If your heart skips a beat when you hear the Avett Brothers sing, "Brooklyn, Brooklyn, take me in," you may be one of the hundreds of thousands of people who consider moving to New York's hippest borough each year. Whether you're new to New York City in general or a longtime resident, searching out the best neighborhoods in Brooklyn in which to live, play, work and commute from is an exciting task. Luckily, there's plenty of research, opinion pieces and census data available to help you make your choice.
To lessen the burden a bit, we've collected info on the top Brooklyn neighborhoods to check out for a permanent move – or even just a day exploring. Given there are more than 30 amazing neighborhoods to choose from in Brooklyn – each with thousands of unique attributes – we may have missed a few in this list! If you want to share your favorite, please let us know in the comments.
And without further ado…
Coming from Manhattan, Williamsburg is the first stop in Brooklyn on the L subway train. This densely populated area has an amazingly rich cultural, ethnic and artistic heritage, with high-end galleries bordering bodegas, multi-million-dollar apartments next to factories, and everything in between. Arguably one of the best places to live in Brooklyn by many standards, Williamsburg's popularity and visibility has translated into some of the highest rents in New York. If you do find housing that fits your budget though, you'll find yourself living in an awesomely vibrant, extremely walkable, and totally stylish area of the city guaranteed to make your friends envious for years to come.
2. Carroll Gardens
If a historic showcase of a neighborhood is what you're looking for, look no further than beautiful Carroll Gardens, the heart of "Brownstone Brooklyn." With a mix of both historic and modern architectural styles, a top-notch culinary scene, and loads of fashionable boutiques, bars and yoga studios, Carroll Gardens is widely known as one of the best neighborhoods in Brooklyn for trendy families and young professionals alike. A relatively short commute to Manhattan, Carroll Gardens is also super kid-friendly – which is important to know whether or not you actually have kids. If you like the vibe of Carroll Gardens, be sure to check out its neighbors Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill which are both very similar in feel (and price) and make up an area sometimes referred to as BoCoCa. Try saying that ten times fast.
3. Bay Ridge
Looking for a Brooklyn neighborhood with filled with generations of families, affordable waterfront access and sizable Irish, Norwegian, Greek, Italian and Middle Eastern populations? You'll find it in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn: the last stop on the R train and the home of Tony Manero (John Travolta) in Saturday Night Fever. Bay Ridge boasts a strong community of longtime residents who fiercely protect overdevelopment of their unique neighborhood, meaning the highest structures are only a handful of stories tall. Bay Ridge is widely considered a great place to buy an older single- or multi-family home, settle down and raise a family in an area that specializes in them. Though the neighborhood is located fairly far from Manhattan in the southwest corner of Brooklyn, transit options have recently improved with the addition of the South Brooklyn NYC ferry route. There is also the aforementioned R train (which takes about an hour to get to midtown Manhattan), as well as some rapid transit buses.
4. Prospect Heights
Smack in between the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and the Brooklyn Museum, Prospect Heights is known as a solidly middle-class, reasonably affordable part of Brooklyn with great transportation options and a young, fairly casual vibe. However, it's important to know that the area is in the midst of massive development with the $4.9 billion, 22-acre Pacific Park Brooklyn construction project (and all the related traffic) already having a huge impact well before its 2025 completion date. But with the benefits of being a stone's throw from Prospect Park ("the flagship park of Brooklyn") and the Barclays Center (home to the New Jersey Nets and the New York Islanders), along with blocks of quality dining and retail options, Prospect Heights is still considered to be one of the best Brooklyn neighborhoods – just one that's also going through a big change at the moment. But that big change might mean big opportunity for you!
5. Brooklyn Heights
No listing of the best neighborhoods in Brooklyn can get by without mentioning Brooklyn Heights, the cozy, charming and tremendously affluent neighborhood directly across the East River from lower Manhattan. As the first neighborhood included in New York City's 1965 Landmarks Preservation Law, Brooklyn Heights is one of the few that can still boast cobblestone streets, blocks of beautifully restored rowhouses, and limited high-rise buildings. Not to mention its unique and historic waterfront promenade, which plays host to thousands of visitors a day walking, reading and enjoying the views. While prices are pretty darned steep, the neighborhood still has its fair share of middle-class commuters rubbing elbows with the likes of Björk, Matt Damon, Gary Oldman and Gabriel Byrne at the local deli. Brooklyn Heights is also in very close proximity to the Brooklyn Bridge and the DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass) neighborhood and walking distance to the shops and restaurants in Carroll Gardens.
Everyone has different opinions about the best places to live in Brooklyn because everyone has different wants and requirements. If you're thinking about living in Brooklyn, the best advice we can offer is to do your research, pick a few neighborhoods for your shortlist, and then go spend time there. Don't limit it to a specific time or day. Instead try to vary your visits to get a true understanding of what the neighborhood feels like during the commute, during weekends, early morning, etc.
And trust your instincts! Even if every article you've read says one of your choices is the safest neighborhood in Brooklyn, if you feel uncomfortable or out of place, listen to that voice and keep looking. We wish you the best of luck in your search, and no matter the neighborhood in Brooklyn, CubeSmart has a self-storage facility nearby to help with your storage needs!
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