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A Fun Guide To Walking The Manhattan Bridge (Itinerary Included!)

Have you ever thought about walking the Manhattan Bridge?

Well in this post and video, I’ll be sharing how to do this NYC walk — along with tips for things to do on both sides of the bridge in Chinatown in Manhattan and DUMBO in Brooklyn.

DUMBO actually stands for “Down Under The Manhattan Bridge Overpass,” which gives a hint into the beautiful view you have in store of the end of your stroll.

If you’re looking for a fun self-guided walking tour in Manhattan or Brooklyn that takes you beyond the typical tourist sites in NYC, this travel guide is for you.

Note: This guide to walking the Manhattan Bridge contains affiliate links to trusted partners I think you’ll love!

Need help capturing the best views in NYC — with you in the photos? Book one of our Private Photo Journeys, a walking tour that includes photos of your group to keep. Or step your game up even further with an NYC Influencer Shoot. Email [email protected] with inquiries.

Free Local NYC Travel Guide

Before we dive into how to walk across Manhattan Bridge, I invite you to grab my free Unique Things To Do In NYC printable PDF guide.

The guide shares my favorite local New York City experiences that take you off the tourist path for a more local experience (no Empire State Building here!).

Grabbed it?

Then let’s dive into how to walk over the Manhattan Bridge.

Walking Across The Manhattan Bridge NYC [Video]

The best way to see what it’s like to walk the Manhattan Bridge?

Watch the video above!

You’ll be able to come along on the journey from the Manhattan side of the bridge to the Brooklyn side to really get a sense of the walk. By the way, this stroll is fun for groups as well as if you’re looking for fun things to do by yourself in New York.

Manhattan Bridge History: A Quick Synopsis

The Manhattan Bridge is a suspension bridge that spans the East River, connecting Lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn.

Here is a short history of the Manhattan Bridge:

Leon Moisseiff was the designer of the Manhattan Bridge. He also helped to design the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge and George Washington Bridge — as well as, on a less positive note, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge that collapsed in 1940.

View of the Manhattan Bridge framing the Empire State Building, as seen from Washington Street in DUMBO. Photo via Bryant’s Juarez/Pexels.

The Manhattan Bridge opened to the public in 1909 in an effort to reduce overcrowding on the Brooklyn Bridge.

It stretched 6,855 feet (about 1.3 miles) and was the last of the three bridges to connect Manhattan and Brooklyn, with the other two being the Brooklyn Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge.

While not typically considered as beautiful as the Brooklyn Bridge, in 1910 architects John Merven Carrère and Thomas Hastings devised a plan to add a grand arch and colonnade to the Manhattan side of the bridge as part of the City Beautiful movement.

Today, this stunning addition is landmarked.

Want beautiful photos taken of you in scenic New York spots? Book a Private Photo Journey, a walking tour that includes photos of your group to keep. Or get a styled, custom shoot that tells your unique story through an NYC Influencer Shoot or Professional New York City Shoot. Email [email protected] with inquiries.

Manhattan Bridge Walk Overview

If you’ve ever wondered, “Can you walk across Manhattan Bridge?” the answer is a resounding “yes!”

First of all, if you’re looking for cheap things to do in NYC it doesn’t get more budget-friendly than this, as walking the Manhattan Bridge is totally free.

Now, to be transparent, there are pros and cons to walking the Manhattan Bridge.

Let’s start with the pros:

First of all, the experience takes you over the East River, with lovely views of the Lower Manhattan skyline on one end and Downtown Brooklyn at the other. It’s the perfect DIY Manhattan skyline tour.

Plus, you can actually see the Brooklyn Bridge in its entirety.

Additionally, it’s fun to have a bird’s-eye view of local life below. You’ll truly feel like you’re a fly on the wall taking in the beauty and grit of New York City.

Love art?

Then you’ll also love the graffiti on the bridge as well as the murals you’ll see below. Make sure to stay curious and look right, left, up, and down during the walk so you don’t miss anything.

Street art seen while walking across the Manhattan Bridge
Street art seen while walking across the Manhattan Bridge

Interestingly, the Manhattan Bridge boasts having more architectural embellishments than any other NYC bridge, and many of them are covered in graffiti.

Finally, for those who hate the crowds of the Brooklyn Bridge, that won’t be a problem when you walk across the Manhattan Bridge, as you’ll find more New Yorkers than tourists.


Unlike with the Brooklyn Bridge, the pedestrians and bikers are truly seperate, meaning you won’t have to duck out of the way to avoid being hit during your Manhattan Bridge walk.

Now let’s go over the cons:

As I just stated, there are less crowds on the Manhattan Bridge. And there is a reason for that:

Objectively, it pales in comparison in terms of beauty and views, especially as the vistas at times are hard to photograph on the Manhattan Bridge due to there being wire fencing along the sides at eye-level — though there are holes in the bridge at some points that allow you to snap great shots of the Brooklyn Bridge and both skylines.

Holes in the fencing allow for better views from the Manhattan Bridge
Holes in the fencing allow for better views from the Manhattan Bridge. Stock photo via Alex Azabache/Pexels.

This being said, in my opinion, the main downside of being on the Manhattan Bridge pedestrian walkway is the noise of the overhead subway, which is extremely loud and at times quite uncomfortable.

Recommended NYC Bridge Walk Itinerary

This all being said, I do think it’s worthwhile to experience walking both the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge — which you can do during the same trip.

What is great is that both sides of the Manhattan Bridge offer loads of fun local experiences. I’ll provide some of my favorite recommendations as a local New Yorker and an NYC tour guide who leads New York City photo tours around Manhattan and Brooklyn.

When I walked across the Manhattan Bridge, I went from Chinatown in Manhattan to DUMBO in Brooklyn.

From there I spent some time in DUMBO, then walked over the Brooklyn Bridge to get back to Manhattan.

I detail things to enjoy on each section of this walk below.

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge after walking the Manhattan Bridge
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge after walking the Manhattan Bridge

Walking Across The Manhattan Bridge From Lower Manhattan

To walk across the Manhattan Bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn you’ll begin in Chinatown.

According to Explore Chinatown, NYC’s Chinatown has the largest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore the local culture.

Things To Do In Chinatown

There are many worthwhile things to do in NYC here, and some recommended experiences in and near to Chinatown include:

Take a neighborhood tour — like a Past & Present Chinatown Tour, a Gangsters & Ghosts Tour, or a Chinatown & Little Italy Food Tour.

-Explore local art at galleries like Chinatown Soup, 17Essex Gallery, and ESSEX STREET Gallery.

-Check out the Chinatown Mural Project on Mosco Street (around the corner from the Transfiguration Church).

-Grab some Asian snacks at the giant Hong Kong Supermarket.

Rambutans are just one of many fruits you can buy in Chinatown before or after walking the Manhattan Bridge. Photo via Quang Nguyen Vinh/Pexels.

-Visit the Mmuseumm, a unique museum within a freight elevator dedicated to “Object Journalism” and telling the stories of different items that are typically “overlooked, dismissed, or ignored.”

-Visit the Museum at Eldridge Street, a Jewish history museum located within a beautiful and historic 130-year-old synagogue.

-Visit the Museum of Chinese in America, which aims to preserve Chinese American history.

-Go back in time at the Tenement Museum, a living history museum sharing the stories of immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries. This is truly an important and unique NYC experience. Additionally, their gift shop offers some of the best New York souvenirs you’ll find in the city!

-Food is one of the main reasons why New York City is so popular. With that in mind, give yourself a mission to savor Chinatown’s best dumplings from top spots like Fried Dumpling, Tasty Dumpling, and Shanghai Dumpling.

Dumplings to enjoy while you walk across the Manhattan Bridge
Dumplings are a great snack to enjoy before or after walking the Manhattan Bridge. Stock photo via Elly Fairytale/Pexels.

-Prefer hand-pulled noodles? Head to spots like Tasty Hand Pulled Noodle, 88 Lan Zhou Handmade Noodles, and Super Taste.

-Have a drink at Apothéke, a craft cocktail bar decked out like an old pharmacy.

-Have a cheap but delicious meal at Wo Hop, a Chinese eatery with walls adorned with dollar bills.

-Enjoy homemade ice cream from the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.

-Take a local cooking class at schools like Miette Culinart Studio and Home Cooking New York.

-Relax in Columbus Park, where you’ll often see locals playing mahjong and practicing tai chi.

Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Access (From The Manhattan Side)

Once you’ve enjoyed some fun in Chinatown, head to Bowery Street and Canal Street where you’ll find the Manhattan Bridge pedestrian walkway. This is also where you’ll see the grand arch and colonnade mentioned above.

If you’re heading straight to do the Manhattan Bridge Walk, the nearest subway stops are the Canal St Station, which serves the 6, Q, J, and N trains at all times, as well as the R, Z, 4, and W trains at certain times.

Additionally, the East Broadway Station is an option and serves the F train.

The Manhattan Bridge pedestrian walkway entrance is in Chinatown
Walking through Chinatown to get to the Manhattan Bridge

The Manhattan Bridge pedestrian path is on the south side of the bridge, with bikes heading over the north side.

Luckily for the walkers, the south side is where the best views are, so make sure to bring your camera.

The entire scenic walk takes about 30 minutes, including stops for a few photos.

Want beautiful photos taken of you in scenic New York spots? Book a Private Photo Journey, a walking tour that includes photos of your group to keep. Or get a styled, custom shoot that tells your unique story through an NYC Influencer Shoot or Professional New York City Shoot. Email [email protected] with inquiries.

Walk From Brooklyn To Manhattan Over The Manhattan Bridge

Alternatively, you may be choosing to begin your Manhattan Bridge Walk in Brooklyn, specifically in DUMBO.

Things To Do In DUMBO, Brooklyn

Luckily, there are many fun things to do in DUMBO as well as nearby, a few of which include:

-Take a tour of DUMBO — like a Brooklyn Waterfront Bike Tour or a Brooklyn Bridge & DUMBO Food Tour.

-Take a photograph from Washington Street — one of the most Instagrammables places in NYC — to get a shot of the Empire State Building framed by the archway under the Manhattan Bridge. This is one of the most popular pictures of the Manhattan Bridge you’ll see online. No Brooklyn guide would be complete without mentioning it.

-Enjoy a delicious meal at the Time Out New York Market, which features some of the best restaurants in NYC, like Ivy Stark (elevated Mexican fare), Bessou (Japanese comfort food), and Fish Cheeks (Coastal Thai dishes).

-Head to the Time Out New York Market rooftop for delicious cocktails and bites with a stunning NYC skyline view.

View from the Time Out New York Rooftop after walking the Manhattan Bridge
Taking in the view from the Time Out New York Rooftop in DUMBO, Brooklyn

-Check out Photoville, a free photo exhibit sharing impactful and insightful stories through photo collections.

-Shop vintage, design, antiques, collectibles, and food at the weekend Brooklyn Flea Market.

-Go thrift shopping at Front General Store.

-Pair movies with food at a cinema eatery like Alamo Drafthouse.

-See an avant-garde performance at St. Anne’s Warehouse.

-Spend time in Brooklyn Bridge Park, which offers some of the best NYC skyline views for free — including views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge at the same time!

Brooklyn Bridge view after my Manhattan Bridge walk
Enjoying the beauty of Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO

-Check out the DUMBO Walls to see the latest murals.

-Explore art at local galleries like KLOMPCHING GALLERY, AIR Gallery, and Janet Borden Inc.

-Follow your curiosity through a class at places like BKC (photography classes), DUMBO Workshop (woodworking), and Creatively Wild (art).

-Have some of the best pizza in NYC. Grimaldi’s is the most famous and Juliana’s Pizza is a close second. I also love Front Street Pizza, which has some incredible specials and deals.

Eating pizza after walking the Manhattan Bridge
A veggie slice from Front Street Pizza

-Enjoy a wacky-flavored homemade ice cream from OddFellows, or head to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory for a more classic treat.

-Savor a Michelin-starred meal with a view at The River Cafe, located right on the water.

-Explore local history through engaging collections and exhibits at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Access (From The Brooklyn Side)

If you’re walking over the Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn, you’ll enter at the corner of Jay Street and Sands Street.

The nearest subway station is the York Street Station, which serves the D and F train lines. Additionally, High Street Station is nearby and serves the A and C train lines.


The Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge are both bridge walk options, so consider walking back to Manhattan across the bridge you haven’t experienced yet.

Want beautiful photos taken of you in scenic New York spots? Book a Private Photo Journey, a walking tour that includes photos of your group to keep. Or get a styled, custom shoot that tells your unique story through an NYC Influencer Shoot or Professional New York City Shoot. Email [email protected] with inquiries.

Walking The Manhattan Bridge (FAQ)

Here are answers to some frquently asked questions about walking across the Manhattan Bridge.

Q: Can you walk across the Manhattan Bridge?

Yes! If you’re on foot you’ll want to look for the Manhattan Bridge pedestrian walkway which is on the south side of the bridge.

Q: How many miles is the Manhattan Bridge?

The Manhattan Bridge is about 1.3 miles long.

Q: Where is the Manhattan Bridge pedestrian entrance?

From Manhattan, you can access the Manhattan Bridge pedestrian walkway from Bowery Street and Canal Street in Chinatown. Alternatively, if you want to walk the Manhattan Bridge from the Brooklyn side you’ll start at Jay Street and Sands Street in DUMBO.

Q: What is the difference between the Manhattan Bridge vs Brooklyn Bridge?

In terms of experience, when comparing the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, some of the main differences are the views, the noise, the crowds, and the vibe. The Brooklyn Bridge has a more whimsical feel with incredible NYC skyline views, though the Manhattan Bridge allows you to see the Brooklyn Bridge from afar. Moreover, the Brooklyn Bridge is quieter, though is more crowded and touristy.

Q: How long does it take to walk the Manhattan Bridge?

It takes about 30 minutes to walk across the Manhattan Bridge, including stops for photos.

Other NYC Bridge Walks I Recommend

The Brooklyn Bridge. I often take my NYC photo tour guests here, as you can see in this Instagram photo.

The George Washington Bridge. I actually love to bike this bridge!

The Queensborough Bridge. I love walking this bridge from Long Island City, Queens into Manhattan and then taking the tram to Roosevelt Island for an array of views.


You can snag a walking tour with a licensed local guide and professional photos to keep when booking a private NYC Photo Journey.

It’s a great way to preserve memories from your New York City bridge walk and other local attractions you may be visiting.

NYC skyline views can be enjoying when walking the Manhattan Bridge
Manhattan skyline as seen from the William Vale Hotel in Brooklyn.

NYC Travel Logistics

Where To Stay In NYC

A few of my favorite NYC hotels include:

Click here to browse hotels in NYC!

Prefer self-contained stays? 

You can also use this map to search for unique local rentals. It’s currently set to Times Square, but you can easily change it to your desired NYC neighborhood:

NYC Tours

A few fun tours in NYC include:

Click here for a full list of New York City tours.

NYC Travel Insurance

When visiting NYC — or anywhere else in the world — make sure to get travel insurance.

In my opinion, the best travel medical insurance for travelers is SafetyWing as they’ve got a large network and offer both short-term and long-term coverage — including coverage if you’re traveling for months as well as limited coverage in your home country).

Additionally, SafetyWing is budget-friendly and offers $250,000 worth of coverage with just one low overall deductible of $250.

Click my referral link here to price out travel insurance for your trip in just a few clicks.

Do you have any tips for walking the Manhattan Bridge in NYC?

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walk the Manhattan Bridge
Walking the Manhattan Bridge
Walking NYC's Manhattan Bridge
Jessie Festa standing in front of grafitti wall

Hi, I’m Jessie on a journey!

I'm a conscious solo traveler on a mission to take you beyond the guidebook to inspire you to live your best life through travel. Come join me!

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  1. Saurabh on at 1:06 pm

    Beautiful! Article every thing nicely explain thanks for share with us….

  2. Rebecca on at 10:02 am

    Excellent article Jessie, NYC has extensive underground subway system and city buses that makes it extremely easy to get around and see all the sights and attractions. I have noticed you have expertly mentioned where to go and when you should take a walk.

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