18 Uniquely Fun Things to Do in Bushwick, Brooklyn A Local’s Guide

A woman in front of a colorful mural in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Welcome to my favorite neighborhood in Brooklyn: Bushwick! This hidden gem NYC neighborhood is bursting with art, culture, incredible food, nightlife, and endless creativity. The streets showcase vibrant murals by local artists, transforming them into outdoor art galleries. As a born-and-raised New Yorker, here are the coolest things to do in Bushwick, Brooklyn. 

I. Why is Bushwick So Special?

Every 5-10-ish years, a neighborhood in NYC becomes the hot spot where all the artists, queers, and small businesses blossom. This is until the condos invade the skies and everyone gets outpriced (both local POC and transplants, which usually happen in two major waves).

Right now, Bushwick is at its peak. It offers a vibrant scene of creativity like Studio 45 with its community meet-ups for art workshops, small businesses like organic wine bars, and artistic spaces like House of Yes. The restaurant scene has exploded, but you can still walk into almost all of the restaurants. It’s very queer with the newest lesbian bar in NYC: The Bush. And there is still some diversity (albeit tons of first-wave POC displacements).  

For now, Bushwick also has a cozier sense of community, and there are various local initiatives and grassroots organizations that you can get involved with to help and connect. 

Aside from all of that, Bushwick is sandwiched between some of NYC’s best neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Bed-Stuy

II. Best Things to Do in Bushwick, Brooklyn

1. Company XIV ★

This super special theater company in Bushwick offers a blend of circus, ballet, opera, and lavish theatrical performances. The moment you enter, you’re in an immersive experience with stunning costumes and decor and two gorgeous bars. With a fusion of classical and contemporary elements, Company XIV transports you into a world of decadence and fantasy. 

2. House of Yes ★

Ready for the best club in NYC right now? House of Yes is a vibrant club and immersive performance space that champions inclusivity. Located in a former ice warehouse, they host a variety of nightlife events ranging from themed parties to avant-garde shows like Dirty Circus (amazing), all designed to ignite creativity and self-expression.

I recommend going for their shows and then staying afterward for when the space becomes a two-room club. The bar area has unique cocktails and opens up to games and stands ranging from free tattoos to tarot card readers. To really embrace the experience, come here in costume or dressed up before getting lost in the fun!

3. Bushwick Walking Tour

What better way to get to know a place than an informative walking tour with a guide? You can join this 2-hour Bushwick walking tour to immerse yourself in arts and culture through thought-provoking murals that grace Bushwick’s walls. You’ll leave with insights into the stories behind these murals and the personas and styles of the talented urban street artists who have shaped Bushwick.

4. The Tiny Cupboard Comedy Club

Hosted in an intimate underground setting for hilarious stand-up comedy performances, this venue showcases a diverse lineup of talented comedians, promising an evening filled with fun and laughter. If you’re looking for an escape from the doom and gloom of our world, The Tiny Cupboard Comedy Club is the spot to leave your worries behind and enjoy top-notch acts in a cozy environment. They also have affordable drinks and snacks available for purchase, and they don’t have a drink minimum!

5. Ornithology Jazz Club

On the border of Bushwick and Bed-Stuy sits this intimate spot where musicians gather to both play and enjoy live music. This jazz club has a Bechstein Grand Piano, which hosts talented musicians performing a variety of jazz styles. With its warm ambiance and craft cocktails, the Ornithology Jazz Club is perfect for a memorable night of soulful melodies and smooth rhythms. There’s a pop-up kitchen and drinks are reasonably priced. Come early to get the perfect spot!

6. Biking Tour

On a weekend morning, consider a bike tour through Brooklyn including Bushwick for a fun and uniquely immersive way of exploring the neighborhood. As you pedal through the streets, you’ll discover hidden gems and colorful street art that you might otherwise miss on foot or by car. Plus, it allows you to cover more ground efficiently. You can join rides with Ridgewood Rides or join this street art bike tour

Ridgewood Rides, a collective of local riders from Queens who promote bike safety, hosts group bikes in the borough and beyond, including Bushwick. The latter is a small-group guided bike tour that’s perfect for art enthusiasts who want a more personal experience through Bushwick, Fort Greene, Williamsburg, and DUMBO. Helmets are included! 

7. Cherry on Top ★

This special wine bar is known for its stellar list of natural wines, perfectly complemented by its simple snack menu. But the prized gem is the lovely views on their rooftop. The perfect spot for dates, birthdays, and happy hour with friends.  Add this to your NYC August/summers bucket list!

In addition to the rooftop, Cherry on Top also has an indoor space filled with red lighting and quirky drawings and hosts exciting events such as wine parties, live jazz nights, disco parties, speed dating, tarot readings, and supper clubs!

8. Rock Climb at MetroRock Bushwick

This indoor rock climbing gym has a diverse range of climbing walls and routes suitable for all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re looking to try something new, challenge your fear of heights, get a good workout, or simply have fun with family and friends, MetroRock Bushwick provides a safe and welcoming environment for adventure and fitness. They offer lessons for kids and adults, as well as personal training too!

9. Bushwick Flea Market

Open every single day year-round, this outdoor flea market sells a variety of items that range from clothes, jewelry, plants, furniture, vintage household items, postcards, records, and cameras. Located in the heart of Bushwick, the Bushwick Flea Market is an easy stop between all of your Bushwick adventures.

10. The Bush (NYC’s Newest Lesbian Bar) ★

Obviously don’t come here if you’re not LBGT/queer. This is NYC’s fourth and newest lesbian bar, putting us at the top as the city with the most lesbian bars in the USA! Boasting tasty cocktails, a uniquely shaped interior, and occasional events like art workshops and speed dating, this BIPOC lesbian-owned bar is the perfect space to unwind and socialize! 

Run by a team of POC and queers, The Bush is undeniably a safe space for the queer community. Don’t miss their events, which range from book launches, figure queer drawing workshops, and drag race watch parties!

For another lesbian-owned space, check out Maite just a couple blocks away, a cute Colombian-European restaurant. Make sure to order their Caesar salad!

11. Syndicated Brooklyn

This unique 60-seat venue combines movie theater, bar, and restaurant experiences into one! Syndicated Brooklyn’s menu includes seasonal American cuisine and bar snacks that you can pair with delightful beer and cocktails as you watch a movie in the comfort of your seats. 

Whether you’re looking forward to recent movies or in the mood for some nostalgia, you’re in for a treat as they screen both classics and current releases! You can also join their fun, bimonthly movie trivia nights!

12. Studio 45

This community-oriented space hosts creative events and hands-onworkshops, perfect for meeting new people! Gatherings include terrarium parties, vision board making, book clubs, silkscreen printing and even zine making. 

If you’re looking for a place to explore your creativity and join a thriving community of artists and creatives, Studio 45 will embrace you with its welcoming atmosphere and commitment to promoting local talent!

13. Elsewhere

Just outside Bushwick, this multi-room music venue, nightclub and arts space is known for its focus on underground and unbound music and friendly atmosphere. Its three stories feature multiple rooms with a unique vibe. The ultimate nightlife playground, it gives you a bar-hopping experience within the same venue! And upstairs, you can enjoy the stunning city skyline view from its rooftop.

Check out their calendar of events. With welcoming staff and security, an accessible seating area, and gender-neutral restrooms, Elsewhere is a great place to have a good time!

14. The Brooklyn Mirage

If you’re into house/techno parties, don’t miss The Brooklyn Mirage. This open-air nightclub venue opens for summer electronic music events. With its spacious dance floors, state-of-the-art sound system, wraparound LED screen wall, and breathtaking views of the city skyline, it makes an immersive and unforgettable setting for music lovers to dance the night away!

15. Unique Shops

Shopping at all of the unique small shops is one of my favorite things to do in Bushwick, Brooklyn as some of these items are unique with touches of artisan craftsmanship or vintage/used pieces. 

  • Plants: The Little Shop of Soil offers a wide selection of indoor plants, beautifully made plant ceramics, plant care accessories, and other home goods. With its friendly staff and atmosphere, it’s the perfect place to find greenery to brighten up your home or office space.
  • Records: Octopus Records offers a select curation of new and used records. For a bigger collection, visit Deep Cuts Record Store, they have cassettes and music books, too!
  • Books: Molasses Books is a charming bookstore and bar known for its cozy ambiance and curated selection of used books. With its inviting atmosphere, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a drink while browsing for your next favorite read! They’re open every day until midnight!
  • Bushwick Art Galleries: If you want to browse some artwork, you can visit Transmitter, which is a fantastic gallery in an old factory building with inspiring art. You can also hop to David & Schweitzer and Luhring Augustine for some contemporary pieces.

16. Thrift Shopping ★

Thrift shopping in NYC is a treasure hunt for affordable and stylish finds, from vintage clothing to retro accessories and home decor. Here are my Bushwick favorites:

  • Other People’s Clothes ★: Located right next to The Bush, I love the well-curated selection of clothing and accessories here. I’ve bought like 5 sunglasses from here and get tons of compliments on them. 
  • Friends NYC: A collection of affordable items with a hipster flair here, making it one of the best Bushwick vintage stores. You can also grab some small gifts like cards, journals, candles, mugs, and the like. 
  • Urban Jungle: This HUGE thrift store is one of the biggest in NYC with a selection of vintage/used clothes for men and women.

17. Explore Bushwick’s Breweries

When it comes to breweries, Bushwick does not fall behind with various spots offering unique craft flavors in a welcoming ambiance; it has a thriving beer scene.

  • Kings County Brewers Collective (KCBC): This brewery is known for its diverse selection of craft beers and relaxed indoor and outdoor settings. With its spacious taproom and a rotating selection of brews, it’s one of the best bars to unwind in on weekends! It’s also located smack-dab in the middle of all the action and right next to Cherry on Top.
  • Left Hand Path: If you care for both amazing mixed drinks and beer, this bar is a nice place to have them! Whether inside the wooden indoors or in the spacious outdoor garden, you will have a fantastic time!
  • Evil Twin Brewing NYC: For experimental craft beers and lovely frozen cocktails and ciders. Technically in Queens, but just minutes across Wyckoff Avenue.

18. Maria Hernandez Park

This green space was named after the woman who fought against dealers of illicit substances in the neighborhood. Now a small family-friendly park, Maria Hernandez Park is also a popular spot for picnics, sports, and relaxation. In the summer, it hosts community events and gatherings, such as live music and movie nights!

III. Where to Eat in Bushwick: Best Restaurants 

Eating is one of the greatest things to do in Bushwick! Home to flavors worldwide, make sure to add a stop to one of these restaurants on your day trip to Bushwick. 

  • Eyval ★: This new-ish Persian restaurant serves iconic dishes from Iran. Don’t miss the rose puff dessert! Just make sure to reserve before visiting or get there right as they open for a seat at the bar!
  • Sobre Masa ★:My personal favorite. As a New Yorker who has traveled to Oaxaca, I can confidently say Sobre Masa has the best Oaxacan Mexican food in NYC. Get the shrimp, steak, ceviche, and roasted cheese. You’re welcome.
  • La Cantine: This homey, French-inspired Bushwick luncheonette serves breakfast, lunch, and snacks by day and transforms into a wine bar at night, making it an ideal hangout spot at any time of the day!
  • Queen: Middle-Eastern fare that will blow you away in this restaurant. 
  • Rolo’s: This spot, with delicious Italian food and a cute atmosphere, blew up because Jeremy Allen White said this is his favorite NYC restaurant. While it’s technically in Ridgewood, it’s just along the border of Bushwick!

IV. Best Cafes in Bushwick, New York

Discover the best coffee shops in Bushwick, BK:

  • Nook: This cute coffee shop serves delectable coffee, craft beer, sandwiches, and breakfast items. The perfect place to start your morning.
  • Lazy Suzy Cafe & Shop: This charming spot is known for its home-like atmosphere and delightful coffee and tea. With nice music played on low volume and a calm vibe, this is a nice place for working remotely!
  • SEY Coffee: This popular coffee roastery offers AMAZING coffee. Plus, their spacious interior has gorgeous natural lighting and greenery.

V. Best Hotels in Bushwick, NYC

Since Bushwick is at its pre-commercial stage, you won’t find any big hotels here. But you can experience a cozy and artistic retreat by booking this charming loft. With its stylish decor, comfortable amenities, and unique artistic touches, this one-bedroom apartment offers a welcoming and relaxing home for guests to unwind after exploring the vibrant Bushwick neighborhood. 

If you want a hotel near Bushwick, I recommend you stay in Williamsburg, just minutes away, at these one of these hotels:

  • Penny Williamsburg: Functionality and cute design. Central location in Williamsburg. If you want to bike to Bushwick, you can borrow a bicycle in their lobby! Then treat yourself to some drinks at their rooftop restaurant and bar with lovely skyline views to end your day!
  • The Hoxton Williamsburg: Aside from its luxurious and cozy rooms, this hotel is home to three restaurants with award-winning food and Manhattan skyline views. You can also borrow bikes from here!
  • The Wythe Hotel: A 100-year-old former factory, this Williamsburg classic sits on the Brooklyn waterfront. Its luxurious, sophisticated, and historic charm makes it a photogenic venue for special events. Make sure to get a room with a stunning view of Manhattan and enjoy a dining experience at their on-site French restaurant!

VI. Best Bars in Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY

Explore the best bars in Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, offering a diverse range of drinks and lively atmospheres. From hip cocktail lounges to cozy neighborhood pubs, Bushwick’s bar scene has something for everyone to enjoy, making it the perfect destination for a night out on the town.

  • Boobie Trap: This quirky and fun bar is known for its playful decor and creative cocktails. With its laid-back atmosphere and friendly staff, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a casual drink with friends while admiring the eclectic surroundings.
  • The Keep: This rustic, dimly-lit lounge on the border of Bushwick boasts cool vintage decor and awesome cocktails. Aside from the stunning visuals of the place and excellent mixology, they also host live music and events such as burlesque shows.
  • The Ten Bells Brooklyn: This charming wine bar is known for its relaxed atmosphere and extensive selection of natural wines and cocktails and tapas. With its cozy interior and welcoming ambiance, it is the perfect setting either for happy hour with friends or a date with your wine enthusiast loved one!

VII. Things to Do in Bushwick: Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: Where is Bushwick?

Bushwick site at the northern part of the Brooklyn borough, in the west part of Long Island. It is surrounded by Williamsburg (northwest), Bedford-Stuyvesant (west), and Ridgewood (east). 

Q: How Do You Get to Bushwick?

Getting to Bushwick from Manhattan is easy and convenient. You can take the subway, with several options including the L train, which runs through Bushwick and connects Manhattan with Brooklyn. Alternatively, you can opt for rideshare services, taxis, or buses to reach Bushwick from various locations in Manhattan, providing flexibility and accessibility for travelers.

Q: What is the history of Bushwick?

Bushwick, New York, has a rich and diverse history dating back to the 17th century when it was originally settled by the Dutch. Over the years, it evolved from farmland to a bustling industrial hub, attracting immigrants from various backgrounds, including Europeans. 

In the late 20th century, Bushwick faced economic challenges and urban decay due to “The Blackout,” when many Bushwick stores were looted,  but has experienced a resurgence in recent decades. In recent years, the neighborhood has become known for its vibrant arts scene, diverse culture, and thriving community spirit.

Q: Is Bushwick Brooklyn a safe area?

Bushwick, Brooklyn is a generally safe area. While the neighborhood had a reputation for having a high crime rate, the area is increasingly gentrified and has an increasing police presence in recent years. As a female New Yorker, I feel comfortable walking around here even at night, but still, it’s best to always stay alert and use your NYC smarts!

Q: What is Bushwick known for?

Bushwick is known for its nightlife because it is home to some of the most amazing clubs in New York City such as House of Yes. It also boasts amazing street art as well as nice bars and restaurants.

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