A walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is a must when you’re in NYC! Here’s a full guide to crossing the bridge, getting there, its history, and more!
A walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is a must when you’re in NYC. I lived in New York for three years and walked the bridge countless times, and it never got old. There’s just something so special about seeing the Brooklyn skyline unfold ahead of you while the island of Manhattan shrinks in size behind you. I love walking the Brooklyn Bridge on clear summer days, but it’s a one-of-a-kind experience no matter the season.
Before crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, there are a few key things you should know about ahead of time. The bridge can get quite crowded at certain times of day, and the walking entrance to the bridge isn’t the easiest to find on your first visit. To help you avoid any confusion, I’ve written down my top tips for walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, plus instructions on how to get to it. I also jotted down some interesting facts about the bridge’s history; the history of a landmark or place is what makes visiting it so special, in my opinion!
If you have any questions or comments about crossing the Brooklyn Bridge after reading through this post, please leave me a comment down below so I can help you out!
A Brief History of the Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge was designed by German-born John Augustus Roebling. His design was approved in 1867 by New York legislatures, but he died just before construction on the bridge began in 1869. His son, Washington Roebling, took over the project and saw the design process to its completion.
The bridge took 14 years to build, and dozens of workers (mostly poorly paid immigrants) lost their lives in the process. The Brooklyn Bridge was officially opened to the public on May 24, 1883. It was dubbed “the eighth wonder of the world;” the bridge spanned 1,600 feet and was the world’s first steel suspension bridge. Not to mention that it cost a cool $14 million to build!
The science that went into building the Brooklyn Bridge is incredible. Definitely read through History.com’s article on the history of the bridge for all of the details!
How to Get to the Brooklyn Bridge
If starting from the Manhattan side: Take the 4, 5, or 6 train to City Hall / Brooklyn Bridge. Alternately, take the J or Z to Chambers Street. The walking entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge will be right across the street (there will be some signs, but not a lot).
If starting from the Brooklyn side: The directions for finding the pedestrian entrance on this side of the bridge are more complicated. You’ll need to take the A or the C train to High Street and take the High Street exit (ignore the other exits!). There’s a park across the street. Enter the park and take the curved walkway through the middle of it. This walkway turns into Washington Street; keep on walking until you see the entrance to the bridge (there will be stairs).
There are a few other stations near the Brooklyn entrance to the bridge, but the directions are much more complicated and I’ve gotten lost trying to use other subway lines.
Tips for Walking Across the Brooklyn Bridge
1. 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.
2. Get there early
I made the mistake of walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at 3pm the first time. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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 or at one of the cafes on the other side.
6. 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.
FAQ’s About Walking Across the Brooklyn Bridge
Can you walk the Brooklyn Bridge?
That’s a big, fat YES! See my tips above for crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on foot.
When Was the Brooklyn Bridge Built?
Building began in 1969, and the bridge opened to the public on May 24, 1883.
How Long is the Brooklyn Bridge?
The pedestrian walkway across the bridge is just over 1.1 miles long. (The bridge itself is 5,989 feet long, but the bit that crosses the river is 1,600 feet).
How Long Does it Take to Walk the Brooklyn Bridge?
The bridge is about a mile long, so it shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes to walk it.
Where Is the Brooklyn Bridge Walking Entrance?
On the Manhattan side, it’s right across from City Hall, and on the Brooklyn side, it’s about a block away from High Street station. I’ve given detailed instructions on finding the Brooklyn Bridge walking entrances above.
Where’s the Best Place to Take Photos of the Brooklyn Bridge?
Ironically, taking pictures of the bridge while you’re on it is tough to do, what with all the people, the height of the bridge, and so on. For a good picture of the bridge and the Manhattan skyline, I recommend walking to the Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO. The view there is incredible!
You can also get some great photos of the Brooklyn Bridge if you walk the neighboring bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge.
When is the Best Time to Walk the Brooklyn Bridge?
Early in the morning or at sunset. You’ll avoid the worst of the crowds this way, and the sun won’t be as intense. The bridge is open 24/7 and has a constant flow of traffic on it, so it’s very safe!
Excited to Cross the Brooklyn Bridge?
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.