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11 Things to Do in DUMBO

Brooklyn's renaissance is no more apparent than in DUMBO—or Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass— where new restaurants, art galleries, and hotels are popping up alongside century-old river barges and retired factories. Not sure where to start? Read on for our 11 top things to do in DUMBO, from vintage shopping to classical music concerts and rock climbing.

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Have a meal at Cecconi’s  

This waterfront restaurant might just be the coolest new restaurant in New York City—and not just because of its jaw-dropping location on the Brooklyn waterfront, where it overlooks the East River and the Manhattan Bridge. We also love its eye-catching interiors (think: tufted velvet sofas, high archways, hand-blown glass chandeliers, exposed brick walls) and bustling outdoor patio, where pretty young things come to bask in the sunlight and sip on strawberry rosé spritzes. On the menu are modern day Italian classics like himachi crudo with citrus and Sicilian pistachio and spaghetti with Maine lobster and saffron—plus, plenty of wines and beers on tap. The restaurant is the first Brooklyn outpost of exclusive members-only club Soho House, so it goes without saying that the people watching is pretty outstanding too.

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Reach for the sky at Dumbo Boulders 

Previously, New Yorkers had to go all the way to Brooklyn Boulders, in Gowanus, to get their climbing fix. But thanks to the 2016 opening of DUMBO Boulders (the largest outdoor climbing gym in North America), locals and visitors can hone their skills while taking in picturesque views of New York’s skyline. The daily admission fee for the gym is just $9, which includes shoe rentals, and the walls are short enough that climbers don’t require a harness. Just be sure to check the forecast before heading out; the gym closes in inclement weather.

Cocktail at The 1 Rooftop, 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
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Bed down at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

Never in Brooklyn has a hotel had as much buzz as the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. Here, you’ll find a certain tranquility often lost in urban hotels, thanks to its waterfront address by Brooklyn Bridge Park. Rooms are luxuriously spacious and bring in the borough’s eco-conscious sensibility with moss gardens, hemp-blend mattresses, a color palette defined by textures and materials rather than paint or wallpaper, and hour-glasses that time your showers. Living walls in the lobby create the ideal retreat from city life, a rooftop bar with fire pits and a lounge pool is the neighborhood’s hottest summer hangout, and floor-to-ceiling window views of the Brooklyn Bridge, the city, and Lady Liberty mean you’ll never have a bad view.

RELATED: Best New Hotels in New York City

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Get buzzed at Brooklyn Roasting Company 

A perfect day in DUMBO starts with an espresso and flaky pastry at The Brooklyn Roasting Company, an industrial-chic café set inside a former warehouse on Jay Street. If you feel like jazzing up your coffee order, try the Maple Shay, a maple-infused iced coffee with two shots of single origin Colombian espresso. The café has free WiFi, lots of seating, and plenty of outlets, so it’s also a great place to catch up on work and answer emails.

RELATED: NYC's Best Coffee

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See cutting-edge works at Art in General

This non-profit art gallery was a Tribeca stalwart for more than thirty years before relocating to a ground-floor gallery in DUMBO in 2016. An incubator for young and emerging talent, it has featured artists whose work has gone on to be included in the Whitney Biennial and exhibited at such major institutions as MoMA, the New Museum, and the Tate Modern. Currently on view: a commissioned work by New York-based artist Mary Walling Blackburn, and artist residencies including Hungary’s Gábor Kristóf and Vietnam’s Lê Thuận Uyên.

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Vintage shop at Front General Store 

As the East Coast birthplace of hipsterdom, Brooklyn has its fair share of great vintage shopping. Our go-to place to stock up on vintage threads? Front General Store, which specializes in men’s and women’s clothing from the 1920s-1960s. Here, you’ll find everything from old military jackets and vintage Yohji Yamamoto to beaded necklaces and perfectly worn-in Levi 501’s. It's a dazzling array of old and new, so be prepared to spend a few hours rifling through the racks.

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Photos courtesy of Etienne Frossard


Catch a classical music show at Bargemusic 

A 100-foot-long former coffee barge is an unlikely setting for classical music. But at Bargemusic, it’s all a part of the experience. Moored at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, the floating concert hall offers some 200 performances of chamber music annually, with views of the East River and beyond. This summer, bring the family to “Music in Motion” every Saturday at 4 pm. Along with a one-hour performance, the event also involves a post-show Q&A with the musicians.

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Get some shut-eye at Dazzler Brooklyn

Dazzler is a new boutique spot opened at the intersection of DUMBO, Fort Greene and Brooklyn Heights. Inside, you’ll find 174 chic rooms, with Carrara marble bathrooms, an inviting breakfast nook, and a small gym (not that you’ll need it with all the walking you’ll be doing). But the hotel’s real showstopper is its laid-back indoor/outdoor beer garden, which pours local craft brews and lagers.

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Photos courtesy of Smorgasburg/John von Pamer


Search for treasures at Brooklyn Flea

Brooklyn Flea started in Fort Greene in 2008, but the popular, year-round market has since expanded to multiple BK locations including DUMBO. Every Sunday, 75 vendors display their wares underneath the Manhattan Bridge, providing locals and tourists with a one-of-a-kind shopping experience. Our editors have scored treasures including designer leather purses, rare watches, kitchenware, hand-knit scarves and priceless antiques.

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Photos courtesy of Mitchell Wojcik


Discover a great new read at PowerHouse Arena

A Brooklyn institution, PowerHouse Arena is a large bookstore and event space known for hosting hot-ticket literary talks with the likes of Paul Auster, Jennifer Egan, Jonathan Franzen, and Salman Rushdie. The airy, high-ceilinged shop stocks a range of reading matter, from literary classics and NYT bestsellers to fine art and photography collections. We dare you not to spend an entire afternoon here.

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