Explore New York City

Things to Do in Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

If you’re looking for a December tradition that’s a bit more under-the-radar, take a trip deep into Brooklyn to the traditionally Italian neighborhoods of Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge.

About Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge

Everyone knows that New York City is a magical place to be around the holidays. The jaw-dropping spectacle of the Christmas lights in Dyker Heights should be on the itinerary of anyone who visits New York in December, and it’s a mere 10 blocks or so to Bay Ridge, a friendly, working-class area with great food and shopping.

Where to Shop

You can find something for everyone on your holiday shopping list, and for a steal, at the gigantic Bay Ridge outpost of Century 21. It’s definitely less crowded than the Manhattan locations, but for a more intimate option, visitors might want to venture to Lola’s Boutique for on-trend women’s clothing and accessories or The Bookmark Shoppe for—you guessed it—books.

The Owl’s Head wine bar, New York
The Owl’s Head (Courtesy The Owl’s Head)

Where to Drink

The hipsterfication running rampant through more northern parts of the borough has started bleeding into Bay Ridge. Case in point is the cool but totally unpretentious Owl’s Head wine bar, which is a great place for a bite and a glass of wine—poetry readings and live jazz are also offered on select nights. Take note of the awesome bar top, handcrafted and rough-hewn from a single maple tree.

Robicelli’s Bakery
Robicelli’s Bakery (Courtesy Robicelli’s Bakery)

Where to Eat

Fashions might have changed since Saturday Night Fever was set in Bay Ridge in the 1970s, but this melting-pot community still feels old school. True to its original Italian-American roots, Bay Ridge offers plenty of red-sauce joints where you can get baked ziti and killer cannoli, but it’s also home to the highly touted Middle Eastern restaurant, Tanoreen. Don’t miss the eggplant Napolean, the fried Brussels sprouts with tahini or the knafeh dessert. 

Brooklyn Beet Company brings a farm-to-table sensibility to Eastern European fare—the fried grass-fed cheeseburger with house-made beet ketchup is a must-try. Looking for a laid-back, SoCal vibe? Chow down on some West Coast-style Mexican food at Ho’ Brah Taco Joint. Ho’ Brah’s sister beer garden, The Lock Yard, has an impressive craft brew list and serves organic bratwursts, sweet potato tater tots and other elevated pub fare. 

Robicelli’s Bakery boasts confections like nutella lasagna and Brooklyn blackout layer cake, and Cream Coffee & Tea Shop has Stumptown coffee, doughnuts and macarons.