One of my favorite activities to do in New York is walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. Whether it’s the views of the Manhattan skyline, seeing the Statue of Liberty, walking over the East River, or enjoying the bridge itself, it is just such a unique experience.
However, walking across the bridge usually entails hundreds of tourists crowding the boardwalks, that can take away from such an activity.
Now, if you want to enjoy all that the Brooklyn Bridge has to offer without the crowds, then I cannot recommend highly enough taking in a Brooklyn Bridge sunrise.
Not only will you avoid the crowds, but you also will get to see sunrise over one of the world’s best skylines.
This guide will get you prepared for a Brooklyn Bridge sunrise experience and how to go about your walk across.
1) Brooklyn Bridge Sunrise Walk Details
Before jumping further into the article, I did want to note that this guide will just be giving some background on what to expect with a Brooklyn Bridge sunrise.
I have already put together a comprehensive Brooklyn Bridge guide that will go into way more detail about the bridge, the walk itself, directions, tips, and plenty more.
If you are thinking of heading across the bridge at sunrise, I would highly recommend checking out the link above in addition to this article.
Below are some quick helpful general notes about the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge:
Brooklyn Side Entrance / Exit | Tillary Street & Brooklyn Bridge Blvd OR Brooklyn Bridge Underpass on the corner of Prospect Street & Cadman Plaza East (aka Washington Street)
Manhattan Side Entrance / Exit | Brooklyn Bridge Promenade on Centre Street (east side of New York City Hall)
Walkway Distance: 1.5 miles / 2.4 km
Duration: 35 minutes (no stops) → Plan for 60 to 90 minutes with stops/pictures
Walkway Material: Concrete -> Wooden Planks
Opening Hours: Open 24/7
2) Brooklyn Bridge Pedestrian Entrances
There are 3 entrances for pedestrians to enter onto the main walkway. Two of these are located on the Brooklyn side and one on the Manhattan side.
Tillary Street & Brooklyn Bridge Blvd → the more popular entrance on the Brooklyn side is at the intersection of Tillary Street and Brooklyn Bridge Blvd. Here is where the pedestrian pathway begins that will take you all the way to the bridge, and across into Manhattan. The pathway starts in the middle of the street between the lanes of traffic and can’t be missed here.
Prospect Street & Cadman Plaza East → if you are already a bit closer to the waterfront in Brooklyn, it may make more sense to begin the walk a bit further down the pathway at the corner of Prospect Street and Cadman Plaza East (aka Washington Street). At this intersection, you will arrive at an underpass, where you will be directed up a staircase and right onto the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian pathway.
Brooklyn Bridge Promenade on Centre Street → on the Manhattan side there really is just one main entrance on the Brooklyn Bridge Promenade directly next to Centre Street. If you make your way to the New York City Hall area, just head to the eastern part of it, where you will then cross the street and onto the promenade itself. From here just walk straight along the pathway and onto the bridge.
3) Which Way to Walk on the Brooklyn Bridge for Sunrise?
Now that you understand where the entrances to the Brooklyn Bridge are, let’s talk about which way to walk the Brooklyn Bridge for sunrise.
Below I will give some reasons why you may prefer one way or another. At the end of the day, it will be your decision on what you believe you will enjoy best.
During my visit to the Brooklyn Bridge at sunrise, I decided to head to Brooklyn first and walk across into Manhattan from there. The main reason for me was to see the Manhattan skyline out in front of me during the duration of my walk.
Another thing to take into consideration are the colors that can appear in the sky prior and during sunrise in the opposite direction of the sun. I was lucky enough to experience this magnificent purple hue that lit up the skyline in the moments just before full sunrise.
The downside though is since the sun was rising from behind me (sun rises from the Brooklyn side), I did not get to see the full sunrise itself from beginning to end. Rather, I was enjoying the skyline view as the sky turned different colors.
I did turn around from time to time to see the sun creeping up from behind the Brooklyn skyline, but it was not the same if I were to be walking from Manhattan towards Brooklyn.
For me, the idea of having the skyline out in front of me, in addition to the colors I got to capture with my camera, outweighed the fact that I was not actually seeing the sun come up entirely.
4) Where to Stay in Manhattan
There are so many different neighborhoods to choose from when visiting Manhattan. 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 pretty close to the starting point of the walk), 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.
5) Brooklyn Bridge Sunrise Times
The main reason the bridge is so peaceful for sunrise is because most people don’t want to wake up early. And depending on what time of year you visit, sunrise can be quite early.
There are a couple things to note here though when preparing for sunrise:
Not only will you want to be at the bridge by sunrise, but I would actually recommend showing up around 30 minutes prior to sunrise to fully enjoy the skyline lighting up from beginning to end.
When I say to show up 30 minutes prior to sunrise, that means you should already be on the bridge itself. The walkway leading up to the bridge (on the Brooklyn side at least), is about a 15-minute walk on its own. So, be cautious with your timing so you don’t miss any of the experience.
Below are the average sunrise times by month to give you a bit better idea of what time you will need to start your day.
March: 6:10AM / 7:10AM (prior to daylight savings starting / post daylight savings starting)
November: 7:30AM / 6:45AM (prior to daylight savings ending / post daylight savings ending)
6) A Brooklyn Bridge Sunrise Experience
Since I started the Brooklyn bridge sunrise walk from the Brooklyn side at the Tillary Street & Brooklyn Bridge Blvd entrance, that is what you will find mentioned throughout the remainder of the guide.
First you will find your way towards the starting point of the walk at the intersection of Tillary Street and Brooklyn Bridge Boulevard in the early morning hours. Once there, get yourself to the middle of the intersection, where you will begin your walk towards the bridge.
Below are a couple images of what the start of the walk looks like in daylight, followed by some pre-sunrise shots further along the concrete pathway. Remember, getting from here to the bridge itself can take about 10-15 minutes to walk.
Once you get closer to the bridge, the pathway will turn from concrete to the wooden planks. In my opinion the best Brooklyn Bridge views of Manhattan are from the first section of the bridge (see screenshot below).
During this first portion of boardwalk (and the beginning of the second portion), you will be able to take in the skyline view, the suspension wires, and the first set of towers.
Below are some photos I took during this first portion of boardwalk just before the official sunrise time. As you can see, the colors of the skyline had some pink and purple hues, which made the experience pretty special.
You can also see that there was barely a soul in sight during my time out on the Brooklyn Bridge during sunrise. Getting to enjoy the view in peace without the hustle and bustle of the crowds made the early wake up well worth the effort.
After making it past the first set of towers, the sun was now creeping above the Brooklyn skyline. I turned around for a bit to see the sunrise with the Brooklyn Bridge in the foreground.
Many people wonder if actually can you see the sunrise from the Brooklyn Bridge. The answer is yes, but you will need to be facing east towards Brooklyn.
The views toward Brooklyn are still plenty enjoyable to take in. You will still have the bridge itself in view along with the Brooklyn skyline (not to mention the sunrise itself).
It is this type of view that you will consistently get if you decide to start the walk from Manhattan and continue into Brooklyn from there.
After the sun was nearly fully above the skyline, I continued the walk into Manhattan and ended a successful Brooklyn Bridge sunrise experience.
I hope this guide has given you a better idea of what sunrise over the Brooklyn Bridge is all about. If you do have any questions or comments about the experience feel free to write them in below.
Also don’t forget to check out the other New York itineraries and guides up on the site. Have fun out there and safe travels!