Astoria is located on the northwestern part of Queens right next to the East River with a population of around 250,000 people. It is one of the most populous areas in the borough and has been evolving in recent years. Naturally, with a changing community, new shops and restaurants emerge. The neighborhood is going through gentrification and is popular among young people from all over the world. Astoria is a colorful mix of nationalities and has a growing selection of hip restaurants and bars. It’s a small neighborhood with a lot of character and there is a lot of things to do in Astoria.
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What is Astoria known for?
There are a lot of things to do in Queens and it is very diverse. When it comes to Astoria, it’s a neighborhood that is continuously changing and growing. Many families still reside here, but more and more young professionals are making their way into the area every year. Trendy restaurants, bars, and shops are opening up, especially on Astoria-Ditmars Blvd. and 30th Avenue. During warmer months, Astoria is filled with street festivals during the warmer months and even has it’s own park that has everything you need.
The history of Astoria is much more interesting. It’s gone through a lot. The neighborhood was named after John Jacob Astor after he invested in the area. Astoria was also home to Paramount Studios in the 1920s. After WWII, many immigrants from all over the world came and settled here. They were mostly from Europe and the Middle East.
Our Top 5 things to do in Astoria
Astoria in Queens is filled with events, activities, and sights. If you’re questioning what to do or where to go, we’ve provided you our top favorite things to do in Astoria. Hopefully, this quick list can save you time and money. We also want you to experience the culture that Astoria offers.
For us personally, this is probably the best thing to do in Astoria. You don’t have to spend any money here. There’s a pool, a track, great views, and the park isn’t too big at about 59 acres. You can see the RFK bridge as well as Hell Gate Bridge. Come here to enjoy a nice little run or walk during sunrise or sunset. There are also numerous parking spots in and around Astoria Park as well. The Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (RFK), also known as the Triborough Bridge connects the boroughs of Manhattan, The Bronx and Queens. The RFK bridge has a walkway from Astoria, Queens that leads right into Randalls Island. You can enjoy views of Hells Gate Bridge and the path is pedestrian and bike-friendly. Steinway is a popular street in Astoria and his home to a bunch of shops and restaurants to check out. The 2.4 mile street stretches from Berrian Blvd in Astoria to Northern Blvd in Long Island City. The food scene on Steinway is very diverse and you’ll find cuisines from Europe and Asia. Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Astoria is a really popular spot especially in the summer. You’ll hear live bands and numerous amounts of people enjoy themselves to great beer. It can get so buys during the day that you can hear the noise right down the street. Bohemian Hall is also the oldest beer garden in New York.
Our recommended top sights in Astoria Queens
Robert F. Kennedy Bridge
Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden
Museum of the Moving Image
For us personally, this is probably the best thing to do in Astoria. You don’t have to spend any money here. There’s a pool, a track, great views, and the park isn’t too big at about 59 acres. You can see the RFK bridge as well as Hell Gate Bridge. Come here to enjoy a nice little run or walk during sunrise or sunset. There are also numerous parking spots in and around Astoria Park as well.
The Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (RFK), also known as the Triborough Bridge connects the boroughs of Manhattan, The Bronx and Queens. The RFK bridge has a walkway from Astoria, Queens that leads right into Randalls Island. You can enjoy views of Hells Gate Bridge and the path is pedestrian and bike-friendly.
Steinway is a popular street in Astoria and his home to a bunch of shops and restaurants to check out. The 2.4 mile street stretches from Berrian Blvd in Astoria to Northern Blvd in Long Island City. The food scene on Steinway is very diverse and you’ll find cuisines from Europe and Asia.
Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Astoria is a really popular spot especially in the summer. You’ll hear live bands and numerous amounts of people enjoy themselves to great beer. It can get so buys during the day that you can hear the noise right down the street. Bohemian Hall is also the oldest beer garden in New York.
What else is there to do in Astoria?
Astoria isn’t just limited to the top 5 mentioned above. Restaurants in Astoria are are some of the best in the city. The neighborhood is filled with museums and art galleries as well. We feel that the area gets overlooked compared to other neighborhoods such as Williamsburg and Long Island City.
Visit Socrates Sculpture Park
Socrates Sculpture Park opened in 1986 and is known for their sculpture exhibits that take place year-round. This Queens park overlooks the Manhattan skyline and is even more beautiful during sunrise and sunset.
Street Fairs in Astoria
In the summer months, Astoria closes off some streets and throw numerous street fairs. 30th Ave, 31st Street, and Steinway close it off to vendors and pedestrians throughout the year. Some street fairs include The Astoria Park Carnival, Astoria Spring Festival, Astoria Memorial Day Fair, and many more.
Steinway is probably the most popular street in Astoria because of the many shops and restaurants. However, Ditmars Boulevard which is the last stop on the N W line is highly underrated. This street is packed with restaurants as well and is still growing. It’s filled with bakeries and cafe’s as well.
Take A Stroll (or Run) in Astoria Park
Astoria Park has everything you need. For runners, it has a track. For sports enthusiasts, there is a basketball and tennis court in the park as well. One a very hot summer day, you can either lounge in the green, have a nice picnic with friends or family, or you can check out the huge public pool. The park also provides an amazing view of the Hell Gate Bridge and RFK Bridge.
Bike around Astoria
Citi Bikes are scattered throughout Astoria. You can easily go from one area of the neighborhood to another within 5-10 minutes by taking a bike. Another recommendation is taking a bike to Astoria Park and ride along the water underneath RFK Bridge and Hells Gate Bridge. Insider tip – if you love biking, it’s one of the best ways to see New York City. There are many bike rentals in NYC that you can utilize.
Kaufman Astoria’s Film Studios
The history of the Kaufman Astoria Film Studios dates back to the 1920s, when the studios once belonged to Paramount Pictures and was one of the most important film studios in the US at the time. Paramount Pictures moved their studios to the West Coast and left behind empty filming locations.
In the late 1970s, the studios were declared a National Historic Landmark due to its importance to the city of New York City. In 1982, George S. Kaufman bought the studios and brought life back to the film scene in Astoria. The complex now also includes the Museum of Moving Image and a restaurant. Several famous blockbusters have already been filmed here, such as “Wall Street–Money Does Not Sleep” and “Men in Black”. Kaufman Studios also produces US television series, such as the Netflix hit: “Orange is the New Black”. You can read more about the studios here.
Best tours and activities in Astoria NYC
Astoria is a growing neighborhood and only recently has been on people’s radar. It could become just as popular as some neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Here are just a few tours and activities in or near Astoria, Queens.
- New York City: Dog-Friendly Brewery Tour – Go on a beer crawl with your furry friend and experience some of NYC’s most amazing breweries. If you’re a beer and dog lover, then this tour is for you.
- Museum of the Moving Image: Flexible Ticket – So this isn’t necessarily a tour, but if you don’t want to be restricted with time, then this is perfect for you. This Museum of the Moving Image (MOMI) is the only museum in the US that’s dedicated to movies, film, and digital entertainment and it’s located in Astoria.
- Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn Half-Day Tour – If you’d like to visit the other boroughs in NYC, then this tour is for you. It starts off in Manhattan and the bus takes you through some of the best sites in the mentioned boroughs. You can buy tickets here.
What’s there to eat in Astoria?
Astoria restaurants are everywhere in the neighborhood. Because the area is continuously growing, it seems like there are new restaurants, coffee shops, and bars that pop up. Places such as Queens Comfort, Tavernes Kyclades and The Bonnie are just a few of the best restaurants in Astoria.
Restaurants in Astoria
Whenever we’re in Astoria we try to immerse ourselves into the culture. Below are a few restaurants that we’ve tried in this neighborhood so far.
Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden – The beer garden is super popular among the people that live here. It really comes to life when the weather gets warmer. You’ll hear live music and a beer garden filled with people. It’s also the oldest beer garden in New York City.
Shopping in Astoria Queens
Steinway Street has a lot of boutique shops and multicultural stores which makes shopping very unique. There are a few retail stores such as Victoria’s Secret, GAP Factory, and Express. Astoria is continuously growing and we’re a fan of some of the local shops that have emerged in the area. Check them out below.
- Belief NYC – 2401 29th St, Astoria, NY 11102
- The Brass Owl website – 36-19 Ditmars Blvd, Queens, NY 11105
- HiFi Records – 23-19 Steinway St, Astoria, NY 11105
- The Astoria Bookshop – 31-29 31st St, Astoria, NY 11106
Museums in Astoria Queens
Even though Astoria isn’t a huge neighborhood, it boasts two of the best museums in New York City. If you’re trying to enjoy your time without all the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, then definitely come check these Astoria museums.
The museum was founded by the artist, Isamu Noguchi. The artist died in 1988 but his museum, which is considered one of his greatest accomplishments is located right in the heart of Astoria. The Noguchi Museum is filled with stone sculptures and is actually directly across the Socrates Sculpture Park.
Museum of the Moving Image
The Museum of the Moving Image is perfect for people that love watching movies, TV series, and just have this obsession with entertainment. The museum is fun and exciting. It’s filled with educational programs, and artifacts that relate to media and entertainment and how the industry has evolved over time and this is truly one of the best things to do in Astoria.
Where can I stay in Astoria?
Since Astoria is very easy to get to, you don’t have to find a hotel in the neighborhood. It’s such a small area that there aren’t really many hotels to begin with. However, it’s only a 20-minute train ride from Times Square and is right next to Long Island City. Here are some of our recommendations.
Our Favorite Hotels near Astoria
Paper Factory Hotel
The Paper Factory Hotel is located in Long Island City in Queens. The building itself is a 100-year old paper factory and has about 123 rooms. Their fitness center is also open 24 hours per day. Also, it’s a great place to stay if you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. Make sure to book your stay way in advance.
Q4 Hotel is located in Long Island City in Queens and is only open to out-of-state guests. The spot is more of a hostel than a hotel as it has mixed dormitories, but also has private rooms. Each dorm has a kitchen and there’s free WiFi throughout the building. The train station is also close by making your commute into the city super easy and convenient.
Z NYC Hotel
Just steps away from the Queensboro Bridge, Z NYC Hotel sits along the East River and overlooks the Manhattan skyline. The hotel is also equipped with a rooftop bar so you can enjoy the views while sipping on a cocktail. As for the guestrooms, each room has floor to ceiling walls and an array of amenities.
What other neighborhoods are near Astoria Queens?
Below are neighborhoods near Astoria and that are worth checking out.
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The northern part of Queens is full of sights and sounds. We feel like people...
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Taking the MTA to Astoria Queens
So how do you get to Astoria Queens by train? The N W lines will take you directly to the neighborhood. If you’re in Times Square, those trains depart from Times Square/42nd Street as well as 34th Street/Herald Square, 14th St./Union Square and 59th St. right next to Central Park. If you want to find things to do in Astoria, take the train to 30th Avenue Station, Astoria-Ditmars or Broadway stations. These stops bring you in the middle of the action. Alternatively, the Rtrain goes directly to Steinway Street. Kaufman Studios and the Museum of Moving Images are located only two blocks away.
Neighborhoods Similar to Astoria Queens
Astoria is a nice small neighborhood in Queens. If you enjoyed Astoria, make sure to check out these similar neighborhoods below.
Here are some frequently asked questions about Astoria, Queens.
Is Astoria a safe neighborhood?
Astoria is very safe. The majority of the people that live here are families with kids and young professionals that come from different parts of the world. The area is very diverse as well. Of course, just like in any area that you’re not familiar with, just make sure you’re aware of your surroundings.
Is Astoria Queens a good place to live?
As mentioned above, more and more young people are moving to the neighborhood. As Manhattan gets more condensed and more expensive, people have migrated to the other boroughs. Astoria is a very popular neighborhood and you’re starting to see gentrification take place. New restaurants, bars, and shops are popping up on every corner.
How long does it take to get from Astoria to Manhattan?
MTA stations are very convenient in this neighborhood. Getting into the city from Astoria can take only 30 minutes from the last stop of the neighborhood, all the way to Times Square.
Is Astoria expensive?
Compared to the major neighborhoods in Manhattan, this Queens neighborhood is very affordable. Of course, it’s still NYC and certain parts of the neighborhood have “Manhattan prices”. When it comes to housing, Astoria is significantly cheaper.
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Being a photographer and creative in general, New York City, I think is the perfect place to be. I moved to NYC from Boston in 2013 and never looked back. Loving New York has given me the opportunity to do what I love and share those images with you all.