The Conscious Guide: Brooklyn

With 60+ neighborhoods in Brooklyn alone, this is not a borough to be tackled in just a day or two. If you’re visiting Brooklyn for the first time, Williamsburg will make for a good home base. It has a very similar vibe to parts of downtown Manhattan, albeit a bit younger and more free-spirited. Just to the north is Greenpoint, a Polish-influenced neighborhood that is becoming gentrified. To the east you have Bushwick, where you’ll find warehouse parties, graffiti art, and true Brooklyn grit. The neighborhoods surrounding Prospect Park- like Park Slope and Prospect Heights- are quieter, more residential, and more family-oriented.

Your perfect Brooklyn itinerary depends largely on the type of experience you’re looking for. Most of the places I’ve included in this guide are in the neighborhoods of Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick, mostly because these are the areas that cater to a younger crowd and have more progressive values. But I highly encourage you to venture outside of Williamsburg and see what else this massive borough has to offer.

Coffee Shops


AP Cafe


A bright, well-lit coffee shop that also serves an excellent brunch.

City of Saints

East Williamsburg

Delicious coffee served in a warehouse, this place is a quintessential Bushwick establishment.

Kinfolk 90


From the notorious Kinfolk lifestyle brand comes Kinfolk 90, a quaint little coffee shop serving espresso drinks and light food.

Sweetleaf Coffee Roasters


Serves excellent espresso drinks in an open, converted warehouse.

Toby’s Estate


An Aussie-style coffee shop with healthy food options like avocado toast and acai bowls.

Restaurants & Bars

Champs Diner

East Williamsburg

Vegan comfort food at its best, in a vintage diner- inspired setting. ‘Healthy’ is a stretch, but you can head here for meat and dairy free versions of classic diner food, like milkshakes, burgers, loaded fries, and more.

Diviera Drive


An Italian restaurant in a beautiful, open-concept building with lots of greenery and natural lighting. Their outdoor terrace is a great gathering spot for drinks during the summer.



An elegant take on Mexican fare with creative tacos and craft cocktails.

Dun Well Donuts

East Williamsburg

A vegan donut shop with a large variety of interesting flavors, as well as excellent coffee.



A French bistro with an interior that is filled with greenery and antique furniture, as well as a beautiful rooftop.


Little Choc Apothecary


A 100% vegan creperie with both sweet and savory options, plus coffee, tea, and pastries.


Paulie Gee’s


A dimly-lit, rustic pizza restaurant with amazing vegan options. With ingredients like cashew ricotta, vegan fennel sausage, and jackfruit “meatball,” both meat-eaters and herbivores will leave this place feeling satisfied.



One of the most admired pizza joints in Brooklyn and even the New York City area, Roberta’s is rustic-chic with a large outdoor terrace that’s perfect for summer dining.



This pizza restaurant and bar feels like a cabin in the woods, even though it’s right in the heart of Williamsburg. They have couches and fireplaces to make you feel like you’re at home, plus live jazz music on Thursday nights.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream

Boerum Hill

Brooklyn is the birthplace of this natural, artisinal ice creamery which now has three brick & mortars in Brooklyn, two in Manhattan, and three in Los Angeles, with more to come. Their vegan ice cream is made with a mix of house-made cashew cream, organic coconut milk, organic cane sugar, pure cocoa butter, and organic carob bean.

Sustainable Shopping


Artists & Fleas


A weekend flea market hosting vendors selling vintage and locally made goods. You’ll find all sorts of quirky, unique gifts to bring back home.

Beacon’s Closet

Park Slope

A second-hand shop that is notoriously picky about what they buy. I’ve gotten some beautiful modern and vintage pieces from high-end brands from here for great prices.



A small boutique selling handcrafted goods including beautiful, unique pieces of jewelry, Turkish towels, and other home decor products.

Brooklyn Denim Co.


A curation of some of the most high-quality denim companies, including sustainable brands like Raleigh Denim and Nudie Jeans. Brooklyn Denim Co. uses a lot of sustainable fabrics like tencel, organic cotton, and recycled plastic in their own designs.



A beautiful little shop selling plants and greenery and a selection of handmade home goods. They also have an in-house coffee shop serving espresso drinks and pastries.


Boerum Hill

This carefully curated boutique sells sustainable and ethical fashion apparel and accessories from brands like Amour Vert and The Podolls, plus a selection of hand-crafted home goods. Companies must meet one or more of the following criteria to earn a place in Kaight Shop: Reclaimed Materials, Zero Waste, Local Production, Organic Textiles, and Fair Trade.

Package Free Shop


The Package Free Shop is the retail child of two well-known zero-waste influences Lauren Singer of Trash is for Tossers and fashion designer Daniel Silverstein of Zero Waste Daniel. The minimally-clad space offers products that will assist you with a waste-free lifestyle. You can bring in your own containers to fill with deodorant, soap, and other home and beauty products. They also sell practical goods like reusable containers, bamboo toothbrushes, shampoo bars, and organic textiles and apparel.

Species by the Thousands


Probably most well-known for their new-age inspired jewelry pieces, this brand’s brick & mortar in Williamsburg also offers organic beauty products, candles, and chakra-balancing crystal sets.

Swords Smith

An independent fashion retailer stocking small and emerging fashion labels, many of them sustainably-minded.



This non-toxic hair salon also sells a large selection of organic cosmetic and beauty products from brands like RMS and Vintner’s Daughter.

Things to Do

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

I love heading to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden on a nice spring or summer afternoon to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. It is a sprawling 52 acres of various themed outdoor gardens, a conservatory, a gift shop, and a cafe/ restaurant (with many vegan options to boot). Admission is free on Fridays if you arrive before noon!

Brooklyn Brewery


One of the world’s most loved craft breweries can be visited right in the heart of Williamsburg. The brewery, which has been in operation since the 1980’s, has implemented a lot of strategies to stay as sustainable as possible. You can read about their green initiatives here.

Brooklyn Grange Farm

Navy Yard

Brooklyn Grange Farm started in 2010 as an experiment to make better use of rooftop space- by building a farm on top of one. The company now grows over 50,000 pounds of organic produce per year, operates over 30 rooftop honeybee hives dispersed throughout the city, and even keeps egg-laying hens.

Brooklyn Grange has an events calendar full of workshops, Monday night yoga sessions (throughout the summer), and a Sunday dinner series called Butcher Paper Dinners. You can also tour the farm for $10 during the months of May and October.

Check their website for more information about the history of this company and for their updated events calendar.

Prospect Park

This sprawling 526-acre park is where Brooklynites go for a breath of fresh air, a jog, or a summer picnic.


All of the best local food trucks and vendors gather in one spot every weekend for what is called Smorgasburg. Find them at the East River State Park in Williamsburg on Saturdays and in Prospect Park on Sundays.





A bar + arcade built mainly from salvaged material that serves a great selection of local craft beers. They use compostable straws and eco-friendly paper products, are powered by wind energy, and even their retail merchandise is printed on apparel from the eco-friendly, fair-trade company Alternative Apparel.



A bar and lounge playing a variety of global music, Bembe is one of Brooklyn’s best spots to go dancing.

Brooklyn Bowl


An adult bowling alley that also hosts live music and other events.

House of Yes


A unique performance and events venue that hosts live music, DJ’s, acrobatic performances, art shows, and more. Check out their events schedule to see what kind of wonderful weirdness is going on.

Kinfolk 94


A chic, modern multidisciplinary space for both private and public events.

The Ides at Wythe Hotel


For the best Manhattan skyline views and the classiest rooftop bar in the borough, head to The Ides at the Wythe Hotel.

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