There are many attractions that bring tourists from all over the world to the great city of New York. And many of these attractions can be found within the island of Manhattan.
However, many people spend all of their time in Manhattan without realizing the draw and beauty found within Brooklyn!
I have a few friends that live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn so decided to make a trip out for my 32nd birthday! To say it was a blast is an understatement.
Brooklyn is one of New York City’s five boroughs. It’s known for the Brooklyn Bridge that connects it to Manhattan, the Barclays Center arena, and most importantly the various quaint neighborhoods. Brooklyn also has tons of fun parks, street art, delicious restaurants, and entertaining bars all across the borough.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn is one of the most iconic neighborhoods in the borough for good reason. It’s home to many families and young working professionals, while also being home to a large Hasidic Jewish community. Not only is it full of incredible restaurants, bars, breweries, and cafes but it has a plethora of parks and waterfront views.
Plus, there are plenty of places your bike can take you on your tour of Williamsburg.
Williamsburg Brooklyn Self-Guided Bike Tour
NOTE: Technically this bike route starts in Williamsburg, goes through Dumbo, and then over the Brooklyn Bridge despite the name of just being in Williamsburg. If you’d rather just stick to Williamsburg, I recommend walking. Here’s a great walking tour guide.
Williamsburg is a quick car ride or subway from Manhattan but can also be easily explored via a bike ride over the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, or Williamsburg Bridge. The former two bridges will lead into Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood while the latter will lead right into Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood itself.
There’s no need for a formal tour when it comes to biking around Williamsburg, Brooklyn because there are many routes and approaches you could take based on your hopes for the trip.
Type a final destination into your GPS and enjoy the scenic view along the way or take a look at the recommendations (and map) belowfor an eventful self-guided bike tour of Brooklyn.
What Will I Need?
The bike ride from one end of the Brooklyn Bridge to the other is about one mile long, which would take an average biker less than 10 minutes to complete.
Citi Bikes are a great way for someone to get involved in bike riding without taking on the responsibility of owning their own bike. You may be like me and think that biking in Brooklyn sounds scary, but it is much less busy and crazy than Manhattan and we found it to be super easy!
Citi Bike stations can be found all around New York City and can easily be rented for an inexpensive rate. In fact, just open up your Lyft app and you can hop right on without creating a new account. Don’t worry about not finding a bike either, they are all over the place in Brooklyn.
Note: You can either get a regular bike or an electric bike! While we’re at it, let’s be friends on Instagram and Tiktok!
Where to Start
I recommend starting either in Williamsburg near Marsha P. Johnson Park or McCarren Park. If you’re coming from Manhattan, grab your bike near the Brooklyn Bridge and you’ll be traveling left from the bridge. If you take the Williamsburg Bridge over to Williamsburg, you’ll take a right into Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
The Brooklyn Bridge takes about 40 minutes to walk across. For the purposes of this self-guided biking tour, I’m going to start at Marsha P. Johnson Park in Williamsburg. Note: Marsha P. Johnson doesn’t allow bicycles inside, but you will be able to find Citi Bikes nearby once you exit the park. If you are coming from the Brooklyn Bridge, just reverse your bike tour!
Stop 1: Marsha P. Johnson Park or McCarren Park
Start out at Marsha P. Johnson Park on the water with beautiful views of the city or you can start at McCarren Park, a popular park in this area.
Stop 2: The Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn Bowl or Gutter Bar
When it comes to eating and drinking in Williamsburg, there are many places you can go to while on your biking tour. TheBrooklyn Brewery is a fan favorite in Williamsburg and is a great place to stop in for a drink, to enjoy a brewery tour, or to attend events hosted by the brewery. Just be sure to count your beers before returning to the Citi Bike! Next door is Brooklyn Bowl and Gutter Bar is around the corner you want to spend the afternoon at a hip bowling alley.
Stop 3: Bedford Ave.
You might also want to check out Bedford Avenue anywhere from McCarron Park to the Williamsburg Bridge. This street, which spans 10 miles long in Brooklyn, is home to many fun shops, restaurants, and other local businesses.
Make sure you’re on the stretch from 12th through 3rd streets where everything is going on. In the map provided above, I’ve located Bedford Ave. by locating one of the popular restaurants, Sweet Chick, that’s in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the street.
Stop 4: Domino Park
Make your way towards Domino Park where you can temporarily get off your bike for a quick stroll on foot or continue on your bike around the park. This is also a great area to pick up your bike if you have been walking around.
Stop 5: Brooklyn Navy Yard and Rooftop Reds
You won’t be stopping at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, just passing through since there isn’t much to see. Keep riding your bike down until you get to Flushing Avenue and follow that to get around the Navy Yard.
If you feel like you are getting tired already, you could ditch your bike at the nearby Citi Bike rack for a wine tasting at the famous Rooftop Reds winery with beautiful views of the city from the top!
Stop 6: Fort Greene Neighborhood
If you are continuing on your biking journey, Fort Greene is a diverse neighborhood close to the Navy Yard with a hipster bar scene, a seasonal flea market, and another large park called Fort Greene Park.
Stop 7: Brooklyn Flea
According to The New York Times, Brooklyn Flea is, “One of the great urban experiences of New York.” They have now grown into one of New York’s top attractions and operate flea markets every weekend of the year. Vendors sell vintage clothing, collectibles, antiques, furniture, art, and jewelry. Feel free to stop here if they are open along your route!
Stop 8: Dumbo, Brooklyn
Welcome to Dumbo, a trendy Brooklyn neighborhood with cobblestone streets, high-end restaurants, and views of the city across the water.
Some may not realize, but Dumbo actually stands for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass”. If you want to find the spot for the “iconic Dumbo picture”, then head to the intersection of Washington Street and Water Street for the best view. Don’t miss the fun street art and shops in Dumbo.
Stop 9: Time Out Market New York
Ready for some food or just want to take a stop and look at the views? Check out the Time Out Market New York, a 24,000-square-feet food hall featuring New York’s top chefs. Included in the space are three bars, numerous eateries, a rooftop with views of Manhattan, and numerous art installations. Stop here to get some of the best food New York has to offer.
Stop 10: Pebble Beach and Jane’s Carousel
Pebble Beach is right next to Time Out Market and is a great spot to get beautiful views of Jane’s Carousel with the Brooklyn Bridge and the city in the distance. Jane’s Carousel was built in 1922 and is a beautiful antique carousel that you can still ride! It’s located in the Brooklyn Bridge Park inside a beautiful glass pavilion and is at least worth a look.
Stop 11: Brooklyn Bridge or Brooklyn Heights
From Dumbo, either take the Brooklyn Bridge across to Manhattan or head over to Brooklyn Heights. This area is adjacent to Dumbo and is an expensive area of Brooklyn. You’ll find stunning brownstones and a perfect view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.
If you decide to cross the bridge, you can either ditch the bike and walk across (about 45 mins) or take the bike which will take about 10 mins.
Either drop your bikes now or continue on if you feel comfortable biking into Manhattan. I didn’t and just walked over the bridge! You’ll also be near the 9/11 Memorial and Museum if you’d like to take a pitstop at the memorial. I recommend buying tickets to the museum in advance as they sell out, but it’s worth every penny to go inside!
What Else is There to Do in the Area?
Get a Guided Tour
There are plenty of places your bike can take you for scheduled activities. Try a formal guided tour to learn about the history of Brooklyn. Want to learn more history about NYC? Check out The City Reliquary Museum. This is a museum highlighting the history of NYC and its visitors. Inside you’ll find artifacts from vintage postcards to fragments from landmark structures.
Brooklyn is also known worldwide for its street art. Graffiti murals can be found throughout the borough but check out Troutman Street between Irving Avenue and Cypress Avenue to see an eye-catching display of street art in East Williamsburg.
Spend Time Venturing Through Other Neighborhoods
If you head south into Brooklyn past the Barclays Center, you will pass other residential neighborhoods. These fun neighborhoods like Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Crown Heights have a lot to offer as well. Prospect Park, a beautiful park of about 586 acres, sits at the intersection of these neighborhoods. Williamsburg can be found moving northeast from this location about four to five miles.
Eat Some Great Food and Drink
The Brooklyn food scene as a whole is spectacular. Popular destinations beingBirria-Landia for tacos,Leo for pizza,Le Crocodile for French cuisine,Llama Inn for Peruvian food, andLilia for Italian bites. You can also check out the Radegast Hall & Biergarten for a fun German-themed dinner or grab drinks at the rooftop bar, Westlight at the well-known William Vale Hotel. All of these restaurants are located in Williamsburg and may come in handy when the self-guided bike tour starts to make you hungry.
Visit Coney Island
If you are really feeling up for it, you can make your way to the southern tip of Brooklyn. Here you’ll find Coney Island. Coney Island is home to a fun amusement park calledLuna Park, the New York Aquarium, and a boardwalk of other attractions. Coney Island is about 15 miles away from the top of Williamsburg, so the subway or Uber could come in handy when making your way to and from Coney Island.
Now that you have heard all about the unique, creative, and artistic borough that is Brooklyn, it is time to plan your next trip to the Big Apple to see it for yourself through the eyes of a biker.
Welcome to the Traveling Spud! I’m Katie, a 30 something from Idaho who quit her marketing job in San Francisco, California to travel the world for a year. After a trip around the world, my heart chose Idaho. I'm addicted to outdoor adventures, photography, and inspiring others to get out of their comfort zones and cross experiences off of their bucket lists. Let's explore together! Read more here.