When most people think of a bridge walk in New York City, the first one that usually comes to mind is the Brooklyn Bridge. While the Brooklyn Bridge is a must do bridge walk in my opinion, the Manhattan Bridge walk is right up there when it comes to enjoying some beautiful city views. This guide will dive into what walking the Manhattan Bridge is all about and how to enjoy it during your visit to the city.
1) Manhattan Bridge History & Facts
Before talking about the Manhattan Bridge pathway, I just wanted to point out some historical and interesting facts about the Manhattan Bridge.
» The construction of the bridge began in 1901 and was finally opened for traffic on December 31 1909. More recently, the pedestrian pathway was re-opened after years of construction in 2001.
» Leon Solomon Moisseiff was the designer of the bridge. At the time the bridge was considered a leader of modern suspension bridge design.
» It is one of three bridges (and the final one constructed) that connects Manhattan with Brooklyn. The other two include the Brooklyn Bridge to the south and the Williamsburg Bridge to the north. The main reason the Manhattan Bridge was constructed in the first place was because of overcrowding on the other two
» It connects lower Manhattan (Chinatown neighborhood) to Downtown Brooklyn (near DUMBO – Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass).
» The total length of the bridge is 6,855 feet / 1.3 miles long or 2,089 meters / 2.1 km. The walk across should take about 30 minutes without any stops.
» The walking and biking lanes are separated on the bridge, with the pedestrian pathway on the south side (overlooking downtown Manhattan) and the bikeway on the north side.
→ Visit the Manhattan Bridge as part of a longer New York 4 day itinerary that takes you throughout the city
2) Manhattan Bridge Walkway Entrance
The Manhattan bridge can be walked in either direction (from Brooklyn to Manhattan or from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Below are the entrance points for both sides of the bridge:
Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Entrance in Brooklyn
The entrance from the Brooklyn side onto the pedestrian pathway can be found on the corner of Jay Street and Nassau Street.
Here you will find a small park (named on Google Maps “Manhattan Bridge Small Park”), that leads right onto the Manhattan Bridge walkway. As you are walking towards the entrance on the Brooklyn side, you should also see signs pointing you in the right direction here.
→ Note just a few minutes away from the entrance you can also find the famous Manhattan Bridge view spot
Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Entrance in Manhattan
The entrance from the Manhattan side onto the pedestrian pathway can be found on the corner of Canal Street and Bowery. Here you will find the Manhattan Bridge Arch and Colonnade.
On the south side of the arch, is where you will catch the pedestrian pathway to get yourself onto the bridge.
3) Manhattan Bridge Map
Below is a map that shows both the Brooklyn and Manhattan entrances to the bridge pin downed as well as the pathway that you follow as you make your way across.
4) Subways Near the Manhattan Bridge
Unless you are staying within walking distance to either side of the bridge, I would recommend you make your way there by utilizing the NYC subway system. Not only will it be cheaper than an Uber or taxi but it can also be faster depending on where you are coming from. Here are some of the closest subway entrances to the bridge entrances.
Brooklyn Side Subways
↔ York Street Subway Station | F Train
↔ High Street Brooklyn Bridge Station | A & C Train
↔ Borough Hall Station | 4 & 5 / 2 & 3 Train
↔ Jay Street Metro Tech Station | A / C / F / R Train
Manhattan Side Subways
↔ Canal Street Station | J / N / Q / R / 6 Train
↔ Bowery Station | J & Z Train
↔ Grand Station | B & D Train
5) A Scenic Manhattan Bridge Walk
Now that you have some background on how to get yourself to the starting points of the pedestrian pathway, let’s talk a bit about the walk across itself.
While I do not think it makes too much of a difference here, I would still recommend starting the walk in Brooklyn and making your way to Manhattan from there. However, you can’t go wrong in either direction as you will consistently have views either way.
Since I hopped on from the Brooklyn side, I will talk about the walk from that direction. The first thing you will need to do is get yourself to that small park near the corner of Jay Street and Nassau Street. From there you will see the signs pointing you on the pedestrian pathway up onto the bridge itself.
The first portion of the walkway won’t be too scenic as the last few remaining buildings will still be blocking your view. However, soon enough you will begin to get further along the pathway as you leave Brooklyn behind and start seeing the beautiful views out in front of you.
Unlike the Brooklyn Bridge, where you the pedestrian pathway is in the middle of the bridge, the Manhattan Bridge pathway is set up right along the south side of the bridge. Because of this you will get vast views of the East River, Brooklyn Bridge and downtown Manhattan skyline.
The downside however to the Manhattan Bridge walk is that you will always have a fence or barrier blocking your view. If you would like to take photographs like me though, that should not be an issue at all. You simply need to be a bit creative here and get your lens in the openings of the fence.
You will also come across some points, where someone clearly broke a larger hole into the fence, giving you the chance to easily take pictures without getting your lens in the perfect spot.
As you begin the walk across, the first view that you will see is essentially the entirety of the Brooklyn Bridge with the Empire Fulton Ferry Park and Pebble Beach down below, and the Manhattan skyline out in the distance.
You will simply continue along the pathway here as you make your way further along the bridge and over the East River. Every few minutes you are sure to have the fast moving NYC subway train zip right beside you as you feel the bridge tremble.
The angles of your view with slowly begin to change as you get different looks at the Brooklyn Bridge and the skyline out back. You will also get to see more of the East River, all the way down to the Statue of Liberty.
You will be passing by the famous Brooklyn Bridge arches. And you will continuously have those downtown skyline views.
You can also look out for a couple trick photograph shots here. The first picture below shows the Statue of Liberty way out in the distance. But due to the angles it seems like the statue is actually walking on the Brooklyn Bridge.
The second shot here is that of the silver curvy looking building (New York by Gehry) and the Freedom Tower (up top you can find the One World Observatory). You will see that the New York by Gehry building aligns perfectly with the Freedom Tower, making it seem like that one weird looking building.
→ Check out some other viewpoints around the area in the guide to the top views of NYC
Soon enough you will be reaching the Manhattan side of the bridge. But that doesn’t mean that the scenic views will end. First as you approach the Manhattan side, you will be walking directly over the FDR highway. It is a pretty scenic NYC photo spot from above with the highway, Brooklyn Bridge and skyline all in view.
It is then further along over Manhattan as you walk right alongside some downtown Manhattan apartment buildings. Many of these buildings are covered with graffiti, making it a pretty unique view to take in with One World Trade Center out in the distance.
Finally, the Manhattan Bridge pedestrian pathway will make its way over some Chinatown streets. One of the main views here is the one over East Broadway looking downtown with all the various storefront signs hanging off the side of buildings.
Soon after that though, the pedestrian pathway will be coming to an end as you approach the Manhattan side entrance on Canal Street. Here you will find the Manhattan Bridge Arch and Colonnade area, one of the additions to the bridge after its construction.
It is then time to enjoy some Manhattan activities as you continue on with your day in New York City. At one point or another during your trip to NYC you definitely will want to check out Central Park, where you can enjoy highlights such as the Bow Bridge, The Reservoir, Bridle Path, and North Woods.
6) 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, where you can start a loop around the 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 Manhattan Bridge. Recommended Tribeca Hotels:
» Check out this helpful guide that talks all about the best neighborhoods to stay in New York during a visit
7) Brooklyn Bridge vs. Manhattan Bridge
One question that comes up a lot is which walk is better – the Brooklyn Bridge or the Manhattan Bridge. There are definitely pros and cons to each but end of the day they are two different experiences.
I like to say that the Brooklyn Bridge walk is all about being on the bridge itself. You are walking right down the middle of the bridge with its iconic arches and suspension cables up above you and the Manhattan skyline in the distance.
The Manhattan Bridge is less so about the bridge itself and more so about the views that you get from the bridge of the Brooklyn Bridge and downtown Manhattan. I can’t say the Manhattan Bridge walkway is too scenic as you are stuck in the middle of a fence on one side and the subway tracks on the other.
With that said though, the Brooklyn Bridge is by far the more popular option here, which can make it a very crowded option as well. This can lead to it even being unenjoyable at times due to the shear amount of people (which is why I would recommend an early morning walk).
While the Manhattan Bridge still brings the tourists, it won’t feel as crowded and hectic as the Brooklyn Bridge pathway. You may not feel the same energy as being on the Brooklyn Bridge but you will still get those views.
End of the day, if I had to pick I would still say Brooklyn Bridge due to it being more of an experience. But if you have the time, I would highly recommend getting both bridge walks in during a visit.
» Be sure to read up on Walking Across the Brooklyn Bridge and everything that it entails
8) Your Manhattan Bridge Questions Answered
While some of this may have been covered already, here are some of the top questions people have about the Manhattan Bridge –
How Long Does it Take to Walk the Manhattan Bridge?
At a leisurely pace, the walk should take about 30 minutes to get from one entrance to the other between Manhattan and Brooklyn. However, if you are trying to stop frequently and take pictures along the way, you can spend closer to an hour walking the bridge.
Can I Walk Over the Manhattan Bridge?
As you may imagine by now, of course you can walk across the Manhattan Bridge. When you do so just remember to head on the pedestrian pathway on the south side of the bridge and not the bike lane on the north side.
How Long is the Manhattan Bridge?
The total length of the bridge is 6,855 feet / 1.3 miles long or 2,089 meters / 2.1 km. The main span however is 1,480 feet / 451 meters, and with suspension cables it is 3,224 feet / 983 meters long. The width of the bridge is 120 feet / 37 meters wide with the height to the towers being 336 feet / 102 meters high.
How Much is the Manhattan Bridge Toll?
If you were driving over the Manhattan Bridge in either direction, you should know that it is actually free to drive across. While many of the other bridges and tunnels require a toll, none is needed for the Manhattan Bridge.
Is the Manhattan Bridge the Same as the Brooklyn Bridge?
Some people get confused with all the bridges around Manhattan, but no the Manhattan Bridge is not the same as the Brooklyn Bridge. They are however located pretty near each other in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn, and you can spend a day walking across both.
That about wraps up a guide to walking the Manhattan Bridge. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to add them in below. Also don’t forget to check out the remaining New York guides up on the site.
Have fun out there and safe travels!