One of the fabulous things about living smack dab in the middle of the East Coast is that we have several major cities within a few hours’ drive: Philly, Baltimore, Charlottesville, and Washington D.C., to name a few.
Whether it’s signing up for a White House tour, catching a Broadway show, shopping endlessly, visiting the National Aquarium, or a host of other experiences, you’ve got options. Tons of them.
And, if you’re a foodie like me, those regional destinations become even more amazing, especially when THE foodie mecca is a mere three-and-a-half hour drive away! A Brooklyn cheap eats getaway? Yes, you must. I’ll show you why…
5 Reasons Why You Need A Brooklyn Cheap Eats Getaway
1. Brooklyn is a cheap(er) launching point for all the things.
Let’s face it, it’s hard to find an affordable (for my budget, anyway) place to stay in Manhattan. Brooklyn, however, is only a stone’s throw away from Manhattan – seriously, as little as one stop – and has options that aren’t quite as shocking. Even better is when you know someone who lives there, like I do. My sister and her husband live near Prospect Park, in a small two bedroom (!!!) in one of the quaintest neighborhoods around.
What’s great about Brooklyn is that you get the restaurant and shopping variety of Manhattan, but with a little less concrete, more trees, and a lot of Brownstone charm.
I love the subway system in NYC. It’s easy to follow, cheap, and takes you pretty much anywhere in Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens. Catch a movie and director’s interview at IFC Center on Sixth Avenue at West Third Street in Manhattan AFTER having dinner on 4th Avenue in Brooklyn – with no problem.
Hop up to Prosperity Dumpling in Chinatown for the best, most inexpensive dumplings – and take a peek behind the counter to watch them work their dumpling-making-magic.
Prosperity Dumpling also happens to be one of the smallest, most crowded, restaurant spaces ever!
If it looks like a bunch of people jammed into a 12×12′ space it’s because IT IS a bunch of people jammed into 144 square feet (and that’s likely a generous assessment). There might be two bar stools and one three-foot-long counter, which is what constitutes calling it a “restaurant.”
I’d recommend you eat your dumplings on the go, as you hoof it to your next destination.
Speaking of foodie must-sees back in Brooklyn, Smorgasburg (in quintessential hipster Williamsburg – hello beards, undercuts, and cat t-shirts) needs to be on your list of to-dos.
It’s like a food truck fair. The mother of all foodie meet-ups. A “Brooklyn Flea Food Market.” It’s FANTASTIC, and filled with soooooo many unique cheap eats options. Like crazy Asian-fusion hot dog combos (I happen to be a giant hot dog fan).
There are a slew of other fresh, fun and tasty plates to try, too. You can easily spend a couple hours there, wandering up and down the tight isles, checking out the various vendors, and tasting a little bit of everything. Bring your appetite, and get there early!
3. Pizza. Bagels. Nails.
One of the best things about Brooklyn, and anywhere in Manhattan, is the copious amount of pizza joints. Thin crust? Check. Deep dish? Check. Hand tossed? Check. Classic Italian recipe from a century ago? Check.
A slice is also one of the cheapest eats around, with many going for $2 to $3. Lunch under $5 in NYC? Yes, it can be done.
As for breakfast, one of my favorite Brooklyn cheap eats finds is BAGELS. Especially from a place like Bergen Bagels, where devouring their “everything” bagel is a delicious no-brainer. I’m typically a plain cream cheese on a toasted bagel girl, but in NYC everyone (yes, everyone) gets their bagels toasted with butter. And, yes. I did too. (YUM.)
When you find great cheap eats, it lets you splurge on other things, like shopping! And pedicures! A pedicure isn’t thing for me normally, so when I visit my sister a few times a year, we generally add it to our list of “must dos” while I’m there. Despite being such an expensive city otherwise, Manhattan and Brooklyn both have a host of nail salons that are quite affordable, and often have no wait.
4. Brunch options like no other.
Everyone, EVERYONE does brunch in NYC.
At 2 p.m.
For us “southerners” in Maryland, brunch is a thing between breakfast and lunch, closer to…say…11 a.m. What’s great about running a couple hours earlier than the rest of Manhattan is that there usually isn’t a wait, and service is speedy.
I have to try Eggs Benedict whenever it’s on a brunch menu. I’m the same with patty melts on a lunch menu, shrimp & grits on a dinner menu, and mojitos on a drink menu. Sooooo at The Cornelia Street Cafe in the Village…
And before the Eggs Bennie even came out, we had this refreshing spread to get us started:
Chinatown isn’t far from Brooklyn via the subway – maybe a 15-20 minute ride, unless you’re trying to get there during rush hour. But, even still, things move very efficiently! Far better than taking a cab, or – gasp! – renting a car.
Remember Prosperity Dumpling? Yeah, this.
But also, so many other really cool finds – especially if you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen, and you love to cook like me!
Pretend to be Anthony Bourdain for day…or just window shop and enjoy all the diverse spices, vegetables, seafood, and other things the markets have to offer.
What’s your favorite cheap eats spot to visit when you’re in NYC?
This isn’t the last of my visits to Brooklyn! Make sure to stay tuned for more…
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