For a city with the nickname Concrete Jungle, New York certainly houses its fair share of grassy, green parks. In fact, within all five boroughs, NYC Parks estimates that parkland takes up over 30,000 acres, which is approximately 14% of New York City. Of course, Central Park is arguably New York’s most famous green space, but it’s certainly not the only player. Brooklyn offers a multitude of parks and green spaces to sunbathe, relax with friends, catch an outdoor flick, take in scenic waterfront views, get some exercise, and picnic. Savor the remainder of your summer by checking out our guide to the 10 best parks in Brooklyn.
Best Parks for Scenic Views in Brooklyn
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Taking the cake for the best views in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bridge Park spans a glorious 1.3 miles along the waterfront, stretching from Columbia Heights down to DUMBO. Along this scenic walk, you’ll pass several green piers, the famous Jane Carousel, and on a sunny weekend, probably every breed of dog. Travel the path by bike or foot (there’s plenty of nearby Citi Bike docking stations to be found!), or find a grassy patch of shade to enjoy a good book while taking in the view.
As one of Brooklyn’s more popular parks, Brooklyn Bridge Park offers nearly every activity imaginable. Check out its dedicated events guide to find dates for outdoor movie screenings, fitness classes, arts and culture events, and more.
Built in 2018, Domino Park is one of Brooklyn’s newest public parks. This 5-acre greenspace sits right beside the East River in Williamsburg, lending itself to peaceful, idyllic views of bustling Manhattan just across the river.
Named after Domino Sugar, this park is built on the land where the former sugar refinery operated until 2004. The park’s website traces the history and local impact of the refinery and offers the park as a tribute to the “diversity and resiliency of generations of Domino workers, their families and their neighborhood”. While strolling through the park, keep your eyes peeled for large-scale sculptures and artifacts (there are over 30!) that pay homage to this integral Brooklyn industry.
All it takes is one visit to Domino Park to realize that this is not your typical park. With eclectic features including a fog bridge, water fountain, beach volleyball courts, bocce court, and playground, this park is a one-stop-shop for outdoor Brooklyn fun. There is even a ramp-accessible elevated walkway (hello Highline) that allows visitors to take in the views of the park and city lights from above.
Domino Park is great for picnics (just look at those views), but if you forgot to pack one, Tacocina, a Union Square Hospitality Group taco restaurant, sits right on the premises.
Described by NYC Parks as one of New York’s greatest hidden treasures, Sunset Park is a true diamond in the rough. Located in the neighborhood that shares its name, Sunset Park is a quaint Brooklyn park that offers breathtaking views of Manhattan’s beloved and captivating skyline. Because of the park’s elevation, these views deliver a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, Staten Island, and Brooklyn’s waterfront neighborhoods.
For a real treat, visit the park at sunset and get a magical glimpse of the light illuminating the windows of some of NYC’s most iconic skyscrapers.
Best Parks for Picnics in Brooklyn
If Central Park is the darling of Manhattan, then Prospect Park is the sweetheart of Brooklyn. Since its opening in 1867, Prospect Park has been the premier Brooklyn park destination for picnics and BBQs, park strolls, zoo visits, birdwatching, and so much more.
Designed by Olmsted & Vaux, the same landscape architects who created Central Park, Prospect Park features just as many beautiful treed alcoves, winding walking paths, and cascading waterfalls as its city counterpart. Not your average park, Prospect Park is also home to Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park Zoo, and the boathouse. Prospect Park is considered by many to be the best park in Brooklyn.
One of Brooklyn’s best parks might actually be a cemetery. Composed of nearly 500 acres in the neighborhood of Greenwood Heights, Green-Wood is one of New York’s oldest, largest, and most famous cemeteries. And with more than 570,000 burials – including celebrities Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Charles Ebbets, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and countless baseball legends, politicians, artists, entertainers, and inventors – Green-Wood estimates that its genealogical information relates to over 20 million individuals alive today.
After its inception, Green-Wood became so popular that it served as the impetus for the creation of Central Park, and later, Prospect Park. Green-Wood’s rolling hills, grassy land, 150 year old trees, catacombs, monk parrots, and glacial ponds provide a peaceful and quiet environment for long strolls, picnics, and reflection. Because of its impressive historical significance, Green-Wood is considered by many to be Brooklny’s most famous park.
WNYC Transmitter Park
Nestled between two piers on the border between Greenpoint and Williamsburg lies a quaint waterfront park. Formerly a WNYC radio transmission station, this park was opened to the public in 2012. Offering a lowkey, relaxing space, the park provides scenic East River views, a children’s play area, pedestrian bridge, and a large open lawn making it ideal for sunny picnics and park parties. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for graffiti murals and street art as you explore the brick walls that surround the park.
Best Parks for Activities in Brooklyn
Straddling the border between Williamsburg and Greenpoint, McCarren park is a well loved space that is home to kickball and soccer games, picnics, running meets, casual workouts, and perhaps best of all – swim time. Featuring an olympic-sized swimming pool, with capacity for 1500 swimmers, you can always guarantee a place to cool off in McCarren Park.
Grilling is another popular activity that’s permitted in this park. And if you’re looking to fill your Sunday night, Summerscreen screens movies from early July to late August every Sunday. You can check out their schedule and plan your next movie night under the stars here.
Fort Greene Park
Fort Greene is both a cherished Brooklyn park and a lesser-known historical landmark. Over 150 years old, this park was originally named after a fort that stood on the same grounds, Fort Putnam. It was later renamed Forte Greene after Nathanael Greene, a hero of the American Revolutionary War.
In the center of the park lies the Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument, a towering granite column. The column is a memorial to the 11,500 American prisoners of war who died in captivity aboard British prison ships during the revolutionary war.
Fort Greene Park also has a playground, tennis courts, grassy greens, a BBQ area, shady treed walkways, and a visitors center.
Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Falling more on the spectrum of pedestrian walkway than grassy park, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade is not to be overlooked. Offering spectacular views of Downtown Manhattan and the East River, this highly-trafficked route is a favorite local destination for runners, bikers, and walkers alike. Enjoy the breeze from the water and get those steps in!
Touting the label as Brooklyn’s largest park, Marine Park scales in at a whopping 530 acres, which makes it 4 acres larger than Prospect Park. With tons of land, Marine Park offers a whole host of amenities, including a golf course, cricket and baseball field, bocce court, skate parks, several playgrounds, bike paths, and even a dedicated landing space for canoes and kayaks.
Marine Park consists mainly of salt marsh with a supply of freshwater coming in from Gerritsen Creek. Its unique combination of marsh and grassland makes it a designated Forever Wild Preserve. Because of this status, there’s a Salt Marsh Nature Center in the park that provides plenty of educational materials and activities.
Sometimes it just doesn’t get better than a stroll or picnic in a Brooklyn Park on a sunny Saturday or Sunday. If you enjoyed this post, bookmark it for later and enjoy exploring all of Brooklyn’s Best Parks.