Rides, games and summer fun await at Luna Park on Coney Island. (Courtesy Luna Park)
When visiting New York during the summer, a day in an air-conditioned museum or theater may be tempting, especially when the temperatures get into the 90s. However, if the combination of rides, cold treats, sandy feet, and the possibility of winning a teddy bear sounds like an adventure worth taking, head to Coney Island’s Luna Park.
The famous amusement park and boardwalk is a straight shot on several subway lines from Manhattan—including the D, F, N and Q—only taking about an hour to get from the blazing hot pavement in Midtown to the ocean breeze.
Here are eight reasons why Luna Park should top your list of must-dos for summers in the city.
Luna Park Makes It Easy
Not a fan of pay as you go? Luna Park’s got you covered. Offering free entry and all-day wristbands, you have the option of paying a flat rate for unlimited access to all of the rides in the park. Prices start at $29 and go up to $69 depending on when you go and whether you’re over or under 48” tall—ride restrictions are based on height.
Go From Coast to Coaster
If jumping into a subway car just as it’s shutting its doors doesn’t give you enough of a rush, a ride on The Thunderbolt may be just what you need. Zooming to a maximum speed of 55 mph, the steel coaster loops, curves, and dives along the track for two minutes of stomach-jolting thrills, including a 90-degree vertical drop and a 100-foot vertical loop. A gentle reminder for those who dare to take a ride: It’s best to eat your tub of popcorn and cotton candy after you get back on solid ground.
This year, The Cyclone turns 90 and is celebrating with a free event that will include face-painting, photo booths, giveaways, the Original Harlem Globetrotters, Grammy-nominated artist Fabolous and more (June 25)! But unlike most nonagenarians, this legendary wooden roller coaster isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Hold onto your seat as you hurtle over hills and swoop down in dips on one of the most iconic amusement park attractions in the country.
Want to go hang-gliding but scared of heights? Thanks to WindstarZ, you can soar through the air while remaining safely tucked into a firmly grounded contraption. Arriving in the park back in 2015, the ride allows passengers to control the wings of their personal glider while the base of the WindstarZ spins all 24 “pilots” around a vertical axis. Plus, this year, check out the new The WindstarZ VR.
The Park's Got Game
Who doesn’t love a round or two of Whac A Mole or an impromptu skeeball tournament? Even if rides aren’t your cup of tea, there’s still plenty to do from the latest arcade games to good old-fashioned ring toss.
Eat Your Heart Out
Whether your ideal boardwalk snack is a giant pretzel salted to perfection, a slice of pizza, or fried dough, Luna Park has something to satisfy your cravings. For a taste of tradition, order a hotdog from Feltman’s of Coney Island. Charles Feltman invented the classic summertime nosh in the 1900s, selling them at his Coney Island restaurant before Nathan's and long before they became the mainstay they are today. Time may have passed, but you can still enjoy Feltman’s original recipe including the toasted potato bun and German sausage.
After a day of sweaty fun, stop at Coney’s Cones for a refreshing cup of gelato or sorbet from. With more than 20 flavors on rotation to choose from plus granitas, frozen yogurt, ice coffee, and other goodies in cups and cones, the Luna Park hot-spot is worth a visit.
It’s a Shore Thing
The beaches at Coney Island are legendary for both their history as well as their current status as stomping grounds for visitors and locals of all varieties. With almost three miles of sandy shores and inviting waves, the beach can be your main attraction or just a brief diversion during your full day of rolicking and gallavanting along the boardwalk and Luna Park.