Brooklyn is one of New York City’s hot spots to visit. With historic neighborhoods, a fabulous food scene, and some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline, this is a great place to add to your New York itinerary. With one day in Brooklyn, you can walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, visit Dumbo, and explore Williamsburg.
Brooklyn is enormous. I recently read a statistic that if Brooklyn were a separate city, it would be the third most populated city in the United States (after Los Angeles and Chicago). However, since it is one of the five boroughs, it gets added into the mega city of New York.
Since Brooklyn is so large, it’s impossible to visit all of it in just one day. This one day itinerary focuses on the Brooklyn Bridge, Dumbo, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Williamsburg. The day starts off with a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and iconic views of the Manhattan skyline and ends with a food tour of Williamsburg.
Think of today as a mini food tour combined with some of the best views of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge.
About this Itinerary
If you plan to do this with kids, and you want to go bowling at Brooklyn Bowl, the only days you can do this itinerary are Saturday and Sunday. The Brooklyn Bowl opens at 12 pm on Saturday and Sunday, but during weekdays, it does not open until 6 pm. Kids are only allowed in Brooklyn Bowl before 6 pm. Just make sure you get here by 4:30.
If you are not visiting with kids, this itinerary works well all week. Just be aware that Brooklyn Bowl is not open on Monday or Tuesday, so you will have to skip the Brooklyn Bowl on these days.
One Day in Brooklyn: On a Map
How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each point of interest. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.
One Day in Brooklyn
10 am: Brooklyn Bridge
Start off the day with a walk over the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. This is one of the best free things to do while in NYC.
From the Manhattan side of the bridge, it will take about 30 minutes to cross Brooklyn Bridge, allowing time for photos.
Getting Here: The closest subway stations are Brooklyn Bridge – City Hall (lines 4,5 and 6), Chambers Street (lines J and Z), Fulton Street (lines 2 and 3) and City Hall (lines N, R, and W). You can also get here using Uber or Lyft or a taxi.
10:30 am: Dumbo
Dumbo is an acronym for “down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass.”
This is another spot in Brooklyn that has changed in the recent years. It was once a seedy area with abandoned warehouses and now it is filled with restaurants, shops, offices, and apartments. It’s worth a stroll and a chance to take this iconic photo of the Manhattan Bridge.
The prime photo spot is near the intersection of Washington Street and Water Street. On Google Maps, it is labeled Dumbo-Manhattan Bridge View.
To get here from the Brooklyn Bridge, walk to Washington Street and then walk north on Washington Street, towards the East River. In two blocks you will be at the photo spot for Dumbo.
Dumbo | One Day in Brooklyn
11:00 am: Brooklyn Bridge Park
For one of the best views you can get of the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge, visit Brooklyn Bridge Park and the nearby Pebble Beach.
This waterfront area, which runs along the East River in Brooklyn, was once home to warehouse and ferry ports that were used for shipping. Once the Brooklyn Bridge was constructed, the need for these ferry ports no longer existed, so this area was neglected for decades.
In the 1980’s, plans began to turn this area into an 80+ acre park. Now, not only do you have an awesome view of the Manhattan skyline, but you can also go biking and running along the paths, play basketball, bocce ball or soccer, and even go kayaking or bouldering.
Walk through the park, heading back towards the Brooklyn Bridge. Stop off at Pebble Beach for a great view of the Brooklyn Bridge and kids will enjoy a ride on the carousel.
You can’t walk directly under the bridge, so you will cross over it at Water Street. On the opposite side, you have the option to walk through Brooklyn Bridge Park to the East River for another view of the Manhattan skyline at the New York Skyline Lookout.
View from Pebble Beach | One Day in Brooklyn
12:00 pm: Lunch at Juliana’s Pizza
There is no shortage of amazing pizza places in Brooklyn, and Juliana’s is one of the best. Some people even say that Juliana’s serves the best pizza in New York City.
Juliana’s Pizza is located next to the Brooklyn Bridge, just a few minutes walk from Brooklyn Bridge Park. They do not take reservations so be prepared to wait in line. It’s worth it.
Juliana’s Pizza | One Day in Brooklyn
We waited in line for about a half an hour for a table. On the menu are salads, pizzas, and pastas, as well as a variety of desserts.
The pizza is very good. It’s similar to pizza you would get in Naples, Italy, with a thin crust, simple but delicious tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, basil, and a dash of olive oil. You can order the plain and simple margherita pizza or take your pick of toppings. Enjoy!
Juliana’s is the first stop on our “food tour” of Brooklyn. You have a few other places to visit this afternoon, so have a light lunch at Juliana’s (or skip Juliana’s if other places in this itinerary look more enticing).
PRO TRAVEL TIP: After lunch, you will ride the East River Ferry to Williamsburg. The ferry runs roughly every 30 minutes during the summer and every 45 minutes in the winter. While at lunch, look up the next ferry so you know when to be at the Dumbo ferry station.
1:30 pm: East River Ferry to Dumbo
It’s time to head to Williamsburg. The most scenic way to do this is to take the East River Ferry to the North Williamsburg ferry port.
Board the East River Ferry at Dumbo, which is located to the west of Brooklyn Bridge and just a 3 minute walk from Juliana’s. Take the ferry two stops to North Williamsburg. Along the way, you will have fantastic views of the Manhattan skyline and sail under the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge. For just $2.75 per person, this is a gorgeous yet budget way to travel in New York City.
2:15 pm: East River Park
From the ferry port, it’s just a short walk to East River Park (also called Marsha P. Johnson State Park on Google Maps). The view of the Manhattan skyline from here is a bit different than near the Brooklyn Bridge.
East River Park | One Day in Brooklyn
2:45 pm: Williamsburg
Williamsburg is a neighborhood that has changed quite a lot in the past twenty years. Since the late 1990’s, Williamsburg has undergone a staggering amount of renovation. Buildings have been restored and brand new, stylish high-rises have been erected along the East River. Along with these changes came an influx of artists, musicians, and a vibrant nightlife.
Street Art in Williamsburg | One Day in Brooklyn
Now, these city streets are dotted with nightclubs, restaurants, and boutique shops. For the next several hours, you can explore Williamsburg. We have four great restaurants to try, if you like the idea of taking a “food tour” of Brooklyn.
The Meatball Shop
This is one of our favorite restaurants in Williamsburg. The menu is hysterical. Take your pick from one of several types of “naked balls” and add your favorite sauce. We ordered the classic meatball with the classic tomato sauce and the spicy pork meatball with the parmesan cheese sauce. Both were delicious but the classic was definitely our favorite.
They also serve sandwiches, shakes, and floats. Kara ate waffle balls with fruit and whipped cream.
If you want to pace yourself for today’s food tastings, consider ordering just one meatball. There are still a lot of great restaurants to try today!
Juliette’s is a lovely French-style café. It’s very cozy with a charming, uniquely decorated atmosphere.
Juliette’s | One Day in Brooklyn
Radegast Hall and Biergarten
Just down the street is lively Radegast Hall and Biergarten. This is the spot to get your Bavarian food and beer fix. Feast on schnitzels, wursts, and giant pretzels with mustard. Or, just have a pint of German beer and enjoy the atmosphere.
Radegast | One Day in Brooklyn
The Bedford Cheese Shop
The Bedford Cheese Shop offers wine and cheese tastings. They also can prepare sandwiches if you prefer a budget meal.
5:00 pm: The Brooklyn Brewery
If you like the idea of taking a brewery tour or doing a beer tasting, visit the Brooklyn Brewery.
The tasting room of the Brooklyn Brewery opens at 4 pm Monday through Thursday, at 2 pm on Friday, and at noon on Saturday and Sunday. You also have the option to book a brewery tour which last 45 minutes. Learn more on the official website.
6:00 pm Brooklyn Bowl
On our visit to Brooklyn, we stumbled across this very fun spot. The Brooklyn Bowl is a bowling alley – bar – nightclub combination. This is not your average bowling alley. While you bowl, you can have a drink, order some more food, and listen to the live music.
The Brooklyn Bowl does not take reservations. It’s first come first served and we were told that the line gets quite long later in the day. Lanes are rented by the half hour. If you only play one game, you will be here for about one hour.
On weekends, the Brooklyn Bowl opens at 12 pm. On weekdays, it opens at 6 pm. Brooklyn Bowl is closed Monday and Tuesday. Get updated hours before you go on the official website.
After 6 pm, no kids are allowed (you have to be 21 years or older). When we did this, we visited on a weekend before 6 pm, so Tyler and Kara were allowed at Brooklyn Bowl.
To return to Manhattan, take the L train from the Bedford Avenue station.
About Our Experience
We visited Brooklyn on the Saturday of President’s Day Weekend (mid-February). We did this itinerary in the opposite order, because at that time, Brooklyn Bowl opened at 10 am. Their hours of operation dramatically changed since our visit, so I rewrote this itinerary in the opposite order. In the afternoon, we visited Dumbo and while we were at dinner at Juliana’s Pizza, it started snowing. By the time we visited the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, it was snowing so hard that we could barely see the Manhattan skyline. But the snow did make for a magical walk across the Brooklyn Bridge!
Brooklyn Bridge in February | One Day in Brooklyn
Tours of Brooklyn
If you prefer to do this with a guide, there are a number of walking tours to choose from, that include Williamsburg or Dumbo and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Do you have plans to visit New York City soon? Comment below if you have any questions about how to spend one day in Brooklyn.
Read More About New York City
If you are planning a trip to New York City, don’t miss these articles. Our Where to Stay in New York City article includes recommendations for hotels in Brooklyn.
BEST OF NEW YORK CITY: For a list of the top experiences in New York City, read our article Best Things to Do in New York City.
NYC OBSERVATION DECKS: In our article Best Observation Decks in New York City, we rank all of the observation decks by price, height, and best view. We also have detailed guides on The Edge, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, and One World Observatory.
NYC ITINERARY: In our article 5 Days in New York City, we included detailed daily itineraries for exploring New York City. You can do all five days or follow just a day or two, if you have less time in the city.
CHELSEA & HUDSON YARDS: In our article Best Things to Do in Chelsea and Hudson Yards, learn about the best things to do in the area, with suggestions on where to eat and where to stay.
NYC HOTELS: Need a place to stay? Check out our guide to the Best Hotels in New York City, organized by neighborhood.
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