The best areas to stay in Brooklyn for first-timers are Downtown Brooklyn and Williamsburg but there are many other neighborhoods to consider to book a hotel such as Bedford-Stuyvesant, Greenpoint, Crown Heights, and Park Slope.
In this post, I will help you to find where to stay in Brooklyn, NY as a visitor, as well as the safest areas to stay in the city.
Brooklyn is one of five boroughs of New York and one of the coolest places to stay in New York, cheaper than Manhattan.
Brooklyn has more than 70 neighborhoods and is bigger than some of the major cities in the U.S. like Boston, or Washington, D.C. It is known for its famous landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Coney Island, and Prospect Park.
Downtown Brooklyn and Williamsburg are the best areas to stay in Brooklyn for the first time due to its central location to explore both Brooklyn and Manhattan. These neighborhoods have the widest range of accommodation options, as well as restaurants, bars, shops, and tourist attractions.
Brooklyn is overall a safe city for tourists, but as in travel to any big city, always practice common sense and be aware of your surroundings. If you are looking for the safest areas to stay in Brooklyn, I recommend looking into touristy areas such as Downtown and Williamsburg.
Where to stay in Brooklyn? 6 Best areas to stay in Brooklyn for tourists
1. Downtown Brooklyn, where to stay in Brooklyn for first-timers
Downtown Brooklyn is one of the best areas to stay in Brooklyn for first-timers due to its central location. Downtown is the hub for transportation, accommodation, shopping, dining, and nightlife.
Conveniently located across the East River from Manhattan, Downtown is a thriving business center of NY, along with NYC’s Midtown and Lower Manhattan. It is packed with towering office buildings such as the Greek Revival-style Brooklyn Borough Hall.
Downtown is filled with things to do and see. The majestic Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most photographed sights in Brooklyn, providing easy access between Brooklyn and Mathanta.
Brooklyn Bridge has impressive stone arches, 6 automobile lanes, a bicycle lane, and pedestrian pathways. You can take a long walk across the East River.
You can admire the best views of the Brooklyn Bridge and city’s skyline at the Pebble Beach and Brooklyn Bridge Park, which are also great places to take a stroll.
If you are interested in art and culture, visit the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Founded in 1861, it is America’s oldest performing arts center, where you can find the advancement of art, literature, or science.
Downtown neighborhood is a shoppers paradise where you can find the outdoor Fulton Street Mall with hundreds of businesses, restaurants, and cafés, as well as many shops and department stores along its busy streets.
DeKalb Market Hall is a unique place for foodies with all sorts of foods and drinks. The food vendors here offer some of the finest in Brooklyn with cuisine from all over the world including Asian, Middle Eastern, Colombian, Italian.
The popular outdoor flea market, Brooklyn Flea, offers a wide variety of vintage clothing, jewelry, and accessories. It is also a great place to sample local food and fresh vegetables and fruits.
For a green space, head to the Cadman Plaza Park, located between Borough Hall to the Brooklyn Bridge, Downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights. It, along with Walt Whitman Park nearby, is a place to go for relaxation and for a walk.
Downtown is very well-connected to another part of Brooklyn and Manhattan, making it one of the best areas to stay in Brooklyn without a car. You can visit the New York Transit Museum, located in an old subway station that has 19 restored subway cars.
Downtown Brooklyn is one of the safest places to stay in Brooklyn because it is a touristy area with plenty of things to do and see. But as you travel to any big city, you should always practice common sense and be aware of the surroundings.
Downtown has plenty of accommodation options ranging from budget guest houses to luxury hotels. Downtown has everything for all budget travelers.
Best places to stay in Downtown Brooklyn:
- Luxury ($$$): 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
- Mid-range ($$): New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge
- Budget ($): Hampton Inn Brooklyn Downtown
2. Williamsburg, one of the best places to stay in Brooklyn
Williamsburg along with Downtown is one of the best areas to stay in Brooklyn due to its central location and its wide range of hotels, restaurants, bars, pubs, clubs. It is one of the most exciting nightlife neighborhoods in the city.
Williamsburg is a very gentrified and safe neighborhood, but as with anywhere be aware of your surroundings and always practice common sense.
Williamsburg is located on the bank of the East River, offering easy access to Manhattan, with only one stop away from Manhattan, and an excellent view over the skyline.
It is a hipster and artistic neighborhood as it has lively street arts, murals, indie music performances, and boutique scene. You can shop for vintage clothing at Awoke Vintage, Narnia Vintage, or Monk Vintage.
With excellent wine, cheese, meat, the neighborhood is also great for foodies. You can drink beer at the Brooklyn Brewery, visit a cocktail or wine bar.
I suggest taking a walk or cycle on Williamsburg Bridge, which had an important role in New York City history. The bridge is less crowded than Brooklyn Bridge.
Williamsburg provides lots of green space, including Domino Park, McCarren Park, Marsha P Johnson Park, and Bushwick Inlet Park. McCarren Park has a playground, baseball fields, and running paths as well as Saturday farmers market.
Domino Park, former site of Domino Sugar Refinery, located along the waterfront north of the Williamsburg Bridge. You can enjoy the view from an elevated walkway, kids can enjoy the playground, and eat at a taco shop.
While in the neighborhood, take a look at Brooklyn Bowl. Situated in the center of the nightlife scene on Wythe Avenue, it has bowling lanes, a restaurant, and music venue.
If you love shopping, check out the Brooklyn Flea on Kent Avenue and 6th street. It runs every Saturday from April to October. You can find all kinds of goods here such as furniture, vintage clothing, jewelry. The Smorgasburg food market nearby is also worth checking.
Williamsburg has a wide range of accommodation options. You can easily find a hotel with views over the river and the city.
Best places to stay in Williamsburg in Brooklyn:
- Luxury ($$$): The William Vale
- Mid-range ($$): Penny Williamsburg
- Budget ($): Pod Brooklyn
3. Bedford-Stuyvesant, where to stay in Brooklyn for local vibe
Bedford-Stuyvesant, or just Bed-Stuy is one of the best areas to stay in Brooklyn. It is a residential area, conveniently located northwest Brooklyn, close to Williamsburg and Downtown Brooklyn.
Bed-Stuy is a beautiful and historic neighborhood with wide, tree-covered avenues and ornate rows of brownstones. It has a large concentration of Victorian architecture in the USA and one of the anchors for the Black community of the city.
The history of Bed-Stuy dates back to the 1960s when it was the center of African-American and Civil Rights activism. It is home to famous figures such as Bobby Fischer, Jackie Robinson, Mike Tyson, Jay-Z, Jackie Gleason, and Shirley Chisholm – the first Black woman to be elected to Congress.
Walking around the neighborhood, you will see murals paying tribute to the legends in hip hop music who lived here in their childhood and careers. Some popular murals to check out are King of New York mural, mural of ODB, and Marcy Housing Projects.
Bedford-Stuyvesant has plenty of restaurants serving many cuisines including pizza, Cuban sandwiches at Pilar Cuban Eatery, or David’s Brisket House.
You can also find many incredible bars, and cool, independent cafes and coffee houses. There are shopping opportunities at independent shops and vintage shops.
Visit the Billie Holiday Theatre, also known as The Billie, at Restoration Plaza, which was founded in 1972 as the Black community’s artistic center. It has performances showing the Civil Rights and Black Arts Movement.
The neighborhood has Subway lines A and C run under Fulton Street, the JMZ runs north of Broadway, and the G around Marcy and Lafayette avenues.
Best places to stay in Bedford-Stuyvesant:
- Budget ($): Vakb Apartments
- Budget ($): Brooklyn brownstone
- Budget ($): Modern Living II
4. Greenpoint, coolest neighborhood to stay in Brooklyn
Similar to Downtown Brooklyn and Williamsburg, the Greenpoint neighborhood is located in the waterfront area of the East River. It is in the northernmost part of Brooklyn, providing easy access to both Matthanta and Queens by car.
To get to Midtown Manhattan, you can take the G train covering Brooklyn and Queens, then take the E train to Manhattan. You can also take a ferry ride from Greenpoint to Williamsburg, and Wall Street.
The area is a cool place with plenty of restaurants and cafes, bars, and cocktail venues, offering great nightlife. Greenpoint was an industrial hub, with some industrial past you can see such as The Astral building and The Pencil Factory Complex.
Greenpoint was an area for Polish immigrants and so it is a good place to try some authentic Polish food.
For shopping, there are some shopping centers around the neighborhood, or shops in Manhattan Avenue. Book lovers can visit Word, a popular indie bookstore.
Best places to stay in Greenpoint:
- Mid-range ($$): Henry Norman Hotel
- Mid-range ($$): Franklin Guesthouse
- Mid-range ($$): The Box House Hotel
5. Crown Heights, one of the safest areas to stay in Brooklyn
Crown Heights along with Downtown Brooklyn and Williamsburg is one of the safest places to stay in Brooklyn because it is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods of Brooklyn.
Crown Heights offers easy access to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Jewish Children’s Museum, Brooklyn Museum, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Crown Heights has mixed cultures with residents of Hasidic Jews, Caribbean American, Caribbean, and African-American. The West Indian American Day Parade is held on Eastern Parkway annually every September.
You can always find restaurants, bars, and independent shops. There are Kosher restaurants and Judaica stores on Kingston Avenue.
Midtown Manhattan by train from Crown Heights is around 30 minutes, and stations are found on Franklin Avenue.
Best places to stay in Crown Heights:
- Mid-range ($$): Rochester’s Place
- Budget ($): Brooklyn Artist Delight
6. Park Slope, well-rounded neighborhood
Park Slope is located in central Brooklyn, to the west of Prospect Park. It is a diverse neighborhood with populations of Asian, Black, Hispanic, and White.
There are many popular attractions around the neighborhood. Prospect Park provides plenty of outdoor activities with trails, paths, and green space.
The Prospect Park Zoo is a great place to spend fund days for families with kids. Brooklyn Botanic Garden is home to two dozen gardens and conservatories.
You can also visit the Old Stone House & Washington Park to see exhibits on war. For the rainy day, head to the Community Bookstore and find your beloved books.
The neighborhood has a great nightlife too. You can visit the French-owned underground nightclub – Barbès, Blueprint upscale lounge, and Union Hall with its bar, restaurant, and performance venu.
The 5th Avenue of Park Slope is also worth taking a stroll. It is a shopping street full of restaurants, boutiques, and bars.
Best places to stay in Park Slope:
- Mid-range ($$): TownePlace Suites by Marriott New York Brooklyn
- Budget ($): Cozy Fully Furnished Apartment Near Prospect Park & Public Transport
Where should I stay in Brooklyn for the first time?
Downtown Brooklyn and Williamsburg are both ideal places to stay in Brooklyn for the first time due to its convenient locations to explore both Brooklyn and Mathanta. There are also a wide variety of accommodations, restaurants, bars, shops, and tourist attractions.
What are the best areas to stay in Brooklyn?
Downtown Brooklyn, Williamsburg, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Greenpoint, Crown Heights, and Park Slope are some of the best areas to stay in Brooklyn because they are the most popular neighborhoods in the city with a range of tourist attractions and amenities.
Where not to stay in Brooklyn?
You should avoid East New York, Brownsville, and Ocean Hill because they have high crime rates.
What are the safest places to stay in Brooklyn?
Brooklyn is generally safe for tourists. If you are looking for the safest areas to stay in Brooklyn, look into the Downtown area and Williamsburg because they are touristy areas that offer plenty of things to do and see.
See more: Where to Stay in New York City First Time
Overall, Downtown Brooklyn is the best area to stay in Brooklyn for the first time due to its super central location and a wide range of hotels, restaurants, and shops. Hopefully, after reading this, you will find the best area to stay in Brooklyn, NY.