Located just across the river from Lower Manhattan, DUMBO, an acronym for Down Under The Manhattan Bridge Overpass, looks and feels like the New York from the movies. This historic Brooklyn neighborhood has old world charm, with former warehouses and factories now serving as art galleries, restaurants and bookstores.
It’s a great place to spend time with your furry friend. You can take in sweeping views of the city skyline and Brooklyn Bridge, visit a dog park or two, and grab world famous eats.
Enjoy this waterfront neighborhood nestled between two bridges, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, and check out these 10 dog-friendly things to do and see.
1. Go to the Dog Park
One of our favorite dog parks in New York City is right smack in the middle of DUMBO!
Hillside Dog Park is situated on a hill and divided in two parts, one for small dogs and one for large dogs. The ground is a mix of dirt and wood chips, and the slope and terrain make it the perfect area for dogs to romp and run. There are tables and seating for humans, and water fountains and bowls for staying hydrated.
In the summer, there’s plenty of shade from the trees and kiddie pools for cooling down. It’s a slice of heaven in the urban jungle, and when you’re there, you’ll almost forget that you’re in the middle of a bustling city (and right next to the BQE).
Location: Columbia Heights & Vine St.
2. Ride the Water Ferry
The NYC Ferry takes riders to four of the five boroughs – and all for the same price as a subway ride!
Two routes leave from the DUMBO station: the East River route, connecting riders to places like Midtown Manhattan, Greenpoint and Williamsburg, and the South Brooklyn route, that stops in Red Hook, Sunset Park and Wall Street.
There are charging stations, Wi-Fi, and concessions on board, and you can buy tickets on the dock, on the website, or by using the app. Just note that pets, other than service animals, must be caged (in a bag or carrier) and/or muzzled.
Location: Old Fulton Street and Furman Street
3. Hang Out Under the Arch
The archway under the Manhattan Bridge is one of New York City’s coolest public spaces. It rises 45 feet high, with an almost cathedral-like feel set in an old New York landscape.
It was used for storing scrap metal until 2007, when the DUMBO Improvement District turned it over to the public.
Today, the plaza is home to special, year round events, markets, lunch vendors, art exhibitions and more.
In the spring and summer, catch free live music, a cash bar, and interactive art installations every Thursday at Live At The Arch. Shows start at 6pm, rain or shine, for all ages (with or without fur).
Location: Water Street between Adams Street and Anchorage Place.
4. Eat Some Pizza
Here’s the low down on New York’s greatest pizza war. Patsy Grimaldi, the original owner of the famous Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, learned how to make pizza when he was just a boy at Patsy’s Pizzeria, one of New York’s original pizzerias, owned by his uncle Patsy.
Decades later, Grimaldi decided to open up his own place. Coal-fired brick ovens were illegal in Manhattan, so he went over the bridge and opened Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in DUMBO.
He retired and sold the joint in the late ’90s, but trouble brewed. The new owner, Frank Ciolli, stopped making pizza the Grimaldi way, and got into legal disputes with the landlord over late rent. After fighting in court, he was forced to move the pizzeria to an abandoned bank next door.
That’s when Grimaldi came out of retirement and opened Juliana’s Pizza in the original building. Ciolli resented the competition, and a pizza war ensued, complete with a legal battle.
These two neighboring pizzeria’s still co-exist today!
If you want to sink your teeth into a Grimaldi slice, whether the Grimaldi-made pizza over at Juliana’s or from Ciolli’s pies at Grimaldi’s, you’ll have to endure a line. But both are worth the wait! Order a pie to go, and enjoy the thin crust cheesiness with your dogs on the waterfront.
Location: Grimaldi’s Pizza (1 Front Street) and Juliana’s (19 Old Fulton Street).
5. Take an Instagram Worthy Photo
It’s no surprise that DUMBO is home to some of New York City’s most picture perfect spots. This highly photogenic neighborhood knows how to show off the goods.
Grab your dog and head to the corner of Washington and Front Streets. Here you can get a shot of the Manhattan Bridge framing the Empire State Building in the background.
It’s been said that this iconic view is the most Instagrammed spot in all of Brooklyn. And you’ll believe it when you go, as the street is often overrun with people taking the perfect selfie, or adjusting a camera for the right angle. You might have to wait your turn for that epic shot, but it’s worth it.
Do it for the gram.
Location: the corner of Washington and Front Streets.
6. Walk Through Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge Park is a waterfront park with 85-acres of picturesque promenades, lush gardens, rolling hills and spectacular city views.
The park is divided into sections, including Main Street, Fulton Ferry Landing, Squibb Park and Bridge, and Piers 1 through 6. In the DUMBO sections, you’ll find Main Street Park, John Street Park, and Empire Fulton Ferry Park.
There are playgrounds, riverfront promenades, and tree-lined pathways along the waterfront. There’s even a dog park for some off-leash social time. Plus, the panoramic views of lower Manhattan can’t be beat.
Dogs are welcome on park pathways, but not allowed on lawns (although you might spot one or two relaxing on them anyway).
Check out the park’s list of free events before going to see what’s happening.
Location: enter along the East River shoreline, along Plymouth Street or John Street.
7. Shop at the Flea Market
Every Sunday in April through October you’ll find the Brooklyn Flea Market, located under the Manhattan Bridge in the archway.
Dig through vintage clothing, dusty old records, and artisan crafts while wandering the cobblestoned streets. There’s also a smorgasbord of food vendors offering unique eats, mixed in with retro furniture and handmade jewelry. It’s the best place to spend a Sunday afternoon!
Location: Water Street between Adams Street and Anchorage Place. April through October, Sundays 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.
8. Take a Free Walking Tour
Get to know the history of the area with a fun walking tour. You’ll wind through cobblestoned streets and stroll past some of the most Instagrammable spots in all of New York. Plus, there’s an expert on hand to orient you and answer all of your questions.
9. Visit Pebble Beach
Let your dog dip their paws into the East River at Pebble Beach.
Located in the Main Street section of Brooklyn Bridge Park, the beach provides access to the water’s edge, where you can relax and enjoy spectacular views of the bridge and Lower Manhattan.
Head here to cool down after a visit to the nearby Main Street dog run.
Location: Main Street Park, off of Main Street and Plymouth Street.
10. Walk Over the Brooklyn Bridge
Burn some energy by walking across the historic Brooklyn Bridge. Soak in views of the Statue of Liberty, enjoy the skyline of downtown New York, and admire the beautiful architecture.
The bridge features a 1.3 miles long pedestrian walkway that extends above lanes of traffic. Make sure to go early morning or late at night to avoid huge crowds.
We recommend entering on the Manhattan side, and enjoying Brooklyn Bridge Park once you step foot in Brooklyn.
Location: enter at the intersection of Tillary Street and Boerum Place, or via the underpass on Washington Street, about two blocks from Front Street.
How to Get There
Subway: Take the F train to York Street, the A and C trains to High Street or the 2 and 3 Trains to Clark Street.
Ferry: Take the NYC Ferry East River or South Brooklyn line to the DUMBO stop.
Walk: Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, or through neighboring neighborhoods Brooklyn Heights or Vinegar Hill.
Bike: Bike over the Brooklyn Bridge. Either rent a bike, or use Citibike, which has nearby docks.
Want more DUMBO? Follow the Dumbo Improvement District on Instagram.
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