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Step Into DUMBO, Brooklyn: How to Spend a Day in NYC’s Hip Spot

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New York City draws millions of visitors a year for good reason: You’ll never run out of things to do.

From the favorite sites like Times Square and Central Park to Chinatown shopping to the restaurants on every block, many travelers have little reason to leave Manhattan. But just across the Brooklyn Bridge in a neighborhood called DUMBO (short for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass”), a cobblestone street utopia with no bright lights or crowds to be found.

Get to know New York’s softer side by spending a day in DUMBO. Here’s what you need to know to maximize your time.


Getting to DUMBO, Brooklyn

The fastest and cheapest way to get to DUMBO from Manhattan is by subway. A single ride costs $3 and you can also purchase a subway pass if you plan to use the subway system consistently over the course of a few days. For those coming from Midtown Manhattan, DUMBO is a short, 15-minute subway ride from Penn Station near. Simply hop on the A or C line downtown train and get off at the High Street-Brooklyn Bridge Station stop.


Dumbo brooklyn map


Or, take a stroll across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. It's a 1.1-mile walk, and a great opportunity to take some photos from the top of the bridge. 


What To Do

DUMBO has some of the best views of Manhattan you'll find. Head to Brooklyn Bridge Park for sweeping views of the city and the bridge itself. There are a number of piers, a beach, and green space for days. You can even catch an excellent sightline of the Statue of Liberty from the piers. Unlike Liberty State Park and Staten Island, the Statue of Liberty faces Brooklyn Bridge Park.


dumbo brooklyn


As you make your way around the park and past the Brooklyn Bridge, plan to stop at Jane’s Carousel. This 1922 vintage carousel has amazing views of the city and tickets to ride are just $2. I prefer it over the Central Park Carousel.

After you’ve stretched your legs and strolled through the park, hit the cobblestone streets for some shopping. DUMBO is known for its collection of unique shops that can’t be found elsewhere. Empire Stores is the most well-known shopping complex located in an old warehouse and also offers a variety of places to grab a bite to eat with waterfront views. Shibui Japanese Antiques sells imported treasures and the owner is friendly and very knowledgeable about all of the pieces. Readers should head under the Manhattan bridge and over to Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop for rare poetry books.


dumbo brooklyn streets


Where to Eat

There’s no shortage of good food in DUMBO, with a number of trendy restaurants start-ups making their way in. But there are also a few longstanding, must-eat staples in the neighborhood.

Local pizza favorites Grimaldi’s and Juliana’s are located next to each other at the intersection of Fulton and Front Streets, but beware long lines at lunchtime. For sustainably sourced seafood, head down to Luke’s Lobster shack for an out-of-this-world lobster roll served on a buttery bun.


luke's lobster roll


There are also plentiful waterfront dining spots including Miami-style Sugarcane Raw Bar. You’ll pay for the waterfront views at any of the restaurants in the area, but a splurge is well worth it for the experience. For dessert, head over to One Girl Cookies for some affordable sweet treats.

For a swanky rooftop vibe, head to Harriet’s above 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge for a cocktail. The drinks are pricey so I only stayed for one, but the bar has comfortable lounge-style seating and completely unobstructed views.


harriet's dumbo brooklyn


Thrifty Tip #1: Harriet’s website states they charge a $20 cover for non-hotel guests, but it seems this policy isn’t consistently enforced on weekends before noon and on weekdays before 4 p.m. I visited on a Monday about 11:30 a.m. and was not charged a cover.


Where to Snag Photos

Both hobby and professional photographers alike flock to DUMBO, Brookyln for the quality photo opportunities.

Main Street Park is a small park beginning after Plymouth Street near the Manhattan Bridge. Head down to Pebble Beach to snap some perfect panoramic photographs that include both the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge and the Manhattan skyline. Accessing the small beach requires climbing over some large rocks, but with good shoes, it’s a fairly easy and short climb.

dumbo brooklyn


Next, make a stop at the intersection of Washington and Water Street for the iconic shots of the Empire State Building peeking through the Manhattan Bridge that DUMBO is famous for. Get there as early in the morning as possible before swarms of Instagrammers descend upon the intersection.


A large building with a bridge in the background


For a different perspective, walk a few blocks over and through the Archway Under the Manhattan Bridge. You won’t be able to see the city from the other side, but there are industrial warehouse backdrops and a quiet area to set up for some great shots.


dumbo brooklyn

Thrifty Tip #2: After getting the photos you want, stop in the archway under the bridge for a beer at Archway Lighthouse. Catch this seasonal beer and wine stand Wednesday-Sunday during April through October from noon until 10 p.m.


Bottom Line

Just a mile from the heart of the City that Never Sleeps, DUMBO, Brookyln still has that old-world charm. Thanks to its compact size, it's easy to explore in just a day. 

Be sure to cross the Brooklyn Bridge next time you're in New York City and check out this neighborhood.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

2 Responses

  • It’s for people from Boston to feel at home. Besides the views there is nothing outstanding there.

    • If you had lived as long as I have lived in New York (55 years) you would understand what Dumbo really means for New York. The root of that “spirit” was already in Soho, Manhattan, in the posterior years of the victory over Robert Moses and his vision of destroying neighborhoods, small buildings, in order to create more highways. Jane Jacobs had already prophesied about the importantce of developing neighborhoods like Greenwich Village by keeping their original structure, with books stores, art shops, antique shops, small multicualtural restaurants. Between the 1970s and 80s, while New York was revitalizing itself from the ashes of a city bankruptcy, Soho (South o Houston street) became a new experiment as per the idea of Jane Jacobs and that area became the bohemian extension of Greenwish Village from the 1970s- through the 80s, what became a huge success mixing the arts, fashion and the avantgarde altogether. The Down side was that everything became more expensive and elegant, but it didnt stop people to come around and breath that air of an unlikely success for the City of New York during that financial struggle. Jane jacobs was right with her social theories as the new wealth was not just “bourgeois” wealth like in Boston, but a Hip, new social mix of the classic free-spirited bohemia of New York following the old american school of thought “Pragmatism” and we have to recognize that for good or worse, that cultural edge has set the tone for other countries as well, as we witness in Europe, particuarly east europe after the fall of the Iron curtain during the end of the 1980s. Former poor cities like Prague and Budapest developed as they could over night with such an iconic creativity found only In New York , and when we say ” New York” the state of the cultural arts was already between Soho and the East Village in those days, when Basquiat and Haring suddenly became kings of the art scene that exploded all over the globe, making Italian social critics compare New York with Florence during the renaissance. That spirit began to shift during the 1990s when Soho began to move the galleries to Chelsea, an area that didn’t really accomplish the same impact we had experienced with Soho after the late 70s.. It seems that fate remained suspended for a while giving some time to the East Village to recover a bit their Bohemian “shine” and they did for a few years. Now the development of DUMBO is the cream and cherry on the pie. It not only has the same cultural pragmatic principles learned from Soho, but it added the family values that were abounding in Boston but not in the Bohemian life style of New York. DUMBO has a century old carrousel for heaven sake! ..a little ” beach” shore even if you can’t swim in it; many large spaces and iconic views of Manhattan! This is a spirit of New York with the edge that sets the tone for the world to follow, as always, and what makes New York to be New York…

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