coney island

Best Things to do in Coney Island, New York

Aktualisiert am: 11/02/2024

Ah, New York. I’ll probably never get tired of this city, even the fresh breeze on Brighton Beach in Coney Island couldn’t harm me. In January, I flew to New York again. In nine months on the long haul I was 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.

coney island

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.

By the way, you can find even more inspiration for your trip to New York here

Welcome to my travel blog!

Hey, I’m Tatiana, a German-Brazilian living in Berlin & the author behind The Happy Jetlagger. I’ve been writing about my travels since 2014. In addition to my job as a flight attendant, this blog is my passion project!

Facts about Coney Island

  • Coney Island is located in the southern part of the New York borough of Brooklyn
  • At the beginning of the 20th century, Coney Island was famous worldwide for its amusement mile
  • Rides such as theWonder Wheel, built in 1920, andthe wooden roller coasterThe Cyclone, which opened in 1927, were revolutionary
  • The Mermaid Parade, a large street parade that marks the start of the summer season, takes place every year

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.

wonder wheel sign
The famous Wonder Wheel Ferris wheel is the landmark of Coney Island

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.

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Perfect for swimming in summer: The wide beaches of Coney Island

And everything is so beautifully nostalgic. The beach promenade, the food stalls, the famous Wonder Wheel, which is one of the most impressive sights on Coney Island. 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’s day, Coney Island is a total change from the urban jungle of Manhattan and you can let the fresh Atlantic wind blow your head free.

Are you a USA fan?
Here you can find even more inspiration for city breaks in the USA

Amusement parks in Coney Island

If you want to experience Coney Island with all its stalls and rides in action, you should visit from spring to fall: 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 Cyclone roller coaster 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

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The famous hot dogs of Coney Island

Nathan’s Famous is said to have the best hot dogs in town, and definitely the most famous. Founded in 1916 by Polish-Jewish immigrants, the initially small hot dog stand became a popular fast food restaurant in Coney Island.

Then, in the 70s, the annual hot dog eating contest was invented, which brought Nathan’s Famous even more popularity. The well-attended and very popular event takes place every 4th of July, Independence Day and the great national holiday of the USA. It will be held at the large main branch on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenue.

But even if you can’t make it to the big eating contest (and you like meat, because unfortunately there aren’t too many options for vegetarians), you should definitely stop by the main branch and try one of the legendary hot dogs in a stylish ambience.

nathan s famous coney island
Popular since 1916: the hot dogs from Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island.

The Coney Art Walls are also just around the corner. The freely accessible open-air gallery consists of several colorful murals and reminded me a bit of the Wynwood Walls in Miami. Very worth seeing and another beautiful photo spot in Coney Island.

Frequently asked questions about Coney Island

Are you planning a trip to New York? Coney Island is not necessarily the first place to go when visiting New York, but it is still well worth a visit. Coney Island is also relatively easy to reach. I’ll answer the most important questions here so that you have a good overview.

Wie kommt man von Manhattan nach Coney Island?

Die Fahrt nach Coney Island dauert von Manhattan aus ca. eine Dreiviertelstunde per Subway. Von der Endhaltestelle Coney Island sind es dann nur noch fünf Minuten Fussweg bis zum Boardwalk.

Kann man in Coney Island auch übernachten?

Wenn es dir so gut gefällt, dass du länger in Coney Island bleiben möchtest, musst du etwas intensiver nach einer Unterkunft suchen. In Coney Island sind so gut wie nur private Unterkünfte zu finden, neuerdings gibt es aber ein neues Best Western Hotel:
Buche hier das Best Western in Coney Island*

Wann ist die beste Zeit für Coney Island?

In den Sommermonaten finden zahlreiche Veranstaltungen statt, wie der berühmte Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest am 4. Juli oder die Mermaid Parade. Eigentlich ist die beste Zeit für einen Besuch, wenn das Wetter warm ist und alle Attraktionen und Stände geöffnet sind, üblicherweise zwischen Memorial Day und Labor Day. Aber auch im Winter fand ich den nostalgischen Charme von Coney Island besonders interessant. Und du hast Coney Island sozusagen fast für dich allein, weil es wirklich sehr leer ist.

Kann man am Strand von Coney Island schwimmen gehen?

Das Schwimmen am Strand von Coney Island ist erlaubt und in der Regel sicher, man sollte sich aber an die ausgewiesenen Schwimmzonen halten. Während der offiziellen Badesaison vom Memorial Day bis zum Labor Day ist der Strand auch mit Rettungsschwimmern besetzt.

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