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As a New Yorker, I believe that it’s my duty to inform you about Astoria, a neighborhood in New York City. This charming neighborhood encapsulates so much what is New York: a strong immigrant identity, great food, culture, fantastic museums and gentrification… Keep reading about the best things to do in Astoria NY and why you need to visit this unique Queens neighborhood, which is one of the best neighborhoods in Queens to visit!
Since I was a kid, I’d visit this Greek enclave with my dad for a relaxing day and a nice dinner. Unfortunately, rising rents mean that old Astoria is being lost to the young professionals moving in for affordable rents and a quick hop to Manhattan. Luckily, you can still enjoy Astoria’s Greek culture…as well as the modern edge that millennial are bringing into Astoria. I’ll be showing you my favorites in Astoria as well as some friends’ favorite places to visit in Astoria!
Insider tip: How to save money on hotels in NYC
If you’re looking for an affordable neighborhood in New York to stay in, consider staying in Astoria. The N and Q trains easily connect Astoria to Manhattan, making it possible to have only a ten minute commute to the big attractions in Midtown. You’ll also pay up to 30% less (or more). A friend loved staying at the Paper Factory Hotel, a boutique hotel on the edge of LIC and Astoria.
Have a great Greek meal
For the best Greek food in Astoria, be sure to visit Taverna Kyclades. Although I used to always go to another place, my dad swears by this Greek restaurant that is worth the wait. Between the bread, olive oil, salad, and the actual main dishes, it’s worth the line although a tip is that weekday lunch is a great time to visit without the crowds. (Don’t over order as my dad typically orders one main as well as one salad as well as desert. This is enough for two people.)
Go shopping for Greek food
Stop by Mediterranean Foods II for fresh olives, Greek groceries, delicious baklava, and strong coffee. They accept cards and be sure to sample a couple of olives. I can personally vouch for the baklava.
Museum of Moving Image
The Museum of Moving Image is one of my favorite museums in New York City. This innovative museum with a permanent with Jim Hanson’s Muppets is a showcase of the best in movies and television with props that you won’t believe are there, including props from your favorite movies.
For those visiting with kids as well as teenagers, expect them to be running around enjoying the fun interactive exhibits. One of my favorite exhibitions is the themed movie theatre from the 1920s where you can still watch silent films although my husband loved the Star Wars props. This museum is the first in the world to be dedicated to moving image and it’s largely due in part to the nearby movie studios. Admission is free on Friday nights.
Cake at Martha’s Country Bakery
Ah, can you really mention visiting without stopping for a pastry at Martha’s Country Bakery? This Queens-based bakery serves up the best slice of Americana that you’ll find in the area. I have to say that their red velvet cake is heavenly although you can’t go wrong here.
Bohemian Beer Hall
Historically, many of New York’s immigrant groups had their own beer halls where they could enjoy beer. The Bohemian Beer Hall was created for the Czech community at the turn of the century. Although New York used to have numerous beer halls, there’s only a few remaining in New York City. This is one of the originals. The beer is great and I strongly recommend the pretzels as well. (It’s a great place to watch sports games, including Met games!)
Sip craft beer and/or cocktails
Astoria has a number of fantastic bars for craft beer and cocktails. For the beer lovers, be sure stop by Astoria Bier & Cheese, the Bonnie, and Singlecut Beersmiths for the best craft beer in Astoria. My friend and her parents really love Sunswick 35/35, which has a laid back feel, friendly patrons, fantastic cocktails, and great trivia nights.
Stroll down Astoria’s main streets
There’s a couple of main streets in Astoria that you’ll want to stroll down, including 23rd street, Broadway, 31st street, and Ditmars Boulevard. It’s great just browsing all the independent shops that you’ll notice along this street. Consider stopping into Loveday31 for tasteful clothes and considering following down Steinway Street until you get to Steinway Mansion.
Tour the Steinway Factory
If you’re a music fan, be sure to visit the Steinway Factory in Astoria. Steinway pianos have been produced in Astoria since the 1880s. Factory tours are only held from September until Junes on Tuesday mornings, so you must book ahead if you wish to see a Steinway piano created by hand. The tour costs only $10.
Views at Astoria Park
Astoria Park has the oldest pool in New York City, the perfect place for a nice swim on a hot summer day. This park has lovely views of New York’s skyline, including the skyscrapers in Midtown. I’d recommend stopping off here for a nice day in the park with friends or having a romantic picnic with a significant other. (There’s also yoga and movie screenings held here!)
Welling Court Mural Project
This amazing mural project features over 140 murals artwork created by artists from all around the world, including artists from New York City. It’s free and if you’ve drooled at street art in Miami, you must visit Queens for this amazing street art exhibit!
Astoria Bookshop is one of the best independent bookshops in Queens. Be sure to stop off here to look for new books hand selected by the staff.
Socrates Sculpture Park
Socrates Sculpture Park is a free sculpture park, which is a short walk from Astoria. This sculpture garden was founded on a former landfill and it’s the largest outdoor space in New York City dedicated to sculptures. Artists work here and there’s often changing exhibits, so be sure to consider talking a stroll down here to see what’s new! It’s one of my favorite places to bring friends.
Have you been to Astoria, Queens? What’s your favorite thing to do in Astoria?
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