Lifestyle

The Best Things to Do in Brooklyn for Under $10

Celebrate Brooklyn
Ryan Muir

Gone are the days when Brooklyn ruled as “the more affordable borough” -- today, $12 kale smoothies and acai bowls are local staples. So in the interest of helping you get the most out of the borough without going broke, we’ve put together a master list of all the best things to do, see, and eat in Brooklyn for less than $10.

Take a booze cruise (ferry) to Ikea

Red Hook
Cost: The ferry ride is free; beers are $6 and wine is $8.

Ikea’s treasury of hard-to-assemble, Scandinavian home goods is just a boat ride away! At Wall Street’s Pier 11, hop on the free East River Ferry, which offers a selection of Brooklyn beers and wine, complete with lids and straws, so you can ride into the skyline, drink in hand, while hurtling toward Red Hook’s mecca of cheap furniture and Swedish meatballs.

See some live music at Celebrate Brooklyn

Park Slope
Cost: Free! Unless you get ticketed for having an open container in the park -- that’ll be $25.

All summer long, BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn hosts outdoor concerts in Prospect Park with live performances by artists ranging from Fleet Foxes to Shaggy. The vast majority of the shows are completely free -- the only catch being that you’ll need to fight your way through throngs of Park Slope families to stake out a good location. Pack a picnic, bring a blanket, and if you’re feeling particularly swanky, grab an $8 beer from Brooklyn Brewery’s pop-up stand.

Get your hands dirty at Brooklyn Grange

Brooklyn Navy Yard
Cost: Visiting hours on the farm are $10, while workshops typically range between $10-$30.

Stationed on top of one of Brooklyn Navy Yard’s mammoth brick buildings, Brooklyn Grange maintains 65,000 glorious square feet of rooftop farm land and is responsible for distributing thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables to local restaurants and supermarkets. In addition to providing a battery of agricultural workshops and farm tours for visitors, the place also offers summer evening yoga classes (yes, on the roof), compost dinner parties, and lessons in beekeeping (though these last two will cost you).

Grab a drink at Brooklyn Barge

Greenpoint
Cost: A mixed drink is $10, or you can get two tacos for $9.

Stationed on a historic barge in the East River, right off of Milton Street in Greenpoint, this string light-lined waterfront bar is a Brooklyn summer ideal. The food counter serves everything from fish tacos and grilled Mexican street corn to veggie burgers and craft cocktails, nearly all of which clock in at around $8. Plus, the bar is at the forefront of several initiatives to restore and preserve the East River -- so buying a drink here is basically philanthropy.

House of Yes
Kenny Rodriguez

Get a little weird at House of Yes

Bushwick
Cost: Most week nights are free, but for ticketed events, entry is typically $15-30.

If you’re sick of the dive bars and dance floors on the Lower East Side, Bushwick’s House of Yes is guaranteed to shake things up. The warehouse/club/venue space offers a variety of out-there events; we’re talking aerialists, ‘90s nights, deep-house yoga, and the occasional sensual theater performance. While a handful of the shows and events cost money, most nights are free if you make it before 11pm (be sure to rsvp first). 

Publicly embarrass yourself (and get rewarded with free pizza)

Williamsburg
Cost: Free pizza with the purchase of a $7 mixed drink or a $5 beer (karaoke is free as well).

Head to the The Alligator Lounge on Metropolitan Avenue and toss back however many cheap drinks it takes to make you feel comfortable partaking in karaoke. The song selection is enormous so you’re sure to find just the Blink-182 song you’re looking for, and when it’s all said and done, there’s no need to invest in late-night snacks -- the bar offers a free personal pizza with every drink you purchase.

Host a scenic BBQ in Brooklyn Bridge Park

DUMBO
Cost: It’s free to use the grills, and a pack of eight Nathan’s hot dogs goes for $2 at the nearby C-Town.

Shockingly enough, most New Yorkers do not have access to backyards -- but fortunately, Brooklyn Bridge Park offers a solution. Just past the Atlantic Avenue entrance to the park, you’ll find a series of grills and picnic tables stationed along the waterfront -- which means unhindered access to sweeping views of the skyline and your chosen spread of grilled meats.

Stop and smell the flowers at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Crown Heights/Park Slope
Cost: Free on Saturdays before noon.

Every Saturday, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden will wave its $15 entry fee if you arrive before noon. While getting anywhere before noon on a Saturday is a substantial feat, the collection of flora and fauna is more than worth it. Make sure to check out the water-lilies, the selection of roses, and best of all, the cherry blossoms, next time you happen to wake up sans-hangover on the weekend.

Industry City
Industry City

Spend an afternoon in Industry City

Sunset Park
Cost: Food prices range from $5-$25, and there are plenty of free samples.

While Sunset Park isn’t exactly the borough’s most convenient neighborhood to get to (unless you live off the D/N/R train), Industry City is well worth the trek. Beyond the enormous food court and the collection of public courtyards, the giant complex of warehouses offers free rooftop films, yoga classes, concerts, and salsa nights. Take a free tour of the distillery (which produces NYC’s only local vodka), watch the chocolatiers at Li-Lac at work in their factory space, or take a look at some seriously high-end, modern furniture at the Design Within Reach warehouse (sadly, you won’t find anything under $10 there).

Grab a beer in Other Half Brewing’s unmarked garage

Carroll Gardens
Cost: The taproom offers free tastings, and the cheapest beer on the roster runs for $6.

Other Half, one of Brooklyn’s best local breweries, maintains its taproom in a unmarked garage in Carroll Gardens. Head over for a tasting, fill your growler, or sample anything on the menu (for free) before settling on your drink of choice. The venue offers an impressive selection of daily rotating local beers on tap.

Test your movie knowledge at Videology

Williamsburg
Cost: Trivia is free, popcorn is $2, and a beer-and-a-shot will cost you $9.

Whether you prefer Twin Peaks bingo, bi-weekly movie trivia, or Battle Royale drinking games, Williamsburg’s Videology bar is prepared to deliver. With a 40-seat screening room and a full bar and kitchen -- in addition to some of the most widely acclaimed movie and TV trivia in the city -- the spot is typically packed with a lively crowd of Game of Thrones/beer connoisseurs. If you can make it there before 8pm, you’re sure to get a seat.

Pig Beach NYC
Katie June Burton/Courtesy of Pig Beach NYC

Eat BBQ and gaze out over the Gowanus Canal at Pig Beach

Gowanus
Cost: Both the burger and the pulled pork sandwich are $8, and a glass of frosé is $9.

This pop-up-turned-brick-and-mortar BBQ venue has found a way to make the Gowanus waterfront a desirable destination. The open-air venue is dog-friendly, with three separate bars, plenty of televised sporting events, and great BBQ (the smell of smoked pork manages to completely drown out any of the toxicity wafting off of the canal). Cornhole is available, the drinks are cheap, and the space is always lively.

St. Mazie Bar & Supper Club
Courtesy of St. Mazie

Tend to your Sunday scaries with some live jazz at St. Mazie

Williamsburg
Cost: There’s no cover, and during happy hour, you can get $5 house wines and $1 oysters.

Not only does this indoor/outdoor, bar/venue space provide live jazz nearly every Sunday, it also hosts a serious dance troupe to make the whole affair feel a little more like you’ve stumbled into a scene from Midnight in Paris. The happy hour deals are fantastic ($1 oysters, $5 house wines, and $6 beer-and-a-shot specials), the oyster selection is enormous, and joining the troupe on the dance floor is highly encouraged.

Get your culture dose at Pioneer Works

Red Hook
Cost: Admission to the gallery space is free, and concerts/events are typically around $30.

Built inside an old Red Hook factory building, Pioneer Works is part non-profit, part-laboratory, and part-art museum. Focused on blurring the dividing lines between art and science, the rotating shows at the gallery space are every bit as intriguing and avant-garde as the collection of lecture series, concerts, and courses curated by the organization. Oh, and admission is always free.

Stroll the Coney Island boardwalk

Coney Island
Cost: The freakshow has a $10 entrance fee, a Nathan’s hot dog is $3, and Cyclone tickets are $10.

Coney Island may no longer be the most popular NYC beach destination, but it still has plenty of character. For cheap thrills, take a ride on the famed Cyclone, and for even cheaper thrills, grab a Nathan’s hotdog and walk the stretch of kiosk-studded Brooklyn waterfront. The “Shoot the Freak” stand was recently outlawed, but the boardwalk is still home to vintage bumper cars, a house of mirrors, and most importantly, a bearded lady.

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Eliza Dumais is a writer with very little expendable income. Follow her @elizadumais.