The budding Park Slope neighborhood in Brooklyn, borders Prospect Park, and as the name suggests, slopes down towards the East River and Manhattan. With many of the tourists sticking to the hot spots in the city, this is one of the local’s best-kept secrets.

Between 5th Ave and the Park, there are dozens of boutiques filled with small and local designers, like Serene Rose that sells beautifully designed clothing and accessories. For children there are shops with toys, clothes, and more. Boing Boing caters to the urban mother looking for a more natural upbringing for her child, with mommy classes and sling instruction in addition to a full line of baby and maternity gear.

Walk along tree-lined streets browsing the shops and visiting the many eateries. There are Italian Trattorias, Mexican Tacquerias, Fish & Chips, Turkish delights, New York style bagels and pizza, German beer gardens, and upscale French restaurants and wine bars. In addition to the international flavors, you can find some delicious desserts. Try Sweet Melissa Patisserie for divine cakes, cookies, and pastries or Maggie Moo’s for ice cream that tastes like it was made with fresh cream. Step into the Chocolate Room for everything and anything chocolate. Feeling brave? Go to the bar in the back and order a rich hot chocolate and a slice of their flourless chocolate cake with raspberry topping.

Many of the local restaurants offer outdoor or garden seating to enjoy the beautiful weather and interesting local scenery. With much of New York closing in on itself, the comparative sprawl and spaciousness of Park Slope brings with it people interested in the environment and natural living. 3R Living invites everyone to find out how easy it is to be green, with all natural goods and products made from recycled materials. The famous, or infamous, Park Slope Coop brings health and environment-conscious people from all over New York City. The Coop is not just a place to buy your groceries or granola in bulk, but a meeting place for the environmentally friendly, with workshops and socials for everyone, and especially singles.

As the sun sets, the family oriented feeling begins to dissipate and more young adults hit the streets. With bars open late, and restaurants, bookstores, cultural centers, and even a movie theater, twenty and thirty-something’s come out of the wood-work. Thai Sky, a relatively inexpensive restaurant with an excellent spicy mango salad, mild rice and pasta dishes, attracts couples and groups with its large windows facing 5th Avenue, beautiful pillows, and photography lined the walls.

You’ll find mild-mannered crowds browsing the shelves of the large Barnes & Noble or local used bookstores, like Park Slope Books. The Red Tent Women’s Project, the only Women’s Community Center in New York City, has workshops and events most evenings, and classes on the weekends. The Pavilion, Park Slope’s only movie theater, thrills audiences with classic touches of rich red velvet cushions and small intimate seating.

The mild-mannered crowds give way to more excitable gatherings at bars like Puppet’s Jazz Bar that showcases local bands in an intimate and comfortable environment. If you haven’t been introduced to the Brooklyn Brewery, head on over to Ginger’s and order a Brooklyn Lager or Brown Ale. Want something a little classier? A great place to mingle with professional singles is the darkened cocktail lounge at Loki, where they know that a whiskey sour is a serious drink, and that cocktails need to be mixed with the best ingredients.

After a busy day, and night, of exploring Park Slope, maybe you not make it to Prospect Park, with its zoo, botanical gardens, and miles of walking and biking trails. But there’s always tomorrow.

What & Where:
Serene Rose (331 5th Ave; 718-832-3225)
Boing Boing (204 6th Ave; 718-398-0251)
Sweet Melissa Patisserie (175 7th Ave; 718-502-9153)
Maggie Moo’s (183 7th Ave; 718-788-3900)
The Chocolate Room (86th 5th Ave; 718-783-2900)
3R Living (276L 5th Ave; 718-832-0951)
Park Slope Food Coop (782 Union St; 718-622-0560)
Thai Sky (386 5th Ave; 718-788-7889)
Barnes & Noble (267 7th Ave; 718-832-9066)
Park Slope Books (200 7th Ave:718-499-3064)
The Red Tent Women’s Project (338 4th St: 718-866-5859)
The Pavilion (188 Prospect Park W; 718-369-0838)
Puppet’s Jazz Bar (294 5th Ave; 718-499-2627)
Ginger’s Bar (363 5th Ave; 718-788-0924)
Loki Lounge (304 5th Ave; 718.965.9600)
Prospect Park (www.prospectpark.org)

For more information about Brooklyn’s Park Slope visit www.visitbrooklyn.org.