top of page

Walking Over the Brooklyn Bridge on Your New York Adventure

Updated: Jan 21

Let’s Cross the Brooklyn Bridge!

 

Young man sits on rails of the Brooklyn Bridge
DJ at the top of the Brooklyn Bridge, just before sunset

This epic walk spans the East River on a pedestrian walkway built the level above vehicles below crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.

 

This is one of the most scenic places to stand back and take it all in. The amazing skyline comes to life on this massive cable - suspension hybrid monument with it’s one of a kind recognizable style. It is after all, a designated National Historic Landmark, making it that much cooler to cross, with the top of the bridge holding a pair of gothic towers, which are a highly photographed and recognizable back drop for selfies and group photos alike.


Young man standing in the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge
Joshua at the Gothic center Tower of the Brooklyn Bridge

Like everything in NYC, there are a few options on how you experience this adventure, and I have a few tips for you 👟 Bring your walking shoes and let's go!


Your first choice: decide if you want to cross from Manhattan to Brooklyn, from Brooklyn to Manhattan, or cross in both directions.

The walk is slightly over a mile each way; whichever route you prefer – I have the scoop to make this as high quality and easy as possible!


Is this good for children? Yes! Strollers? Yes. Teenagers? Absolutely. One of the best ways to experience New York is a few steps away where you can see it for yourself to appreciate the grandeur of the city that never sleeps. The



For planning purposes:

Your Walk the Brooklyn Bridge NYC Adventure

1.    Look at the weather and pick a day with the best conditions for walking. (During our late December visit we went the day before New Years – so did EVERYONE ELSE!! I chose this day because the weather was over 40 degrees and it would be the clearest day of the week (no rain, less clouds). When it is windy the weather will be amplified on the bridge. We were still chilly but it was enjoyable, and even called the highlight of our entire trip later by my boys.

2.    Expect some crowds – plan more time than you think you need - there’s no crowds like week of New Years crowds, but there will always be some people there.

3.    Pick your time of day (this depends on your preferred itinerary) for us, I wanted to be there for sunset. So, I checked the time of sunset which was 4:37 pm.

4.    Work your timing backwards.  I wanted to be there by 4 for crowd management and great photo lighting. That blue and purple of twilight makes photos AMAZING. The train ride from Long Island to NYC is about an hour, and then I planned another 30 minutes to ride the subway down there. I often walk my times backwards to get the schedule worked out. If it doesn't matter to you what time and you are following an order, then just go with it!

5.    Decide which way to walk. Manhattan to Brooklyn. Brooklyn to Manhattan. Both directions.

Some will even cross the Brooklyn bridge, walk the DUMBO area and then cross back over the Manhattan Bridge. I will give ideas for each option below. My favorite and least crowded recommendation is train to Brooklyn, and cross from there.

6.    Other Itinerary Fun! Add in places to eat or stop along the way, depending on the rest of your wish list and those you travel with. The richness of Southern Manhattan and the waterfront of Brooklyn offer so many opportunities for fun! Below are some ways to make this the focal point of your itinerary and add great enhancement.


The Brooklyn Bridge gothic steeples
Have a little fun at the top!

For this day, I’d originally planned to take the A or C train all the way to the High Street stop in Brooklyn and then cross from Brooklyn to Manhattan. If we could have enjoyed the DUMBO area longer, I would have stuck with this plan, but as a last-minute switch up I said let’s get off here! And we exited at the City Hall/ Brooklyn Bridge stop. This turned into a very congested idea with tons of people all trying to merge onto the pedestrian walkway. It is a short scenic walk, there are tons of vendors lining the walkway which is nice when you want a souvenir, 360 photo, or a churro, but not so great when there’s too many people for the walkway to hold. We instantly bonded with the crowd which was all determined to make it up the bridge, not sure how long this walking traffic would last. People were still taking amazing photos along the edges and climbing the grates or cables for better shots. There was still a good time being had, and then about 1/3 of the way into the walk, the people seemed to disintegrate and suddenly there was open space and water below us. We stayed there for about 45 minutes taking photos and hanging out until the wind chill picked up and we needed to find a restroom! We then attempted to walk back towards Manhattan. Once we got stuck in the wave of people, which was a traffic jam not moving, we decided to go across to Brooklyn. The walk to the Brooklyn subway station was very direct, zero crowds. We took the High Street/ Brooklyn Bridge stop to the A/C train back to the Fulton Street. We walked a couple of chilly blocks to the Oculus where we had warmth, restrooms, food, phone charging, and time to decide what was next on the agenda. Full itinerary below.


The Sea of People... A shot of the crowds:

 

The crowds at the Brooklyn Bridge
It's not always as crowded as December 30th crowded.

*** Many people crowd the first half of the Brooklyn Bridge platform and walkway on the Manhattan side just to take photos. If it is a season of high tourism or feels too crowded for your travel style, start and end on the Brooklyn side, just cross over through the top and take in the scenery then head back down!

 

Walking both Directions:

If you want to get your steps in and the weather is cooperating, the walk will be just over two miles and can be very serendipitous. Enjoy views of both the Manhattan and Brooklyn Skylines. Multiple viewpoints along the way going over the east River.

Each direction gives a different view of the skyline. However, if you take your time, look over both sides and look behind you, this can be accomplished in one walking across.


Manhattan to Brooklyn:

For those coming from Midtown Manhattan, DUMBO is a short, 15-minute subway ride from Penn Station or Grand Central Station. Take the A or C line downtown train and get off at the High Street-Brooklyn Bridge Station stop. Cross Centre Street near the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall subway station for the 4, 5 and 6 lines to the Brooklyn Bridge Promenade.

Subways:

Brooklyn Bridge – City Hall Station: 4 / 5 /6

Chambers Street Station: J / Z Fulton Street Station: A / C / J / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

City Hall Station: R / W

Another option is the World Trade Center stop and then just make the walk over from there to the pedestrian entrance. (This is about 3 blocks)

 

When exiting the subway, this was what it looks like. Cross to the on ramp, and start walking up the walkway which will lead to the Bridge.



Brooklyn to Manhattan:

To walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, use the Brooklyn Bridge Pedestrian Walkway which begins at the intersection of Tillary Street and Boerum Place or access the pedestrian walkway via the staircase located in the underpass on Washington Street/Cadman Plaza East and Prospect Street.

Another way to access the Brooklyn Bridge Pedestrian Walkway located at Washington Street and Prospect Street, right at the northeast corner of Cadman Plaza. You can also just walk straight onto the bridge from Adams Street.

I recommend this direction as the duration of the walk you will have the downtown Manhattan skyline in view. Walking in the opposite direction and you will miss out on that stunning city landscape, unless you keep looking behind you – and it is MUCH MORE CROWDED starting on the Manhattan end.

Subways:

High Street – Brooklyn Bridge Station: A / C

Jay Street – Metrotech Station: A / C / F / R

Borough Hall Station: 2 / 3 / 4 / 5


Mother and son on the Brooklyn Bridge viewpoint
Overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge traffic below

Trivia Fun & Fun Facts

**Teach little ones about the history of Brooklyn Bridge when you cross it with them ❤️

Children will love to hear about one of the bridge's most famous visitors—an elephant! Six days after the Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883, panic erupted after a rumor that the bridge was going to collapse from weight. PT Barnum and Bailey helped to squash this rumor by having a parade of 21 elephants walk across the Bridge, led by no other than the circus’s star, Jumbo the elephant.

**Don't forget to point out the Statue of Liberty from the Bridge.

**For the movie buffs: so many good movies have been filmed on this bridge such as,  "I Am Legend" with Will Smith, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" with Keanu Reeves, "Enchanted" with Amy Adams and Susan Sarandon, "Mr. & Ms. Smith" with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, etc.. Sometimes before traveling I like to have my kids watch some movies featuring places we’re going to build some excitement.

**Manhattan is connected to the rest of New York by 21 bridges.

**The Brooklyn Bridge is the southernmost of several bridges, and allow you to look north over the river seeing bridges, skyscrapers, and the East River. Can you count the bridges? Or skyscrapers?


Souvenirs on the bridge are way cheaper than in the souvenir shops! There has been a recent push to stop vendors from setting up here, however there are still vendors.

 


Mom on the Brooklyn Bridge enjoying the view
A beautiful evening to walk the Bridge and take it all in!

Itinerary Fun Additions for this day:

**Take the Staten Island ferry so kids could see Statue of Liberty. Then catch the subway over to DUMBO area. Ride the carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park, (opens at 11am, closed on Tuesdays) take pictures by the water, grab lunch at Ignazios. Grimaldi may have a line. Walk the Brooklyn bridge back to Manhattan. Totally doable for kids.

**In Warmer weather and with children consider enjoying the parks along the Brooklyn waterfront. Brooklyn Heights Promenade has a scenic cross over to Brooklyn Bridge Park called the Squibb Park Bridge. This is a fun place for exploring, eating, and being in eye shot of the city without being in the middle of the crowd. Brooklyn Bridge Park has a series of fun climbing, splashpads, and playgrounds along the river. For parents, tons of food options, bookstores and coffee shops. Very family friendly experience.

**You could always work the Brooklyn Bridge adventure with visiting the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 memorial pools and Wall Street. This area is rich with culture and history.



NYC ideas by area for the day
Day Itinerary Ideas for NYC

Transportation:

By Ferry -The Staten Island ferry both ways (free). Walk to pier 11 in Manhattan and get on NYC ferry Brooklyn route to get to DUMBO $4/per person. Google NYC ferry for routes and schedules

By Car - You can also choose to drive to DUMBO from Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and Long Island. To get to DUMBO, you can take the Gowanus Expressway, the Brooklyn Bridge, or the Manhattan Bridge. It is difficult to find street parking, but there are several parking garages near the Brooklyn Bridge or Brooklyn Bridge Park. There is more parking in Brooklyn Heights if you don’t mind the scenic walk.



If you enjoy scenic walks….

What Bridges in NYC can pedestrians cross?

Brooklyn Bridge – to me the safest option. The pedestrian walkway has it’s own level and while it is often busy, this borough spanning scenic route is worth the effort of making it happen!

Manhattan Bridge - connects Lower Manhattan with Downtown Brooklyn, spanning a total length of 6,885 feet, it’s accessible by foot, bike, car, or subway.

Williamsburg Bridge - crosses the East River from Manhattan’s Lower East Side to Williamsburg, Brooklyn with a total length of 7,308 feet.

George Washington Bridge - between Manhattan and New Jersey, this is one of the busiest bridges in the country with 14 lanes of traffic, and two sidewalks that are accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists.

High Bridge – from Manhattan to the Bronx at 1,450 feet long, this steel arch bridge and doesn’t permit any vehicles, only allowing pedestrians and bicyclists.

Queensboro Bridge – aka the 59th Street travels from Midtown Manhattan to Long Island City, Queens. This cantilever truss bridge spanning the East River, runs parallel to the Roosevelt Island Tram, offering beautiful views of NYC. However, the pedestrian walking lanes are shared with cyclists, and this can be a busy maneuver!

Roosevelt Island Bridge - Connects Queens (Astoria) and Roosevelt Island Length: 2,877 feet (about 0.5 miles) Built in 1955, this bridge is the only way to drive onto Roosevelt Island and includes a pedestrian sidewalk (the tram overhead is another option). The vertical lift bridge is quite impressive in its engineering and a fun place to appreciate the growth and ingenuity of NYC.

The Bow Bridge in Central Park – 87 feet long over The Lake, the oldest cast-iron bridge in Central Park, this is a highly recognizable spot with a backdrop to impress.

Manhattan Bridge - connects Lower Manhattan with Downtown Brooklyn, spanning a total length of 6,885 feet, it’s accessible by foot, bike, car, or subway.

Also, I can’t mention the Manhattan Bridge without mentioning its iconic photo spot on Washington Street. Located in Brooklyn, this is one of the best places to take pictures in NYC, granting you an incredible shot of the bridge with DUMBO’s red brick buildings on either side. If you position yourself just so, you can get the Empire State Building framed beneath the bridge’s arch.

 

Sadly, the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge, the longest Bridge in NYC does not have a pedestrian walkway and is only crossable by vehicle. If you are visiting Brooklyn around the December Holidays, definitely check out Dyker Heights!!!


All in All, I suggest walking the Brooklyn Bridge be added to every NYC itinerary it's on our top 5 Free things to do as well as:

  1. The Highline

  2. The Oculus/ WTC Memorial

  3. The Vessel / The Hudson Yards Mall

  4. The Belvedere Castle/ Bethesda Terrace, Central Park

  5. The Brooklyn Bridge


Also our favorite time to visit the city is the 4th of July. This is another busy time with lots of touristy traffic but it's not as hectic at Christmas, and the warmer weather makes it easier to make the most of your days. We agree that everyone should experience a NYC Christmas - Free Itinerary at least once in their lives.



Our Itinerary on Dec 30th:

Every trip has a different purpose. We've recently been able to enjoy all of the NYC sites, so everything after the Brooklyn Bridge was for my oldest son Wes, who wasn't on our last city adventure.

~ LIRR to Manhattan

~ A/ C Train to City Hall/ Brooklyn Bridge Stop

~ Short Walk to on ramp

~ HUGE Crowds at base and first 1/3 of the bridge

~ Walked over, and down to the Brooklyn Side (apx 6:20 when we boarded the A/ C Train back to Manhattan) Fulton Street

~Went to the Oculus for restrooms/ warmth/ food

~Considered indoor skating, opted not to

~Ate at the Shake Shack

~Walked around the World Trade Center and went to see the memorial fountains

~Train ride up to the Vessel/ Hudson Yards

~Enjoyed the balloon exhibits and went inside the mall, a little window shopping

~Train ride up to Rockefeller Plaza, checked out tree, St. Pat's, the Sax 5th Ave Light Show, a little 5th Avenue window watching

~Walked to Times Square

~Walked back to Grand Central for our train ride to Long Island.

**On this night ALL trains in and out of Manhattan were stopped, and we were detoured to the subway to Jamaica Ave.

**On that subway, we were a few stops away when the subways were also stopped. We were standing on a corner in Queens with hundreds of others who were boarding a bus now to their destination. The first bus was full. We decided at that point to Uber home.


High Street to Brooklyn Bridge screen shots of maps
Google Maps Visual of High Street to Brooklyn Bridge
Man standing on the Brooklyn Bridge
Wes and the Manhattan skyline

But I need more planning help

**A few tips for saving $$ as Christmas can be a more expensive trip to NY than other times.

**Splurge intentionally, but don't go broke!

* I always make sure my hotel has free breakfast, and grab what I can for a later morning snack (hopefully some fruit on the go)

*I always travel with a portable electric kettle which I keep in my room to have my own tea/ hot cocoa/ oatmeal/ soup (hot water comes in handy)

*Eat at a diner which gives you more food on your plate, while pizza is an inexpensive delicacy here, you may need some other food groups at some point!

*Stock your home base (Hotel) with grocery items as soon as you are able, so you have your own water bottles, drinks, snacks and basics covered.

*Wear comfortable shoes. There is a lot of walking.

*Picnic lunches are a pleasure! Pack a sandwich or salad to take on your excursion, eating in a scenic place helps enjoy the view in a new way. I often keep a light blanket or beach towel in my backpack to spread out for my picnic.

*Sales tax in NY is high, plan accordingly. I offset extra fees by planning a lot of free (no cost) activities then adding a few splurge items in. I don't let dining count as my splurge unless it's a place I really want to eat.

*Apple maps or google maps provide walking and public transit directions, along with wait times for the train

*Using the subway is easy, and I will add the link below to check maps and routes.


NYC from the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset
It's hard not to be amazed at the sky line lighting up

Maybe I am partial to New York because growing up there gave me insight to so many people, cultures, lifestyles, extremes, and the lay of the land. I absolutely feel my best when I am home, something about the energy of the city that just feels good in my veins! I hope that this guide inspires you to explore NY with confidence, enjoying every moment of your time.


Affordability Meter: 9/10

On a scale of 1-10 how affordable is this adventure?

With 1 being utterly unaffordable and 10 being basically free I rate this evening adventure a 9.

This trip can vary depending on your itinerary, especially how you get to the Bridge. Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge is fee! But NYC itself is a costly experience. The costs for us were apx. $20. each for LIRR train tickets traveling off peak, and 4 Subway tickets each at $2.75/ each. and then afterwards we ventured to Hudson Yards and Rockefeller Center to enhance the value of those train rides! We also ate dinner, which at Shake Shack was just under $90.00 for the four of us. For some, especially those staying in Manhattan or NYC this cost could be limited to a few subway rides and therefore, this activity itself is nearly free! The experience you walk away with however is 100/100 on the scale of is it worth the time and effort of making it happen. I would NOT plan this on a very stormy day or a very cold day (which is part of the reason it took us so long to make this happen).


Happy travels!

Please share your experiences for the benefit of your traveling friends everywhere,


Mz. Savvy


A note from the editor:

The information in this article was accurate when published but may change without notice. Confirm details when planning your trip. I hope this makes it easier for your planning process.


Thank you for stopping by today! Please share your thoughts and experiences, we are all on this journey to live and love together. I welcome your travel tips & tricks :-)


Thank you for subscribing, let's stay connected!



One of my favorite things about this walk is the way the lighting changes as the sky darkens. Get the daylight view and the nighttime view by arriving thirty minutes before the sunsets. The lights along the bridge popping on and the reflections of the skyscrapers make for quite the visual show! Watching the city at night come alive is jaw dropping gorgeous. Lights, camera, action has a while new meaning!


3 guys are on the top of the Brooklyn bridge.
Brothers on the Brooklyn Bridge

If you're looking for a place to reset and reenergize: Come Travel With Me!

My 2024 Yoga & Art retreat in Noxon Montana still has 2 rooms available! Budget self-love and restoration in this new year and plan for some time to dive deeper int your own creativity and purpose. Angelique of Whole Image Wellness is specializing classes to meet the needs of all participants, and offering private Reiki lessons as well. More info at: https://www.wholeimagewellness.com/montana


Come Travel With Me! Good for your soul good travels.

1 Comment

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

That’s me as the cover picture everybody 🤩🤫.

#thebestson

Like
bottom of page