I don’t think there’s any better time to visit Brooklyn Bridge than right after sunrise. The light is amazing, and you can fully take in the view without the crowds. As the sun peeks over the horizon, the bridge is shrouded in this beautiful golden shimmer, making any Instagram filters redundant.
Brooklyn Bridge is open 24h a day, so check when the sun rises before you go, and try to time your visit, so you start walking the bridge around 30 minutes before (you can check the timings on weather apps and websites). At that time, there will be enough light to allow you to see where you’re walking, but most other people would be asleep and you can have the bridge almost to yourself.
If you’ve just arrived in New York and you’ve been flying East-West, this is a great way to take advantage of that jetlag. Though if getting up at 5am in the morning isn’t an option, then at least try to avoid the peak hours, that is, sunny afternoons and most of the time during weekends and holidays.
I usually walk from the Manhattan side to Brooklyn, but you can also take the subway to Brooklyn and walk back to Manhattan. Brooklyn Bridge is slightly over 1.1 miles long, so expect to spend around an hour crossing the bridge, including frequent photo stops along the way. If you’re walking the bridge during daytime, make sure to stop by the Fulton Ferry Landing Pier on the Brooklyn side and have a scoop or two of Peaches & Cream at Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, or a slice of pizza at Grimaldi’s. Both places open around noon.
From Brooklyn Bridge, you can see the Statue of Liberty in the distance, but I think the nicest views are the ones of Lower Manhattan and Manhattan Bridge. The best place to take photos is when you’re about halfway out on the bridge, and there are no wires in the way.
The bicycle lane is just next to the pedestrian lane, and some of the cyclists aren’t very tourist friendly, so be careful not to get in their way.
Here are some of my old blog posts about Brooklyn bridge: