One of my personal favorite things to do on Memorial Day is to take a day trip to Coney Island in Brooklyn. It’s got everything you want to start the season off right. There’s the beach, which is always a lot of fun and definitely a retreat from the big city. Just take the D, Q or N train to the last stop and walk across the street to the beach. Set up your chair or blanket, have a seat and listen to the waves crashing on the shore. Perfect.
After an hour of two of relaxation, you’ll probably get hungry so pop up to the boardwalk and get a world famous Nathan’s hot dog. There are tons of restaurants along the boardwalk, but if you go to Coney Island, you should at least try one of their renowned hot dogs! There’s always an extremely long line, but wait it out. They move quickly and it’s worth the wait!
After lunch, walk off your meal on the boardwalk. There’s always live entertainment, mostly street performers, and every few feet there will be a crowd of people either watching a magic trick or dancing and singing to a band. Be sure to keep strolling down past all of the little shops and stop by Coney Islands Festival by the Sea (corner of Surf Ave and Stillwell). Opening day for the festival is May 22nd and this open-air market includes everything from rides and live entertainment to local flavors of all kinds.
If you’re feeling adventurous or just love roller coasters, then you must make your way to the world famous Cyclone. When it opened in 1927, the roller coaster only cost 25 cents, but these days, you’ll need to hand over $8 per ride with an option to re-ride for just $5 (plus you get to pick where you sit!). If you’re not feeling that daring, then take a spin on the Wonder Wheel. You’ll get a great view of the beach and it’s not as rattling as the Cyclone.
As you are heading to the Wonder Wheel, you will enter the area of Coney Island that hosts a ton of carnival type games so try your luck! You can also stop by the Coney Island Circus Sideshow or the Coney Island Museum.
If you still have time, check out the New York Aquarium (right off the boardwalk) or catch a Brooklyn Cyclones baseball game at Keyspan Park (also right off the boardwalk).
It’s a lot to do in one day, but if you have never been to Coney Island, you are certainly missing out. It is definitely worth the 45-minute ride outside the city.