With all the cool things to do in Astoria, it’s worth making the short trip to this part of Queens. It’s on the western side of the borough, along the East River, and offers a wide variety of activities and attractions. Its location is also very convenient if you plan on visiting two of NYC’s most popular boroughs: Manhattan and Queens.
It’s easy to feel like this part of the city is a bit foreign, but after visiting the Big Apple several times, I can say that Astoria should be on your travel itinerary. It’s one of the top neighborhoods in New York City, offering the perfect mix of urban and residential. You can easily take public transportation over the river and spend the day enjoying all the fun activities in Astoria before heading back to Manhattan.
From cultural institutions to beautiful outdoor spaces, there is a lot to discover here. Also, some of the best food is in Astoria, thanks to the diverse community here. To help you out, I’m sharing the 10 best things to do in Astoria, Queens so you don’t miss anything.
1. Museum of the Moving Image, one of the best museums in Astoria, Queens
The Museum of the Moving Image is one of the overall best museums in NYC, so it’s a must-see in Astoria. Obviously, it’s a haven for movie buffs, but anyone can appreciate the interactive exhibits that chronicle the history of filmmaking and digital media.
As a curiosity, the museum is housed inside the old Astoria Studios building, another iconic attraction in Astoria. Inside, you’ll find the largest collection dedicated to film and the moving image, including galleries of cinematic equipment, animation storyboards, and video game hardware. There is also a special exhibit on Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets.
This is one of the most popular museums in Astoria, Queens, and it’s only open from Friday to Sunday, so I recommend getting your ticket in advance here.
2. Astoria Park, a beautiful place to see in Astoria, Queens, NY
When the weather’s nice, Astoria Park is one of the most pleasant places to visit. Easily considered one of the best parks in NYC, Astoria Park offers all kinds of recreational activities like a playground, a running track, and a skatepark.
The main attraction here is the Astoria Pool, which has a long history and an old bathhouse. The pool was used by the U.S. team’s Olympic Trials in 1936, 1952, and 1964, and today, it’s free to swim here during the summer months.
The Astoria Play Center is also quite popular thanks to its various sports facilities for basketball, bocce, soccer, and tennis. So, whether you want to get some exercise or just enjoy the outdoors, Astoria Park in Queens is the perfect place to go.
3. Noguchi Museum, another excellent museum in Astoria, Queens
The Noguchi Museum is another museum in Astoria, Queens that I highly recommend. Not only is it one of the best attractions in Queens, but it’s also one of NYC’s top free museums, so you can enjoy a fun family activity without breaking the bank.
The museum is named after Isamu Noguchi, a Japanese-American artist and the museum’s founder, who focused his 60-year career on sculpture and landscape art. His creations explore the connection between invisible and visible forces, humans and nature, and subterranean environments, and over the years, he has built up an impressive collection of work.
Some of his favorite pieces are in the Noguchi Museum, so you can see them for yourself. The museum has indoor galleries and outdoor spaces where you can see sculptures, stage and furniture designs, drawings, architectural models, and more.
4. Walk through Socrates Sculpture Park, a free thing to do in Astoria
Just a block from the Noguchi Museum, there is the Socrates Sculpture Park, a beautiful place to go in Astoria during the day. Like the Noguchi Museum, the Socrates Sculpture Park has free admission, but it’s entirely outdoors, so keep that in mind.
Located along the East River, this outdoor museum is full of plants, flowers, and trees coexisting in harmony with contemporary sculptures. Interestingly, while it’s now a lovely artistic space, it was formerly an abandoned landfill and dumping site.
As the largest outdoor exhibition space dedicated to sculpture in NYC, Socrates Sculpture Park attracts artists from around the globe, although most of them are local to New York. In addition to the works and installations, there is a stage, an artist studio, and a welcome kiosk. The park also provides access to nearby Hallets Cove Beach.
5. Beer Garden at Bohemian Hall, a popular place to go in Astoria
You won’t go hungry in this neighborhood thanks to the vast array of bars, restaurants, and cafes here. One of the best restaurants in Astoria, Queens is the Beer Garden at Bohemian Hall, a family-friendly eatery and late-night hangout.
Inspired by the beer gardens of the Czech Republic, this place serves up a variety of Czech and Slovak beers as well as a full menu with kid-friendly options. In fact, the hall is owned by the Bohemian Citizens’ Benevolent Society of Astoria, Inc., a group of Czech and Slovak descendants in New York City.
Munch on potato pancakes, pierogies, schnitzel, and grilled bratwurst while watching the big game or listening to live music on the weekends. Bohemian Hall is one of the oldest beer gardens in the city and the perfect place to meet up with friends on a summer afternoon.
6. Listen to live music at The Bonnie, a fun thing to do in Astoria with friends
The Bonnie is another one of the best bars in Astoria, Queens, especially if you’re looking for something more upscale. This bar and gastropub has a swanky yet cozy feel, offering gourmet fare accompanied by live music.
Whether you come here for weekend brunch, happy hour, or late-night snacks, The Bonnie is one of the best date spots in Astoria, so keep it in mind if you’re traveling with your partner. It even has vegetarian and vegan-friendly dishes.
Another cool place to check out is The Let Love Inn, a more intimate and affordable option. This bar is known for its retro design aesthetic and hand-crafted cocktails, although they also serve draft beer and wine. Plus, it’s all paired with a side of live jazz music, creating the perfect vibe for a night out.
7. Taverna Kyclades, one of the best places to eat in Astoria, Queens
One of the largest demographics in this neighborhood is its Greek community, so it’s not surprising that one of the best restaurants in Astoria is a Greek establishment. Taverna Kyclades, named after the exquisite Kyclades islands in Greece, is a family-owned business serving authentic Greek food and original recipes.
The specialties here range from fan favorites like spanakopita and grilled calamari to lesser-known dishes and appetizers. The restaurant is particularly famous for its fresh seafood, such as clams, oysters, prawns, and delicious fish soup.
If that’s not your thing, try the chicken kebabs, Greek salad, or lemon potatoes. The service is great, as are the prices, although it does get super busy. To avoid waiting in line, it’s best to call ahead and reserve a table.
8. Browse the best shops in Astoria, Queens
If you fancy some shopping while in the Astoria neighborhood, there are lots of cool options to consider. One of the most popular shops here is Lockwood Style, which has fashionable clothing in a wide range of sizes. They also sell home goods, beauty products, and gifts, so it’s worth a look.
The Brass Owl is another reputable retailer. This boutique has some of the cutest bags, shoes, and accessories in town. Their handmade jewelry collection is especially notable, so keep your eyes peeled for a good deal.
If you prefer something cheaper, check out HaNGER, which offers chic clothing at a lower price point. You can also find vintage clothes and items at Loveday31. Whatever you’re looking for, there is a shop in Astoria for you. Some specialty shops you might like include The Little Soap Shop, HiFi Records, and Astoria Bookshop, which I’ll talk about next.
9. Astoria Bookshop, a quaint attraction in Astoria, Queens, NY
Astoria Bookshop is one of the coolest places in Astoria and a mainstay for locals. This queer woman-owned bookstore carries a diverse range of authors and genres, so there is something for everyone. From local writers to LGBTQ+ fiction and banned books, you’ll find something floating among the shelves.
In addition, the shop has a nice collection of jigsaw puzzles and board games as well as stationery supplies, all at competitive prices. The shop is open daily, so be sure to visit this small neighborhood bookstore and see what all the hype is about.
10. Visit Q.E.D., the best thing to do in Astoria at night
Lastly, Q.E.D. is one of the most unique places to go in Astoria thanks to its multi-disciplinary approach and multi-functional space. It’s part performance hall, part comedy club, but also has a café and bar, and a little storefront for books.
On any given day, you may find a dance troupe performing here or a comedian bantering with the crowd. Q.E.D. also hosts meet-ups and community events like storytelling hours, poetry readings, and improv nights. This independent venue is woman-owned and a popular place among locals, so if you’re looking for things to do in Astoria at night, pop in here and see what’s going on.
Map of Astoria, Queens, NYC
That’s it from me, but before I go, here is a map with all the Astoria attractions I mentioned in this article.
Of course, don’t hesitate to leave me any questions you have below. I’d also love to know if you’ve been to any of these places in Astoria or if you have any recommendations you’d like to share. Let me know, and I’ll see you next time!