When wandering through Brooklyn Heights' charming, tree-lined streets, it's easy to see why "America's First Suburb" also became New York City's first official historic district back in the 1960s. But, though its stately townhouses may seem unobtainable, there are plenty of attractions families can experience in the super-family-friendly neighborhood whether you live there or not.
Take in stunning views of New York Harbor and Manhattan while walking the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, which was ingeniously built high above the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Explore the activity-packed Brooklyn Bridge Park, which includes the awesome Pier 6 Playground and the Pier 2 Pop-Up Pool. Go underground, literally, to learn about NYC's transportation system at the New York Transit Museum, which is located in a defunct subway station. And check out Atlantic Avenue, historically a hot spot for delicious Middle Eastern food and antique stores, which is now also bustling with popular kid places.
Local parents stay connected through the Brooklyn Heights Parents Group and keep up on everything happening in the neighborhood on the Brooklyn Bridge Parents site, which also covers adjacent Dumbo. The Brooklyn Heights Blog is another great source for neighborhood news.
Throughout the month, we'll be offering an in-depth look at everything Brooklyn Heights and its more commercial neighbor, Downtown Brooklyn, has to offer families. For the purposes of our posts, our geographical boundaries are Old Fulton Street to the north and Atlantic Avenue to the south, Flatbush Avenue Extension to the west to the East River. We kick off our coverage with our top 35 things to do with kids in Brooklyn Heights.
- Stroll the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and take in breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge
- Cross over the bouncy, zigzagging Squibb Park Bridge, which connects Squibb Park and the Promenade to Brooklyn Bridge Park Update: The bridge is currently closed for necessary repairs.
- Splash, swing, slide and climb at the awesome Pier 6 Playground in Brooklyn Bridge Park
- Catch the FREE ferry to Governors Island in season at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park
- Bring meat to cook at the Hibachi grills and grab a picnic table at Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park; after lunch, romp through the adjoining play areas and sports fields
- In summer, take a dip in the shallow Pop-Up Pool at Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, which also includes a sandy beach area with shaded lounge chairs
- Or strap on your skates and hit the seasonal Pier 2 Roller Rink
- Go kayaking in the East River for FREE during the summer courtesy of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse on Pier 1
- Hit Pierrepont Playground during one of its holiday celebrations; the nonprofit Brooklyn Heights Playground Committee organizes a popular annual Easter egg hunt and a children's Halloween parade
- Romp in Brooklyn Heights' other small playgrounds, like Harry Chapin Playground and Adam Yauch Park, both named for late music legends who lived in the area
- Nosh on delicious eats at seasonal food flea Smorgasburg, which recently relocated to Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park
- Pedal your way through Brooklyn Bridge Park from Pier 1 to Pier 6—Bike and Roll NYC rents bicycles and even child seats at the entrance to Pier 1 in season
- Don't miss the kid-friendly Atlantic Antic every fall, the largest street festival in Brooklyn
- See what's happening at Albee Square; the public plaza frequently hosts FREE family events including kids' concerts in summer, plus Halloween and holiday celebrations
- Catch quality community theater at The Heights Players, including Saturday afternoon shows for families
- Get schooled in NYC public transportation at the New York Transit Museum—kids can even "drive" old buses and step into retro subways
- Learn all about the borough's history at the recently renovated Brooklyn Historical Society, which now offers FREE family programs on select Saturdays
- Unfortunately, Moxie Spot closed in December 2014 Drop in to restaurant/play space The Moxie Spot, where kids can play while you eat, or check the calendar for regular family game nights and disco parties
- Peruse eco-friendly toys at the laid-back Nest Egg Kids
- Get a new 'do, or browse adorable toys and shoes at Mini Max Toys & Cuts
- Check out toys, kids' clothes and accessories at the neighborhood outpost of ever-growing local chain Area Kids
- Plop down with a good children's book at the Court Street Barnes & Noble
- Got an infant but dying to see a movie? Catch a cry baby matinee on Wednesday mornings at the United Artists Court Street Stadium 12
- Got tweens or teens? Introduce them to indie and foreign films at independent art house theater Brooklyn Heights Cinema
- Celebrate the local lit scene with readings, workshops and lots of kids' activities at the annual Brooklyn Book Festival, which takes place at Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza every fall
- Tour Plymouth Church to learn about its role in the anti-slavery movement and sit in the pew where Abraham Lincoln sat
- Enroll your tots in movement, art or cooking classes at New York Kids Club's Brooklyn Heights Child Enrichment Center
- Camps, swimming lessons, language and dance classes, and much more: There are myriad kids' offerings at the Dodge YMCA
- Enjoy a taste of old-school Brooklyn at legendary delicatessen Lassen & Hennigs, which opened back in 1949
- Dig into Italian comfort food at local family favorite Noodle Pudding
- Explore Middle Eastern delights at one of the many specialty stores or restaurants on Atlantic Avenue like Sahadi's, a massive Lebanese food shop open since 1948
- Grab breakfast at any hour from popular neighborhood diner Clark's Restaurant
- Outfit your kids throughout the year at the 3,000-square-foot Heights Kids featuring a vast selection of children's clothing, accessories, shoes and toys
- Hit the Fulton Mall (it's a street not a structure) for all your big-chain shopping needs; retailers include Macy's, H&M, Gap, Foot Locker, Shake Shack and many more
- Stroll Montague Street to check out the shops and stop for a bite at one of the many longtime family-friendly neighborhood eateries like Grand Canyon Restaurant
Read all of our posts about exploring Brooklyn Heights with kids.