Coney Island gets most of the press (and most of the tourists) thanks to iconic summer attractions such as Deno's Wonder Wheel, the historic Cyclone roller coaster, the New York Aquarium and Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs. But less than a mile down the boardwalk lies Brighton Beach, home of one of the largest Russian-speaking immigrant communities in the U.S., not to mention a much less crowded ocean beach. Both are worth exploring in season and beyond.
Coney Island started as a literal island but was turned into a peninsula thanks to landfill. It enjoyed a renaissance in the 1980s thanks to the efforts of the nonprofit Coney Island USA, which founded the annual Mermaid Parade, plus the opening of new amusement parks. Meanwhile, Brighton Beach is more residential. It's so well-known for its Russian population that it has earned the nicknamed "Little Odessa," which, technically, is in Ukraine. But both offer plenty to do for families, and not just in the summer. Here are 40 of our favorite activities year-round in these neighboring Brooklyn neighborhoods.