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Brooklyn: New York City's Great Escape

There’s a reason it’s the city's most populous borough.

Brooklyn, New York – a place so great, the majority of New Yorkers call it home (despite its ever-soaring rents). The city’s most populous borough is brimming with culture, hidden gems, and plenty of space to roam. In fact, if Brooklyn were an independent city, it would be the fourth largest in the United States, which means you can come to Brooklyn and have plenty to explore without ever having to set foot in another borough. And with vibes like this, why would you want to?

GREAT OUTDOORS AndreyGatash GREAT OUTDOORS Brooklyn is home to an array of parks and green spaces, but one of its most popular spots is Prospect Park. Officially opened in 1867, these 526 acres of land provide a lush oasis for Brooklynites looking to escape the urban jungle for a bike ride, a day of fishing, or just an afternoon lounging in the shade. Bonus: In the summertime, the park hosts a ton of free concerts and festivals at the beautiful Prospect Park Bandshell, with this year’s lineup featuring performances from Common, Spoon, and Anoushka Shankar. CITY VIEWS HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images CITY VIEWS For those looking to take in the breathtaking beauty of Manhattan, Brooklyn is actually where you want to be. Spots like the Brooklyn Heights Promenade (above) and Brooklyn Bridge Park offer the perfect vantage point for taking in the New York City skyline.

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NYC Brooklyn's Prospect Park Lawn on Sunny Spring Day
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Boogich mizoula OCEAN VIEWS mizoula OCEAN VIEWS Not only does Brooklyn have incredible views of the city, but it’s also home to some of the best beaches accessible by train. For a classic New York jaunt, one can never go wrong with the ever-colorful, always fun Coney Island. Grab a hot dog, slather on the sunscreen, and get ready for a boardwalk experience for the books. (Literally: Everyone from O. Henry to Patti Smith has written about it.)
USA, New York State, New York City, Brooklyn, Coney Island, Ferris wheel in amusement park
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Jamie Grill ART FOR EVERYONE Al Pereira/Getty Images ART FOR EVERYONE Since the early 1970s, Brooklyn has been a creative playground for street artists looking to fill large-scale spaces with their creations. From the Bushwick Collective open-air gallery to Fort Greene’s ode to Brooklyn native Biggie Smalls (above), the borough has no shortage of eye candy to take in.
A Tour Of Brooklyn's Eclectic Street Art
Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media via Getty Images Maria T Pons/Moment Editorial/Getty Images FEED YOUR SOUL Andrew Burton/Getty Images FEED YOUR SOUL Brooklyn boasts one of the top foodie scenes in the world, but for a true local experience, head to a neighborhood diner where breakfast is served all day, the coffee is bottomless, and the customers are treated like family. Quench your thirst with a classic New York egg cream, dig your teeth into a pastrami sandwich, then finish up with a big slice of cheesecake (you can’t go wrong with Junior’s). And if diner food isn’t your thing, not to worry – cultural delicacies are available everywhere for the sampling, from Italian pastries in Carroll Gardens to the Caribbean delights of Crown Heights.
Just-cracked egg; egg and ham on fork (2 photos)
Brooklyn's Famous Junior's Restaurant To Be Sold To Developer
Michael Berman Andrew Burton/Getty Images MAIN ACTS Stephanie Keith/Getty Images MAIN ACTS Think Brooklyn can’t compete with Manhattan when it comes to arts and culture? Think again. The Brooklyn Museum, currently home to the “David Bowie Is” exhibit (through July 15), rivals any go-to gallery in the city, and even better, every first Saturday of the month is free (except during September). Also noteworthy is BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), which hosts world-renowned theater, dance, opera, and film programs throughout the year. SUNSET STRIP Krit Jantana SUNSET STRIP Perhaps the most Instagram-worthy spot in the borough, the area Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass — otherwise known as Dumbo — is an excellent neighborhood to soak in the beauty of New York (especially at sunset). Good shopping and restaurants, too. THE BRIDGE Eva Alavez / EyeEm THE BRIDGE And if you absolutely MUST head to Manhattan, take the scenic route across the Brooklyn Bridge. Spanning about a third of a mile, the iconic structure was the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time of its unveiling, and remains a shining example of Brooklyn’s architectural prowess.

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