When we aren’t able to hike in the woods, we take city hikes, sometimes walking 10+ miles in a day all over the city. One great way to see a different side of the city is to cross one of its many bridges connecting Manhattan to the other boroughs/NJ. They make it so easy! We have crossed five of NYC’s major bridges, plus two bonus bridges a bit more upstate, Bear Mountain Bridge and the Poughkeepsie Bridge (Walkway over the Hudson)! Here’s a guide if you ever want to try it yourself!
The Brooklyn Bridge is of course the iconic one to cross. It has a beautiful wooden path above the traffic that’s easy for bikes and pedestrians to stroll along. This bridge can get extremely busy and you will see influencers taking shots on here. If you go early in the morning from the Manhattan side you can catch a nice sunrise with far fewer people. There are a lot of other ways to see the Brooklyn Bridge in all its glory as well, including a ride on MTA’s ferry (shot from the ferry below).
Getting there is easy. From the Brooklyn side, get off the A or C train at High Street – Brooklyn Bridge. If you’re coming from Manhattan, get off the 4/5/6 train at Brooklyn Bridge. It’s hard to miss once you’re off the train. For more on what to do in this area, check out this post!
The Manhattan Bridge is pretty iconic as well, but mostly because of how it looks from DUMBO. It’s very pretty from down here. The bridge itself? The pathway is a bit narrow and not very interesting at all. Once you get to the Manhattan side (or if you start there), you can see some really beautiful city perspectives. Although I haven’t had the pleasure, I am betting you can get some really great views of the Brooklyn Bridge/lower Manhattan at sunset in the wintertime from here.
To get to the Manhattan Bridge, you want to get off the F at East Broadway. It’s then kind of an awkward walk up and around to the entrance (East Broadway –> Madison –> Catherine –> Bowery). You’ll be in Chinatown, which is always a treat! The Brooklyn side is a little trickier. If you’re coming from the Brooklyn Bridge, walk north along the shoreline until you get to the Manhattan Bridge and follow it to its entrance. Essentially, plug DUMBO into your phone from wherever you are and once you can see it, you can follow it to its entrance.
The Williamsburg Bridge is super underrated. Not only do you go through some awesome street art in Williamsburg to get there (not to mention plenty of coffee shops), but it’s a nice, large pathway with really pretty pink railings! I mean, I don’t even like pink, but juxtaposed with the inner city grit, it’s actually quite charming. People also draw all over the pathway, so you get some fun street art there, too.
For the Williamsburg Bridge, I suggest taking the MTA ferry to South Williamsburg and walking to the entrance (it’s at 5th/6th and Wythe). You can also take the G to Metropolitan, but it’s a further walk and not nearly as nice! If you’re in Manhattan already, take the F to East Broadway (this time go north east instead of south west like with the Manhattan Bridge) or the B/D to Grand St.
This is my neighborhood bridge. I cross it regularly to get to Manhattan from my apartment in Queens. I love it because it’s really classic looking and actually provides a good amount of space for walkers on one side and bikes on the other. From the bridge, you get a beautiful view of northern Manhattan/Queens and Roosevelt Island. I love watching the cable car go from Roosevelt Island to Manhattan and back from this view point.
George Washington Bridge
The George Washington Bridge is largely functional for people. I don’t think a lot of people go over it for the views, due to how busy the street is. But you should! It’s got really nice views of Manhattan (especially at night) and leads right to Fort Lee. It’s super easy to get to off the subway as well. There are points along the path that are fairly narrow; you have to watch for bikes that don’t care that you want to see the views. The bridge is also quite high. Given how easy it is to traipse over this bridge, though, I don’t see why anyone would skip it.
The George Washington Bridge is off the A at 175th St Station. There are helpful signs pointing you the way to get there. It’s a narrow path (which you share with bikers) to get on the bridge itself, then you’re good to go! Take a left to get to Fort Lee. For more on what else to do when you check this bridge out, check out my post here!
Bonus #1: Bear Mountain Bridge
You have to get on the Metro North to walk this bridge! Before we crossed it, we hiked Anthony’s Nose. We climbed on down and took a quick stroll over this historic bridge. The views from here are quite nice (as is this entire area). The train goes along both sides of the shorelines here and we watched several make the journey down the tracks. I will warn you on this one, however, that there’s a sizeable gap between the walk path and the railing in certain parts that freaks people out a little bit. Be careful when taking pics!
Bonus #2: Walkway over the Hudson – Poughkeepsie
You can get to this bridge on the Metro North as well. It’s quite a ways up there – 1hr45mins or so. We had pretty high hopes for this bridge as we’d seen it hyped elsewhere. It was…nice. It’s got a huge walking path and there are no cars, so that is probably the biggest plus to this bridge. But the town of Poughkeepsie is only meh (during COVID times at least) and there’s not much to see on the other side. Having said that, quite a lot of people were on this bridge by the time we walked back, so maybe I’m just a naysayer. The views aren’t *as* nice as some of the other bridges, but you do get a full shot of the Hudson.
Those are all the bridges we managed to walk over in and around NYC! It’s well worth taking in a bridge or two, and it doesn’t have to be the Brooklyn Bridge! They really give you a unique perspective of the city, and you never know what you might find to check out in Queens or Brooklyn!
If you’re interested in crossing bridges generally, check out our post on the Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge in the world that we crossed in Switzerland or all the covered bridges we visited in Bennington, Vermont!
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