One of the most popular activities to do while visiting New York City is walking across Brooklyn Bridge. The view from the pedestrian pathway is breathtaking with the iconic bridge towering above you with the Manhattan skyline in the background. Brooklyn Bridge is today more than 130 years old and is an iconic part of the city’s skyline. This bridge is one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York City and around 150,000 pedestrians and vehicles cross over every day. This guide will go over everything you need to know to visit Brooklyn Bridge, including facts, how to avoid crowds, and some other helpful tips.
Brooklyn Bridge looms majestically over New York City’s East River connecting Brooklyn with Manhattan. Brooklyn Bridge was the first bridge connecting the two boroughs and opened in 1883. This was even before Brooklyn was a part of New York City.
John Augustus Roebling was the creator of the Brooklyn Bridge and was born in Germany in 1806. It took 14 years to build Brooklyn Bridge and at least 20 people died in the process, including the creator himself. John Augustus Roebling was taking measurements on the Bridge one day when a ferry crushed Roebling’s foot. The wounds led to tetanus, and he passed away from it in July 1869.
After he passed away his son Washington A. Roebling took over as chief engineer. His son and many construction workers later became sick from decompression sickness, so his wife Emily Warren Roebling took over.
Brooklyn Bridge was the first steel suspension bridge, with the longest span in the world of 1,595 feet (486 meters) from tower to tower. This was the longest bridge in the world until the Firth of Forth cantilever bridge in Scotland was built in 1890. The total length of Brooklyn Bridge is 6,016 feet (1,834 meters) and the height is 276.5 feet (84.3 meters).
After Brooklyn Bridge was finished, Emily was the first one to ride over in a carriage. The opening day on May 24, 1883, was also attended by U.S. President Chester A. Arthur.
How to walk over Brooklyn Bridge
Walking across Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most popular and iconic things to do in New York City. Because of how popular it is, you can probably imagine that it can get a little crowded.
The only way to walk over Brooklyn Bridge is to use the pedestrian walkway which is 1.1 miles (1.6 km) long. You can enter from Manhattan or Brooklyn it’s up to you and what fits your plan for the day. We recommend starting from Brooklyn since you get a view of Manhattan’s skyline in the background the whole way.
Starting from Brooklyn
If you’re planning to enter from Brooklyn, the walkway begins on Tillary Street and Boerum Place. On google maps, you can search for “Brooklyn Bridge Walkway Starting Point”.
The second entrance is a stairway located in DUMBO on Washington Street. You walk up those stairs to enter the Brooklyn Bridge walkway. Some people think it’s hard to find it, so if you’re having a hard time, just ask someone for directions. The arrows on the map show you where to enter.
You can take the subway to the following stations to get there:
- Jay Street/MetroTech Station
- Court Street Station
- Borough Hall Station
- High Street (closest one)
Starting from Manhattan
It’s very easy to enter from Manhattan and hard to miss the entrance. You enter from the northeast corner of City Hall Park and Centre Street. The arrow on the map shows where you will be entering the pedestrian walkway.
You can take the subway to the following stations to get there:
- Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall (closest one)
- Chambers St.
- Park Place
- City Hall
- Fulton Street
Is it worth it?
Many people ask themselves if it’s worth it considering the time it takes, and the fact that people think it’s a tourist trap with big crowds. As someone who has lived in New York for many years, Brooklyn Bridge is still one of my favorite things to do. So yes, it’s worth it!
Yes, it can get annoying when you have to deal with big crowds, flying selfie sticks, and aggressive cyclist commuters, but it’s definitely worth it. I enjoy both seeing Brooklyn Bridge up close but also all the views around it such as Manhattan’s skyline, Brooklyn, Manhattan Bridge, and more. Walking across Brooklyn Bridge is also one of the best free things to do in New York City.
How long does it take?
If you walk at a slow pace, it takes 30-60 minutes to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. We recommend adding a little extra time to make stops here and there to really soak in this amazing New York City landmark. Remember that the pedestrian walkway is somewhat narrow, and you can sometimes only walk as fast as the flow of the crowds.
Here are some examples of how long we would say it takes to cross over:
30 minutes – walking a faster pace stopping only 1-2 times to take a quick photo
45 minutes – strolling across the bridge taking some photos and stopping to enjoy the view once or twice
60 minutes or more – strolling across the bridge taking photos and making stops, you want to take your time to soak up the view at each stop, and you are here during rush hour
What time of day to visit?
Honestly if you want to avoid crowds, come here on a rainy day. If it’s rainy, cold, or too windy out fewer people want to walk across the bridge. If you come here at sunrise the Bridge will also almost be empty except for cyclist commuters heading to work. Brooklyn Bridge will be most crowded during the weekends, so try to visit Monday to Friday to avoid crowds.
Best time to take photos
Sunset and sunrise are the most beautiful times to walk over Brooklyn Bridge. If you go during sunset, be prepared to bring an extra jacket or sweater since it can get very cold and windy up there during the colder months.
Best places to view Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge is one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking of New York City. It’s one of the most famous and beautiful bridges in the world. Walking across Brooklyn Bridge is an amazing experience, but you can also enjoy the view from far away. Here are our top places to view Brooklyn Bridge from:
- Brooklyn Bridge Promenade
- Boat cruise along East River
- The rooftop at Pier 17
- Brooklyn Heights Promenade
- One World Observatory
- Walking around in DUMBO
- Pebble Beach at Main Street Park
- Time Out Market
- Pier 1 in DUMBO
- From Manhattan Bridge
Other things to keep in mind
Bring a camera
Brooklyn Bridge is one of the best places to take photos in New York City. You don’t want to miss out a good photo opportunity here. Most people have cameras on their smartphones already, but we always recommend bringing a camera here.
Prepare for the weather
Brooklyn Bridge is a very windy place. If you come here at sunrise to avoid crowds, bring a lot of thick layers. The walk over Brooklyn Bridge is much more enjoyable if you are dressed right.
During the summer months, it can get extremely warm and humid in New York City. If you want to walk across Brooklyn Bridge in the summer, make sure to bring water with you.
Wear comfortable shoes
Since New York City is a very walk-friendly city, we always recommend wearing comfortable shoes. The walk over Brooklyn Bridge is around 1.1 miles (1.6 km) long and can take 30-60 minutes depending on your speed so make sure to wear comfortable shoes like sneakers.
It’s very easy to get irritated while walking across Brooklyn Bridge because of all the people. There will be groups taking photos blocking the whole walkway, and selfie sticks flying around in front of your face. The pedestrian walkway is narrow and sometimes you just have to be patient and walk as fast as the flow of the crowd moves. We recommend adding extra time to this attraction to make sure you don’t feel rushed walking over the Bridge.
Don’t leave a lock on the bridge
This is not allowed, and you can get a ticket for doing this.
Stay in the pedestrian lane
Something you must keep in mind when walking over Brooklyn Bridge is to stay in the pedestrian lane to avoid getting hit by a cyclist commuter. This is easy to forget while taking photos for example.
Interesting facts about Brooklyn Bridge
In May 1884, the famous showman P. T. Barnum walked 21 elephants over the Brooklyn Bridge to help prove how stable it was.
150,000 pedestrians and vehicles cross Brooklyn Bridge every day.
Brooklyn Bridge was first going to be named The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Great East River Bridge, or Great East River Suspension Bridge. In 1883, they named it New York and Brooklyn Bridge (Brooklyn was not a part of New York until 1898). They changed the name to Brooklyn Bridge in 1915.
A week after the opening, around 20,000 people were on the bridge when the panic started. Rumors said that Brooklyn Bridge was about to collapse. Twelve people were crushed to death, while everyone in panic tried to escape.
It cost around 15 USD to build Brooklyn Bridge.