Once a grungy youth-culture hub, Williamsburg has become decidedly glossier – yes, there’s now a Whole Foods and a Starbucks. But with some of the city’s best nightlife, bars and restaurants, it makes an excellent base for exploring the city’s famously hip borough. The waterfront East River State Park, with sweeping Manhattan skyline views, is home to the long-running Saturday Smorgasburg gourmet food market in the warmer months. Entertainment spans the non-profit, genre-spanning music venue National Sawdust and indie-rock temple Music Hall of Williamsburg, and you can feast on everything from oysters and absinthe at New Orleans-style bar Maison Premiere to top-chef-made pasta at Misi. The less commercial end of the shopping scene has largely migrated to lower-rent areas like Greenpoint to the north, where you’ll find clusters of record and vintage stores, but some standout designer boutiques remain, such as long-time Brooklyn favourite Bird.
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