Planning a day out in New York City and wondering, “Can you walk across the Manhattan Bridge?” Most people think you can only walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, but they’re wrong. The answer is yes, you do the Manhattan Bridge walk by foot using the Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Walkway.
We’ve put together an easy-to-follow guide that will give you everything you need to know before visiting this beautiful New York City bridge.
So check out all of our tips when it comes to the walk across the Manhattan Bridge here, one of the best walks in Brooklyn and quite honestly, this is one of the best alternatives to the popular Brooklyn Bridge which can get very congested and offers similar views!
A Brief History of the Manhattan Bridge
The Manhattan Bridge was officially open to traffic in 1909, after beginning construction in 1901.
The Manhattan Bridge came about because of overcrowding on both the Brooklyn Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge. Today it is a famous icon of New York City along with being one of the most recognizable and famous bridges in New York City.
It wasn’t until 2001 that the Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Walkway was reopened and then in 2004 is when the bicycle path opened up.
You may notice the Manhattan Bridge Plaza, located at the entrance of the bridge on the Manhattan side. This colonnade and arch were completed in 1916 and were apart of the City Beautiful movement, which was apart of a social reform in North America.
Even big cities like Washington D.C. and Chicago had similar beautification projects and it eventually influenced many other cities to adopt the same philosophy.
The plaza had resemblances to Bernini’s for St. Peter’s in Rome and the arch itself was inspired by the one at Porte St. Denis in Paris. The plaza served to bring unity to classical culture and America.
Another example of City Beautiful architecture is the Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn.
Today you can find this New York City landmark covered in graffiti and lacks necessary repairs, but still an important piece of New York City history.
Ways to Cross the Manhattan Bridge
Driving across the Manhattan Bridge
The Manhattan Bridge is 6,855 feet in length, which makes it around 1.3 miles long. As you can imagine, that distance shouldn’t take much time to cover when traveling by car.
In order to fight New York City traffic, this bridge has a double-deck motorway. With four lanes on top and three lanes on the bottom. Regardless, we’ve learned to never underestimate New York City traffic. So plan accordingly when traveling by car!
Many New Yorkers take advantage of this toll-free bridge and you should too!
Keep in mind that viewing the cityscape from your car on the Manhattan Bridge is usually difficult because of the passing trains and chainlink fences along the pedestrian and bicycle lanes.
Bike across the Manhattan Bridge
Yes, you can totally bike across the Manhattan Bridge too. It’s important to know that if you plan on biking across the Manhattan Bridge that you know that the north side is for bikers only!
If you’re visiting and don’t have your own bike, no worries, there are still several options for you to rent a bike to cross the Manhattan Bridge.
The best way to rent bikes in Brooklyn and NYC is using CitiBike because of how easy it is to use as well as how easy they are to find around the city using their app to locate the nearest docking station that also provides how many bikes are available.
Use the CitiBike app to pay for rentals and to find the nearest docking station to pick up or drop off your bike! Be sure to check to see if there are bikes available at the nearest docking station before going there – the app provides this information.
And if you’re dropping off your bike or needing to redock, be sure to check to make sure the one you’re headed to also has open spots so you can return the bike.
From the Manhattan side, enter the bike lanes at Chrystie Street and remember to stay on the north side of the bridge!
From the Brooklyn side, bicyclists can enter using a ramp at Jay Street and Sands Street.
Biking the Manhattan Bridge may be more appealing for some commuters or tourists who aren’t up to deal with the crowd battles over on the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, one of the most famous things to do in Brooklyn.
The best part about biking this bridge is that the pedestrians use their own lanes on the south side of the bridge, the Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Walkway, so you won’t run into issues of people taking selfies or blocking the pedestrian lanes like over at Brooklyn Bridge!
The lack of traffic on this bridge makes for a much quicker ride, biking the entire bridge can be done in a matter of 12 minutes.
Ride the Subway Across the Manhattan Bridge
Another scenic and quick way to cross the Manhattan Bridge is by subway!
From the Brooklyn side, if you’re looking to cross the Manhattan Bridge via subway, I would recommend the Dekalb Avenue station in Downtown Brooklyn. This station serves the B, D, N, Q, R, and W trains.
These Manhattan-bound trains will give you spectacular views while crossing the bridge.
Starting from the Manhattan side you can take the F train at the East Broadway station into Brooklyn if you’ve done enough walking for the day.
If you’re looking for those Brooklyn Bridge views from the subway like I mentioned earlier, head over to the Canal St station. The trains you’ll be looking for are the N, Q, and R trains. These trains run all the time, except the R does not run late nights, so keep that in mind.
See the Manhattan Bridge from the East River
In addition to these options, consider taking the ferry across the East River.
On the Brooklyn side, you can board the ferry at the DUMBO location at Old Fulton St and Furman St. This ferry can take you as East 34th St in Manhattan, with stops in Brooklyn and Queens along the way.
Coming from the Manhattan side, you can board at East 34th St or Wall St Pier 11. This ferry route can drop you off right in DUMBO, Brooklyn.
Walk across the Manhattan Bridge
Ok, remember how this post started? With the big question, “can you walk across the Manhattan Bridge?” The answer is yes!
The Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Walkway is located on the south side of the bridge and is meant for pedestrians only! Yay for not having to jump out of the way of bicycles on your Manhattan Bridge walk, as this is just for walkers and joggers!
Realistically, the walk across the Manhattan Bridge can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on your speed and how often you stop to check out the cityscape or take photos.
About the Walk Across the Manhattan Bridge
Although I’m quite personally the Brooklyn Bridge walker, I have to admit that the Manhattan Bridge Walk is like a breath of fresh air sometimes.
It’s actually a good idea to walk one direction on the Manhattan Bridge and the other on the Brooklyn Bridge. To see all our tips and guide be sure to read about walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to help you avoid crowds as well as other important information you need to know!
Since the Manhattan Bridge Walkway is strictly for pedestrians, it eliminates all the stress of raging bicyclists! But note that this walkway is more narrow than the Brooklyn Bridge.
When you walk across the Manhattan Bridge, you may notice that you’re walking below all of the motor traffic unlike the Brooklyn Bridge, where you walk above the traffic flow.
You might also notice the subway trains passing by rapidly, this can make for a pretty noisy walk across the Manhattan Bridge. But some people would rather put up with the noise than the crowds. It just depends on what your preferences are!
The Manhattan Bridge walk is a little gritty compared to the Brooklyn Bridge walk. There are high chainlink fences on both sides of the bridge, which aren’t very attractive and may interfere with photos of the skyline. Or you can incorporate it into your photos as I did!
It’s not as picture-perfect as the Brooklyn Bridge, but its still an interesting and beautiful view, in its own NYC kind of way.
There is a “semi” famous photo shot you can get from the Manhattan Bridge Walk, give it a try!
Also, note the surplus of graffiti along your walk. I must admit that the Manhattan Bridge is pretty eerie at nighttime, so plan accordingly when heading out on the Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Walkway.
Read Next: Williamsburg Bridge Walk Guide & Tips
Manhattan Bridge Walk: Starting in Brooklyn
The entrance to the Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Walkway is on the corner of Jay Street and Sands Street.
As long as you find yourself on Jay Street, you will practically walk yourself onto the Manhattan Bridge Walkway. Even if you feel that you’re certain you’ve found it, keep your eyes peeled for the pedestrian walkway signage.
And again, don’t forget to enter on the south side when you begin your walk across the Manhattan Bridge! This should be easy to remember because this will be the side with the best views of the Brooklyn Bridge and both waterfronts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
On the Brooklyn Side, the York St subway station is nearest to the Manhattan Bridge on the Brooklyn side. This station serves the F train.
Another subway stop you can consider is High St-Brooklyn Bridge station, located in DUMBO. It’s just a short walk from the Manhattan Bridge and serves the A and C trains.
As mentioned before, the Manhattan Bridge walk can be as little as 30 minutes to upwards of an hour depending on your pace and if you stop to take in the views or snap photos.
Manhattan Bridge Walk: Starting in Manhattan
On the Manhattan side, you can enter the Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Walkway at Bowery and Canal Street in Lower Manhattan.
Remember the south side is for pedestrians! The entrance will be on the side where all of the cars are entering the bridge.
To get near this entrance to the Manhattan Bridge walk and walkway path the closest subway stations are Grand Street Station which run the B & D subway lines, Bowery Street Station which runs the J & Z lines, East Broadway Station which runs the F line, and Canal Street station which runs the J & Z lines.
As mentioned before, the Manhattan Bridge walk can be as little as 30 minutes to upwards of an hour depending on your pace and if you stop to take in the views or snap photos.
Tips for Walking Across the Manhattan Bridge
The number one tip for the Manhattan Bridge walk is making sure you use the Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Walkway!
Bicyclists that frequently commute on the Manhattan Bridge have way less patience than bicyclists you’ll find on the Brooklyn Bridge. They expect their lane to be bikers only.
Also, vice versa, if you end up biking the Manhattan Bridge, make sure you’re on the correct side!
Another key to enjoying your Manhattan Bridge walk is a pair of comfortable shoes. We’ve mentioned the amount of walking you can do in a day in New York City before, so it’s always a good idea to bring your favorite pair of running or walking shoes on your trip.
Speaking of running shoes, This bridge is great for running. There’s usually less traffic, which will allow you to keep your pace without dodging walkers along the Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Walkway.
Like we mentioned above, this bridge is appealing for biking! Fewer people, less dodging, more fun!
Most tourists feel comfortable riding across the Manhattan Bridge knowing they won’t have to slam their brakes or get off and walk their bikes like many bicyclists on the Brooklyn Bridge do.
And if you’re interested in biking across the Manhattan Bridge, consider a CitiBike or renting a bicycle for the day around the city.
What to do Nearby the Manhattan Bridge
Plan your Manhattan Bridge walk or bike around some of the most famous things to do around this iconic bridge!
The views from the bridges of the city are some of the best, so consider walking one way on the Brooklyn Bridge and on the other direction do the Manhattan Bridge walk if you’re up for a long day of walking and sightseeing!
If not, you can totally take the subway or public transport the other direction, we won’t judge you!
Here are some of the best things to do on either side of the Manhattan Bridge.
Chinatown— Visit the iconic Chinatown for some historical museums, the famous Canal St, and some amazing Chinese food.
Lower East Side— The Lower East Side holds a lot of history in NYC. While you’re here check out the variety of coffee shops, art galleries, museums, eateries, and more.
Nolita— Standing for North of Little Italy, Nolita has become a staple in New York. Home to the famous San Gennaro Feast, find some of the best Italian spots in this neighborhood. You can also find St. Patricks Old Cathedral here!
Little Italy— Also an iconic spot in NYC and home to some real authentic Italian food. A must when visiting NYC.
DUMBO— This spot in Brooklyn is a can’t miss experience. Check out the awesome food, galleries, shopping, and most importantly the gorgeous waterfront views! See our full guide on all the best things to do in DUMBO to plan your day!
Brooklyn Bridge Park— Check out the Brooklyn Bridge Park which is full of beautiful greenery, piers full of different activities, and multiple walking/biking trails, check out our guide for all the best things to do in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Time Out Market— One of the best dining halls in NYC! Grab a bite to eat after your Manhattan Bridge walk from one of the 21 different vendors here as well as enjoy some of the best views from their rooftop. See our full guide to Time Out Market New York.
Vinegar Hill— Vinegar Hill is a historic waterfront neighborhood within the DUMBO area. Check out the famous Belgian block streets and the Vinegar Hill House.
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge— We know that Brooklyn Bridge walk is a little more iconic than the Manhattan Bridge walk, so check out our guide and plan your next outing!
What to Bring to Brooklyn
If you’re planning a trip to Brooklyn, be sure to bring some of these essential items and be sure to read our full Brooklyn packing list for more ideas for your trip.
This Pacsafe Shoulder Bag slings over your body and is the perfect size to carry your day essentials while exploring Park Slope and Brooklyn. This lightweight bag has anti-theft features so you can enjoy Brooklyn with ease of mind with Pacsafe’s anti-theft patent products whether you’re in a crowded area or on the subway.
This Pacsafe Anti-theft Backpack is another essential for Brooklyn or any city trip. This backpack has a patented anti-theft design with lockable zippers and slash-proof material in this sleek and comfortable designed backpack.
Avoid high tech thieves with this 15 pack of RFID blocking sleeves that doesn’t require you to buy a special travel wallet, you can carry your favorite purse, wallet, or backpack by simply putting your credit cards and sensitive information in these RFID blocking sleeves.
Upgrade your wallet with this RFID Blocking Wallet by Pacsafe is the perfect pick. Always have your identification, bank cards, and credit cards protected from high tech thieves with this RFID blocking wallet in this sleek and slim design.
One of the best ways to keep valuables safe when you travel is this Portable Safe by Pacsafe. This is ideal when you’re hotel has a safe that is too small for your belongings, with it’s sleek and compact design so it doesn’t take up much space in your luggage offering maximum security with its stainless steel wire mesh covered in a piece of cut-resistant canvas fabric. You simply lock this portable safe to a secure fixture in your Park Slope hotel room when you leave.
This iPhone crossbody case is perfect for sightseeing as you can easily grab your phone for that perfect photo moment on the fly as well as keep your phone secured to your body and safe from pickpockets!
We recommend Allbirds Women’s Wool Runner as well as the Allbirds Men’s Wool Runner for an everyday walking shoe that’s breathable, comfortable, and feels like you’re walking on clouds. Your back and feet will thank us later, plus they are all the rage in the city at the moment.
A good reusable water bottle is one of the best things you can have in your day bag or on you at all times, plus New York City has some of the best drinking water in the country, cut back on single-use plastic and have a good reusable water bottle for your trip.
Don’t leave the house without a good power bank. Don’t spoil your fun exploring all the fun neighborhoods and things to see in Brooklyn by having your battery die on you. If you’re anything like me you’ll be using your phone to take photos, navigate, and post to social media while you’re exploring.
When it comes to the city, this weather is not forgiving and you don’t want to get caught out and about in the rain without an umbrella. That’s why we recommend this compact wind resistant travel umbrella for what to pack for Brooklyn.
Are you a sensitive sleeper? A good pair of earplugs are essential for your Brooklyn or city trip, especially if you’re not from a big city.
Travel Insurance is one of the most important things travelers can get. If you’re traveling over 100 miles away from home, you should get travel insurance. We recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance because you can buy anytime before or during your trip no matter where you are.
Covering everything from lost or stolen documents, electronics, or if you get sick unexpectedly, don’t leave home without it!
Check out our guide for more free things to do in Brooklyn!
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