Ten things to do at Coney Island

Check out the best of the Brooklyn shore.

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  • Coney Island beach

    Coney Island beach

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Coney Island boardwalk

    Coney Island boardwalk

  • Photograph: George Napolitano

    Brooklyn Cyclones

    Brooklyn Cyclones

  • Photograph: Julie Larsen Maher

    newyorkaquarium1

    New York Aquarium

  • Photograph: Norman Blake

    Coney Island Museum

    Coney Island Museum

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Nathan's Famous

    Nathan's Famous

Coney Island beach

Coney Island beach


RECOMMENDED: Coney Island and Luna Park guide

Beach and boardwalk
For those whose like to embrace the city heat, this nearly three-mile stretch of sea and sand is free. But it does get crowded, so arrive early—beaches open 10am. The adjacent boardwalk boasts some of the best people-watching in all of New York, not to mention rides, corny carnival games, concessions (though not much beyond funnel cakes and hot dogs) and shops chockablock with graphic T-shirts, souvenirs and beach gear. You could spend the whole day meandering along the boardwalk, but wear sunscreen—there aren't many shady escapes. Brighton 15th St to W 27th St (212-639-9675, nycgovparks.org/parks/coneyisland). Beach opens May 30.

Brooklyn Cyclones
There's one thing that neither Yankee Stadium nor Citi Field have: a view of the ocean that spans the distance of the outfield. MCU Park, home to the minor-league Brooklyn Cyclones, is mere steps from the beach and boardwalk, and is a fun and affordable way to enjoy a summer afternoon. Purchase any seat and you'll get change from a Jackson, plus parking is only $5 and beers are $5.50--$6.25. The season runs from June 17--Sept 4, and 14 night games this year conclude with oceanfront fireworks. MCU Park, 1904 Surf Ave between 17th and 19th Sts (718-449-8497, brooklyncyclones.com). See website for schedule; $8--$16.

New York Aquarium
Coney Island is home to the only major aquarium in NYC. The 14-acre water world is open year-round and is home to more than 300 marine species. Current exhibits include outdoor touch pools where you can handle sea stars, turtles and more. And forget the Shamu show—acrobatic sea lions take center stage here, as they dance, dive and vie for your attention. Surf Ave at W 8th St (718-265-3474, nyaquarium.com). Through May 27: Mon--Fri 10am--5pm; Sat, Sun 10am--5:30pm. May 28--Sept 5: Mon--Fri 10am--6pm; Sat, Sun 10am--7pm. $14.95, seniors $11.95, children $10.95.

Coney Island Museum
Take a trip to a bygone age at this small, quirky institution. In typical Coney fashion, the museum takes a stroll down down memory lane with antiques and memorabilia from games and rides, like vintage bumper cars and eerie fun-house mirrors. The current exhibition, "The Great Coney Island Spectacularium," debuts on May 27 a 40-foot-long cosmorama of Dreamland, an amusement park that burned down 100 years ago. The best piece of preserved history? Admission is still only 99 cents. 1208 Surf Ave at W 12th St (718-372-5159, coneyisland.com). Sat, Sun noon--6pm. 99.

Nathan's Famous
Ironically, the Coney Island hot dog (a traditional frank topped with chili) is not the most popular item at Nathan's Famous, though the chain was founded here in 1916. The menu was built upon the classic all-American dog, used in the annual Fourth of July hot-dog-eating contest, which celebrates its 95th year this summer. Though they've come a long way from the five-cent dogs that started it all, a classic hot dog still only costs about $1.40. 1310 Surf Ave at Stillwell Ave (718-946-2705, nathansfamous.com). Mon--Thu, Sun 8am--1am; Fri, Sat 8am--2am.

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Users say

4 comments
me
me

it stinks

Noah Schramm
Noah Schramm

Brooklyn Baseball is amazing, won't get that at a big league ballpark.

Ivy
Ivy

What about karaoke on the boardwalk? Great entertainment on Friday and Sunday late afternoon/early evenings and the summer weekly fireworks...!

MashMash
MashMash

I dont understand why all these NYC publications are so in love with M&I International Foods. Its an ok store but there are way better stores all around Brighton that have an equally wide variety of goods. Brighton has a lot of specialty shops so you need to shop around depending on what you want. Explore people! Explore!