All five boroughs of New York are equally exciting, but it is Queens that takes the prize.
The borough was established in 1683 and is named after Queen Catherine, the English queen of Braganza.
Even though it is overshadowed by its neighbour, Brooklyn, Queens is the largest, diverse and wholesome borough, packed with peaceful parks, unique museums, amazing restaurants – and a lot more! But most importantly, it still keeps queenin’.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
The ‘valley of ashes’ from Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is not only real but also completely different from how it was described!
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the largest park in Queens, stands on the place from where Fitzgerald took his inspiration for that representative place.
Though it was created for the 1939 World’s fair, it gained popularity in the 1964 World’s Fair.
The park is filled with amazing recreational areas, including a zoo, a museum, a theatre and activities like biking, hiking and boating.
The most popular attraction, however, is the Unisphere, which is a 140-feet big steel structure of our Earth that starred in the 1997 film Men in Black.
If you want to experience Queens, this park is the way to go!
Queens Botanical Garden
Located quite near to the Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens Botanical Garden is a natural oasis in the middle of a very urban setting.
It spreads over 39 acres, filled with as many as 25 gardens, including that of bee, rose, perennial, herb and even wedding garden as well as an art gallery, an arboretum and a LEED-certified Visitor & Administration Building.
Some of the blooms in the Wedding garden date back to the 20th century, dispersed around a Victorian-themed garden, lined with a vintage gazebo and a white picket fence and the popular oak-lined alley.
The garden is a literal fragrant blessing, offering a pleasant sensory experience to the people who visit it!
New York Hall of Science
Like most of the places in Queens, the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) also came into existence during the 1964 World’s Fair.
It was built to provide a way for people to approach science as easily as possible.
Located in the Flushing Meadows Corona Park, this science museum is the only interactive, hands-on science and technology centre in New York City, featuring more than 400 exhibits, related to physics, biology and chemistry.
Some of these exhibits are permanent, while the rest change frequently.
This 100,00 sq. ft. of space also offers programs and workshops you can indulge in, including doing experiments at the Design Lab, watching 3D movies at the on-site theatre and a whole lot more.
Gantry Plaza State Park
Located on the banks of the East River is the beautiful oasis, Gantry Plaza State Park!
It was built in 1988 in the place of a former dockyard and manufacturing centre.
It features several playing fields, picnic tables, a fishing pier and a huge playground, among other things.
However, the best thing it offers is the waterfront promenade, which offers stunning views of the United Nations HQ, the Empire State Building and the mesmerizing skyline of Midtown Manhattan.
Take a stroll around the four piers of this 12-acres park and enjoy the fascinating sight of the two restored gantries, which were once an important part of the dockyard.
A blend of modern facilities and nature, the state park is a must-visit.
When in Queens, make your way to the Rockaway Beach, a fascinating neighbourhood known for the Rockaway Park, Rockaway Beach and the Boardwalk – which together is referred to as ‘The Rockaways’.
The beach is the largest urban beach in the whole of the US, which should’ve been a popular, crowded tourist spot.
However, surprisingly, even if it is popular, it is rarely crowded, providing a quiet place to hang out.
The boardwalk is situated in Rockaway Park, a concrete beauty running from Beach 9th Street to Beach 126th Street.
Along the beach and boardwalk, there are many recreational facilities, including playgrounds, a roller hockey rink, skateparks, basketball and handball courts as well as several restrooms and food concessions.
Formerly referred to as the Queens Museum of Art, the Queens Museum is a beautiful and artistic addition to the Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
It was established in 1972 and features many exhibits, including 10,000 permanent displays related to art, design and architecture, where around 6,000 of them are from 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs.
People, however, mostly crowd to see the museum’s most popular display, Panorama of New York, which is a life-sized model of the five boroughs of the 60s.
The museums also offer a lot of workshops, programs and public events – all of which get an amazing response.
It’s not a surprise since, on average, the museum reports to have 200,000 visitors annually.
Socrates Sculpture Park & Noguchi Museum
The Socrates Sculpture Park, facing the East River and the Manhattan Skyline, has been blessing the visitors with famous works since 1986.
What is interesting about this park is the fact that it stands on a five-acre land and functions as an outdoor museum, where the sculptures are built on-site.
A little distance away from this beautiful museum park is the Noguchi Museum, standing as an ode to the Japanese-American artist, Isamu Noguchi.
This place also boasts of an outdoor sculpture area, whereas the indoors is filled with the artist’s works.
If you are always excited to see amazing artworks and sculptures, then you should check out these places when you are looking for an artistic getaway in Queens!
One of the best ways to experience art, not only in Queens but in all of the United States, is by visiting MoMA PS1.
It was only PS1 in the start, which came into being in 1971 as a permanent platform for art shows.
A permanent gallery was finally opened in its current location, which was then followed by the joining of forces with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and became MoMA PS1.
Located in Queens, it is one of the largest institutions, dedicated to providing a platform for expressing contemporary art, including photography, performance and technology.
It brings openness, creativity and tolerance together in the form of their art shows – which is an absolute treat to attend!
Museum of the Moving Image
Queens is blessed with so many museums that it can safely be said as the art capital of New York.
One of the fascinating additions to this list is the Museum of the Moving Image, i.e. MoMI.
It is a media museum, established in 1988, in the place of the historic building of formerly Astoria Studios.
It focuses on showcasing media artworks, especially videos of history, technology and art of this form of media.
Even more fascinating is how the museum also maintains a permanent collection, which is a tribute to Jim Henson and his works, including The Muppets and Sesame Street.
It also frequently hosts special events, including premieres, public discussions along with online projections and education programs.
Alley Pond Park
New York had an interesting past, right from its colonial history to its geological developments – all of which is captured perfectly by the Alley Pond Park.
It is a public park and the second-largest park of Queens at that, spanning across 655.3 acres of land.
The park provides many trails that take you over the park’s meadows, tidal flats, wetlands and forests, reminiscent of New York’s terrain.
The most popular thing of the park, however, would be the Queens Giant.
It is a 133.8 feet tall tulip poplar tree, the tallest of all trees in New York and also the oldest, almost 350-450 years old.
The park is also peppered with BBQ areas, courts, fields and playgrounds, making the park even more exciting to visit!
Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden
Believed to be the oldest beer hall and garden in New York, the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden were founded in 1919.
Though this bar came into being along with a farm and a gym, only the bar remains to this date.
The place is characterized by a big yard, which is filled with spacious picnic tables and beer taps, oozing Czech beers, including gluten-free and bottled selections!
Along with that, the menu also features a scrumptious menu of Czech and Slovak cuisine dishes, including potato pancakes, schnitzel, grilled klobasa and a wine menu as well, among others.
A perfect place to hang out with friends, Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden knows how to keep your stomach and soul satiated!
When a street food joint becomes so famous as to become a proper restaurant, you know it serves something special!
That’s exactly the case with Arepa Lady, a cute little dine-in place in Jackson Heights, owned by a Colombian owner, Mario Cano.
It upgraded to its current location in 2018 and serves a delicious menu of scrumptious and savoury arepa.
The restaurant also offers more than just arepa, including empanadas, burgers, patacones, chicharrons and others.
The restaurant is small but inviting, with fantastic service and polite and friendly staff.
The experience is not only unmatchable but also something no one else provides in the borough. And to think it was only a food stall at the start!
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is one of the best oases you’ll ever experience when in Queens!
Covering parts of the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, it spreads over 9155 acres, consisting of natural wonders and a plethora of birds flying all around.
Even though it is a paradise for bird waters – since the refuge houses more than 300 species of bird – it provides other things for you to explore, including salt marsh, freshwater ponds, woods and fields, among others.
It is also a conducive home to 60 different butterflies, fishes, crabs, reptiles as well as amphibians.
One can go hiking around this wide expanse, explore turtle nesting – or just simply sit around to enjoy the beautiful nature and the fleeting butterflies!
The Louis Armstrong Home Museum
If there’s anyone who helped shape the Jazz scenario in America, it’s Louis Armstrong!
This iconic jazz trumpeter was a beloved resident of Queens – now his house has been transformed into a beautiful museum to honour his memory.
The museum features Louis and Lucille’s personal collection, which consists of more than 1500 recordings, 86 scrapbooks, 5000 photographs, more than 600 home-recorded vintage tapes, five trumpets and more than 100 awards and plagues, among others.
Apart from this collection, there are many such collections, including the Satchmo collection, the Jack Bradley Collection and so on.
The museum also hosts film screenings, lectures and exhibits, which not only help to learn about the Jazz man but are also simply astounding to attend!
Located on Fairview Avenue, Gottscheer Hall is the one-stop for ‘Good Food, Good Cheer, Good Friends!’
Since it was established in 1924, it has been preserving a unique history and serving delicious dishes simultaneously.
It is named after the Gottscheer people, who resided in Gottschee County, which is now Slovenia.
Most of these people are now found in the United States, but their unbroken Gottschee spirit lives through this Hall they established here.
The menu features German dishes, including spaetzle, krainerwurst, along with amazing imported German beers, tap as well as bottled.
It is, however, not only a bar but also a community space, where one can attend the events hosted there, right from artisan night bazaars to ballroom dances.
It is for a reason that Queens is known as ‘the World’s Borough’, as Borough President Katz calls it.
The borough is culturally diverse and therefore, strives to include this diversity in all its things to do and places to visit.
It is no wonder then, that Queens would feel like a home to every tourist, no matter from which corner of the world they have come!