New York City. The so called “center of the world” is the place I call home. As much as I love “the city” (aka Manhattan), Queens has my heart, having been born and raised in this borough. Queens truly is the unsung part of the city though parts of it is now being developed into hipster-villes much like Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Nevertheless, Queens has a lot to offer, you just have to take a closer look. Here is just one way that you can spend a day in my fair hometown. On this list of recommendations you will find places that are both enjoyable and affordable so that you can get the most out of your visit.
So we start with the most important meal of the day with…
Breakfast at Georgia Diner
Located by two major shopping centers in Queens, Georgia Diner is an ideal place to start . ]With fair prices and big portions, you can be certain that you will be all set to start the day. Don’t shy away from the pancakes and ou can always walk off what you ate doing some window shopping at Queens Place or Queens Center Mall OR…
Walk Around the City in One Day @ the Queens Museum
Now I’ll be honest, I haven’t been here since before they started the renovation, however, it is a must for anyone visiting Queens. For a suggested donation of only $8 for adults and $4 for children over 12/students, you can see the entire city in an afternoon. The Panorama of the City of New York was created to be include every building across the 5 boroughs of the city, totaling approximately 900,000 individual structures, at a scale of 1 inch per 100 feet and completed with such detail that the museum claims is 99.9% accurate, it is truly an amazing feat to behold.
They also have an impressive collection of Tiffany glass lamps and windows as well as objects and documents related to the New York World’s Fairs on permanent display that is definitely worth the look. Before you head out of Flushing Meadow Park, don’t forget to take some pictures by the Unisphere and take a ride on the carousel, both of which were created for the 1964 -1965 New York World’s Fairs.
Take a tea break
From Flushing Meadow Park you can hop on to the 7 train and ride it to the next and final stop, Main Street Flushing- the home of the second largest Chinatown in NYC. I honestly believe that “Chinatown” is a bit of a misnomer as Flushing truly has various East and South Asian cultures represented in its shops and restaurants.
One of the best is Paris Baguette, a Korean take on a French cafe. Located in the Queens Crossing Mall food court, it offers a wide selection of cakes, pastries, shaved ice, bread, and gourmet sandwiches as well as bubble and regualar tea at affordable prices. I highly recommend the Mango Bubble Smoothie, it is made with natural products and is very refreshing, and the green tea roll cake, which is sinfully tasty.
If you are willing to splurge a little and want something more on the warm side of refreshment, you can check out the Rose House also located in Queens Crossing. Here you get to experience English high tea with a Taiwanese twist. Milk tea and light snacks make up the menu all served on delicate china tea sets, so you really get your money’s worth for the experience.
After this short break, you can take a walking tour of the landmarks of Flushing including Flushing Town Hall, the Quaker House, the Bowne House and even Flushing High School OR…
Go back in time at King’s Manor
A short ride on the Q44 bus will take you to the Rufus King House in Jamaica, Queens. Formerly the house of Rufus King, a signer of the United States Constitution and forgotten founding father who served as both a Senator and the Ambassador to Great Britain following the American Revolution, this house is a National Landmark and museum.
An example of the Georgian architecture popular in the 18th century, the manor houses furniture, paintings and even costumes dating from the 18th and mid-19th centuries. While most of the objects displayed belonged to the King family, some of the museum’s holdings include objects found during the ongoing archaeological dig of the surrounding house. For a suggested donation of $5 you can even enjoy a guided tour provided by the museum in English, Spanish, Bengali, Hindi and Urdu.
After your visit you can hop on the E train from the Jamaica Center Station to 74th Street Roosevelt Ave for..,
Dinner at Arunee Thai
It is no secret that Queens is the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world. (This is a fact look it up). For this reason it made it difficult to just pick just one cuisine and place to have dinner. Being an Latina I obviously have my favorite spots for Latin food but in an effort to remain neutral, I decided on something different -Thai. This year I was introduced to Arunee Thai by a close family friend and it has easily become one of my favorite restaurants in Queens.
With moderate prices, modern atmosphere and great food you need not look any further for a nice sit down dinner. I highly recommend the Red Snapper topped with Lemongrass and the stuffed chicken wings. As someone with food allergies I am happy to report that this restaurant is very good at accommodating substitutions and special orders at no extra charge.
Should you finish your meal early you may be able to catch the 7 train again for Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave to…
Watch the sunset at Gantry State Park
One of the best kept secrets of New York City is that you get some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline from Queens. While the East River Ferry ride is equally nice (and very affordable compared to the Liberty and Ellis Island Ferries) nothing beats the picture perfect, unobstructed panoramic view from the park pier, where you can see some of the most prominent skyscrapers like the Empire State Building and the United Nations. Bring your camera, this place is a photographers dream.
Wind Down with some Singing
A few short train ride away from Gantry State Park is Karaoke Shout in Astoria. You have the choice of singing at the bar or in a private room, which goes for $4 per hour before 8 pm. The great thing about this place is the song selection that is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese. So if you are with a group of friends with different musical preferences there is something for all of them.
End With Dessert at Martha’s Country Bakery
What better way to end the day with some desert. Located on Austin Street in Forest Hills, this is one of the most popular food hubs in Queens. Though you will most likely have to stand in line for a while, it is worth the wait. Good luck only picking one thing from the huge selection of cookies, cake, tarts, muffins and danishes for the night. And don’t worry about arriving late, the bakery is opened until 1:00 am, just in time for a late night snack.
So you’ll set for a day out in Queens. While there is far more to see than what I recommended here. Consider this as just a taste, an introduction to all of what Queens has to offer. If you are looking for local events during your visit to NYC or in your area, take a look at what’s available on Eventbrite. They always have great activities and attractions, sometimes even for free! They also offer event management software to create and promote your own events, so make sure you check it out.
Have you ever spent a day in Queens before? What are some of your favorite spots? Where do you recommend I visit should I be get a chance to travel to your hometowns? Share them with me in the comments!