Whether you are looking to walk between Manhattan and Brooklyn, take in some views of the East River and NYC skyline, or just want to take a nice stroll over a bridge, then the Williamsburg Bridge Walk is for you.
Before and after your walk you can enjoy time in the Lower East Side (Manhattan) and Williamsburg (Brooklyn) to get a better sense of what this city is all about.
This guide will go through all you need to know about the Williamsburg Bridge walk and how to prepare for your journey between the boroughs.
1) Williamsburg Bridge Pedestrian Path Entrance
The bridge walk can be done in either direction, starting in either Manhattan or Brooklyn. On each side there is just one pedestrian entrance to choose from so figuring out logistics here is pretty simple.
On the Manhattan side the pedestrian and bicycle entrance is the same, while on the Brooklyn side there are separate entrances for each.
Below is a map with the 3 entrances pinned down to give you a better idea of where things will start off.
Williamsburg Bridge Walk Entrance (Manhattan)
On the Manhattan side, the Williamsburg Bridge walk starts at the intersection of Delancey Street and Clinton Street. Here you will find a walkway promenade located in the middle of the street that takes you directly onto the bridge.
Note that the Manhattan entrance is where both the pedestrian pathway begins as well as the bike pathway.
Williamsburg Bridge Walk Entrance (Brooklyn)
On the Brooklyn side, the Williamsburg Bridge walk starts just off the intersection of Broadway and Bedford Avenue. The entrance is marked with signs pointing you towards the pedestrian pathway entrance.
Note that the bicycle entrance on the Brooklyn side is not the same as the pedestrian entrance. If you were to ride a bicycle from the Brooklyn side you would need to get to the intersection of South 5th Street and South 5th Place.
2) Williamsburg Bridge Bike Path
As you can tell by now, walking is not the only way to get across the Williamsburg Bridge. There is also a dedicated bicycle path that will get you over the East River.
On the Manhattan side, the bike pathway starts off directly next to the pedestrian pathway. The lanes are clearly marked with southern path for pedestrians, northern path for bicycles.
As you get a bit further up the initial ramp, the pathway then divides into two on either side of the bridge. Pedestrians stay on the right (south) and bicycles to the left (north). It stays like this for the remainder of the pathway towards Brooklyn.
There is a section where there is a connector between the two (pictured below), where you can take a look at the views from the opposite side.
3) Williamsburg Bridge Walk Details
Below are a few things that are good to know for your walk on the Williamsburg Bridge:
Starting Point: Delancey Street and Clinton Street
Ending Point: Broadway and Bedford Avenue
Note that you can begin your walk in either direction. When doing the walk myself I started in Manhattan, headed into Williamsburg and then came back in the opposite direction. This way I experienced both directions of the walk.
If I had to choose between the two, I would recommend the Brooklyn to Manhattan direction due to the more consistent NYC skyline views but it is hard to go wrong either way.
Williamsburg Walk Distance: the distance between the starting and ending point is about 1.3 miles (2.1 kilometers).
Duration: the walk should take around 35 minutes with no stops of any kind. If you were to take some photos or just pause in certain sections to enjoy the view, the bridge walk could talk closer to an hour.
Williamsburg Bridge Incline: something to consider here is that there is some elevation gain (and loss) as you get over the bridge. All of the gain will happen at the beginning of the walk as you go up the ramp and towards the main bridge itself. You should expect to gain around 100 feet of elevation during the walk/bike.
4) How to Walk the Williamsburg Bridge
Now that you have the logistics and details down, I thought it would be helpful to show some pictures of the bridge walk itself and what types of views you can get along the way. I will go through the walk from the Manhattan side but also show some photos walking in the opposite direction as well.
As you are walking east on Delancey Street you should see the Williamsburg Bridge way out in the distance. Continue walking along the street until you reach a point where you see the pedestrian pathway promenade between the lanes (near Clinton Street).
Here you will want to cross halfway across the street to reach this pedestrian path divider. From there you will see the official entrance way to the bridge’s walking and biking path.
The two right hand lanes will be used for pedestrians and the two left hand lanes for bicycles. This first portion of the walkway is to get you to the bridge itself. There will be a slight incline all the way through until you get closer to the bridge.
You will then soon reach the intersection where the pedestrian and bicycle lanes split into two. From here on out, the lanes will be separated on either side of the bridge.
An interesting thing to note about the Williamsburg bridge is that there are subway cars on the bridge that make their way into and out of Manhattan and Brooklyn. From this intersection point you will hear and feel these trains constantly throughout the walk.
The pedestrian path continues along as you are now officially on the bridge and you will continue walking over the East River. Slowly but surely you will approach the massive steel towers that will be hovering up above.
As you continue along you will begin to get views of the East River, the Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty out in the distance.
Unfortunately, the Williamsburg Bridge is not the best for photography as there are a couple of fences blocking the view. With the right angles and photography skills though, you should be able to get some pictures through the fencing.
Somewhere in the middle of the bridge, you will see the connection between the pedestrian path and bicycle path. Here you can sneak in some views of the north side of the bridge (including the Empire State Building) as well as get an unobstructed view of the subway tracks.
From there the path continues towards Brooklyn as you enjoy some more views off to your right and the pathway out in front of you. As you get closer to the Williamsburg side, the pathway opens up a bit more and you should get a great viewpoint of lower Manhattan.
The rest of the pathway from here is pretty uneventful as you head down towards the street level and you reach the Williamsburg side entrance.
The walk back from Williamsburg to Manhattan will be similar. However, towards the end of the walk (closer to Manhattan), you will get some nice views of NYC skyline including the World Trade Center.
→ Check out some other viewpoints around the area in the guide to the top views in NYC
Overall, it is a fantastic walk to take part of if you are looking to get between the two boroughs. You get to enjoy some nice views along the way as you experience what the Williamsburg Bridge has to offer.
5) Other NYC Bridge Walks
There are two other nearby East River bridge walks that I would recommend while visiting New York. If you head further south, both the Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge connect the two boroughs as well.
The Brooklyn Bridge walk is by far the most popular of NYC bridges to walk over. The bridge itself is iconic and the walking path is directly in the middle of the bridge. With the NYC skyline hovering out in the distance, it really is one of the most scenic places to visit in New York.
With its popularity, comes the crowds though. So, as you can imagine this is also the busiest bridge walk to take part of. If you are interested in taking part, I would recommend heading there early in the morning to avoid the crowds (or even for a Brooklyn Bridge sunrise). Having the bridge all to yourself will be quite a special experience to have.
» You can learn more about the walk in the Brooklyn Bridge guide up on the site
The Manhattan Bridge walk is another popular walk to take part of. The bridge itself is nowhere as scenic as the Brooklyn Bridge, however you do get amazing views of the Brooklyn Bridge itself.
Walking across the East River with the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and downtown NYC all in view makes it one of my favorite parts of the city.
» You can learn more about this walk in the Manhattan Bridge walking guide up on the site
If we are comparing all three, the Brooklyn Bridge would take the top spot in my book followed by the Manhattan Bridge. While I certainly enjoyed my time on the Williamsburg Bridge, the other two just offered some better views and experiences overall.
6) Where to Stay in NYC
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 High Line, 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.
While Central Park is a bit further away, you should still be able to reach it in about 30 minutes by subway. Recommended Tribeca Hotels:
» Check out this helpful guide that talks all about the best areas to stay in New York during a visit
I hope that this guide has given you a better idea of what the Williamsburg Bridge walk entails. If you do have any questions or comments, please feel free to add 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!