Affectionately known as America's First Suburb, Brooklyn Heights is a historic nabe with lots of kid-friendly things to do, see, and eat. The classic architecture and warm neighborhood vibe attract young families to the area, and the beautiful waterfront parks—notably the Promenade and Brooklyn Bridge Park—make Brooklyn Heights well worth a visit.
While so many parts of Brooklyn seem to be rapidly modernizing and changing, Brooklyn Heights has managed to maintain much of its original historic charm. The Brooklyn Heights Historic District is one of the first designated historic districts in the city and includes homes that have been around since the 1820s. Here are the best places to eat, shop, play, and learn with kids in Brooklyn Heights.
1. Visit the Brooklyn Historical Society to learn all about how the borough has evolved over time. The library includes thousands of books, photos, and maps that represent Brooklyn's rich cultural history.
2. Stop by the Brooklyn Cat Cafe to hang out and play with the adorable cats and kittens. If you see one you love, inquire about adoption and make him or her a part of your family. Be sure to check the schedule for movie nights and classes.
3. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Chocolate Works, which offers hands-on chocolate making and decorating workshops, so you can create a delicious dessert to take home with you.
4. Let your little one try out a new 'do at Pinkyz Place, a boutique offering salon and spa services for the tiniest clients.
5. Play around at Adam Yauch Park, the Brooklyn Heights playground named after one of the founding members of the legendary rap group The Beastie Boys.
6. Pancakes for dinner? Yes, please! Even the pickiest eaters should be able to find something they love at Clark's Restaurant. The neighborhood staple serves traditional diner fare all day long.
7. Shop the selection of toys, books, and games at Nest Egg Kids, one of the best places in the 'hood to find unique gifts especially for kids.
The Brooklyn Heights Promenade boasts must-see views of the Manhattan skyline. ClatieK via Flickr
8. Bike, scoot, or stroll along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and take in one of the area's most amazing views of the Manhattan skyline.
9. Families with kids up to 5 years old can rock out together during Music Together classes at Naomi's Music. If you think you can sit still, think again: Grown-up participation is mandatory.
10. Stop for lunch at the Atlantic Chip Shop for fish and chips, bangers and mash, and traditional English pub grub. After your meal, be sure to try the fried Twinkie.
11. Let your little ones tap into their inner ninja as they learn the fundamentals of gymnastics, climbing, parkour, and more at Everyday Athlete. Summer camp, after school, and weekend classes are available.
12. At Karen's School of Fashion, kids ages 8 and up can learn the art of fashion illustration, pattern making, and more.
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Magical flavors and incredible cones make Emack & Bolio's well worth the stop (and the calories). Photo courtesy of the shop
13. Cool off with a cup or cone of delicious ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet at Emack & Bolio's ice cream shop. With flavors like Chocolate Addiction, Space Cake, and Peanut Butter Oreo, you're guaranteed to have a sweet time.
14. Get moving at The Little Gym. Their unique class offerings will let your kids use gymnastics, dance, and sports skills to put all of their energy to good use.
15. At Table 87 Pizza, you can order delicious coal oven pizza by the pie or by the slice.
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Pierrepont Playground is right on the promenade and has lots of shade. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Heights Association
16. Head over to Pierrepont Playground, the perfect shady spot to enjoy a day outdoors with your kids.
A sweet baklava bird's nest at Damascus is a mouthwatering treat.
17. Whether you're looking for strudels, pitas, or rugelach, you'll love the homemade goods at Damascus Bread & Pastry Shop on Atlantic Avenue, where they've been baking great bread for over 80 years.
You'll find some of the nicest open green spaces in Brooklyn in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Photo by Etienne Frossard
18. If the weather is nice, plan to spend the day at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The waterfront park is the perfect urban oasis with something for the entire family to enjoy. Start at Pier 6 where you can catch a ferry to Governors Island, play volleyball, or enjoy the playgrounds. Then check out a soccer game, enjoy an Ample Hills ice cream cone, or set up a picnic at Pier 5. You can explore tide pools on the beach at Pier 4, or enjoy the view from the top of the granite block stack at the newly opened Greenway Terrace at Pier 3.
19. Chow down on traditional Italian fare at Noodle Pudding. The portions are large enough that your small kids may be able to eat from your plate. But leave your credit card at home: This place is cash only.
20. At WMA Karate, kids learn martial arts fundamentals while developing concentration and building confidence.
21. Ride vintage subway trains and explore the history right under your feet at the New York Transit Museum, located underground on the border of Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn.
22. From fitness to art, the Dodge YMCA has a full slate of classes and programs for the entire family.
23. You don't have to feel bad about eating well at B. Good. The menu is loaded with burgers, salads, and smoothies made from fresh. local ingredients.
24. Let your kids explore Harry Chapin Playground, named after the singer and Brooklyn Heights native.
Sahadi's bulk section is amazing, besides the delicious Middle Eastern and other specialty foods. Photo courtesy of Sahadi's
25. Need snacks for a play date? Look no further than Sahadi's, a traditional Middle Eastern grocery store with an amazing selection of dried fruits, nuts, cheeses, and more.
How to Get There: Brooklyn Heights is easily accessible from other parts of the city by subway via the 2, 3 at Clark Street, A, C at High Street, or R at Court Street. It's also just a short walk from other great Brooklyn neighborhoods like Cobble Hill and Dumbo.