A visit to Brooklyn Bridge park is the perfect addition to any visit to New York City. This 1.3 mile stretch of coastline along the East River is full of parks, piers, restaurants, walking & biking paths, and plenty of activities.
Not only do you get all of that during a Brooklyn Bridge Park visit, but you also will be welcome to some of the best NYC views that you can ask for.
Whether it be the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, or the Manhattan skyline, you will get all of that and more during a visit to the park.
This guide will give you a complete overview of what Brooklyn Bridge Park is all about, so you can be on your way to enjoy one of the best areas of New York.
What's in this article?
1) A Brooklyn Waterfront History
The history of Brooklyn Bridge Park goes back to the 1600’s, when most of the area was filled up with ferry terminals. It became one of the main centers of trade and commerce of New York, with warehouses going up along the piers and even a railroad being built to it. It was the main connection point for goods and people to be brought between Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Once the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge were built in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, there wasn’t as much of a need for ferry trade. There were some improvements made over the years to accommodate larger ships but for the most part Brooklyn Bridge Park was neglected.
While there were plans to revitalize the area from the 1980’s onwards, believe it or not, it took nearly 30 years for the first part of the park to be opened.
The area around Pier 1 was the first to be brought to life in 2010. Since then, there have been numerous additions and upgrades with even more to come in the future. The whole park is filled with open lawns, playgrounds, and walkways that give visitors expansive views of Manhattan.
2) Brooklyn Bridge Park Map
Before going further into the guide, I wanted to layout the map of Brooklyn Bridge Park to give you a good idea of where everything is located.
During a visit to the park, you can decide to just focus on certain areas or you can walk and explore the entire thing.
On the map you can find a walking route that will take you all along the waterfront starting at Pier 6 and ending at John Street Park (or vice versa), various highlights and attractions, restaurants and food options, a couple ferry terminals, and the nearest subways.
If you do decide to walk the entire thing, I would recommend heading south to north starting at Pier 6. The main reason here is to get the bridge views throughout the majority of the walk.
3) Directions & How to Get There
There are several ways to get yourself to Brooklyn Bridge Park, but that will also depend on where you are coming from in the first place.
The main way to get around NYC will be by its vast subway system. In the vicinity of Brooklyn Bridge Park there are at least 5 different subway stations.
York Street | F Train
High Street | A & C Train
Clark Street | 2 & 3 Train
Court Street | N, R & W Train
Borough Hall | 4 & 5 ; 2 & 3 Train
There are two ferry terminals at Brooklyn Bridge Park -> the DUMBO/Fulton Ferry Terminal and the Pier 6 Ferry Terminal.
These are great options for you if coming from Manhattan or even other parts of Brooklyn and Queens. There are two routes that include these stops:
East River Ferry: Wall Street Pier 11, DUMBO/Fulton Ferry, North Williamsburg, East 34th Street, Hunters Point South. There are also stops at South Williamsburg and Greenpoint but they may be temporarily closed.
South Brooklyn Ferry: Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Red Hook, Atlantic Avenue Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6, Wall Street Pier 11, DUMBO/Fulton Ferry, Corlears Hook
Be sure to take a look at the latest NYC ferry schedules for up to date information
If coming from nearby parts of Brooklyn, walking over to the park can be an option for you depending on how much walking you are trying to do.
If coming from Manhattan and are trying to walk over, you have two main options here: a walk over the Manhattan Bridge or the Brooklyn Bridge.
Manhattan Bridge: the Manhattan Bridge Walk entrance point in Manhattan is at the corner of Bowery and Canal Street. Once there you can get onto the pedestrian pathway and make your way along the bridge as you take in some beautiful views of the river, Brooklyn Bridge and skyline.
Brooklyn Bridge: the Brooklyn Bridge Walk entrance point in Manhattan is located on the east side of City Hall Park on Park Row. Once there, the pedestrian path is impossible to miss as you experience one of the most iconic bridges in the world.
Also on the map above are the two exit points in Brooklyn. Once off the bridges it is just a bit more of walk to the park itself.
Another option to get there without public transportation is to utilize the NYC CitiBike system. You will find CitiBike docking stations all around the city. One ride is just $3.50 and a day pass is $15.
You will find a docking station right near the Pier 6 entrance and several options if trying to drop off/pick up in DUMBO (the northern end of the park)
Your last main option here is to simply grab a yellow taxi or Uber ride to get you to Brooklyn Bridge Park. The cost and time will all depend on where you are coming from, but this will be the most convenient option (although not always the fastest!).
Brooklyn Bridge Park Parking
Now, if you have your own car and are looking to drive to Brooklyn Bridge Park, that could be an option as well. I probably would not recommend it if coming from anywhere close enough that public transport can be used. But if coming from farther out, then that would work.
In addition to any parking that you may be able to get on the street, there are formal parking options nearby. I have listed a few out but you can certainly find more a bit further away.
1) LAZ Parking 80 Furman Street (Pier 1)
2) 44 State Street Garage (Pier 6)
3) SP+ Parking 200 Cadman Plaza W (Pier 2)
4) City Parking Brooklyn Bridge 4 Joralemon Street (Pier 6)
4) Brooklyn Bridge Park Entrance
Just to be clear, there is certainly no one entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park. You can enter the park from several different streets that lead up to the greenway.
However, if you are trying to walk the entirety of the park, you will either want to start from Pier 6 in the south or from John Street Park in the north.
Pier 6 Entrance: There is a clear entryway to the park located at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Bridge Park Drive, which will take you directly towards Pier 6.
John Street Park Entrance: you can enter John Street Park from a few different locations, but the main cross street here would be at the intersection of John Street and Pearl Street.
Another famous entrance is the Squibb Park Bridge that connects Brooklyn Heights with Pier 1. This can also be an alternative for you if it is an easier option.
5) Where to Stay
There are so many different neighborhoods to choose from when visiting NYC. Below are some of my top choices for a few of my recommended locations in the city:
Chelsea: If you are looking to be well situated between uptown, midtown, and downtown, then Chelsea can be a great option for you. You have highlights such as the Highline, Chelsea Market, the Vessel, and the Hudson River right nearby.
And if you are looking to head to Central Park uptown or the World Trade Center area further downtown, then you are just a quick subway ride away. Recommended Chelsea hotels:
Midtown: Right in the middle of the action is the midtown area, where you have the one and only Times Square, and all Broadway shows right at your doorstep.
You are also within walking distance to the southern end of Central Park. Almost all subway lines connect at Times Square so getting around should not be an issue. Recommended Midtown hotels:
Tribeca: If you are trying to stay in downtown Manhattan, then I would recommend looking into the Tribeca area. Staying here and you will be just a stone’s throw away from the World Trade Center area, 9/11 Memorial Pools & Museum, and the hop on point for the Statue of Liberty.
You will also be pretty close by the Manhattan side entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge. Recommended Tribeca Hotels:
If you would rather stay in Brooklyn (and right within Brooklyn Bridge Park), then the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge would be a pretty amazing place to stay.
Getting to wake up with the Manhattan skyline out in front of you is quite the experience. Couple that with the fact that you will get prime NYC sunsets from the bar and pool area, it is hard to go wrong here.
» Check out this helpful guide that talks all about the best areas to stay in New York during a visit
6) Helpful Things to Know
I thought it would be helpful to give a general breakdown of the park so you have a better idea of what to expect and you can also plan your visit accordingly towards the things you are interested in.
» The park is broken down into different sections. These sections include smaller parks, piers, beaches, promenades, and viewpoints.
» Connecting these different sections is a pathway that you can follow in its entirety between Pier 6 and John Street Park. This pathway is called the Brooklyn Bridge Park Greenway.
» I wouldn’t say though that there is one specific pathway to follow here. In some sections of the park you will find multiple pathways – one closer to the waterfront and one a bit more inland (called the “Uplands” on the map). In other sections, however, there will only be one pathway to follow. The Uplands also offer some open lawn areas, where you can find a spot to relax at.
» There are 6 piers alongside the river that are located south of the Brooklyn Bridge. Each one of these piers has different activities to offer. Around each of the piers, you will find a walking path that you can head on as well.
This means that you can decide to walk entirely around the piers if you want to or you can simply walk straight along the Brooklyn Bridge Park Greenway.
» In addition to the piers, you will also find three parks located north of the piers. These include Empire Fulton Ferry, Main Street Park (and where Pebble Beach is located), and John Street Park. I will talk more in detail about these parks and piers in the next couple of sections.
Here is a list of helpful things to know about Brooklyn Bridge Park to better prepare you for a visit:
Brooklyn Bridge Park Hours
Different parts of the park have different hours. See below for the latest info:
Pier 2: 8AM – 11PM
Pier 5: 7AM – 11PM
Pier 5 Picnic Area: 6AM – 10PM
Pier 6 Volleyball Courts: 8AM – 11PM
Squibb Park: 9AM – 10PM
All Playgrounds: Sunrise to Sunset
All other areas of Brooklyn Bridge Park are open from 6AM – 1AM
Other Helpful Tips
» There are lockers to keep your valuables in at Piers 2 and 5
» Restrooms are located near Piers 1,2,5,6 as well as at nearby shops/restaurants that are open to the public
» Dogs are allowed in the park but only on pathways and need to be leashed (not allowed on lawn areas)
» You cannot bring chairs, tables, and other furniture to the park
» Riding a bicycle is allowed but riders must stay in their designated lanes
7) Brooklyn Bridge Park Piers
Brooklyn Bridge Park has 6 pier areas all along the river on the southern side of the Brooklyn Bridge. Each one of these piers is a bit different in what they offer visitors. Below is a brief explanation of the piers, starting at the northern most Pier 1 (just south of the Brooklyn Bridge).
Remember, you can also decide to walk around the piers on the pathways that run around the perimeter of them.
At Pier 1 you will find a few different main highlights. These include three separate lawn areas (Harbor View Lawn, Bridge View Lawn, The Vale), a playground, a salt marsh, and the Granite Prospect seating area.
Pier 1 is the widest of Pier areas and feels more of a normal park/walking route vs. the other piers listed below. You can spend time enjoying one of the several lawn areas, and you can also walk the waterfront pathway that gives you some beautiful views of the river, skyline, Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge.
On the south side of the park you will also find the Pier 1 Salt Marsh, where native plants are grown that provide habitat for ducks (and a great spot for sunset).
If you are looking to play some sports, look no further than Pier 2 at the park. You can take part of sports including basketball, ping pong, handball, hockey, among some others.
There is also an open field area here where many people decide to work out right along the riverfront.
At Pier 3 you will come across one of the biggest lawns of Brooklyn Bridge Park called the Central Lawn. In addition, the waterfront has a bigger plaza area to walk around and take in those views.
Another unique feature that can be found here is The Labyrinth, located on the north side of the pier. The Labyrinth is full of various art pieces and winding paths to get lost around.
So, Pier 4 is actually not much of a pier at all (compared to others at least). Pier 4 has been turned into a small beach area that is used as a kayak launching point. You will find sand here but you are not allowed to head into the water (not that I would recommend that anyways).
Next up are the soccer fields of Pier 5. Essentially the entirety of the pier is made up of three full length soccer fields. Surrounding the soccer fields, you are still able to walk the pathway that makes its way around.
On the north end of the fields you will also find the One 15 Brooklyn Marina, where sailboats, yachts and other boats are docked.
The final pier of Brooklyn Bridge Park is Pier 6. Here you will find three sand volleyball courts in one corner of the pier, with the remainder filled with walking paths and greenery.
The Liberty Lawn makes up most of the open area here, but there are some other smaller fields to hang out at as well.
On the opposite side of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Greenway you will find the Pier 6 playground area that runs alongside the entrance pathway to the park.
8) Brooklyn Bridge Parks
In addition to the piers mentioned above, there are also three parks located just north of the Brooklyn Bridge. Below are some short descriptions and some pictures of what they offer.
Empire State Park
Just to north side of the Brooklyn Bridge you will find Empire State Park (Empire Fulton Ferry). In this area you will find a nice big lawn with some beautiful views of the nearby Brooklyn Bridge to the left and the Manhattan Bridge to the right. You will also find the famous Jane’s Carousel sitting right alongside the river.
Feel free to also head closer to the Brooklyn Bridge itself, where you can enjoy the recently opened Emily Roebling Plaza and views from underneath the bridge.
Main Street Park
Just next to Empire State Park you will come across Main Street Park, which is also home to a nice big lawn to sit down and enjoy a view at. In addition to the lawn you will find a children’s playground and the famous Pebble Beach.
Pebble Beach is one of my top recommendations for a sunset spot along Brooklyn Bridge Park. There is a nice seating area right above the small beach, and from here you will get views of downtown NYC, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Jane’s Carousel all in the shot.
John Street Park
At the most northern end of Brooklyn Bridge Park you will end up at John Street Park. This park is located past the Manhattan Bridge as well. So, from here you should get up close views of the Manhattan Bridge with the Brooklyn Bridge a bit further out in the distance.
9) Brooklyn Bridge Park Restaurants
Not only do you have piers, parks, lawns, views, and activities all along the riverfront walkway, but you also have several restaurant options to choose from as well.
Below are most of the places you will find right alongside the walkway but do note that there are several other places to eat/drink at if you venture a bit further inland.
Pilot -> this is one of the more unique restaurant spots along Brooklyn Bridge Park as it sits on a schooner sailing boat. The boat itself has a rich history but today it stands docked at Pier 6, where it has been turned into a seasonal oyster bar.
Fornino -> if you are looking for an authentic Italian pizzeria, then Fornino is your best bet. Located at the base of Pier 6 is this Naples inspired restaurant. The space has both a ground level terrace and a rooftop, where you can take in some great views of the surrounding park.
Kaigo Coffee Room -> located just next to Pier 6 on Brooklyn Park Drive (parallel to the walking path) is the Kaigo Coffee Room, a specialty coffee spot that also has a location in SoHo.
Ebb & Flow Bakery & Estuary -> if you are looking for a grab and go type of place then Ebb & Flow is an option for you. They serve everything from breakfast sandwiches and baked goods to burgers and paninis.
Oddfellows Ice Cream Co. -> nothing is better than a nice cold ice cream on a hot summer day. Oddfellows has a whole variety of unique flavors to choose from, and if you happen to fall in love with it, they also ship nationwide!
Lizzmonade -> a small stand on Pier 1, Lizzmonade offers custom lemonades, coffee, juices and other beverages to quench your thirst.
Ample Hills Creamery -> another ice cream option sits right near Pier 1 of the park. Ample Hills has taken over an old fireboat station, and serves its ice cream overlooking the iconic Brooklyn Bridge nearby.
The River Café -> the River Café is one of the fancier options to choose from during a visit to Brooklyn Bridge Park. This highly rated Michelin starred restaurant sits right on the water’s edge with some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline that you can ask for. Be sure to make reservations ahead of time and don’t forget that there is a strict dress code as well!
Luke’s Lobster -> right below the Brooklyn Bridge you will also find a lobster shack, Luke’s Lobster. Whether you are looking for lobster rolls, crab rolls, or shrimp rolls, Luke’s has you covered.
Empire Stores -> the Empire Stores complex, located just besides the Jane’s Carousel area, is a massive refurbished warehouse space full of restaurant, retail, office, and event space. The main tenants here include Cecconi’s, Dumbo House, Feed, J Crew, Schott, Time Out Market, and West Elm.
10) Things to do in Brooklyn Bridge Park
While the above has given you most of the information you need for a visit to Brooklyn Bridge Park, I did want to list out some of my top things to do in the park and in its vicinity.
Take in the Views
Some of my favorite viewpoints in NYC are along the Hudson River in Brooklyn Bridge Park. John Street Park, Pebble Beach, Empire Fulton Ferry, and Pier 1 offer some of my favorites.
Although those are some options, you can find plenty more all along the riverfront.
→ Check out some other viewpoints around the area in the guide to the top views in New York City
Play Some Sports
There are several options to play some sports along the river. Pier 6 has the beach volleyball courts, Pier 5 has the soccer fields, and Pier 2 has basketball, hockey, handball and more.
Getting some activity in while having the NYC skyline in view is quite the experience to take part of.
Enjoy a Sunset
If you stay long enough in the day, I would definitely recommend taking a seat along the river to enjoy a sunset. Since the sun sets behind Manhattan to the west, you get to see the sun go down and hopefully see some colorful skies as it happens. Pebble Beach and the Old Pier 1 are my go to options here.
Go for a Run / Bike Ride
While just walking and sitting around is one option here, you can also head on a run or bicycle ride all along the park. Remember, there are designated bicycle lanes here so be sure to pay attention as you go about your day.
Visit Time Out Market
Located right across from Jane’s Carousel and Pebble Beach you will find Time Out Market. The ground floor is filled with small eateries in a variety of cuisines. You can also head up the stairs to the top of the building, where you will get some great elevated views of Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Manhattan skyline.
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
While the last several things to do are located directly within Brooklyn Bridge Park, I also wanted to list out some additional options that can be done nearby.
The most famous of bridge walks in NYC has to be the Brooklyn Bridge. This walk can be started in either Manhattan or Brooklyn -> I recommend the later, so you have the Manhattan skyline out in front of you for the duration of the walk.
Throughout the bridge walk, you will get views of the skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and the iconic bridge itself.
» Learn more about the walk and its starting points in the Brooklyn Bridge Walk guide up on the site.
Walk the Manhattan Bridge
The other nearby bridge to walk over would be the Manhattan Bridge. While the bridge itself is not as memorable as the Brooklyn Bridge, you do get some great views of downtown Manhattan as well as the Brooklyn Bridge itself.
» Feel free to check out the Manhattan Bridge Walk guide to learn more about this experience.
Visit the Manhattan Bridge Viewpoint
Lastly, one of most photographed spots in all of New York City is the DUMBO Manhattan Bridge viewpoint located near the water on Washington Street. The viewpoint is located right at the base of the Main Street Park mentioned earlier in the guide, making it an easy detour to take part of.
From the viewpoint, you get the Manhattan Bridge perfectly aligned in the middle of the street with the view of the Empire State Building located directly under the bridge.
I hope that this guide has given you a much better sense of what Brooklyn Bridge Park is all about and that you can now enjoy it for yourself.
If you do any have questions or comments about the park, feel free to write them in below.
Also don’t forget to check out the other New York itineraries and guides to learn more about the city.
Have fun out there and safe travels!