One of the best ways to explore both Manhattan and Brooklyn and get some of the best views of the city is by foot and crossing one of the many bridges of the city. The Williamsburg Bridge walk is one of the best ways to get from borough to borough while witnessing some of the best views the city has to offer.
In this guide to walking across the Williamsburg Bridge, we include everything you’ll need to know about crossing the bridge by foot, bike, car, and ferry plus some great picks for what to do before/after your cross the Williamsburg Bridge on both the Manhattan side and Brooklyn side!
A Brief History of the Williamsburg Bridge
Our city is full of historic bridges.
The Williamsburg Bridge was opened in 1903 and at the time, it was also the longest suspension bridge in the world. It was also the first bridge with all steel towers, which we’ve heard the design could have been inspired by the Eiffel Tower.
Because Williamsburg Bridge is made out steel and appears more industrial, it has been deemed as one of the most unattractive bridges in the city.
Williamsburg Bridge was created to provide more efficient travel within the city, so looks weren’t really factored into the project, which is why the bridge only took 7 years to build compared to the 13 years it took to build our beloved Brooklyn Bridge.
Williamsburg Bridge spans around 1600 feet, hovers over the East River, and connects South Williamsburg in Brooklyn with the Lower East Side in Manhattan.
In addition to the walk across the Williamsburg Bridge, the bridge offers lanes for bicyclists, multiple lanes for cars, and subway tracks for the J, M, and Z trains.
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Ways to Cross the Williamsburg Bridge
Driving Across the Williamsburg Bridge
The Williamsburg Bridge, just like the Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge, connects Brooklyn to Manhattan over the East River, which makes for an easy route when traveling between the boroughs.
One thing New Yorkers love about this bridge, is that it is toll-free! If you’ve ever paid to cross in or out of NYC you know that this is a HUGE deal as tolls are extremely pricey here in the city.
There are 6 lanes for motor vehicle traffic and spans about 1.4 miles long, which doesn’t make for a very lengthy drive without traffic! But always remember, it is New York City, and traffic is usually expected.
This is one quick way to cross the Williamsburg Bridge, from the comfort of your car and toll-free!
Biking Across the Williamsburg Bridge
New Yorkers love an efficient way to get between boroughs. If you’re looking to bike across the Williamsburg Bridge from Brooklyn, bicyclists can enter the bike lanes at Washington Plaza, which is at Roebling and South 4th Streets.
This entrance is separate from where pedestrians enter.
On the Manhattan side, cyclists can enter at Clinton Street and Delancey, this is also where pedestrians on the Williamsburg Bridge walk enter so be on the lookout for pedestrians if you’re biking!
Biking is always a fun and quick way to travel in NYC, and thanks to CitiBike, it’s easy for tourists and New Yorkers. All you have to do for a CitiBike rental is download the app to locate the nearest docking station and to pay for your rental!
Luckily, there are numerous docking stations surrounding the Williamsburg Bridge entrance on the Brooklyn side.
On the Manhattan side, there is a docking station located at Stanton St and Margin St, which is the closest one to the Williamsburg Bridge bicycle/pedestrian entrance.
Walk Across the Williamsburg Bridge
The Williamsburg Bridge walk is definitely not as popular as the Brooklyn Bridge walk or even the Manhattan Bridge walk, but it’s important to keep trying new things and seeing new things, whether you’re a tourist or a local.
The Williamsburg Bridge is an all steel bridge walkway has a very unique look, covered with graffiti, it can make for a gritty walk similar to the Manhattan Bridge.
The walk across the Williamsburg Bridge is shortly over a mile long and it can range from 30 minutes to an hour depending on how much you stop to take pictures along your Williamsburg Bridge walk.
Just like the other bridges, it has views of the Manhattan skyline and East River.
Keep in mind here that pedestrians do have their own lane on the walk across the Williamsburg Bridge. Making note of this is important during your Williamsburg Bridge walk because New York bicyclists don’t have much patience when it comes to straggling pedestrians.
Ferry Service under the Bridge
The NYC Ferry makes two stops in Williamsburg and visitors can use the ferry to travel to DUMBO, Queens, or even Manhattan. This makes for a beautiful trip along the East River and underneath the Williamsburg Bridge!
This is a good way to get a cool New York experience without actually spending time to walk across the Williamsburg Bridge.
About the Walk Across the Williamsburg Bridge
Although the views from the Williamsburg Bridge walk are, in my personal opinion, not as spectacular as the Brooklyn or Manhattan Bridges, the sights are still worth seeing.
Plus, the construction of the Williamsburg Bridge make it an interesting photography subject.
Off in the distance you can see both of the other bridges and all the Manhattan skyscrapers.
And of course, the East River is always a gorgeous view.
Similar to the Brooklyn Bridge, pedestrians that walk across the Williamsburg Bridge are above the traffic flow.
Like we mentioned, the Williamsburg Bridge walk is full of street art and a grungy vibe, which makes for great photos, but it may be eerie if you walk across the Williamsburg Bridge at night.
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Williamsburg Bridge Walk: Starting in Brooklyn
To begin your Williamsburg Bridge walk, you start in South Williamsburg and pedestrians enter at Berry St between South 5th and South 6th Streets.
Entering as a pedestrian on the Williamsburg Bridge walk from the Brooklyn side is a little less stressful because you don’t have to worry about dodging aggressive bicyclists. As we mentioned, the cyclists have their own entrance on the Brooklyn side.
Obviously, the views aren’t as amazing as they are from the other two bridges we’ve covered, but it’s the experience that matters! Once you walk across the Williamsburg Bridge into Manhattan, there are plenty of things to see on the other side!
Taking the subway before your walk across the Williamsburg Bridge?
The nearest station is located at Marcy St and it serves the J, M, and Z lines. The walk from this subway station to the Williamsburg Bridge is just under a mile, which is a perfect warm up before beginning your Williamsburg Bridge walk.
The Marcy Street Subway Station is also one of the most beautiful subway stop views and often photographed because of the outdoor, raised tracks and The Williamsburgh Savings Bank dome and Williamsburg Bridge in the frame.
Williamsburg Bridge Walk: Starting in Manhattan
The Williamsburg Bridge walk coming from Manhattan begins in the Lower East Side at Clinton and Delancey Street.
Entering as a pedestrian on the Lower East Side may include higher traffic since there is only one entrance for bicyclists and pedestrians on this side.
On your walk across the Williamsburg Bridge, going toward Brooklyn may not be as scenic and beautiful, but there are plenty of awesome things to do in Williamsburg that will keep you motivated during your Williamsburg Bridge walk.
If you’re taking the subway before your walk across the Williamsburg Bridge, the closest station is the Delancey St & Essex station and it serves the F, J, M, and Z trains. This station is a short walk from the Williamsburg Bridge walk entrance!
Tips for Walking Across the Williamsburg Bridge
One of our priorities for exploring NYC is a comfortable pair of shoes, you’ll definitely need some on your Williamsburg Bridge walk.
Considering you’ll be walking over a mile on the bridge alone, and then whatever else you decide to explore on either side of the bridge! Be sure to check out our entire Brooklyn packing list for more recommendations on what you should have during your trip.
In addition to a walk across the Williamsburg Bridge, the bridge is a great use for outdoor exercise. As we mentioned before, biking the Williamsburg Bridge is easy and a good way to get the heart going.
We would also suggest going for a run on the bridge! Due to less pedestrian traffic than the other bridges, it makes for a relaxing run, however, do note that the bridges of NYC are a bit of a challenging workout as there are inclines on the bridges! It’s a great workout, but if you plan on doing this be mentally prepared for those gradual inclines and declines.
Note that public restrooms are about a mile away from the Williamsburg Bridge walk entrances on both sides. You can always try using local coffee shops or restaurants, but they may not allow public use of restrooms!
Some Other Quick Tips for the Williamsburg Bridge walk:
- Stay in your lane, whether you’re a pedestrian or a bicyclist
- Bring your camera
- Explore Williamsburg or the Lower East Side after your walk
- Dress for the weather
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What to do Nearby the Williamsburg Bridge
To help plan your day out in the city, here are some stops you can make before or after your Williamsburg Bridge walk.
Keep in mind that you can walk across the Williamsburg Bridge one way and take another type of transportation on the way back, like a rideshare, the subway, ferry, or even a CitiBike!
Here are some of the best things to check out on either side of the Williamsburg Bridge.
East River Park— If you didn’t get enough exercise during your walk across the Williamsburg Bridge, check out the East River Park for multiple sports fields and courts. This park is also great for waterfront and bridge views!
Katz Delicatessen— Founded in 1888, Katz is a Jewish kosher style delicatessen and is known to be one of New York’s staples. It’s highly recommended that tourists try their famous pastrami on rye, just like in When Harry Met Salle! We love their Brooklyn location in the Dekalb Market!
Clinton Street Baking Company— Located on the Lower East Side, Clinton St. Baking Company is an unbelievable breakfast/brunch spot and we’re huge fans!
Mr. Purple— If you’re looking for a cocktail after a day in the city (we’ve all been there), Mr. Purple is a popular rooftop bar located on the 15th floor of Hotel Indigo. Grab yourself some bar food, a nice drink, and enjoy the view!
Domino Park— Just opened in 2018, Domino Park has been an amazing asset in Williamsburg. The park is dog-friendly and a great place for some outdoor activities if you haven’t had enough from your Williamsburg Bridge walk.
Peter Luger Steakhouse— If you’re on vacation or celebrating a special occasion, you can’t miss Peter Luger. This is the top rated steakhouse in all of New York and it’s right here in Williamsburg! Although the menu is very pricey and all sides are sold separately, it’s a great New York experience.
Patrizia’s of Williamsburg— Although I don’t regularly visit Williamsburg, I will always get a meal at Patrizia’s when I’m in the area. This is a fun-for-all Italian restaurant with family-style meals, classic music, and awesome birthday celebrations.
Williamsburg Art & Historical Center— The WAH Center is a multicultural art center that puts on a variety of shows, events, seminars, lectures and more throughout the year. With the help from the WAH Center, Williamsburg has grown to be an attractive spot for artists.
Williamsburg Street Art – Check out the awesome murals and street art in Williamsburg from some of the most famous street artists in the scene including KOBRA, ROA, Brolga, and more!
Bushwick – Use this time to explore all the best things to do in Bushwick from the colorful murals that make up the Bushwick Collective, fun restaurants & bars, and more in one of the most popular Brooklyn neighborhoods.
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