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Top Things To With Kids In DUMBO, Brooklyn

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Here is why you need to come to Brooklyn for a day during your next New York City visit:

It’s quieter than Times Square and the pace is slower than in Manhattan. Restaurants are less crowded (mostly) and less expensive and people are friendly. It has historic neighborhoods full of families.

If you are looking for things to do that will please both kids and mom and dad try DUMBO, just across the river from lower Manhattan.

The video and post below it will give you the basics and strolling around will turn up new gems in this evolving neighborhood.  

Read more: NYC on our At a Glance has all our NYC advice.

Top Things To Do With Kids On The Brooklyn Waterfront


DUMBO (short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass).

How to Get there:

Subway: Take the A or C to High Street, the F to York Street or the 2/3 to Clark Street. All are the first stop in Brooklyn.


Admire the words of Walt Whitman and  views of the skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty from Fulton Ferry Pier, or Brooklyn Bridge Park.

On any warm weather weekend look for couples taking wedding photos on the Fulton Ferry Pier.

The most photographed block in DUMBO brooklyn

Stroll past Washington and Water Streets for this view, which is probably one of the most photographed and instagammed spots in New York City.

Watching all the people standing in the street to shoot it is almost as much fun as admiring the view.


Brooklyn Bridge Park, which snakes along the waterfront from a strip of still-used piers to the Manhattan bridge is a work in progress.

You never know what new food vendors or facilities will pop up from one summer to the next or what events you might happen upon, especially in summer.

There are toddler playgrounds on Pier 1 at the Northern end of Brooklyn Bridge Park and Pier 5. Pier 6, for preschoolers up to age 12 is at the south end, near the beach volleyball courts. It has a large water play area with sprinklers, rocks, and water-play features.

It’s designed for older kids but you see all ages. It’s crowded on hot days. There are also giant slides, tarzan swings, funky climbing structures and an enormous sand-pit area with water and play houses. The first time I saw it I wished I was a kid again.  

Halfway in-between is an outdoor summer roller rink on Pier 2, with great prices and views but not the best floor. There is kayaking and nice walking paths further down toward the bridges and usually some interesting outdoor art work that changes each summer.

Around the bend from Pier 1 is the alluring glass-enclosed Jane’s Carousel. Beyond the park but still part of the water front is an older but sometimes less busy playground and a seasonal outdoor climbing wall facility.

On summer weekends you can catch a five-minute ferry to Governor’s island from Pier 6.  From the island catch take a second quick ferry across to Manhattan. Wave to Lady Liberty on the way.


Seek out Powerhouse Arena, one of those small indie bookstore that has become a rarity. You’ll find funky books about New York culture, the latest fiction and a well-curated kids section.

It’s under the bridge on Water Street. There is more shopping back toward the water along Water Street.

powerhouse arena is a great indie bookstore in brooklyn

The Brooklyn Historic Society has an outpost inside 55 Water Street. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum has it’s Spark Outpost on John Street.

Brooklyn Flea, a market of vendors selling antiques, vintage clothes and Etsy-type clothes and accessories, has set up one of its summer locations on Pearl Street.


Outdoor vendors along the water can change a bit from summer to summer, but you’ll find food options around most of the piers.  

Eat thin-crust New York style pizza at Grimaldi’s and solid Tex-Mex and margaritas at Pedro’s. Superfine, a few blocks from the water on Front Street. It’s popular for brunch well into the afternoon on weekends. The food is good and they’re fine with kids during the day.

Get gourmet chocolate at Jacques Torres (left) and ice cream from the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (great peach ice cream!) or Ample Hills (Tween Traveler’s favorite; try the ooey gooey buttercake). Almondine is a yummy yummy bakery, with particularly good jelly donuts and almond croissants.

Inside Jacques Torres Chocolate in DUMBO

Shake Shack has opened an outpost near the park, as does Luke’s lobster (the lobster rolls are pricey; the crab rolls are a better deal and excellent).

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DUMBO is a Brooklyn Neighborhood with a great park, restaurants, food, a carousel and skyline views. Here are some fun things to do on a day there with kids. #DUMBO #Brooklyn #Kids

All photos courtesy of the businesses they portray or NYC Go.

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