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What to do in DUMBO, Brooklyn

Updated: April 15, 2024

This post is a self-guided tour that takes you to see charming and historic locations and cutting-edge art and architecture in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

When writing this post, we tapped into our local tour guides' knowledge and experiences in DUMBO, both leading walking tours there as well as spending their free time there.

For more opinions about this cool neighborhood, we asked the more than 230,000 members of our NYC Travel Tips Facebook group. See what they had to say at the bottom of this post.

Our group consists of locals, regular visitors to NYC, and those just getting to know the city. There's no need to join to read the comments and recommendations. 

So take a look at our Facebook group for more ideas or ask a question yourself!


WHAT IS DUMBO IN NYC?

DUMBO is located in the northeast of Brooklyn, just across the river from Lower Manhattan and just to the north of Brooklyn Heights.

How to get to DUMBO NYC
Dumbo New York Map

If you are wondering if it's named after the loveable Disney elephant, it isn't! DUMBO is an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.

Find out more about the origin of the name DUMBO. The story is quite interesting!


There are 4 ways to get here (from Manhattan):

  1. Subway
  2. East River Ferry
  3. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
  4. Bike Across the Bridge

Regardless of how you get here, we recommend using this Google Maps link for directions.

We also provide more detailed directions for each option at the bottom of this page.


Let Us Guide You Here

We visit the area on our Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights, and DUMBO Tour, which takes place daily at 9:30 with additional seasonal times.

Or you could take our GPS-led audio tour any time you wish.

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An Introduction to DUMBO

If you have the time, a trip to DUMBO is worth it, if only for some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline in the entire city! Plus, the neighborhood has so much more to offer.

It's known for being a hip, yet non-pretentious area. Several green spaces line the waterfront and there's ample space for residents and tourists to enjoy side-by-side.

You'll find famous fine-dining restaurants like the very upscale River Cafe and one of the most famous pizzerias in NYC, Grimaldi's.

DUMBO has embraced its past as an industrial neighborhood by re-purposing 100-year-old warehouses into luxury condos, hip restaurants, cutting-edge art galleries, and small boutiques.

Dumbo sign

This is one of the reasons why DUMBO is an expensive neighborhood to live in. The views, the vibe, the food scene, and the architecture, make it appealing to young professionals.

Families also gravitate here given the large parks and the fact that DUMBO is a safe neighborhood, though, at night, some caution is warranted. Read about How to Stay Safe in NYC.


ATTRACTIONS AND THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN DUMBO

This self-guided tour takes you to the spots where you can take some of the best photos of New York City.

Make sure your camera battery is charged and ready to go!

Click the map to enlarge.


GPS-LED AUDIO TOUR

Take this tour in our GPS-led audio tour app. Listen to a sample.

Downloads are only $2.99. We also offer 9 other NYC audio tours.


Here is how it works:

  1. Purchase an audio tour.
  2. Get a confirmation email with .mp3, .pdf, and embeddable Google Map
  3. Enjoy the tour(s).

Even if you don't download any tours, you will still have access to valuable information on sightseeing, eating, and playing in the Big Apple.


1 – The DUMBO Walls

This project began in 2012. Eight walls near the York Street subway station were selected as sites for large murals by famed artists like Shepard Fairey, MOMO, Yuko Shimizu, and several more.

Some of these eight sites have original murals, and others have new ones.

For example, along York Street between Adams and Pearl Street of CAM’s huge colorful owls are still visible.

Other walls have had several new murals since the DUMBO Walls were installed, like the corrugated metal wall on Front Street between Adams Street and Pearl Street.

Dumbo Mural

You can use this map to find all DUMBO Walls, but for a taste, take a look just to the left of the exit from the York Street station.

About 100 feet from the station exit, you will see a large brick wall on your left with a somewhat faded Shepard Fairey.

TIP: We visit some of the murals during our pay-what-you-wish 3-hour Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights, and DUMBO Tour.

If you are a fan of street art and murals, take a look at our post on the best places to see street art in NYC. You might also enjoy our Graffiti and Street Art Tours.

From York Street, make a right turn onto Washington Street and walk two blocks.


2 - Iconic view of the Manhattan Bridge

Corner of Washington Street and Front Street.

Your grand greeting from DUMBO is a photo op you will not want to miss.

As you walk down Washington Street, look straight ahead and you will see the blue-gray steel of the Manhattan Bridge, built in 1912.

Far off in the distance, you can see the Empire State Building perfectly framed in the archway of the bridge.

Manhattan Bridge

If the view looks familiar that is because this exact vantage point is one of the several iconic photos of New York City.

Although cars are active along these streets, most drivers go slow knowing that lots of people stop here to take photos. Still, be careful when standing in the middle of the street.

The streets surrounding the base have been used as locations for many films including:

  • The Naked City (1948)
  • The French Connection (1971)
  • Serpico (1973),
  • Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
  • Scent of a Woman (1992)
  • American Gangster (2007)
  • The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
  • The Amazing Spider-Man (both 2012).

Walk half a block east on Water Street. (East is walking in the opposite direction of the car traffic).


3 - Gleason's Gym

130 Water Street

Gleason's Gym is one of the most famous boxing training gyms in America.

The original Gleason’s Gym was located in the Bronx, having opened in 1937 by the late, great boxer Bobby Gleason. It moved to DUMBO in 1984.

Over the years, many legends have trained for fame at Gleason’s.

At the original Bronx location, stars like Jake LaMotta, Roberto Duran, and Mike Tyson trained.

In 1963, a young man named Cassius Clay learned how to box like a champ as he prepared for his famous match with Sonny Liston.

Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali and the rest is history.

Gleasons Gym

The gym has also been the setting for several boxing movies.

Robert DeNiro trained in the gym's Manhattan location to prepare for his role as LaMotta in Raging Bull.

Wesley Snipes trained in DUMBO to prepare to play Roland Jenkins in the 1987 film Streets of Gold.

Actress Hillary Swank, in preparation for her Academy-Award-winning role in Million Dollar Baby, was trained by Gleason boxing trainer Hector Roca.

Continue East on Water Street. The corner of Water and Adams Street is our next stop.


4 - PowerHouse ARENA

28 Adams Street

In 2006, the critically acclaimed publisher PowerHouse Books opened PowerHouse ARENA in DUMBO as a venue for creative thought and top-notch art exhibitions, installations, presentations, performances, and readings.

It drew lots of locals, and travelers as well, who came to see famed authors and artists.

Powerhouse ARENA helped to put DUMBO on the “map” as a world-class venue for arts and literature.

The original location which was at 37 Main Street was a massive 10,000 square feet with 24-foot ceilings and large glass windows.

Powerhouse Books

As is so often the case, original renters in DUMBO are priced out of their own homes. In 2016 the rent doubled and they moved to a smaller nearby location.

Just a few of the authors who have read there are Salman Rushdie, Paul Auster, Gary Shteyngart, David Sedaris, Mary Gaitskill, Jonathan Lethem, Joyce Carol Oates, Jennifer Egan, T.C. Boyle, Jonathan Franzen, Pete Hamill, and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith.

Check their website to see if anyone famous will be stopping by when you are there.


6 - Archway of the Manhattan Bridge

A century ago, who would have imagined that the desolate dark space underneath the noisy bridge would become a unique venue available to rent for special events, markets, art exhibitions, commercial photography shoots, and, believe it or not, weddings?

In spring and summer, concerts, light shows, and even sports event viewings are open to the public for free.

In 2014, the Archway installed a large Jumbotron TV to air the World Cup.

Viewers came with folding chairs, some wine, cheese, and even flags of their favorite teams!

In the below pictures, you can see (from left to right) 1) the archway used as a film location for a movie set in the 1920s; 2) the archway on an average day; 3) the archway with a fun night of beer!

Archway Collage

By now you should have noticed that many of DUMBO’s streets are cobblestone.

While it is not the original cobblestone laid down by the very first settlers of New York City, much of DUMBO’s cobblestone was laid down in the early 1900s.

Other areas of New York City that are known for their cobblestone streets are Tribeca, Greenwich Village, and SoHo, all of which we offer free tours of - see our tour calendar to find out more.

The area around the archway has an aged look to it, with its small shop storefronts and large industrial buildings in the background.

The area’s unique characteristics make it a perfect location for filming movies that take place in the past.

Stephen Spielberg filmed some scenes from Bridge of Spies here as the film takes place in the 1960s.

Above is a video of the filmmakers filming by the archway. You can see how the shops were fitted with era-appropriate signs and the streets are lined with old automobiles.

Walk through the Archway and you will hit Anchorage Place. If it is Spring and Summer you will walk right into our next stop.


6 - DUMBO Flea

April through October, Sundays 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. 

This well-known ‘upscale flea market’ is a must-see event that happens every Sunday throughout the Spring and Summer.

It is a unique blend of artisan crafts, vintage clothing, handmade jewelry, and retro furniture.

Even if you don’t plan on shopping, a visit to the Brooklyn Flea can be great fun!

Dumbo Flea

Dig through old dusty records, and find unusual funky clothing and souvenirs unique to Brooklyn. It’s good vibes all around!

You will also find unique food vendors – save room for a treat as you will want to try something.

DUMBO Flea was ranked as one of the world’s best flea markets by Travel + LeisureCountry LivingBudget Travel, and Fodor’s! 

Turn left on Anchorage Place and walk one block to Plymouth Street. Make a left onto Plymouth Street and walk one block to Adams Street.


7- Jay Street Connecting Railroad

As you have been walking around you may have noticed what appears like trolley tracks.

These are what is left of the former Jay Street Connecting Railroad (JSC). It was created by the Arbuckle Brothers, Brooklyn's original coffee king.

By 1900, the Arbuckle Company had a factory and a group of warehouses on the Brooklyn waterfront.

Believing that a railroad was the best way to effectively move cargo through the buildings, they created the JSC.

Dumbo rail tracks

The railroad had terminals to serve the various industries and factories in the area.

With the rise of trucks as the dominant means of transporting goods, the small local railroad stopped operating by 1958.

The tracks remain and are yet another aspect of DUMBO that is a reminder of days gone by.

For history buffs and train aficionados, you can find out more information here.

Continue walking along Plymouth Street until you reach Washington Street. Here you will find the entrance to a delightful waterside park.


8 - Main Street Park

This 3.5-acre park offers spectacular views of the East River and Manhattan. (Importantly, there are public bathrooms available just a hundred feet into the park!).

So many things go on every day in this neatly groomed park with some shady trees but mostly open grass. Bring a blanket and laze for an hour or more.

Main Street Park

When sitting in this park, located between the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge to the south, be prepared to pause your conversation approximately every 3 minutes as the subway traverses the Manhattan Bridge). Click here for the Park's website.

Once you are in the park, walk southwest toward the Brooklyn Bridge and the water's edge.

You will see a small curved beach of rocks level with the river. Head down there and get your camera out for some of the most monumental photos you will get on your trip to New York City.


9 - Pebble Beach

When you planned your trip to New York City you probably didn’t contemplate being able to dip your toes into the East River!

At Pebble Beach, you can walk down to the water, watch it lap up against the land, and take a pebble for a souvenir.

Pebble Beach

The water is clean enough that the Brooklyn Bridge Boathouse sponsors a free kayaking program every summer where you can get 20 minutes free of kayak time and get out into the river.

It is an unusual experience that not many travelers know about.

It is NOT something you will forget. Bring a waterproof camera! Find out more information here.

Read our post on the number of free ways to get on the water in NYC.

From Pebble Beach, turn away from the water, look back at the buildings and you will see a building several stories high. At the top, the building is fitted with a 14-foot glass clock.


10 - 1 Main Street

(aka the Clocktower Building) corner of Plymouth Street and Main Street

The Clocktower has special significance in that it was the first of the old, abandoned industrial buildings in the area to be converted into luxury apartment buildings.

In the 1980s, property developer David Walentas had the brilliant foresight to purchase the area's mostly empty big loft-like spaces.

At the time, the entire Clocktower Building cost just $12 million – a real steal for a building so large.

Walentas bought up so much property and converted them into luxury condos that DUMBO got a nickname, Walentasville!

clocktower building

While all the apartments in the Clocktower have great views, the penthouse triplex is like no other.

It has four 14-foot-high (4.2 m) round windows each with four working clocks.

In 2010, the penthouse was listed on the real estate market and the asking price was $25 million. (Remember that the entire building was bought by Walentas for half that amount!).

There were no takers and the building sat empty until March 2017, when it was finally sold for the bargain price of…$15 million!

Still, you will never be late for an appointment!

Continue walking south through the park along the footpath toward the massive brick warehouse-like structure known as Empire Stores.


11 - Empire Stores

53-83 Water Street

You cannot miss this 500,000-square-foot brick warehouse situated close to the waterfront. This is the Empire Stores' former warehouse, built between 1868 and 1885.

In those days, Brooklyn was America’s coffee capital. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the vast majority of the country’s coffee supply arrived through New York Harbor.

As industry slowed down along the Brooklyn waterfront in the 1940s and ‘50s, many of the area’s warehouses were torn down for the construction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

Empire Stores Collage

Photo left to right: 1) Empire Stores in its warehouse days; 2) during its unused era; 3) the first stages of renovation and repurposing in 2017.

By the 1960s, Empire Stores was abandoned. But with the rise of DUMBO as a vibrant neighborhood and the development of its splendid waterfront, it has been brought back to life.

In 2013, investors and real estate developers converted the warehouses into a mixed-use project with 420,000 rentable square feet of office space and 80,000 square feet of retail.

To see a listing of the dozens of retail stores and places to eat, click here.


12 - Time Out Market

Located inside the Empire Stores complex, this large food market has 21 eateries and a communal space where you can sit and enjoy your meal.

In addition to the food market, there are three bars and a 5th-floor that includes a rooftop with waterfront views!

Time Out Market

TIP: For other great, free views, see our post on the best NYC skyline views.

The market is open Mon-Thurs 8 am - 11 pm and Fri, Sat, Sun 8 am- 12 am.

NOTE: They do not accept cash at their eateries. Cash is ok at the bars. At both the eaters and the bars, they take debit or credit cards.


13 - Jane's Carousel

Located in Brooklyn Bridge Park, this carousel is one of our top 10 family-friendly things to do in Brooklyn.

This 1922 carousel, featuring 48 carved wooden horses, was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company and stationed in Idora Park in Youngstown, Ohio.

When Idora Park closed in 1984, Jane and David Walentas bought the carousel at auction for $385,000 and had it stored in a warehouse.

Jane spearheaded its restoration and in 2011 it was installed at its current location. It is a fully functional carousel and fun for kids and adults to ride!

And it is only $2 to take a ride on this beautiful historic carousel with great views of Manhattan and the river.

Janes Carousel

Some people find the juxtaposition of a glass box on the grassy lawn by the river to be odd and unattractive. 

But in 2012 Jane's Carousel won Travel & Leisure's 2012 Design Award for Best Public Space.

It was designed by world-renowned architect Jean Nouvel who designed another wonderful structure, a residential building located just north of the Chelsea Piers.

From the High Line Park in Manhattan, you'll get a great view of his stunning work.

If you haven’t heard of the High Line, do yourself the favor and read our post about it.

Carousel Hours

  • For Fall to Spring, (check here for summer hours when they are announced)
  • Thursday to Sunday 11 am - 6 pm
  • Tickets: $2

From the carousel, head out of the park and walk along the path. On your left, is the side of Empire Stores and on your right is another former warehouse turned art center.


14 - St. Ann's Warehouse

45 Water Street

Housed in this former tobacco warehouse is St. Ann's Warehouse, a state-of-the-art performance space.

Founded 34 years ago when DUMBO was not the hotbed it is now, St. Ann’s Theater was located in another nearby space.

They are known for their cutting-edge and innovative theater and concert presentations.

St Anns Warehouse

Among many performances are highly acclaimed productions by the late Lou Reed, Deborah Harry, Al Pacino, Marianne Faithfull, Charlie Kaufman, and the Coen Brothers.

St. Ann’s Warehouse played an important role in both the New York City art scene and also helped put DUMBO on the map.

It still draws large crowds. Check their website to see what events are going on.

When you exit the park, you will be on Old Dock Street. If you have a sweet tooth, make a left on Water Street and walk halfway down the street.


15 - Jacques Torres Chocolate

66 Water Street

This shop is the first of several locations for the world-famous chocolatier. It opened in 2000 and is a must-see, or rather must-eat, destination.

Torres pioneered mixing unusual flavors into filled chocolates such as Pastis licorice liquor with milk chocolate ganache, chocolate infused with the tingle of fresh mint tea, and Earl Grey tea infused in a dark creamy chocolate square.

They are not only delicious but quite beautiful.

Jacques Torres Chocolate

In winter, it is practically required in DUMBO to go and get a Chili Hot Chocolate ideal for cold days in DUMBO. Get information about hours and directions by clicking here.

Turn back on Water Street and head west, in the same direction as the cars. Walk one block to Dock Street and make a left. Dock Street merges with Front Street. Walk on Front Street for about 100 yards and you will arrive at Old Fulton Street.


16 - Grimaldi's and Juliana's 

You have probably heard of Grimaldi's Pizza, long believed to be one of the best pizza pies in New York City.

Before DUMBO was a destination of its own, crowds of people came down to Old Fulton Street to wait for hours in line for a taste of Grimaldi’s famous pizza.

grimaldis pizza

Well, in 2012 a new kid moved into town – Juliana’s Pizzeria. Turns out that Juliana’s is not new at all. It was opened by the original owner of Grimaldi’s!

It’s a long story of a pizza war. You can get all the juicy details if you read this article.

Both pizzerias are very good. Some say that Juliana’s is overtaking Grimaldi’s in popularity. The best advice is to go to whichever has the shorter line! The recipe is the same, it’s all in the family.

TIP: If you are a pizza lover, see our post The Best Pizza in New York City by Neighborhood.

Look across the street at the imposing red brick building with the large arched entrance.


17 - Brooklyn Eagle Warehouse

28 Old Fulton Street

This neo-Romanesque building was constructed in 1893 on the site of the old Brooklyn Eagle Newspaper building.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle began publication on October 26, 1841. At that time, Brooklyn was still a city independent of New York.

For two years, from 1846 to 1848, a young Walt Whitman was the paper’s editor.

Eagle Warehouse

The paper was relocated in the late 1800s, making room for the warehouse to be built. It is now, of course, a luxury condominium.

Walt Whitman is best known for “Leaves of Grass”, the revolutionary collection of poems he authored in 1855.

Lines from his famous poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” have made an everlasting impression at our next site on the tour.

Continue toward the water along Old Fulton Street until you come to the end of the street and the entrance to Fulton Ferry Landing and Brooklyn Bridge Park.


18 - Fulton Ferry Landing 

Evacuation Memorial Plaque

On your way to the wooden landing, stop by the large boulder with a plaque commemorating one of the most important historical locations in DUMBO, and perhaps all of New York City.

In 1642, the first ferry service between Brooklyn and Manhattan was based along the shoreline. That alone is historic.

But what is truly exciting about this spot (besides the amazing Ample Hills Creamery) is that it was here that one of the most important strategic moves of the Revolutionary War took place.

In what is now known as the Battle of Brooklyn, George Washington found himself between a rock and a hard place in August of 1776. 

Washington and his troops had almost been pushed out of Brooklyn by the British Army.

He was faced with the choice of remaining on land to fight the much superior British forces or evacuate his troops and avoid what would surely have been a bloody defeat.

Washington made his decision and under the cover of night on August 29th, 9,000 troops secretly departed from the Fulton Ferry shoreline via boat, canoe, raft and any other object that could float.

All night long, troops were shuttled to safety in Manhattan.

At sunrise, with troops, and Washington himself, still waiting to evacuate, a heavy fog formed which concealed the last leg of the retreat. By 7 am, the entire Continental Army had arrived safely on Manhattan Island.

The British didn’t know what happened until a few hours later.

Of course, the rest is history! (To see other landmarks related to this epic evacuation try our Brooklyn Heights Tour.)

As you walk to the end of the landing, your eyes will be focused on the skyline of Manhattan.

Fulton Ferry Landing

If you can take your eyes off the view for a minute, look down and you will see bronze relief drawings of historic local scenes embedded in the wooden pier.

Also, the landing’s railings are engraved with lines from Walt Whitman’s famous poem, “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry".

As for why it is called Fulton's Ferry Landing, that is because, in 1814, Robert Fulton launched his steamboat ferry service which instantly became the foremost means of transport between Brooklyn and Manhattan.

The ferry remained successful until the 1883 opening of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Eventually, ferry service tapered off and ceased completely in 1924.

Excitingly, ferry service to DUMBO began again in 2006, run by the NYC Ferry service.

Also, look into other boat tours and ferry lines that make stops or pass by here.


That concludes the tour, although there is so much more to do in the area.

Below are suggestions for places to shop and eat, in addition to Grimaldi's and Juliana's Pizzerias.

We have also included other activities nearby.

If you are ready to head home, here are the nearest departure points.

If you are ready to leave DUMBO, you can walk up Old Fulton Street along the right side of this busy street.

After two long curved blocks, you will come to Henry Street. Make a right onto Henry and walk up the slight hill.

Walk one block and make a left onto Middagh Street. Walk one short block on Middagh and you will come to the High Street Station for the A/C train.

If you prefer the 2/3 train, continue on Henry Street for four more blocks and you will be at the Clark Street Station.


WHERE TO EAT & SHOP IN DUMBO

Dining

Two of the best pizzerias in NYC are right next to each other! Grimaldi's at 1 Front Street or Juliana's at 19 Old Fulton Street.

Time Out Market has 21 eateries, some sit-down and some to-go as well as three bars. Grab your food and head to the 2nd-floor outdoor terrace for amazing views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline.

ShakeShack on 1 Old Fulton Street has familiar family-pleasing "fast food" with what some say are the best burgers in NYC.

Cecconi's Dumbo at 55 Water Street is an upscale waterfront restaurant that serves delicious Italian food with equally sumptuous views.

Westville at 81 Washington Street serves American food with an emphasis on fresh produce & locally sourced meats.

Luke's Lobster Rolls is near Jane's Carousel in the historic Smokestack building in Brooklyn Bridge Park. They serve up much more than fresh lobster rolls. You can get soup and salads as well.

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory 14 Old Fulton Street across from Brooklyn Bridge Park has been a favorite in the neighborhood for years.

Click here for more dining options.


Shopping

Dumbo is filled with artsy, unique stores as well as some chain shops you are familiar with such as West Elm.

Be sure to stop at Brooklyn Industries to buy their famous T-shirts with all sorts of graphic designs of Brooklyn on them. They also have the best hoodies around!

For an extensive listing and a map of retail stores, click here.


NEARBY ACTIVITIES

Guided Tours 

We do offer several pay-what-you-wish guided tours of these Brooklyn neighborhoods:

  • Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights, and DUMBO Tour - a 3-hour tour that begins with a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, a stroll through Brooklyn Heights, and a taste of DUMBO ending at the Fulton Ferry Landing.
  • Brooklyn Heights Tour - a 2-hour tour of charming historic homes, stunning views and plenty of history.
  • Williamsburg Brooklyn Tour - explore one of New York’s hippest neighborhoods in flux. See the art, the restaurants, the watering holes, and most importantly, the people of Williamsburg.

Outdoor activities 

  • Free kayaking at Brooklyn Bridge Park between Piers 1 and 2 is a unique opportunity to see the Bridge from a different perspective without paying anything. It starts the first weekend in June and runs through the end of August. Click here for more information.
  • For those with kids, there are multiple playgrounds in Brooklyn Bridge Park, located near the park entrances

TIP: Want to get out on the water without getting too wet? See our post on Free New York Boat Tours.

  • Athletics - South of DUMBO is even more of Brooklyn Bridge Park. This huge waterfront park has several piers offering different activities including basketball, handball, bocce, shuffleboard, a roller rink, and rock climbing.

Cultural Events

  • Free outdoor movies. In summer, the park is host to Movies with a View, a free outdoor movie showing every Thursday night. For more information about other free outdoor movie screenings see our post, Free Concerts, and Movies.
  • All the World's a Stage See free performances of Shakespeare plays. A great alternative if you can't get tickets to the famous free Shakespeare in the Park in Central Park.
  • A very well-known local event called Bargemusic, for free one-hour classical music performances. Doors open 15 minutes before the performance - no reserved seating is available.
  • For all the amazing offerings in the park, see their events calendar.

For even more ideas, check out our Things to Do in Brooklyn post.


DETAILED DIRECTIONS

By subway:

A/C Train to High Street:

Take the exit that says Cadman Plaza West.

When you exit, there will be a big park across the 4-lane street. Cross the street to the park, and walk directly across the park to the pathway that curves to the left.

You will see plenty of people coming and going from the bridge. Walk downhill on Washington Street.

2/3 Train to Clark Street:

Exit the station and turn left onto Henry Street.

Pass Cranberry Street and make a right on the footpath; you will see the A/C train station. Then follow the instructions above regarding walking through the park.

F Train to York Street:

York Street is the closest station to the start of this self-guided tour.

When you exit the station, make a right turn onto Jay Street. At the corner make a left turn onto York Street.

Walk four blocks to Washington Street and make a right. Walk down one block to the first stop of the tour.


By foot from the Brooklyn Bridge:

If you have walked from Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge, you can get to DUMBO very easily.

As you walk through the second tower of the bridge, you will be nearing one of two exits from the bridge.

You will come to a fork in the walkway – to the left, there is a small set of stairs going down off the bridge.

On the right, the walkway and bike path continues.

Be sure to take the exit on the left with the stairs and be sure to watch for speeding bicyclists as you must cross the bike path to get to the stairs).

Walk down the stairs and you will be at the perfect spot to start the tour.

To make the most of your walk over this splendid and beloved bridge, be sure to read our guide to walking the Brooklyn Bridge.


By bike: 

Despite some bumpiness along cobblestoned streets, DUMBO is a great neighborhood to bike around.

Not a lot of car traffic and plenty of places to lock your bikes and several nearby docks for bikes rented from the city's Citibike Share system.

For information on the best bike rentals, see our post, Best Bike Rentals in New York City.

Click here for information related specifically to biking in DUMBO.


By ferry:

The East River Ferry operates to and from Brooklyn Bridge Park from several locations along the Manhattan and Brooklyn waterfronts.

When you disembark, leave the ferry landing located inside the park, exit the park and you will find yourself on Water Street.

Turn left onto Water Street and walk 3 blocks until you reach Washington Street for the first stop on the tour.

Our post on the NYC River Ferry Service has all the details you will need. Read about all of NYC's ferry services here.


TIPS FROM LOCALS AND TRAVELERS

Here are some thoughts about DUMBO and recommendations of things to do there from members of our New York City Travel Tips Facebook group.

If you are looking for more thoughts about DUMBO or any other NYC topic from locals and tourists, make sure to check out our Facebook group!

Quite often, DUMBO appears in our group members’ recommendations of “must-see” places in NYC. It’s right up there with the best of them!

A group member planning a trip to New York City asked for recommendations for the best places to get pictures of the sunrise and sunset in New York City. 

Of course, NYC’s observation decks like the Empire State Building and Edge were popular answers.

But dozens of people said DUMBO, specifically Pebble Beach and Brooklyn Bridge Park, both mentioned in this post.

Tip: Our post on the best NYC photo locations will lead you and your camera to places you'll love.

DUMBO is known for its great views, but also its great food.

These locals never get tired of DUMBO!

We hope that these comments have convinced you that DUMBO is a fabulous destination. We love it and we think you will too!

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About The Author

Courtney Shapiro

Courtney is a lifelong New Yorker in love with the city’s history, culture and food. She's a world travel as well and enjoys sharing her travel expertise with others. She joined Free Tours by Foot in 2011, first as a guide and then as a writer. She still leads tours on a part-time basis. READ MORE...
Updated: April 15th, 2024
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