Looking for a waterfront adventure that includes a theme park, time in the sand, and hot dogs? We’ve got just the thing for you: Luna Park in Coney Island. While Coney Island is a destination unto itself, we’re partial to the whirls and thrills offered by its beachside amusement park. Plus, you can make a day of it and soak in some Coney Island magic after (or before) you’ve hit your quota for roller coaster rides. Ready to roll?
Overview of Luna Park and its many rides and games
Luna Park sits at the very southern edge of Brooklyn, just to the west of Brighton and Manhattan Beaches. In fact, it’s situated on the always-popular Coney Island Beach & Boardwalk – a nearly 3-mile long stretch looking out onto Coney Island Channel, docked with sunbathers, beach volleyball courts, handball games, and basketballs tourneys – not to mention shops and restaurants.
Luna Park itself boasts a number of rides, include the longtime favorite, Cyclone – a rollercoaster dating back to 1927 (don’t worry, it’s seen several updates since then). There’s a reason locals call this the “Big Momma”: Coaster cars surge up to 60 miles per hour, weaving up and down over sharp peaks (the tallest is 85 feet high) and yanking gasping passengers at angles of up to 60 degrees. A whopping 27 elevations changes make this, well, the thrill of all thrills.
For more twists and turns, adrenaline junkies could try out Clockworkz, a family ride that swings you vertically and horizontally in unpredictable jolts; the Atlantic Aviator, a near-4G “acrobatic airplane flight” experience; the pirate ship-themed Coney Clipper, tossing and turning as though you were on the high seas; and Astro Tower, which gives you a stomach-twisting free fall from more than 137 feet in the air. Yikes.
If you’d prefer to keep your feet on the ground, get lost in traditional carnival games, like Whac A Mole, Ring Toss, and the 3 Point Challenge. There’s also something here called Stinky Feet, but we’ll let you explore that for yourself.
Other activities nearby
When rushing through the air at 60 miles per hour gets dull, you can spend your afternoon either wandering the beach or doing some shopping. Last Stop Coney Island and Coney Island Cyclone are both brimming with souvenirs that will galvanize all the blurry memories of whipping around on the Cyclone, while Luna Park Ink gives you a decidedly permanent record of your visit – via classic tribal tattoos, realistic renderings of Coney Island, and minimalist designs for more subtle inking.
If you get hungry before or after your rides, Surf Avenue just a block up from the beach is where to head. You can find a handful of pizzerias, a brewery, and of course, Nathan’s Famous – your destination for a delectable smothered hot dog alongside some chili cheese fries. Feeling particularly hungry? Go for the $30 NYC Skyscraper – 4 whole pounds of Angus beef topped with American cheese.
For even more nearby to-dos, consider taking a tour of the open Coney Art Walls exhibition, curated by Joseph J. Sitt and Jeffrey Deitch. Murals change yearly so if you haven’t been in a while, you can get a whole new artistic experience. And if you’re hankering for some culture after dark, consider catching a show at Ford Amphitheater where captivating musical and theater performance abound year-round.