Green-Wood Cemetery

Top choice cemetery in Brooklyn: Park Slope, Gowanus & Sunset Park

Image by Ray Pfortner Getty Images

If you really want to enjoy a slice of scenic Brooklyn in total peace and quiet, make for Green-Wood Cemetery. This historic burial ground set on the borough’s highest point covers almost 500 hilly acres with more than 7000 trees (many of which are over 150 years old); its myriad tombs, mausoleums, lakes and patches of forest are connected by a looping network of roads and footpaths, making this a perfect spot for some aimless rambling.

Founded in 1838, the cemetery is the final resting place of some 560,000 people, including many notable and historic personalities, such as inventors Samuel Morse and Elias Howe, abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher, designer Louis Comfort Tiffany and 1980s artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Don't miss Battle Hill, the cemetery's highest point, where the Continental Army fought off British troops during the 1776 Battle of Long Island. The event is commemorated by the 7ft statue of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, whose upright arm waves to the Statue of Liberty, facing back from a few miles across the harbor. The hill is located in the northeast sector of the cemetery, off Battle Ave. Musical legend Leonard Bernstein and Brooklyn Dodgers owner Charles Ebbets are both buried in the vicinity.

Admission is free and free maps are available at the entrance. On Wednesdays and Sundays at 1pm, you can take a two-hour trolley-bus tour (per person $20; advance booking recommended). Note the squawking green monk parakeets nesting within the nooks of the glorious Gothic entry gate – some allegedly broke free from an airport crate in the 1960s and started a colony that's lived here ever since.

Tip: pack mosquito repellent in the summer.