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Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass lies countless colorful and trendy places to explore, and here you’ll never run out of exciting things to do in Dumbo.
On your trip to Brooklyn, you must visit and explore the neighborhood of DUMBO to experience a full and proper New York City vacation.
Brooklyn has some of New York’s most intriguing neighborhoods and attractions. Due in part to its memorable moniker, one of the most well-known, DUMBO, has amassed a sizable fan base.
There are many things for visitors to enjoy in this waterfront neighborhood besides its rich and fascinating history.
The most delightful things to do in Dumbo have no end! You will find little secrets and adventures in every nook and cranny of this great New York City neighborhood.
The neighborhood draws fantastic events all year long in addition to excellent restaurants and renovated public spaces, and the Dumbo Business Improvement District also offers community meetings and weekend flea markets underneath the Manhattan Bridge.
A train track from the early 1900s that passed through the area is still visible.
With cobblestone streets, quaint little shops, colorful galleries, street art, and trendy restaurants, the things to do in Dumbo are anything you could wish for.
So step into the charming land of Dumbo to have a vacation worth remembering forever.
1. An Introduction to Dumbo
Funnily enough, Dumbo is not even the real name of the area but an acronym that stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. To discourage developers with what they deemed to be an unappealing name, the name DUMBO was created in 1978.
Formerly known as Gairville, Dumbo consists of two segments. You can find one between the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge; the other goes east from the Manhattan Bridge to the Vinegar Hill region.
What was once a warehouse-filled industrial district with rough edges is now a bustling and alluring tourist destination with good eating, shops, fashionable coffee shops, and much more.
The DUMBO neighborhood is bordered to the north by Brooklyn Bridge Park, the East River, and Brooklyn Heights, and to the south by Brooklyn Heights. DUMBO’s eastern border is Vinegar Hill, while its western border is the Brooklyn Bridge.
Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood of New York City is a good hub for arts, culture, science, and technology. It is Brooklyn’s most expensive neighborhood today, and 25% of the city’s tech companies are there.
It has some of the most notable instances of art galleries and museums and is also the primary “center of the Brooklyn Tech Triangle.”
So as you can guess, the wonderful things to do in Dumbo will be a curious mix of marvels.
2. Adventure Time: 10 Best Things to Do in Dumbo
Once just a place full of old warehouses, the neighborhood has been recreated with charming shops, beautiful architecture, and areas offering some of the city’s most stunning views.
Among things to do in Dumbo, you will find places to relax, admire art or even have a thrilling adventure.
One of the premier artistic neighborhoods in New York City is DUMBO. The Klompching Gallery and St. Ann’s Warehouse are only two of the many art galleries and performing venues.
So read on to find out some of the best things to do in Dumbo for the perfect Brooklyn trip.
2.1) Stroll Along the Dumbo Waterfront and The Brooklyn Bridge Park
You cannot start an adventure in Dumbo without visiting the Brooklyn Waterfront Park.
The Dumbo Waterfront neighborhood spans remarkably along the East River and is the best for a stroll.
Under the dome of clear blue skies, you will discover numerous playgrounds for children and green grassy spots to sit and unwind.
The incredible views of the NYC skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Manhattan Bridge are a bonus!
Walking across the stunning Brooklyn Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge Park should be on your list while in Dumbo, Brooklyn.
It is the ideal way to start your Dumbo and NYC adventure! The spectacular views will always mesmerize you and make you wish to return for another visit.
This walk can be completed in 30 minutes or less if you make no stops, but allow at least an hour to allow for scenic pauses, photo opportunities, and patiently navigating the crowd.
The place is also loved for being the perfect spot to take some Instagram-worthy clicks and selfies to keep the memories captured forever.
Not only is the Brooklyn Bridge a place for adventures, but this roof of East River, functional since 1883, also has considerable historical significance.
Furthermore, with its six unique piers, Empire Fulton Ferry Landing, Boulders, and Pebble Beach, Brooklyn Bridge Park can be your must-visit place as a traveler.
i) Pebble Beach
NYC is not known for its beaches, and Pebble Beach is not traditional. While you won’t find glittering sands here, the explosion of colors during sunset is worth the visit.
The Main Street Playground and Dog Run, the Environmental Education Center, Pebble Beach, and the DUMBO rocks are all located on the 3.5 acres that make up Main Street.
ii) Fulton Ferry Landing
This area is among the most picturesque and historically significant areas of DUMBO. The first ferry service between Brooklyn and Manhattan originated in this region and dates back to 1642.
John Street and Greenway are both excellent options for leisurely bike rides or stroll through the park.
iii) Empire Fulton Ferry
The perfect ending to your stroll of New York Street and Brooklyn Bridge Park is by stopping at the Empire Fulton Ferry Landing to visit some of the best places of this historic site – Ample Hills Creamery and Bargemusic with the spectacular view of the lower Manhattan skyline.
You might also love to stay for a concert, show, or theatre at St. Ann’s Warehouse. It is one of the most amazing centers of classical music and performing arts worldwide.
iv) The Six Piers
With unique attractions, the Six Piers have it all – breathtaking views, games, picnic spots, boating, fishing, and, of course, the Governors Island Ferry.
Pier 1:-The finest place to see the entire Manhattan skyline.
Pier 2: Pick-up games and any form of physical activity are best done here. This pier contains a roller rink, handball, basketball court, and other amenities.
Pier 3: One of the best places in Brooklyn for a picnic because it is surrounded by lush vegetation, which is perfect for a peaceful stroll.
Pier 4: The beach here is open to non-motorized boats and is enjoyable for people of all ages.
Pier 5: Three soccer fields, a picnic area, a fishing pier, and even an Ample Hills Creamery may be found here.
Pier 6: Beach volleyball courts, a dog run, playgrounds, and the Governors Island Ferry are located here.
v) Jane’s Carousel
Further attractions include Jane’s Carousel in Fulton Street and St. Ann’s Warehouse, one of the children’s most loved things to do in Dumbo Brooklyn.
The Philadelphia Toboggan Company constructed Jane’s Carousel at Brooklyn Bridge Park in 1922, and it can be found right next to the river.
Unbelievably, the carousel was first installed in Youngstown, Ohio. Later, Jane and David Walentas bought the carousel at a 1984 auction.
At her DUMBO studio, Jane started repairing the damaged carousel. The carousel’s stunning refurbishment kept it from disintegrating into pieces. The public might access it starting on September 16, 2011.
One of the most family-friendly activities in DUMBO is riding one of Jane’s dependable steads on the carousel, which costs $2 per ride.
Additionally, the nonprofit organization provides special group rates with reservations and 12 tickets for $20.
2.2) Click Some More Shots on Washington Street and Water Street Junction
Looking to show off some snaps of your dream vacation to the whole world? Well, worry no more.
The intersection of Washington Street and Water Street in Dumbo can get crowded for all the shutterbugs out there.
Plan this photo session appropriately, please. DUMBO is already a well-liked tourist destination, and this area is well-known for being crowded with individuals trying to look their best.
Due to the surrounding people and moving automobiles, you can spend 20 minutes attempting to capture your vision.
But the wait is worth the reward because posting those gorgeous shots will blow up your Instagram with likes and comments.
2.3) Explore the Brooklyn Flea
The Brooklyn Flea is found under the Manhattan Bridge Archway but only opens from April to December.
The market hours are from 10 AM to 5 PM, and it is a weird and fun assortment of vintage furniture and trinkets, art collections, jewelry pieces, colorful dresses, and delicious food.
With about 80 vendors, the DUMBO version of Brooklyn Flea is described as “part vintage bazaar, part old-fashioned town square, and part culinary feast” on its website.
But be warned, you won’t be able to resist buying some vibrant and quirky knick-knacks and might even end up with one too many full shopping bags.
If you organize your vacation well, you can visit the renowned outdoor market in the most picturesque times of the year. If you happen to be in town during any other months, 25 Kent Ave. has an indoor Brooklyn Flea + Smorgasburg.
2.4) Explore Empire Stores
There is no such thing as too much shopping, and The Empire Stores of Water Street is the perfect place to continue your shopping spree after the Flea.
Filled with shops, offices, exhibitions, bars, and restaurants, you won’t find a dull moment here.
One of the last remaining cargo warehouses along the East River, the Empire Stores has a distinguished history dating back to the 1860s.
It was ultimately agreed in 2013 to repair it after years of neglect and decay. In 2017, restaurants, stores, and offices had moved into the former warehouse.
Cecconi’s, Timeout Market, and the Brooklyn Historical Society are just a few of the DUMBO attractions that are located there.
“Shop Til You Drop”
Clothes, jewelry, decorations, and accessories are available at this historic market.
ii) Time Out Market
And if you are famished after a long day of carrying shopping bags, there are plenty of bars and diners to choose from.
It is a market of restaurants where you can try things from many places simultaneously!
The market, which has 21 restaurants and three bars, debuted in late May 2019 and is home to some of New York City’s and DUMBO’s greatest bars.
What you’ll discover inside is a hand-selected selection of everything you could desire to eat, drink, and see in the greatest city in the world, all under one roof, Time Out promises their clients.
Enjoy your supper on their outdoor terrace if the weather is nice. Even if the views are stunning, Time Out goes above and beyond to enhance your experience by offering rooftop entertainment and cozy seating.
Time Out also highlights the region’s absence of decent, reasonably priced food.
iii) Brooklyn Historical Society
This Empire Stores museum will present Brooklyn’s rich culture and history through tales of laborers, artists, commerce, activists, families, communities, and the environment.
The Brooklyn Historical Society was established in 1863 and has been documenting Brooklyn’s 400-year history ever since. It functions as a library, a museum, and a hub for education.
Henry Pierrepont established the organization as the Long Island Historical Society, but only two years later, it became the Brooklyn Historical Society. The Brooklyn Historical Society “makes the colourful history of Brooklyn tangible, meaningful, and relevant today,” according to the website’s home page.
There are two locations; the primary one is on Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights. The Empire Stores in DUMBO is the site of the second outlet.
The hours of the Brooklyn Historical Society in DUMBO present a planning challenge. They are open only Friday through Sunday, 11 AM to 5 PM. The Pierrepont facility is open daily from 12 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Be sure to swing by the Brooklyn Historical Society in DUMBO to check what’s on display while you’re there to see the other rotating exhibits they present. One of our favorite Brooklyn museums is this one.
2.5) Take a Ride on Water Ferry
Though many visitors to Dumbo prefer the subway, there is one more exciting route to move about the city!
Particularly during the warm seasons, the ferry can be an incredible adventure. The best ride is the Manhattan or Williamsburg one, with a stunning scenic view.
The rides are accompanied by tasty snacks and drinks, making it a perfect summer trip.
2.6) Climb the Dumbo Walls and Boulders
Channel your inner spider man and scale Dumbo’s iconic blue climbing walls.
If you are looking for an adventure with thrill and excitement, the outdoor rock climbing activity will trigger your adrenaline.
It may sound intimidating to beginners, but exercise is safe. The Cliffs at Dumbo has outstanding service as well. They even provide climbing shoes; even if you slip, you will only fall on soft, cushioned land.
So make sure to keep climbing those blue walls and snapping some impressive shots for your social media on your list of things to do in Dumbo.
Brave those iconic boulders and make Peter Parker proud.
Also, the DUMBO Walls are a must-see location and place to add to your DUMBO Brooklyn itinerary if you’re an art enthusiast or seeking the ideal Instagram sites in Brooklyn.
In appreciation of the diversity of artists that DUMBO draws, eight international painters, including Eltono, MOMO, Faith47, Shepard Fairey, and Yuko Shizimu, began painting stunning murals on four blocks along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in 2012.
The Two Trees Management Company and The DUMBO Improvement District collaborated with the NYC Department of Transportation Urban Art Program to create The Walls (NYCDOT).
2.7) Spend Some Time at The Powerhouse Arena
If you’re a reader, Powerhouse Arena should be at the top of your list while visiting DUMBO because it’s more than simply a bookstore. Powerhouse Books, a publisher, debuted The Arena in 2006. Recognized for standing as a center for imaginative expression and thought, the Powerhouse Arena is the residence of the widely popular art book publisher called the Powerhouse Books.
Powerhouse is described as “A laboratory for creative ideas” on its website. The Arena is a gallery, boutique, book store, performance, and events space, and it is the headquarters of renowned art book publisher Powerhouse Books.
Powerhouse Arena speaks to the artists of DUMBO with a variety of design and photography publications, in addition to sponsoring some well-known New York events. They also include various non-fiction, lifestyle, and New York-themed books.
The hall of the Powerhouse Arena functions as a gallery, bookshop, and boutique simultaneously. When it comes to jewelry, clothing, stationery, gifts, and more, Powerhouse is unbeatable!
Check out their children’s book section, regarded as the greatest in New York City, if you travel with or have kids at home. They are also among our top choices for Brooklyn’s best independent bookshops!
Here, tourists can view landmark demonstrations and appreciate excellent and dazzling style, fashion, pop culture, melody, and photography exhibitions.
You may even stumble upon a book signing event of your favorite writer!
You can also admire the gorgeous artworks at their newest opening exhibition or stay a while at the arena shop, which takes pride in its diverse assortment of books on design and photography.
2.8) Satisfy Your Cravings at The Best Dumbo Restaurants
All these trips and tours are hard work; by the end of the day, you will hear your stomach growling for some Dumbo delicacies.
i) Shake Shack
It’s possible that you don’t always have access to Shake Shack’s delicious goodness, depending on where you’re traveling from. But what is more New York than a greasy cheeseburger? Take a huge bite of the cheesy goodness with options like Angus beef, chicken, and vegetarian.
It can be found on Old Fulton Street, just a few storefronts below Grimaldi’s and Juliana’s. The standard American cheeseburger, fries, and shake combination is perfect here because it’s quick and laid-back.
They also provide frozen custard, beer, wine, and hot dogs. Daily hours for the DUMBO location are 10.30 AM to 11 PM.
ii) Grimaldi’s + Juliana’s Pizza
You have tried the burgers. You have attempted the shakes. Try a famous New York pizza slice to complete your food experience here.
One of the things to do in DUMBO that you absolutely must do is this, not just because of the pizza but also because these two prosperous eateries have a fascinating history. Unbelievably, Brooklyn’s Pizza and two other restaurants in DUMBO are among the greatest in the entire city.
1990, Patsy Grimaldi began making coal-fired bricks in Brooklyn because coal ovens were forbidden in Manhattan. Grimaldi decided to sell his business to Frank Ciolli later in the 1990s.
Since the old Grimaldi’s restaurant’s lease renewal application was turned down, Ciolli was obliged to relocate the pizzeria there in 2011. The new location is next to an abandoned bank.
A year later, Patsy Grimaldi re-entered the restaurant industry and launched Juliana’s in the building that formerly housed Grimaldi’s.
If you haven’t tried Grimaldi’s or Juliana’s, two of Brooklyn’s best pizzas, you haven’t eaten New York pizza. In addition to their incredible pies, both eateries are well-known for having queues out the door to get a table.
Try the classics like Margarita pizza or White pizza, or give your taste buds a new experience with a heavenly slice of their specials like No. 4, which comes with toppings like tomato, mozzarella cheese, colewort, and Italian ham.
iii) Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
End your meal with a sweet note and try all the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory flavors.
There are simple and comfortable flavors like vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate, as well as some bizarre ones like Peaches and Cream, Butter Pecan, and Blueberry Goodness.
And if you have a sweet tooth, indulge in some Jacques Torres Chocolate Shopping to treat yourself to more New York experiences.
iv) Jacques Torres Chocolate
Add Jacques Torres Chocolate to your list of things to do in DUMBO if One Girl Cookies or Ample Hills aren’t enough to satisfy your sweet taste. The successful sweet shop’s first location, in DUMBO, is where it all began.
A stop for their award-winning hot chocolate should be made at some time during your exploration of DUMBO!
And don’t worry if you can’t fit all the sweets back in your luggage—they’ll mail the deliciousness to you!
v) Randolph Beer DUMBO
Two of the many excellent breweries in Brooklyn that are worth visiting are located right here in DUMBO. Randolph Beer DUMBO on Prospect Street is not to be missed. This tap bar in the garage style dishes up wholesome fare and draught beers along with fun communal tables and activities ideal for getting together with friends.
Additionally, DUMBO has a seasonal rooftop bar with stunning Manhattan Bridge views! Simply make sure they are open and accepting reservations before you go!
2.9) Enter the Fictional and Lovely World of Books
If you want to escape the real world, step into some of the bookstores and libraries the place offers.
i) Melville House Books
Valerie Merians, a sculptor, and Dennis Johnson, a journalist and fiction writer, formed Melville House Books in 2001 to publish Poetry After 9/11, a collection of writings from Johnson’s ground-breaking MobyLives book blog.
The independent publisher Melville Books is best recognized for rediscovering overlooked global authors and initiating the fame of debut writers. The translation of Every Man Dies Alone, a lost book by Hans Fallada, became an overnight sensation.
The literature published by Melville House is likewise well-known, and two of its authors—Imre Kertesz and Heinrich Boll—have won the Nobel Prize.
The publishing house also takes satisfaction in having uncovered a number of first-time authors who have gone on to achieve success, including Christopher Boucher and Jeremy Bushnell, authors of How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive and Shoplifting from American Apparel, and Lars Iyer, author of Spurious.
ii) Sorted Library
A cultural institution devoted to promoting and conserving personal collections is called The Sorted Library.
By scheduling tours and managing a non-circulating reading area that is arranged in tiny collections made by their members, Sorted Library promotes interaction with private libraries. Categorizing the library into collections provides an alternate method for exploring and learning about books in a constrained area, such as a private library.
It has operated a demonstration site in New York for five years where anyone can test this organizing strategy. However, they have recently purchased a location and are now developing their complete library, which will be headquartered in Norfolk, Connecticut. Thus, this space is currently closed. The library will be open to guests when it opens.
Spend a quiet and peaceful time being mesmerized by the huge and rare collections of the Sorted Library.
iii) Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop
Indulge in some amazing reads in the only poetry books store in New York.
So if you are a book lover, enter the world of books in Dumbo, and maybe you will discover your next favorite read!
2.10) Have the Usagi Experience
Find your inspiration at Usagi, which is everything at once – a pretty art gallery, a trendy cafe, and a charming bookstore.
The unique place gives the locals and visitors an area and setting ideal for ingenuity and collaboration.
Usagi beckons many artistic souls and inventive minds to gather at this Waterfront place.
Visitors can scour the wonderful display area, which was encouraged by the traditional sliding screens in Japanese houses.
Relish some delicious hearts or sip on a good drink, and maybe even buy one or two of the select books and editions sold at the bookshop.
So, are you ready to venture into the wonderful world Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass?
Now with this list of the most amazing things to do in Dumbo, you are ready to pack your bags and organize a schedule for your next vacation.
Then make sure to visit all the scenic beauties, buy from the best shops, taste the lovely flavors, and have some of the most exciting adventures of your life by trying the most loved things in Dumbo.
Last Updated on November 29, 2023 by Sathi Chakraborty