Brooklyn, NY

Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting the Brooklyn Bridge

Hannah Lee

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Chris Molloy / Pexels

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most iconic sites in New York City. The beautiful views of Lower and Midtown Manhattan, the East River, and Brooklyn, in addition to the beauty and cultural significance of the bridge itself make it a very popular tourist destination. Here's everything you need to know before visiting.

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John A. RoeblingPublic Domain

The Brooklyn Bridge was designed by John Roebling, and was built between 1869 and 1883. The two towers are constructed of limestone, granite, and concrete. Each tower features two Gothic style arches.

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Center for Brooklyn History

It is the oldest of NYC's suspension bridges, followed by the Williamsburg Bridge, which was completed in 1903, and the Manhattan Bridge, completed in 1909.

During the construction process, Roebling died in an accident while surveying land for the bridge. His son then took over, but in 1872, he suffered from decompression sickness and became confined to his home. His wife, Emily, then took over supervising the work and played a major role in the construction of the bridge. She was the first person to cross it after its completion.

The Brooklyn Bridge cost $15,000,000 to build, which is equivalent to more than $320,000,000 today.

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Ross Monroe

Now that you have a little background information, let’s get into planning your visit.

The bridge is just over a mile (1825 meters) long, and will take 20-30 minutes to cross one way at a brisk pace, but you’ll want to allow more time than that to stop and admire the views and architecture and to take some photos. I would recommend allowing at least an hour to cross one way, and and an hour and a half to two hours to walk over and back.

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Google Maps

The Manhattan entrance is located in the Financial District at the northeast corner of City Hall Park along Centre Street, and the easiest way to get here is by subway. You can take the 4, 5, or 6 train to the Brooklyn Bridge City Hall stop, the N, R, or W to the City Hall stop, or the J or Z train to Chambers Street.

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Google Maps

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Google Maps

There are two entrances on the Brooklyn side. You can take the 2, 3, 4, or 5 train to Borough Hall or the A, C, or F train to Jay Street, and enter at the intersection of Tillary Street & Adams Street. You can also take the A or C train to High Street and enter directly under the bridge on Washington Street.

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Tim Gouw / Pexels

Here’s my personal recommendation, especially if you only plan to walk across one way: Take the A or C train to High Street in Brooklyn, and spend part of your day exploring Dumbo and Brooklyn Bridge Park. This area is absolutely beautiful and has, in my opinion, the best views of Manhattan in the entire city.

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You can also grab this beautiful and iconic photo on Washington Street where you can see the Empire State Building under the Manhattan Bridge.

When you’re done, just walk up Washington Street and enter from the stairs under the bridge. From this direction, you’ll have a stunning view of Manhattan for the entire walk.

Chris Molloy / Pexels

As for when the best time to visit is - that’s really up to you. It is truly always beautiful, and you can’t go wrong. It just depends on the kind of experience you want to have. Sunset is absolutely beautiful, of course, but it is also the most crowded time to visit. If you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, try going early in the morning or at night time, as there are usually less people around.

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Ross Monroe

It’s also worth mentioning that you can bike across the Brooklyn Bridge if you’d like, but for first time visitors, I would recommend walking. The bike lane is on the lower level of the bridge next to where the cars drive, so you won’t be able to see as well or take your time like you would walking along the upper level. Also note that if you do decide to bike, you can’t enter from the Washington Street entrance in Brooklyn. You’ll have to enter at Tillary & Adams instead.

Side note: The bike lane was actually up on the pedestrian level until September 2021, and its recent move has been absolutely fantastic. The upper level isn’t near as crowded anymore, and it’s much easier and less frustrating for both the cyclists and pedestrians.

Now for a few general tips for your comfort and the comfort of others:

1. Make sure to bring water with you, especially on a hot day. There are usually people on the bridge selling it if you forget, but you’ll need to make sure to have cash on hand to buy it. I have been stuck on the bridge before on very hot days with no water or cash to buy any, and It's really miserable. It also can’t hurt to have some granola bars or something on hand too in case you get hungry.

2. This probably goes without saying, but wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be much more comfortable and have a better experience if your feet aren’t on fire.

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Ross Monroe

3. Don’t put locks on the bridge. If you’re not aware, it’s a trend for people (particularly couples) to put locks with their initials on them on bridges. Don’t do it. You can be fined $100 for this if you get caught, and it’s also bad for the infrastructure of the bridge.

4. I’m sure you’ll want to take photos, and you absolutely should, BUT please remember that the bridge isn’t only a tourist attraction. It’s a pedestrian bridge that people use to get to where they’re going. If you’re going to take a photo, don’t just stop in the middle of foot traffic to do it. Move to the side first.

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Hannah Lee

5. I urge you to not sit or stand on the ledges of the bridge to take photos. I see people doing this every time I visit, and it scares me every single time. If you fall, you will land in traffic. There is nothing to catch or protect you, and the photo isn’t worth risking your life. You can get perfectly adequate, beautiful photos without doing that, so please don’t.

I hope this helps you have the best time possible when you visit the Brooklyn Bridge. Share your experience with me in the comments below. I'd love to hear about it!

Watch my video about the Brooklyn Bridge here.

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I'm Hannah. I make videos about New York City and my life living here.

New York, NY
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