Are you looking for parks in Brooklyn? The fun guide covers the 20 best Brooklyn Parks, from Prospect Park to Brooklyn Bridge Park with many hidden gems in between!
Would you be surprised to learn that some of the best NYC parks are in Brooklyn?
It's true! While Central Park tends to take all the glory, New York City has so many other amazing parks. And many of my favorites are located in Brooklyn!
To help you find the coolest Brooklyn Parks, I've rounded up the 20 best parks in Brooklyn, plus one bonus park. You'll find the most popular parks here, as well as many lesser known ones.
Keep reading to learn more about these parks, then let me know which one is your favorite!
20 Best Parks in Brooklyn
You'll find a huge array of parks in Brooklyn, ranging from destination parks to tiny neighborhood pocket parks. The best part? Most of these parks—with a few exceptions, like Brooklyn Bridge Park—are far less touristy and crowded than any Manhattan park.
Brooklyn's parks provide many recreational opportunites, but they're an excellent place to learn about the borough's history and culture, too. Keep an eye out for plaques and statues with historical information that will enrich your visit. Most parks also hold weekly events, and many have Park Rangers, who are a great source of info.
The parks below are not listed in any particular order, although I've grouped parks from the same neighborhoods together. Of course, I haven't included every single park ... the park's department website has 46 pages of parks in Brooklyn! Let me know if I missed your fave park. I'd love to hear about it!
Parks Map: I've created a Google map to make it easier for you to visit the parks. Check it out near the end of this article.
1. Prospect Park
Location: Prospect Park is bounded by Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush, and Windsor Terrace neighborhoods. The park has many entrances ... enter at the impressive Grand Army Plaza if it's your first visit.
Brooklyn's most iconic park is beautiful, expansive Prospect Park. It was designed by the same men who created Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. You'll probably notice similarities between the two parks, such as stone arches, classical architecture, and the use of waterways. The park has a huge list of amenities, including playgrounds and sports fields, a zoo, an indigenous forest, a paved loop for running, walking or biking, countless trails, a carousel, fishing, a dog beach, and so much more.
Make sure to check the events calendar before your visit. I took a free waterfall tour recently, and it was so fun!
2. Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Location: Prospect Heights. Enter at 455 Flatbush Avenue or 990 Washington Avenue.
You'll find the Brooklyn Botanic Garden next door to Prospect Park, and it's truly an urban oasis. There is a fee to visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, however you can enter for free on Fridays before noon and on weekdays during winter (kids under 12 are always free). Inside, you'll find a Japanese garden, water garden, discovery garden for kids, beautiful conservatories, exhibits, cherry esplanade, and even a rock garden. My favorite time to visit is when the cherry blossoms are blooming, although it's gorgeous year round.
3. Brooklyn Bridge Park
Location: Brooklyn Heights / Dumbo. Find multiple entrances along Furman, Water, and John Streets, between Atlantic Avenue and Jay Street.
Brooklyn Bridge Park is truly one of my favorite Brooklyn parks! It was built on abandoned industrial waterfront property, and it's situated under the Brooklyn Bridge and along the East River. This popular park gets really crowded, especially around Pier 1, but there are plenty of quiet, hidden nooks. You'll find amazing views of Manhattan, as well as the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, biking and walking paths, gardens, wetlands, playgrounds, art installations, a carousel, two Civil War-era buildings, sports fields, restaurants and food stands, picnic areas, a small beach (no swimming), free kayaking, and more here.
4. Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Location: Brooklyn Heights. The Promenade runs between Remsen Street (at Montague Terrace) and Orange Street (at Columbia Heights).
The Brooklyn Heights Promenade is a pathway built over the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. Peek over the railing, and you'll see cars zipping by below! You'll find a combination of tourists and local residents on the Promenade, and they're all there for the stunning, panoramic views of the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan, Statue of Liberty, and Governors Island. If you can, time your visit to catch the sunset.
5. Fort Greene Park
Location: Fort Greene. The park is bounded by Myrtle Avenue, Washington Park, Dekalb Avenue, and St. Edwards Street.
Fort Greene park is a pretty neighborhood park located within walking distance of downtown Brooklyn. The land was originally used by the army during the Revolutionary War, and like Prospect Park, it was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. You'll find a couple playgrounds, a BBQ area, tennis courts, and a trail in this hilly park.
If you visit, make sure to check out the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument. During the Revolutionary War, the British captured almost 12,000 men and women after the Battle of Brooklyn, and they were detained on prison ships in Wallabout Bay under dire conditions. When these prisoners died, their bodies were thrown overboard. The prisoners were eventually interred in this monument.
6. Louis Valentino, Jr. Park
Location: Red Hook, at the intersection of Ferris Street and Coffey Street.
If you find yourself exploring Red Hook, make sure to stop by petite Louis Valentino, Jr. Park, which was named after a local firefighter. This small, peaceful park is pretty far off the beaten track (Red Hook can be hard to get to), but it's known for its awesome views of the Stature of Liberty, as well as Governors Island, Manhattan, Staten Island, and the New York harbor.
7. Green-Wood Cemetery
Location: Greenwood Heights. The main entrance is at Fifth Avenue and 25th Street.
It may seem strange to include a cemetery on a best Brooklyn parks list, but hear me out! Brooklyn was very rural when Green-Wood Cemetery was founded in 1838 ... Prospect Park and Central Park hadn't even been built yet (Green-Wood actually inspired their creation). Because of this, the cemetery became a popular place to visit, and people treated it as a park. Today, it's a serene place to wander around while checking out the beautiful markers and elaborate tombs, many belonging to prominent New Yorkers.
I recommend taking a trolley tour if you go. You'll be able to cover more ground in the huge, hilly cemetery, plus the cemetery's history is fascinating (I've taken the Discover Green-Wood tour).
8. Sunset Park
Location: Sunset Park. Boundaries are 41st Street and 44th Street, between 5th Avenue and 7th Avenue.
This neighborhood park is a hidden gem. Although you'll find plenty of amenities like sports courts, a playground, and a pool here, the amazing views are the best thing about this park. Sunset Park is situated on one of the highest points in Brooklyn, and it has lovely views of Brooklyn, the Manhattan skyline, Statue of Liberty, Staten Island, and New Jersey. As you can imagine, the sunsets are awesome, too!
9. Bush Terminal Piers Park
Location: Sunset Park. 1st Avenue between 43rd and 51st Streets, enter at 43rd Street.
If you're visiting Sunset Park, then make sure to check out nearby Bush Terminal Piers Park, too. This park is a recent discovery for me, and I really enjoyed my time there. Like Brooklyn Bridge Park (and many of Brooklyn's waterfront parks), this park was redeveloped from abandoned industrial property. You won't spot any tourists here, but you will find great waterfront views, baseball and soccer fields, and a nature preserve.
A couple notes about this park: it's located in an industrial section of Sunset Park (the neighborhood), which you'll have to walk through to get there ... it's a bit of a hike. Also, it's possible to exit (or enter) the park at 51st street (and there's a cool mural on the way out), however the block you exit on is basically a loading dock, so be careful.
10. Domino Park
Location: Williamsburg. The park's address is 15 River Street, and it can be entered on Kent Avenue at South 5th Street, South 3rd Street, or Grand Street.
Domino Park is one of my favorite new NYC parks (it opened in 2018), and it's a must see if you're visiting Williamsburg. The park was built on an abandoned Domino Sugar Factory site, and there are many interesting industrial artifacts scattered throughout it. This park has many cool features, including great views of the Manhattan skyline and Williamsburg Bridge, a playground, elevated walkway, fog bridge, taco stand with cocktails, beer, and wine, beach volleyball field, bocce court, dog run, and more.
Read my guide to Domino Park to learn more about this awesome park.
11. East River State Park
Location: Williamsburg at 90 Kent Avenue (Kent Avenue and N 8th Street).
Beyond Domino Park, Williamsburg has a number of waterfront parks which are worth visiting, including East River State Park. The park is located on the site of a 19th century shipping dock, and you'll find numerous interpretive signs here illuminating the area's history, as well remnants of a cobblestone street and railroad tracks. This park also has wonderful views of the East River and Manhattan, a play area, and picnic tables and BBQ space. Smorgasburg is held here on the weekends.
12. Bushwick Inlet Park
Location: Williamsburg at Kent Avenue and N 9th Street..
You'll find Bushwick Inlet Park located right next door to East River State Park, so make sure to check them both out. This park has the same great views as the state park, plus a multi-purpose sports field, a building with a green roof, playground, and viewing platform. (On weekends, you can also visit the Bushwick Inlet Pop-Up Park located nearby on Kent Avenue, between 11th and 12th Streets.)
More Brooklyn Waterfront Parks
Want to continue your tour of Brooklyn waterfront parks? Then continue heading north to WNYC Transmitter Park (along the water, between Greenpoint Avenue and Kent Street), or head south toward Domino Park to visit North 5th Street Pier and Park (along the water, between N 5th and N 6th Streets).
13. McCarren Park
Location: Williamsburg / Greenpoint. McCarren Park is bordered by Nassau Avenue, Bayard Street, Lorimer Street, and N 12th Street.
McCarren Park is a true neighborhood park. While you won't find tourists here, you will find a historic landmark pool, track, sports fields, playgrounds, and plenty of people walking their dogs, jogging, and soaking up the sun. This park can get crowded on weekends, especially on warm days. For maximum relaxation, grab a sandwich or coffee in Greenpoint or Williamsburg, then spread out a blanket (double check a dog didn't get there first!), and enjoy a lazy afternoon.
14. Owl's Head Park
Location: Bay Ridge, bounded by Shore Road, 68th Street, and Colonial Road.
This charming park is another hidden treasure. It's mostly frequented by locals, who sometimes refer to it as Bliss Park. Owl's Head Park is situated on a hill, and it's loved for its panoramic views and beautiful sunsets. Visit this park to enjoy the meandering paths, playground, skatepark, dog run, and awesome winter sledding.
Insider Tip: enter the park at its main entrance at 68th Street and Colonial Road, then look out for a decorative plate with the initials EWB. They stand for Eliphalet W. Bliss, the man who donated the land for the park.
15. Shore Park and Parkway
Location: Bay Ridge, along Shore Road, between Bay Ridge Avenue and 4th Avenue.
Bay Ridge is pretty far off the beaten track, so if you only have time to visit one park, start here. Shore Park follows the neighborhood's waterfront for 4.5 miles, making it popular with runners and walkers. And of course, the views are pretty jaw dropping, too ... the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Statue of Liberty, Coney Island, and Fort Wadsworth are all visible on a clear day. Apart from the waterfront path, you'll also find a botanical garden, sports fields, playgrounds, and more. Make sure to end your walk at John Paul Jones Park (see below).
16. John Paul Jones Park
Location: Bay Ridge, 101st Street between 4th Avenue and Fort Hamilton Parkway.
Before you leave Bay Ridge, visit tiny John Paul Jones Park, which was named for a Revolutionary War naval commander. Along with closeup views of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, you'll find a few military artifacts in this park, including Revolutionary War and Dover Patrol Naval War memorials, a flagpole from a Navy destroyer ship, and a Rodman gun and cannonballs.
17. Brooklyn Beaches: Coney Island, Brighton Beach, and Manhattan Beach
Location: Coney Island, Brighton Beach, and Manhattan Beach neighborhoods along the Atlantic Ocean.
We can't talk about the best Brooklyn parks without mentioning its beaches! These three beaches are situated next to each other along the Atlantic, but each has its own character:
- Coney Island: New York's classic beach playground is a perennial favorite. This beach can't be beat for its people watching, fun, but slightly seedy vibe, amusement park, and of course, wide beach. My favorite time to visit Coney Island is actually during winter when the boardwalk is almost empty ... give it a try sometime, it has a completely different feel!
- Brighton Beach: For a more relaxed vibe, head east on the boardwalk until you hit Brighton Beach. In the 1970s, many Russian immigrants settled in this neighborhood, and the restaurants lining the boardwalk (and streets beyond) reflect it.
- Manhattan Beach: You'll need to leave the boardwalk to reach Manhattan Beach ... it's about seven blocks east of Brighton Beach. This is a smaller beach than its neighbors, and it's very popular with the neighborhood families who flock there every summer.
18. Marine Park
Location: Marine Park. Shore Parkway, Avenue U, and Filmore Avenue, between Brigham Street, Gerritsen Avenue, and Flatbush Avenue.
Were you under the impression that Prospect Park was Brooklyn's largest park? Then, you may be surprised to learn that it's actually Marine Park, which encompasses a whopping 798 acres. Marine Park has hundreds of acres of wild grassland and salt marsh, making it a mecca for nature lovers. You'll also find tons of recreational activities here, including sports courts, paddle boat rentals, hiking trails, playgrounds, kayak and canoeing, and much more.
19. Glass Bottle Beach / Dead Horse Bay
Location: Floyd Bennett Field, near Flatbush Avenue and Aviation Road.
For a truly unique Brooklyn park, head to Glass Bottle Beach. This secluded beach is a curiosity-seeker's paradise. Dead Horse Bay was once home to horse rendering plants, then in the early 1900s, it was used as a landfill site. Today, that trash washes up on Glass Bottle Beach's shoreline. You'll find scads of vintage glass bottles here, along with other junk like shoe soles and bits of metal. It's really fun to walk around and see what you can discover. For obvious reasons, there's no swimming here, and thick-soled shoes are a must.
20. Shirley Chisholm State Park
Location: East New York at 1750 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Shirley Chisholm State Park is a brand new park which opened in July 2019. It was named for Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress, and is being built on reclaimed land. The park has 10 miles of trails for hiking and biking (borrow a free bike at the Bike Library), a pier for for fishing and picnicking, and views of the New York harbor, Empire State Building, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and Jamaica Bay. While you're there, make sure to check out the beautiful mural of Shirley Chisholm. Park construction is being completed in phases, and over the next few years you can look forward to new features, like environmental education facilities, lawn patios, and more.
Bonus Park: Gateway National Recreation Area
Location: Multiple spots around Jamaica Bay
Did you know that Brooklyn has a National Park? The Gateway National Recreation Area encompasses a huge swathe of land in Sandy Hook, NJ and Staten Island, as well as Jamaica Bay, which includes over 19,000 acres of land, bay, and ocean waters in Brooklyn and Queens. Park sites in Brooklyn include Bergen Beach, Canarsie Pier, Floyd Bennett Field, Pennsylvania Avenue and Fountain Avenue Parks (including Shirley Chisholm State Park, see above), Ryan Visit Center, Plumb Beach, and Spring Creek. As you can imagine, outdoor activities and wildlife viewing opportunities abound here!
Read my National Parks guide to learn about other National Parks in the NYC area!
So, What Is the Best Brooklyn Park?
I hope you enjoyed reading about these awesome Brooklyn parks!
Picking the best parks in Brooklyn is hard task, and quite a subjective one at that. I'm going to go out on a limb though, and say that these parks are truly the cream of the crop:
- Best Overall: My vote for best Brooklyn Park goes to (drum roll) ... Brooklyn Bridge Park. I love everything about this park, from the breathtaking waterfront views to the unique layout, art, food, and so much more. It's also a newer park. So if we're talking classic parks, then I'd be remiss not to choose lovely, historic Prospect Park, which is often considered Brooklyn's backyard.
- Best Beach: As far as beaches go, you can't beat classic Coney Island. There's something for everyone here: people watching, a wide beach, amusement parks, a classic boardwalk, yummy food, a freak show, and so much more.
- Best for Relaxing: If you're looking for somewhere to kick up your heals for the day, head to the expansive Prospect Park. Bring a blanket for a picnic (or nap) or stroll along one of its many paths ... I love wandering the serene Ravine. Pretty Fort Greene Park is also a great place to spend a laidback afternoon.
- Most Unique: It doesn't get more unique than Glass Bottle Beach! Leave your beach towel at home, because this beach is best for junkers and anyone who is just curious. If you're not into junk, check out Domino Park. It was built on a former Domino Sugar Factory site and has many cool industrial artifacts.
- Best Views: Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade above it, both have amazing views of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. For the best views of the Statue of Liberty, visit Louis Valentino, Jr. Park in Red Hook. All of Brooklyn's waterfront parks have major Manhattan views though, so it's hard to go wrong. I also love Sunset Park, which has great views of Brooklyn and lower Manhattan.
- Best Sunset: When it comes to breathtaking sunsets, you can't the beat the Brooklyn Heights Promenade! Grab a bench or enjoy a stroll while enjoying views of lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge and Park.
- Prettiest Park: In terms of prettiest parks, I have to go with Green-Wood Cemetery and Brooklyn Botanical Garden. While not technically parks, both of these green spaces are beautiful year round.
What is the biggest park in Brooklyn?
The biggest park in Brooklyn is Marine Park, which is located in southeast Brooklyn. Marine Park is actually the 6th largest park in NYC, just after Central Park. At 798 acres, it pales in comparison though to New York's biggest park, Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, which clocks in at an astounding 2765 acres!
What is the oldest park in Brooklyn?
The oldest park in Brooklyn is Commodore Barry Park. It was originally known as City Park and was established in 1836 (just two years after the Village of Brooklyn was incorporated as a city). You may have noticed that it didn't make the cut for this list ... sorry, Commodore Barry! Fort Greene Park, which did make the list, is also one of Brooklyn's oldest parks.
Map of the Best Parks in Brooklyn
I made a Google map to help you find these parks .... access it here. During your trip, open the map on your phone to locate these parks.
Learn More About Brooklyn's Parks
You can read more about these parks on the NYC Parks website, or use their Find a Park feature to locate a park near you. While you're there, make sure to keep an eye out for events (concerts, fitness, tours, movies, and so much more), which are the perfect way to get to know these parks more in-depth.
What is your favorite park in Brooklyn?
I'd love to know what your favorite Brooklyn park is! Let me know in the comments.