Looking for a new place to live can be an exhilarating experience when money is no object. For those without deep pockets, we identified the best neighborhoods in Brooklyn for affordable rentals based on price and local amenities. All of our picks are much less than Manhattan’s median asking rent of $3,500 (as of December 2021) — not to mention Williamsburg, which landed on $3,895 for the same period. And ten of the neighborhoods are below Brooklyn’s median asking rent of $2,675 per month. Another big selling point is that each area on our list has a relatively short commute to Midtown, less than an hour. So without further ado, here are some of the cheapest neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
This post was updated and republished.
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1. Flatbush: Affordable Rentals in the Heart of Brooklyn
- Median Rent: $2,300 per month
- Subway Info: The 2, 5, B, and Q trains service the neighborhood. Expect a 40-minute commute into Manhattan.
- Notable Attractions & Amenities: The Kings Theatre originally opened in 1929 but closed in 1977. It sat vacant until 2010 when it was renovated to its original grandeur. It now hosts a variety of performances. Another nice neighborhood establishment is the Flatbush Food Co-op, serving the area since 1976.
Residential blocks in this affordable NYC neighborhood mix Victorian homes, brick townhouses, stand-alone houses, and prewar apartment buildings, giving the area a neighborly feel. But you also have access to a lively shopping district along Flatbush Avenue, where you can find pretty much everything. One must-see is Flatbush Caton Market, a small but mighty open-air market featuring local merchants.
2. East Flatbush: NYC Neighborhood With Suburban Vibes
- Median Asking Rent: $2,200 per month
- Subway Info: You can catch the 2 and 5 trains. It’s roughly a 40-minute commute to midtown Manhattan.
- Notable Attractions & Amenities: The Wyckoff House Museum is a National Historic Landmark and consists of a farmhouse built around 1652, making it the oldest Dutch frame houses in the country. While most of the current structure dates to the 19th century, there are still original sections making it an ideal destination for history buffs. There are also plenty of parks nearby, including one with a pool, Betsy Head Memorial Playground.
With a plethora of private driveways and backyards, those seeking a taste of suburban life can find it in East Flatbush, one of the best neighborhoods in Brooklyn for renters on a budget. While it’s easy to have a car here, it’s not a must, especially for those near Utica and Church Avenues, where you’ll find plenty of restaurants and shops.
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3. Bay Ridge: More Space for Less in South Brooklyn
- Median Asking Rent: $1,775 per month
- Subway Info: It’s about a 50-minute subway ride to Manhattan from one of the four R train stops.
- Notable Attractions & Amenities: Alpine Cinema on 5th Avenue is known for showing all the latest flicks for just $6 on Wednesdays. And for a little nature escape, head to the Narrows Botanical Garden on Shore Road. There you’ll find a butterfly garden and a plant sanctuary.
Often referred to as “Old Brooklyn” or “Real Brooklyn,” it’s no wonder that Bay Ridge residents are bursting with hometown pride. Here you will find big box and chain stores like Century 21 and Banana Republic near family-owned restaurants and mom-and-pop shops. As far as housing goes, expect to see two-family rowhouses, apartment buildings (topping out at six floors thanks to rezoning in 2005), and single-family homes. The area is also notable as Tony Manero’s neighborhood in the hit movie “Saturday Night Fever.”
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4. Sunset Park: Budget-Friendly & Close to Industry City
- Median Asking Rent: $2,000 per month
- Subway Info: The D, N, and R trains service the neighborhood, allowing for a 40-minute commute into Manhattan.
- Notable Attractions & Amenities: Along the waterfront, you’ll find Industry City, a creative hub bustling with 16 warehouses on cobblestone streets. Visitors can grab a brew or meal there after a day of shopping.
Thanks to the neighborhood’s unusually high elevation, Sunset Park offers some of the city’s best views — hello, Statue of Liberty — in addition to being one of the best neighborhoods in Brooklyn for renters on a budget. New developments stay away thanks to a rezoning effort, which caps building heights at 80 feet. The low buildings create a sense of open space and ensure top-notch views of the Manhattan skyline from the neighborhood’s eponymous park.
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5. Crown Heights: Affordable Rentals in Central Brooklyn
- Median Asking Rent: $2,550 per month
- Subway Info: The 2, 3, 4, and 5 trains serve the neighborhood, and a shuttle links these four lines to the A and C trains. Commutes are relatively swift, around 20 to 30 minutes.
- Notable Attractions & Amenities: The Brooklyn Children Museum, founded in 1899, is the country’s first museum for kids. It’s filled with whimsical hands-on attractions making it a favorite among local families. Plus, the eastern edge of the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens lines the western side of the popular neighborhood.
Crown Heights is bustling with businesses while still being a close-knit community that hosts regular block parties. It’s primarily a residential neighborhood with grand architecture making up much of the streets. Still, it draws people from across the borough who shop, eat, and drink along with Franklin, Nostrand, and Utica Avenues. And be prepared for a party with the annual colorful West Indian Day Parade, which runs along the neighborhood’s Eastern Parkway. It usually takes place over Labor Day weekend and attracts more than 1 million people.
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6. Bed-Stuy: Historic Housing Stock & Reasonable Rents
- Median Asking Rent: $2,800 per month
- Subway Info: The A and C trains cut through the southern section of the neighborhood, while the J, M, and Z trains run on the northern and eastern edges. The G train also runs through the neighborhood. The commute into Manhattan typically takes 35 minutes.
- Notable Attractions & Amenities: You can catch some jazz at the Sankofa Aban Bed & Breakfast as part of their concert series, or enjoy an outdoor movie screened in one of Bed-Stuy’s green spaces.
Architecture buffs will love Bed-Stuy as it has one of the highest concentrations of brownstones in New York City and arguably the entire country. These Victorian brownstones typically feature gorgeously carved mantels, parquet floors, and stained glass. Over the years, many of these abodes evolved into multifamily units as well as walk-up apartment buildings. The food scene here is thriving. You can grab a cocktail at spots like Dynaco, Neapolitan pizza at Saraghina, and Nashville-style fried chicken at Peaches Hot House.
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7. Bushwick: Affordable Alternative to Williamsburg
- Median Asking Rent: $2,800 per month
- Subway Info: The L, J, M, and Z trains service the area. The A and C go to Rockaway Avenue and Broadway Junction, two stations on the neighborhood’s eastern edge.
- Notable Attractions & Amenities: What’s great about Bushwick is that one of the best cultural draws is free as it’s home to incredible street art. You can find warehouses covered in block-long, colorful murals.
Dubbed No. 7 on Vogue’s list of coolest neighborhoods in the world, Bushwick, Brooklyn, is oozing a bohemian vibe with a buzzing nightlife and eclectic food scene. New restaurants, bars, and galleries are continually popping up, making it one of the most vibrant borough neighborhoods. You’ll get all the artsiness of Williamsburg with an $800+ a month discount on the median asking rent. And the housing market is just as eclectic, with plenty of converted lofts in old factories.
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8. Sheepshead Bay: Coastal Vibes and Diverse Cuisine
- Median Asking Rent: $1,883 per month
- Subway Info: Two Q train stops serve the northwestern portion of the neighborhood, while the southwestern part has access to both the Q and B trains. Expect a 50-minute commute to midtown Manhattan.
- Notable Attractions & Amenities: It’s all about the food in Sheepshead Bay. Here you can get some of the most culturally diverse cuisines. Head to Wing Hing Seafood for famous Cantonese birthday buns or Long Wong bakery for their delectable pastries. But the real turf war is over who has the best roast beef. Both Brennan & Carr and Roll-N-Roaster claim to reign supreme.
Coastal charm and New York City aren’t two things you’d typically pair together. But that’s what you get with Sheepshead Bay, where the bay lines the southern border. Along the piers on Emmons Avenue, you’ll find bait and tackle shops, and Randazzo’s Clam Bar serves up some of the best seafood in the city. Plus, there are booze cruises most summer nights, with some boat companies operating year-round. That beachy vibe can be found in some real estate, too, as many streets are lined with older stucco-clad beach bungalows. There are also 1970s-era single-family homes and extravagant mansions on Ocean Parkway. All of the above is why this nabe is one of the best neighborhoods in Brooklyn for renters on a budget.
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9. Brighton Beach: NYC Neighborhood With Surf & Sand
- Median Asking Rent: $2,200 per month
- Subway Info: The Ocean Parkway Q stop is the only subway station in the small neighborhood. But there is access to the B just north at the Sheepshead Bay station. It will take about 55 minutes to get into Manhattan.
- Notable Attractions & Amenities: The end of the 2.7-mile-long Rigelman Boardwalk runs right through Brighton Beach and is perfect for a stroll. Or, head over to St. Petersburg Bookstore to peruse books, music, and movies. Master Theater is another local attraction where live musicians perform to audiences of more than 1,300 people. Visit their website for reopening details.
Brighton Beach is filled with high-rise residential buildings along the sandy shores. You can enjoy a more laidback boardwalk and beach than nearby Coney Island, making it an ideal place for locals to relax. But there’s plenty of liveliness, too, with tons of restaurants and markets along Brighton Beach Avenue (like the Brighton Bazaar) that serve up classic treats as cheesecake bars dipped in chocolate. Yum.
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10. Canarsie: Secret Green Escape
- Median Asking Rent: $2,399 per month
- Subway Info: The L train services two stops with a commute time of just under an hour.
- Notable Attractions & Amenities: Canarsie Park and Pier are the major draws to this quiet neighborhood. Residents can enjoy outdoor activities like baseball, soccer, tennis, skating, basketball, fishing, and even cricket in the 100-acre green escape. Canarsie Beach also offers prime fishing.
Though there are some smaller apartment buildings, most of this neighborhood comprises one and two-family homes complete with trees and yards. It’s an ideal locale for finding respite in a busy city. The main commercial area is along Rockaway Parkway, Remsen Avenue, and Flatlands Avenue, where you can grab a bite or hit up one of the many discount clothing shops.
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11. Red Hook: Ecclectic Waterfront Community
- Median rent: $2,903 per month
- Subway info: Red Hook’s only subway station is on the very border of the neighborhood at the F and G trains at Smith and 9th Streets. Commutes to Midtown take about 30 minutes from the station. There’s also a ferry, which can get you to the Lower East Side in under 30 minutes.
- Notable attractions & amenities: This waterfront neighborhood offers plenty to do, from shopping at IKEA to perusing museums and galleries.
Red Hook is known for its industrial vibes, with warehouses throughout. This peninsula also has easy water access, giving the whole neighborhood a seaside village feel. The community is a hot spot for the craft beverage scene as of late. It features the Red Hook Winery in an old waterfront warehouse, plus Widow Jane Distillery, producing artisanal whiskey.
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12. Prospect Lefferts Gardens: Park Access on the Cheap
- Median rent: $2,300
- Subway info: The B, Q, and S trains stop twice along Prospect Park, while the 2 and 5 trains stop twice on the eastern end of the nabe. Commutes to Manhattan are generally 45 minutes or less.
- Notable attractions & amenities: Prospect Park borders the west end of the neighborhood, providing easy access to the lake. Allan’s Bakery on Nostrand Avenue has been serving baked goods and desserts for over 60 years.
Sandwiched between Crown Heights and Flatbush, this small area is mainly residential and has a classic neighborhood feel. You’ll find a variety of 19th and 20th-century townhomes on picturesque, tree-lined streets. Several main thoroughfares in the neighborhood, like Flatbush Avenue, hosts numerous eateries, like Bonafini and Brooklyn Perk Coffee.
13. Kensington: Old School Vibes and Fun Eats
- Median rent: $2,149 per month
- Subway info: Serviced by the B, G, F, and Q trains, commutes to Midtown are generally 50 minutes or less.
- Notable attractions & amenities: Besides the beautiful Victorian homes you can find throughout the neighborhood, the main draws are primarily food-related. One of the last Carvel ice cream shops can be found on Church Avenue (running since the 1930s!) and down the street, Carnival Fresh Market offers global groceries and fare 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This small neighborhood between Flatbush and Borough Park is mainly residential, with some mom-and-pop businesses scattered on Ocean Parkway and its surrounding side streets. The area prides itself on its cultural diversity, so no matter what kind of grocery store or restaurant you’re seeking, you can probably find it here. The housing stock is a mix of apartments in older buildings and newer developments. Many of the apartments are on the larger side, with up-to-date amenities like washers and dryers.
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