Post overview: Best things to do in Astoria
Queens is New York City’s biggest borough by land area, and in order to sample its flavor you have to take it in bite-size pieces. If you try to tackle it all in a day you’ll be both exhausted and overwhelmed (trust me).
So today we’re starting with the best things to do in Astoria, a neighborhood on the western side of the borough.
It’s a great introduction to Queens, offering an eclectic supply of restaurants, shops, green-spaces and museums. Safe to say there’s something here for everyone!
And if you’re looking for the best things to do in Astoria, Queens you’ve come to the right place! As a local who loves his neighborhood, but loves talking more I’ve got a lot to say.
I hope you’re excited, because I sure am! Why don’t 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.
Things to Do in Astoria, Queens
#15. Have a Slice of Cheesecake at Artion Bakery
Artion serves as a reminder of New York’s resilience. Formerly known as Artopolis, the bakery re-opened in 2021 as Artion after being shuttered due to the pandemic.
The European bakery draws inspiration Mediterranean baking practices and the reason they’re cracking the list of the best things to do in Astoria is thanks to some of the best cheesecake in NYC.
You only have three flavor options, either original, chocolate or strawberry but hey the classics are classics for a reason, right?
The expert bakers know how to make a velvety, smooth filling that doesn’t need any fancy or flashy toppings to make you drool.
The strawberry cheesecake is my go-to but it’s so pretty to look at I never want to bite into it. It looked like a work of art, marbled and topped with a vibrant strawberry filling.
It doesn’t take more than a bite to agree that paying a visit to Artion Bakery is one of the best things to do in Astoria.
Address: 23-18 31st St, Queens, NY 11105
#14. Have an inexpensive date-night at Bowl 360
I’m not naive to the fact that there are bowling alleys all across NYC, but Bowl 360 stands out among the crowd.
The kicker is the price tag – Monday through Thursday before 4PM you can bowl for $7. Now, New York City is the most expensive city in the world so $7 per game is a steal (shoe rentals are an additional $8).
Even on the weekend during peak hours the price tag caps out at $15 per game. And considering the rotating specials, visiting is one of the most affordable things to do in Astoria with kids or even for a date night.
Bowl 360 also offers a full menu to keep you well fed in between rounds. Think pizza, wings and pretzels that pair dashingly with a brew or a fun cocktail.
Although Bowl 360 isn’t necessarily a new or unique concept, it’s still one of the best things to do in Astoria, Queens. It’s hard to beat on a rainy or chilly day, and is an experience best shared with friends.
Address: 19-45 49th St, Queens, NY 11105
#13. Peruse the Welling Court Mural Project
It’s no secret that New York City is a destination for street art artists and aficionados. One of the city’s hubs for stellar murals is the Welling Court Mural Project, which is also one of the best things to do in Astoria.
By bringing together veteran graffiti artists with still-blooming the art collection is as grungy and old-school as it is bright and full of color.
Visiting is free since it’s not an actual museum or gallery. Rather buildings in and around Welling Court donate their walls as canvas, and the mural project makes magic happen.
New art goes up every year so Welling Court is one of the best things to do in Astoria, even if you’ve already been. Just remember, it’s New York so littered streets should come as no surprise.
Address: 11-98 Welling Ct, Queens, NY 11102
#12. Picnic at 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 great picnic destination, and one of the best things to do in Astoria.
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 Astoria, even if it’s just to watch the sunset.
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.
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
#11. Peruse the Shelves at Lockwood
Every once in a while you come across a gem of a store, one that’s inspiring, fun to explore and a treasure chest full of unique finds. For me, that store is Lockwood and visiting is one of the best things to do in Astoria.
They have two locations right across the street from each other, one is a fashion store and the other is the gift shop. If you only have time for one though, I’d choose the gift shop.
It’s similar to a market where small businesses and vendors sell artisanal candles, mugs, throw blankets, postcards and books but instead there’s no booths and they’re all under one roof.
Lockwood is my go-to store when I’m gift-shopping for someone and don’t know what to get them. The store is brimming with eclectic and quirky items and it won’t take long to be inspired.
Address: 32-15 33rd St, Astoria, NY 11106
#10. Hop in a Time Machine at the Museum of Nostalgia
Let me make one thing clear, the Museum of Nostalgia is not actually a museum. In reality, it’s a toy store opened by a toy-collecting couple whose apartment was overflowing.
Now they sell nostalgia-inducing toys at reasonable prices. Anyone with an affinity for Transformers, Barbies, My Little Ponies is sure to take a trip down memory lane.
The Museum of Nostalgia buys toys, so if you have a collection buried in your closet you could turn it into beer-money. Visiting one of the best things to do in Astoria, you could either walk away with a few bucks or a new toy.
The only thing to keep in mind is that the toy-store changes hours often. I’ve found the best way to stay up to date is to check their Instagram for the current hours.
Address: 31-27 31st St, Queens, NY 11106
#9. Try Your Hand at Rock Climbing
Just because it’s called the Concrete Jungle doesn’t mean we don’t have our fair-share of sports. At Brooklyn Boulders Queensbridge you can put your muscles to use so long as you’re not scared of heights.
It’s one of the premier rock-climbing gyms in NYC, and don’t let the name fool you. They have a location in Queensbridge, making it one of the best things to do in Astoria.
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.
Visiting is one of the best ways to get your heart rate going without risking life and limb doing parkour or climbing buildings.
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.
Address: 23-10 41st Ave, Queens, NY 11101
#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 and tasty food.
The Czech background comes through on the menu with items like Czech sausage, schnitzels and pierogies. True to the cultural norms, you won’t leave on an empty stomach.
There are rows of communal tables that make the whole joint feel like a backyard party. During major sporting events (like the World Cup) there are TV’s outside ensuring you don’t miss a beat!
And the backyard party vibe also means this is one of the best things to do in Astoria with your family. Order the kids a pretzel and get yourself a brew and enjoy!
Fun fact: Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden is believed to be the oldest beer hall in New York City, founded in 1910! It’s even on the National Register of Historic Places.
Address: 29-19 24th Ave, Queens, NY 11105
#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.
Visiting is one of the best things to do in Astoria, because odds are you’ll come across something new even if you’ve already visited.
And as an added incentive to visit, Socrates Sculpture Park has a calendar brimming with fun community events.
Yoga, a market pop-up with Hell Gate Farm and field workshops teaching you about plants and nature are all reasons visiting Socrates Sculpture Park is one of the best things to do in Astoria.
Address: 32-01 Vernon Blvd, Queens, NY 11106
#6. Ride the NYC Ferry
If you’ve read any of our other articles you know we love the ferry. A means of public transportation, a one way ride costs $4.00.
From the Astoria ferry terminal you can head north, crossing into Manhattan at East 90th Street. Or if you need to head south the stops are Roosevelt Island, Long Island City, East 34th Street, Brooklyn Navy Yard and Pier 11.
Taking it from beginning to end will take about an hour, and trust me when I say it’s worth the cost of admission.
But truthfully, it doesn’t matter where you go, it’s still one of the best things to do in Astoria. Riding the ferry in general is a memorable experience, 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.
Address: Vernon Blvd, Queens, NY 10044
#5. Eat Your Fill at Taverna Kyclades
I’m not here to say which Greek restaurant is the best in Astoria, I like my smile and would like to keep all my teeth. Folks in the neighborhood are as fiercely loyal to their Greek food as they are to sports teams.
But it’s undeniable that Taverna Kyclades is one the most iconic Greek restaurants in Astoria. It opened in 1996, and in 2001 came under the current ownership. It’s been stealing hearts ever since.
The menu consists largely of seafood, with a smaller menu offered during lunch and a larger more robust menu offered at dinner.
Crowd favorites include the octopus and calamari, which more than one person claim to be the best in New York. If possible, I strongly encourage visiting with friends and each ordering something different so you can try it all.
Even though swinging by Taverna Kyclades is one of the best things to do in Queens the restaurant still doesn’t offer any reservations. You might have to wait in line but it’s so worth one of the best things to in Astoria.
Bonus reading: Taverna Kyclades is also one of the best restaurants in the East Village, opening a second location there in 2013.
Address: 36-01 Ditmars Blvd, Queens, NY 11105
#4. Catch the Sunset at Astoria Park
Sandwiched under the shadows of the Robert F. Kennedy and Hell Gate Bridges, Astoria Park serves as reminder to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.
It stands at an impressive 60 acres (roughly 15 city blocks) and is littered with sprawling lawns and benches. If you’d rather go for a stroll, the half mile promenade along the East River is as idyllic as it gets.
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.
As such it’s never void of cheery locals, giving the park a youthful magnetism. Visiting is one of the best things to do in Astoria, especially if you end your day at the park enjoying the dazzling cotton-candy sunset.
Address: 19 19th St, Astoria, NY 11105
#3. Have a coffee date with your pooch
Chateau le Woof is a dog cafe, and visiting is one of the best things to do in Astoria. Those of you who can never get enough puppy love will be in heaven.
But you might be wondering what the heck a dog cafe even is: it’s a pooch’s paradise. There’s a 3,000 square foot play area for your doggie, and you can buy them treats or even a new outfit.
But us two-legged folk aren’t left unattended. You can order a coffee during the day or a brew in the afternoon while your hound makes friends.
If you don’t have a dog but want to stop by anyways Chateau le Woof’s doors are open. I fall into this category, I grew up with dogs but can’t have one in my apartment so visiting is one of the best things to do in Astoria.
Address: 3101 Vernon Blvd, Queens, NY 11106
#2. Admire The Noguchi Museum
Not many artists create collections so robust they can single-handedly fill a museum, but Isamu Noguchi is no ordinary artist.
The Japanese-American artists was as talented as they come, creating striking sculptures, feats of architecture, furniture and stage design.
Anybody with an appreciation for design will agree visiting is one of the best things to do in Astoria. Heck, you might even recognize some of his designs, including this beaut which is still sold today.
It’s 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. Tickets are available for purchase online.
Fun fact: Noguchi bought the museum’s building in 1974, across the street from his former studio.
Address: 9-01 33rd Rd, Queens, NY 11106
#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 your favorite films and TV shows are made.
We live in a world dominated by screens, and learning how the convey a message will interest even non-museum people. From stop-motion to special effects, the Museum of the Moving Image is engaging and fun.
There’s a screening room, the ability to create your own stop-motion book, computers where you can toy with animation and puppets you can use to make your own show.
And the Museum of the Moving Image uses popular shows to teach too, not just random subjects. Coraline, The Walking Dead and the Muppets have all been part of exhibits at the museum.
Needless to say this is one of the best things to do in Astoria with kids, but don’t write it off if you’re an adult. The Museum of the Moving Image can be a fun solo-day destination or a date night, too.
Address: 36-01 35th Ave, Queens, NY 11106
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
- Try Your Hand at Rock Climbing (Brooklyn Boulders Queensbridge)
- 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
- Have an inexpensive date-night at Bowl 360
- Have a Slice of Cheesecake at Artion Bakery
Astoria Best Things to Do (Helpful Map)
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.