couple on brooklyn bridge
September 18, 2019

Getaways with The Runaways: Brooklyn, NY


Hi! We’re Jeff and Kalisa, a Philadelphia couple and owners of a group travel company called The Runaway Experience. Flying across the world for vacations can be great (we know), but sometimes we just want to hop in the car for a long-weekend getaway. Because we travel a lot, we don’t need to own a car full time, but love that we can have access to one whenever the mood strikes with Zipcar. There are cars right in our neighborhood that we can book, unlock and go with the app, making it easy for us to get going on our next adventure in no time.

So this summer, we packed the calendar with a ton of fun road trips to explore some of our favorite U.S. cities. First up: Brooklyn, NY!

As former Brooklynites, we couldn’t miss the annual Afropunk Festival — one of the best reasons for a road trip is an epic music festival, after all. Plus, it gave us the chance to visit some of our favorite restaurants, shops, and graffiti-adorned streets.

zipcar couple driving

The Festival 

The New York Times hails Afropunk as "the most multicultural festival in the U.S." Now in its 14th year, Afropunk has become a mainstay, showcasing the most groundbreaking black artists with inclusive lineups that span from punk rock and rap to pop and R&B. And, with interactive art installations, a curated marketplace, an activist speaker series, and a food truck alley within the festival, it’s about so much more than the music. Afropunk is a celebration of community, empowerment, and self-expression

The Performances: This year featured jaw-dropping performances by Jill Scott, FKA Twigs, Kamasi Washington, Leon Bridges, Gary Clark Jr., Santigold, and more. But one of the most memorable moments was when Alicia Keys joined Tierra Whack on stage for a surprise set.

singing at afropunk

The Fashion: Boundary-pushing fashion is a quintessential part of the Afropunk experience. These are not outfits that you can buy off the rack. The most stunning looks are born out of creativity — using body paint, sequins, vibrant fabrics, and unconventional materials to create bold styles that you could have never imagined.

outfit at afropunk


The Borough 

It would be a crime to visit Brooklyn and miss out on the incredible artists, chefs, and business owners who contribute to the culture of the borough 365 days of the year. These are some of our favorite places to visit, festival or not.

Eats: Brooklyn’s ever-growing restaurant scene draws in diners from all five boroughs, not to mention out-of-towners far and wide. If we only had a day, this is where we’d eat:

Du’s Donuts & Coffee — a Williamsburg cafe serving molecular gastronaut Wylie Dufresne’s cake and yeast donuts in classic and imaginative flavors. Bonus: Gluten-free options!

Peaches Shrimp & Crab — a contemporary American seafood restaurant located in the neighborhood of Clinton Hill and rooted in the culinary traditions of the South.

Cafe Roux Dix — a French-Senegalese all-day cafe, restaurant, and bar located in Crown Heights with a menu that offers traditional Senegalese cuisine as well as typical French cafe fare.

donut shop

Art + Shopping: The creative spaces in Brooklyn are awe inspiring. These are just a couple of the spots where we enjoy connecting with artists, curators, and local designers.

Martine’s Dream — Using color and sunshine to inspire her, the Jamaican-born stylist turned designer Debbie Hardy creates colorful statement pieces that reflect her travels around the world. After years of selling her designs at NYC festivals and markets, Debbie opened her own boutique, which carries her dresses, jewelry, accessories, and more.

Marché Rue Dix — Married couple Lamine and Nilea are New Yorkers by way of Senegal and Atlanta, respectively. Their French-Senegalese restaurant, Cafe Rue Dix (our dinner of choice above!), is a mainstay in the community, and their cultural concept store, Marché, carries everything from imported teas and spices to natural beauty products and fashion from local Brooklyn makers.

Peace + Riot — New York natives Achuziam Maha-Sanchez and husband Lionel Sanchez have created a store combining each other’s eclectic and global tastes. Coming from African and Caribbean heritage, there's a feeling of being transported as you enter this Bed-Stuy home decor and interior design boutique. They carry elegant, contemporary staple items (peace) with accessories and gifts that are vibrant and fun (riot).

store in brooklyn

Richard Beavers Gallery — Since opening 10 years ago, Richard's contemporary fine art gallery has focused on highlighting artwork inspired by life in urban environments and the social and political issues of our time. He aims to educate, inspire, and stir consciousness — whether visitors are seasoned collectors or have a new interest in art.

Medium Tings — Medium Tings is an independent apartment gallery and project space founded by cultural producer and editor Stephanie Baptist. The gallery operates as a conceptual art incubator for emerging contemporary artists and seeks to expand creative engagement through programming, publications, and collaborations.

Welancora Gallery — The name of the gallery, founded in 2002, is an amalgam of the names of founder Ivy N. Jones' parents and older brother. Located in a 19th-century townhouse, the purpose of the gallery is to represent artists from around the world by holding exhibitions, publishing scholarly catalogues, and placing their work with collectors and museums.

art gallery brooklyn

Last but not least, a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge is a great way to cap off your visit to this incomparable city!

couple on brooklyn bridge


Written by Jeff Belizaire and Kalisa Martin of The Runaway Experience. You can also follow Kalisa on Instagram at @KalisaMarieEats. All photos courtesy of @phobymo @alanayolande, and @qbertplaya.