see preserved natural areas on the western side of Gerritsen Creek and restored tidal wetlands on its eastern shore. There’s also another spot across the creek from White Island, offering direct views of the island’s wetlands and restored grasslands.

Besides the trails and the nature center, Marine Park features football fields, golf courses, bocce courts, basketball courts, fitness equipment, bike areas, greenways, dog-friendly spots, and more. You can also rent a paddleboard, canoe, or kayak.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Established over a century ago, Brooklyn Botanic Garden is one of the premier public gardens in North America. It's located in the heart of Brooklyn, covering 52 acres of themed gardens and observatories. Apart from opening your mind and appreciation to the interesting world of plants, the botanic garden also serves as a venue for weddings and private events in a lovely outdoor setting or at the Palm House and Atrium.

The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden is not to be missed. It’s one of the first and most visited Japanese-inspired gardens outside Japan, featuring a charming combination of a modern stroll-garden style and an ancient hill-and-pond setting. You should also check out the Cranford Rose Garden, one of Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s most famous sites, with tens of thousands of blossoms cascading down arches and clambering over the pavilion when roses are in full bloom.

Dedicate a few hours to exploring the gardens, the plant and flower collections, and the conservatories, including the Aquatic House and Orchid Collection, the Desert Pavilion, and the Bonsai Museum. Don’t forget to stop by the Garden Shop, which carries a great selection of seeds, bulbs, and plants, as well as books, garden supplies, and gifts. If your stomach starts growling in the middle of the tour, there’s a coffee bar, a café, and a canteen, serving veggie-centric small plates and hearty main dishes.

Sunset Park

It’s not as popularly known as other NYC parks, but this green area should be one of your stops when looking for a breathtaking vista in Brooklyn. Sunset Park is a hidden treasure tucked away in a neighborhood of the same name and a wonderful place to play and cool off in the summer, with free outdoor pools that open daily from 11 AM to 7 PM.

Be sure to come at sunset, especially in summer, to appreciate the surroundings. Still, no matter the time of the day, you’ll be mesmerized by the captivating views of the Manhattan skyline. Walk to the park’s highest point to see Brooklyn’s vibrant neighborhoods, Staten Island, and the iconic Statue of Liberty.

Like many parks in Brooklyn, Sunset Park has many facilities to keep you busy and get your heart pumping. If it’s too cold for a swim or a leisure walk, you can spend hours in the recreation center, the dance room, the media lab library, or a workout room for cardio exercises and some lifting.

Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Whether you want to stay active or prefer a quiet atmosphere where you can sit, relax, and enjoy the view, Brooklyn Heights Promenade is the place to go. This 557-meter-long pedestrian walkway and park in Brooklyn runs north to south (or south to north), with views of Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge Park, East River, and the Manhattan skyline. You can invite your friends to walk along the straight pathway or just sit on a bench and take in the alluring skyline.

Visitors and locals love to come here to walk, jog, and take photos of the scenery. There’s beauty in all directions, especially in the fall, to witness the magical fall foliage. Brooklyn Heights Promenade may not have a lot of amenities and features, unlike other Brooklyn parks, but it has its own charm and is near several points of interest, including some of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges you can visit while in the area.

Domino Park

This small Brooklyn park spreads five acres along the East River in the hip Williamsburg neighborhood. One of its highlights is an elevated walkway where you can marvel at the views across the river to Manhattan and the surrounding area.

The Domino Park Playground is another favorite feature, allowing little ones to play in an area that was once a sugar production site over 160 years ago. It was the Domino Sugar empire’s  “jewel of the crown,” producing around 98 percent of the sugar consumed in the country.

You also can’t miss the large, salvaged artifacts, like the mooring bollards that secured docked ships that brought raw sugar cane and supplies to the sugar refinery. Other Domino Park features include a bocce court, beach volleyball area, a fountain with lights, which transforms into an open plaza for get-togethers and public events, a taco stand with outdoor seating space, and more.

Marsha P. Johnson State Park

Formerly East River State Park, Marsha P. Johnson State Park is a basic seven-acre park in the Williamsburg neighborhood. It’s not filled with the numerous amenities you’ll typically find in a Brooklyn park; all it has is a playground, a dog run, and a stretch of waterfront greenery to sit, chill, and chat while taking in Manhattan’s unobstructed view across the river. But these are more than enough to want to spend a weekend afternoon at the park.

Due to its location in one of NYC’s most famous neighborhoods known for its contemporary art scene, vibrant nightlife, and hipster culture, don’t be surprised to see many people at Marsha P. Johnson State Park, especially on a sunny day. It has a 'city park' feel, making it a worthy destination in Brooklyn. Dog walkers, photographers, joggers, tourists, and locals come to see and capture the city’s iconic skyline. Some of Brooklyn and New York City’s fun events and festivals also happen here.

Fort Greene Park

Perched on a hill overlooking downtown and Wallabout Bay is another favored neighborhood park and a historically significant area. Fort Greene Park is one of the oldest parks in Brooklyn, established in 1847. It was the site of a fort during the Revolutionary War and a monument to the war prisoners.

The Monument to the Prison Ship Martyrs during the American Revolution stands in the middle of the park. It was dedicated in 1908 to honor the 11,500 soldiers who died during the country’s fight for independence. You can also follow the tree trail with a hundred steps leading to the Monument.

Don’t skip a visit to the Fort Green Park Visitor Center, which opens daily, hosting family-friendly art exhibits that are based on nature. The best time to visit is summer, as the park welcomes hundreds of visitors to attend premier screenings on the lawn. So, bring your picnic blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy a movie under the stars.

McCarren Park

If you’re looking for a Brooklyn park filled with activities, McCarren Park doesn’t disappoint. It offers 35 acres of endless games, relaxation, and entertainment, making it a perfect destination for families, sports enthusiasts, and nature lovers. Take a dip in the outdoor pool in summer; it’s free and can be quite busy during the peak season.  You can also challenge others in a game of soccer, basketball, football, tennis, bocce, handball, or kickball.

Let your kids play with others in the playground while you chill on one of the benches or soak up the sun. Feeling hungry or thirsty? The McCarren Parkhouse houses a park bar, a café, a small sandwich house, and an ice cream shop, so you have everything in one place to satisfy your cravings and quench your thirst. You can also join regular fitness programs, such as the Bodyweight Integral Training and Walking Group, to remain in shape and discover the parks and paths that New York City has to offer.

Visit Brooklyn’s beautiful urban oases

The best park in Brooklyn depends on what activity you want to do, the places you want to explore, and the experiences you want to have. So, choose your adventures – have quiet time in one of the parks in Brooklyn or participate in activities that will allow you to sweat, exercise, and reconnect with nature. Regardless of your choice, you’ll be treated to amusing events, sports, and breathtaking views while enjoying the vibrant city of New York at a slower pace.

Are you looking for another way to beat the heat in the summertime in the Big Apple? While some parks in Brooklyn have outdoor pools to cool you off and gigantic trees for breezy shades, nothing beats swimming on a beach on a hot summer day. In that case, check out our guide on 8 Beaches near Brooklyn for sun and sand seekers. Walking in a park while out on a date? You'll work up an appetite so be sure to grab a seat at one of the romantic restaurants in Brooklyn to finish the day off right.

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