NYC’s melting pot
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
- A culture lover’s dream
- A foodie fantasy
- Family friendly fun and entertainment
- Parks and natural attractions
- Fascinating and well preserved historical sites
- Queens is the most linguistically diverse part of the world with more languages spoken there than anywhere else on the globe.
- US president Donald Trump grew up in Queens and if you have money to burn you can rent his childhood home on Airbnb.
- Manhattan’s Chinatown may be better known but Queens’ Chinatown is bigger and more authentic.
- Queens has a growing microbrewery scene and is home to New York City’s oldest beer garden, the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden.
When visiting New York, travellers usually have a bucket list of things they would like to do. It usually involves visiting Times Square, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero, among others. However, there is so much more to New York than Manhattan. A visit to the underrated borough of Queens should be on the list of any foodie, art, history or nature lover. Partly due to its unmatched ethnic and linguistic diversity – more than half of its population was born outside the US – Queens is one of the most interesting places to visit in New York.
Queens is New York’s largest borough, meaning there’s so much to explore. It is also New York’s most ethnically diverse borough with plenty of distinct neighbourhoods. Queens is filled with sites where one can learn about New York’s history, large green spaces, unique museums, a rich food culture, vibrant nightlife, major sports tournaments and lots of family friendly fun. Here’s our guide to what to do, eat and see in Queens.
SOAK IN THE CULTURE
Queens has a lot to offer culture lovers, including an eclectic selection of museums. The Museum of the Moving Image is the only museum in the US dedicated to film and television and is a must see for cinephiles. In addition to its exhibitions the museum screens about 400 movies a year and hosts panel discussions with creatives in the film industry. The 2,700-square-foot Noguchi Museum includes an open-air sculpture garden and galleries featuring work curated by its founder, artist Isamu Noguchi. The Queens Museum was constructed in 1939 to complement the New York World’s Fair. Its permanent collection includes Tiffany glasses and memorabilia from two world’s fairs. For contemporary and experimental art by upcoming and established artists check out MoMA PS1. Also not to be missed is the Socrates Sculpture Park, a landfill turned outdoor public park and museum. The sculpture park is not only a space for free public art but plays host to several events such as free group yoga and tai chi classes, festivals and musical events.
EAT AND DRINK YOUR WAY AROUND
Queens has the most diverse food scene in New York City owing to its large immigrant population hailing from all corners of the world. It also has the best offerings in terms of street food. Spend a few hours eating at restaurants and food trucks such as Phayul, Guadalajara De Noche, Areperia Arepa Lady and more. You can eat your way through over 80 countries, including Nigeria, Korea, Indonesia and many more, at the Queens International Night Market. Meals are capped at $6 making for some seriously cheap thrills. The night market includes a beer garden and live music. You can also join a food tour through Queens; the Jackson Heights Food Crawl being one of the most popular ways to do so. If you have a sweet tooth and love pastries visit the Prince Rea House, New Flushing Bakery and Maxin Bakery. The Flushing neighbourhood is home to Queens’ Chinatown and Koreatown and the best Asian food in New York. Visit the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden for craft beer, burgers, salads, fish and chips and Czech cuisine.
Rockaway Beach is one of New York’s finest seaside neighbourhoods and is worthy of at least a day trip. Take advantage of the food trucks (make sure you try the tacos), enjoy the shopping, get yourself to a beach party, learn to surf or find yourself a fishing spot. Also head to Citi Field and watch a Mets game or catch a concert. Tennis fans can attend the US Open in August where greats like Serena have made their mark. Check out Little India in the Jackson Heights neighbourhood and shop for gifts and souvenirs, saris and spices and of course gorge on some delicious Indian food. Also be sure to check out the Jamaica Arts Performing Center for plays, musical events and dance performances.
NATURE IN THE CONCRETE JUNGLE
The Queens Zoo is a cageless zoo that is home to more than 75 species of animals that are native to America. Attractions include sea lions, Andean bears, coyotes, pumas, the Canadian lynx and more. Birdlife enthusiasts can spend a day at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge center which has more than 325 species which covers more than half of the species in the north east region of the country. The Queens Botanical Garden is a beautiful 39 acre oasis in Flushing, Queens. There are various gardens such as the bee garden, the annual garden, the circle garden and more. During the November-December season, you can expect to see flowers such as roses, spider flowers, the blue atlas and more.
The Unisphere is a giant globe in the Flushing Meadows Corona park is the site of the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. It’s a great place to take a picture for Instagram and the visit can be combined with a trip to the Queens Museum, The New York Hall of Science, the Queens Zoo or the Queens International Night Market which are all a short walk from the Unisphere. You can take a free World's Fair History Walking Tour, which includes the Unisphere, the zoo and the Hall of Science, every second Sunday of the month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Many people may not know that some of the greatest jazz legends in American history including Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Lena Horne, among others, lived and worked in the Queens neighborhood of Addisleigh Park. The Flushing Town Hall offers Jazz Trail tours which include tours of Armstrong’s house and pubs he and other jazz legends played at.