Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Dumbo, Brooklyn

  • Published 2023/03/29

The name Dumbo sounds more like your favorite childhood character than a name for a place.

However, Dumbo, New York City, stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.

Warehouses used to dominate the neighborhood; today, you’ll see apartment buildings, upscale shops, and fabulous boutiques.

Confectionaries, bookstores, art galleries, and co-working spaces replaced the factories.

Its offices offer magnificent views of the Manhattan waterfront, reinvented public places, and unique restaurants that draw thousands of visitors.

Meanwhile, the Dumbo Business Improvement District is home to weekend flea markets and community gatherings held beneath the Manhattan Bridge.

This neighborhood is not your average neighborhood.

It may not be quite sizable, but its charm and character make it a great place to visit.

Here are the best things to do in Dumbo, NYC:

See the Best Views of Dumbo from the Brooklyn Bridge Park

People hanging out under the Brooklyn Bridge

Andriy Blokhin /

Brooklyn Bridge Park is no joke.

Spanning 85 acres, this park boasts a 1.3-mile frontage covering the waterfront.

This space was once a ferry landing in the 19th and 20th centuries, when the area overflowed with industrial warehouses.

Night scene at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Stas Walenga /

In 1984, cargo operations shut down, and they decided to sell the piers for commercial purposes.

The neighborhood also put together a development corporation to plan the creation of the Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Today, you can see six piers, stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, walking and biking lanes, and green grass for the perfect picnic.

People admiring the view under the Brooklyn Bridge

AsiaTravel /

Get the Best Desserts in Dumbo at the Almondine Bakery

There’s not a lot of places worth the extra effort.

However, you’ll want to cross the Brooklyn Bridge to reach the Almondine Bakery in Dumbo.

The French baker Herve Poussot established the bakery.

Since it started, Almondine Bakery has baked some of the best desserts in the area, setting the standard of quality food and service.

Everyone will definitely love everything Chef Herve bakes, including madeleines, macarons, swollen pecan pie, shoe-size merengues, and baguettes.

They also have crunchy sandwiches and quiche for lunch.

Feel like Kid Again by Riding Jane’s Carousel

Exterior of Jane’s Carousel

Lewis Tse /

Jane’s Carousel, located within Brooklyn Bridge Park, is a fascinating sight.

The Philadelphia Toboggan Company built the carousel in 1922.

It has three rows with 48 intricately carved horses plus two chariots.

Night lights of Jane’s Carousel

T photography /

David and Jane Walentas brought the carousel to Dumbo, and Jane restored it.

Since it gives fantastic views of the Manhattan skyline and the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge, numerous visitors come for a ride.

Many people also tie the knot here.

The horses of Jane’s Carousel

Maya K. Photography /

Explore the A.I.R. Gallery

You’ll surely love the A.I.R. Gallery, a non-profit, artist-run arts organization and exhibition space if you love visiting galleries and museums.

Established in 1972, the gallery supports an open exchange of risk-taking and ideas by both women and non-binary artists.

A.I.R. Gallery involves multiple layers of representation, including Alumnae, Adjunct, National, and New York artists.

The organization is a self-directed governing body, providing an alternative to mainstream institutions and surviving through its network of active participants.

Get the Best Pizza in Town at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

People lined up outside Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

Leonard Zhukovsky /

Ask anyone in Dumbo where to find the best pizza in town, and they will tell you to go to Grimaldi’s Pizzeria.

Patsy Grimaldi learned to make pizza at ten years old.

He founded and built the restaurant in 1990.

Signage of Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

GiselleA /

Besides picking from their wide assortment of flavors, you can build your own pizza or pick a chef’s selection!

Try their pepperoni, meatballs, Italian sausage, prosciutto arugula, garden pesto, and Margherita.

Gluten-free lovers can also choose from white, pesto, and traditional in their 12-inch gluten-free crust!

Admire the Murals at the Dumbo Walls

In 2012, the artists CAM, Yuko Shimizu, Stefan Sagmeister, MOMO, Faith47, Shepard Fairey, Eltono, and DALeast, started the Dumbo Walls mural project.

Today, these works have become a popular neighborhood attraction.

The murals highlight the different entries to the neighborhood, with beautiful murals from Dumbo’s local artists, street artists, studio artists, and graphic designers.

Learn Local History at the Center for Brooklyn History

Exterior of the Center for Brooklyn History

Reading Tom, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visit the Center for Brooklyn History to learn about the 400-year history of Brooklyn.

Located on Pierrepont Street, it is nationally recognized as an urban history center, encouraging the study and preservation of the city’s history.

Opened in 1881, it remains a hub for civic dialogue, community outreach, and thoughtful engagement through public and education programs.

Taste Superb Cookies at the One Girl Cookies Bakery

Don’t just come for the cookies at One Girl Cookies Bakery.

The story behind it is equally exciting and will make you fall in love.

It’s a story of a lovely girl who loves to bake cookies and started a cookie business.

The girl met a boy who wanted to bake cookies too.

So, they decided to bake cookies together.

There is never a dull moment here at One Girl Cookies Bakery, with a seasonally inspired menu and something new every time.

Its menu and offerings range from cookies, cupcakes, cakes, coffee, and tea.

Vegan cookies also sell like hotcakes, so there’s something for everyone here.

Check Out the Manhattan Bridge

View of the Manhattan Bridge from an alley

TTstudio /

Proceed to the corner of Front and Washington Streets, where cobblestone streets and red brick buildings greet you on both sides.

Before you stands the beautiful Manhattan Bridge, aligning so perfectly with the street.

If you look more closely, you’ll see the Empire State Building peeping from behind it.

Dumbo signage under the Manhattan Bridge

Diego Grandi /

But, mind you, it can get busy during the day, with numerous other visitors and locals going around the place.

The traffic can be tricky, so be careful when you come and take photos.

It might be difficult to get a parking spot, so you’ll need some patience.

However, depending on your preference, you can also take the metro or the bus.

The view from within the Manhattan Bridge

Belikova Oksana /

Discover the Skateboard Academy of Aegir Boardworks

This unique Dumbo mainstay has been here since 2012.

Aegir Boardworks focuses on skate and surfing gear and accessories, alongside clothing.

The best part of Aegir Boardworks is its skateboard academy for kids and adults.

If you’re interested in learning how to skate, visit the shop.

Enroll in a skating class, so you can learn to skate with your kids.

Aegir Boardworks is a service-oriented business.

You can drop by to get quick and affordable surfboard repair and tuning.

Feed Your Arts and Performance Cravings at PowerHouse ARENA

The bookstore in PowerHouse ARENA

Caroline Culler (User:Wgreaves), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The critically acclaimed publisher PowerHouse Book opened the PowerHouse ARENA in 2006.

PowerHouse ARENA is dedicated to top-notch art exhibitions, performances, meetings, readings, and installations.

It draws hundreds of visitors who want to see famous authors and artists.

The ARENA has held numerous events and exhibitions, successfully establishing itself as the city’s premier venue for literary events.

It has hosted book signings, book launch parties, readings, and ticketed conversations for the most influential writers in the world.

However, the PowerHouse ARENA is not just a venue.

It also features a beautiful selection of illustrated, non-fiction, lifestyle, and New York-inspired books.

Shop at the Upscale Brooklyn Flea

People shopping at Dumbo Flea

Nielskliim /

The Dumbo Flea offers a unique blend of vintage clothing, artisan crafts, retro furniture, and handmade jewelry every April through October.

There are plenty of things to buy in this town square marketplace, with over 50 vendors selling something unique and attractive.

If you don’t intend to shop, you can still explore the place to find funky clothing, old dusty records, and souvenirs from Dumbo.

Vendors at Dumbo Flea

JJFarq /

Food vendors also abound, ready to serve you good old New York street food.

Magazines like Fodor’s, Country Living, and Travel + Leisure consider Brooklyn Flea one of the world’s best flea markets.

Don’t miss it.

Tents of vendors at Dumbo Flea

Stefan Ugljevarevic /

Relax at the Scenic Main Street Park

Daytime view of Main Street Park

Nielskliim /

Visit Main Street Park, a 3.5-acre park that features spectacular views of Manhattan and the East River.

You’ll love the open grass and shady trees, giving you a respite from the intense New York sun.

People on the grounds of Main Street Park

Kristi Blokhin /

Bring a blanket and just lay down and relax for an hour.

You’ll also enjoy watching the other visitors on Pebble Beach as they laze or kayak.

People walking along Main Street Park

Andriy Blokhin /

Go Kayaking on Pebble Beach

The waters of Pebble Beach

Awana JF /

Perhaps dipping your feet into the East River didn’t cross your mind when you planned your Dumbo visit.

Guess what?

You can most definitely walk down to the water on Pebble Beach and take a souvenir pebble for yourself.

People on the shore of Pebble Beach

Andriy Blokhin /

If you want to be more adventurous, though, join the free kayaking program of the Brooklyn Bridge Boathouse in the summer.

This program gives you 20 minutes to kayak on the water and enjoy the experience.

Don’t worry because the water is clean enough for this activity.

Explore the Empire Stores

Exterior of the Empire Stores

Kristi Blokhin /

The Empire Stores is hard to miss since it’s at the epicenter of Dumbo.

This place was once a 500,000-square-foot brick warehouse near the waterfront, built sometime between 1868 and 1885.

The warehouse operated until the 1960s when it was abandoned.

The lobby of the Empire Stores

Caroline Culler (User:Wgreaves), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to the rise of Dumbo, a vibrant neighborhood, and the rise of waterfront development, Empire Stores came back to life.

Real estate developers and investors converted the warehouses into mixed-use projects, offering 420,000 square feet of office and retail space.

Today, it’s one of the must-visit attractions in Dumbo and New York City.

Watch a Live Performance at St. Ann’s Warehouse

Exterior of St. Ann’s Warehouse

littlenySTOCK /

Located along Water Street within Brooklyn Bridge Park lies St. Ann’s Warehouse.

It’s both an architectural and cultural landmark in Dumbo, defined by its vintage red brick design that stands out in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

You can appreciate St. Ann’s Warehouse by simply taking riverside photography, but it’s highly recommended you watch a performance here as well.

People in front of St. Ann’s Warehouse

Vadim 777 /

There are plenty of events year-round, making this one of the most-visited performing arts theaters in Brooklyn.

With a beautiful lobby and an intimate theater, the experience here will be magical.

View of St. Ann’s Warehouse at night

Alex Cimbal /

Visit the Museum of Digital Experiences

The Museum of Digital Experiences, also abbreviated as The MoDE, is one of the hidden treasures you can find in Dumbo.

It’s a museum dedicated to art and technology, fusing the two together to create a surreal experience for the audience.

Being that it’s New York’s first all-digital museum, this is an important landmark as well that any arts or technology fan should go and see.

Here, around 14 unique digital art installations are present, each offering a different sensory experience.

WIth affordable tickets and a magical experience like no other, The Museum of Digital Experiences is a must-visit in Brooklyn.

You can find it along Jay Street.

Go on a Food Trip at Time Out Market New York

Window of Time Out Market New York

MNAphotography /

Time Out Market New York is one of the most-visited attractions in Dumbo, attracting thousands of people daily because of its bustling food culture.

An upscale and trendy food hall, Time Out Market New York is teeming with all sorts of eclectic food businesses.

There are well over 20 restaurants here to go along with a couple of bars as well—the place is so big that it also has a rooftop seating area!

Interior of Time Out Market New York

Wgreaves, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

So, if you’re a foodie, this is a no-brainer to visit as it fully immerses you in multicultural cuisine.

Located along Water Street as well, this food hall is also an excellent evening attraction—when the bars come alive, events start, and many people come here to have a good time.

Exterior of Time Out Market New York

Wgreaves, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Have a Picturesque Meal at Superfine

Exterior of Superfine

Wgreaves, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If the chaos of Time Out Market New York isn’t for you, Superfine is something to consider.

It’s a culinary institution in Brooklyn, famous for many things that extend beyond its superb Mediterranean cuisine.

Superfine has an amazing layout inside that features two floors, one having an entertainment area where you can play billiards.

For their interior decors, they also feature several original works from various artists that rotate year-round, making this a gallery in some way as well.

Don’t forget about the food though—Superfine’s pork chops, seared tuna, pizzas, and their wide range of cocktails is one for the books.

Visit this awesome place along Front Street.

Splurge on Dessert at Jacques Torres Chocolate

Interior of Jacques Torres Chocolate

H.J. Herrera /

If you haven’t tried Jacques Torres Chocolate in other places in New York City, then this is your chance to do so.

It’s an iconic chocolatier that has an abundance of all things chocolate, ranging from hot chocolate drinks to all sorts of bars and candies.

This makes Jacques Torres Chocolate a perfect place to grab a souvenir.

If you want to cool down, they also have sorbet here and ice cream that you can enjoy via a sandwich.

An icon in New York City, Jacques Torres Chocolate can be found in Dumbo along Water Street.

Final Thoughts

If you visit Dumbo, you’ll see a different side of New York City.

It offers tons of food options, activities, spaces, and shopping opportunities that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Start planning your trip to Dumbo today!

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