Travel Guide | New York City

How to Spend a Day in DUMBO, Brooklyn

Explore  the  small neighborhood Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass (DUMBO) for a different side of New York

The DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn is the perfect place to spend a leisurely Saturday or Sunday with your friends.  Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass (DUMBO) lies between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.  The area is quite small compared to many of the other Brooklyn neighborhoods and manageable for walking in a day.

Walk the Bridge.

Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge from either side.  Whether you’re starting from the Manhattan side or already in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, it’s only a 1.1 mile walk across.  Take advantage of the photo opportunity by taking plenty of photos of both the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge and the Manhattan skyline.  You can even see the Statue of  Liberty to the south and the Empire State Building to the north.

Tip: Stay out of the bike lane.  The cyclists get very annoyed at sightseers who wander aimlessly into their lane.

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Put a lock on the bridge

Don’t forget to take a padlock to leave on the bridge with the names of you and your significant other.  While there aren’t as many love locks as on the many bridges across the Seine in Paris, you can still ‘protect your heart’ with a lock on the Brooklyn Brigde.

Fast fact: Did you know that the tradition of ‘protecting your heart’ with a lock on a bridge dates back to World War I and a couple from Vrnjačka Banja, Serbia?

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Take in the Architecture

The buildings in the neighborhood were once used as industrial workspaces.  They have been gradually repurposed as art galleries, book stores and trendy cafes; however the buildings themselves have their own beauty.  Take the time to look up and enjoy the architecture of the buildings. Some are still empty and abandoned but retain some of their grandeur.

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Grab some lunch

Once you’ve worked up an appetite by walking over the bridge and back, it’s time for some lunch.

Grimaldi’s, the iconic pizzeria on Front st may have too long a line to wait in if you’re really hungry.  If you really want pizza, 2 doors down is Juliana’s Pizza, owned by one of the old owners of Grimaldi’s.  The line may not be shorter here but a pizza from either of these coal fired kitchens will be worth the wait.  For a faster and still tasty option, visit the Shake Shack for a burger and delicious milk shake.

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Explore the shops in DUMBO

The DUMBO neighborhood is a wonderful place to explore. We found the Japanese antique store Shibui (Corner of Washington St & Water St) which is filled with furniture, signs, homewares and textiles.  We came away with several pairs of beautiful lacquered chopsticks.  While you’re there you can say hello to the owner’s new dog, Orson.

DUMBO is known for several bookstores that specialize in rare, used and out of print books.  Take some time to browse in PS Bookshop (76 Front Street).  This is not your Barnes and Noble bookstore.  It’s easy to lose an hour combing the shelves and flipping through books on topics you didn’t even know existed.

West Elm not only have a store in DUMBO but there also have a wonderful West Elm Market store (50 Washington Street) where you can pick up small practical items for the kitchen or your dorm room.  There is a café in the back of the Market store where you can enjoy an espresso before you purchase a beautiful new coffee mug for your dorm or some sriracha mayo.

Eat chocolate!

Jacques Torres opened his chocolate shop here in DUMBO (66 Water Street) which has chocolaty treats large and small.  The hot chocolate here is supposed to be divine; however we only stopped to purchase a few small chocolates.  The Red Chai truffle was delicious.  We also bought a small gift tin of dark chocolate coated ginger slices for a friend who loves it. In truth, it was hard not to purchase the entire shop.

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Take in the Sunset

Stroll down by the water to enjoy the view of both the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.  As the sun goes down it plays over the Manhattan skyline and ferries as they move along the East River.  The amphitheater stone steps provide the perfect place to sit and enjoy with friends.

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