Long Island City is a neighborhood in the western part of Queens, where a melting pot of cultures meet. The neighborhood has been up and coming, and in recent years new construction have helped bring new business, attractions and public parks but it still holds onto its diverse background. As a NYC local who’s spent a lot of time exploring the neighborhood, these are my favorite things to do in Long Island City, Queens.
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 +3 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Best Things to Do in Long Island City
Table of Contents: Best Things to Do in Long Island City
Table of Contents: Best Things to Do in Long Island City
- Best Things to Do in Long Island City
- #12. Get Lost in Book Culture LIC
- #11. Enjoy a Drink at Lost in Paradise
- #10. Enjoy the Sunset from Queensbridge Park
- #7. Enjoy a Meal at Casa Enrique
- #6. Take a Ride on the NYC Ferry
- #5. Explore the Sculpture Center (Free)
- #4. Take a Tour of the Neighborhood Breweries
- #3. Enjoy MoMA PS1’s Warm Ups
- #2. Visit JACX&CO
- #1. Take a Stroll through Gantry Plaza State Park
- Long Island City Best Things to Do (Post Summary)
- Map of the best things to do in LIC Queens
#12. Get Lost in Book Culture LIC
Serving both avid readers and those simply looking to explore, Book Culture LIC is an independent bookstore and a literary treasure-trove that defies its modest exterior. Boasting two expansive floors, they have diverse collections spanning nearly every conceivable genre. The allure extends beyond books, as the store is adorned with delightful knick-knacks that add to its charm.
Whether you’re a seasoned bookworm or someone hoping to rekindle a love for reading, perusing Book Culture LIC is a cozy, romantic thing to do in Long Island City, Queens. Don’t forget to bring a tote – you’re likely to leave with more than just memories.
#11. Enjoy a Drink at Lost in Paradise
Lost in Paradise is a dazzling rooftop bar that takes the skyline views of NYC to the next level. The versatile space transforms from a charming brunch spot on weekends, to a picturesque date-night bar in the afternoon, then to a vibrant mini-nightclub after dark. Therefore, visiting the rooftop is one of the best things to do in Long Island City, no matter the time of day.
Just be prepared for a bass-driven soundtrack that keeps the celebration alive. But before you make haste, check their website for exciting events like Taco Tuesdays, Karaoke Wednesdays, and Reggaeton Fridays. This way you can enjoy one of the best things to do in Long Island City with a theme!
#10. Enjoy the Sunset from Queensbridge Park
Small but mighty, Queensbridge Park gets its name from the Queensboro Bridge that keeps a watchful gaze from above. Sitting on the shore of the East River looking towards Roosevelt Island and Manhatta,. it’s a scenic picnic destination, which is why visiting is one of the best things to do in Long Island City.
An underrated gem, the park swells with locals in the summer having barbecues, playing volleyball or baseball and making the most of the 20 acre green-space. Your visit might coincide with a free event like a concert or kids’ summertime activity. Visiting is one of the best things to do in LIC, even if it’s just to watch the sunset.
#7. Enjoy a Meal at Casa Enrique
Casa Enrique is an unassuming restaurant tucked away in LIC, and foodies like me can’t get enough. The Mexican restaurant boasts the prestigious title of being the first Michelin-starred Mexican restaurant in New York City (which it held onto from 2015-2023). From the moment you step inside, you’re greeted with a warm ambiance and the enticing aroma of authentic Mexican cuisine.
Casa Enrique takes diners on a flavor-packed adventure with dishes that have earned them critical acclaim, including their delectable mole and heavenly tacos. The combination of traditional recipes, contemporary flair, and a commitment to excellence makes Casa Enrique a must-visit destination for those craving one of the best things to do in Long Island City.
#6. Take a Ride on the NYC Ferry
Exploring Long Island City wouldn’t be complete without indulging in a ride on the NYC Ferry. Priced at $4.00 for a one-way ride, the ferry offers two convenient stations in the neighborhood. The Long Island City station traverses the Astoria line, providing routes to Roosevelt Island, Astoria, East 90th Street in Manhattan, and more. Meanwhile, the Hunter’s Point South Station marks the beginning of the East River ferry route, connecting you to various destinations like Greenpoint and DUMBO.
Yet, the destination is secondary to the experience itself. Riding the ferry, especially on the open-air top deck on a sunny day, stands out as one of the best things to do in LIC. For seamless ticketing, skip the booths and opt for the NYC Ferry app, where you can purchase tickets, scan QR codes for boarding, and access helpful maps.
#5. Explore the Sculpture Center (Free)
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 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 timeframe.
Currently you can explore the exhibits for free of charge, so visiting is one of the best budget-friendly things to do in Long Island City. The entire collection rotates two or three times a year and you can 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.
#4. Take a Tour of the Neighborhood Breweries
Exploring the breweries in Long Island City, Queens, is a top-notch experience for anyone who enjoys good beer or just wants to soak in the local vibes. The neighborhood is home to some of the best breweries in NYC. Spots like LIC Beer Project and Big aLICe Brewing Co. each have their own unique styles, offering a variety of craft brews that cater to different tastes.
The journey is not just about sipping on well-crafted beers but also about immersing yourself in the friendly atmosphere. While enjoying the taprooms you might catch a glimpse of the brewing process. From hoppy IPAs to rich stouts, Long Island City’s breweries serve up a diverse array of flavors that capture the essence of the local beer scene.
#3. Enjoy MoMA PS1’s Warm Ups
Checking out MoMA PS1 in Long Island City is a must for art lovers. It’s not your usual museum—it’s set in an old school building and is all about experimental and avant-garde art. Moreover, they turn the outdoor courtyard into a buzzing space for the Warm Up summer music series. The museum hires a DJ and hosting an unofficial block party.
The exhibitions here at MoMA PS1 all about pushing boundaries and showcasing emerging artists, giving you a taste of the cutting edge in contemporary art. All this to say, MoMA PS1 isn’t just a museum. It’s an experience and visiting is one of the best things to do in Long Island City, Queens.
#2. Visit JACX&CO
JACX&CO is an innovative hub that seamlessly combines workspace, retail and leisure, reflecting the vibrant spirit of Long Island City. The sprawling complex houses an array of businesses. From trendy cafes and eateries to modern office spaces, creating a collaborative environment that resonates with creativity.
With its commitment to fostering a sense of community and providing a multifaceted space for work and leisure, JACX&CO offers a glimpse into the future of urban living and working. Whether you’re looking for a unique shopping experience, a cozy cafe to unwind, or an inspiring workspace, JACX&CO delivers a blend of functionality and style that defines the modern lifestyle of Long Island City.
#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. The Chrysler, Empire State and Copper buildings all stand across the East River, ready to be the backdrop of all your selfies.
There are few places I’d rather be watching the cotton-candy sky sunsets in New York City. At the risk of sounding trite, it’s magical! The park serves as reminder that there’s plenty of free things to do in Long Island City.
Long Island City Best Things to Do (Post Summary)
In brief, here’s a roundup of the best things to do in Long Island City.
- 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
- Enjoy the Sunset from Queensbridge Park
- Enjoy a Drink at Lost in Paradise
- Get Lost in Book Culture LIC
Frequently Asked Questions: What to Do in Long Island City Queens
Long Island City is popular for its vibrant arts scene, scenic waterfront views, diverse culinary offerings, and a dynamic urban atmosphere, making it a sought-after destination in New York City.
You can hang out in Long Island City at various spots like trendy cafes, vibrant art galleries, waterfront parks, and innovative community hubs, offering a diverse and lively experience.
LIC (Long Island City) is known for its thriving arts community, stunning waterfront views, diverse culinary scene, and a mix of modern and industrial landscapes.
Long Island refers to the large island adjacent to New York City, while Long Island City is a neighborhood located in the western part of Queens, one of the boroughs of New York City, situated on Long Island.
Long Island City has become relatively expensive in recent years due to its proximity to Manhattan and ongoing development, leading to increased demand and property values.
Map of the best things to do in LIC Queens
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I hope you had as much fun reading about all the fun things to do in Long Island City, Queens! I had a blast writing it.
Until next time, cheers.