Walking the Waterfront: DUMBO Neighborhood & Museum Tour

This tour is offered in partnership with the Brooklyn Historical Society

Join us for a walk through the historic streets of DUMBO as we explore how the water has shaped New York City, and vice versa. Starting at the Brooklyn Historical Society’s DUMBO location, housed inside the renovated 1869 Empire Stores building, we will introduce you to their exhibition Waterfront, which chronicles Brooklyn’s long and complex history along 131 miles of coastline. We will then step out into the neighborhood to see the dynamic waterfront as it is today, and illustrate its many transformations over the past two centuries and the challenges that lie ahead.

DUMBO is in many ways a microcosm of this vast shoreline. Once an agricultural hinterland, this area became America’s first suburb, then emerged as an industrial and shipping powerhouse rivaling the city across the river. The landscape of DUMBO was built on innovation and hard labor, and we will hear stories of both the captains of industry and ordinary workers who built Brooklyn. We will also explore the deindustrialization of Brooklyn, and the remaking of DUMBO into one of New York City’s most desirable neighborhoods, a commercial and residential district ringed by parkland where piers and factories once stood.

Tour Info & Highlights

  • Visit Brooklyn Historical Society DUMBO’s Waterfront exhibit
  • Learn how Brooklyn’s waterfront has evolved over centuries
  • Hear stories of DUMBO’s transformation, from Brooklyn’s early days to the present
icon-calendar  SUN 11:15am
icon-clock-o  1.5 hours
  Exhibit & Walking tour
icon-map-marker  BHS DUMBO, Empire Stores 

General Admission: $22 per person

Seniors (65+): $19.80 per person (10% off)

Children (5-12): $11 per person

Children under 5 are welcome to attend free.

Advance ticket purchase is required.

Brooklyn Historical Society members receive 10% off admission to this tour. Active members should contact BHS to receive a discount code.

This tour is 1 hour 30 minutes in length.

Public tours are offered on Sundays at 11:15am.

Use the calendar below to find our next available tour date. If you are interested in other tours about the Brooklyn waterfront, check out or Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn Army Terminal, and Harbor Tour programs.

All public tours begin at the Brooklyn Historical Society DUMBO, located at 55 Water St on the 2nd Floor of the Empire Stores. The space is accessible from Water St or from Brooklyn Bridge Park. Click the map on the left for Google Maps directions or view our neighborhood map.

  • Subway: The nearest subway stations are at York St (F) and High St-Brooklyn Bridge (A,C), and each is about a 10-minute walk from BHS DUMBO. Visit mta.info for maps and service alerts.
  • Ferry: NYC Ferry provides service to DUMBO on the East River and South Brooklyn routes. When you disembark at DUMBO/Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1, follow Water St underneath the Brooklyn Bridge to 55 Water St.
  • Driving and Parking: Street parking is extremely challenging in DUMBO every day of the week, and we strongly recommend that you utilize public transportation. There are several parking garages in the neighborhood, but keep in mind that these are often full.
  • Bicycle: The nearest bicycle rack is on Dock St on the west side of the building. DUMBO is also served by CitiBike, and the nearest stations are 2 blocks away.
    • Remember that BHS DUMBO is located on the 2nd floor of 55 Water St, accessible by stairs or elevator located in the courtyard on the north side of the building.
    • If you are using a wheelchair, walker, or have trouble with steps, we recommend entering from the Brooklyn Bridge Park side of the building, as the Water St entrance does have stairs, though there is also a wheelchair lift.

Please contact us for more details on booking a private tour of the Brooklyn Historical Society DUMBO and the neighborhood, or visit our Group Tours page. Private tours can be offered seven days a week, subject to availability, for groups of any size.

Brooklyn Historical Society logo with white text in block lettering with an image that looks like a sun
This tour is offered on behalf of Brooklyn Historical Society, and a portion of all ticket sales goes to support the institution. Founded in 1863, BHS is a nationally recognized urban history center dedicated to preserving and encouraging the study of Brooklyn’s extraordinary 400-year history. Located in Brooklyn Heights with a second location in DUMBO, BHS is a cultural hub for civic dialogue, thoughtful engagement, and community outreach. Brooklyn Historical Society connects the past to the present and makes the vibrant history of Brooklyn tangible, relevant, and meaningful for today’s diverse communities, and for generations to come. Please consider becoming a member and supporting their work and mission.

These tours are offered in partnership with the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Brooklyn’s Waterfront on the Turnstile Blog: