A Pro’s Guide to Visiting Smorgasburg With Kids

The continent of gourmet food stands also known as Smorgasburg pops up every Saturday in Williamsburg. It gets packed, but on a beautiful day, being there feels like a vacation, with river breezes, breathtaking views and mouthwatering food. Here’s how to beat the crowds and enjoy visiting with kids.

People's Pops

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Are we there yet?

Take the L train to Bedford and walk west on N 7th St. to the water, or make the adventure bigger by riding the East River Ferry to N 6th St./N Williamsburg. Use the ferry’s new app to buy advance tickets, or face the stress of trying to tap all the right buttons before the ferry pulls away.

Smorgasburg opens at 11 a.m., so plan to get to Williamsburg 10 a.m. so you’ll have time to visit a nearby playground and burn off energy beforehand. Bring bathing suits, buckets and a sheet (more on the sheet later). Let the kids run free and work up an appetite.

East River State Park

The playground at East River State Park (Kent St. at N 8th St.) sports all wooden equipment with a train to climb, swing sets and a suspension bridge. Another option, Bushwick Inlet Park, (Kent St. and N 9th St.) has a playground with sprinklers, a standard jungle gym and fully equipped lavatories, which you may want to take advantage of before heading to the port-a-potty-only Smorgasburg. Around 11 a.m., pack up for the food fest. Lines don’t form until around noon (with the exception of Ramen Burger).

I’m hungry!

Most Smorgasburg vendors sell high-end food with sophisticated flavors, and though New York kids have palates beyond their years, it’s never fun spending money on food they don’t like (bring cash, most stands don’t take credit cards). There are 100 vendors, so to save time and avoid getting caught up in lines, plan ahead to hit a few kid favorites.

An automatic winner for the kid crowd is Pizza Moto, where you’ll find personal pies baked to order in a steel-arched mobile oven designed by the Pizza Moto founder. One $10 Margherita pie is big enough for two small kids. Brooklyn Piggies makes another kid favorite: pigs in a blanket. Order three classic piggies for $5.

cemita for kids
At Cemita’s, a Mexican sandwich and taco stand, order a kid-friendly cemita with just avocado and cheese. It’s not on the menu, but they’ll sell it for $6 if you ask. A regular 10-layer cemita is spicy and enormous. You’ll love the fried chicken and barbacoa versions; both cost $9.

Since the crowds shouldn’t be bad yet, you’ll still have room to push your stroller around, so use it to carry your picnic bounty back to East River State Park, where there’s plenty of lawn space to spread out your sheet. The kids can eat and play while you relax and decide on dessert.

When the sweet tooth starts biting, head for People’s Pops, the fresh, local fruit-pop stand ($3.50 each), or try a delicious and giant ice cream sandwich from the Good Batch ($6 each).

5 more minutes, please!

On a recent Saturday, a woman was overheard saying, “The trick is to take the food home and not eat with the plebes.” Getting in and out early works just as well. All this face-stuffing enjoyment can be had in the hour between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. Then vamoose by noon so nappers can nap, and you can leave Smorgasburg and its incoming throngs behind.

popsicle at smorgasburg

What about Smorgasburg at Pier 5?

If you’re closer to Brooklyn Heights than Williamsburg, you may want to try Smorgasburg at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5 on Sundays instead. Use the same strategy of hitting a playground first around 10 a.m. (walk to the river on Joralemon St. from the Borough Hall train stop). There are playgrounds across from Smorgasburg along the river as well as the Water Lab and Swing Valley at Pier 6. You may even want to check out the new roller rink at Pier 2 or the beach at Pier 4. Then at 11 a.m., head into the market where you’ll find the same kid-friendly vendors that sell bites in Williamsburg on Saturday.

Go: Smorgasburg Williamsburg
East River State Park, 90 Kent Ave.
Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Smorgasburg at Brooklyn’s Pier 5
Pier 5, 320 Furman St.
Sundays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Have you taken your kids to Smorgasburg? Share their (and your) favorite vendors in a Comment. 

–Anna Knoebel


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