A Guide of Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO & Brooklyn Heights

Just across the Brooklyn Bridge brings you to Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights, and DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). Together, the three neighborhoods create an environment welcoming to families, young millennials and the aging generation all the same; yet, each neighborhood has its own path of transformation and shining character that distinguishes it from the rest. From the small yet rapidly developing Downtown Brooklyn with bustling crowds of office workers and students, to the affluent residential neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights with tree-lined brownstones and a promenade for excellent views of the city, to the industrial waterfront neighborhood of DUMBO, home to the brand new Domino Park as well as the local’s favorite Brooklyn Bridge Park & Jane’s Carousel. Here is our guide to direct you to some of the best facets of these three amazing neighborhoods. 


(Photo by Harlem Spirituals)

There are great galleries and art installations throughout Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO. You should check out what the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Alliance is up to lately to keep the arts vibrant in the community. In Downtown Brooklyn’s thriving cultural district you will find The Theater for a New Audience, Mark Morris Dance Center as well as the BRIC Arts Media House. 651 ARTS works to deepen the awareness and appreciation of African American contemporary performing arts and culture while the BAM Richard B. Fisher Building, the adjacent BAM Peter Jay Sharp Building, and the BAM Harvey Theater are now thriving urban art centers that bring international performances and films to Brooklyn. ISSUE Project Room displays projects by emerging and experimental artists and Kumble Theater hosts LIU performing art pieces. Both the Jubilee Gallery and Daphne Art Gallery are popular spaces to browse art in Brooklyn Heights, and the Klompching Gallery, the A.IR. Gallery, Minus Space and Land Gallery are all popular viewing destinations in DUMBO. DUMBO’s industrial vibe is explicit when considering this neighborhood’s art scene, noted as the epicenter of art and creativity. Many warehouses have been converted to art organizations, such as St. Anne’s Warehouse in an old Tobacco depot. The newly opened Domino Park is also home to many public art installations and murals as featured above, illustrating both DUMBO’s roots and the evolution of this changing neighborhood. To see Domino Park and the public art displays for yourself, book either our Triboro Tour or our Brooklyn Walking Tour.



(Photo by Manhattan Bridge/ Facebook)

Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights & DUMBO are major cultural and historic hubs in themselves. Downtown Brooklyn is home to one of the oldest and most significant historic landmarks, Borough Hall. The only place you will discover the ins-and-outs of mass transportation is at The New York Transit Museum downtown. Immerse yourself in an ethnic artistic culture at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), fostering the dynamic space for creation to express the social and political issues regarding the African dispersion.  For a museum and cocktail venue, check out The House of Wax. Learn about societal change through theatrical and performance-based demonstrations at Toy Museum of New York, or explore the Brooklyn’s Children Museum with your little ones! Are you a history junkie? The 154-year-old Brooklyn Historical Society in Brooklyn Heights goes all the way back to 400 years ago in Brooklyn, so if you’ve got the time, use it here! When in DUMBO, definitely explore the Manhattan Bridge Archway Plaza, one of New York’s most unique public spaces that support live music, sports screenings, casual food vendors and picturesque, cathedral-like architecture by the river. The history of Brooklyn Heights will resonate with you during a simple stroll through the amazing Brownstones, cobblestoned streets, historic homes, mansions and churches.



(Photo by Joe Buglewicz/ NYC & Company)

Although extensive dining is not necessarily the main priority of these three neighborhoods, you will not fall short of a delicious meal. Brooklyn Heights offers dining destinations that are sure to please anyone, offering delicious selections of Italian at Noodle Pudding or Queen, Thai at Pinto, Japanese at Kogane Ramen, and British pub fare at the Atlantic Chip Shop. If you are craving a delicious, original, coal-oven pizza pie, you must visit Grimaldi’s, Love & Dough, or Juliana’s Pizza in DUMBO, likely known as the pizza capital of the world. If you’re looking for a place to hang out with good food and drinks, check out Randolph Beer for self-service beer taps and sustainably sourced dining. Dine on the water with views of the East River at The Osprey, The River Café, Sugarcane Raw Bar and Grill, Cecconi’s, Atrium DUMBO, or Celestine. The more commercialized Downtown Brooklyn offers many dining options. Consider Bijan’s Brooklyn or Saltbrick Tavern for classic and delicious American cuisine, or if you want to try something more unique, go for some vegetarian Indian fare at Govinda Kitchen or Ganso for spicy miso-ramen. Dekalb Market Hall is also an excellent option when deciding on where to dine. Brooklyn’s best food hall hosts up to 40 food and drinks vendors, giving you the option to dine anywhere from Paella Shack to Pierogi Boys.



(Photo by Julienne Schaer/NYC & Company)

Between the three neighborhoods, there are plenty of good-vibe bars for catching a drink with coworkers, friends, or possibly a new date. 1 Rooftop Garden & Bar is both relaxing and impressive, boasting unmatchable views of the Lower East Side across the East River in the Brooklyn Bridge Park. We highly recommend you pay a visit! Grand Army located Downtown offers fresh oysters and signature cocktails, while Livingston Manor provides a cozy atmosphere with local brews. On the other hand, try a more upbeat, Afro-Caribbean bar, Amarachi. Calling all Tequila lovers! Rocco’s Tacos & Tequilla makes your food and drink selection nearly impossible, offering up to 400 varieties of tequila…dangerous, we know. For an ultimate sports bar, head to The Bridges or O’Keefe’s. For live events, keep up to tabs with St. Ann’s Warehouse in DUMBO. If live music or events isn’t what you’re feeling, opt for a unique dine-in movie at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. During the summer season, Brooklyn Bridge Park offers a selection of free movie nights you may attend as well.




(Photo by Will Steacy/ NYC & Company)

You can certainly get all of the shopping done that you need in Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights, and DUMBO. Fulton Mallan outdoor, multiblock complex of over 150 shops downtown, provides any store from mainstream chains to indie boutiques. The Atlantic Center and Terminal Mall is also one of the largest outlets in Brooklyn with staple stores like Target, DSW, Marshalls, Old Navy, Children’s Place, and many more. While in Downtown Brooklyn, you will not miss the Apple Downtown Brooklyn store on Flatbush Avenue, where you can discover the latest tech creations. We recommend The Shops at 145 Front Street for unique stores and showrooms where you can browse jewelry, fashion accessories, baby gear, leather goods and more. Also in DUMBO, you may want to check out Powerhouse Arena, where you can sift through the world-renown publishing company’s collection of fiction and nonfiction works among a bright and lofty room functioning as a bookstore, event and exhibition space. Regarding grocery shopping, Foragers Market, located inside Dekalb Market Hall, offers well-priced and high-quality groceries from local farms and sustainable producers as well as natural wines and spirits. Lastly, from April to October the Brooklyn Flea Market occurs every Sunday in DUMBO, offering an array of indie clothing, vintage records and old baseball cards along with tasty offerings from food vendors.



When you visit New York City, bike the Brooklyn Bridge over the East River to experience the most of Brookyln Heights, DUMBO and Downtown Brooklyn. If you’re looking for a more extensive experience, join us on our Brooklyn Walking Tour to see the most of these three neighborhoods while learning about their history through one of our knowledgeable and friendly guides. If you are interested in finding more to do in New York City, search through our complete range of tours, attractions, and activities. We can also tailor-make programs specifically to match your desires and budgets. Harlem Spirituals is the ideal one-stop-shop to simplify your planning! Find more information on www.harlemspirituals.com or contact us at info@harlemspirituals.com.