Dumbo is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Brooklyn. I’ve lived next to it for over six years now in neighboring Brooklyn Heights and it has been fun to watch its development as more New Yorkers made the move to Brooklyn from Manhattan.
Dumbo stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bride Overpass. The neighborhood is home to both the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges and began as a more industrial area with loads of warehouses. Nowadays it is a very sought after neighborhood to live in and visit and has grown into one of the most touristed neighborhoods in all of the New York boroughs.
What To Do In DUMBO
If you’re heading to visit Dumbo, Brooklyn there is no shortage of things to do. This post will help you plan your visit and decide how to spend your time in this beautiful, largely waterfront neighborhood that has loads of charms, great views and historic cobblestone streets.
Eat at Time Out Market
Time Out Market is home to loads of food vendors and even a little roof deck where you can enjoy what you pick up.
Ride The Ferry
Heading to Dumbo from Williamsburg or Wall Street? (Or a handful of other areas in the city?) Take the ferry as your preferred means of arriving to Dumbo. You’ll arrive at the Dumbo Brooklyn Bridge Pier 1 ferry landing and can head straights towards the action.
Get Ice Cream
There are several beloved ice cream spots in Dumbo that you can enjoy when the weather is cooperating. Choose from Oddfellow’s on Water Street, Ample Hills (a personal favorite!) or the Brooklyn Bridge Ice Cream Factory.
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
One of my all time favorite activities in New York City is walking the Brooklyn Bridge. On a clear day you can’t beat the views and if coming to Dumbo from Manhattan, it is a fun way to arrive by foot. You can also bike across the bridge.
Walk Front Street
Front Street has some good shops and casual eateries to peruse in the neighborhood.
Shop at Empire Stores
Empire Stores on Dumbo’s Water Street has a handful of shops you can enjoy.
Get Happy Hour at Cecconi’s
Cecconi’s is pricey for what it is which makes its discounted happy hour snacks and drinks worth it.
Get Coffee at Arabica
One of the most beautiful coffee shops in Brooklyn is Arabica which hails from Japan. This is their first stateside store and it has gorgeous interiors, good outdoor seating when weather allows and a beautiful view of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Shop at Brooklyn Flea
April through December you can find the Brooklyn Flea operating out of Dumbo on Saturdays and Sundays at 80 Pearl St. There’s a great variety in the vendors and you can usually find some fun treasures to take home.
Sip Hot Chocolate at Jacques Torres Chocolate
During the winter you can warm up at Jacques Torres with a cup of their rich, European style hot chocolate.
Get Coffee at Butler Bakeshop
Butler Bakeshop has a great little takeaway window and some of the better coffee in the neighborhood.
Take in the Views
The Empire Fulton Ferry park area has some of the very best views you can get of Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Brunch at The Osprey
The 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge is home to one of the few spots to brunch in Dumbo. They make a great breakfast sandwich and have lots of outdoor seating when the weather is nice. The space is beautiful – filled with plants – and they make a pretty good cocktail, too.
Get Drinks at The 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
One of the best rooftops in Dumbo is atop the 1 Hotel. You can get drinks here year round but do note they often charge a cover due to its popularity.
Take in a Performance at St. Ann’s Warehouse
St. Ann’s Warehouse is a performance venue where you can take in a show while in the area.
Ride Jane’s Carousel
Have kids in tow while visiting Dumbo? Pay for a ride on Jane’s Carousel – a staple in the neighborhood and offering great views of Manhattan and the waterfront.
Take a picture on Washington Street
Made famous by Instagram, Washington Street boasts an awesome view of both the Manhattan Bridge and the Empire State Building across the East River. If you don’t want to be fighting the crowds it is best to go early in the morning to get the shot.
Get Treats at One Girl Cookies
One Girl Cookies is one of my favorite bakeries in Brooklyn. They make amazing cakes that you can pick up a slice of cake or one of their divine whoopie pies. They also do breakfast sandwiches and a variety of other sweet treats as well as coffee, tea and lemonade.
Visit the Beach
Calling the tiny sliver of sand at Pebble Beach in Dumbo a beach feels a bit like overselling it but it happens to be one of the best views in all of Dumbo so it is worth popping by. They also have big concrete stairs and benches in this spot so it is a great spot to meet & hang out with friends.
Eat Fish Tacos at Seamore’s
Seamore’s is a seafood spot on Water Street that first opened in Nolita in Manhattan. I like their fish tacos.
Brunch or Lunch at Westville
Westville offers great American fare at reasonable prices. They have reliable and fast service and a great outdoor dining area as well. The turkey burger, the grilled cheese and the market plate are all favorites of mine.
Eat Mexican at Gran Electrica
One of the best and biggest restaurant gardens is hiding behind Gran Electrica. This place is a bit pricey but if you’re looking for some good tacos and margaritas as well as beautiful ambiance on a warm night – this is the spot for it.
Take a Night Walk
Dumbo is gorgeous at night as all the Manhattan skyscrapers begin to light up across the East River. It’s worth walking the waterfront as the sun sets.
Dine at River Cafe
Have a special occasion you’re celebrating? River Cafe is a storied and historic spot that is really special to dine at as you’ll get to watch Manhattan light up and the sun set if you book your table at the right time. This spot is famed for its Brooklyn Bridge out of chocolate dessert.
Taste Test Pizza
Some of New York’s most famous pizza is in Dumbo. You can join the line at Juliana’s or Grimaldi’s to taste some of the best pies. Better yet? Order one to go and enjoy it in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Visit Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge Park runs along Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights and is home to bike paths, running paths, piers with various activities and sporting courts as well as picnic tables and grills.
Take Your Kids to the Main Street Playground
Boasting a large ship and loads of playground equipment this is one of the best playgrounds in Brooklyn.
Pop up to Brooklyn Heights
Had enough of Dumbo? Walk up the hill to neighboring Brooklyn Heights which is a charming and more residential neighborhood. You can check out my entire guide to Brooklyn Heights in What to Do in Brooklyn Heights.
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Have you been to Dumbo in New York City’s Brooklyn?