The expansive Williamsburg Bridge crosses New York City’s East River, connecting Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan. The bridge is great for walking, jogging, or biking, since cars and pedestrians are separated on two distinct levels. Consider an afternoon jaunt across the span to enjoy views of the NYC waterfront and nearby Brooklyn Bridge.
The Williamsburg Bridge, which opened in 1903, is an essential thoroughfare connecting Manhattan’s Lower East Side to Brooklyn’s trendy Williamsburg neighborhood. It carries pedestrians, motorists, and subway trains on separate levels. If you walk across the bridge at night, you’ll enjoy the extra treat of Manhattan’s glittering skyline.
Many city tours cross the bridge, and river cruises often coast beneath the imposing steel structure. Beyond group tours, you can always book a private tour by car or motorcycle, which is an exciting way to quickly cross the bridge while enjoying the sights of your choosing.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Walkers and cyclists are separated by a thin, painted line, so stay in your lane, and be aware of fast-moving bikes as you cross.
- The 1.4-mile (2.25-kilometer) bridge stands 135 feet (41 meters) above the river and is often windy, so pack an outer layer and prepare for a good walk.
- Adrenaline fiends can opt for a helicopter tour; these tours typically pass over New York City’s bridges, the Statue of Liberty, and other iconic sights.
- The bridge is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
How to Get There
You can access the Williamsburg Bridge from the Manhattan side at Delancey and Clinton streets, and the Brooklyn side at Bedford Avenue between South 5th and 6th streets. To get to the bridge, you take the subway: in Manhattan, take the B or D train to Grand Street, or the F to Delancey; in Brooklyn, take the J or M to Marcy Avenue, or the G to Metropolitan Avenue.
When to Get There
The Williamsburg Bridge is best explored in pleasant weather. On sunny, summer weekends, the bridge is crowded with tourists and locals walking and cruising on bikes. To avoid the crowds, consider arriving mid-week, during the day, or taking an after-dinner stroll.
How to See the Lower East Side
To enjoy views of the Williamsburg Bridge without walking across, consider booking a Lower East Side walking tour. In addition to great bridge views from Manhattan, walking tours tend to explore the LES’s rich immigrant history, identify locations featured in movies, and recommend the best places to eat around the neighborhood. Both private and group tours are usually available year-round.