Trust the (totally unbiased) opinion of someone who once lived there, Astoria, Queens is a must-visit during any trip to New York. My husband and I called Astoria home for two out of the five years we lived in New York City. While we are now glad to be away from the hustle and bustle of the big apple, we are nostalgic for all the amazing things to do and places to eat in this amazing slice of the city.
NYC is known to be a melting pot, and Astoria is a true epicenter of cultures coming together. It’s not unusual to find authentic Middle Eastern cuisine next to a mom-and-pop Italian bakery. I used to pass by a local church offering service in at least five different languages. Astoria unites all of these diverse heritages as one, welcoming community, making you feel as though you’ve been dropped both in another country and a charming, small town in the midst of the sprawling city.
So what are you waiting for? With endless options for things to do, there’s no time to waste! Hop on the W train just a few stops over the Queensboro Bridge, and get ready to navigate the neighborhood like a true local. Discover my insider’s guide to the best things to do in Astoria, Queens.
Stroll through Astoria Park.
Eat your heart out Central Park, Queens has the best green space in New York City. Sitting on the edge of the East River between the Triborough Bridge and Hell Gate Bridge, Astoria Park is the perfect spot to find a bench and soak in the views. At the heart of the park is the pool, where the Olympic Trials for the U.S. Swim and Diving Teams took place in the summer of 1936. Today it remains one of the few operating public pools in the city.
Be transported to Italy at Piccola Venezia.
If I were still living in Astoria, I wouldn’t tell you about Piccola Venezia because I’d want it to remain my best-kept secret. This hidden gem represents everything that’s great about the neighborhood: great people, authentic food, and diverse culture. You can’t go wrong with anything on their extensive menu, but the Osso Bucco is a personal favorite. Extra points for ordering in Italian, or at least toasting with ‘Saluti!’ Befriend the waiters, and they may even let you try a taste of their homemade grappa.
Grab a pint at Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden.
An iconic Astoria institution, Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden serves as an unofficial community center. In the summer, grab a picnic table in the garden and pass a sun-soaked day enjoying Pilsners, bratwursts, and performances ranging from live music, silent disco parties, and even local dance troupes. In the winter, cozy up indoors where you’ll find fooz ball, board games, and an extensive, rotating list of beers on tap.
Step into the director’s seat at Museum of the Moving Image.
I come from a family of film buffs, so the Museum of the Moving Image was a must-visit any time they were in town. It’s located in a former building of the historic Astoria Studios, the East Coast production facility of Paramount. With a number of interactive displays, you can challenge your friends at one of their many vintage arcade and videos games, try your hand at stop-motion animation, and insert your voice-over into iconic films.
Enjoy a slice of Hollywood history at Sac’s Place.
Step back in time to the glamour of old Hollywood. Next door to the Museum of the Moving Image, the space that neighborhood favorite pizza joint Sac’s Place now occupies once served as the Paramount Pictures commissary, to which the silver screen elite flocked to dine, shoot films, and watch movie screenings.
Lounge over board games and beers at SingleCut Beersmiths.
SingleCut Beersmiths sits just on the edge of town and has a laid back vibe to match. Go on a brewery tour, dance along to live music, or just settle into a board game. Did you know? The brewery is named after a body style of guitar that makes it easier for musicians to reach the upper frets. To honor the brewery’s name, all of the taps look like guitars, and beers are named for songs.
Take a snack break at BZ Grill.
We may have been biased because it was right across the street from our apartment, but BZ Grill has the very best Greek food in a neighborhood filled with great Greek food. Gyro and fries here is an absolute must.
Settle into a good read at The Astoria Bookshop.
The space may be small, but you’re guaranteed to find your next favorite read at The Astoria Bookshop. Peruse a carefully-curated selection of titles (including special, signed copies), ask for a recommendation, or stop in when they’re hosting one of their author talks or book club nights.
Grab a bouquet at Petals and Roots.
Drool over the beautiful arrangements and succulents at Petals and Roots. If you’re lucky enough, catch one of their events. I’ve done both a terrarium making workshop and a calligraphy class. At the very least, stop in for a snuggle with Lucy, their rescue cat who spends her days snoozing in the sun-soaked front window.
Find your center at TONE Pilates Studio.
After a weekend of eating and drinking, reset your system with a pilates class at TONE Pilates Studio. This super intimate studio offers reformer and mat private and small group classes. You’ll leave feeling energized and ready to tackle a busy day filled with all your new-found favorite Astoria activities!
Have you lived in or visited Astoria, Queens? Share some of your favorite things to do in Astoria in the comments! Planning a trip? Click below to pin for later!