This 85-acre park is one of Brooklyn’s best-loved attractions. Wrapping itself around a 1.3-mile bend on the East River, the post-industrial site runs from just beyond the far side of the Manhattan Bridge in Dumbo to the west end of Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn Heights. It's revitalized a once-barren stretch of shoreline, turning a series of abandoned piers into landscaped parkland with jaw-dropping views of Manhattan. There's lots to see and do here, with playgrounds, walkways and lawns galore.
The Empire Fulton Ferry section, just past the Brooklyn Bridge, has the lovingly restored 1922 Jane's Carousel and the best views of the bridge framed against the towering skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan. You'll find free open-air summertime events like film screenings, outdoor yoga/Pilates classes and dance parties, often at the view-laden lawns of Pier 1. A salt marsh, tucked in among salvaged granite, is at the pier's southern edge, planted with native flora such as rose mallow and pussy willow. Squibb Park Bridge offers a direct pedestrian path to Pier 1 from Brooklyn Heights. Find courts for basketball, handball and bocce, plus a roller-skating rink and free kayaking (three times a week from June through August) at Pier 2; leafy gardens and picnic lawns at Pier 3, the last one to be transformed into parkland; plus kayak and stand-up paddleboard hire at Pier 4 beach. Offshore from here is inaccessible Bird Island, a nature preserve planted with shrubs to encourage feathered friends. Pier 5 is an activity hub with sports fields and cycling paths, and some of Brooklyn's best ice cream from the Ample Hills Creamery kiosk, and there are fantastic playgrounds and a watery play area at Pier 6. There's also a bouldering wall (at Main St Park, under the Manhattan Bridge in Dumbo). Summertime ferries to Governors Island depart from Pier 6, which also has wood-fired pizzas and amazing sundowner views at Fornino.
Note the different closing times for various sections of the park: Pier 2 closes at 8pm; Pier 6's volleyball courts, Pier 5 and Squibb Park Bridge all close at 11pm; playgrounds close at dusk. The rest of the park is open till 1am.
To walk across the Brooklyn Bridge itself, enter the pedestrian and cycle path from the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall subway station (Manhattan) or start at the Brooklyn end by following signs from High St-Brooklyn Bridge station and Cadman Plaza Park.