Exploring Brooklyn: Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO

We explore Brooklyn a lot as transplant locals. Once we started to, it very quickly became one of our favorite boroughs. An amazing beer scene, history, interesting restaurants (including lots of vegan/veg places), and really beautiful buildings, street art and bridges…you can’t go wrong. Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO are super photogenic areas that I only wish I could afford to live in! We have been a few times and spent a whole morning exploring it recently, and it made me love Brooklyn all the more.

Brooklyn Bridge

A great way to start exploring Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo is to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. The entrance in Manhattan is extremely easy to get to off the 4/5/6. Depending on when you go, the bridge can be super crowded. But if you go early in the morning, it will be crowd-lite (still a lot of instagrammers doing their thang). It’s a beautiful bridge and, of course, historic. The bridge is old enough that it was originally meant for horse-drawn carriages. Now, it has the vehicle roadway on the bottom and a pedestrian walkway on the top. You get a great view of lower Manhattan from the bridge, including One World Trade. It’s just over a mile long, and, with a crowd, can take awhile to cross. With no crowd, it’s an easy going 20 minute stroll.

Brooklyn Heights

Once you cross the Brooklyn Bridge, if you go south, you get to Brooklyn Heights. Brooklyn Heights is a rich community with a lot of rowhouses and wooden houses from the early 1800s. You can also find what are called the “fruit streets”–Cranberry, Orange and Pineapple Streets–and a promenade overlooking the East River here. It’s a very charming neighborhood with a great view of the Brooklyn Bridge and lower Manhattan. Unsurprisingly, a lot of celebrities have called (and currently call) Brooklyn Heights home. It’s also a known hot spot for food. I know there’s a great diner in this area called Clark’s – the mocha pancakes are to die for! But there’s still some Italian influences in the area that have some great food to indulge in, too.

There’s such cool NYC history in this neighborhood from historic mansions to really old bars. Someday, we’ll go to the Brooklyn Historical Society to learn more about it.


If you go north when you get off the Brooklyn Bridge, you head toward Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood. DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. It stretches from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Manhattan Bridge and just beyond. It’s an EXTREMELY expensive neighborhood full of techies and fancy lofts. Etsy and West Elm are both headquartered here. Here’s the classic shot of the Manhattan Bridge everyone has to get when they come to Dumbo:

But the really cool thing about this area is that it has a lot of street art. I’m a sucker for street art and it’s one of the things that keeps me coming back to Brooklyn. They call the street art initiative DUMBO Walls.

CAM street art seen through a Fitzhugh Karol structure

Along the coast is Pebble Beach. You have an awesome view of both the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge from here. You can also get your feet wet!

Manhattan Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge from Pebble Beach

Dumbo recently saw the opening of the Time Out Market. Time Out is a magazine that I’ve referred to a million times for restaurant reviews and events/what’s happening in NYC this weekend type questions. They opened the Time Out Market in Dumbo this year. It’s a food hall and event space. We haven’t been yet, but we’re looking forward to it!

This neighborhood is fun. When Neal and I first moved to NYC, we came to Dumbo for a light show. It highlighted the importance of art to this neighborhood. There were a ton of people, but it was a fun beginning to our NYC adventure! Here’s a gif from the light show over the “Archway” in Dumbo (an archway from the Manhattan Bridge).

So that’s Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo in a nutshell. Excellent neighborhoods that are worth exploring.

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