Queens is New York City’s biggest borough by land area, so exploring it is best done a piece at a time. Today we’re starting with the best things to do in Astoria, a culturally diverse neighborhood that lies in the borough’s northwest corner. Astoria is a great introduction to Queens, offering an eclectic supply of restaurants, shops, green-spaces and museums.
As a NYC local who’s spent his fair share of time exploring the neighborhood, I’ve taken the time to write down the best things to do in Astoria and publish them in this post. Let’s jump 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 +3 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Best Things to Do in Astoria, Queens
Table of Contents: Top Things to Do in Astoria
Table of Contents: Astoria, Queens Guide
- Best Things to Do in Astoria, Queens
- #12. Explore the Welling Court Mural Project
- #11. Picnic at Queensbridge Park
- #10. Peruse the Shelves at Lockwood
- #9. Hop in a Time Machine at the Museum of Nostalgia
- #8. Grab a Stein at Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden
- #7. Saunter through Socrates Sculpture Park
- #6. Ride the NYC Ferry
- #5. Eat Your Fill at Taverna Kyclades
- #4. Catch the Sunset at Astoria Park
- #3. Have a Coffee Date with Your Pooch at Château le Woof
- #2. Admire The Noguchi Museum
- #1. Explore the Museum of the Moving Image
- Best Things to Do in Astoria (Post Summary)
- Astoria, Queens Best Things to Do (Helpful Map)
#12. Explore the Welling Court Mural Project
One of New York City’s hubs for stellar street murals is the Welling Court Mural Project. The project has helped connect artists with businesses on Welling Court (a short street in Astoria) for for 10+ years. It’s a public street so there’s no entry fee, and visiting is one of the best free things to do in Astoria.
By bringing together both veteran graffiti artists and new, up and coming artists Welling Court is brimming with a wide array of eclectic murals. The art is frequently being rotated, so visiting Welling Court is one of the best attractions in Astoria to visit time and time again.
#11. Picnic at Queensbridge Park
Small but mighty, Queensbridge Park sits on the shore of the East River looking towards Roosevelt Island and Manhattan. The park gets its name from the Queensboro Bridge that keeps a watchful gaze from above. In the summer the park swells with locals having barbecues, taking advantage of the four baseball fields and running through the water features trying to cool down. The park even hosts some of Astoria’s most popular events from time to time, like free concerts and activities for kids.
#10. Peruse the Shelves at Lockwood
Lockwood has two locations right across the street from each other, one is a clothing store and the other is the gift shop. The clothing store is a vibrant boutique, selling bright colored clothing and fun accessories. The gift store on the other hand is brimming with artisanal candles, mugs, throw blankets, unique books, and the quirkiest card selection in NYC. Lockwood is my go-to gift shop in NYC, because even if I don’t know what to get someone just browsing the shelves brings inspiration.
#9. Hop in a Time Machine at the Museum of Nostalgia
The Museum of Nostalgia is not actually a museum, it’s a store opened by a toy-collecting couple whose apartment was overflowing. They sell nostalgia-inducing toys at reasonable prices. Anyone with an affinity for Transformers, Barbies, My Little Ponies will feel like they’re taking a trip down memory lane.
The Museum of Nostalgia also buys toys, and swinging is one of the best things to do in Astoria for those with a few collectibles buried in the closet. The only thing to keep in mind is that the store changes hours often. The best way to stay up to date is to check their Instagram for the current hours.
#8. Grab a Stein at Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden
The Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden is owned and operated by the Bohemian Citizens’ Benevolent Society of Astoria, an organization that supports people of Czech and Slovak ancestry. As one of the best beer gardens in New York City you’ll be welcomed by a plethora of cold beer, tasty food and a lively buzz.
There are rows of communal tables that make the whole joint feel like a family friendly, backyard party. During major sporting events (like the World Cup) there are TV’s outside that draw locals in like a magnet. The Czech cuisine is popular on the menu, with items like Czech sausage, schnitzels and pierogies being fan-favorites.
Fun fact: Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden is believed to be the oldest beer hall in New York City, founded in 1910! The hall is on the National Register of Historic Places.
#7. Saunter through Socrates Sculpture Park
The bank of the East River is home to Socrates Sculpture Park, a charming five-acre promenade that doubles as an outdoor art gallery. Featuring both prominent and up and coming artists, the sculpture park frequently rotates its collection.
And as an added incentive to visit, Socrates Sculpture Park has a calendar brimming with fun community events. Yoga, a market pop-up with Hellgate Farm, and educational nature workshops are all reasons visiting Socrates Sculpture Park is one of the best things to do in Astoria.
#6. Ride the NYC Ferry
A part of New York City’s public transportation network, a one way ride on the ferry costs $4.00. From the Astoria station you can head north, crossing into Manhattan at East 90th Street. Or, those heading south will stops at Roosevelt Island, Long Island City, East 34th Street, Brooklyn Navy Yard and Pier 11.
Taking the ferry from beginning to end will take about an hour, and hopping on for a ride is one of the best things to do in Astoria. There’s an open-air rooftop deck that’s buzzing whenever the weather is nice, and even restrooms and drinks available in the cabin.
As far as tickets are concerned, each ferry terminal has vending machines 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 helpful maps.
#5. Eat Your Fill at Taverna Kyclades
Taverna Kyclades opened in 1996, and in 2001 came under the current ownership that helped make it one of the most famous restaurants in Astoria. The menu consists largely of seafood. There’s a smaller menu offered during lunch, and a larger, more robust menu offered at dinner.
Crowd favorites include the octopus and calamari, which a lot of locals tout as the best in New York. Even though swinging by Taverna Kyclades is one of the most popular things to do in Astoria, the restaurant doesn’t offer any reservations. Remember, the wait is worth it!
#4. Catch the Sunset at Astoria Park
Sandwiched under the shadows of the Robert F. Kennedy and Hell Gate Bridges, Astoria Park stands at an impressive 60 acres (roughly 15 city blocks). It’s littered with sprawling lawns and benches, and there’s an idyllic half-mile promenade along the East River that offers jaw-dropping views.
The park is home to a soccer field, a running track, skate park, basketball & tennis courts and one of the best public pools in New York City. It’s never void of cheery locals giving the park a youthful magnetism, and the park is one of top destinations while exploring Astoria, Queens.
#3. Have a Coffee Date with Your Pooch at Château le Woof
Chateau le Woof is a popular dog cafe that attracts tons of dog-parents. There’s a 3,000 square foot play area for pups, and the cafe sells doggie treats and outfits. Luckily the humans aren’t left unattended, the cafe sells coffee during the day and brews in the afternoon. Doors are also open for those who don’t have a dog but want to swing by while visiting Astoria, Queens.
#2. Admire The Noguchi Museum
Not many artists create collections so robust they can single-handedly fill a museum, but Isamu Noguchi is far from the ordinary. The Japanese-American artist was as talented as they come, creating striking sculptures, feats of architecture, furniture, and stage design.
His creations fill the Noguchi Museum, which is across the street from his former studio and one of the most popular things to do in Astoria, Queens. While visiting some folks might recognize a few of Noguchi’s designs, including this beaut which is still sold today.
Moreover, the museum is only a block away from the Socrates Sculpture Park, meaning you can hit two of the best things to do in Astoria in one day.
#1. Explore the Museum of the Moving Image
One of the best things to do in Astoria is to drop in the Museum of the Moving Image for a lesson into how popular films and TV shows are made. From stop-motion to special effects, the museum explains the intricacies of video making and the innovative technology used on the big screen.
There’s a screening room, the ability to create your own stop-motion book, computers to learn about animation and puppets so guests can create their own show. By using popular shows and films (like Coraline, The Walking Dead, the Muppets, etc.) the Museum of the Moving Image is able to captivate even those who aren’t interested by technology or science.
Best Things to Do in Astoria (Post Summary)
- Explore the Museum of the Moving Image
- Admire The Noguchi Museum
- Have a coffee date with your pooch (Chateau le Woof)
- Catch the Sunset at Astoria Park
- Eat Your Fill at Taverna Kyclades
- Ride the NYC Ferry
- Saunter through Socrates Sculpture Park
- Grab a stein at Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden
- Hop in a time machine at the Museum of Nostalgia
- Peruse the Shelves at Lockwood
- Picnic at Queensbridge Park
- Peruse the Welling Court Mural Project
Frequently Asked Questions
Astoria, New York, is worth visiting for its diverse cultural scene, vibrant neighborhoods, and a rich culinary landscape that reflects its multicultural community.
Steinway Street is one of the main streets in Astoria, Queens.
Astoria, Queens, is generally considered walkable, with its tree-lined streets, local amenities, and diverse attractions conveniently accessible on foot.
Astoria is popular for its diverse community, vibrant cultural scene, excellent culinary options, and a rich history, making it an attractive and dynamic neighborhood in New York City.
Astoria is widely regarded as a cool neighborhood, known for its trendy spots, cultural diversity, and a lively atmosphere that appeals to a diverse range of residents and visitors.
Astoria, Queens Best Things to Do (Helpful Map)
More Helpful Queens Resources
Best Things to Do in Queens: 20+ Epic Things to Do in Queens (Well Worth the Trek)
What to Do in Long Island City: 12 Unique Things to Do in Long Island City, Queens (You’ll Love)
More Neighborhoods to Explore
The Best of Greenwich Village: 20 Great Things to Do in the West Village (+Helpful Advice)
SoHo’s Top Things to Do: 15 Fun Things to Do in SoHo (Local’s Guide)
Highlights of the Lower East Side: 15 Exciting Things To Do in the Lower East Side (You’ll Love)
The Best of Brooklyn: 15 Best Things to Do in Brooklyn (Helpful Guide & Tips)
Things to Do in Greenpoint: 15 Great Things to Do in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Local’s Guide)
And there you have it, folks! My roundup of the best things to do in Astoria.
I hope you found the post helpful, until next time.