Queens, a borough in New York City, NY, is home to excellent museums, great restaurants, free things to do, and famous attractions such as the giant World's Fair globe in Flushing Meadows, and the USTA National Tennis Center. Admire contemporary art at MoMA PS1, walk through the beautiful Queens Botanical Garden, and view beautiful sculptures at the Noguchi Museum.
Best things to do in Queens, New York with kids include the New York Hall of Science, the Queens Zoo and Hunter’s Point South Park.
1. MoMA PS1
© MoMA PS1
MoMA PS1 is one of the largest art museums in the country exclusively devoted to contemporary art, and one of the top attractions in Queens. Established in 1971 as the Institute for Art and Urban Resources, Inc., the museum is housed in a Romanesque Revival public school building dating from 1892.
The building was extensively renovated in 1997, and the 125,000 square feet facility houses a two-story project space, a large entrance, and an outdoor gallery. Inside the facility, there are eight spaces devoted to the solo exhibitions of International and National Project artists. Other exhibits combine the works of several or many artists from various countries. Read more
22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101, 718-784-2084
2. Queens Botanical Garden
© Courtesy of anaglic - Fotolia.com
Located on Main Street, the 39-acre Queens Botanical Garden began as part of the 1939 New York World’s Fair and, after the fair ended, it was expanded to encompass a larger part of the Flushing Meadows Park. Later, during the construction of the 1964 World’s Fair, the botanical garden relocated to an area along Kissena Creek across from its Flushing Meadows Park location.
The botanical garden is known for several of its gardens including the bee garden, the herb garden, the perennial garden, and the rose garden. The new Queens Botanical Garden Visitor Center opened in 2007. The garden offers many programs, hosts several different events, and is one of the best things to do in Queens, New York. Read more
43-50 Main Street, Flushing, NY 11355, 718-886-3800
3. New York Hall of Science
© New York Hall of Science
Located on 111th Street in the Flushing Meadows Park, the New York Hall of Science is a science museum also known as NYSCI. Established as part of the 1964 New York World’s Fair, the museum deteriorated until it was renovated and reopened in 1986; further renovations occurred in 1999, 2003, and 2004. If you are wondering what to do in Queens NY with kids, this is a great place to visit.
Today with its 400 exhibits, it is New York City’s only hands-on science and technology museum with a focus on biology, chemistry, and physics. The museum is dedicated to educating children who have little or no experience with science. Some of the museum’s many permanent exhibits include Connections: The Nature of Networks, Realm of the Atom, and Rocket Park. Read more
47-01 111th Street, Corona, NY 11368, 718-699-0005
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4. The Noguchi Museum, Queens, New York
© The Noguchi Museum
The Noguchi Museum, located on 33rd Road near the Socrates Sculpture Park in the Long Island City section of Queens, is a museum that focuses on the works of the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi. Opened in 1985 in what was originally a gas station and a photogravure plant, the museum displays the artist’s architectural models, drawings, furniture designs, sculptures, and much more.
The structure was renovated in 2004, and today it contains 12 galleries and a gift shop in a 24,000 square foot two story building. There are several education programs presented at the museum including Art for Families, and Art for Tots. Read more
9-01 33rd Road, 718-204-7088
© Courtesy of Stuart Monk - Fotolia.com
Flushing Meadows is the fourth largest public park in New York City. Created in 1939 as the site for the 1939 New York World’s Fair, it is an 879-acre park that contains an amazing array of facilities and venues such as Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets baseball team; the USTA National Tennis Center; the New York Hall of Science; the New York State Pavilion; the Queens Zoo; the Queens Museum of Art; and the Queens Theatre in the Park. Interestingly, the park also hosted the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
Grand Central Parkway, Whitestone Expressway between 111 Street and College Point Boulevard, Park Drive East, 718-760-6565
6. Queens Museum
© Queens Museum
The Queens Museum, located in the Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, is an art museum formerly known as the Queens Museum of Art. It is housed in the New York City Building, which was constructed for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Later, it hosted the United National General Assembly. Founded in 1972, the museum has a permanent collection of 10,000 objects, many of which are related to the 1939 and 1964 New York World’s Fairs.
The most famous object in the collection is the Panorama of the City of New York, a 9,335 square foot model containing nearly 900,000 individual buildings. The museum offers education programs and also hosts special events. Read more
New York City Building Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Perimeter Rd, 718-592-9700
7.Gantry Plaza State Park, Queens, New York
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Located on 47th Road, Gantry Plaza State Park, also known simply as Gantry Park, sits along the East River in the Hunters Point area of Long Island City. Opened in 1998 and expanded in 2009, it is a 10-acre park with a playground, playing fields, picnic tables, and a riverside walk that offers great, unobstructed views of the midtown Manhattan skyline as well as the United Nations Building.
The park is popular with photographers who enjoy capturing images during the day, at sunset, and at night. There are also many bars and restaurants within the park, and people go there to enjoy the views, the food, and the summer hammocks.
4-09 47th Road, Long Island City, NY 11101, 718-786-6385R
© Citi Field
Citi Field is a stadium located on Roosevelt Avenue in the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The stadium is home of the Major League Baseball team the New York Mets. It was built in 2009 and replaced Shea Stadium, which was built in 1964. Citi Field can seat 41,922 spectators, and the outside of the stadium resembles Ebbets Field, a former stadium in Brooklyn.
The front entrance to the stadium is the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, named after the legendary Brooklyn Dodgers player, and there is an eight-foot high statue of Robinson in the rotunda. Other features of the stadium include the Taste of the City food court, a family entertainment area called FanFest, video game kiosks, and much more.
123-01 Roosevelt Avenue, New York, NY 11368, 718-507-8499
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9.USTA National Tennis Center
© USTA National Tennis Center
Located in the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, the USTA National Tennis Center is a stadium complex that is the home of the annual US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament, which has been held here since 1978. Situated on over 45 acres of land, the complex features 22 courts in the main facility and an additional 11 in an adjoining park.
All the courts use “DecoTurf” as the court surface. Within the complex there are three tennis stadiums that are some of the largest stadiums in the world. Of these three, the Arthur Ashe Stadium is the largest tennis stadium in the world with a seating capacity of 23,200 people.
Flushing Meadow - Corona Park, Flushing, NY 11368, 718-760-6200
10.Louis Armstrong House Museum, Queens, NY
© Louis Armstrong House Museum
The Louis Armstrong House, located on 107th Street in Corona, Queens, is the former home of Louis Armstrong and his wife Lucille Wilson. Today, it is a museum devoted to the great musician’s life. Armstrong and his wife lived in the brick house from 1943 until he passed away in 1971.
His wife gave the house to the city of New York so that a museum could be created. The house was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1976 and a New York City Landmark in 1988. The museum’s archives contain books, memorabilia, recordings, and writings. The museum also hosts musical performances, and it offers educational programs.
34-56 107th Street, Corona, NY 11368, 718-478-8274
11.Queens Zoo & Aquarium
© Queens Zoo & Aquarium
Located on 111th Street within the Flushing Meadows Park, the Queens Zoo is an 18-acre zoo that is part of a system of four zoos and one aquarium. Opened in 1968 on the site of the 1964 New York World’s Fair, it was designed to be a cageless zoo. Today, the zoo contains more than 75 species of animals native to the Americas.
The zoo offers guided tours and education programs that allow children to learn about animals and how the care they receive. The zoo is available for catered events such as weddings as well as birthday parties in which children can enjoy close encounters with farm animals. Read more
53-51 111th Street, Corona, NY 11368, 718-271-1500
Lockwood is one of those stores that you both cannot stay away from and dread going in. They have four locations all over Queens packed to the rafters with home-goods, gifts, decor, toys, and clothes. Their small, eclectic store on Queens’ 37th street has an incredible choice of holiday gifts that are difficult to resist. There are also new winter clothes such as vegan-leather Matt Nat bags, delightful sweaters, and hoodies with Astoria and Queens slogans. Lockwood is a one-stop gift shop for any occasion, regardless of how difficult the person is to shop for. Just dig in or ask for help from one of the helpful Lockwood staff and you will find exactly what you need. Lockwood also carries arts and crafts supplies, greeting cards, kids’ clothes and school supplies, jewelry, and wedding gifts.
7713 37th Ave. Queens, NY 11372, Phone: 347-730-6357
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Located on Beach Third Street, Rockaway Beach is a neighborhood on the Rockaway Peninsula on the South Shore of Long Island in Queens. Rockaway Beach is the largest urban beach in the U.S. and stretches for many miles along the peninsula. Because of the large number of Irish Americans living here, the area was given the nickname of the Irish Riviera.
Rockaway Beach contains the only legal surfing beach in New York City. In addition to the sand and the sea, there are also playgrounds and other outdoor activities for children as well as for adults. Adventurous scuba divers can even explore a sunken ship from Pier Five.
Beach Third Street to Beach 153 Street and Boardwalk to Atlantic Ocean
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14.Park Side Restaurant
© Park Side Restaurant
It seems like there is always some sort of a celebration going on at Park Side, and that’s probably because it’s true. People have been coming to this charming Italian restaurant in the heart of Corona since 1980, and it is a favorite location for special events.
Waiters in tuxedoes and the crisp white tablecloths create an atmosphere of elegance, yet the restaurant is still cheerful and welcoming. The food is traditional Italian in the best sense of the word. People who have been coming to the Park Side for decades can still find their favorites like the chef’s fabulous crab cakes or Linguini or Fedelini Marechiaro with clams, shrimp, garlic, and red sauce.
Park Side has a fantastic list of some of the most famous Italian desserts, and they are not to be missed.
107-01 Corona Avenue, Corona, NY 11368, 718-271-9274
15.Press 195, Queens, New York
© Press 195
Everyone has a different definition of comfort food, but pressed sandwiches with fresh brioche or ciabata with cheese oozing out between layers of succulent meats have to be everyone’s favorite.
Add a great selection of craft beers and you get a very popular sandwich place where people line up for the tasty delights. Press 195 is bright and modern, and the list of sandwiches and add-ons is huge, so choosing the right combination is not easy to do quickly. Even so, guests are encouraged to make their own combinations. If you are looking for unique date ideas in Queens, this is a great place to try.
Try fresh ciabata with grilled lemon chicken, baby spinach, Fontina cheese, tomatoes, and olives bruschetta, along with the restaurant’s legendary pesto made of basil and maple syrup. Add their delicious Belgian fries and a tall glass of beer, and you have the makings of a perfect lunch. Read more
4011 Bell Blvd., Bayside, 718-281-1950
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16.Rockaway Beach Surf Club
© Rockaway Beach Surf Club
Rockaway Beach Surf Club is a charming neighborhood restaurant and bar in Rockaway, owned and operated by Long Beach sculptor Brandon d'Leo and Coney Island firefighter Brady Walsh. The unique restaurant serves as both a surf-style hangout and a community gathering space, hosting events throughout the year such as the Festival of Color and the Women's Surf Film Festival. Delicious taco options crafted by executive chef Patrick Quinn are served up throughout the day, ranging from traditional options such as papa con chorizo to vegetarian selections such as tofu or black bean and sweet plantain. Classic summer cocktails such as pina coladas and bloody marys are complemented by a selection of clever aguas frescas in flavors such as pineapple mint, watermelon, and pine.
302 Beach 87th St, Far Rockaway, NY 11693
17.Keuka Kafe, Queens, NY
© Keuka Kafe
Keuka is one of the eleven Finger Lakes, which are narrow, long, and picturesque lakes in central New York. A popular tourist destination for quite some time now, Finger Lakes are now emerging as a great wine and cheese region. Keuka Kafe is a wine bar and restaurant that introduces some of the best Finger Lakes wines as well as wines from other great world wine regions, some of which are well established while others are up and coming.
Through regularly scheduled events, Keuka offers a tasting of some of their special wines and beers. Check their calendar for the next event. While browsing through their extensive wine list, taste some exquisite cheeses from their cheese board. The cheeses are served with a baguette, house mustard, chutney made with sun-dried apricots, and candied hazelnuts.
If that is not enough, their list of appetizers has something for everyone. You might want to try Keuka warm sandwich with grilled Chorizo sausages with cucumber, yogurt, and feta spread on a slice of baguette bread loaded with fennel slaw. Read more
112-04 Queens Blvd, Forest Hills, NY 11375, 718-880-1478,
© Finback Brewery
Most craft brewers start out by experimenting quite a bit and eventually settle for their favorites. Kevin Stafford and Basil Lee, on the other hand, are having too much fun experimenting to settle on anything just yet.
These two founders of Finback Brewery are introducing some never-before-seen flavors in their 20-barrel brewhouse on 77th Avenue in Queens with exotic ingredients like Szechuan peppercorns, apple cider, roasted coconut, and green tea. All their “witch’s brews” have resulted in some very interesting and extremely drinkable beers that they personally distribute in kegs around New York bars and bottle shops.
You can stop by their modern, spacious taproom and try a few beers, have a chat with other craft beer aficionados, and play a board game with them while you are at it. Everyone has their favorite drink, but you might want to try their imperial stout with chocolate and coffee from Native Coffee Roasters and Mast Brothers.
7801 77th Ave, 718-628-8600
© Circus Warehouse
Circus Warehouse is a one-of-a-kind venue that offers 8,000 square feet of training space for courses and lessons across a variety of circus performance arts, including juggling, wire-walking, trampoline arts, acrobatic balancing, silk work, trapeze, and classic and modern dance. The company, which was founded in 2010 by Suzi Winson, trains performers for elite-level circus productions around the world, along with theatrical and dance productions requiring circus skills, such as Cirque du Soleil. Visitors can sign up for professional-level circus courses open to the public, divided into open-level introductory courses for participants ages 16 and older and courses for experienced performers to hone their skills further. All courses require at least 24 hours advance registration.
53-21 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, NY 11101, Phone: 212-751-2174
20.Alley Pond Environmental Center
© Alley Pond Environmental Center
Located on Northern Boulevard, Alley Pond Park is the second largest public park in Queens, and it occupies more than 650 acres of land. At the northern part of the park on the south side of Northern Boulevard lies the Alley Pond Environmental Center. Created in 1976, the center is dedicated to providing environmental education for both children and adults and to preserving, protecting, and restoring Alley Pond Park with its bodies of water and its open spaces.
The area consists of wetlands and acres of salt marsh that serve as a wildlife refuge for many animals, including 300 species of birds and other animals. Volunteers have worked tirelessly over the years to revive the wetlands.
22806 Northern Boulevard, Little Neck, NY 11362, 718-229-4000
21.Madera Cuban Grill, Queens, NY
© Madera Cuban Grill
Warm colors, family photos, and authentic art pieces from old Havana in the dining room at Madera Cuban Grill instantly create the feeling of being on an exotic tropical Caribbean island. And once you order one of their excellent mojitos and some rum-glazed grilled shrimp, you will practically be able to hear the breeze in the palm fronds and smell the sea.
Madera is great place to try authentic Cuban grill, but you cannot go wrong with their stews either. The recipes were inherited from the owners’ family in Havana, and everything is cooked as it was in the old days, with fresh, local ingredients. Try traditional Ropa Vieja with braised beef cooked with carrots, onions, green and red peppers, tomatoes, cumin, garlic, and sherry. There is a live Cuban jazz on weekends – you cannot really experience Cuba without its music.
47-29 Vernon Blvd; Long Island City, NY 11101, 718-606-1236
22.John Brown Serious Barbecue
© John Brown Serious Barbecue
Heavenly smells greet you from the street, and once you enter John Brown Serious Barbecue, you will meet Kansas City-born pit master Josh Brown, who makes some of the best Kansas City style barbecue in New York. The large room has a few tables and a large chalk board behind the counter with the list of what has most recently come out of the smoker: brisket, spare ribs, pulled pork, turkey, chicken, ham, pork belly, hamburgers, lamb sausage, strip steak, short ribs, pastrami, and even unexpected treats such as foie gras. If you want to eat there, you can even bring your own six-pack.
A lot of people just load up and go home to savor their succulent hoard in the comfort of their home. If you want to grab something quick, you cannot go wrong with the pulled pork sandwich. You get it with the vinegar slaw and white bread, a perfect pig sandwich Carolina-style.
10-43 44th Dr. Long Island City, NY 11101, 347-617-1120
23.Local Finds Queens Food Tours
© Local Finds Queens Food Tours
Every neighborhood has its spirit, and a visitor can only discover it when guided by a knowledgeable and passionate local. Trying the local food is usually the best way to get the pulse of a place, and Local Finds Queens offers a comprehensive, up-to-three-hours walking tour of Queens’ eateries, breweries, food stores, and other food artisans.
You will not only get to sample their goodies and talk to the owners behind the scenes, but you will also learn about the city’s architecture and hear the stories about the neighborhood history and the famous and most colorful characters of the area.
By the end of the tour exhausted, you will have a greater appreciation for this vibrant New York neighborhood that is full of great food. You can even buy some to go.
24.The Thirsty Koala
© The Thirsty Koala
The Thirsty Koala is a relaxed Australian restaurant in Astoria, Queens serving sea-to-table and garden-to-table gluten-free and veggie dishes. The seasonal menus offer dishes that incorporate many indigenous Australian ingredients such as lemon myrtle, desert oak, wattle seed, and akudjura. Interesting new flavors transport you to the land down under without having to hop on the nearby N train on Ditmars Boulevard. You might want to try the delicious award-winning Grilled Wattle Seed and Herb-Crusted Australian Lamb Lollies. When the weather permits, grab one of the sidewalk tables and enjoy people-watching while sipping the Australian Cooper's Pale Ale or Koala lager. Great wines from Down Under are also available and so are fun and refreshing cocktails such as the Gingeroo.
35-12 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, NY 11105, Phone: 718-626-5430
25.Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
© Courtesy of John Anderson - Fotolia.com
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife refuge with open water and salt marshes from Jamaica Bay. Located on Broad Channel, it lies partly in the borough of Queens and partly in the borough of Brooklyn, and it is located near the JFK International Airport. Many kinds of animals, both aquatic and terrestrial, live in the wildlife refuge. Bird watching is popular here for both resident birds as well as migratory species.
Other popular attractions are horseshoe crab mating and egg laying, as well as diamondback turtle egg laying. Several mammals, including Eastern Gray Squirrels and raccoons, make their homes in the wildlife refuge.
Broad Channel, NY 11693, 718-318-4340
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25 Best Things to Do in Queens, New York
- MoMA PS1, Photo: MoMA PS1
- Queens Botanical Garden, Photo: Courtesy of anaglic - Fotolia.com
- New York Hall of Science, Photo: New York Hall of Science
- The Noguchi Museum, Queens, New York, Photo: The Noguchi Museum
- Flushing Meadows, Photo: Courtesy of Stuart Monk - Fotolia.com
- Queens Museum, Photo: Queens Museum
- Gantry Plaza State Park, Queens, New York, Photo: Courtesy of demerzel21 - Fotolia.com
- Citi Field, Photo: Citi Field
- USTA National Tennis Center, Photo: USTA National Tennis Center
- Louis Armstrong House Museum, Queens, NY, Photo: Louis Armstrong House Museum
- Queens Zoo & Aquarium, Photo: Queens Zoo & Aquarium
- Lockwood, Photo: Lockwood
- Rockaway Beach, Photo: Courtesy of pio3 - Fotolia
- Park Side Restaurant, Photo: Park Side Restaurant
- Press 195, Queens, New York, Photo: Press 195
- Rockaway Beach Surf Club, Photo: Rockaway Beach Surf Club
- Keuka Kafe, Queens, NY, Photo: Keuka Kafe
- Finback Brewery, Photo: Finback Brewery
- Circus Warehouse, Photo: Circus Warehouse
- Alley Pond Environmental Center, Photo: Alley Pond Environmental Center
- Madera Cuban Grill, Queens, NY, Photo: Madera Cuban Grill
- John Brown Serious Barbecue, Photo: John Brown Serious Barbecue
- Local Finds Queens Food Tours, Photo: Local Finds Queens Food Tours
- The Thirsty Koala, Photo: The Thirsty Koala
- Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Photo: Courtesy of John Anderson - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Paul Hakimata - Fotolia.com
Hunter's Point South Park
Hunter’s Point South Park is a mixed purpose area in Long Island City, the westernmost neighborhood of Queens. Located on Center Boulevard on approximately 30 acres of waterfront property that was at one time an abandoned post-industrial area, the development includes a waterside promenade, a central green, a basketball court, a bikeway and dog run, and a 13,000 square foot pavilion that offers concessions and more.
Other features of the park include a 1,100-seat school building that contains 52 classrooms, an auditorium, a cafeteria, a gym, a library, and science labs. From the park, visitors can take advantage of amazing views of the Midtown East Manhattan skyline.
Center Boulevard between 50 Avenue and 54 Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101
Every neighborhood needs a cozy café or espresso bar where one can go and jump-start their engines in the morning. Sweetleaf on Jackson Street in Long Island City, Queens offers the atmosphere of a late 19th century parlor and the coffee technology from a Star Trek movie.
The multiple brewing machines, fancy calibrated scales, and refractometers are there to show customers that Sweetleaf takes their java very seriously. The beautiful 19th century building has been carefully renovated, and it has authentic antique furniture and tasteful art on the walls. You can sip your first macchiato by the window while people watching, in the laptop room while checking your emails, or in the record room in the back while listening to one of the more than 100 vinyl records.
Sweetleaf can be addicting, so do not be surprised if you find yourself there every time you crave a cup of coffee or a bit of conversation. There is even karaoke on Thursday night. Sweetleaf has three locations in Queens.
10-93 Jackson Ave., Long Island City, NY 11101, 917-832-6726