Known to some as Manhattan’s cooler younger brother who majored in art instead of business, Brooklyn has plenty to offer in its own right. If you’re considering moving to Brooklyn, you might be wondering where to start among the borough’s dozens of diverse neighborhoods. Not to worry — here’s our guide to the best places to live in Brooklyn.
Living in Brooklyn
If you’re looking for access to big-city amenities, but with more space and a more relaxed vibe, Brooklyn might be a great fit for you. Despite its rep as overly hipster and “too cool,” Brooklyn has a lot to show for itself: fantastic dining and nightlife, beautiful parks and green spaces, abundant culture, and a vibrant community of diverse individuals and families. If you can make Brooklyn work for your commute and lifestyle, it’s an excellent place to call home.
Not sure whether Brooklyn is the right NYC borough for you? Check out our moving guide to New York City’s five boroughs, which walks you through Brooklyn as well as Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx, exploring the pros, cons, and distinctive character of each area.
Cost of Living in Brooklyn
As a general rule, you’ll save a bit of money living in Brooklyn versus Manhattan … depending on the neighborhood where you choose to live. According to Nerdwallet, on average, the cost of living in Brooklyn is about 28% less than in Manhattan, with lower rents and slightly lower prices on everyday things like movie tickets.
How the cost of living in Brooklyn feels to you will depend largely on where you’re moving from. Moving from Manhattan, you may have a little extra room in your budget now that you’re saving a bit on rent and other expenses. Those moving from cities like Washington D.C., L.A., or San Francisco will also find comparable living costs. But people moving from other parts of the country or smaller cities may have sticker shock when they start looking for apartments. Average rent in Brooklyn hovers around $2,900. Your actual rent will vary greatly depending on the location, apartment style, and whether you’ll be sharing costs with roommates.
Brooklyn Neighborhood Guide
If you’ve decided this is the best borough for you, the next step is to figure out which Brooklyn neighborhoods feel like the right place, so you can focus your apartment search. When you’re trying to decide where to live in Brooklyn, use these questions will help you get clear about your priorities:
- What will my commute look like? There’s no getting around it: your daily commute is really important to your quality of life. While in some cities it’s all about traffic, in New York it’s all about transit access. If you know where you’ll be working, take time to investigate the subway lines between your potential home and work, average commute times, and how frequently those lines run.
- Which is more important – proximity or having more space at home? You’ll find that apartments in denser areas with the best access to subway lines, restaurants, and other amenities are a bit more cramped than those in further out areas. When you’re choosing a neighborhood and an apartment, be realistic about whether you’re more likely to enjoy those extra square feet as a homebody, or if a small place would suit you just fine because you’ll be out and about most of the time anyway.
- What’s my budget? It’s easy to get caught up in love-at-first-viewing. Spend a little quality time with your budget, and ask yourself what you can really afford to comfortably spend on rent (remember to factor in utilities).
- What makes a great neighborhood for me? Everyone has a different answer when it comes to what makes a place feel like “home.” For some, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs within walking distance are a must. For others, green spaces, libraries, and cultural institutions may top the list. Make a list of your neighborhood “musts,” and keep it handy as you start looking around at different Brooklyn neighborhoods.
These questions and more will help guide your search for the perfect Brooklyn home.
Best Places to Live in Brooklyn
Brooklyn is home to so many great neighborhoods for every taste and lifestyle. While there’s no one perfect place for everyone, here are a few of our favorite places in Brooklyn.
Located in northern Brooklyn, Bedford-Stuyvesant (“Bed-Stuy”) has long been a hidden treasure that lately is, well, not so hidden anymore. Home to leafy streets and a neighborhood-y feel, the lower rents make Bed-Stuy one of the most affordable neighborhoods in Brooklyn … for now.
- Cost of renting: A 1-bedroom will set you back about $2,200 per month.
- Accessibility by subway: While there are a few lines in and out of the neighborhood, accessibility isn’t the main draw of Bed-Stuy.
While Bushwick has seen a fair amount of gentrification in recent years, the neighborhood still boasts many amenities that make it feel homey: terrific access to green spaces, locally owned restaurants and bars, a public pool, and more. Located to the southeast of Williamsburg, you’ll find street art and galleries galore to experience and explore.
- Cost of renting: Further to the east, Bushwick will cost you about $2,200 per month for a 1-bedroom rental.
- Accessibility by subway: You can access Bushwick via the M, J, and L subway lines.
Brooklyn’s northernmost neighborhood has gained some name recognition this decade after appearing as a central location in HBO’s Girls. With roots established by the Polish community, this charming and diverse neighborhood still features a wide variety of eastern European delis and restaurants. The neighborhood itself is home now to trendsetters and hipsters as well, with some spillover from folks moving out of buzzy Williamsburg.
- Cost of renting: Renting a 1-bedroom apartment in Greenpoint will cost about $2,600 per month.
- Accessibility by subway: Not ideal. You’ll be dependent on the G train to get out of Greenpoint.
Park Slope and Prospect Heights:
Located west and north of Prospect Park (respectively), Park Slope and Prospect Heights have a reputation for attracting mostly young, affluent families—there’s a lot of stroller dodging on these neighborhood streets, which is great news if you have a young family. That said, there are also plenty of singles and young professionals choosing to make Park Slope home. With green space, a slower pace, and plenty to do and experience, Park Slope and neighboring Prospect Heights are well worth investigating.
- Cost of renting: Rent in this area varies, but averages around $2,600 a month.
- Accessibility by subway: There are a number of subway lines running through these neighborhoods, giving you decent options to connect to where you need to go.
First organized way back in the 1600s, Red Hook is surrounded by water on three sides. The neighborhood retains a small-town feel, likely aided in part by how out of the way (read: inaccessible) the neighborhood is. The area is disconnected from the bustle of city life, and you certainly feel it in this more leisurely neighborhood.
- Cost of renting: Red Hook 1-bedrooms average rent is around $2,300 monthly.
- Accessibility by subway: Red Hook is not accessible via subway, so you’ll need to take that into account. If you work from home, no problem, but if you normally commute via train you’ll need to make other arrangements, like busing into a neighboring ‘hood to catch the train.
At one point, Williamsburg was largely industrial—a mecca for struggling artists and young creatives. Today, Williamsburg still boasts a number of creative professionals and young people, but as the neighborhood has grown buzzier, the area has become less gritty and more hip. Many consider Williamsburg the birthplace of New York’s hipster scene, and you’ll recognize much of that in the trendy cafes, artisanal shops, and a thriving arts and music scene.
- Cost of renting: Approximately $2,840 for a 1-bedroom.
- Accessibility by subway: Depends on the area of Williamsburg. The L Train offers great access to the main retail hub of Williamsburg, while the J, M, and Z trains connect South Williamsburg directly with Manhattan. The G train also stops in Williamsburg at Metropolitan Avenue.
Moving to Brooklyn
Once you’ve decided where you’d like to focus your search, our guide to finding an apartment in NYC offers some valuable pointers. This is also a good time to start thinking about how you’ll get all your stuff from point A to point B, timing, and what type of moving services your budget will allow.
Whether you’re figuring out how to move to Brooklyn from another NYC borough or from out of state, the physical move itself can present some challenges. Like with other urban areas, Brooklyn parking limitations and local regulations can add some serious complications – and expense, if you end up getting fined. You’ll definitely want to check on parking and loading regulations for your street and building so you can plan accordingly.
Here are a few options to consider as you plan your Brooklyn move:
While going DIY by renting a truck could be the least expensive option, with Brooklyn’s crowded, narrow streets it may be more trouble than it’s worth. Navigating one-way streets and squeezing a huge truck through heavy traffic and narrow passages can take a lot of skill (not to mention nerve) so plan your route in advance. Ditto on the parking. Here, pay attention to special regulations for moving trucks and watch out for bike lanes, so you can avoid a costly ticket and altercations with militant cyclists. Remember you’ll need to hire help for fast loading and unloading or ask friends and family to risk their backs, while you’re watching the clock to make sure you don’t go over your rental time.
PROFESSIONAL BROOKLYN MOVING SERVICE:
If you can afford to pay a premium, a full-service moving company can take care of the heavy lifting, and even the packing and unpacking, if you choose that as an extra option. On one hand, you’ll save yourself time and you can let them worry about driving and parking the truck. But be aware that traditional movers will dictate your schedule, allowing precious little flexibility, and the industry also has higher breakage and loss rates than other options. That said, if you decide this is your best option, be sure you check references and ask about base rates and any extra charges, such as for stairs, heavy furniture pieces, and other potential fees.
BOUTIQUE CITY MOVING SERVICE
If the idea of driving and parking a truck in Brooklyn gives you nightmares, but you need a more affordable option than full-service movers, you may want to look into using PODS City Service. Available in select Brooklyn and NYC area locations, the service is designed around the specific challenges of moving and storing in heavily urban areas like Brooklyn. It offers a lot of flexibility, from scheduling to built-in storage options, and you don’t have to deal with the hassle of driving or parking a truck. You also get the choice of handling the packing and loading yourself or you can ask to be connected with trusted hourly labor professionals, who will take care of the moving tasks you’d rather outsource.
Here’s how PODS City Service works:
- A PODS driver brings your container at your scheduled time and stays for loading, defending against tickets, thieves, and any other threats to your belongings.
- While your container remains on the truck, a heavy-duty, hydraulic lift carries you, your helpers, and your belongings to and from your container.
- You load and unload at ground level – no carrying heavy items up and down a ramp.
- When your container is loaded and ready to go, your PODS driver can take it to a secure PODS Storage Center and keep it there as long as you need, or you can have it delivered to your new place.
PORTABLE CONTAINER MOVING AND STORAGE SERVICE
Depending on where you’re moving from and what part of Brooklyn you’re moving into, a standard portable container service may work for at least one part of your move. This is a great option for areas where you can keep a container for more than a day, as this gives you the chance to move at your own pace. For example, with PODS standard service, we deliver a container to your door and leave it on your property so you can take your time moving. When you’ve got it all loaded, we’ll pick it up and take it to your new address, or keep it at a secure PODS Storage Center. Then when you’re ready to move in, we’ll deliver it and leave it if you have the room, or you can use PODS City Service for the delivery and unloading process.
BROOKLYN STORAGE UNITS
If you need to move out before you move into your new place, or you’re in the process of downsizing, you may need to consider renting storage for a few weeks or months while you make the transition. There are lots of options and sizes for Brooklyn storage units and storage facilities, including a self-storage unit or a portable storage container like those offered through PODS City Service or PODS standard moving service. With a portable container service, the storage comes to you, so you avoid navigating a rental truck through Brooklyn or other areas. Plus, you only need to load and unload your stuff one time, compared to self-storage, where you have to transport your belongings to their location and load and unload your stuff multiple times to complete your move.