How to take the subway to Brooklyn?
New York City's subway system is large and complex. If you want to travel to Brooklyn by subway, it can be difficult to figure out; because Brooklyn is very large. Also, because most of the city's subway lines diverge out to different parts Brooklyn (you cannot ride one single subway line to all of Brooklyn's neighborhoods).
This guide will assist you at traveling from Manhattan to different Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Brooklyn is huge - 71 mile² / 180 km². There are more than 25 neighborhoods, and they are serviced by more than 12 different lines. The subway line that you will use is dependent on which neighborhood in Brooklyn is your destination. It is also important to note that getting between different neighborhoods in Brooklyn by subway can be very time-consuming. Because all of the subway lines are designed for travel to Manhattan - they are not well designed for travel within Brooklyn. (It is a hub-and-spoke system).
Here are top neighborhoods you may be traveling to, and how to get there by subway. These are most popular areas for tourism and cosmopolitan culture/dining/nightlife. Travel times listed are from the Midtown Manhattan area (unless otherwise noted).
Lower down is a useful map designed for getting to these neighborhoods.
Williamsburg is the 'hipster' neighborhood in Brooklyn known for cosmopolitan culture and dining. Williamsburg is the first subway stop out of Manhattan.
Pick up the L line anywhere along 14th Street in Manhattan. Get off at Bedford Avenue, or one of the stops after it. (Travel time approx. 20 minutes from Midtown. This line cannot be picked up in Midtown. You must take a train within Manhattan to get to the L line on 14th Street).
Bushwick is a post-industrial Brooklyn neighborhood becoming known for a vibrant art and graffiti scene. Also many new restaurants and bars.
To the western part of neighborhood (where the art scene and dining is concentrated): Pick up the L line anywhere along 14th Street in Manhattan. Get off at Jefferson Street or Morgan Avenue (Travel time approx. 25 minutes from Midtown. This line cannot be picked up in Midtown. You must take a train within Manhattan to get to the L line on 14th Street).
You can also take the J, M or Z lines to other parts of Bushwick.
Park Slope is famed for its family-friendly yuppie community and brownstones. Park Slope is several subway stops out of Manhattan.
For the northern part of the neighborhood: Pick up the B (runs on 6th Avenue) or Q (runs on Broadway). Get off at 7th Avenue. (travel time approx. 25 minutes)
For the southern part of the neighborhood: Take the R line (runs on Broadway) to Union Street or to 4th Avenue - 9th Street (travel time approx. 30 minutes). Or take the F line (runs on 6th Avenue) to 4th Avenue - 9th Street or to 7th Avenue (travel time approx. 30 minutes).
Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass is a trendy post-industrial district of parks and beautiful views. DUMBO is the first subway stop out of Manhattan.
Take the F line (runs on 6th Avenue) to York Street. (travel time approx. 20 minutes)
OR Take the A or C lines (both run on 8th Avenue) to High Street (travel time approx. 20 minutes).
Coney Island, Brooklyn is the quirky historic sea-side boardwalk and beach. Coney Island is far out. It is 15-20 subway stops out of Manhattan. Many subway lines terminate here.
Take the Q or N (both run on Broadway). Or take the F or D (both run on 6th Avenue). It is the end of the route for all of these lines - Coney Island - Stillwell Avenue station (Travel time approx. 60 minutes).
BONUS: Brooklyn Museum & Brooklyn Botanic Garden
These two 100-year-old+ cultural institutions are located next to each other in the neighborhood of Crown Heights.
Take the 2, or 3 line (both run on 7th Avenue) to Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum. You can also take the 4 or 5 line (both run on Lexington Avenue) to Franklin Avenue station (Travel time approx. 25 minutes).
Here is a subway map of these top cosmopolitan Brooklyn neighborhoods:
Please note: This map was created for touristic purposes. These specific areas have been selected here because they have proven to be most popular with tourists and visitors. Every single neighborhood in Brooklyn is important; and is worth visiting. Most of Brooklyn has been faded out on this map in order to highlight the selected neighborhoods and make it easier to pinpoint them. Nothing is faded out on this map because it is unimportant.
Enjoyed this guide? Make a charity donation
This guide is provided for free. To show appreciation, please donate to the following nonprofit agency which supports low-income Brooklynites: St. Nicks Alliance. Your donation will support affordable housing, educational programs and job training. Thank you in advance!
Want to experience the best of Brooklyn? Check out our tours
Save 20% with code 'blogdiscount.'
Here are some other useful guides:
© Copyright Jeffrey Stirewalt 2017
How to Take The Subway to Brooklyn