Even though it trails only Brooklyn in terms of total population, Queens may not be the first borough that comes to mind when visitors think of New York City. However, increasingly it’s an enjoyable destination for those individuals seeking access to delicious cuisines from all over the world, innovative art galleries, unique museums, and vibrant, diverse neighborhoods. To that end, by some accounts Queens is considered to be the most diverse place on the planet today, with multiple reports estimating that approximately 150 different languages are spoken by the various residents of the borough. As a result, time spent in Queens can make for an enormously rewarding experience.
Given its tremendous diversity, the more-than 90 distinct neighborhoods of Queens cut vastly different figures from area to area. Long Island City, just across the East River from Manhattan, is a once-industrial zone that’s been reborn in recent decades as a high-end residential neighborhood replete with waterfront parks, buzzy restaurants, and contemporary art mecca MoMA PS1. Long famous for its great Greek food, Astoria remains today a top-notch culinary destination while also being the home of the Museum of the Moving Image. Flushing and its lively Chinatown district make for one of New York City’s fastest growing neighborhoods.
Visitors to Queens will find a wealth of rewarding attractions worth exploring scattered throughout the borough. If it’s August or September, that means the US Open Tennis Championships are taking place at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The home stadium of Major League Baseball’s New York Mets, Citi Field, is located nearby, as is the Louis Armstrong House Museum, where the inimitable trumpeter and vocalist lived for nearly 30 years. Diehard jazz fans won’t want to miss this landmark, which now houses multiple collections of vinyl records, photographs, awards, memorabilia, and more. Families with small kids will love the New York Hall of Science, Fantasy Forest Amusement Park, and the Queens Zoo, where the little ones can observe thick-billed parrots, Canadian lynx, and the adorable Andean bears go about their daily routines across 20 picturesque acres of fun-filled exhibits.
As mentioned above, Queens has an acclaimed museum scene. Contemporary art afficionados flock year-round to MoMA PS1, whose cutting-edge programming regularly includes exhibits, performances, installations, and events highlighting the most daring and experimental artists working today across multiple media. The Queens Museum occupies a historic building that dates to the time it hosted the World’s Fair in 1939, and the level of mind-blowing detail present in its beloved “Panorama of the City of New York”—a miniature, room-sized model of all five boroughs—has to be seen to be believed. The Museum of the Moving Image proudly boasts a fine collection of 130,000 artifacts drawn from a host of film, television, and digital media sources.