By far one of the most popular activities to do while visiting New York City is walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. Heading on the pedestrian pathway with the iconic bridge towering above you and the Manhattan skyline out in the distance is truly a remarkable moment to enjoy.
This guide will go through everything you will need to know to complete a Brooklyn Bridge walk on your own, including some helpful tips on how to avoid the crowds.
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1) Facts & History
Below are just some facts about the bridge so you have an idea of what the Brooklyn Bridge is all about:
Construction: The bridge was constructed from 1869 to 1883 and was designed by John Augustus Roebling. He passed away during the construction of the bridge from a result of an accident on site. His son, Washington Roebling, took over construction but soon fell ill and was subject to his Brooklyn apartment. From there he directed his wife, Emily, to oversee the day to day construction of the bridge.
Setbacks: There were several setbacks while building the bridge including a compressed air explosion, a large fire, a broken cable that fell into the river, steel wire replacements, as well as 20 workers who died during the construction.
Opening: The bridge officially opened on May 24, 1883 and was at the time the longest suspension bridge in the world.
Length: Including the approaches on both sides, the bridge measures 6,016 feet or 1,834 meters (the official walk will be a bit longer than this).
Cost: At the time of opening, it costs a penny to cross by foot – that’s more than what it costs now (it’s free!).
Color: And if you were wondering, the official color of the Brooklyn Bridge is of course “Brooklyn Bridge Tan”.
Learn More: Read some more interesting Brooklyn Bridge facts to get you ready for your visit
2) Brooklyn Bridge Walking Map
Below is a helpful Google Map, showing all the important points to note in order to take part of a Brooklyn Bridge walk.
It includes the two entrances on the Brooklyn side, the two entrances on the Manhattan side, as well as some of the main nearby subway stations to get you to/from there (I’ll talk more about those next!).
You can make the walk across the bridge in either direction, HOWEVER, the recommended way would be to start on the Brooklyn side and walk into Manhattan. This way you get the Manhattan skyline in the background during the duration of the walk.
Remember – even if starting in Manhattan, you can still walk to Brooklyn and then turn around and come back the same way you came. This way you get to see the bridge from both directions. There is no wrong way to experience the bridge!
3) Walkway Entrances & Subways
Unless you are already staying close to either entrance (Manhattan or Brooklyn side) and are walking distance to the start, you most likely will be utilizing the NYC subway.
Luckily, there are plenty of subway options to choose from and no matter where you are coming from, you shouldn’t have an issue getting close by.
I would highly recommend using the subway (if you are not within walking distance), as it can be much cheaper and sometimes even faster than a taxi or Uber. One-way Metrocards cost $2.90 per trip.
Learn more about how to get to the Brooklyn Bridge for more insight into particular directions
Below are some of the main subway lines that are close by the Brooklyn side entrance and the Manhattan side entrance.
Brooklyn Bridge Walking Entrance Brooklyn Side
There are two entrances on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge:
- Tillary Street & Brooklyn Bridge Blvd
- Brooklyn Bridge Underpass on the corner of Prospect Street & Cadman Plaza East (aka Washington Street)
Tillary Street & Brooklyn Bridge Blvd: the main entrance on the Brooklyn side is at the intersection of Tillary Street and Brooklyn Bridge Blvd (screenshot below). 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. The next section of this guide goes into more detail about this entrance in particular.
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. Note that you can visit the famous Manhattan Bridge photo location right nearby as well.
Nearest Subway Lines:
- High Street – Brooklyn Bridge Station: A / C
- Jay Street – Metrotech Station: A / C / F / R
- Borough Hall Station: 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
Brooklyn Bridge Walking Entrance Manhattan Side
Similarly, there are also two entrances on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge:
- Brooklyn Bridge Promenade on Centre Street (east side of New York City Hall)
- Park Row Underpass
Brooklyn Bridge Promenade on 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 Centre Street and onto the promenade itself. From here just walk straight along the pathway and onto the bridge (screenshot below).
Park Row Underpass: there is also a lesser known entrance to the walkway on Park Row. Park Row is a street that heads under the Brooklyn Bridge promenade. If walking along the street, there is a staircase entrance that will take you right onto the walkway.
Nearest Subway Lines:
- Brooklyn Bridge – City Hall Station: 4 / 5 /6
- Chambers Street Station: J / Z
- Fulton Street Station: A / C / J / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
- City Hall Station: R / W
Learn more about the various entrances in this guide that talks about the Brooklyn Bridge Pedestrian Entrance points
4) Entrance Directions
Although there are 4 main entrances to choose from here, I will talk about the directions to the “main” Brooklyn entrance at the corner of Tillary Street & Brooklyn Bridge Blvd.
By starting at this entrance, you will get to walk the entirety of the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian pathway (1.5 miles), and take in those beautiful Manhattan skyline views along the way.
Once you are off the subway (or if just walking from nearby), you will want to make your way to the main Brooklyn Bridge Boulevard.
The “Boulevard” essentially starts right at Borough Hall – one of the main subway stops here. Prior to switching names to Brooklyn Bridge Boulevard, the street will be called Boerum Place.
You will want to walk north along Brooklyn Bridge Blvd until you reach the intersection at Tillary Street. It is important not to miss the intersection because the walkway starts in the middle of the multi lane street.
Pictured below is the very start of the walkway (right behind the police car). From here you will continue to walk northbound on the pathway, where soon enough it will curve towards the Brooklyn Bridge itself.
You should begin to get those views in no time and from there it is a straight shot down the pathway towards Manhattan.
Be sure to also check out some of the other top things to do in New York City during a visit!
5) Brooklyn Bridge Walk Details
Below are some helpful details to know about walking the Brooklyn Bridge to better prepare you for your day. Note the distance and duration are for ONE WAY across.
- 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) OR Park Row Underpass
- 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
- Cost: Free!
- Opening Hours: Open 24/7
NYC Itinerary: Visit the Brooklyn Bridge as part of a longer New York 4 day itinerary that takes you throughout the city
6) Helpful Things to Know
Two Lanes: The walkway is split into 2 lanes – one for pedestrians walking from Brooklyn and one for pedestrians walking from Manhattan. Just recently, the bicycle lane was moved from the walkway down to the car level, so there is no more worry about sharing these lanes with bikes.
Restrooms: There are no bathrooms on the walkway itself, so be sure to prepare for that depending on how long you plan to spend on the bridge. Once you are off the bridge in either direction, you should be able to hop into a nearby restaurant, coffee shop, etc.
Vendors: Along the bridge you may find a few different food, beverage and souvenir stalls. At the start of the bridge on the Manhattan side, you should come across many more of these food stalls in case you didn’t find anything of interest on the bridge itself.
Locks: On the bridge you will see some signs not to put any locks on the fencing, so be sure to obey by the law or you can get fined $100!
No Climbing: Another warning sign that has been recently been added on states “Climbing on any part of the structure is strictly prohibited”. I would caution against those photos of sitting on the structure itself.
Protection: If heading there on a sunny spring or summer day, don’t forget to bring the sunscreen. There isn’t too much shade on the bridge so you will want to be protected from the sun.
Layering: If heading there early or later on in the day, or in the cooler times of year, be sure to bring another layer. It can get chilly and windier up there so it’s better to come prepared (especially if visiting the Brooklyn Bridge in winter).
Walking Shoes: Lastly, I would recommend walking shoes for the walk across (and walking around NYC in general). Not only will it be easier and more comfortable on your feet, but the NYC streets can get a bit dirty, which wouldn’t bode well for flips flops.
Learn More: Check out some other viewpoints around the area in the guide to the top views of NYC
7) Can you Bike Across
Yes, you can bike across the Brooklyn Bridge in either direction. As mentioned, there is actually a lane of the bridge that is labeled for bicycles only.
As of September 2021, the bicycle lane has moved from the pedestrian pathway down to the car level. There is essentially one car lane that was removed in favor of a two way bicycle line.
This change has some downsides and upsides for those wanted to ride across. On the positive side of things, bicyclists no longer need to worry about the hundreds of pedestrians walking aimlessly into the bike lanes. They now have their own dedicated lane.
On the downside, bicyclists now will not be able to enjoy that same bridge experience, as they will be riding by the car lanes. That means you will not get to see the same views that are shown in the pictures throughout this guide.
Renting a bike is also a very easy thing to do in Manhattan with its Citi Bike program. You can download the Citi Bike app and find various bike stations all around the city to pick up and drop off your bike.
A day pass for Citi Bikes is $19, which is good for unlimited 30 minute rides for a 24 hour period. If you go over the 30 minute per ride, you will be charged $4 for every additional 15 minutes. If you are just looking for one single ride, a 30 minute rental costs $4.49 (with overages at $0.26 per minute).
8) A Brooklyn Bridge Walking Experience
Now that you have all the necessary background information, let’s dive into what a Brooklyn Bridge walking experience is all about. I will go about the full walk starting at the Brooklyn Bridge Blvd / Tillary Street entrance in Brooklyn and ending by Centre Street in Manhattan.
After getting off the subway or coming from a nearby spot in Brooklyn, you will first make the walk to the Brooklyn Bridge Blvd / Tillary Street intersection. Once at the intersection, cross the street to the middle divider, where the pedestrian walkway begins.
You will begin the official walk from here as you head northbound on the walkway. For the first portion, you will be on ground level with cars on either side of you, and a portion of the nearby Manhattan Bridge in view out in the distance.
The pathway will then soon curve left to the west, when you will then begin to see the Brooklyn Bridge itself with the Manhattan skyline right behind it.
From here it is a straight shot right towards the heart of the bridge. The walkway will begin to gain a bit of elevation as it goes above the main street level.
The pathway itself will turn from the concrete pavement to the wooden plank walkway as you are now on the official bridge portion of the walk.
I like to break up the bridge into three main parts from here as you can see in the screenshot below. The first is the portion before the initial arches, the second portion is between the initial arches and the final arches, and the third portion is after the final arches.
Depending where you are on the bridge, you will see that your views will be slightly different. In some spots you will be surrounded by the suspension cables, where in other spots, the walkway may feel a bit more open.
I really enjoyed all the various portions of the walk as the arches, cables, and skyline views were changing with every step.
Below are some pictures that I took during the three portions of the walk so you can get a better understanding of what the layout out in front of you will look like.
The first portion of the bridge walk really starts before you even make it over the river.
During this section you will see the suspension cables going up towards the arches, with the American flag up top, and the skyline further out in the distance.
For me, this was probably my favorite section of the bridge as you not only got a great skyline view, but the arches and bridge cables made the experience that much better.
Once you are past those initial arches, you will be on the second portion of the bridge walk and will now be over the river itself.
During the second portion, the initial cables will be going down, followed by no cables at all, and then the second set up cables going up towards the second arches.
You can see in the image below what a unique view it is straight down the bridge with the cables on either side of you and the final set of arches further out in the distance.
You will continuously have the skyline in view but now will be getting closer and closer to the other side of the bridge. For a short portion in the middle of the bridge, you won’t have any cables on either side of you.
The bridge here feels more open and you can get some great views of the Manhattan Bridge and uptown NYC skyline on one side and the Statue of Liberty on the other.
Soon enough you will be walking alongside the next set of cables going up to the arches, for another beautiful view.
After crossing underneath the second set of arches and making your way alongside the cables, you will be very close to crossing over the final river portion and into Manhattan.
As you are getting closer, the skyline will slowly disappear as you now have some other buildings blocking your view. However, you should still be able to enjoy views south down the waterside as well as the Freedom Tower up above you.
Continue the walk along the pathway as the end slowly comes into view with the Manhattan entrance to the bridge just out in the distance. From here you can decide to enter Manhattan, or if you are heading back to Brooklyn, feel free to cross the bridge in the opposite direction.
9) What Can You See
Beyond the bridge itself, you are sure to get some views of various buildings and structures as you are making your way across. Some of these highlights include:
Freedom Tower / One World Trade Center
The most famous building of the Manhattan skyline will be the Freedom Tower, also known as One World Trade Center.
The building was opened in 2016 and is one of the highlights to visit while in Manhattan. It has the One World Observatory on the top of the building, which has some of the best views in the city.
If you have some time after the Brooklyn Bridge walk, you can head there next on your day.
8 Spruce Street / New York by Gehry
Another building that will constantly be in view is the silver curvy looking building. This is 8 Spruce Street also known as New York by Gehry and is one of the more unique looking buildings you will find in Manhattan.
The Statue of Liberty
While a bit further away, you should be able to take in views of the Statue of Liberty way out in the distance. It will be on your left hand side if walking from Brooklyn to Manhattan.
This is another potential add on to your day if you would like to make your way to the statue itself and the nearby Ellis Island.
A bit closer in view than the Statue of Liberty will be Governors Island. This 172 acre former military base is now a fan favorite recreational place to visit during a trip to New York.
It is a great place to visit to “escape” the city and also get some great views of the skyline to relax for a few hours.
The Manhattan Bridge
You also have the Manhattan Bridge right next door to the Brooklyn Bridge. This is another bridge you can walk across if you have the time.
While it certainly is not as scenic of a bridge itself, you can get some great views of the Brooklyn Bridge and downtown Manhattan.
If you have the time I would highly recommend walking across the Manhattan Bridge as well to get some great views of the Brooklyn Bridge.
While you will have the downtown NYC skyline out in front of you during a walk across, you can also get views of the midtown/uptown skyline as well. During the middle of the walk, you should get some great views of some of the the iconic buildings of NYC.
10) Walking from Manhattan to Brooklyn
While the most popular route is to start in Brooklyn and end in Manhattan, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it the other way around.
Although you will need to turn around for the views of the Manhattan skyline, you will still have beautiful views of the Brooklyn Bridge itself along with the Brooklyn skyline in the other direction.
Another way to go about your day, would be to start in Manhattan, walk the bridge one way into Brooklyn, and spend some time enjoying some activities around Brooklyn Heights & the DUMBO neighborhood such as Brooklyn Bridge Park (aka Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass neighborhood).
Once you are all set with your time in Brooklyn, you can then walk right back across the bridge in the other direction towards Manhattan and get those more popular views during your second walk across.
Be sure to check out some of the other best photo spots in NYC during a visit to the city.
11) How to Avoid the Crowds
So, given crowds can certainly be an issue here, I want to talk about how to avoid them as best as possible.
Whether you are photographer or just someone who wants to enjoy the bridge without all the craziness around them, below are some helpful tips to have a better chance of having the bridge to yourself.
Brooklyn Bridge Sunrise / Early Morning
The best way in my opinion to avoid the crowds is to head there for sunrise or soon after. Anytime before 9AM or so I would say you have a good chance to have little to no people around. Once you hit mid morning, you will have more and more people coming along.
As you can see in my photos, I headed to the Brooklyn Bridge for sunrise and spent a couple hours walking the bridge in both directions. I would highly recommend if you are up for it.
Brooklyn Bridge Night Walk
After the sun goes down, you will find that the people on the bridge begin to subside. If you are up for a night walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, that could be another way to avoid the crowds.
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge at night can be a whole other experience as you now have the skyline lit up with the dark sky all around. A late hour walk may very well give you the chance to enjoy the bridge all to yourself.
You can also try sunset at the Brooklyn Bridge just for the experience but I would still expect some crowds at that time.
No matter what time you decide to go, coming on a weekday will almost certainly be less crowded than the weekend.
Not only will you have the usual tourist crowd on the weekend but you will also have all the locals, who want to enjoy the walk themselves.
While all the photos you will find in this guide are during those crowd free times, I did want to show a couple “normal” pictures of what the bridge usually looks like.
The below photos were taken on a weekend afternoon walk. It is clearly two different types of experiences visiting with and without the crowds.
So, if you want to avoid those crowds, be sure to go about a visit during those off peak hours!
12) What To Do Near the Brooklyn Bridge
After finishing up a Brooklyn Bridge walk, you will be let out in downtown Manhattan or the Dumbo area in Brooklyn. While the bridge itself is sure to be a highlight of the day, there are many other nearby things to do on either side of the bridge.
Depending on which way you walk, you can take part of these Manhattan and Brooklyn activities before or after your walk across:
Learn More | Best Things To Do Near the Brooklyn Bridge
13) Best Views of the Bridge
If you not only want to enjoy the best views on the bridge, but also want to enjoy the best view of the bridge from afar, then this is for you.
All throughout the Manhattan and Brooklyn downtown waterfronts, you will find various viewpoints of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Depending on your route for the day, you can include several of these viewpoints along the way.
• Pier 35
• East River Greenway
• South Street Seaport
• Pier 17
• Pier 15
• One World Observatory
• Pebble Beach
• Time Out Market Rooftop
• Empire Fulton Ferry
• Emily Warren Roebling Plaza
• The River Cafe
• Pier 1 Ferry Landing
• Pier 1
• Brooklyn Heights Promenade
• Manhattan Bridge
• Governors Island
• Liberty State Park
• NYC Ferry or Boat Cruise
• Helicopter Ride -> NYC Helicopter tour
Learn More | Best Views of the Brooklyn Bridge
14) More Photos
Over the course of the yeas of living in NYC, I have been able to visit the Brooklyn Bridge multiple times. Below are some additional photos that I have taken in the past as I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge:
15) Where to Stay in NYC
There are so many different neighborhoods to choose from when visiting NYC. Below are some helpful articles to help you make the best choice for your trip.
Looking for the top hotels & neighborhoods in NYC? Check out some helpful accommodation resources when it comes to picking the best spot for you!
Neighborhood Overview: Best Places to Stay in NYC
Best Skyline Views: NYC Hotels with a View
Times Square: Top Times Square Hotels with a View
Theater District: Hotels in Broadway Theater District
Central Park: Best Hotels with Central Park Views
Tribeca: Best Tribeca Hotels
SoHo: Where to Stay in SoHo
Greenwich Village: Top Greenwich Village Hotels
Brooklyn Bridge: Hotels with Brooklyn Bridge Views
Best Panoramas: Hotels in NYC with Floor to Ceiling Windows
That about does it for your local’s guide to walking across the Brooklyn Bridge of New York City. If you have any questions or comments feel free to add them in below.
Also don’t forget to check out the other helpful New York travel guides up on the site for more to do in and around the city!
Have fun out there and safe travels!