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Ask any native New Yorker where to hang out these days in the world's most dynamic city and the answer is resounding. Forget Manhattan! All the action is down in Williamsburg. It's the new go-to district for everything and everyone hip, cool and creative. Shoulder by shoulder to the quaint old brownstones of Brooklyn, Williamsburg has more of a muddled-up, quirky, mix of styles and a melting pot of cultures with long established Latino and Hasidic communities. Old industrial buildings overflow with art galleries, vintage shops, cafes and workshops. If it's music, fun times, a young trendy vibe and being where the action is that you crave, then Williamsburg is calling you.

Come summertime, it's a playground for easy living with a-buzz with energy day and night. Spend a lazy day window-shopping, trawling the flea markets, drinking beer, people-watching; or even swim for free in the McCarren Park Pool and in the evenings you are spoilt for choice. Take in a free outdoor movie, dance at a rooftop bar to the sight of the dazzling skyline, attend a poetry reading, a play or a performance, or listen to an indie band. Galapagos on North-Sixth, a mixed bar and art-space in a former mayonnaise factory has a serene reflecting pool, is candle-lit and gorgeous and renowned for the Monday night burlesque shows.

You can eat on a budget with awesome street food or splash out in some of the more serious eateries which have gained rapid fame, like Isa, SEA or Reynards. The Nitehawk Cinema offers a unique movie-plus-dining combination. The 'Burg is truly a gastro-destination for all taste-buds. Brunch at the weekends is a great lazy way to wind into the wired-up atmosphere, try the apple oat muffins at El Beit on Bedford.

There is a softer edge here, not like ruthless, money-mad Manhattan. People are out with their babies, pushing bikes and walking dogs. It's pretty, there are lots of trees and no bustling megastores and big brands. Clothes shops are eclectic, truly original and inspiring. Pema, established by a London College of Fashion graduate, originally from Tibet, is a great example. He sells oriental designs for men, women and children which are not expensive and look beautiful.

For a genuine, evolving and artisan community, with old and new jostling for space but getting along just fine - you really don't want to miss out on visiting Billyburg.

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