Staycation Guides: Queens

nycgo.com staff

(Updated 09/09/2020)

As New York City moves along the road to recovery, more shops, restaurants and attractions—at limited capacity, with new health and safety protocols in place—are opening up. Locals and visitors can help support them, and in doing so remind themselves what makes NYC the most exciting destination in the world. We’ve got a few itinerary suggestions to help you start exploring Queens again. Wherever in the borough you may decide to go, make sure to follow the guidelines from the Stay Well NYC Pledge and check each individual business’ own rules. [Update, 10/7/20: Governor Cuomo’s cluster action initiative of October 6 has placed new restrictions on business activities in areas of Queens, which may affect the status of select venues in this itinerary.]

Jamaica

King Manor Museum is now open. Visit the historic home of Rufus King, who signed the US Constitution, fought in the American Revolution and was a dedicated anti-slavery advocate.

The surrounding neighborhood, Jamaica, is home to a diverse array of cuisines, including great Guyanese and Caribbean food at Sybil’s Bakery and Restaurant.

Forest Hills

In honor of the US Open, visit Forest Hills and the West Side Tennis Club, where the modern incarnation of the tournament was inaugurated and held annually until 1978. You’ll need to be a member to play today but not to view the Tudor-style clubhouse or enormous main stadium. While in the neighborhood, explore Forest Park, known for its high hills, views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Long Island Sound and fun golf course. A little outside the park is NYC’s oldest ice cream parlor, Eddie’s Sweet Shop.

Astoria Park. Photo: David Rothenberg

Astoria

Take a dip: Astoria Park, a large waterfront green space that holds the oldest and largest public pool in the City. Make sure to bring a swimsuit.

Eat here: After enjoying a day at the pool and park, check out nearby options Meet the Meatand Telly’s Tavern for outdoor dining.

Jeffrey Gibson, "Because Once You Enter My House It Becomes Our House" (2020), Socrates Sculpture Park. Photo: Jose A. Alvarado Jr

Long Island City

Start with: Socrates Sculpture Park, an open studio and exhibition space for artists, as well as a neighborhood park. Once an abandoned landfill, the grounds hold installations and are a great place to picnic with a view of Manhattan’s skyline. Currently on display is Monuments Now, a timely series of pieces that highlight underrepresented histories.

Move south: Explore more of Long Island City, a vibrant neighborhood dotted with turn-of-the-20th-century industrial buildings that have been transformed into galleries, museums and studios. Take in the views from Gantry Plaza State Park, on the East River.

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Eat here: Grab some grub at one of LIC’s many outdoor dining spots, such as Maiella, Sweetleaf, Beebe’s or M. Wells Steakhouse.

Stay overnight: Enjoy skyline views of Midtown Manhattan from a room at the Wyndham Garden Long Island Cityor from the Boro Hotel New York, which features a rooftop lounge.

Unisphere, Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Photo: Shelli Weiler

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Site of two world's fairs, Flushing Meadows Corona Park is full of green space, fascinating relics and a few museums. Though those indoor spaces haven’t reopened yet, one attraction in the park has. The Queens Zoo, home to bison, tiny deer and giant rabbits, is open to visitors—just make sure to reserve your ticket in advance.

Queens Drive-In. Photo: Maike Schul

Also on the grounds: the Queens Drive-In, behind the New York Hall of Science. Movies on the schedule include Hollywood classics and international arthouse fare; views of the sunset and the Hall’s famous rockets are part of the experience. A portion of every ticket sale will be donated to Elmcor, a local nonprofit organization that provides support for the communities in Queens hardest hit by the pandemic.

Courtesy, Queens County Farm Museum

Queens County Farm Museum

The Queens County Farm Museum reopened the first weekend of August and will run its Amazing Maize Maze, hayrides and other activities on weekends through October. The grounds are open daily, and a seasonal farmstand takes place Wednesdays through Sundays.

Rockaway Beach. Photo: Ryan Struck

The Rockaways

Start with: Boarding the NYC Ferry to The Rockaways to enjoy sun and sand.

Enjoy the outdoors: Thai Rock is open for outdoor dining and waterfront views, and Rockaway Jet Ski—located on the docks of the restaurant—offers Jet Ski rentals for the summer.

Ride a wave: There’s also nearby Locals Surf School, for those looking to learn or perfect their surf skills. Book lessons in advance of visiting.

TWA Hotel. Photo: David Mitchell

The TWA Hotel

The TWA Hotel, in the JetBlue Terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Jamaica, is a destination unto itself. Period music, games, museum exhibits and retro decor lets visitors step back to the 1960s—when Eero Saarinen first designed the structure as the TWA Flight Center—for an evening or longer. An infinity pool overlooks the JFK runway; the pool bar and observation deck are open along with the pool.

Queens Brewery

Head to Ridgewood to check out Queens Brewery, which has a new, partially covered beer garden.

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Tour Your Own City

TheGuides Association of New York City (GANYC) has a launched a Tour Your Own City initiative that makes it easy to find out what Queens has to offer, with excursions led by professional, licensed tour guides.


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