Lots of visitors to NYC know that walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most popular free things to do in New York. But many people wonder, is the Manhattan Bridge also walkable? The answer is a resounding YES! In fact, I think that walking the Manhattan bridge is one of New York’s best-kept secrets. On the Manhattan Bridge, you’ll find unique views, the cool Manhattan bridge graffiti, and absolutely no crowds. It can be a bit tricky to find the entry points – so for the answer to the question “How do you walk across the Manhattan Bridge,” keep reading. In this article, I include the cross streets where you can enter the bridge, a great Manhattan bridge walk and how to get that famous (or maybe infamous) Manhattan Bridge social media picture. Here too you’ll find a downloadable Manhattan bridge map to make your first time in New York a little bit easier. Let’s get started!
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Packing Travel Tip:
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Where Should You Stay in NYC?
Check out my favorite hotel in NYC – The Beekman. It’s close to both Brooklyn and the Manhattan bridges.
What Are the Subway Stations Near the Manhattan Bridge?
On the Brooklyn side, the closest train station to the Manhattan bridge is the York Street subway. Also, nearby is the High Street/Brooklyn Bridge station. On the Manhattan side, the closest train station to the Manhattan Bridge is the East Broadway Station. Also, nearby are the Canal Street Stations.
Also Read: Downtown Brooklyn – The Best Things To Do
Is the Manhattan Bridge View Worth the Walk?
YES! It very much is worth the walk. The reason why walking the Manhattan bridge is one of New York’s best-kept secrets is that Manhattan Bridge views are actually better than the views from the Brooklyn Bridge. The view from Manhattan bridge includes Brooklyn Bridge and downtown Manhattan – laid out in all its glory. But when you enter Manhattan bridge you might be initially disappointed. After all, how can you see anything with all this fencing? Well, where there is a will, there is a way. Especially when you are in New York. As you walk over you’ll notice that some very helpful locals have provided you with some very helpful holes in the fencing. Perfect to take a dream picture of Manhattan.
New York City is one of the most expensive cities in the world. If you’d like to save money during your New York visit, check out the New York Pass. With this deal, you will pay one fixed price and get free admission to almost every major New York attraction. Over a period of 3 days, a family of four will save about a thousand dollars. Additionally, the pass gives you fast track entry to many major attractions. And in New York, times is money 🙂
A Great Manhattan Bridge Walk.
So let’s say its a lovely day and you decide to walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn via the Brooklyn Bridge. Then you can walk back over the Manhattan Bridge – the two are so close together you won’t need to take a subway! This makes for a great Manhattan Bridge Walk. In between, stop by Empire Stores and the Carousel. Check out my things to do in Brooklyn article for ideas on what to do next to the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges – in the neighborhood known as DUMBO.
Do keep in mind that even though the bridges are close together on the Brooklyn side, they are far apart on the Manhattan side. So if you do the “Great Manhattan Bridge Walk” you will finish at a different point in Manhattan than where you started.
At the bottom I am including a downloadable Manhattan Bridge map with all the relevant information – keep reading!
Brooklyn Travel Tip:
Looking for even more unusual things to do in Brooklyn? Take a look at my article exploring Brooklyn’s Dead Horse Bay.
What Is Dumbo?
DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. It’s the Brooklyn neighborhood where Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges meet. Back in the day, DUMBO was a very rough area. But, much like many places in the city, today’s DUMBO is safe and getting more fancy by the minute. In DUMBO you’ll find many stores and restaurants, and of course plenty of famous NY pizza. The area is perfectly safe at night too – I walk in Dumbo at night with my photography equipment and never had a problem.
Things To Do Near the Manhattan Bridge
In addition to exploring Dumbo, another great thing to do near the Manhattan Bridge is to take a picture in the super famous spot – the Manhattan Bridge view. It’s actually a bit of a walk from the pedestrian entry spot to Manhattan Bridge, but totally worth it. To get here, just walk to the corner of Water Street and Washington Street and boom – photography heaven. I am including this spot in the downloadable map too.
Manhattan Bridge Graffiti
As you are walking the Manhattan Bridge, you’ll spot authentic NY Graffiti. Additionally, the bridge is a great vantage point to see graffiti in Chinatown. I am including just a few examples of what I got to see on my walk. Of course, the bridge’s decorations are always changing. My favorite thing about Manhattan bridge graffiti is that its truly authentic. Nobody gets paid to post their tag here. The bridge is off the beaten path and only a few hundred New Yorkers cross it every day on foot. You can journey to New York City the way it stood decades ago, without leaving the modern metropolis. How cool is that?
Where to Enter the Manhattan Bridge?
Alright, let’s say you are convinced – you are interested in walking the Manhattan Bridge! So, how the heck do you get to the pedestrian walkway of Manhattan Bridge? If you are wondering how to walk across Manhattan bridge from Brooklyn, the entrance is on the corner of Sands Street and Jay Street. If on the other hand, you are coming from Manhattan into Brooklyn, the entrance is in Chinatown, on the corner of Bowery Street and Canal Street. Either way, keep in mind that the side facing downtown Manhattan is for pedestrians. The side facing Queens is for bicyclists. Lucky you, as a pedestrian you’ll get to enjoy stunning views of lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. Don’t worry, you’ll see plenty of signs as you enter that inform you which side is for which type of traffic.
Walk the Manhattan Bridge Map
And just to make things a little with walking the Manhattan bridge, here is a helpful google map you can download with all the entry points. I indicated where you enter Manhattan Bridge in blue and where you enter the Brooklyn Bridge in red. The camera icon marks a famous place to take a picture of the Manhattan bridge from Dumbo.
Common Questions About the Manhattan Bridge:
Where does the Manhattan bridge start and end?
Manhattan Bridge starts in DUMBO on the Brooklyn side and ends in Chinatown on the Manhattan side. The exact cross streets are Sands Street and Jay Street in Brooklyn, and Bowery Street and Canal Street in Manhattan. The Manhattan Bridge spans the east river.
Where is the Manhattan Bridge Park?
Beats me! Although there are parks near Manhattan Bridge, none of them (to my knowledge) are called the Manhattan Bridge Park. There is, however, a very famous Brooklyn Bridge Park just a few minutes walk from the Manhattan bridge. However, when doing research for this article, I found many people look for something called “Manhattan Bridge Park” online. My theory is that there might be some confusion and people who search for Manhattan Bridge Park actually are trying to find the Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Which Trains Cross the Manhattan Bridge?
NYC subway system is always evolving (or devolving) some might argue. So the trains that cross the Manhattan Bridge change all the time. Right now (summer of 2019) the B, the D, the N, and the Q all cross the bridge. That might change tomorrow or in twenty years. In my 25 years in New York, I might have seen a dozen lines come and go over the bridge. A confusing subway system is perhaps of New York’s most unusual pleasures.
When was the Manhattan Bridge Built?
The Manhattan bridge was completed in 1912. Construction began in 1901 and the bridge was partially open in 1909. Originally, the Manhattan bridge was designed for trains only. But, as everything in this city, things evolved and the bridge was open to cars and to walking the Manhattan Bridge.
Are Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge the Same?
Nope! But they both start in Dumbo, so the confusion is very reasonable. Brooklyn bridge is much older and open to pedestrians and vehicles. Manhattan bridge is younger and is open to trains, cars, and people.
Why Was the Manhattan Bridge Built?
The same reason New York was the original home of the sky rise. Too many people! Originally designed only for train lines, the city quickly realized it would need to accommodate vehicle traffic as well. The pedestrian portion was added almost as an afterthought but many natives use it to commute these days. The bicycle lane is especially popular in good weather.
Can You Bike the Manhattan Bridge?
Absolutely! But remember the bicycle lane does not face downtown, it faces uptown/queens so you won’t get the same views. Now, in fairness, some people on bikes ride on the walking lane and I’ve never seen anyone get a ticket. But its New York and rules are randomly enforced. If you do get a bike, I suggest you stick to the bike lane. Great views over there too – just different. If you chose to bike you can easily rent a Citibike, there are automatic rental places throughout the city.
How high is the Manhattan Bridge?
At its highest point, the Manhattan Bridge is 102 meters (336 feet) high. That includes the towers – so don’t worry you won’t be going up so far while walking the Manhattan bridge. The Manhattan Bridge is 2,089 meters long (that’s around 6,855 feet).
Does the Manhattan Bridge Go To Queens?
This is another common question people ask online. The Manhattan Bridge does not go to Queens it goes to (drum roll please) Manhattan! And Brooklyn. Instead, the helpfully named Queensborough bridge goes to Queens. Additionally, the Roosevelt Island Bridge goes to Queens and the Triboro Bridge does as well. If you are looking to go to Queens there are plenty of ways to do so! The Manhattan bridge, however, is not one of them.
What is the Manhattan bridge rehabilitation project?
Ah yes, New York. Some days I think our motto should be “welcome to New York, we are under construction.” Manhattan bridge is over one hundred years old and is used 24 hours a day, every day since 1909. Back in 1982, the city identified that the bridge has critical issues, such as parts of steel beams are eroding and need to be replaced. Basically, the Manhattan Bridge rehabilitation project in one form or another has been going on as long as I’ve been alive. Its latest leg started in 2018. The city is fixing the issues, slowly but surely, but each time they finish repairing something, a new issue comes up. The Manhattan bridge rehabilitation project does not close the bridge to pedestrian traffic and doesn’t really affect you as a pedestrian. Just think of it as part of the special New York environment.
Manhattan Bridge in Movies – Manhattan Bridge in I am Legend
First things first. Lots of people online ask the question: “Which bridge was blown up in the movie I am Legend?” The bridge Will Smith blew up in his classic I Am Legend is actually the Brooklyn bridge – not the Manhattan Bridge. However, that is not to say that the Manhattan bridge isn’t prominently featured in some radically awesome movies. Perhaps the most famous movie featuring the Manhattan bridge is Once Upon a Time in America. That famous picture everyone loves on social media? It appeared in an important movie scene and the filmmakers used it as a way to demonstrate how dirty and dangerous Brooklyn was. Other movies that featured the Manhattan Bridge include the Ghostbusters and the Angelina Jolie classic The Hackers.
Does the Manhattan bridge have a toll?
There is actually a funny story associated with this question. The Manhattan bridge does not have a toll and never did. However, some very enterprising New Yorkers in the 80’s (usually young and bold New Yorkers) would stand in the narrow pedestrian path and ask those walking the Manhattan bridge to pay a toll. It was never much – a dime or a nickel, which even in those days wasn’t worth the argument. Apparently, though, it added up and you could earn a good living in this way. Eventually, there were multiple “tolls” all through the bridge and at one point the cost to cross got too high, people complained and the city put a stop to it. So there you go – it’s New York, everyone is hustling.
One last thing…
Viktoria aka Traveltipster