Conveniently located and residentially desirable, Fort Greene spreads eastward from Downtown Brooklyn beyond Flatbush Ave; it's home to two local institutions: the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the 1927 Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower, for decades Brooklyn's tallest building (now dwarfed by steel-and-glass condo skyscrapers). Gorgeously preserved (and appropriately unaffordable) 19th-century brownstones line Fort Greene's leafy side streets, as with its more remote neighbor, Clinton Hill, home to the Pratt Institute, a private art and design university. Washington and Clinton Aves in particular have some beautiful post–Civil War row houses.
Much of the charm of visiting these residential neighborhoods lies in simply exploring and getting a feel for local life. Any subway to Downtown Brooklyn brings you right to the western edge of Fort Greene, where there are numerous cafes, bars and shops – including the lovely community Greenlight Bookstore – ranged along Fulton St for you to pop into.
But first, hit up the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) box office and get some tickets for one of that evening's shows. If you'd like an indoor activity for the daytime, head to the always-fascinating exhibits of the nearby Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts; if the weather's fine, zig-zag your way through the brownstone-lined side streets to the expansive Fort Greene Park.
If you continue east along DeKalb Ave from there, you can take a left onto Clinton Ave and walk north to see some beautifully preserved 19th-century row houses; turn right on Myrtle Ave, continue two blocks to Washington Ave, then take a right and walk back south to see more. For a whole district of beautiful, historic houses, continue south to Fulton St and take the C train four stops to Utica Ave, which brings you to the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District. You can stop into Peaches for a modern twist on Southern comfort food, then make your way back on the C train to Lafayette Ave in time for your show at BAM – or just spend the rest of the night eating, drinking and being merry in one of Fort Greene's German beer halls (it's blessed with two!).
- Brooklyn Academy of Music Being spoiled for choice with a dazzling program of events across the disciplines at one of NYC's finest arts and cultural centers.
- Fort Greene Park Strolling or lounging in this neighborhood jewel, enjoying city views from its raised war memorial and snacking on fresh produce at its Saturday Greenmarket.
- Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts Expanding your horizons with the thought-provoking and socially aware multimedia exhibits displayed at this culturally vital museum.
- BRIC House Exploring Brooklyn's diverse local cultural scene, from slam poets, dancers and storytellers to musicians and filmmakers.
- Kings County Distillery Enjoying wee drams of smooth-tasting craft whiskies on a guided tour of the first distillery to open in NYC since Prohibition ended, set in a historic building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Although Fort Greene has multiple subways lining its borders, Clinton Hill and much of Bedford-Stuyvesant are served only by the G train – which inconveniently does not go to Manhattan – and various buses. There are plenty of Citibike stations in these neighborhoods though, and long, flat side streets make for easy cycling.