Free Things to Do in New York:  Visit the Brooklyn Bridge

Free Things to Do in New York: Visit the Brooklyn Bridge

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, whether you’re walking from Brooklyn to Manhattan or vice versa, is one of the most iconic walks New York City has to offer. Here’s everything you need to know about how to get on the bridge; what to do on the bridge; and what to do when you get to the other side.The Brooklyn bridge crosses New York’s East River, linking Manhattan and Brooklyn. The construction of the bridge began in 1869 and was finished in 1883 and the bridge is one of the earliest examples of a steel-wire suspension bridge in the USA. The total length of the bridge is 5,989 feet (1,825.4 metres).    Originally the bridge was called the New York and Brooklyn Bridge and was often referred to as the East River Bridge. By the early twentieth century the bridge was universally referred to as the Brooklyn Bridge.


free things to do in new york - walk the brooklyn bridge


How Do I Get To The Brooklyn Bridge?

That depends on whether you want to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan into Brooklyn or from Brooklyn to Manhattan.  Both are lovely, but you do have a pretty spectacular skyline view if you choose to walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan.  You could also walk from the Manhattan side half way across the bridge and then come back. Either way you decide to go, you can best get to the bridge via subway.   Walk across the pedestrian pathway and you will see fantastic panoramic views of the great city. On the Brooklyn side of the bridge the area has been developed to attract tourists with parks, piers and carousels.     On the Manhattan side you are close to the NYC downtown sights of the City Hall and the New York City Supreme Court.   Be aware that pedestrians share the Brooklyn bridge walkway with cyclists who have their own lane, expect to be shouted at by irate cyclists, if you wander into their lane.


free things to do in new york - walk the brooklyn bridge


Brooklyn Bridge Facts

  • The reputed German bridge designer John Roebling, in 1855, proposed of a suspension bridge to connect Manhattan and the city of Brooklyn. New York City council finally approved his design in 1869.
  • The Brooklyn Bridge cost of 15 million dollars to build which was nearly double the estimated cost.
  • The bridge was officially opened on May 23, 1883 by President Chester Arthur.
  • A year after the bridge opened, in 1884, the showman and daredevil P.T. Barnum led a group of twenty one elephants over the newly built bridge to demonstrate its stability and quash rumors that the bridge was unsafe.
  • The Brooklyn Bridge on completion in 1883 became the longest suspension bridge in the world. A record the bridge held until 1903.
  • When the bridge was opened it connected two separate cities. The city of Brooklyn did not become part of NYC until 1898, when Brooklyn electors voted in a referendum by a narrow margin to merge with New York City.

Getting There

Starting in Manhattan you take the 4, 5, 6 trains to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall Stop or the J or Z trains to the Chambers Street Stop. These are the two nearest subway stations. The Brooklyn bridge will be straight across the street from the subway station.

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