Ah,New York. Home of the Statue of Liberty and out-of-shape superheroes roaming Times Squarehoping to snap a picture with the tourists. New York: home to millions and a dream to so many more (and perhaps a nightmare to some). Regardless, the city is an adventure that offers so many diverse experiences in surprisingly small yet wonderful spaces.
If youre looking for that one-of-a-kind New York Cityexperience without being in the heart of the hustle and the bustle, youre not alone.You want to be closeenough to travel into the citychaos, but far enough from the 60 million tourists that come every year. Sounds like a good deal, right?
I welcome you to explore one beautiful boroughof New York City:Queens.
Queens neighborhoodscan be intimidating to navigate if you know nothing about them. To make your search a little easier, Ive mapped out a few routes through Queens best neighborhoods. Now all you have to do is pick the one you want to go down. This is your starting point a place where you can start to get a feel for some of the best Queens neighborhoodsand what they can offer you.
The Best Queens Neighborhood For Your Personality
Everyone has a different list of requirements when it comes to looking for their new home. Were all in different stages in life, so our wish lists are not going to be the same. For example, a backyard pool may be essential, or a lack of storage spacemight be a deal-breaker. Maybe a great nightlife tops your list of necessities.
To help you out, Ive broken up this post based on your top priorities in a neighborhood hunt, including:
Lets get started!
1. Best Queens Neighborhood for The Reasonable Spender: Sunnyside
You are the person who sprints to the clearance rack the moment you walk through the door. Youre not afraid to spend the dough, but you want to make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck. Unfortunately, life in New York isnt the ideal for you Reasonable Spender types, especially with rent in the city reaching upwards of $10,000 a month. You want to be able to feed and clothe yourself after paying the bills.I feel you.
Let me introduce you to the beautiful Queens neighborhood of Sunnyside. A quick ride onthe7train and youre in a totally different land a land that wont attack your bank account in a matter of minutes.
Why Sunnyside, Queens is Right for You
This part of Queensis known for its tight community. Filled with small local businesses, youll be able to find a diverse set of food and attractions.
The real estate may be cheaper compared to other areas, but that doesnt mean that prices still arent rising. Currently apartmentlistings range from $1,600 $2,290. With an improvement in crime rates, cheap eats and a short commute, the competition for these listings isfierce. The word is getting out about this charming secret of Queens. The faster you act, the better chance you have of scooping up this deal of a neighborhood.
Things to do in Sunnyside, Queens:
If youre looking to grab a quick bite to eat, The Alcove is your spot. The truffle fries are a favorite must-try. And with breakfast, brunch and dinner service, youll never miss a chance to stop infor a bite.
Thisgem exemplifies the diversity that can be found in Queens, NY. Thalia Theatre has made big wavesbywinning over 170 awards for their shows. Year round you can watch plays, musicals, dancing, comedy shows and they even offer dance workshops to help your two left feet.
At42ndand 43rd, Sunnyside hosts the weekly Green Market.Every Saturday morning a group of local farmers brings their goodies to the city. Pick up all your daily groceries or just stop by for an afternoon snack, all at an affordable price.
Established in 1848, this cemetery is home to over 3 million residents that have since moved on. Cemeteries may not be the most exciting attraction, but with people like Annie Moore, Mickey Welch and Joe Spinell, it may be worth the quick drop by.
Known as the first planned community in America, this National Historic District is a landmark in New York. Youll be able to travel back in time to walk among classic English architecture, surrounded by the city skyline.
This is New Yorks largest private park. But what about Central Park? Read that first line again: New Yorks largest private park. Thats right, its a members-only park within Sunnyside Gardens that has everything from a bike track to ping pong tables, playgrounds, baseball fields, tennis courts, and more. Membership is only available to residents of Sunnyside Gardens, giving you perhaps even more incentive to sniff out that section of the neighborhood (or at the very least find yourself a friend that lives there).
Other Queens neighborhoods to check out if youre The Reasonable Spender:
- Forrest Hill
- Kew Gardens
2. Best Queens Neighborhood for The Foodie: Flushing
Food is your middle name. You know all the hot spots that the locals love. Your Yelp account is bursting with ratings of every restaurant under the sun. And your dream is to travel to even more bars and cafes since your taste buds are the definitive authorities on whats good and whats not.I get it. You love food!
All Foodies Love Flushing
Good thing the Queensboroughof Flushingunderstands your obsession. Its the foodie capital of New York. Youll feel right at home here.
With a predominantly Asian influence inthis neighborhood, you wont find anything more authentic unless you traveled to Asia itself. Around every corner is a bustling supermarketfull of delicious pastries and savory dumplings. From sunrise to sunset, your stomach and Yelp account will be happier than ever. Plus it wont empty your wallet. This is the new and improved ChinatownChinatown 2.0.
Things to Do in Flushing, Queens:
Sealion feedings, ropes course adventures and summer camps oh my! Visit all your favorite animals at the QueensZoo while maybe even learning a thing or two. From pumas to alligators and parrots, Im sure youll find a new friend in the city.Bonus: This zoo is much smaller and more manageable to tackle in one day compared to the behemoth Bronx Zoo, making it a great pick for families with little kids (and even smaller attention spans).
This one-of-a-kind attraction showcases where Louis Armstrong lived until his death in 1971. The house has remained very much the same since then. Tour through the kitchen, living room and private denof one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time. Where else can you do that?!
Take a break from the brick wall jungle and take a stroll through the gardens of Queens. Originally founded in 1939, this landmark of Flushing is still thriving today. Stay up to date with their full calendar of activities and programs, and check out their farmers market which is open every Friday.
Some argue that Flushingis home to the true Chinatown. Sorry, Manhattan.Better luck next time. For all the food lovers out there, this should take a spot on your foodie bucket list. Be sure to check out their shopping, bakeries and bubble tea.
Calling all supreme tennis fans. Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer are in the building. Take a summer weekend or week to watch the champions take over the court in the home of the U.S.Open. With the National Tennis Center in your backyard, it may just become your new favorite sport.
Home of the New York Mets, Citi Field was built in 2009 as a replacement to Shea Stadium, the Mets former home. Theres not a bad seat in the house, unlike other Major League Baseball stadiums that can block views with walls (looking at you, Fenway). Even if youre not a huge baseball fan, youll be entertained for hours with mascot Mr. Met on top of testing out all of the amazing food vendors from Shake Shack to Queens sandwich staple Mamas of Corona in addition to the many craft beer stands (but dont worry, theres Bud Lite aplenty there too!). With tickets often being cheaper than ones to Yankees stadium depending on the game, this is a fun way to spend a date night or day out on the town.
Other Queens Neighborhoods to check out if youre The Foodie:
- Jackson Heights
3. Best Queens Neighborhood for The Commuter: Long Island City
The worst thing in the world to you? Being late. Wasting time. Spending half your day just trying to get to your destination. The thought of it keeps you up at night. Spending an hour in traffic is in no way appealing to you. Even if you get to spend it singing along to Taylor Swift.
Long Island City (referred to by the locals as LIC; make sure you know the lingo before you settle in there) is that perfect distance youve been dreaming of. Its so close that you can reach out and touch the cityskyline. It seriously is the best seat in the house. The 7 and NQR trains give you quick and easy access to Manhattan and the other boroughs of NYC. You can get to the hustle and bustle in minutes.
Some people say the journey is what matters. And The Commuter says those people speak nonsense. Get to and from work quicker so you can spend your time enjoying the many other amenities that LIChas to offer you.
Things to Doin Long Island City, Queens:
Sure, Central Park is the first thing people think of when New York Cityparks come to mind. But Gantry Plaza is where you go to have a picnic with a view. After all, the people with the best views of the Manhattan skyline are those that live outside of the city in the first place. Walk your dog along the boardwalk, read your favorite book on a bench and take a timeout in this 12-acre beauty complete with the largest populated cityin the U.S. as a backdrop.Dont forget to check out the other Instagram-worthy parks in LIC, such as Hunters Point South Park which is a post-industrial area transformed into a waterfront green space and Queensbridge Park, which lies right under the formerly named Queensboro Bridge (now known as the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge).
Living in the citycan mean squeezing your whole life into a studio apartment, which can be impossible. I mean, there are some things you cannot throw away. Like all your beautiful thirdgrade artwork and old boy band posters. Those are necessary items in life. With easy access to our storage units in LIC, all of your artwork and posters will be safe. Youll be able to breathe a little easier in that one-room home.
A true bucket list item, this tram exemplifies the beauty that is the New Yorkskyline, and it costs less than $5 a person. Take in the beautiful city views you thought you could only dream of. Right next to Long Island City, the Roosevelt Island tram can become a fun trip any day of the week.
For the artist at heart, this Museum of Modern Art affiliate serves as one of the largest in the U.S. With new exhibitions constantly cycling through the museum, youll always find something fresh to appreciate.
Unless youre Spider-Man, you wont be climbing the side of buildings anytime soon to make up for the lack of mountainous ranges in the city. Cliffs has you covered with a full indoor facility filled with all kinds of rock climbing goodness for adults and kids alike!
Other Queens Neighborhoods to check out if youre The Commuter:
- Jackson Heights
4. Best Queens Neighborhood for The Hipster: Astoria
You are constantly ahead of the game. You know trends before they become a trend. Youre always on the lookout for those hiddengems. You want to be surrounded by original, unique and authentic experiences. Youve discovered everything there is to discover in the city and you want to expand your horizons. You want to live outside the box.
Say hello toAstoria the answer to your constant searching. This Queens neighborhoodcomes with the views, short commuteand lower prices. (Oh, and we offer self storage in Astoria, too!) Its no surprise this area is slowly being infiltrated by the younger crowd, but its still family-friendly. In Astoria, youll find a bigger selection of roomy apartments that fit your budget more than Manhattan or some of the surrounding boroughs.
This borough has recently gone through a revival. Arts, all types of cuisine and a new crowd have made their way through this gem. You really should hurry up and move here if you want to be a part of one of the most in-the-know neighborhoods before all the good listings get sucked up.
Things to Do in Astoria, Queens:
For the movie lover at heart, this is an Oscar-winning attraction. The filming industry is no stranger to this Queens neighborhood. Formerly a part of the AstoriaStudio Complex, this facility was home to many early 1920sfilms. Today, AstoriaStudios has helped film Orange is the New Black,The Bourne Legacyand even Sesame Street,among others.
Opened in 1936, Astoriais home to the largest public pool in the city. With free admission, enjoy a break from the summer heat under the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. I mean, where else are you going to be able to chill underneath a bridge? In New York City?! Nowhere.
Views, views, views and even more views. A one-of-a-kind lookout into the great concrete jungle. A place where you can seethe sprawling buildings of Manhattan in all their glory. Year-round, this lookout never gets old. Fully equipped with playgrounds, tennis courts, trails and of course the famous Astoriapool, youll be entertained for hours.
Here youll find the best Greek restaurants known to the city. This Mediterranean paradise is filled with family-owned businesses that have survivedfor generations. Thats generations of time to perfect their technique and boy is it delicious!
Happy hour, live music, festivals a drinking experience like no other. Dating all the way back to the late 1800s, this attraction celebrates the heritage of its Czech and Slovak roots. The Beer Garden even survived the prohibition era to bring you delectable pierogis, 18 beers on tap and 20 types of wine today.Bring on the happy hour!
This place is half caf, half vinyl record shop, selling both used and new items. Music lovers can get caffeinated while they spend hours perusing and listening to records on top of shopping for turntables, amps, and other gear that will have you replacing your Air Pods for a one-of-a-kind vintage record collection instead.
This woman-owned, indie art venue hosts over 100 events a month, including comedy shows, music events, open mic nights, poetry, writing workshops, and more. Its the literal hub in Astoria for artistic types (and those who want to become one) to come and get their creative juices flowing. For those who have dreams of making in to Saturday Night Live, start here first and get involved in one of the citys most dynamic locales.
Other Queens neighborhoods to check out if youre The Hipster:
5. Best Queens Neighborhood for The Family Man: Bellerose
So youve found your soulmate. Bought a dog together, maybe had some kids, saved your money Now youre on the lookout for that perfect white picket fence scenarioto tie it all together. Schools and safety have become your number one priority instead of a ragingnightlifescene. Youre ready to settle down. Congratulations!
Sadly, the cityis not always your best friend when it comes to family life. For some, the transition is a breeze. For others, leaving the city is a must. Fret not!There is a neighborhood for you in Queens.
Belleroseis the definition of a family town if there ever was one. Made up of mostly colonial homes from the 1900s, this suburb will fit your dream wish list.
Tree-lined streets, the best school districts, parks, kid-friendly activities in the surrounding areas and one of the safest neighborhoods in Queensis what Bellerosecan offer you and your family. Bellerose is, without a doubt,a place to settle down and call home. Even if you start missing those city lights, Manhattanis just under an hours drive away.
Things to Do in Bellerose, Queens:
Home of the third crown, the Belmont Stakes, this thoroughbred horse racing track opened its course in 1905. And even with a remodel in 1964, the history embedded in this park is hard to find anywhere else. Maybe youll even be able to witness a future Triple Crown winner!
The total opposite of city life, I welcome you to the best beach life New Yorkhas to offer filled with boardwalks, shopping and restaurants galore. Take a break from the citystreets and experience another side of Queens.
With a very family-oriented environment, Belleroseoffers some of the best school districts in Queens. For instance, based on Schooldigger, Ps 188 Kingsbury School performed better than 99.4% of elementary schools in New York statewide! You can be confident that your family will be receiving an education you can be proud of.
Even more opposite than the city life is the farm life. And even in somewhere like Queens, you can see what this farm is all about. Dating all the way back to 1697 this farm has been through the transformation of New York itself. Enjoy the history and year-round festivities offered for the whole family. Festivals, haunted houses, mazes and so much more are waiting for you!
Take your family on a day trip down to this adorable little seaside town. Another historic landmark in New Yorkthat dates all the way back to the 1600s, Cold Spring Harbor has beautiful scenery, museums and the occasional local jazz festival. This town is a gold mine for any history nerd that passes through.
Other Queens neighborhoods to check out if youre The Family Man:
- Howard Beach
- Middle Village
- Fresh Meadows
Choosing the Best Queens Neighborhood for You
I dont blame you if you need to take a second to absorb all of the information that has just been thrown at you. But this overflow of information proves how diverse New YorkCity truly is. Even a place like Queenscan become home to so many different experiences. No matter what stage of life youre in, a Queensneighborhoodcan be found to suit your needs.
Trust me, theres even more to discover about this beautiful boroughof New York Citythan what was mentioned here. There is always something going on, as proven by Eventbrites always updating NYC events page.
So call your realtor, start packing your boxes, change your Facebook profile and do whatever else you have to so you can begin the move to Queens.Hopefully this proves as a good starting point no matter where you are in life. From The Reasonable Spenderto The Family Man, your perfect Queens neighborhoodis just waiting to become your new home.
Update: This post originally published in August of 2017, and was revised on December 30, 2019, with new information from Queens expert, Colleen Travers.