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!).