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With its gorgeous parks, innovative art, international eats, and renowned sporting events, Queens offers something to satisfy nearly every craving. NYC’s largest borough provides a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, and tourists have really been taking note. Find a room at one of the stylish new hotels and then set off to explore the city’s latest hotspot. Whether you want to relax on the boardwalk at Rockaway Beach, take in a Mets game at Citi Field, or design your own food tour of worldwide cuisine, there are countless things to do in this dynamic borough.
Home to more than 120 nationalities speaking 135 languages, the “World’s Borough” is one of the most diverse counties on Earth. With almost half of its population born outside the United States, Queens features a plethora of neighborhoods that are just as unique as the people who live here.
Traditionally a Greek neighborhood, Astoria is the best place in the city to find culinary creations like gyros and saganaki. However, in recent decades, the district has seen an influx of immigrants from the Middle East and South America, which has further expanded its food options. Astoria’s proximity to Manhattan has made it a popular place for artsy New Yorkers, who have opened up hip galleries next to long-standing favorites like the Museum of the Moving Image.
Historically a hotbed for immigration from Latin America, Corona is where you want to go when you want to stuff yourself with authentic Mexican and Cuban cuisine. After your feast, talk a stroll in nearby Flushing Meadows Corona Park, where you’ll find the Queens Zoo, the Queens Museum, the New York Hall of Science, and the stadium that hosts the annual US Open.
On the eastern edge of the park lies Flushing, a neighborhood with a Chinese population that’s outgrown that of Manhattan’s Chinatown. Explore the colorful district to uncover ancient herbal remedies, rare comic books, and the most mouthwatering dumplings in the city.
Boasting a melting pot of Indian, Tibetan, Nepalese, and Latin American cultures, Jackson Heights epitomizes the city’s ethnically diverse borough. Here, in Little India on 74th Street, you’ll find the most authentic eats outside of South Asia. Much of the neighborhood has also been designated a New York City Historic District with its stately garden-style apartment buildings.
While it may be best known as a transportation hub between JFK Airport and various parts of the city, Jamaica is a culturally significant enclave with immigrants from India, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and the Caribbean. A collection of international eateries line Liberty Avenue, and the neighborhood is also home to the historic King Manor Museum.
Once an important place for manufacturing, Long Island City has become one of New York’s most thriving art epicenters, with industrial buildings being transformed into galleries and studios. The district has long been attractive to locals due to the easy commute to Manhattan, but it’s also become a destination for tourists thanks to cultural hotspots like MoMA PS1 and the Chocolate Factory Theater.
Beach bums flock to Rockaway Peninsula, which bears the only two surfing spots in the city. The oceanfront area also has plenty of places for fishing and biking, and offers a range of affordable food trucks, quirky eateries, and independent boutiques that make it more than just a summertime retreat.
Established by Irish immigrants in the early 20th century, Sunnyside maintains a heavy Irish influence, mixed with Romanian, Greek, South American, and Korean. A stroll through the tree-lined streets is sure to reveal trendy eateries, vintage treasure troves, and historic pubs.
Perhaps there’s nowhere better to marvel at the iconic skyline of Manhattan than from the numerous parks in Queens that line the East River. Pack a picnic for a scenic day at an urban green space such as the Socrates Sculpture Park, an outdoor museum and gallery featuring large-scale installations.
For more of the best sights in Queens, head to Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Here, scope out the famous 12-story Unisphere globe built for the 1964 World’s Fair, or take a stroll through the Queens Botanical Garden to see the woodlands, wetlands, and meadows that grant visitors a quiet place to escape the chaos of the city. The park is also home to the Queens Zoo, where you can make friends with animals like bears, bald eagles, and sea lions.
As the most diverse borough in NYC, Queens has no end to incredible culinary offerings from around the globe. Grab your friends for a self-guided food tour to find irresistible saganaki in Astoria, handmade tortillas in Corona, savory Thai soup in Woodside, and unbeatable curry in Jackson Heights. For those with adventurous palates, there are also lesser-known cuisines to discover such as Guyanese in South Ozone and Uzbek in Rego Park.
On Saturday and Sunday, head to Long Island City for a visit to LIC Flea & Food. This waterfront market features the best of the borough’s artisan food vendors and a beer garden that serves exclusively Queens-brewed beers. Suds lovers will also want to make a stop at Astoria’s famous Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, which just might be the biggest outdoor drinking venue in all of NYC.
Manhattan may be home to the Met, the MoMA, and the Guggenheim, but there’s no shortage of culture to uncover in Queens. In Astoria, pay a visit to the Museum of the Moving Image, which highlights the history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media. Nearby Long Island City is where you’ll find MoMA PS1, a former school transformed into one of the country’s largest institutions dedicated solely to contemporary art. The museum is almost as equally known for their summer Warm Up series, epic weekly events with live music, DJs, and dancing outdoors.
For theater buffs, the Queens Theatre in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is the perfect place to find performing arts that foster cultural awareness and appreciation. The annual lineup features a range of programming including family-friendly plays, staged readings, contemporary dance, and innovative takes on old classics. The Obie-winning Chocolate Factory Theater in LIC offers a similarly diverse schedule, but with a greater focus on experimental work.
Just north of Flushing Meadows Corona Park is Citi Field, the world-class stadium of the New York Mets. Chow down on hot dogs and hamburgers as you take in a ballgame, perhaps between the home team and their local rival, the Yankees.
If you’re visiting from late August to mid-September, grab tickets to watch the world’s best tennis players duke it out during the US Open, held at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows. This 22,547-seat arena is the world’s largest stadium built specifically for the sport, but also occasionally hosts concerts and theater. In the summer months, you can find more tennis in Queens as the New York Empire frequently play games at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.