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10 Awesome Fall Family Adventures

Reasons We Love Red Hook

Reasons We Love Red Hook

Just a step out of the bustling New York City neighborhoods, Red Hook provides a quieter side to the Brooklyn borough. What was once home to one of the nation’s busiest seaports, Red Hook’s waterfront is now home to New York City’s only IKEA and clear views of the Statue of Liberty. If you are looking for a new-to-you neighborhood in Brooklyn for your next family outing, Red Hook is the spot.

Check out these five reasons we just cannot get enough of the beautiful, quiet Brooklyn neighborhood.

A Neighborhood with Rich History

Established in 1836 by the Dutch, the area was named after its red clay soil and the hook shape of its peninsula. Red Hook was one of the first Brooklyn areas to be settled, and has been through almost two centuries of an evolving landscape and purpose. That being said, Red Hook is primarily known in history for becoming one of the country’s busiest seaports in the mid- to late-1800s with a variety of raw goods from around the country passing through, which emptied out almost 100 years later in the second half of the 20th century. The now-quiet neighborhood still holds its history close with the Waterfront Museum. A great place for children, the museum offers a fun way for children to look back into history with regularly scheduled performances and events, the most notable of which is the Pirate School. Here, Professor Billy Bones teaches children the ins and outs of how to be great pirates, including how to stand, laugh, talk, sing, and act. 

The Incredible Views

Red Hook sits on the waterfront of the Upper Bay, directly across from Governors Island, which has allowed locals and tourists alike to claim Red Hook has one of the best views of the Statue of Liberty from land. Take a stroll through the Louis Valentino, Jr. Park and Pier to get a look for yourself—and to snap some Insta-worthy photos of the kids!

Its Small-Town Vibes

The closest subway stop to Red Hook is nearly a mile away from the heart of the neighborhood, making it easiest to get to by taking the ferry or water taxi. Due to the fact that it is hard to access for most, Red Hook tends to be a quieter neighborhood, acting more like a small town rather than a neighborhood in a bustling city. And the small-town feel continues the moment you step into a boutique such as Foxy & Winston or Wooden Sleepers, or markets such as Fairway Market or Red Hook Food Vendors. 

The Food and Art Lining the Town (and Van Brunt Street)

Though small, Red Hook is mighty when it comes to culture, and that is clear by the beloved food and art scene of the neighborhood. Stop in some of the local galleries such as Pioneer Works or Peninsula for a look of what the neighborhood artists are creating. Then, get a taste of the neighborhood with a trip to one (or many) of the esteemed restaurants: Hometown Barbeque serves up some of the best barbecue this side of the south, and you can’t go wrong with a stop at Baked or Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pie to satisfy your sweet tooth. At the very least, take stroll down Van Brunt Street to see all that Red Hook has to offer.

New York City’s Only IKEA

Opened in 2008 on what was once a shipyard, New York City’s only IKEA found its home on the waterfront of Red Hook. Just hop on board the New York Water Taxi’s IKEA Express Ferry, which takes you right to IKEA’s dock for any and all of your furniture needs. If you’re anything like us, wandering through the displays is a perfect way to spend an afternoon (and get small-space home décor ideas) while the kids are playing in Småland.

Main Image The Waterfront Museum, located in Red Hook, is housed in the 1914 Lehigh Valley Railroad Barge #79.

Credit: Steve McGill

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Allison Ingrum


Allison Ingrum, a junior at Syracuse University studying magazine journalism, is a former editorial intern at NYMetroParents. When she is not busy typing away, you can find her exploring the city, trying new foods, or sitting in a local coffee shop.

Twitter: @allisoningrum


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