Queens has a lot of cultural and artistic gems, so there are several great museums in Queens to explore. No matter your interests or hobbies, you’ll find an institute that appeals to you. Plus, visiting one or two of the best Queens museums is a fun thing to do as a family or with your partner.
From history and science institutes to children’s museums in Queens, NY, you have plenty of options to choose from. Even after visiting New York City many times, I’m always amazed at how many fascinating places there are to discover.
So, don’t forget to head over to Queens while you’re visiting the Big Apple to see some of the best contemporary collections, sculpture gardens, and art museums in Queens!
1. Museum of the Moving Image, one of the coolest museums in Queens
The Museum of the Moving Image is one of the best museums in NYC, so it’s one of the Queens museums you can’t miss.
Located in Astoria, this media museum explores the art, history, and techniques behind filmmaking, TV production, and digital media. You can peruse exhibits that feature audio and visual components and artifacts related to the moving image to learn more about this art form. The museum has two theaters that screen movie showings and host panel discussions.
One of the permanent exhibits here is the Jim Henson Exhibition, so if you’re a fan of The Muppets Show or Fraggle Rock, you’re sure to love it. Another exhibition is dedicated to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
In addition to the cinematic and TV collections, the Museum of the Moving Image has a smaller archive of video games and related hardware. Overall, this is an interesting place to learn more about what goes into the world of cinema and digital media, whether you’re a movie buff, a filmmaker, or just want to pique your curiosity.
2. MoMA PS1, one of the best art museums in Queens
MoMA PS1 is one of the best art museums in Queens. It’s an extension of the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, showcasing all kinds of contemporary art and installations.
In addition, the museum has an impressive collection of outsider and fringe art, so you can find some very interesting pieces here. The works come from national and international artists, and temporary exhibits are featured throughout the year.
Among the works here, you’ll find paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, designs, and large-scale installations. MoMA PS1 also has a Young Architects Program that displays furniture and architectural designs from talented young artists.
Besides the visual arts, the museum features performing arts and music, specifically through live events. The Sunday Sessions program holds weekly concerts and performances, while the Warm Up summer music series showcases internationally renowned DJs and music groups.
3. Queens Museum, one of the best museums in Queens, New York
The Queens Museum is one of the top institutions in Queens and all of New York City for that matter. It’s an art museum and educational center where you can learn about the history of New York, and the borough of Queens, and peruse a fine collection of modern art.
One of the most impressive parts of this art museum in Queens is the Panorama of the City of New York, a room-sized scale model of New York City’s five boroughs. It was built for the 1964 World’s Fair, which was held in NYC, in addition to a previous World’s Fair in 1939. The 9,335ft² model is still one of the biggest draws for the museum, and it gets updated regularly to include new buildings.
Another part of the museum is dedicated to objects and memorabilia from the 1939 and 1964 New York World’s Fairs. This is where you can discover more about the selection process that led to the Big Apple hosting this international event, as well as the attractions that were created for it, like Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
The Queens Museum also has a beautiful collection of Tiffany glass, including windows, lamps, and more. There are also temporary exhibitions showcased throughout the year. Best of all, there is no cost required to enter the museum, so visiting it is one of the best free things to do in NYC.
4. New York Hall of Science, a fun museum in Queens for families
Along with the Queens Museum, the New York Hall of Science is in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. This museum is designed for kids and teens, with hands-on exhibits that explore science and technology. Here, they can learn about biology, chemistry, physics, and more through interactive displays and installations.
Built for the 1964 World’s Fair, this science museum in Queens, New York is a great place to take the kids for some wholesome fun. They’ll love exploring the various exhibits about microbes, mathematics, space, electricity, evolution, and sports. There is even a science playground and Rocket Park, an outdoor park designed after the 1964 World’s Fair.
5. The Noguchi Museum, another nice art museum in Queens, New York
The Noguchi Museum is another free museum in NYC that I recommend if you’re interested in art and sculpture. This Long Island City museum was created by Isamu Noguchi, a Japanese American sculptor, to showcase and preserve his work. His collection includes sculptures, stage designs, drawings, and furniture.
Noguchi’s pieces are curious, conceptual sculptures that play with elements like light and subterranean forms. These designs explore the relationship between the natural world and humanity, so while they’re gorgeous, they also invite you to think deeper.
In addition to the galleries of Noguchi’s work, there is a multimedia exhibit with audio and video files documenting the artist’s life and creative process. Nearby, you can walk through the Socrates Sculpture Park, a separate venue I’ll discuss next. So, if you’re looking for a free museum in Queens where you can spend a couple of hours, check it out.
6. Socrates Sculpture Park, a beautiful outdoor museum in Queens, NY
The Socrates Sculpture Park is part of the Noguchi Museum, although it’s a block away at Broadway and Vernon Blvd. You can visit the park for free on your own without going to the Noguchi Museum.
Interestingly, the park was built on an abandoned landfill and covers 4.5 acres, making it the largest sculpture garden in the city. This is one of the most unique museum exhibits in Queens, thanks to its ever-changing roster of temporary pieces. It’s one of the best places to visit in Queens, especially since there is always something new to see here.
In addition to the sculptures, the park holds community events like yoga, capoeira classes, and outdoor movies. During the summer, it hosts art workshops and the Astoria Farmer’s Market every Saturday.
7. Queens County Farm Museum, a unique museum in Queens
Another museum in Queens that stands out is the Queens County Farm Museum. It’s on a historic 47-acre farm, the largest tract of farmland remaining in the city. It’s a great place for kids and adults to learn about regenerative agricultural practices while admiring historical structures spanning three centuries.
For example, the Adriance Farmhouse was built in 1772 and housed the Adriance family, who owned the farm from 1697 to 1808. Also on the property is the Cornell Farmhouse, built in 1750 in the Dutch Colonial style.
The Farm Museum also has a greenhouse, planting fields, and teaching gardens where you can learn about crop rotation, composting, and sustainable agriculture.
With its interactive and hands-on elements, this is one of the best children’s museums in Queens, NY. The kids will love seeing the farming equipment and animals like cows, sheep, goats, alpacas, pigs, and hens. There is even a honeybee apiary and a certified monarch waystation to support the migration and conservation of monarch butterflies.
Admission to the Queens County Farm Museum is free and you can take weekend hayrides or buy fresh produce from the farmstand between April and October.
8. Louis Armstrong House Museum, another interesting museum in Queens
Last but not least, the Louis Armstrong House Museum is a wonderful museum in Queens, especially for music historians and jazz lovers. This historic House Museum is in Queens’ Corona neighborhood in the home where Armstrong lived with his wife from 1943 to 1971.
Some parts of the house have been renovated since then, but you can still find interesting details like gifts from Armstrong’s fans and souvenirs from his musical tours through Asia, Africa, and Europe. Visitors can also explore Armstrong’s archives, which include scrapbooks, manuscripts, and tape recordings. Today, the home is a National Historic Landmark and is open to visitors from Thursday to Saturday.
Moreover, the museum hosts regular concerts and educational programs, and it’s open for tours. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for kids, and free for children under 5.
That’s it for the best museums in Queens! Don’t forget to download this Queens museums map to help you plan your trip.
Of course, if you have any questions or you’d like to share your experience at one of these museums, leave me a comment below. I’d be happy to hear from you! Until then, have an awesome visit!