Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Queens, NYC

  • Published 2022/07/28

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 neighbor, Brooklyn, Queens is the largest, most diverse, and most wholesome borough.

It is packed with peaceful parks, unique museums, fantastic restaurants, and much more.

These are the best things to do in Queens, New York:

Take Photos with the Unisphere at Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Daytime view of Flushing Meadows Corona Park


The “valley of ashes” from Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is not only real but completely different from how it was described.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the largest park in Queens, stands on the area from where Fitzgerald took his inspiration for that representative place.

Though it was created for the 1939 New York World’s Fair, it gained popularity at the same event in 1964.

People admiring Flushing Meadows Corona Park's unisphere

Osugi /

The park is filled with excellent recreational areas, including a zoo, a museum, a theater, and activities like biking, hiking, and boating.

The most popular attraction, however, is the Unisphere, a 140-foot steel structure of the Earth that starred in the 1997 film Men in Black.

If you want to experience Queens, this park is the place to go!

Flushing Meadows Corona Park is located between Grand Central Parkway and Van Wyck Expressway.

Aerial view of Flushing Meadows Corona Park's unisphere

Leonard Zhukovsky /

Stroll around the Lovely Queens Botanical Garden

The grounds of Queens Botanical Garden

Raman Patel, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on Main Street, Queens Botanical Garden is a natural oasis in the middle of a very urban setting.

It spreads over 39 acres and is filled with as many as 25 gardens, including that of bee, rose, perennial, and herb.

There is also a wedding garden, an art gallery, an arboretum, and a LEED-certified Visitor & Administration Building.

Beautiful flowers of Queens Botanical Garden

Raman Patel, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Some of the blooms in the wedding garden date back to the 20th century.

It’s a Victorian-themed garden with a vintage gazebo, a white picket fence, and the famous oak-lined alley.

Queens Botanical Garden offers a pleasant sensory experience to the people who visit it.

A water fountain at Queens Botanical Garden

Raman Patel, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Educate Yourself at the New York Hall of Science

People inside the New York Hall of Science

L.A. Faille /

Like most of the places in Queens, the New York Hall of Science also came into existence during the 1964 New York World’s Fair.

It was built to provide a way for people to approach science as easily as possible.

Located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, this science museum is the only interactive, hands-on science and technology center in New York City.

Exterior of New York Hall of Science

MusikAnimal, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The New York Hall of Science features more than 400 physics, biology, and chemistry exhibits.

Some of these exhibits are permanent, while the rest change frequently.

This 100,00-square-foot space also offers programs and workshops you can indulge in, like working on experiments at the Design Lab, watching 3D movies at the on-site theater, and a lot more.

Take a Walk around Gantry Plaza State Park

View of buildings from Gantry Plaza State Park

Alan Tan Photography /

Gantry Plaza State Park is a beautiful oasis on 47th Road, nestled on the banks of the East River.

It was built in 1988 in the place of a former dockyard and manufacturing center.

It features several playing fields, picnic tables, a fishing pier, and a vast playground, among other things.

Wooden recliners at Gantry Plaza State Park

James Andrews1 /

However, the best thing it offers is the waterfront promenade, which boasts 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-acre park and enjoy the fascinating sight of the two restored gantries, which were once an essential part of the dockyard.

A blend of modern facilities and nature, Gantry Plaza State Park is a must-visit location in Queens.

Coin-operated binoculars at Gantry Plaza State Park

Felix Lipov /

Tour the Rockaways

People at Rockaway Beach

Cory Seamer /

When in Queens, make your way to the Rockaway Peninsula, home to neighborhoods Rockaway Park and Rockaway Beach, as well as Rockaway Beach Boardwalk—collectively known as the Rockaways.

Rockaway Beach is the largest urban beach in the whole of the US.

However, surprisingly, even if it is popular, it is rarely crowded, providing a quiet place to hang out.

View of the sunset from Rockaway Beach Boardwalk

Julio Macias /

Rockaway Beach Boardwalk is 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.

Browse through the Fascinating Displays at the Queens Museum

Building sign of Queens Museum of Art

Felix Lipov /

Formerly referred to as the Queens Museum of Art, the Queens Museum is a beautiful and artistic addition to Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

It was established in 1972 and features many exhibits, including 10,000 permanent displays related to art, design, and architecture.

Around 6,000 of these displays are from the 1939 and 1964 New York World’s Fairs.

Interior of Queens Museum of Art

Brian Logan Photography /

Most tourists visit to see the museum’s most popular display, Panorama of New York, which is a life-sized model of the five boroughs of the 1960s.

The museums also offer many workshops, programs, and public events—all of which get a fantastic response.

It’s not a surprise since, on average, the museum is reported to receive 200,000 visitors annually.

A gazebo surrounded with plants in front of Queens Museum of Art

James Andrews1 /

Admire the Art at Socrates Sculpture Park and the Noguchi Museum

Goat head sculpture at Socrates Sculpture Park & Noguchi Museum

MDLR Media /

Socrates Sculpture Park, facing the East River and the Manhattan Skyline, has been blessing visitors with famous works since 1986.

What is interesting about this park is that it stands on a five-acre land and functions as an outdoor museum, where the sculptures are built on-site.

It is located on Vernon Boulevard.

Exterior of the Noguchi Museum

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A little distance from Socrates Sculpture Park is the Noguchi Museum on 33rd Road, standing as an ode to Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi.

The Noguchi Museum also boasts an outdoor sculpture area, whereas the inside is filled with the artist’s works.

If you are always excited to see amazing artworks and sculptures, you should check out these places when looking for an artistic getaway in Queens.

Lantern art in the Noguchi Museum

Torstenkunz-Germany, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy a Unique Art Experience at MoMA PS1

Exterior of MoMA PS1

Massimo Salesi /

One of the best ways to experience art, not only in Queens but in the United States, is by visiting MoMA PS1 on Jackson Avenue.

It was only PS1 at the start and came into being in 1971 as a permanent platform for art shows.

A permanent gallery was finally opened in its current location, followed by the joining of forces with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Building sign of MoMA PS1

Osugi /

Eventually, PS1 became MoMA PS1.

It is one of the largest art institutes 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 are always an absolute treat to attend.

Take Inspiration from the Displays at Museum of the Moving Image

Entrance doors of Museum of the Moving Image

Tallmaple /

Queens is blessed with so many museums that it can safely be called the art capital of New York.

Located along 35th Avenue, Museum of the Moving Image is one of the fascinating museums you can check out in the borough.

Operating since 1988, the media museum was established in a historic building, formerly Astoria Studios.

Miss Piggy from the muppets displayed in Museum of the Moving Image

Kathy Nolan /

It showcases media artworks, especially history, technology, and art videos.

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.

Museum of the Moving Image also frequently hosts special events like premieres, public discussions, online projections, and education programs.

Exterior of Museum of the Moving Image's building

NickCPrior, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bask in the Beauty of Nature at Alley Pond Park

Daytime view of Alley Pond Park Environmental center

Jllm06, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

New York had an interesting past, from its colonial history to its geological developments.

These are captured perfectly by Alley Pond Park on Union Turnpike in Oakland Gardens.

This public park is the second-largest in Queens, spanning 655.3 acres.

Alley Pond Park provides many trails that take you over its meadows, tidal flats, wetlands, and forests reminiscent of New York’s terrain.

The most popular thing in the park, however, would be the Queens Giant, a 133.8-foot-tall tulip poplar tree.

The Queens Giant is the tallest of all trees in New York; at the same time, it’s the oldest, between 350 to 450 years old.

Alley Pond Park is peppered with barbeque areas, courts, fields, and playgrounds, making it even more exciting to visit.

Have Beer and Schnitzel at Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden

Exterior of Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden

MrShah2012, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Believed to be the oldest beer hall and garden in New York, Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden was founded in 1919.

Though this bar on 24th Avenue came into being along with a farm and a gym, only the bar remains to this date.

It is characterized by its vast 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 delicious menu of Czech and Slovak cuisine dishes, including potato pancakes, schnitzel, grilled klobasa, and a wine menu, among others.

A perfect place to hang out with friends, Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden knows how to keep your stomach and soul satiated.

Try Authentic Colombian Dishes at Arepa Lady

When a street food joint becomes so famous as to become a proper restaurant, you know it serves something special.

That’s precisely the case with Arepa Lady, a Colombian restaurant on 37th Avenue.

It upgraded to its current location in 2018 and serves a delicious menu of tasty and savory arepa.

The restaurant also offers more than just arepa, including empanadas, burgers, patacones, chicharron, and others.

Arepa Lady is small but inviting, with fantastic service and a unique dining experience you won’t find anywhere else in the borough.

Go Birdwatching at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Egrets at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

David W. Leindecker /

Located on Cross Bay Boulevard, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is one of the best oases you’ll ever experience in Queens!

Covering parts of the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, it spreads over 9,155 acres, consisting of natural wonders and 300 bird species.

Ibis at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Larsek /

In addition to being a paradise for birdwatchers, it provides other things for you to explore, including salt marsh, freshwater ponds, woods, and fields.

The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is also a conducive home to 60 different butterflies, fishes, crabs, reptiles, and amphibians.

One can go hiking around this broad expanse, explore turtle nesting, or simply sit around and enjoy the beautiful nature and fleeting butterflies.

Eastern towhee at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Larsek /

Glimpse into Jazz History at the Louis Armstrong Home Museum

Exterior of Louis Armstrong Home Museum

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If there’s anyone who helped shape the jazz scenario in America, it’s Louis Armstrong.

The iconic jazz trumpeter was a beloved resident of Queens, and his house was transformed into a beautiful museum to honor his memory.

The Louis Armstrong Home Museum features Louis and Lucille’s personal collection, comprising more than 1,500 recordings, 86 scrapbooks, 5,000 photographs, over 600 home-recorded vintage tapes, five trumpets, and more than 100 awards and plaques, 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 guests learn about the jazz man but are also simply astounding to attend.

You can find the Louis Armstrong Home Museum on 107th Street.

Experience a Taste of Germany at Gottscheer Hall

Located on Fairview Avenue, Gottscheer Hall is a one-stop destination for “Good Food, Good Cheer, Good Friends.”

Since its establishment 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, now Slovenia.

Most of these people are now found in the United States, but their unbroken Gottschee spirit lives through the hall they established here.

The menu features German dishes, including spaetzle, krainerwurst, and excellent imported German beers, both bottled and on tap.

It is, however, not only a bar but also a community space, where one can attend the events hosted there, from artisan night bazaars to ballroom dances.

Understand History at King Manor Museum

Exterior of King Manor Museum


In 1900, King Manor became a museum.

The only historic home museum in Southeast Queens, it connects visitors with guided property tours, hands-on displays, talks, open-air events, and public and educational engagement.

Through yearly celebrations, concerts, family programs, and workshops, the historic home museum is devoted to preserving and understanding King’s legacy and the early American lifestyle in Jamaica, Queens.

Interior of King Manor Museum

CaptJayRuffins, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The museum’s ongoing operations include holdings management, conservation, and structural, archaeological, and historical studies.

King Manor Museum is located along Jamaica Avenue.

Order Italian Dishes at Park Side Restaurant

Park Side Restaurant, a well-known Italian restaurant on Corona Avenue, is a destination for great dining that is well worth the visit.

It has been one of New York City’s top Italian restaurants for over 30 years.

Savor their staff’s expertly prepared, authentically Italian dishes and consistently delectable fare.

With their customizable dining services for guests, Park Side Restaurant is glad to arrange your next occasion under one of their private dining rooms.

Visit this restaurant featuring authentic, traditional Italian cuisines in a lovely environment with excellent service.

Take a Look at Different Kinds of Animals at the Queens Zoo

A swimming sea lion in Queens Zoo

Shanshan0312 /

The Queens Zoo, an 18-acre enclosure inside Flushing Meadows Park, is a component of a network of four zoos and an aquarium.

It was intended to be a cage-free zoo when it launched in 1968 on the grounds of the New York World’s Fair 1964.

A woman feeding a goat in Queens Zoo

Shanshan0312 /

More than 75 kinds of animals indigenous to the Americas are present at the zoo.

The Queens Zoo provides educational programs and guided tours that teach kids about animals and animal care.

Be sure to stroll through this famous section of history to get a glimpse of its numerous bird occupants.

People in Queens Zoo's dome

Jim.henderson, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore the Grounds of Queens County Farm Museum

A barn at Queens County Farm Museum

Alan Tan Photography /

Situated on Little Neck Parkway, Queens County Farm Museum is one of New York’s oldest farms in continuous operation.

It was established in the year 1697.

For over three centuries, New Yorkers have been sustained by the farm’s 47-acre historic property.

Cornfield at Queens County Farm Museum

Alan Tan Photography /

The farm employs sustainability and efficient farming techniques to raise a range of nutrient-dense and culturally significant products.

Queens County Farm Museum has animals, old farm buildings, agricultural equipment, a network of greenhouses, growing fields, an herb garden, and an orchard.

Get Entertained at Citi Field

Exterior of Citi Field

Osugi /

Within Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, at Roosevelt Avenue, lies a stadium called Citi Field.

Shea Stadium, constructed in 1964, was replaced by Citi Field in 2009.

The exterior of Citi Field, which has a seating capacity of 41,922, is similar to that of the historic Brooklyn stadium Ebbets Field.

Aerial view of Citi Field

Alan Tan Photography /

The Jackie Robinson Rotunda serves as the stadium’s main entrance, and it is home to an eight-foot-tall monument of the illustrious Brooklyn Dodgers star.

The stadium’s Taste of the City food court, FanFest family entertainment zone, game kiosks, and many other amenities are just a few of its additional attractions.

Baseball player in Citi Field

Arturo Holmes /

Final Thoughts

Excellent museums, top-notch dining options, free activities, and well-known landmarks are all found in Queens.

During your vacation to New York City, take a day trip or a multi-day excursion to explore the various attractions in Queens.

The list of the best things to do in Queens, New York will help you organize the most enjoyable vacation imaginable!

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