The Bridge Less Traveled: Walk the Williamsburg Bridge

Williamsburg Bridge walk
One of the many fun things to do in Brooklyn is to walk the pedestrian walkway on the Williamsburg Bridge. It may not be as pretty or well-known as the Brooklyn Bridge, but this bridge has its own unique charms. First of all, it’s not as crowded as its famous neighbor. Another big advantage, there are separate pathways for pedestrians and cyclists, so there’s no worry about getting hit by a speeding bike.

The feel along the walkway is gritty and industrial. A network of diagonal beams casts dramatic shadows on the pavement below, which is covered by often-humourous graffiti scribbles. The subway and car traffic chug along on a path beneath you, but you barely notice this, as you take in the impressive views of the East River and NYC skyline.

The distance over the Williamsburg bridge one way is 1.2 miles. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and pack a bottle of water. 

The Manhattan entrance to the bridge is in the famed Lower East Side (LES) neighborhood. There are plenty of fun places to explore here. For a repast in a bohemian French-style cafe, try The Pink Pony. Nearby subways include the J/M line at Delancey and Norfolk Streets, and the F line at Delancey and Essex Streets.

The Brooklyn entrance to the bridge puts you in South Williamsburg, which is slightly off the beaten path from the main drag in North Williamsburg; however, there are plenty of gems in the immediate area. Check out Rabbithole, a charming cafe/bar with old-timey touches like rich wood planked floors, a tin ceiling, and a delightful backyard garden. Nearby subways include the J/M line at Marcy avenue, the L line at Bedford Ave.

Getting on the Bridge:
• In Manhattan, pedestrians and cyclists enter at Clinton and Delancey Streets.
• In Brooklyn, pedestrians enter at Bedford Ave between South 5th and South 6th Streets. Cyclists enter at Washington Plaza (Roebling and South 4th Streets).

The Pink Pony Cafe (176 Ludlow St, New York, NY; 212-253-1922; Open 11 am-2 am daily; cash only).

Rabbithole (352 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, near S. 4th St.; Open Mon 9 am–11 pm; Tues–Sun 8 am–midnight).