You’ve perused Park Slope, done a day in DUMBO, cruised through Carroll Gardens and spent an afternoon in Brooklyn Heights. But don’t think you’ve conquered Brooklyn if you haven’t explored Bay Ridge yet? While it’s a little further from Manhattan than many of the neighborhoods you likely frequent, it’s worth a trip. Read on to find out all about all of the best places to play, shop and eat with your kids there.
Bay Ridge is bounded by Sunset Park on the north, Seventh Avenue/Dyker Heights on the east, The Narrows Strait (which also includes the Belt Parkway) on the west and the Verrazano bridge on the south.
Where to Play
When the weather’s nice, you’ll want to explore one of Bay Ridge’s many beautiful parks, including Owls Head Park located on Colonial Road between 68th Street and Wakeman Place and Shore Road Park, which runs along Shore Road between 92nd Street and Bay Ridge Parkway. In the fall, spring and summer, go have picnic on the lawns, explore the playground or go for a peaceful stroll with the little ones and enjoy breathtaking views of the Verrazano Bridge. In the winter, your kids will love sledding on the rolling hills of Owls Head Park. If you prefer to be indoors, go to the Painted Pot or the Art Room, where your kiddos can unleash their inner artist.
Where to Shop
Baby/Mama (9002 3rd Avenue) is an awesome new store that opened in May 2013. They cater to pregnant mamas-to-be, moms and their kiddos, from the first trimester to the first year. You can buy everything from carriers (the owners, a husband and wife team, are even certified babywearing instructors – how neat is that?), nursing covers, bottles, wipes, sunscreen, teething necklaces and bracelets, bath accessories, and much, much more.
Plus, there’s no need to travel to Park Slope, Williamsburg or Manhattan anymore for your childbirth/parenting classes. Baby/Mama also offers breastfeeding clinics, childbirth and newborn care classes, even yoga.
Insider Tip #1: If you’re not quite comfortable with nursing your little one in public or a little grossed out by changing diapers in a public bathroom – Baby/Mama has a room in the back for you and your kiddo – complete with a rocking chair, an actual changing pad and wipes!
If you’re looking for a cool toy for your little one, hop on over to Kaleidoscope (8722 3rd Avenue). The friendly staff will be happy to help you pick something out, whether you’re shopping for your own toddler, a niece or your best friend’s newborn. Century 21 (472 86th St) and TJ Maxx (502 86th St) along 86th Street have tons of bargains for parents and kids alike: everything from clothes, toys, linens, shoes, seasonal items and more. One of the coolest things about Bay Ridge is that you can find everything from small boutique stores to bigger department chains, and everything in between.
Where to Eat
Whenever you get hungry, there are plenty of restaurants for you to choose from – a reflection of the diversity in the neighborhood. Ho ‘Brah (8618 3rd Avenue) is a neighborhood favorite, serving tacos with soft style tortillas and cool decor your kids will love (surfboards on the wall – cowabunga!). At the Burger Bistro (7217 3rd Avenue) – you can build your own burger, choosing what kind of burger you want (beef, lamb, turkey, chicken – even vegan!), cheese, additional toppings, the type of bread and the sauce – perfect especially if you have picky eaters in the family.
Insider tip: Currently, kids eat free on Mondays at the Burger Bistro with purchase of adult burger (eat in only).
What’s for dessert? If you’re tired of the same old, same old when it comes to ice cream, check out Brooklyn Scoops (7610 3rd Avenue), where you can find handmade, artisanal ice cream in amazing flavors the adults will love, including lavender, hazelnut and lemon with blueberry cookie, and fun ones for the kiddos, like hot chocolate and pumpkin. For those who are dairy-free, they also have delicious sorbets in flavors like mango and red raspberry. Also, check out Little Cupcake Bakeshop (9102 3rd Avenue), a real dessert heaven! You’ll love that ingredients are locally sourced and that the milk comes from grass-fed cows, your kids will love the scrumptious menu, serving everything from cupcakes to pies, ice cream, cookies and more!
Take the R train to Bay Ridge Parkway, 77th Street, 86th Street or 95th Street.
What’s your favorite way to spend time in Bay Ridge with the kids?
Photos courtesy of Frances Cheung, Baby/Mama, Brooklyn Scoops