Top Ten Things to Do in Dumbo

Where to Go and What to Do in DUMBO

DUMBO, a once industrial neighborhood turned trendy arty hot spot, has spectacular views of Manhattan and New York's beautiful bridges, including the Brooklyn Bridge. It's the first neighborhood in Brooklyn you'll find after walking the Brooklyn Bridge. It's a combination of old warehouses, interesting shops and restaurants, and pricey high rise apartments. You can find art galleries and occasionally big neighborhood art shows here. And, DUMBO is home to the famous pizzeria Grimaldi's, as well as Jacques Torres chocolate shop, St. Ann's Warehouse (which hosts edgy theatrical performances) and numerous other arty venues. Here are ten things everyone should have on their list when they visit DUMBO.

Edited by Alison Lowenstein

  • 01 of 10

    Explore the Cobblestone Streets of DUMBO

    dumbo view
    ••• George Rose/Getty Images

    A walk around DUMBO streets is both charming and entertaining. You can fill an afternoon shopping at the many boutiques or stopping by a gallery. In the spring through the fall, the famed Brooklyn Flea is housed under the arches in DUMBO on Sundays. After you've picked up your vintage or artisanal wares and are inspired to make your own crafts, take a craft workshop at the Etsy Labs. Or simply stroll through the cobblestone streets and peruse the many shops in the area.

  • 02 of 10

    Music fans will enjoy watching a concert on charming old barge that's been renovated into New York City's only floating concert hall, called BargeMusic. Bargemusic has a calendar of chamber music. It was founded in 1977 by a violinist who created a concert hall on "a 100-foot steel barge that had been built in 1899 and had served much of the last century as a working vessel in the New York harbor." Enjoy hearing music at this unique venue. For those traveling with kids, Bargemusic has a free concert series for families. Music in Motion takes place on Saturdays at 4pm, and offers a great introduction to classical music for kids.

     

  • 03 of 10

    Get Ice Cream at a historic fireboat house

    Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
    ••• The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, which sells homemade ice cream, is located in an old lighthouse in Brooklyn's historic Fulton Landing. It's a local favorite. Steven Greaves / Getty Images

    For ice cream with a view and bit of history, head to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory located in a 1920's Fireboat house at Fulton Ferry Landing. You can sit inside the charming ice cream parlor or you can sit outside and take in the breathtaking views from Fulton Ferry Landing, which is also home to a ferry terminal and Bargemusic. Hop on the NYC Ferry and explore the rest of the city by boat or get back on bridge and walk to Manhattan. 

    History buffs-- Fulton Landing has great historical significance. It was the site of the original ferry, designed by Robert Fulton, that ran between Manhattan and Brooklyn starting in 1642.

  • 04 of 10

    Take a Ride on a Historic Carousel

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    ••• Janes Carousel. Photo by Albert / campra on flickr

    ​After you've filled up on ice cream, walk toward Brooklyn Bridge Park and take a ride of Jane's Carousel. You don't need to have kids in tow to enjoy a spin around on this restored 1922 "classic 3-row machine with 48 exquisitely carved horses and two superb chariots." Of course, the kids will love it and it's a must-do activity if you are on a family vacation. The carousel is open year round and tickets are two dollars.

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  • 05 of 10
    Brooklyn Bridge Park
    ••• @thisismariana / Twenty20

    Near the Fulton Landing (to the left, as you gaze at the Manhattan skyline) is a fabulous place, Brooklyn Bridge Park. Allow yourself at least a half hour to wander around the pathways and gaze at the world-class views of the Statue of Liberty. Take a picnic, read a book here, and enjoy the open vistas and fresh breezes as you watch the water traffic plying the East River. Across the water is Wall Street, the nation's financial engine. In the warmer months there are special concerts, a roller skating rink, pop up pool, kayaking off the pier and many other activities. See the calendar of activities in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

  • 06 of 10
    Superfine in Dumbo, Brooklyn
    ••• Superfine in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Garrison Gunter/Flickr

    There are many great watering holes in DUMBO. Have a drink at the posh rooftop bar at the luxurious hotel 1 Brooklyn Bridge. In the summer, you can take a dip in the hotel's plunge pool. If you aren't staying at the hotel, they have weekend pool parties which are open to the public. If you want to have a casual drink in a local longtime favorite bar and restaurant, stop in Superfine. Housed in a converted warehouse, this spacious and atmospheric spot has a weekly Karaoke night on Thursdays at 8pm and a popular bluegrass brunch.  Beer lovers and pinball players will enjoy having a brew and playing a game at Randolph Beer, which opened in October 2017. With 24 self serve taps and a shuffleboard and arcade games, this is quickly becoming a favorite in DUMBO.

  • 07 of 10
    Jacques Torres
    ••• A favorite stop in winter for hot chocolate, and any time of year for delicious chocolates, Jacques Torres is a DUMBO highlight. Alexis Lamster / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    Foodies and chocoholics love the chocolates at Jacques Torres. You can see chocolate chefs at work through a glass window, stop for a treat, and buy wonderful small packets of interesting chocolates for gifts for the kids and family. Enjoy a hot chocolate or a truffle as you soak in the aroma of this stellar chocolate shop and factory. Haven't had your sugar rush yet? Across the street, there's a fine French bakery, too! Pick up cake, breads, and other treats at the notable Almondie.

  • 08 of 10
    Movies With a View at Brooklyn Bridge Park
    ••• Courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park / Etienne Frossard

    In the summer you have the option of watching movies under the stars in Brooklyn Bridge Park on Thursdays nights at Movies With A View. The free event starts at 6pm with a DJ spinning some tunes and the movie begins at sundown. You can pack a picnic or you can get some grub from the DeKalb Market outpost located at the film series. Just to note, outside alcohol is not permitted. 

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    St. Ann's Warehouse
    ••• Courtesy of St. Ann's Warehouse

    Brooklyn has become famous as a creative center. Among the many interesting cultural organizations based in DUMBO, perhaps the most famous is St. Ann's Warehouse. This cultural powerhouse takes its name from historic St. Ann's Church, a church in a nearby neighborhood, Brooklyn Heights, where the company was founded. If you can, get tickets in advance for a performance at St. Ann's Warehouse, now housed in the heart of DUMBO. It won't disappoint. Also, check listings for upcoming shows. Warning, productions sell out fast at this respected theater. 

  • 10 of 10
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    ••• PowerHouse Arena. PowerHouse Arena, Facebook

    For a selection of good reads and a plethora of literary events, head to Powerhouse Arena. This DUMBO literary staple is a respected bookstore in the bookish Brooklyn community. The arena store is also a gallery and exhibit space. DUMBO is also home to Melville House Bookstore and publishers. The store is open Monday to Friday from 10pm to 6pm, and they have "regular (and free) evening events which kick off at 7pm."