Brooklyn's DUMBO (which stands for "Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass") is a once-industrial neighborhood turned popular, artsy hot spot. It has spectacular views of Manhattan and New York's beautiful bridges, including the Brooklyn Bridge and it's the first neighborhood in Brooklyn you'll cross through after walking over the Brooklyn Bridge, making it a natural stop for most tourists. DUMBO is a unique combination of old warehouses, exciting shops and restaurants, and pricey high-rise apartments. But it's also 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 10 things everyone should have on their list when they visit DUMBO.
Edited by Alison Lowenstein
Explore the Cobblestone Streets of DUMBO
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 stroll through the cobblestone streets and peruse the many shops in the area.
Music fans will enjoy watching a concert on a beautiful old barge that's been renovated into New York City's only floating concert hall, called Bargemusic. It was founded in 1977 by a violinist who created a concert hall on a 100-foot steel barge built in 1899. For those traveling with kids, Bargemusic also has a free concert series for families. Music in Motion takes place on Saturdays at 4 p.m. and is an excellent introduction to classical music for kids.
Get Ice Cream at a Historic Fireboat House
For ice cream with a view and bit of history, head to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, located in a 1920s fireboat house at Fulton Ferry Landing. You can sit inside the charming ice cream parlor, or you can lounge 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 the 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 way back in 1642.
Take a Ride on a Historic Carousel
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 carousel, which includes 48 detailed horses and two elaborate 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, but the hours vary seasonally—check the website before you go to confirm it will be open.
Near the Fulton Landing (to the left, as you gaze at the Manhattan skyline) is the fantastic Brooklyn Bridge Park. Allow yourself at least a half-hour to wander around the pathways and stare 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, a pop-up pool, kayaking off the pier and many other activities. Check the calendar of events in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
There are many great watering holes in DUMBO:
- Have a drink at the posh rooftop bar at the luxurious 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, where you can take a dip in the hotel's plunge pool in the summer. 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 into Superfine. Housed in a converted warehouse, this spacious and atmospheric spot has 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 shuffleboard and arcade games, this is a favorite in DUMBO.
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 an excellent French bakery, too! Pick up cakes, loaves of bread, and other treats at the notable Almondine.
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 6 p.m. with a DJ spinning some tunes, and the movie begins at sundown. You can pack a picnic or get some grub from the Dekalb Market outpost located at the film series. Note that outside alcohol is not permitted.
Brooklyn has become famous as a creative center. Among the many fascinating 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. Productions sell out fast at this respected theater!