The Best of Brooklyn on a Budget

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By AAA Travel Editor Patricia Miller
April 27, 2018
If you think that visiting New York City is off limits when you don’t have a big budget, well, think again. You’ll find plenty of things to do in Brooklyn, a trendy New York City borough. Many of the best Brooklyn attractions cost $15 or less, and some are free on certain days of the week. Affordable Brooklyn restaurants are easily found; a good meal can be had for $10-$20.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York
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Brooklyn Botanic Garden
990 Washington Ave.
(718) 623-7200
This AAA GEM® attraction in Crown Heights has earned its rating in spades. A nirvana for nature lovers, the garden’s 52 acres are replete with more than 18,000 types of plants. Just try not to ooh and ah over thousands of rambling roses, cheerful cherry blossoms, magnificent magnolias, dazzling daffodils and much more. Highlights include a fragrance garden with braille signs for the visually impaired; a lilac collection; and conservatories housing bonsais, orchids and a tropical rainforest. Admission is free daily for ages 0-11; for all before noon on Fri., Mar.- Nov.; and for all Tues.-Fri., Dec.-Feb.
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Brooklyn Bridge Park is on the Brooklyn side of the East River in New York City
AAA/Inspector 514
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Old Fulton St. and Furman St.
(718) 222-9939
After you’ve shot some Instagram-worthy pics of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, check out its park of the same name. What better way to mingle with city dwellers taking a time-out from their frenzied lives than to join in the fun at this 85-acre greenspace? Kids of all ages can saddle up a painted pony on a charming 1922 carousel sheltered from the elements by clear acrylic walls. Partake in umpteen sports from basketball to bocce, watch a free movie, launch a kayak from the beach or lie on the lawn and admire glorious views of New York City across the East River.
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A shopper looking at vintage clothing
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Brooklyn Flea
80 Pearl St.
(718) 935-1052
Looking for a great way to while away a Sunday afternoon? It costs nothing to roam around at the Brooklyn Flea since admission is free, so get some fresh air and rummage through the goodies. Scour racks of vintage clothes for bargains and eyeball tables full of bric-a-brac, antiques and jewelry. About 80 vendors set up camp here on the waterfront underneath the Manhattan Bridge at Pearl Plaza on Sundays from 10-6, April through October.
Dinner plate of fish dinner with lemon
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French Louie
320 Atlantic Ave.
AAA Inspector Rating
(718) 935-1200
Named after an illustrious French Canadian lumberjack, this oh-so-trendy AAA Inspector Pick is popular with local office workers in downtown Brooklyn. It’s best to sample the Gallic menu for lunch or weekend brunch if money’s tight, but dinner won’t cost much more and it will be worth it, especially if you try the 28-day dry-aged steak. For brunch try buckwheat crepes with ricotta, peach and tarragon; for lunch, chicken paillard or avocado tartine are palate pleasers. Dine on the backyard patio for extra ambience.
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Deli beef sandwich with potato chips and a pickle
iStockphoto.com / LauriPatterson
Jay and Lloyd's Kosher Deli
2718 Avenue U
AAA Inspector Rating
(718) 891-5298
When in New York, it’s practically a requirement to dine at a deli at least once. Nosh on knishes and other Central European delights at this AAA Inspector Pick in South Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay. This traditional kosher deli also features potato pancakes, matzo ball soup, beef brisket, pastrami and thick sandwiches complemented by crisp pickles. For dessert, try the homemade rugelach or apple strudel. This is a good place to check out when near Coney Island.
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Lobster sub roll with potato chips
iStockphoto.com / GarysFRP
Jordan's Lobster Dock
3165 Harkness Ave.
AAA Inspector Rating
(718) 934-6311
The décor here is nothing fancy, but this AAA Inspector Pick near Sheepshead Bay has one of the best lobster rolls in the city, according to a New York newspaper’s poll. In business since 1938, Jordan’s has a standard-issue menu with dishes like fish and chips, shrimp scampi and Long Island oysters. Each table has a roll of paper towels for those messy moments when you’re joyously cracking open crab or lobster and dipping it in butter. While you’re not exactly sitting on the dock of the bay when eating outside, it’s just a few steps away.
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