Plan a trip to Domino Park in Brooklyn! This Williamsburg park features artifacts from the Domino Sugar Factory, plenty of space to relax, a cool playground, amazing bridge and city views + more ... and this guide covers everything you need to know, before you go!
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On a recent visit to NYC, my itinerary was about a mile long. I used to live on the Upper West Side, so many places were old faves (like Rockaway Beach). But there were plenty of new spots on that lengthy list, too.
My husband was all about relaxing, and I was all about DOING.IT.ALL. He may have called me Ginnie Griswold on more than one occasion, and it may have been warranted ... ha ha.
One of my favorite activities from our trip? Visiting Domino Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. And this cool park should definitely be on your next NYC itinerary, too!
About the Park
If you're looking for things to do in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, then you need to add Domino Park to your bucket list!
This unique park opened in June 2018 on the site of the old Domino Sugar Factory, and it's definitely worth adding to your NYC itinerary.
There is so much to see at this colorful and creative park. Keep reading to learn all about the park, from the site's history to things to do at Domino Park.
Quick History of Domino Sugar Factory
Located on the former Domino Sugar Refinery site just north of the Williamsburg Bridge, the park's location is an important part of Brooklyn history.
The Domino Sugar Factory, which has gone by different names through the years, dates back to 1856. Factory workers were often immigrants, and they toiled in difficult, and often dangerous, conditions.
As its productivity grew, the factory became the largest, most productive sugar refinery in the world, producing up to 98% of the sugar consumed in the U.S.! Eventually the refinery's prosperity waned though, and the factory eventually closed its doors in 2004.
The site sat unused, until it was acquired by developers in 2012. And in 2014, the factory became the site of a hugely popular installation by artist Kara Walker.
In exchange for developing the refinery land (a number of large residential towers have been built on the site), the developers also built Domino park, which has created greater access to the riverfront for Brooklyn residents.
Things to Do in Domino Park
There are so many fun things to do in Domino Park! With its colorful playground, stunning views, plenty of room to lounge, tacos, and more, Domino Park in NYC has something for everyone! Here are a few of my favorite park activities:
Check out the Sugar Factory Artifacts
A park is a park, right? Well, one of the things that makes Domino Park unique are the artifacts you'll find on its grounds.
The park was created by the designers of Manhattan's hugely popular High Line, and they incorporated over 30 artifacts salvaged from the refinery. You'll find these factory remnants towering over you, blending seamlessly with nature, underfoot, and over head.
One of the most striking artifacts? The colorful Gantry Cranes which were once used to unload sugarcane from freight ships for storage in the Raw Sugar Warehouse.
The Syrup Tanks are one of my favorite artifacts in the park. They look small below, but they'll tower over you in person.
Although only four tanks remain, there were once fourteen. The tanks were used to collect the liquid sweetener that was generated in processing.
All the wood in the park (used for benches, chairs, and more) was also salvaged from the Domino Sugar Refinery.
You'll see plenty of other artifacts scattered throughout the park as well, like the Screw Conveyors below, and Mooring Bullions, which were once used to secure docked ships.
At one point, it was all part of the sugar-making process.
Enjoy Views of Manhattan and the Williamsburg Bridges
With much of its shoreline blocked by industrial sites, Williamsburg's waterfront has been difficult to access in the past.
This colorful, new park is helping the change that though! And the gorgeous, sweeping views of the East River and Manhattan are one of the best reasons to visit this park.
As you walk along the park's waterfront path or relax on a lounge chair, you'll have a front row seat to the river's constant activity. On our trip, we watched as ferries, tugboats, barges, sailboats, and tour boats drifted by. At the same time, sea planes, helicopters, and airplanes flew overhead.
The views of Manhattan are amazing, too. Just sweep your gaze along the city, from the Empire State Building in Midtown to One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.
And then there's the Williamsburg Bridge, a suspension bridge connecting the Lower East Side of Manhattan to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It opened in 1903.
Along with remains of the Domino Sugar Factory, the bridge serves an ever present backdrop to the park.
If you're so inclined, you can walk across the bridge after visiting the park. You'll find the entrance to the pedestrian walkway on Berry Street between South 5th and South 6th Streets.
We walked the park from north to south ... with more than a few twists and turns along the way! As our walk progressed, the bridge grew closer and closer. Until finally, we were almost right under it.
This is the perfect place for a photo op, so break out your camera (phone).
Explore the Elevated Walkway
Another distinguishing feature of the park is the Elevated Walkway, which incorporates 21 columns from the factory's Raw Sugar Warehouse.
You'll find access points to the Elevated Walkway on both ends: the south side has stairs, and the north side has a ramp.
The Elevated Walkway is the perfect place to get a bird's eye view of the park and its surroundings. From the bridge to the colorful umbrellas at Tacocina.
It's also a great viewpoint to do a little people watching! The park was fairly crowded on the weekday we visited, so weekends are probably a little crazy.
Visit the Playground
Are you heading to the park with kids? Then, you're going to want to check out the playground!
From the Sugar Cane Cabin to the Sweetwater Silo to the Sugarcube Centrifuge, this one-of-a-kind playground will take your kids on an engaging journey through the sugar refining process.
Like other areas of the park, the playground was created with items reclaimed from the Domino Sugar Refinery. You'll find wood from the factory walls, aluminum molds made from salvaged valve wheels, and images inspired by original factory signs.
Walk across the Fog Bridge
The Fog Bridge is one of the most popular park features, and it ended up becoming our favorite spot, too.
You may not realize it as you explore the park, but most of the land you're standing on was built over water. And as you cross the Fog Bridge, you'll get a peak at the water below.
This area was pretty quiet ... until the misters began creating a swirling cloud of fog! Then, everyone seemed to come out of the woodwork to experience the interactive bridge first hand.
At night, the fog is lit up, creating an even more atmospheric experience.
The Fog Bridge is located right in front of the Sugar Tanks. Make sure to check out the cool view of the Williamsburg Bridge through the tanks!
There's a little ledge in front of the Sugar Tanks. It's the perfect place to wait for the Fog Bridge to do its thing, while also enjoying a little shade.
Relax by the Fountain and Seating Steps
Want to get off your feet for a while? Head over to the pyramid of Seating Steps, located right in front of the Domino Sugar Factory.
Here, you'll have a great view of the river, as well as a Fountain that's been programmed with lights and 88 jets. As you can imagine, the Fountain is popular with kids!
The Fountain transforms into an open plaza when it's turned off, making it an ideal space for public events, movies, and more.
More Park Activities
Here are some other ways to spend your day at the park:
- Dip your toes in the sand at the regulation-size Beach Volleyball Court. Make sure to reserve the court in advance to secure your spot.
- Chase your kids around the turf-covered Playing Field. This wide open space makes a great spot for your fave outdoor games.
- Bring your best friend and enjoy the Dog Run.
- Get your game on at the traditional Italian Bocce Court. This space can also be reserved in advance.
- Pack a picnic to enjoy at a table under the Elevated Walkway.
- Grab a wooden lounge chair and enjoy the amazing river views.
Food Stands in the Park
Feeling hungry? Don't leave the park without stopping by Tacocina, the only in-park food option.
At this colorful taco stand, you'll find snacks, sweets, drinks (including cocktails, beer, and wine), and of course, tacos. Seating is first-come, first-served, so don't hesitate if you see an open spot.
On our visit, there was also a food cart located just outside of the park (north side). And Williamsburg has plenty of delicious food options, too.
Tips for Visiting the Park
I hope you enjoyed reading about this fun NYC park! Use these tips to help plan your visit:
- Location: Domino Park is located at 15 River Street along the East River in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. There are three park entrances: 1) Kent Avenue at South 5th Street; 2) South 3rd Street; and 3) Grand Street.
- Hours: The park is open 7 days a week from 6:00 am to 1:00 am. If you are visiting with kids, keep in mind that the playground is only open from sunrise to sunset. A few of the other park facilities may have shorter hours, as well.
- Getting to the Park: Access this new Williamsburg waterfront park via the following public transportation options:
- Subway: Take the M, J, Z to Marcy Avenue OR the L to Bedford Avenue.
- Bus: Take the B32, Q59 (to Kent Avenue and South 1st Street), the B62 (to Bedford Avenue and South 4th Street), OR the B24, B39, B44, B46, B60, Q54, Q59 (to Washington Plaza).
- Ferry: Take the NYC Ferry’s East River route to the South Williamsburg or the North Williamsburg stop.
- Citi Bike: A number of bike racks are located near the park ... South 4th Street & Wythe Avenue / South 3rd Street & Bedford Avenue / Wythe Avenue & Metropolitan Avenue / Metropolitan Avenue & Bedford Avenue / Broadway & Berry Street.
- Parking: Find parking nearby at 325 Kent Avenue (with entrances on South 3rd or South 4th Streets between Kent Avenue and Wythe Avenue).
- Features: The park sits on the site of the former Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn, and the views of Manhattan and the Williamsburg Bridge can't be beat. Scattered throughout the park, you'll find over 30 salvaged artifacts from the sugar refining process. The main park features are: an Elevated Walkway overlooking the park, the East River, and Manhattan; a sugar refinery-themed Playground; Fountain and Seating Steps located in front of the refinery; the interactive Fog Bridge; a Beach Volleyball Court; Playing Field; Bocce Court; and Dog Run.
- Map: You can view a map of this 5-acre park here.
- Food in the Park: There is one food stand in the park, Tacocina, which serves a variety of snacks, tacos (including two veg-friendly options), and drinks (non-alchoholic, plus beer, wine, and cocktails). Tacocina is cash only.
- Other food nearby: On my visit, there was a classic NYC food cart parked right outside the park. There's also a plethora of food options nearby in Williamsburg. Two of my favorites are Vanessa's Dumplings and Radegast Hall and Biergarten.
- What to Wear: Bring a hat and apply sunscreen. The park has lots of trees, but they're small, and there isn't much shade.
- Stay: Looking for a hotel in Williamsburg? The Wythe Hotel is always a popular option.
- Learn more: Visit the park website to learn more about park features, history, events, and more.
More Things to Do in NYC
There is so much to do in New York, that sometimes it's hard to know where to start! Here are some of my fave spots:
- More Brooklyn Parks - Planning to spend more time in Brooklyn? Then don't miss my guide to the Best Parks in Brooklyn ... there are so many amazing spots in this borough!
- Central Park - No visit to NYC is complete with a stroll through this world-renowned park! My favorite time to visit is in fall, but it's stunning anytime of year.
- Rockaway Beach - Escape the bustle of the city and go chill at Rockaway Beach ... truly my happy place! It's kind of a hike, but totally worth it on a beautiful summer day.
- High Line - A visit to the High Line, an elevated park that was built on a deserted train track is never a bad idea. You'll be treated to public art, great NYC views, yummy food, and more.
- Heading to NYC during the holidays? It's magical ... before you go, make sure to check out my comprehensive guide to Christmas in New York. While you're there, don't miss these NYC Christmas Markets, and you'll also want to take a tour NYC's best Christmas windows!
- Visiting in spring? Here’s where to find the best Cherry Blossoms in NYC.
- Governors Island - If you want to escape the city for a bit, head to Governors Island. This unique park / National Monument is only a 10 minute ferry ride from Manhattan and Brooklyn.
- Brooklyn Bridge - Walking the Brooklyn Bridge is one of those activities on everyone's NYC bucket lists, and my guide has tons of tips to help you do it!
- Want more ideas? Check out my A to Z guide to visiting (or living in) New York, as well as my list of NYC favorites after living there for my first eight months!
Have you visited this waterfront park in NYC? What was your favorite part?