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Brooklyns Best Cafes for People Watching

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Brooklyn is known for its eclectic neighborhoods and vibrant cafe culture. As a longtime Brooklynite, I’ve spent many leisurely afternoons people watching at some of the best cafes across the borough. Here are my picks for the top spots to post up with a coffee or a bite and take in the diverse streets of NYC.

1. Café Grumpy (Park Slope)

Café Grumpy is a small chain with locations across NYC but the Park Slope outpost is one of my favorites. This spacious corner café has huge windows overlooking the always-busy 7th Ave and Flatbush Ave intersection.


  • Prime people watching spot at a major Brooklyn crossroads
  • Outdoor seating with warming lamps to keep watching even in colder months
  • Delicious coffee drinks like lattes, cold brew, and pour-overs
  • Food menu with all-day breakfast, salads, sandwiches

I like to sit by the window with an iced coffee or cold brew and watch the steady stream of shoppers, families, joggers, and dog walkers passing by throughout the day. The bustling street action outside is a perfect counterpart to the relaxed vibe inside.

2. Café Lou (Prospect Heights)

Café Lou is a cozy neighborhood staple on the main drag of Vanderbilt Ave near Prospect Park. The big windows and benches facing the street make for ideal people watching.


  • Walking distance from Grand Army Plaza and Prospect Park
  • Active sidewalk with shoppers and families from the neighborhood
  • Comfy sofas and armchairs for lounging with coffee/food
  • Homey décor with local artwork covering the walls

I love sitting on the benches by the window facing Vanderbilt Ave and watching stylish locals on their way to brunch or the farmer’s market. The comfy armchairs and sofas scattered throughout the café also make it easy to settle in for a few hours of relaxation and entertainment.

3. Hungry Ghost (Cobble Hill)

Hungry Ghost is located right on Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn’s longest thoroughfare, in the charming neighborhood of Cobble Hill. A sea of pedestrians, cyclists, and cars are constantly moving up and down Atlantic Ave right outside the big open windows.


  • Floor-to-ceiling windows directly on bustling Atlantic Ave
  • Bottomless pour-over coffee on weekends
  • Delicious pastries like croissants, scones, coffee cake
  • Weekend brunch with unique options like carrot loaf french toast

I like to grab a table up against the windows, order the bottomless pour-over coffee, and settle in for a morning of people watching on Atlantic Ave. Solo joggers, couples walking their dogs, families on weekend outings, and more are on display while I sip my coffee. It’s one of my favorite weekend morning routines.

So if you find yourself in Brooklyn and want to experience some quintessential NYC sidewalk action, head to any of these cafes, order a coffee and small bite, and observe the diverse crowds that make this borough so vibrant and alive. Let me know your other favorite Brooklyn people watching cafes too!

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Coffee Culture
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