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Things to do in Dumbo, Brooklyn

Cross the Brooklyn Bridge to find charming cobblestone streets as well as great things to do in Dumbo, Brooklyn

By Jennifer Picht and Time Out contributors |
Photograph: Courtesy Phil Greenberg

Dumbo, Brooklyn offers sweeping waterfront views of Manhattan (including the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge), and you can enjoy the scenery from many of Dumbo, Brooklyn's best restaurants, bars, NYC parks and hotels. Aside from the haunts and public spaces, the area hosts awesome events. Beneath the Manhattan Bridge, the Dumbo Business Improvement District hosts community gatherings including a rowdy Oktoberfest party and weekend flea markets. Speaking of markets, Time Out Market New York, a marketplace-style dinning experience of its very own, has landed in Dumbo. Gorge on meals from some of the top chefs in the city, order drinks from the venue's various bars and catch some excellent entertainment curated by Time Out New York's editors. 

How to get to Dumbo, Brooklyn

Take the 2/3 train to Clark Street, the A/C to High Street or the F train to York Street.

Things to do in Dumbo, Brooklyn

Time Out Market New York/Jacob's Pickles
Photograph: Courtesy Nitzan Rubin

Eat epic food with a view

Time Out Market brings the best of New York City's restaurants, bars and cultural experiences—all handpicked by expert Time Out editors—together under one roof in Brooklyn's Dumbo neighborhood. The market is located within Empire Stores, and is complete with two floors, three bars, an outdoor rooftop area, entertainment stage and a fantastic view of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan's iconic skyline. Aside from the killer views, we've got fluffy pancakes from the venerable Clinton Street Baking Co., thin-crust pizza from Patsy Grimaldi’s Juliana’s, Middle Eastern bites from Miss Ada, fried chicken from Jacob’s Pickles, Japanese comfort food from Bessou, cookie dough scoops from DŌ and more amazing eateries. Dig in, New York! 

Photograph: RosaIrene Betancourt 3/Alamy
Things to do, Markets and fairs

Flee to the flea

At its Dumbo location, Brooklyn Flea—the mack daddy of alfresco bazaars—embodies the feeling of a town-square marketplace. Every Sunday, hunt for treasure, European-style, as you peruse art, vintage clothing, jewelry, handmade goods and other objects of desire from roughly 80 vendors. Follow Brooklyn Flea’s Instagram feed (@bkflea) for posts about cool events, from concerts to special sellers and apparel customization, going down every weekend.

Photograph: Courtesy DUMBO Business Improvement District

Dance on cobblestones

Live at the Archway, a free weekly concert series, lets folks shake their stuff in an off-kilter, picturesque setting beneath the Manhattan Bridge (minus the trolls). Alongside its diverse range of performers—the all-female Brazilian drum line FogoAzul, Colombian hip-hop crew Kombilesa Mí and alt-pop artist Motteo, among others—the event boasts a beer garden to keep you buzzing as the music plays on. Follow the neon sign for GALLERY GALLERY GALLERY (no, that’s not a typo), a compact pop-up that displays work from local artists each week in a shedlike structure.

St. Ann's Warehouse
Photograph: Teddy Wolff
Theater, Performing arts space

See a show


Formerly a tobacco depot, St. Ann’s Warehouse—the adventurous theatergoer’s alternative to BAM—puts on an exciting slate of envelope-pushing theater and music performances. Recently, Oklahoma! made the leap from St. Ann’s to Broadway, so watch this space for more rising stars.

Beat the bomb
Photograph: Courtesy Ann Sullivan
Things to do, Quirky events

Test your strengths

Vinegar Hill

Are you a MacGyver or a MacGruber? During Beat the Bomb—an action-packed adventure that is equal parts escape room and immersive theater—you and a team of up to six people work together to beat five challenges. If your crew can’t solve all the puzzles in less than an hour, a “bomb” of colorful paint will transform you into a heady tie-dye project. Don’t worry about your threads: Contestants are given head-to-toe coveralls before the game begins. Save some iced-coffee money and go during a weeknight (except Friday), when the price is five bucks cheaper.

Music, Classical and opera

Listen to classical music


Feel astue as hell while listening to a chamber concert on a former coffee-bean barge. Bargemusic’s Masterworks Series presents performances of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Boulanger and other greats while you bask in glittering panoramic city views. Grab a drink and make a pit stop at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s restrooms before hopping aboard—the barge has no bathrooms, and no food or drink is permitted.

Photograph: Julienne Schaer
Attractions, Parks and gardens

Catch a flick in the park

Brooklyn Heights
4 out of 5 stars

Countless New York green spaces host open-air film screenings, but Movies with a View inarguably offers the best backdrop. Beginning on July 11, you can curl up on the Harbor View Lawn in Brooklyn Bridge Park every Thursday evening to watch a film curated for this season’s theme, “Better the Second Time Around,” featuring flicks that have already been shown throughout the event’s 20-year history, including The Big Lebowski, Selma and It Happened One Night. Show up early to snag a good spot on the grass, hear a DJ set, nab snacks from Smorgasburg vendors, and snap dreamy pics of the Manhattan skyline at sunset.

The powerHouse Arena
Photograph: Courtesy The powerHouse Arena
Shopping, Toys and games

Get lost in the stacks

4 out of 5 stars

Known for hawking gorgeous, glossy photo books, powerHouse Arena’s airy, gallerylike atmosphere also makes it a worthy stop for browsing beach-season reads. If you visit the store on the regular, you’ll hear guest authors (think Gary Indiana and Jenny Zhang) and see new, eclectic art exhibitions created by big-name brands and local stars.

Photograph: Charles Benton, Courtesy Art In General
Art, Arts centers

Get creative


Originally founded in 1981 by artists Martin Weinstein and Teresa Liszka, non-profit Art in General was a stalwart of the Downtown art scene for more than three decades before moving in January 2016 to its current location in Brooklyn, bringing its program of exhibitions, artist residencies and commissioned projects to a flexible ground-floor space in Dumbo.

Photograph: Courtesy Clara Schuhmacher

Go on an outdoor art crawl

Several Dumbo galleries house photographs and other contemporary works by a range of talented creators. But for those who want to soak up the sun while getting in their culture, we recommend taking a fresh-air tour of the ’hood’s murals, such as Emily Caisip’s Moment of Gratitude (on Front Street), which depicts tall plants that echo high-rises, and a bright, geometric number by post-graffiti artist MOMO on York Street, between Adams and Washington. Time Out Tip: See Siah Armajani’s sculpture Bridge Over Tree in Brooklyn Bridge Park from our fifth-floor rooftop terrace.

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Time Out Market in Dumbo, Brooklyn

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