UrbanMatter’s Ultimate Guide to Coney Island
There’s plenty to behold on the beloved Coney Island, from oceanside views to a theme park, that will keep you coming back for more. It’s nearly impossible to do all of Coney Island in a single day, but if you’re ambitious, we’ve highlighted the best places to make a pitstop in this nostalgic corner of Brooklyn.
While Coney Island is relatively small, it’s packed full of exciting things to do. Probably the most well-known part of Coney Island is Luna Park, an old-school theme park that’s home to the iconic Cyclone roller coaster, a monster of a ride that will send your stomach to your mouth in a nanosecond. There’s also Luna 360, the Thunderbolt, the Endeavor, and the heart-stopping Coney Tower to shoot you up with a fearful dose of vertigo and make you thank the universe for your life. And, while Coney Island has plenty of kid-friendly rides to accompany its giants, the thrill rides are clearly where it’s at.
There are a few places to eat within the park, but your best bet is to travel outside the world of overly expensive greasy food and head to Nathan’s Famous for less expensive greasy food. This signature hot-dog-grilling mainstay has been around Coney Island for decades, even playing host to the Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Competition, an annual tradition of the island. Since this is probably where most of New York eats when they come here, and you’ve already been to Nathan’s a handful of times, you can always venture away from the crowds to Footprints Cafe, a delicious Jamaican gem with Caribbean cuisines at decently low prices. This place turns into a nightclub toward the end of the evening, stretching its hours to 3 am on weekends. There’s also a Wahlburgers and Grimaldi’s, both excellent and relatively cheap for lunch.
If you’re a late-nighter and Footprints was only your first stop, you’ll want to head next to Place to Beach, a Mexican-inspired outdoor restaurant, then to Ruby’s Bar & Grille, a 1920s-themed mainstay on the beach. When you’re drunk enough to belt out some karaoke sans shame, you’ll want to take an Uber over to Velvet Rope Lounge, a place that lets you sing all the wrong keys between hookah hits and bites of Middle Eastern grub.
While Luna Park is certainly the face of Coney Island, you can’t forget about the unbeatable views you’ll see from the boardwalk and beach. The New York Aquarium is also an amazing sight with hundreds of animal exhibits, and a little something called Sideshows by the Seashore features burlesque performances by women and drag queens most weekends and every day throughout the summer. Keep an eye out for painted wall murals; there are plenty hidden around Coney Island. The minor league baseball team the Brooklyn Cyclones play at their home base MCU Park, and tickets are typically dirt-cheap to see a game. Of course, since Coney Island also hosts plenty of events, like the Mermaid Parade, the Sand Sculpting Contest, and concerts at the Ford Amphitheater, there’s never a shortage of things to do.
If we missed any of your favorite things to do in our roundup of Coney Island, please leave us a comment and we’ll make sure to include it!
Featured Image Credit: Coney Island Facebook