Walking the Brooklyn Bridge - a photo of the pointed arches and gothic towers

Walking The Brooklyn Bridge –
Is it Worth It? A Step By Step Guide 2024

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Purchasing through these links earns me a small commission at no extra charge to you. Many thanks for using these links!

Considering walking the Brooklyn Bridge?

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most underrated things to do when visiting New York. It’s a great way to see the NYC skyline and enjoy the historic and iconic bridge – and it’s FREE!

In 1886, the Brooklyn Bridge opened as the longest suspension bridge in the world. The bridge spans the East River and connects Manhattan to Brooklyn for cars on the lower deck and pedestrians on the upper deck.

Since its opening, the bridge has been updated and currently carries about 145,000 vehicles and 4000 pedestrians every day.

In 1964 the bridge was designated as a National Historic Landmark and continues to be one of the treasured gems of New York.

The pedestrian-only promenade was designed so people can enjoy the connection between Manhattan and Brooklyn by walking the Brooklyn Bridge.

Carrie looking at the view while walking the Brooklyn Bridge

Is Walking The Brooklyn Bridge Worth It?

Absolutely! Walking the Brooklyn Bridge is worth it for a whole bunch of reasons!


  1. It’s an iconic landmark and famous symbol of New York City. You’ve seen it in movies, photos, and your favorite TV shows. 


  2. The bridge’s neo-Gothic architectural style, with its distinctive pointed arches and stone towers, is quite impressive to see up close. 


  3. The views of the stunning Manhattan skyline on one side and the charm of Brooklyn on the other make the stroll worth it, not to mention how nice it is to see the cityscape against the water at any time of the day. 


  4. It’s a perfect way to get a little exercise and fresh air as part of your New York adventure.
people walking on the Brooklyn Bridge
walking on the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan

Quick & Easy Links

  Flights & Hotels: I recommend Expedia
  Vacation rentals: I recommend VRBO
  Car Rental: I recommend Hertz
  Tours: I recommend Viator
  Gear: Check out my Travel Stuff
  Create Your Travel Memory Books with MILK

Carrie in DUMBO by the Manhattan Bridge
View of the Manhattan Bridge

Where Do I Start Walking the Brooklyn Bridge?        A Step By Step Guide

1. Start in Manhattan.
If you are taking the subway:

Take the 4,5,6 Trains then exit at the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall station. 

Other options are:
R Train exits at City Hall
A,C,F, J,Z Trains exit at Chambers Street

Then look for the pedestrian entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge from the Manhattan side of the river, which is easily located on Centre Street across from City Hall

There’s also an underpass entrance from Park Row which leads to stairs onto  the promenade.

If  you are coming from Brooklyn, the entrances are at:
Tillary Street & Brooklyn Bridge Blvd
Brooklyn Bridge Underpass on the corner of Prospect Street & Cadman Plaza East 

2. Once on the bridge, you’ll see a lot of vendors’ kiosks along the right side of the bridge. They sell all the tourist stuff  you typically see in tourist shops. These vendors are operating illegally, since no sales are allowed on the bridge, however, they’ve all been doing it for many years. So, buy stuff if you like, or ignore the flea market atmosphere and walk on by.

3. You can expect a little log jam as you walk onto the span. Weekends and holidays tend to be more crowded, of course, so be prepared.

4. As you approach the stunning towers, you’ll want to take many photos. Take your time, as the views and different angles are great for pics. Enjoy the majestic towers and arches. You’ll be amazed at how huge they are as you approach. The engineering feat of this bridge is a marvel!

5. When you reach the towers, you’ll find several viewing areas with plaques that tell you all the facts you want to know about the bridge, its construction, history, and the skyline views.

6. Be sure to turn around and watch as the Manhattan skyline unfolds. Continue to walk beyond the two towers and you’ll descend into Brooklyn.

7. If you are heading back to Manhattan, then simply turn around at the end of the bridge and head back. This way you get to enjoy the views in both directions.

8. If you’re up for more adventure, then see below for info about DUMBO and Williamsburg!

The towers of the Brooklyn Bridge up close while walking across.
The DUMBO sign in the pavement off the Brooklyn Bridge

How long does it take to walk the Brooklyn Bridge?

The pedestrian promenade of the Brooklyn Bridge is a 1.3 mile stretch, or 5989 feet. For you mathematicians, that’s 2.6 miles out and back.

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge takes about an average of 30 minutes, each way, depending how crowded it is and how many times you stop for photos.

You might want to make this an NYC nightime activity becasue the skyline will be all lit up!

Which way is best to walk across the
Brooklyn  Bridge?

I suggest the Manhattan to Brooklyn direction because it’s a lot of fun to end your journey in Brooklyn’s famous neighborhood of DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). Obviously, if you’re starting in Brooklyn, then you can adventure into Lower Manhattan’s FiDi (Financial District) which is also close to Chinatown and Little Italy.
Views of Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge
Views from the Brooklyn Bridge through the cables of the towers.

What you’ll see while walking the Brooklyn Bridge

As the Manhattan skyline comes into your view when you turn around, you’ll see some major landmarks:

  • Manhattan Bridge  – Look to your left or north as you cross the bridge.
  • Williamsburg Bridge – Look to your left or north beyond the Manhattan Bridge.
  • The Statue of Liberty – Look to your right or south off into the distance and you can spot Lady Liberty.
  • One World Trade Center – Look back into Lower Manhattan to see this significant spire.
  • The Empire State Building – Look back into Manhattan and you’ill spot the Empire State.
  • The Chrysler Building – Look back into Manhattan to spot everyone’s favorite deco masterpiece.
View of the Manhattan Bridge and building behind it.

Is it safe to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge?

It is safe to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge which is why thousands of people do it every day. It’s an easy stroll for children as well making it a popular activity for families.

Follow these safety rules:

  • Be smart and exercise common sense safety precautions. 
  • There are no bathrooms on the bridge, so be prepared! 
  • Bring water. 
  • Wear sunscreen. 
  • Wear comfortable shoes. 
  • Dress in layers, it can be windy and chilly! 
  • Don’t walk on the bridge too late at night when no one else is there. But you should be safe at sunset to catch the city all lit up in the evening. 
  • Take care not to stand on the ledges or lean too far off the edges. Lots of people try all kinds of stunts for photos that might not be the best judgment or safest choices. BE RESPONSIBLE! 
  • If someone tries to con you by saying you can buy the Brooklyn Bridge, don’t fall for it!

 When is the best time to walk across the
Brooklyn Bridge?

The best time to walk the Brooklyn Bridge is early morning because the lighting is great and the crowds will be very mild.

Sunset on the bridge is also exquisite and is not just a romantic time to be crossing the bridge, but also offers some magnificent photo ops overlooking Manhattan and the river in either direction.

Consider taking a sunset cruise to enjoy the East River bridges too.

Looking up at the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge while walking the Brooklyn Bridge
A plaque on the Brooklyn Bridge

What to do After Walking the Brooklyn Bridge? – Walk to DUMBO & Take the Ferry to Williamsburg

This is my favorite question because adding an adventure to walking the Brooklyn Bridge is the best way to make a day of it. Crossing over into DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is a must do!

1. As you come to the end of the bridge entering Brooklyn, the path will split into two. 

2. Stay to your left.

3. You’ll see a sign on the pavement that says DUMBO 648 ft.

4. This path will take you to a set of steps that lead down to Washington Street.

5. You are now in the heart of DUMBO.

6. Look for the famous spot for photos on the closed off cobblestone street under the bridge. Prepare for huge crowds also trying to get the famous shot.

7. You’ll find a bunch of cafes, and shops to keep you busy. Bathrooms are available at some locations.

View of the Manhattan Bridge from DUMBO after walking across the Brooklyn Bridge
Carrie looking up at the Manhattan Bridge from DUMBO after walking the Brooklyn Bridge.
8. Walk along the water to the Brooklyn Bridge Park and you’ll come to the famous Jane’s Carousel. Visiting Jane’s Carousel is a great compliment to walking the Brooklyn Bridge. The gorgeous carousel was originally built in 1922 in Ohio and was relocated and fully restored by Jane Walentas in her DUMBO studio beginning in 1984. The carousel was installed and opened at the Brooklyn Bridge Park location in 2011. Its a magical ride and only costs $2!

9. You’ll find the huge converted factory/shopping mall with a giant West Elm, restaurants, and high end shops, and bathrooms! The Time Out food  court is filled with amazing restaurants!

10. The grassy area overlooks the water and the bridge and is a great spot for photos, relaxing, and picnicking.

Jane's Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO
Carrie on the rocks at Brooklyn Bridge Park
11. Continue to walk by the water and you will get to the Brooklyn Bridge Park where you can catch the East River Ferry from the DUMBO/Fulton Ferry stop to Williamsburg.

12. You’ll see the famous River Restaurant that sits under the bridge and can get a drink at the open air cafe while you wait for the boat.

13. Load the ferry app onto your phone and look for the Turquoise color ferry signs that say ER (east river) North Williamsburg on them.

14. Take the boat to North Williamsburg.

15. When you exit the boat, roam through the very quaint and lively Williamsburg. You’ll see lots of shops, a beautiful park, and great bars and restaurants.

The Fulton Ferry from DUMBO
The River Cafe underneath the Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn mural in Williamsburg
16. I highly recommend making your way to Bar Blondeau rooftop restaurant at the Wythe Hotel at 80 Wythe Ave. on the 6th floor. Have a drink and some appetizers.

17. Then walk to 305 Bedford Ave to grab some Fini pizza to bring home.

18. The Bedford subway station at Bedford Ave. & North Seventh St. is nearby and will take you back top Manhattan.

The Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg
Entrance to the Williamsburg park in Brooklyn

What’s the History of the Brooklyn Bridge?

The history of the Brooklyn Bridge, is an interesting look into the early American engineering and architectural ingenuity.

The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge was a remarkable feat of its time. Using innovative techniques, it not only revolutionized urban transportation but also transformed the two vibrant cities of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The bridge was designed by John A. Roebling and took 14 years to build. Roebling’s son, Washington, took over the project when his father died from tetanus after his foot was injured during the bridge construction.

Washington later became ill after a fire in one of the bridge caissons (the underwater box holding the bridge beams) caused him to contract decompression disease from resurfacing too quickly.

That illness prompted Washington’s wife Emily Warren Roebeling to take over construction until the bridge was finally completed in 1883.

Buildings along the water in DUMBO Brooklyn
Brooklyn Mural in Williamsburg

Things to do in Manhattan near the Brooklyn Bridge

You’ll probably want to take the opportunity in this part of town to do some exploring. Lower Manhattan is full of historic and fabulous activities. For instance:

The New York City Hall is right next to the entrance to the  Brooklyn Bridge. Its the oldest city hall in the country! Check it out.

One World Trade Center, the Oculus, and the 911 Memorial sites are just a 15 minute walk west from the bridge and well worth the visit.

Chinatown and Little Italy are  just a 15 minute walk north from the bridge walkway entrance.

Things To Do In Lower Manhattan
Things To Do In Lower Manhattan
Brooklyn Bridge Fun Facts
  • Emily Roebling was the first person to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge when it first opened. 
  • The bridge cost $15 million to build. 
  • President Chester Arthur walked across the Brooklyn Bridge on opening day along with 150,000 other people. 
  • George C. Parker, the famous con man,  sold the Brooklyn Bridge to a few people, one who paid $50,000!  
  • It took 600 people to build the bridge. 
  • There were several accidents and a fire on the bridge during construction.

  • More than 100 people suffered from the Caisson Disease (the bends from surfacing too quickly after being under water). 
  •  20 people died while building the bridge. 
  • The iconic supermodel phot by Peter Lindbergh was taken in DUMBO in the now famous photo spot. 
  • Initially it cost 1 cent to cross the bridge, but soon became free for all vehicles. 
  • A bike path was installed alongside the vehicle roadway in 2021. 
  • The paint color is called Brooklyn Bridge Tan. 
  • Washington Roebling II who died on the Titanic was the nephew  of Washington Roebling, civil engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge.  
  • In 1884, P.T.Barnum, of the circus fame, took 21 elephants across the bridge to prove that it wouldn’t collapse!
Food at Bar Blondeau in Williamsburg
Williamsburg Brooklyn street

Are you ready for walking the Brooklyn Bridge?

In a nutshell…

Yes, you are!

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge is not just a stroll across a remarkable piece of engineering; it’s an activity that captures the heart of New Yorkers and its visitors.

The bridge’s stunning views and the significant history make it a truly unique adventure.

The Brooklyn Bridge is a testament to human achievement and the enduring spirit of the city that never sleeps.

So, next time you visit the Big Apple, make sure to add walking the Brooklyn Bridge to your list – you won’t regret it.



Hi There! I’m Carrie.

Carrie Green-Zinn Bio Page

I’m a native New Englander, turned New Yorker, turned California girl! Following a dance career, working as a dance therapist, and being a school psychologist, I’m now ready to share my passion for photography and travel with you! I absolutely love seeing the world with my family and friends. I know you feel the same! Let’s go! 

A flat lay of MILK photo album travel books
Packing List