5 Reasons We Love DUMBO

Looking for a fun afternoon with your kids? A trip to the DUMBO section of Brooklyn might be just what your family is looking for.

My husband and I love to take day-trips with our 2-year-old and explore the city outside our own neighborhood. DUMBO has become one of our favorites because it’s only a short hop on the subway, making it one of the more accessible parts of Brooklyn for those of us who live in Manhattan.

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Here are five reasons we love DUMBO.

  1. A twirl on Jane’s Carousel: If you do one thing in DUMBO, make it a ride on this vintage treat at Empire Fulton Ferry. Built in 1922, it comes complete with pipe organ and 48 carved horses. This is the first carousel my son ever rode and we love coming back as he grows to see his changing reaction. It’s open Thursday- Sunday during the winter (Sep. 21-May 8) and six days a week during the summer. 
  2. Fun in Brooklyn Bridge Park: DUMBO is at one end of the fantastic Brooklyn Bridge Park (brooklynbridgepark.org) that stretches from the Manhattan Bridge all the way to Atlantic Avenue. There are six piers, which all have their own unique activities, including roller-skating, fishing, basketball, and soccer. There’s plenty of space to just admire the view, as well as lots of playground options. Main Street playground and Pier 1 are great for younger kids, and older children will get a thrill out of the giant swings at Pier 2. The very popular Pier 6 is technically in Brooklyn Heights but worth the walk for its playgrounds, including Sandbox Village, the watery fun of Waterlab, and the giant slide at Slide Mountain.
  3. Great eats: After making the most of Brooklyn Bridge Park you’ll probably be hungry, and the cute cobble streets are well served by kid friendly places to eat. We love having brunch at AlMar and Atrium, as well as a newly opened Shake Shack (Fulton Street). If you don’t mind waiting in line don’t miss a slice of the famous Grimaldi’s Pizza (Front Street) and if you’ve still got room, take a walk to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (Water Street).  Or grab something in Forager’s Market (Adams Street) before nabbing a spot at one of the picnic tables at Empire Fulton Ferry.
  4. A great local bookstore:  It might be a hipster neighborhood but DUMBO is also full of parents with young families. So it’s no surprise that there is an awesome selection of unique stores that serve both groups. A particular favorite for us is the Powerhouse Arena (Main Street), a bookstore with a great selection of books and gifts for both kids and adults. We can never stop by without picking something up. My son also loves the toy store Two Kids And A Dog (Pearl Street), and Half Pint Kids (Washington Street) has everything from strollers to sand toys.
  5. The view. A post about Dumbo wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the view. It’s worth the subway trip just to see the bridges and Manhattan skyline. Don’t miss the chance for a family selfie at Empire Fulton Ferry Park (next to the Carousel), and if the traffic is light make sure you get your own version of the famous shot of the Manhattan Bridge from the corner of Washington Street and Front Street. If you stand right in the middle you can even frame the Empire State Building in the middle of the bridge’s arch!

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Photo credits: Jane’s Carousel © Julian Mackler