Walking the Brooklyn Bridge – Fun and Free Family Fun!

by Adrienne Veglia Mazeau on September 28, 2012. Updated November 4, 2012

in Travel Ideas

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge is a fun outing to do with kids in New York City. It’s a good way to get outside in the city, take in some sites both in Manhattan and the DUMBO area of Brooklyn and it’s free too.  

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge was completed in 1883 and considered an engineering marvel for its time. It remains as one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States connecting lower Manhattan to Brooklyn. A unique feature to the bridge is the elevated pedestrian walkway above the multiple vehicle lanes. Crossing the bridge from the Brooklyn side provides unbeatable views of New York as you feel as though you are walking straight into the Lower Manhattan skyline.  Best of all – this is a totally FREE NYC attraction! The bridge has a path for walkers and joggers and a separate lane for bicyclists.

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn

Before crossing the bridge, take a detour through the city’s newest outdoor park, aptly named the Brooklyn Bridge Park located just under the Bridge in DUMBO (a neighborhood in Brooklyn and stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass).  Along with amazing views of the city, various concerts and cultural events take place throughout the year and there’s even a wine bar for mom and dad.  The kids will love to roam around the green space and take a spin on the restored carousel.  Everyone wins.

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge - Brooklyn Bridge Park

Tip: The DUMBO, Brooklyn entrance of the bridge is not handicap accessible and requires you to walk up a flight of rather narrow stairs.  Be prepared if traveling with a stroller.

The bridge’s iconic neo-Gothic style archways are lined with placards describing the building and history of the bridge. If traveling with young kids, or on a crowded weekend, it can be difficult to get up close to read about the challenges of building the bridge, but well worth it for history buffs. The Brooklyn Bridge was said to be cursed as the original architect, John Augustus Roebling, died due to complications of injuries from a crushed foot during construction. His son, Washington Roebling, took over the project but was inflicted with severe decompression sickness when surveying the lower pillars of the bridge.  In the end, it was his wife who lead the project while he consulted from his home in Brooklyn.

It took us about 30 minutes to cross the bridge as stopped many times to gaze at the skyline and snap pictures of famous NYC landmarks such as the Empire State Building and the Statute of Liberty.

Once across the Bridge, the Manhattan entrance is close to the Mayor’s Office, Foley’s Square and the distinguished courthouses.  For fans of Law and Order, you will likely recognize the area and if you plan ahead you can take a screen tour  of the Law and Order sets as well as other famed NYC TV and movie sets.

After crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and dining in Chinatown, the kids were starting to fade but we ended up exploring the kitschy area of South Street Seaport.  I’ve visited this area before and each time I think this is a missed opportunity to have an area of the City truly dedicated to the rich history of New York.  Instead, it’s a series of overpriced chain restaurants and tourist gimmicks.  However, you can board the New York City Water Taxi and the other boat tours around the city from South Street Seaport to get amazing pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge.  There are several large sailing ships docked at the Seaport which the kids got a real kick out of seeing.

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn gives you some amazing views of the NYC skyline and you can really make a full day of seeing the sites around lower Manhattan. There are so many areas to explore on both sides of the Bridge but I highly recommend reading up on the history of the Brooklyn Bridge before your trip to enhance your visit for you and your kids. Here are some children’s books we found that are great for younger children:

  • Twenty One Elephants and Still Standing
  • You Wouldn’t Want to Work on the Brooklyn Bridge
  • More Family Fun in Brooklyn:

    And Fun Things To Do with Kids in New York City:

    | Adrienne lives outside of Albany, NY with her archaeologist husband, creative school age daughter and a very active toddler. When not dreaming about where to take her family next she works as a Fiscal Policy Analyst for New York State. Combining an insatiable appetite for breaking out of routine and discovering new destinations with her family while working full time keeps the balancing act interesting. Writing as become her creative outlet. Email: AdrienneVegliaMazeau@AlbanyKid.com, Twitter: @AdrienneVMazeau

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