The best way to see Brooklyn is to cycle the streets with a camera and/or smartphone in hand, all in order to not only explore the various urban landscapes and oases, but also to document them. Brooklyn might have been settled a few hundred years ago, but its character is more like that of a teenager, full of shifting, changing moods. It’s a kind of a photographer’s dream. And while there is no way to truly articulate the vibe of this place merely with something you post on Instagram, nor is there one site that truly exemplifies what Brooklyn means, we think these 10 ultra Instagram-friendly locations channel Brooklyn’s charm and afford some awe-inspiring photo opportunities. So whether you’re a proud Brooklyn-bred native or just a passerby, (re)visiting these spots and enjoying these views will make you fall in love with the borough all over again, and probably generate plenty of likes on your Instagram feed. Win-win.
DUMBO’s Washington Street: A hub where wide-angle lens and selfie-stick wielders venture out onto the Belgian bricks in order to capture themselves in front of a photogenic Manhattan Bridge sandwiched between red brick buildings, with the distant Empire State Building framed within the bridge’s pillars.
Brooklyn Botanic Gardens: 52-acres of proof that not only can a tree grow in Brooklyn, but that it’s incredibly hard to take a bad photo anywhere in this central Brooklyn oasis. Like pretty much everyone who’s ever been there, we’re partial to the rose garden in the summer, the cherry tree esplanade in the spring, and the Japanese garden in any season at all.
Coney Island: Widely considered to be the twisted and weird (there is, after all, a literal freak show here), we think Coney Island is actually the most romantic place in Brooklyn, since it captures the borough’s jovial, carefree side. So whether your view is from the top of the Wonder Wheel or hunched over Whack-a-Mole, the bright colors and colorful characters make for a pretty sweet view of a different side of Brooklyn.
The murals in Sunset Park, Bushwick and scattered throughout the borough: Brooklyn shows off its artistic side in many different ways, but public art is certainly one of the most visible. Basically, you never know when you’re going to turn a corner and come face to face with Warhol and Basquiat or even an updated version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.The Verrazano Bridge and surrounding waterfront: The fact that this part of Bay Ridge is a common backdrop to many southern Brooklyn residents’ wedding photos (three separate wedding photo shoots occurred along the waterfront while we were there) makes perfect sense since it’s filled with all the elements of a breathtaking photo: historical architecture, a vast body of water, and one amazingly serene view.The Boathouse in Prospect Park: One of the first buildings in all of New York City to be declared an historic landmark, the Boathouse actually looks like it’s been ripped from a page in a history book and stands as an elegant reminder of the borough’s past—and present—glory.Brighton Beach: More than just an enclave for Russian ex-pats, this neighborhood’s beach provides a seaside escape from the chaos of crowded subway cars, trash-clogged sidewalks, and constant clamor of people that we call home. We’re particularly partial to investing in a trip to Brighton in the winter, when the landscape is desolate, but all the more beautiful for it.Sheepshead Bay: Apparently named after the sheepshead, a fish that once dwelled in local waters, this part of Brooklyn is now home to numerous swans and ducks that frolic near the marina, as well as scores of boats, a charming boardwalk, lots of seafood spots, and enough views of the sparkling blue bay to make you forget that you’re in Brooklyn instead of Maine.
Bushwick Inlet Park: Honestly any of the waterfront parks along the East River serve as boundless opportunities to snap picturesque vignettes of Manhattan, and provide a glimpse into the hustle and bustle across the river without forcing you to leave the tranquility of the Brooklyn shore.
The Brooklyn Bridge: Ok, so maybe we saved the most obvious for last, but we had to include it. After all, this bridge is a staple of Brooklyn Instagram shots! It is an instant reminder of Brooklyn’s history, ingenuity, and creative prowess. Plus, compared to, say, the Williamsburg or 59th Street bridges, it’s super easy to identify, gives you the benefit of an iconic skyline shot in the background and is guaranteed to garner a lot of Insta-likes, particularly from family who live far enough away that this is the only part of Brooklyn they’ll recognize.