Brooklyn Bridge is one of New Yorks’s most iconic landmarks, stretching out across the East River connecting the Manhatten island to Brooklyn and Long Island. The Bridge was one of the first fixed crossings of the East River and its Striking Gothic Architecture is a quintessential, New York Icon.
One of its most unique design features is a pedestrian walkway running above the roadway giving incredible views out over the Hudson Bay, The Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn, the East River, and the Manhatten Skyline! It is easily one of the best walking routes in the whole city and a hugely under-exposed activity. Our guide to Walking Brooklyn Bridge gives you al the info you need to know to hike over this stunning piece of New York history and get some of the BEST views anywhere in the City!
This really is an attraction not to be missed out of your New York Itinerary and one that is essentially FREE!
Brooklyn Bridge is the oldest crossing of the East River between Brooklyn and Manhattan. Dating right back to 1883, making this a real historical icon and older than even the Statue of Liberty! It must have been an incredible site back then way before the City started growing upwards.
The Bridge walkway is approx 1.2 miles, but with all the connections getting there the whole experience can easily end up being a 4-5 mile walk, or even further if you explore Brooklyn. But to be honest this is typical when exploring New York and most days we cover upwards of 8-9 miles walking!
The Bridges towers are is 272 Feet Tall (82.9m) and the walkway soars 130feet (40 m)above the east river, giving incredible elevated views of the bay and City Skyline. The Bridge itself is as much a visual treat as the vistas it provides. Seeing the Stunning Gothic architecture and myriad of cables up close make this walk worth the effort by themselves!
Which Way to Walk?
There are 3 options, one, Manhattan to Brooklyn, two, Brooklyn to Manhattan, or three, Out and Back.
We strongly favor option 2, Brooklyn to manhattan. Why? Because you have the Manhatten Skyline right in front of you the whole way. If you are heading to Brooklyn the best views are behind you. Of course, if you walk both ways you get both views but this is far more time-consuming and ends up being a long walk!
We much prefer heading to Brooklyn, exploring the waterfront area for a while, which in itself has probably the best view of Manhattan in the whole city, and then when done heading across the bridge taking in the unbelievable views of the bay and the City.
From now on we will assume you are taking our advice and describe the experience based on this, but feel free to adapt to suit your own plans and desires. We are not forcing you to do it our way just we can’t describe every possible option available.
We tend to jump on the Subway to get across to Brooklyn. The best line is the Blue line on A or C trains, these can be boarded from anywhere right across Manhatten. The line runs right under the east river and you need to alight at the High Street Brooklyn Bridge Station.
You can also use the Redline on 1 and 2 trains exiting at Clark Street or jump off at York Street on the Orange Line F Trains. These will require a slightly longer walk but if you are closer to them, to begin with, this is offset.
Where to go in Brooklyn?
This Guide is primarily about the Bridge walk not a full guide to Brooklyn but there are certain parts of the borough that beg to be visited as part of the walk. These are namely the waterfront areas directly under the bridge.
These are some of the most photogenic parts of the whole City and if you are wanting to wow friends and family back home about your big city adventures this is the place to come.
Dumbo is the colloquial term used to describe the area underneath and surrounding the Manhattan Bridge. Standing for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. The area is a quirky and upmarket artsy kind of district. The name was originally coined to make the area undesirable and keep prices down. However, as New York gentrified, word got out and now the area is very upmarket.
The area is now filled with quirky bars and cafes and is a great place to explore and look around. On top of this is the Famous DUMBO bridge shot. There is a fantastic spot on Washington street, where one of the Manhattan Bridge towers is framed perfectly between the narrow streets of Brooklyn, two neat red-brick apartment blocks framing the shot perfectly, a great photo op.
Empire Fulton Ferry Park
Along the waterfront between Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge is the Empire Fulton Ferry Park, complete with Carousel and stunning views over both Brooklyn Bridge and Manhatten. This is the Picture postcard view of the bridge with the Cityscape behind it.
Great views and photos can also be had from Pebble Beach and Main Street/brig Park. The View here is especially stunning at night and you can wander around relatively safely when only a few decades ago this would have been a particularly risky endeavor.
Brooklyn Bridge Park and Waterfront
The Bridge City combo is a great Vista but for us, the ultimate view is the skyline directly across the East River. From here the towering buildings of downtown look incredible, the modern glass and metal giants look like a Science fiction movie, a vision deep into the future of a mega-metropolis of a far advanced race of super beings.
It really is one of the most breathtaking sights in a city packed with more eye-popping vistas than you can imagine.
Another fantastic place to take in views of Manhattan is the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. This elevated walkway runs along some of the most expensive houses in Brooklyn. Riverside and overlooking the City this is a very pleasant area to explore.
Juliana’s and Grimaldi’s Coal Fired Pizza
NYC Pizza is legendary, but the Coal Fired Pizza of Juliana’s and Grimaldi’s are legends among Legends! A bitter feud led to two rival restaurants and they pump out some of the best pizza anywhere in the world. Their scorching-hot Coal Fired Ovens produce a Light Crispy Pizza unlike any other and are worth the trip all by themselves.
Yeah Yeah, you can get a Shale Shack anywhere in New York, but this is our favorite outlet of them all. Right under the Bridge there is something very New York about eating New York’s best Burgers in front of one of New York’s most iconic landmarks,
How to get on the Bridge?
Ok after enjoying a bit of Brooklyn it’s time to head back over the bridge to Manhattan. The Walkway is not the easiest to find and does at times feel like you have got it very wrong, but trust us this is the way to go and there is normally a flow of equally lost-looking tourists heading the same direction.
Start off on Fulton Street by Grimaldi’s and Juliana’s Pizzerias and head away from the waterfront. At Prospect Street you head under the Road Bridge. Once out the other side turns right immediately, at the Prospect / Washinton / Camden Plaza Junction, back under the roadway.
This time about halfway into the runner there is a stairwell on your right. This fairly inauspicious pathway is signposted and takes you up to one of the most iconic walkways in the world, but you wouldn’t think it to look at it.
You can jin the walkway further up but that means a longer walk and there is little to see before this underpass connection.
What can you see from Brooklyn Bridge?
The 1.13 Mile walk takes you right out over the east river with some seriously amazing views.
In front of you, the whole way is the mindblowing city skyline of downtown manhattan. To your right is the East River, the Manhattan bridge, and midtown Manhattan in the distance including brief views of the Crysler Building and the Empire State. The left-hand view looks out over the Hudson Bay, with Governors Island, The Statue of Liberty, and the docks of Newark in the distance.
Don’t ignore Brooklyn completely even though your back is to it, the view of the borough would in other circumstances be quite spectacular, so take it in even if it’s not quite the spectacular vistas you’ll find on all other sides.
One of the most spectacular sights on the bridge is actually the bridge it’s self, the intricate suspension wires form a delicate pattern and fan out symmetrically from the gothic towers. With the CityScape behind them, they are quite mesmerizing.
The other thing you will see is tourists. Lots of them. And you need to keep a special eye out for cyclists. Not everyone on the bridge is a gawping sightseer and locals use the bridge to whizz from Brooklyn to Manhattan and back (Quite the commute!) and their tolerance for sightseers in the cycle lance is pretty low!
As you start to near the Manhattan side, the goliaths of the City start to get a bit closer and you can really appreciate the size and splendor of the towering skyscrapers.
Where do You come out?
The Walkway terminates right in front of City hall at City Hall Park. There are likely to be several souvenirs stands at the end of the walk, so feel free to either pick up a memento or just keep on walking by.
From City Hall Park you have several options, either jump onto a Subway (Red Blue, Green Brown and Yellow Lines are all within a block!), or you can explore Wall Street, the World Trade Centre, The Cities Municipal Buildings, or even head over to China Town for some Dim Sum and Fake Handbags!
Have Your Say
Let us know if you have walked Brooklyn Bridge? how did you find it? Were the views worth the hike? how were the crowd levels? Wich direction did you walk it? Just let us know in the comments if you have anything to add. Maybe you are planning on walking the bridge and have some questions? Again just fire away in the comments we love hearing fro you all!