How to Get to the Brooklyn Bridge

By Johanna Read

Walking New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge

How to Get to the Brooklyn Bridge

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the iconic experiences of visiting the Big Apple. Getting there from anywhere in the city is easy. Most visitors prefer to take the subway to the Brooklyn side and then walk over to the Manhattan side, so they see Manhattan’s skyscrapers as the backdrop for their stroll. Regardless of direction, however, the bridge’s double-arched Gothic towers and crisscrossing cables make interesting photos.

Arrive on the water or underground

The NYC Ferry helps you get to the Brooklyn Bridge, especially on a sunny day. The South Brooklyn route, which goes from Wall Street in Manhattan to DUMBO and beyond in Brooklyn, is convenient for visitors wanting to walk the bridge from the Brooklyn side. The East River route departs from East 34th Street in Manhattan and goes down the Brooklyn side of the river with several stops. For both routes, the closest stop for access to the bridge on the Brooklyn side is DUMBO. Tickets cost $2.75 as of summer 2017 and are available at machines at each landing, via the NYC Ferry app and on board.

The subway is the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to get around New York. Grab a map and a MetroCard, and you can zoom underneath the city’s notorious traffic. MetroCards are available to purchase at kiosks at most subway stations. Options include pay-per-ride at $2.75 each as well as unlimited rides for a seven- or 30-day period. There's a $1 fee for the card itself.

Directions for walking from Manhattan or from Brooklyn

For views of DUMBO’s waterfront and the warehouses of Brooklyn, walk the Brooklyn Bridge from the Manhattan side. This direction is ideal just before sunset when the low sun shines onto Brooklyn. Nearby subway stops are City Hall for the N and R trains, Chambers Street for the J and Z trains, and the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall stop for the 4, 5 and 6 trains. The pedestrian entrance to the bridge is along Centre Street near City Hall.

Walkers can use one of these two route options:

  1. Coming from Cobble Hill or Downtown Brooklyn  – Those with strollers or wheelchairs prefer the sloped entrance to the bridge, although the nearby intersection is very busy. The entrance is at Tillary Street and Boerum Place and has a “To Manhattan” sign above the walkway. The closest subway stations are Borough Hall for the 4 and 5 trains and Jay Street-Metro Tech for the A, C and F trains.
  2. Those able to climb stairs will find the entrance through Cadman Plaza park prettier and with less street traffic to navigate. Take the A or C train to High Street-Brooklyn Bridge station. Follow the signs for Cadman Plaza West and Cranberry and Henry Streets, which lead from the subway along an underground path surfacing across the street from the park. Once inside the park, take the footpath on the far left. It leads to stairs underneath the bridge.  

If you're taking the NYC Ferry, follow the latter directions. From the ferry’s DUMBO stop, walk southeast along Old Fulton Street to get to Cadman Plaza Park. The footpath to the far left leads under the bridge to a staircase up to the bridge deck.

Always busy, especially on a sunny day

Regardless of the season, a clear, sunny day is ideal for visiting the bridge. The bridge gets very crowded in the high tourist seasons of summer and autumn. An average of 4,000 people cross it every day on foot.

Not just for tourists

It takes about 25 minutes to walk across the bridge, but two or three times longer with photo stops and if the bridge is crowded with tourists. The one-way crossing is about 1.3 miles long, so wearing comfortable shoes is a must.

While tourists stop for photos along the way, many New Yorkers walk across the bridge as part of their daily commute. Be sure to leave room for faster walkers to get by. Don't mistakenly step into the bike lane because bikes can appear quickly and without notice. The best place for photos is at the towers, where there’s more room for posing.

As you walk...

Enjoy sightseeing all along the bridge, as well as at each end. The Statue of Liberty is on the south side. Nearby bridges are the Manhattan Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge. On the Brooklyn side, the Brooklyn Bridge Park has beautiful views including a photo op of the expanse of the bridge. Visitors can find numerous restaurant options on both the Manhattan and Brooklyn sides.

About the Author

Johanna Read is a Canadian freelance writer and photographer specializing in travel, food, and responsible tourism. Writing for a variety of Canadian and international publications, she likes to encourage travel that is culturally, economically, and environmentally sustainable. Links to all her travel stories are at www.TravelEater.net. Follow her on Twitter @TravelEater and on Instagram @TravelEaterJohanna.