There is so much to discover when you travel to New York City — from iconic landmarks to hole-in-the-wall hidden gems. On our full-time United States travels, we lived in Brooklyn for two separate full months and had a blast exploring New York City and its boroughs.
Of course one of our goals was to get amazing photos to remember our travels, and one of the best iconic shots you can get in NYC is of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Today, I’ll share all the unique places you can get the best view of Brooklyn Bridge at night, to capture that “city that never sleeps” New York vibe!
Best view of Brooklyn Bridge at night: Quick Guide
This post is full of helpful information for finding the best spots to view and photograph the bridge, but if you’re just looking for some quick answers, here are my top four favorite places to view the Brooklyn Bridge at night:
- Manhattan Bridge – Best for that classic shot that features the Brooklyn Bridge with NYC in the background
- Brooklyn Heights Promenade – Best for elevated shots of the the entire bridge
- Empire Fulton Ferry – Best for striking shots that include skyscrapers
- Brooklyn Bridge Pedestrian Walkway – Best for close-up shots on the bridge itself
Why is the Brooklyn Bridge special?
Before photographing the Brooklyn Bridge and proudly displaying your work in your home or online, you should know why the bridge is worthy of capturing!
The history and significance of the Brooklyn Bridge starts with its groundbreaking design and the enduring Roebling family legacy. This magnificent structure isn’t just a pivotal part of New York’s skyline, it’s a National Historic Landmark that stands as a testament to innovation and persistence.
The Brooklyn Bridge was built to connect the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, which were previously only accessible by ferry. The construction of the bridge aimed to provide a more efficient and reliable transportation route between the two areas, facilitating the movement of people and goods.
The bridge was also constructed to accommodate the increasing population and economic growth of both Manhattan and Brooklyn during the 19th century. The vision behind the bridge was to create a lasting and iconic structure that would symbolize progress and innovation while serving as a vital link between the two bustling urban centers.
The Roebling Legacy
The Brooklyn Bridge is a testament to the ingenuity of John A. Roebling, the mastermind behind its design. Roebling passed away before the bridge’s completion, but the project was taken over by his son, Washington Roebling.
But it was Washington’s wife, Emily Warren Roebling, who really stepped up. When her husband became too ill to oversee the construction in person, Emily served as the intermediary between Washington and the project’s workers, and she also mastered complex engineering concepts to ensure the completion of the bridge.
In 1964, the Brooklyn Bridge was designated a National Historic Landmark, in recognition of its historical and cultural importance to the nation. This designation is given to places that hold a special significance in American history.
Brooklyn Bridge facts
- Opened: 1883
- Designer: John A. Roebling
- Significant Contributors: Washington Roebling, Emily Warren Roebling
- Landmark Designation Year: 1964
- Significance: Recognition of historical and engineering significance, contribution to American cultural identity
Where can I get the best view of the Brooklyn Bridge at night?
Finding the perfect spot to view and photograph the Brooklyn Bridge can be a New York adventure in itself!
From the Brooklyn side of the bridge, you can get a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyscrapers, with the Brooklyn Bridge in the foreground. Try taking a series of shots at the sun goes down and the city lights start to twinkle.
We’ll start from the south side of the bridge in Brooklyn, make our way under the bridge to the north side, then cross the bridge for some unique shots, and wrap up with the best spots to view the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan!
Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Perched above the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, this elevated walkway known as the “Esplanade,” offers an uninterrupted view of the Brooklyn Bridge, the East River, and the twinkling lights of Lower Manhattan. It’s a serene spot to take a leisurely walk and appreciate the majestic nighttime scene.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
This expansive waterfront park in Brooklyn provides one of the most iconic views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline. You can start your stroll from Pier 1 and follow the path along the East River.
The park’s well-placed benches and green spaces offer great spots to relax and soak in the breathtaking views, and this location provides photographers with endless opportunities to capture stunning shots.
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge Rooftop
While you’re nearby in Brooklyn Bridge Park, head to the top of 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge for a sweeping panorama view of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline. You can even enjoy a nightcap from the rooftop bar while you’re there!
Fulton Ferry Landing
Situated just below the Brooklyn Bridge, Fulton Ferry Landing is an excellent place to enjoy close-up views of the bridge’s illuminated arches. Step out onto the Brooklyn Bridge Lookout for a unique, close-up perspective.
The River Café
For a luxurious dining experience with an unbeatable view, consider enjoying a meal at the River Café. This upscale restaurant is located right on the waterfront, offering diners a chance to savor gourmet cuisine while gazing at the illuminated Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline.
Empire Fulton Ferry
Use Water Street to cross under the bridge to the north side, and make your way to Empire Fulton Ferry, a serene park nestled between the Brooklyn Bridge and its sibling, the Manhattan Bridge.
Here you can get spectacular views of both bridges and pay a visit to Emily Warren Roebling Plaza — hey we know her — where you can view and photograph the bridge from directly underneath it!
Nearby Empire Fulton Ferry, Jane’s Carousel is a meticulously restored, historic merry-go-round. Go for a spin near the end of the day in winter to experience the carousel at twilight. You’re in for a magical experience as you whirl around with the bridge and city lights as your backdrop!
Along the waterfront in DUMBO, you’ll find Pebble Beach offering a more secluded and tranquil setting for enjoying the bridge at night. You can relax on the rocky shoreline, listen to the gentle lapping of the river, and gaze at the illuminated bridge in peace.
Here’s a not-quite-nighttime pic I took of the bridge from Pebble Beach, with Jane’s Carousel in the shot:
Bonus: See the Manhattan Bridge from Washington Street
We’re talking about great places to see the Brooklyn Bridge in this post, but while you’re nearby, make sure to walk over to Washington Street for a perfect shot of the Manhattan Bridge.
From this vantage point, you’ll capture the red brick buildings, cobblestone street, and, if you line it up just right, the Empire State Building framed within the Manhattan Bridge’s construction.
Here’s one of our kids in this spot, during the day! Didn’t even realize at the time that I caught the Empire State Building back there!
Time Out Market rooftop
Before heading to the bridge itself, pay a visit to the nearby Time Out Market. Located in the heart of DUMBO, it’s home to an eclectic mix of eateries under one roof. You can grab a bite to eat and enjoy a view of the lit-up bridge next to the sparkling Manhattan skyline from the rooftop park.
This is the perfect place to get shots of the Brooklyn Bridge with One World Trade Center standing tall and proud in the background!
Brooklyn Bridge Pedestrian Walkway
Finally, it’s time for the iconic experience of walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at night! As you make your way along the pedestrian walkway, you’ll be surrounded by the bridge’s dazzling lights and the glittering cityscape.
At night, the Brooklyn Bridge is really romantic. And standing in the center, with the grand Gothic arches towering above and the Statue of Liberty in the distance, you’re sure to feel a little awestruck by all the history and beauty surrounding you!
South Street Seaport / Pier 17
You can also get great pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Manhattan side. Start by exploring the historic South Street Seaport district, where you can stroll along the East River and take in views of the Brooklyn Bridge beautifully lit against the night sky.
Head to Pier 17 for a great view of the bridge, amid shops, restaurants, and a vibrant atmosphere.
East River Greenway / Two Bridges
The Brooklyn Bridge looks absolutely stunning at night when viewed from the East River Greenway in Manhattan. From this location in the aptly-named Two Bridges neighborhood, you can view both the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge, beautifully illuminated against the dark sky and the glimmering waters of the East River.
One World Observatory
You can’t get much higher in Manhattan than climbing to the top of One World Trade Center to the One World Observatory! From here, you can catch sight of the Brooklyn Bridge, rising out of the East River, with lights outlining the bridge’s form.
In fact, if you get high enough, facing the right way, you should get a good view of the Brooklyn Bridge from any tall building in lower Manhattan. I took this shot from the Manhatta bar in the financial district, and it’s not half bad, even with a little reflection from the glass!
If you’re headed back into Brooklyn, you might want to walk back via the Manhattan Bridge, which runs parallel to the Brooklyn Bridge. From the pedestrian walkway, you can capture striking views of the Brooklyn Bridge, framed by its own intricate cables.
Get an unique view of the Brooklyn Bridge while enjoying a fun boat ride! Boarding an NYC Ferry will afford you a dynamic view of the Brooklyn Bridge, with the Manhattan Bridge in the background. Gliding along the East River, the ferry’s deck is a great place to capture the breathtaking night scene.
Finally, if you want a view that’s truly unlike any other, nothing beats the exhilaration of a helicopter tour! Soaring high above the city, you’ll find a surreal perspective of the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s an unforgettable rush seeing this historic masterpiece from such an awe-inspiring altitude.
Brooklyn Bridge photography tips for nighttime
Now that you know all the best spots for viewing the Brooklyn Bridge at night, here’s some info on the best equipment and settings for night photographers eager to snap that perfect shot.
Even amateurs with a smart phone can capture stunning photos of the Brooklyn Bridge, but here are a few suggestions if you want to take your photography to the next level.
- Tripod: An absolute must for stability during long exposures, particularly to maintain sharpness while capturing the vibrating energy of the city at night.
- Remote shutter release: to avoid camera shake
- Wide-angle lens: for expansive shots (18-55mm or wider)
- Lens hood: to minimize lens flare from surrounding lights
- Extra batteries
Camera Setting Cheat Sheet
|f/8 to f/16
|100 to 200
|5 to 30 seconds
Having the right vantage point and equipment is the key to transforming a good nighttime photo into a great one. But truthfully, it’s hard to take a bad picture of the Brooklyn Bridge at night with the New York City skyline in the background!
Planning your visit
Here are my tips for making the most of your nighttime visit to the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. Whether it’s your first visit or your hundredth, these recommendations will ensure a memorable experience.
Best Times for Visiting
Summer weekends: I find that the bridge and the surrounding areas, including the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, are particularly lively. You’ll want to check the sunset times so you can arrive just before the city lights begin to twinkle.
Winter evenings: For a quieter experience, winter weekdays offer a more tranquil visit. It can get quite cold, so bundle up!
- Subway: Take the A or C train to High Street or the 2 or 3 train to Clark Street to get within walking distance of Brooklyn Bridge Park and the bridge’s pedestrian entrances.
- Bus: The B25 bus makes several stops in the DUMBO area.
- Car: While parking can be tricky, there are garages in the vicinity for those who prefer to drive.
- Rideshare/Bike: Apps like Uber or Lyft are convenient, and so is biking, with Citi Bike rentals nearby.
What to do near the Brooklyn Bridge
While exploring the Brooklyn Bridge by night, you’ll find yourself surrounded by vibrant local attractions. Here are some of the nearby must-do activities!
At the start of the year, you can watch as the New Year’s Eve fireworks illuminate the Brooklyn Bridge. And in the summer, you can catch the Fourth of July fireworks. We’ve been in Brooklyn twice for the Fourth of July and it did not disappoint!
Also in the summer you can enjoy outdoor Summer Movie Nights at Empire Fulton Ferry, with the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline twinkling in the background.
During the holiday season, you can find Christmas markets and get your shopping done while feeling that unique New York City holiday spirit!
Want some help capturing that perfect picture of the bridge? You can join a photography walk or guided photo tour and join like-minded individuals on the quest.
Occasionally, Brooklyn Bridge Park hosts temporary art installations, and it can be a treat to enjoy contemporary art that complements and contrasts with the historic beauty of the bridge.
DUMBO, standing for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass,” is a charm-packed area. We visited on a bustling Saturday afternoon and enjoyed ice cream while the kids played on a fun playground.
Dining and Shopping
Before or after your twilight stroll by the Brooklyn Bridge, explore the vibrant culinary scene and eclectic shops in the area.
Check out Empire Stores, a waterfront shopping and dining complex next to Time Out Market in DUMBO. Given new life after its years of service as a manufacturing port, Empire Stores always has something new to discover.
On the Manhattan side, head to Pier 17 for the nightlife scene or to enjoy a delicious late dinner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What’s the best time to visit the Brooklyn Bridge for night views?
A: I recommend visiting just after sunset. The contrast between the city lights and twilight sky is breathtaking!
Q: Are there designated spots for tourists to take photos?
A: Absolutely! The Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 is a favorite for its stunning vantage point.
Q: Is the bridge pedestrian-friendly at night?
A: Yes, it is! Pedestrians can enjoy a safe walkway separate from the bicycle lane.
Q: Can I cycle across the bridge at night?
A: You sure can! Make sure your bicycle has lights for safety, and stick to the dedicated bike lane.
Well, are you convinced to make a nighttime trek to the Brooklyn Bridge soon? I’m definitely missing our New York adventures and planning to book another visit soon. I’m always amazed by how there’s always something to see or do in the city, no matter what time of day!
I hope this post has helped you in your quest to find the best Brooklyn Bridge views so you can enjoy and capture the incredible, must-see sight that is the Brooklyn Bridge and NYC skyline, illuminated against the night sky.