Walking The Brooklyn Bridge
I was in New York City last month and finally checked something off my NYC bucket list, walking the Brooklyn Bridge. It wasn't something initially on our agenda but we had a serendipitous opportunity to make it happen. After experiencing it, it quickly became one of my favorite things to do in New York. Especially if we are talking about free things to do in New York City. I'll put together something on my 5 favorite free things to do in New York City in the future, but figured this was worth a stand alone post. In this one I'll share my experience and where to get on and get off the Brooklyn Bridge.
Info On The Brooklyn Bridge
I figured it would be fun to share some interesting facts about the Brooklyn Bridge before we dive into it. The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge and it was opened on May 24th, 1883. It was the first fixed crossing of the East River and connects the Manhattan and Brooklyn boroughs. The bridge is almost 1,600 feet long and it was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it opened.
It is reported that over 100,000 vehicles, 10,000 pedestrians and 4,000 cyclists cross the bridge every single day. It really is a marvel of engineering and architecture.
Where To Start & End Your Brooklyn Bridge Walk
The first thing you need to do is actually gain access to the Brooklyn Bridge. You can do this from the Manhattan side or the Brooklyn side. It all depends where you are, or where you want to go.
From the Brooklyn side, access to the Brooklyn Bridge walkway begins at the intersection of Tillary Street and Boerum Place. You can also access it via the staircase located in the underpass on Washington Street/Cadman Plaza East and Prospect Street. We ended up using the staircase for easy access, and because it was closer to where we were hanging out in DUMBO.
From the Manhattan side you can access the bridge right across the street from City Hall Park on Centre Street. This is probably the easier side to access but I think you get better views overall coming from the Brooklyn side.
Our Experience Walking From Brooklyn To Manhattan
We had decided to head to DUMBO (an area of Brooklyn sandwiched between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges) from LaGuardia airport. That wasn't originally in our plans but Uber wanted $120 to head to Jersey City, where we were staying, since it was rush hour so we figured breaking up our trek to the hotel would be best. We figured that the Uber prices would drop a bit for the second half of the journey too. We ended up checking out TimeOut Market which had a ton of restaurant options and a nice rooftop area overlooking the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. This is when we decided we should actually give the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge a try. It was something I had wanted to do for years and was excited to finally give it a try. Here are some of the things we learned along the way and enjoyed during our walk.
How Long Does It Take To Walk The Bridge?
The length of the bridge is just over a mile long and I think most people will finish the walk in around 30 minutes. It really depends on how many pictures you take and if you are stopping to take in the views or not along the way.
There Is Now A Dedicated Bike Lane Separate From The Walkway
I was happy to see that bicycle riders had dedicated lanes below the pedestrian walkway. I learned my lesson tangling myself up with cyclists in Amsterdam. They are not to be trifled with! I guess this was a recent addition back in 2021 to avoid accidents and crashes from people not paying attention to the bike lane. Chalk this one up as an obvious improvements.
Start Your Walk From The Brooklyn Side
If you are doing this for the first time then I suggest doing it from the Brooklyn side so you get the Manhattan views. Doing it around sunset was also a great experience.
The Trinkets / Venders Seem Cheaper On The Bridge
New York City is the land of street side vendors and souvenirs, that is for sure. From what I could tell some of the cheapest ones I saw while walking around town were on the Brooklyn Bridge. I saw magnets for $1 and NY Yankee hats for $5 etc. If you are looking for some small, inexpensive gifts to take home then this could be your spot.
There Are Food Vendors Before & On The Bridge
If you want to time up your beautiful stroll with a meal that is possible. There are small vendors up and down the bridge but there are also food trucks at each of the entrances. Grab a hot dog or pretzel and munch while you walk.
Alcoholic Beverages Were Sold By Vendors (Although I Doubt This Is Legal)
I was surprised to see beer and hard seltzers for sale from some of the vendors on the bridge. They were out of coolers etc. but I did partake of a Heineken for $6 (cheapest beer in the city 🤣). I am not so sure it was legal for them to sell it, or for me to be drinking it on the bridge, but when in Rome and all of that. It was pretty amazing to have a beer while taking in those views though, I am not going to lie.
Get Your Gram On
A couple of people had a 360 camera stand set up so you could make a professional looking 360 degree music video of sorts. I forgot to ask how much it was but I will say they did look pretty cool. If you are into Tik Tok or Instagram then this may be for you.
One Of The Best Free Things To Do In New York
I put this right up there with checking out Central Park or riding the Staten Island ferry as best free things to do in New York. It is a pretty serene vibe even when surrounded by people. The views are about as good as it gets and it is a great way to spend an hour or so. Or if you just want the exercise etc. I can't think of a better way to do it.
How To Walk The Brooklyn Bridge: ToP Thoughts
I can't oversell how much I enjoyed walking the Brooklyn Bridge. It is an amazing piece of history, beautiful in its own right, but also offers some of the best views in the city. If you find yourself in Brooklyn and have some nice weather then you need to carve out an hour or so and make it happen. If you like to jog, you can't do better than this either. I imagine that if I lived in the city I would be walking it fairly often. Everyone in our travel party absolutely loved it. Getting to have a reasonably priced beer (at least in NYC) while taking in one of the best skylines in the world is hard to beat too.
Hopefully you learned some tips on how to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and have put it on your must do list on your next visit to the Big Apple.
Have you ever walked across the Brooklyn Bridge? Let us know in the ToP Facebook Group.