coney island

Best Things to do in Coney Island, New York

Ah, New York. I’ll probably never get tired of this city, even the fresh breeze at Brighton Beach in Coney Island couldn’t harm me. In January, I flew to New York again. In fact, in nine months doing long haul flights, I’ve been there three or four times, I think. This is a special circumstance, because I have actually always made sure that the destinations in my roster do not repeat themselves too much. I wanted to see as much as possible of the flight schedule in the short time available.

But for New York, I made an exception to my resolution. New York is never too much. But the stays were always short and I had to fight with my mixture of exhaustion and jetlag, so that at the end of a good 24 hours on site minus long bus rides to the hotel and a bit of sleep there was never much time. So it was clear: I would have to go back to New York again with more time. And so I packed my bags.

coney island

Coney Island in winter

Three factors then came together at the beginning of the year: I had plenty of time off, I still had a vacation flight left over from last year, and best of all, there was a direct flight from Berlin to New York, which was always empty. Long-haul flights from Berlin are always a rarity, and many routes do not survive more than one season. (The flight to New York is no longer available either). I hate changing planes, especially at large airports. You have to walk a lot, the hustle and bustle is stressful and noisy. That’s why a direct flight from a smaller airport right on your doorstep is a real gift.

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wonder wheel sign

Brighton Beach: The Beach of Coney Island

It became clear pretty quickly during my time on the long-haul: I like New York, I like traveling far away – but then rather privately than on business. Having more time in America for the first time again, not being plagued by total exhaustion, was so pleasant. And all the time! I spent almost an entire day driving out to Coney Island to Brighton Beach and enjoying a sunny day by the ocean. Weather-wise a real gift.

coney island

And Coney Island is so beautifully nostalgic. The boardwalk, the food stalls, the famous Ferris wheel. Everything is closed for the winter; no wonder, New York winters are sometimes so harsh that you don’t want to leave the house for weeks. Nevertheless: On a clear winter day, Coney Island is a total change from the urban jungle of Manhattan (which I also like a lot) and you can let the fresh Atlantic wind blow your head free.

Tips for Coney Island and Brighton Beach

Find out what you should experience and which locations you should not miss in my personal tips for Coney Island.

Amusement parks in Coney Island

If you want to see Coney Island in action with all its booths and rides: Coney Island is in season from the end of March to the end of October. For a ride on the legendary Wonder Wheel you have to go to Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, for the nostalgic roller coaster Ciclone to Luna Park. Coney Island is somehow like a cabinet of curiosities from times gone by: Every year, the Coney Island Art Center organizes whimsical events like the Mermaid Parade. Mainly in season, of course – all dates are here.

freak show posters coney island

Hot Dogs in Coney Island

Nathan’s Famous is said to have the best hot dogs in town, and definitely the most famous. You can’t leave Coney Island without having a hot dog. And if you can’t get enough, join in the annual hot dog eating contest.

nathan s famous coney island

From Manhattan to Coney Island

The trip to Coney Island takes about 45 minutes by subway from Manhattan. From the Coney Island terminus, it’s then just a five-minute walk to the Boardwalk.

Accommodation in Coney Island

If you like it so much that you want to stay longer in Coney Island, you’ll have to look a little harder for a place to stay. Coney Island is pretty much all private accommodations, but recently there has been a new Best Western Hotel:

Book the Best Western in Coney Island here*


More articles about New York:


Hey there! I created The Happy Jetlagger in 2015 to gather all those lovely places I got to know during my trips. I love to inspire others on their travels and to discover unique destinations! Working many years as a flight attendant, I finally found a way to share my travel experience. Hope you enjoy it!

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