While New York is often described as a “driving city,” and pedestrians aren’t always prioritized, there are so many great bridges in New York perfect for an afternoon or evening stroll, that you’d be remiss to skip. In that same vein, New York is also a city made up of boroughs that are connected by various bridges and tunnels – bridges that are great for walking.
When visiting, it’s imperative that you step foot on some of the best New York City bridges. But, you can definitely skip a few, too. We’ve taken out the guesswork by ranking the most notable bridges in NYC from must-visit to skippable but only if you’re pressed for time!
Officially named the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, this drivable, cyclable and walkable bridge connects the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan to Long Island City in Queens. Gazing at it, you’ll be dazzled by Queensboro’s crisscross ivory design; it’s what’s known as a cantilever truss bridge in architecture. On the Queens side of the bridge, you’ll find yourself crossing among the tall buildings, giving you a compelling perspective as a pedestrian.
Additionally, the Queensboro crosses over Roosevelt Island on the East River, so you can enjoy a birds-eye view of that landmark.
Queensboro Bridge has everything – it’s even historical, having been completed more than a hundred years ago in 1909. As walking is permitted on the lower of the two levels, you’ll also be able to enjoy a lot of shade. At three quarters of a mile in length, this one is perfect for a good, but easy, walk. Of the five boroughs, Queens is definitely underrated. And so, too, is this bridge.
The Brooklyn Bridge has enjoyed icon status since its construction was completed in 1869. Its architecture and history are integral to the image of New York that we all know and love. While it’s not a pedestrian-only bridge, there’s a lot of walking room.
Offering views of both Manhattan and Brooklyn (as well as New Jersey), your eyes will bounce from one thing to another for the entirety of your walk. Its offered view of Manhattan is strangely compelling, as the skyline is viewed from west to east, rather than the archetypal north to south view that tourists swoon over. A little more than a mile in length, make sure to enjoy a legendary Brooklyn slice upon entering the borough in Dumbo.
George Washington Bridge
The George Washington Bridge is the most iconic bridge in the city (and maybe the most frustrating, if you have to commute by it every day). Connecting Upper Manhattan to the New Jersey town of Fort Lee, upon walking west you can enjoy the Fort Lee Historic Park. This park features information and reproductions of Revolution-era buildings.
Slightly less than a mile in length, the GWB offers a good walk, but you should have the energy and time to make it back the way you came. With an absolutely quintessential view of the Manhattan skyline and of the New Jersey Palisades to the west, prepare for breathtaking vistas. While walking the GWB may be considered slightly overrated, you’ll enjoy a leisurely stroll if you make time for this NYC bridge walk.
Connecting Staten Island and Bayonne, New Jersey, Bayonne Bridge is named for its Jersey counterpart. With its more modern architecture, this NYC bridge is a sight for sore eyes when it’s lit up at night. Try walking it around dusk – or dawn, if you’re into the whole getting-up-early thing.
With the Manhattan skyline slightly in the distance, Bayonne Bridge’s more immediate view is somewhat less exciting, with the suburbs taking precedence. A little over a mile in length, this is also a longer bridge for people who want to take more time out and about. If you happen to be in Staten Island or Bayonne, consider walking this bridge, but you don’t necessarily need to make the trip out there for it.
Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges
The Manhattan Bridge runs from lower Manhattan to northern Brooklyn, similar to the Brooklyn Bridge, it even offers a super neat view of the Brooklyn Bridge! A suspension bridge, its similarities to the Brooklyn Bridge continue. Pedestrians do get to walk on the lower level, so you get the benefit of a lot of shade. Historical and iconic in its own right, the Manhattan Bridge has been in service since 1909. At one and a quarter miles in length, this bridge is one of the longer bridges in New York we’ve included.
The Williamsburg Bridge is quite similar, a suspension bridge connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn. It’s worth the walk too – these two are tied. The Williamsburg Bridge sign is what really makes it special, the lettering looking like something out of a Wes Anderson film. And the rusty red color of the bridge is visually interesting in its own right. This one is almost a mile and a half long and is therefore the longest NYC bridge on the list. It’s great for a long walk to clear your head. When it comes to both of these bridges in New York, though, you may want to start out with the Brooklyn Bridge.
The High Bridge
The High Bridge connects Manhattan and the Bronx over the Harlem River, and it’s actually not open to motor vehicles at all. Interestingly, this bridge is the oldest one in New York City, completed in 1848. A steel arch bridge, the High Bridge offers a fascinating view of the city from among its buildings. About a quarter-mile in length, this bridge isn’t so much an entire walk in and of itself, but could be the highlight of a longer excursion.
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