Post overview: Best things to do in Long Island City (LIC), Queens
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Long Island City (LIC), Queens you’ve come to the right place.
The small neighborhood serves as Queens’ welcoming committee and gives you a taste of the best the borough has to offer. From sipping crispy brews to enjoying stunning vistas, LIC is abounding with fun things to do.
And as a local with a genuine love for my neighborhood, I want you to enjoy visiting as much as I enjoy living here. That’s why I wrote this quick round-up of all the fun things to do in Long Island City.
So I hope you’re ready to put some miles on those shoes, because we have a lot of ground to cover. What do you say we dive right in?
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +2 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Best Things to Do in Long Island City
#12. Get Lost in Book Culture LIC
If you’re a regular reader you know how much we obsess over independent bookstores, so trust me when I say Book Culture LIC is one you can’t afford to miss while visiting Long Island City, Queens.
In brief the store is like a treasure trove of interesting and unique reads. Don’t let the small facade fool you, it’s made up two considerable floors brimming with nearly every genre you can think of.
And as if the books weren’t enough Book Culture LIC is also well stocked with fun knick-knacks that are sure to stop you in your tracks.
Whether you’re hoping to get back into reading or are a well-seasoned bookworm visiting Book Culture LIC is one of the best things to do in Long Island City. Just be sure to bring a tote, odds are you won’t leave empty handed.
Address: 26-09 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101
#11. Enjoy a Drink at Lost in Paradise
New York City is famous for skyscrapers and high-rises that provide unparalleled vistas. The only way to elevate (ba-dum, tss) the experience is to enjoy a few rounds of drinks from one of the vantage points.
Lost in Paradise does exactly that. It’s a dazzling rooftop–bar with views of Manhattan, ripe for making memories and one of the best things to do in Long Island City, Queens.
The space wears many hats, but they’re all party hats. On the weekends they host a charming brunch, in the afternoon it turns into a picturesque date-night bar and at night Lost in Paradise because a mini-nightclub.
You can order bottle service and hookah but be forewarned: the music is an endless cycle of bass. If you’re looking to celebrate then clinking glasses at Lost in Paradise is one of the best things to do in Long Island City.
Local’s tip: Keep an eye on Lost in Paradise’s website to be kept up to date on all the fun events they’re hosting. Currently they have Taco Tuesdays, Karaoke Wednesdays and Reggaeton Fridays.
Address: 11-01 43rd Ave, Queens, NY 11101
#10. Enjoy the Sunset from Queensbridge Park
Small but mighty, Queensbridge Park sits on the shore of the East River looking towards Roosevelt Island, and Manhattan beyond that. It’s a scenic picnic destination, which is why it’s one of the best things to do in Long Island City.
It’s an underrated gem, swelling with locals in the summer having barbecues, playing volleyball or baseball and making the most of the 20 acre green-space.
The park gets its name from the Queensboro Bridge that keeps a watchful gaze from above. Visiting is one of the best things to do in LIC, even if it’s just to watch the sunset.
Your visit might coincide with a free event like a concert or kids’ summertime activity. To check for events keep an eye on the park’s website, you might bump into one of the best things to do in Astoria.
Address: Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, NY 11101
#9. Give Tufting a Try
I first heard of tufting when I walked into a friend’s apartment and they had a Spongebob rug. I asked, where did you get that? to which which she replied, I made it.
To my surprise rug-making, or tufting, is all the rage right now. With that being the case Go Tufting NYC, a company that helps you make your own rugs, is one of the best things to do in Long Island City.
The company hosts workshops where you can come in with your own design (or use one of theirs) and make your own rug, rug mirror or coasters.
Any creative-leaning person will at least be intrigued. It’s also a fun (and very unique) date activity. Depending on your design the class can run as much as $300 per person, and a $100 deposit is due at the time of booking.
Pricey? Indeed! But you get to keep whatever you create and enjoy one of the best things to do in Long Island City, Queens.
Address: 47-61 Pearson Pl UNIT 302, Queens, NY 11101
#8. Try Your Hand Rock Climbing
Rock climbing is a rapidly growing sport (even debuting at the Olympics in 2020). At Brooklyn Boulders Queensbridge you can give it a shot yourself, so long as you’re not scared of heights.
It’s one of the premier rock-climbing gyms in NYC. Just don’t let the name fool you, they have a location in Queensbridge making it one of the best things to do in Long Island City, Queens.
Brooklyn Boulders Queensbridge is on the ground floor of an apartment building, and spans more than 25,000 square feet. It looks like an adult jungle gym, and the facility is clean and welcoming.
You can either look into memberships (including classes and free-climbing, both by month or annual) or just get a day pass to see if you like it.
Visiting is one of the best ways to get your heart rate going without risking life and limb doing parkour or climbing buildings. Safety is paramount so you can feel good about enjoying one of the best things to do in LIC, Queens.
Address: 23-10 41st Ave, Queens, NY 11101
#7. Have a Bite of Michelin Star Mexican Food
Mexican food is the backbone of America. You can go to the smallest town of a few hundred people and there will be a Mexican restaurant there, even if there are no Mexicans.
With that said, Casa Enrique isn’t your run of the mill Mexican restaurant. It took this restaurant a mere two years to receive a Michelin Star, which it’s had a white-knuckle grip on since.
Chef Cosme Aguilar’s dishes like the carne asada, ceviche and chicken mole are absolute knockouts and the desserts? Out of this world! The tres leches cake can bring people back to life, it’s that good.
Stopping by for a bite is one of the best things to do in Long Island City, Queens and the only thing you’ll regret is not ordering more food.
Address: 5-48 49th Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101
#6. Take a Ride on the NYC Ferry
If you’ve read any of our other articles you know we love the ferry. As an official means of New York City’s public transportation system a one way ride costs $4.00.
While visiting Long Island City, Queens you’ll have two ferry stations to choose from.
The Long Island City station runs along the Astoria line. It heads north to Roosevelt Island, Astoria and East 90th Street in Manhattan. You can also head south to Manhattan’s East 34th Street, Brooklyn Navy Yard and Pier 11.
The Hunter’s Point South Station is the start of the East River ferry route. From here you can take it south to East 34th (Manhattan), Greenpoint, North Williamsburg, South Williamsburg, DUMBO and Pier 11 (Manhattan)
But if I’m being honest, it doesn’t matter where you go. Riding the ferry in general is one of the best things to do in LIC, especially if the weather is nice and you ride on the top, open-air deck.
As far as tickets are concerned, each ferry terminal has booths where you can buy tickets. But my local’s tip is to just download the NYC Ferry app. From the app you can buy tickets, scan a QR code to board and access maps.
Long Island City Station: Center Blvd &, 46th Ave, New York, 10044
Hunter’s Point South Station: 54th Ave on, 2nd St, Long Island City, NY 11101
#5. Peruse the Sculpture Center
Don’t you love it when a place is named after exactly what it is? The Sculpture Center is a not-for-profit museum full of contemporary artwork by innovative artists and one of the best things to do in Long Island City.
Although the Sculpture Center has been in Long Island City, Queens since 2001, it was founded nearly 100 years ago (1928). It’s bounced between Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens during that time-span.
Currently you can peruse the exhibits for free of charge. Visiting is one of the best things to do in Long Island City (for those of us) on a budget.
The entire collection rotates two or three times a year. Visit often to see what the Sculpture Center has in store. Between exhibits the museum closes to set up the new artwork. Be sure to check the website to make sure they’re open when you want to visit.
Speaking of which, the Sculpture Center is currently closed until September 23rd.
Address: 44-19 Purves St, Queens, NY 11101
#4. Take a Tour of the Neighborhood Breweries
New York City isn’t famous for its breweries, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. With rent prices sky-high in Manhattan most New York City breweries are relegated to Brooklyn and Queens.
Naturally, one of the best things to do in Long Island City is to take a tour of the neighborhood’s breweries. There are five or six (depending on what you define as the borders of LIC) notable breweries that warrant shout-outs.
They’re Fifth Hammer Brewing Company, LIC Beer Project, Focal Point Beer Co., Big aLICe Brewing and Alewife Brewing.
But the one I recommend most is Rockaway Brewing Company. It’s one of the most affordable breweries in NYC, which is how I first came across this gem after moving to the Big Apple (don’t even get me started on that!).
Rockaway has a relaxed hole-in-the-wall vibe, and offers a solid lineup of craft brews. There’s typically a rotation of 10 craft beers on draft available in 4, 8 or 16 ounce pours. Stopping by for a brew is one of the best things to do in Long Island City, and at Rockaway it’s both tasty and fun.
Rockaway Brewing Company Address: 46-01 5th St, Queens, NY 11101
#3. Enjoy MoMA PS1’s Warm Ups
If you love the Museum of Modern Art but want a more intimate experience you need to hop on the subway and head towards Long Island City, Queens ASAP.
Here you’ll find MoMA PS1, a part of the Museum of Modern Art that has a fraction of its visitors. In fact, the flagship campus receives 3.2 million visitors a year versus only 200,000 a year at MoMA PS1.
The PS1 part of the name comes from the fact that museum is inside the first public school founded on Long Island City. Needless to say, the former classrooms are fun settings to learn all about art. 😉
Plus MoMA PS1 has a rotating selection of events enticing you to visit. My favorite event is the summer Warm Ups. During the event a DJ and food vendor set up shop in the former playground and there’s a mini outdoor party.
Address: 22-25 Jackson Ave, Queens, NY 11101
#2. Enjoy the Variety at JACX&CO
Food Halls are a gift from above. They put an end to the age-old what do you want to eat conversation once and for all. Just arrive, grab what you want while your friends to the same and regroup at a table.
That’s why stopping by for a meal at JACX&CO is one of the best things to do in Long Island City, Queens. Not only is the food hall full of mouthwatering options, it’s modern and honestly pretty fancy.
The sleek design means it can easily double as a date-night destination or a casual meal. Dining options include burgers from Paper Plate, Sushi Nikko, Mediterranean from Taim, pizza from Beebe’s and more.
But if that isn’t enough, there’s a full service bar ready to take your order. 😉
Anytime I’m visiting Long Island City I make sure to stop at JACX&CO, it’s just so convenient! And here’s a locals tip: the doors to get in probably aren’t locked – they’re just really heavy so pull!
Address: 28-17 Jackson Ave, Queens, NY 11101
#1. Take a Stroll through Gantry Plaza State Park
Gantry Plaza State Park is the crown jewel of Long Island City. Standing at a mere 12 acres the park provides some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline. It’s a modern, simple and inviting park.
You’ll find the park along the East River, directly across from Midtown. The Chrysler, Empire State and Copper buildings all stand out like beacons and refuse to be ignored.
In fact there are few places I’d rather be watching the cotton-candy sky sunsets. At the risk of sounding trite, it’s magical! The park serves as reminder that the best things to do in Long Island City don’t have to break the bank.
Address: 4-44 47th Rd, Queens, NY 11101
Long Island City Best Things to Do (Post Summary)
- Take a Stroll through Gantry Plaza State Park
- Enjoy the Variety at JACX&CO
- Enjoy MoMA PS1’s Warm Ups
- Take a Tour of the Neighborhood Breweries
- Peruse the Sculpture Center
- Take a Ride on the NYC Ferry
- Have a Bite of Michelin Star Mexican Food
- Try Your Hand Rock Climbing
- Give Tufting a Try
- Enjoy the Sunset from Queensbridge Park
- Enjoy a Drink at Lost in Paradise
- Get Lost in Book Culture LIC
Map of the best things to do in LIC Queens
I hope you had as much time reading about all the fun things to do in Long Island City, Queens as I had writing it!
Until next time, cheers.