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A Guide To Brighton Beach New York & 7 Fun Things To Do

Spending a day at Brighton Beach New York—is not just about surfing, sunbathing, or simply dipping your feet into the water. It is more than that, surprised, right?

Brighton beach is a community where you will find residents from Ukraine and Russia, bordered by Coney island, sheepshead bay, and Manhattan beach.

But what’s so special about this beach? Brighton beach, originally farmland, is a famous tourist spot that attracts people by offering resorts, restaurants, stores, amusement parks, floor shows, and other amenities. This place has become a hidden gem for holocaust survivors and soviet and Jewish immigrants since the 1920s.

Brighton Beach, Brooklyn New York

Today this beach, aka ‘Little Odesa’—named after a city in Ukraine on the Black Sea comes with lots of fun activities. From strolling in the supermarkets to enjoying the evening at nightclubs, you will have plenty of options that are hard to find on any other beach.

So, what are you waiting for? Just scroll down this article to get a complete guide.

Top 7 Fun Things to do at Brighton Beach.

1. Visit Brighton Beach Avenue

brighton beach new york
Photo by Jeffrey Zeldman, on Flickr, Copyright 2022

Situated the east of Coney island on the Atlantic Ocean, Brighton Beach New York offers you clean sandy land where you can spend your lazy morning or sunny summer afternoon. And a wonderful escape from the heatwaves of New York City to feel some refreshing ocean breeze.

Just carry an umbrella and sunscreen, and you are all set to spend a whole day at the sandy beaches. You don’t need to bring food or any other stuff as you will find many stores near Brighton beach avenue.

Make a stop at Gourmanoff—a market located in the old theatre that is nothing but a dreamland for all food lovers. This place will surprise you with its architectural vibes and its offering of a large selection of hot foods.

Brighton Beach NYC & Ukrainian Village Chicago

2. Go for Some Fun Shopping

One of the best things that you can do at Brighton Beach New York is to save some time to immerse yourself in the fun shopping.

2.1 Shopping at Brighton Bazaar

Do you know the Russian language? Well, you need it. Yes, Brighton bazaar is a Russian-owned supermarket with plenty of Russian stores and shops where you need to speak Russian.

As you get into the market, you will find a wide selection of buffets that offer baked apples, Lyulya kebab, eggplant salad, pickled garlic, and blintzes. And other stores feature packaged Russian products, a bakery, meat, a produce section, and a fishmonger.

brighton beach new york
Photo by japp1967, on Flickr, Copyright 2022

2.2 Gold Label International Food

Located at the heart of Brighton Beach Avenue, Brooklyn—is one of the biggest Russian grocery stores with a massive selection of Russian food. It is a fantastic spot to treat your tastebuds with dumplings, cheese, mushrooms, and layered potatoes.

And some authentic Russian cuisine like piroshki stuffed with cabbage and meat, smoked fish, Russian sweets, and kvass (a fermented non-alcoholic beverage made with cereal).

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2.3 Kalinka Gifts

If you want to buy some gifts for your friends or family, stop at Kalinka gifts—a cozy store housed at the corner of Brighton Beach New York.

With varieties of toys, cards, and knick-knacks, it is a fun place to visit with your kids. It, you can also stroll around the beach to explore some locally-owned shops.

brighton beach new york
Image from: Violette79. Flickr.

2.4 Vintage Gourmet Specialty Food

You will find a little Istanbul at Brighton Beach. Yes, Vintage Gourmet is a Turkish food shop that offers teas, nuts, spices, preserves, dry fruits, and some top brands like Merve yogurt drinks, Camlica sodas, and many more.

You can also get the taste of some Turkish delights like sour and sweet cherry juice and pistachio halvah.

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2.5 St. Peterburg Bookstore

The world’s biggest Russian bookstore and seller outside of Russia has been serving Brighton Beach’s customers since 1994.

This bookstore is filled with Russian books and imports like toys, souvenirs, handicrafts, costumes, kid’s comics, paperback novels, and many more.

This store has multiple locations, and an online shop comes with homemade products like paintings, jewelry, nesting dolls, lacquer boxes, and decorative eggs—that you can come closer to Russian culture and traditions.

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3. Food & Drinks at Brighton Beach New York

Brighton Beach New York is like a hotspot for all the foodies. From pop-up Russian and Ukrainian eateries and cafes to sweet shops with imported desserts—you will find a plethora of options to spend your whole long day just eating and drinking.

brighton beach new york
Photo by Kimon Berlin, on Flickr, Copyright 2022

3.1 Güllüoğlu Baklava & Café

You can start your lazy morning by stopping at Güllüoğlu cafe and having some Turkish breakfast. You can have their signature dish, a piece of baklava with Turkish coffee or tea—this famous dessert ingredient imported from the Istanbul factory, which they have been baking since 1871. Turkish sausages and omelets are also great options to start your day.

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Image from: USA Restaurants

3.2 Café At Your Mother-in-Law

How about eating some Korean-Uzbek food in a homely atmosphere? Café at Your Mother in Law is a classy and traditional restaurant in Brighton Beach New York, famous for serving hearty, healthy, home-style foods. Rice soups, meaty pastries, pickled salad, and beef soup with noodles—all the recipes are finger-licking delicious in this café.

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Image from: Atlas Obscura

3.3 Tatiana

This boardwalk-side Russian restaurant in NY is a must-go spot while visiting Brighton beach New York. They have two locations, the formal one, the Tatiana restaurant featuring Russian cuisine, and the casual one, Tatiana Grill will give you the vibes of the oceanic theme with the menu focusing on western food.

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Image by: Matthew X. Kiernan. Flickr.

3.4 Volna

Volna restaurant is a great place to stop for dinner—famous for delivering some most delicious dinner dishes and desserts. It features Greek salad, dumplings filled with cheese, chicken Tabaka, and pancakes with caviar, which taste heavenly when you wash them down with Russian vodka and beer.

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3.5 Cafe Kashgar

The most famous Asian restaurant in Brighton beach New York—cooking offers you Turkish, Chinese, Russian, and Uzbek food. Cafe Kashgar serves lamb kebabs, Lagman noodles, dumplings, chicken kebabs, and other authentic dishes.

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Image by: Jeffrey Bary. Flickr

4. Take A Walk on the Boardwalk

After having a good meal in a restaurant, what can be better than taking a walk on the boardwalk at the Brighton beach section, right? Yes, you can walk, bike, or feel the ambiance by watching the locals playing chess or having some chitchat with others.

If you have kids, you can take them to the large playgrounds. This historical landmark near Coney Island is a must-visit place that would feel even nicer and more beautiful during fall or spring.

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Image from: Brooklyn Eagle

5. Watching A Concert at Master Theatre

If you want to feel the real taste of Russian culture, drama, and music, include visiting this Master theatre on your bucket list while exploring Brighton Beach New York.

Originally known as Oceana Theatre, this grand theatre is a hotspot for ballet and drama troupes, entertaining us since 1934. Nearly fourteen hundred person capacity, this space also has a nightclub and dinner theatre.

The master theatre also shares a space with the Gourmanoff supermarket—a great place to satisfy your tummy. In the past, Ray Charles and Jakie Mason also performed here. If you have a plan for watching a concert, don’t forget to check out the schedules.

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Image from: George Lou. Flickr

6. Spending Some Time in a Russian Bathhouse

How about escaping the heatwaves of NYC and relaxing in a shvitz, aka sauna, near Brighton Beach New York? You will find plenty of options to get some steamy experience in the Russian bathhouses or Banya near this beach.

Just pack your flip-flops and a bathing suit, and you are all set for swimming, relaxing, drinking, or taking spa treatments in these Russian or Turkish bathhouses.

You can book a day at Russian Baths on Neck Road—not just a spa but also a restaurant, where you can have the best-quality Russian delicacies along with your spa treatment.

Experience a Historical Russian Bathhouse | National Geographic

Another one, located at the heart of Brighton Beach, is the Mermaid Spa near Brooklyn. This spot is locals’ favorite, with a sauna, steam room, and a meditation cave. This place is a bit crowdy, so visit early.

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Image from: Mermaid Spa

Bathhouse—a hidden gem to relax your body, mind, and soul. With $45, you will get the whole facility in its Turkish baths, including couple massage, deep tissue massage, and myofascial release massage. Not to mention their offering of delicious food that you can have after taking a relaxing bath.

7. Parties & Floor Shows at Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach New York is not just about relaxing at the beach, eating and drinking in the eateries, or watching concerts at the theatres.

Joining parties and enjoying floor shows accompanied by a Russian banquet can easily beat the atmosphere that you experience on a cruise ship or in Vegas.

Brighton beach new york
Photo by Alan Kotok, on Flickr, Copyright 2022

7.1 Tatiana Restaurant and Nightclub

This restaurant features a Russian-style banquet that includes chicken liver, beef stew, salad, appetizers, vodka, and desserts. On weekends, along with the food, they will entertain you with floor shows and programs. So, have your dinner, get up, and hit the dance floor with others.

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Image from: Tatiana Restaurant and Nightclub

7.2 Skovorodka

With live music, this place attracts locals as well as tourists on the weekends. You can satisfy your tummy with their internationally influenced recipes like herring with mashed potatoes, beef, and chicken stroganoff.

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Image from: NY Restaurants Guide

7.3 National Restaurant and Night Club

If you have plans for hosting parties or celebrating a birthday or anniversary—no place can be better than the National Restaurant. With top-class authentic Russian foods and a glamorous banquet hall, this place will amaze you with non-stop entertainment.

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Final Thought

I hope you got a complete guide on spending a day in Brighton Beach New York. From exploring the local food markets and gift stores to enjoying parties and watching concerts at Master theatre—this beach is nothing but a hotspot for all fun lovers out there. So, pack your bag, plan a trip to this beach, and thank me later.

INSIDE New York's Soviet Neighborhood- Brighton Beach, Brooklyn

Also, read—The top 12 Boston Beaches You Must Visit This Spring.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What is Brighton Beach known for?

A1. It is known for its high population of Russian-speaking immigrants, and as a summer destination for New York City residents due to its beaches along the Atlantic Ocean and its proximity to the amusement parks in Coney Island. Brighton Beach is part of Brooklyn Community District 13, and its primary ZIP Code is 11235.

Q2. Is Brighton Beach a Russian neighborhood?

A2. New Yorkers often label Brighton Beach a “Russian” neighbourhood, but that is inaccurate – its residents are from all over the former Soviet Union. Since the late 1970s, when the area was down-at-heel, it has attracted Jewish emigrants, often from Ukraine.

Q3. Why do people go to Brighton Beach?

A3. Brighton has lots of fun Experiences, ranging from eBike rides along the coast to LGBT walking tours and clay pidgeon shooting. See some of my favorite things to do when you visit Brighton below, or check out all Airbnb Experiences in Brighton here.

Q4. Why is Brighton a popular tourist destination?

A4. Brighton is also a great place for sports enthusiasts. Highlights include sailing, kitesurfing, and diving, as well as hiking and biking along the downs or across the many lovely green spaces, such as historic Stanmer Park just to the north of town.

Q5. Why is Brighton Beach Kitchi Gammi Park closed?

A5. This park is currently closed to vehicular traffic. A new road and parking will be constructed in 2023. Until that time, the Park is only accessible using the Lake-walk. The Park will also need to close in fall of 2022 for rehabilitation of existing park features and construction of new park elements.

Last Updated on March 6, 2023 by Agnes