Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the first things NYC visitors add to their to-do list while in the city. Coincidentally, it was also on my summer bucket list to walk across the bridge. Like most things I do in the city, I went the bridge with a clean slate. I hadn’t strategized the ideal time to visit, nor had I known what to expect while walking.
After ticking this item off my bucket list, I jotted down a few tips for getting the most out of your visit to the Brooklyn Bridge.
Start in Manhattan
If you’re able, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge from the Manhattan side. This will give you a chance to explore DUMBO and other parts of Brooklyn you might not otherwise bother to visit. So many visitors come to NYC thinking Manhattan is all there is to the city, but Brooklyn has lots of things to offer as well.
As a heads up, DUMBO is quite small, but there are some good eateries here. The Brooklyn Roasting Company has a killer chai latte, and Luke’s Lobster is the place for lobster rolls in the city (shh, don’t tell the guys at Red Hook Lobster Pound I said that).
Get there early
I made the mistake of walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at 3pm. Bad move on my part. Not only was the bridge packed with tourists, but it was also sweltering in the afternoon sunshine. The earlier you walk the bridge, the more likely you are to score some great photos and be able to take your sweet time walking.
Watch out for the bike lane
You’d think the two lanes on the bridge would be for people walking in either direction. Oh no, one lane is for everyone on foot, and the other is for the bikers. Another reason to get there early? To avoid getting plowed down by bikers who thought biking across one of the busiest pedestrian bridges was a good idea.
Don’t stop to take photos
I know it hurts, but you really shouldn’t stop to snap photos of the bridge. If you have to stop, at least stand to the side so other walkers (like yours truly) don’t run into you and say something really rude to you. Take your photos as you’re walking, pretty please.
Bring some cash
Along the bridge are peddlers selling NYC trinkets and a variety of over-priced water bottles and snacks. I passed a woman selling freshly cut mango, which is actually quite common to see in the city. The walk won’t take you but 30ish minutes, but you might want to buy something along the way.
Take the ferry back home
You’ve walked all the way to Brooklyn, so why not ditch the subway once more? The NYC ferry leaves from DUMBO and costs the same amount as a regular subway ride ($2.75). The trip to Manhattan will take you about 45 minutes, but if the weather’s nice it’s worth the ride. You’ll get a great view of the Manhattan skyline on the ferry ride, as well as the iconic Brooklyn Pepsi-Cola sign. Just FYI, the ferry will drop you off at 34th street.
If you’ve walked the Brooklyn Bridge before and have other tips for enjoying your visit, let me know! It’s definitely worth walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, but planning your visit better than I did will help you enjoy your walk a bit more.