10 Things to Do at Coney Island | Brooklyn NYC Travel Insider (Watch here)
What are the first things that pop to mind when you think of “Americana”?
Apple pie, rock-n-roll, Kentuck Fried Chicken, Marilyn Monroe, bubble gum…?
Now what are the first things that come to your mind, when you think about Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York? Hmmm…
Earlier this year, I visited and reviewed Venice Beach, as one of the iconic beach boardwalks of America. With roots surpassing the beatnik era, Venice Beach still maintains that age-old Southern Californian – Hollywood -boho vibe. The difference between Venice Beach and Coney Island couldn’t be more day vs. night. Both are flavored by their local surroundings and culture. Not only does Coney Island have a New York vibe, but historically, it houses three independent amusement parks, making it the only “neighborhood amusement park” in America.
Read Best American Boardwalks: Reasons to Love Venice Beach
It’s also a treasure trove of historical landmarks. Today we’re going to take you inside some of the top must-see sights that make Coney Island an American icon. Cohosting with me on my video is my good friend Anna, a local New Yorker. She’ll also be sharing some of her favorite things to do here.
In my video, I’ll take you inside the top attractions and show you what makes Coney Island an ‘American Pop Icon’.
Top 10 Things to Do Coney Island:
#1 Williams Candy
If you want to reminisce about the sweet tooth of Americana, it isn’t only apple pie. Amusement park food can range from cotton candy to candied apples. Williams Candy store serves up all of its sweet treats fresh.
#2 Coney Island boardwalk
Built in 1937, the boardwalk is the longest and widest boardwalk in the world… the world.
#3 Munch on Boardwalk Food
Just strolling down the boardwalk, you can smell the sugar of the funnel cakes, pizza, hot dogs. You see people eating ice cream, Italian ices… The smell is part beach and part amusement park. The prices are moderate ; not the inflated cost you’d normally find at commercial theme parks.
#4 Eat a Knish
Knishes were made popular in New York by Eastern Eurpoean immigrants in the early 1900s. They are deep fried potato wedges and taste extra special with spicy mustard. In fact, everything tastes good with the mustard at Coney Island.
#5 The Wonder Wheel
Built in 1815-1820, it’s the king focus of the Wonder Wheel amusement park. YOu can see the wheel lit up at night from the boardwalk.
#6 Coney Island USA: Coney Island Circus Sideshow
Contortionists, sword swallowers, bearded ladies, .. this is where it all takes place. Coney Island USA is a non-profit that used to be a historical landmark as well. Today, it houses a daily freak show (review coming), a sideshow university (where you can learn to master your inner circus talent) and the annual mermaid day parade.
#7 Coney Island USA: Coney Island Museum
The Coney Island USA also houses the Coney Island Museum, a small museum which showcases some of the area’s history.
#8 Cyclone Rollercoaster
The Cyclone Rollercoaster is one of the oldest wooden rollercoasters in America that is still in operation. That first drop is an 85 foot 60 degree drop. For roller coaster afficionados, this would be on your bucketlist. It’s such a relic, some riders almost feel like the car will fly off the tracks. It’s definitely a ride for roller coaster afficcionados. Admission: $8 or $9
#9 Coney Island Beach
The next thing to do is to head down to the water. Gotta put your feet in the water. The sand is fine. The beach isn’t a pretty beach and the water can look a little dirty due to the sand. But taking a dip, especially on a hot day, is a definite must.
Also at Venice Beach, there’s Muscle Beach… Brooklyn has its own version uh, version of Muscle Beach and you can see which you like best. Only in New York.
#10 Nathan’s Famous
Nathan’s Famous is known for their hot dogs. The original hotdog stand was built in 1916 and this joint has been a landmark ever since. They hold an annual hot dog eating contest every fourth of July. The world hot dog eating record is 69 hotdogs in ten minutes.
And that’s how you can enjoy Coney Island.
General Tip for families :
Unlike amusement parks like Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm or Great America, which are centrally managed and you pay one admission price for the entire day, Coney Island, has three separate independently-owned amusement parks (Luna Park, Dino’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, Adventurers Amusement Park) . You must purchase rides individually or purchase an unlimited ticket per amusement park. Individual tickets can be pretty steep.
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