How to Bike the George Washington Bridge Like a Local

Looking for a great bike ride in NYC that offer views of the Manhattan skyline? We were too!

The George Washington Bridge, affectionately referred to as “The GW”, is a main artery connecting New Jersey to Manhattan. What not everyone knows is that it is a great option to bike the George Washington Bridge, as it contains a very accessible and beautiful pathway. On the East side you have Manhattan and the beautiful Hudson River Greenway. On the West, you are greeted by the Palisades scenic trails and coffee shops. And in between, you have the GW that offers spectacular views of the Hudson River and entire Manhattan island. What more could you ask for?!

A view of the bike across the George Washington Bridge


The Route

You can start this route from anywhere on the west side of Manhattan. Once you hit the Hudson River Greenway, you head North. On its own, this falls on our list as a top NYC bike ride that offers the Manhattan cityscape on one side and the Hudson River on the other. It does get a bit tricky once you hit West 180th Street, but don’t fear, once you have the route mapped it’s relatively easy.

While Google Maps suggests going up to 184th Street and then backtracking to 177th street, this can be tricky with exit ramps. We suggest going with the other route where you exit the Hudson River Greenway at 158th on to Riverside Drive, and follow Riverside Drive north to 162nd. Take 162nd east one block to Fort Washington Ave., and turn left to follow Fort Washington Ave. to 177th. From here, enter the bridge by the south side.

Once you’re on the George Washington Bridge, it gets pretty simple – just the single path across the bridge! The pathways is pictured below, however on corners it gets tight. If you are not confident in your biking skills, just dismount and walk these sections- no problem!

A man standing on the George Washington Bridge

After You Bike the George Washington Bridge

So you’ve biked across the George Washington Bridge, now what? We highly recommend hanging around the New Jersey side for a bit. There’s several spots to grab a bite to eat, or you can hike around The Palisades if you’re ready for more adventures.

The Palisades

The Palisades are a line of steep cliffs found on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. They are also home to many hiking trails and outdoor areas. Some of these trails take you to the river edge where you can sit and enjoy the sun or skip rocks. While there are many trail within The Palisades, we recommend checking out Fort Lee Historic Park. The Fort Lee Historic Park is located atop bluffs and offers great views. If you’re up for the adventure, check out Hazard Beach. Hazard beach on the river’s edge, so you need to take some trails down. Carpenter’s Grove is another popular lookout area along the river. As you can see, you can’t really go wrong no matter which option you opt for!

Grabbing a Bite to Eat

Not looking to explore much more? No problem, check out one of the spots to grab a bite to eat. This is what we opted for and it did not disappoint!

Mood ‘Wiches

Located: 2448 Lemoine Avenue, Fort Lee

This is a great spot to grab a sandwich, salad, quinoa bowl or smoothie. Their food is organic and made locally, so you can’t go wrong with whatever you choose! We recommend grabbing your food and head over to an outdoor are to picnic at.

Caffe Bene

Location: 460 Piermont Ave, Piermont

This European inspired cafe is located on the Southern side of the bridge. There’s not many spots to place you bike, but we recommend grabbing some coffees to go and heading over to Fort Lee Historic Park two streets over.

Strictly Bicycles

Location: 2347 Hudson Terrace, Fort Lee

Strictly bicycles is a bike shop where many cyclists will meet up to go on a road bike ride or stop in to have some minor repairs done. It is also a great spot to grab a bottle of water or fill up with their outdoor tap. They used to have a cafe, however this has been closed during the pandemic, so do not rely on this for a cup of coffee.  This is a good spot to stop for a quick water break before heading back around and across the bridge.

View of Manhattan from the bike the George Washington Bridge

Where to Get Your Bike

No bike? No problem!

We have seen people opt for Citibikes to head across the bridge, which is doable but not what we would recommend. Citibikes are rentable by the minute by downloading the app and picking up a bike from one of the stations. While this is convenient, it not the best fiscal option for long rides and they’re a bit heavy and cumbersome.

Bike Rentals

Instead of Citibike, we recommend renting from one of several options throughout the city! There are several bike rental locations near the Southern side of Central Park. Bike Rent NYC is a popular spot, with several locations around the city. You could pick up from the Southwest side of Central Park and start your journey on the Hudson River Greenway. Their website with details can be found here. 

If you want to pick one up closer to the bridge to skip the Hudson River Greenway, then there are two in the Upper West Side. Both Manny’s Bicycles and Victor’s Bicycles – we have not rented from either of these shops, so always do your research!

View of Manhattan from the George Washington Bridge

Overall, this is a great bike ride to experience the GW Bridge and explore the city, however it is not for the faint at heart. It is a long route and challenging in some areas. Secondly,  the Hudson River Greenway gets very busy on weekends, so the closer you get to Midtown Manhattan, the slower you will need to bike. With this said, the views are hard to beat.

Can’t wait to see you out there!

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