Carroll Gardens has all the hallmarks of a Brooklyn neighborhood – lovely brownstones, a small town feeling, a great selection of multi-national and traditional American restaurants, delicious Italian delis and pizzerias, a fun playground for the kids and unique shops for both adults and kids, all nestled within its beautifully manicured tree-lined streets.
Here are some of my favorite places in Carroll Gardens:
Activities: Cobble Hill Cinemas Big Movies for Little Kids (265 Court Street, technically not Carroll Gardens but close enough) offers movies for the kiddie set.
Carroll Park Playground (President Street between Court and Smith Streets) – We love this playground from the swings to the monkey bars to all the open space that older kids can ride their scooters. In the summer, there is a sprinkler and concerts. And if you want to shoot hoops or hit a baseball around, there is space for you as well.
Brooklyn Fencing Center (62 4th Street) offers something for everyone from group to private Olympic style fencing classes. This is a fun way to introduce your kids to a unique sport that provides focus, confidence and coordination. And what kid doesn’t want to swing a sword around.
The Painted Pot (339 Smith Street) – Why not spend time with your kids creating art and memories to be cherished forever. No need to make reservations, just walk in anytime to paint a cool object.
Mission Martial Arts (517 Henry Street) has Tae Kwon Do classes for kids ages 4 and up that helps kids work on their concentration, practice respect for their elders all the while building their dexterity and coordination.
Places to Shop:
Area Kids (331 Smith Street at Carroll Street) may be small but the eclectic selection is so not mainstream and is sure to make both child and parents happy. And if you need to pick up a birthday gift or headed to a baby shower, you are sure to find the right gift. But fair warning, sometimes the staff are the friendliest people on earth and other times, you might as well be invisible.
The Green Onion (274 Smith Street) While I love the great selection of toys and books, I love that the size selection goes past the toddler stage and goes up to size 10.
Places to eat: As you can imagine, the history of the neighborhood, Italian food is a staple. Layla Jones (214 Court Street) serves everything from thin crust pizza to press sandwiches.
On the face of it, middle eastern may not be enticing for your kids but don’t be fooled by Zaytoon’s. The restaurant serves pizza and hamburgers along with the most delicious middle eastern fare and is truly affordable. There is an open pizza oven which is sure to keep your kids enthralled while you enjoy your meal.
Looking for a sundae, egg cream or thick shakes but in an old-fashioned setting, Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain (513 Henry Street) is the place. With specials like Sundae of Broken Dreams and Red Velvet Twinkle Split, your ice cream taste buds will walk away happy. And don’t leave without taking some Adirondack Creamery Ice Cream for later, it’s to die for. Of course, you can stop in before having a sundae and enjoy lunch or dinner.
Carroll Gardens is definitely the home of Italian foods and treats, from Italian ice at Uncle Louie G Italian Ices and Ice Cream (233 Smith between Butler Street and Douglass Street); Court Street Bakery (298 Court Street) for pastries, Mazzola Bakery (192 Union Street at Henry Street) is famous for it’s bread, muffins, olive loaf and Italian cookies. Another neighborhood favorite to pick up slice or for sit down plate of spaghetti and meatballs or just a quick slice Francesco.