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Long Island City (LIC) in Queens (not to be confused with Long Island) is an up-and-coming district on the East River. It’s easily accessible with just one subway stop from Manhattan. Long Island City in Queens is considered as the next Williamsburg (located in Brooklyn and the mecca for hipsters and creatives).
Few tourists know about Long Island City but we think that will change very soon. As a growing district, naturally, there will be more things to do in Long Island City in order to promote the area. This guide will feature the different activities and things you can do in this up and coming Queens neighborhood.
Getting to Long Island City
With a bunch of things to do in Long Island City, you obviously want to know how to get there in the first place. Luckily, there are numerous options when it comes to commuting to and from Long Island City. If you’re coming from Brooklyn, take the G train to Court Square which connects to numerous lines, or if you’re in DUMBO, take the ferry to Gantry State Plaza Park. If you’re coming from Manhattan, take the W or N to Queensboro Plaza or the 7 which stops at Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue, Hunters Point and Court Square.
Walking Through Long Island City
There have been a lot of things to do in Long Island City these last few years since the district is continuously growing. It features a beautiful park in Gantry Plaza State Park that overlooks the Manhattan skyline, there’s the MoMa PS1 which we’ll cover later on in this insider guide and there are great dining options in this district as well.
Our Top 5 Things to Do in Long Island City
- Gantry Plaza State Park – It’s arguably the most popular park in Queens. It overlooks the Manhattan skyline and the 59th Street Bridge. Theres a dog park, a green space, cafe’s that runs along the park and different courts for sports. We explain more about the park below.
- MoMa PS1 – It’s the little brother of the infamous MoMa in Manhattan. It’s famous for showcasing experimental art and in the summer, it hosts a huge party.
- Penthouse 808 – This Long Island City rooftop bar provides great views of the Manhattan skyline. It’s a great place to just relax and have a good time with friends.
- Sculpture Center -It was founded in 1928, this contemporary arts museum is perfect for friends and families.
- M. Wells Steakhouse – If you’re into steaks and want to experience something unique, then make your way to M. Wells Steakhouse. Founded by Canadian chef Hugue Dufour puts his little twists in the menu.
Other Things To Do in Long Island City
Stroll around the Gantry Plaza State Park
One of the most popular things to do in Long Island City in Queens is to experience Gantry Plaza State Park. It’s a small park compared to the infamous Central Park in Manhattan, but it has everything one could ask for. The park is a popular meeting place for all ages and offers breathtaking views of Manhattan across the East River. You’ll be able to see the United Nations HQ and Roosevelt island as well. Here you’ll find courts, cafe’s and even a dog park. Luxury apartments have also claimed their spot here.
The 39-acre park covers a total of 4 piers and features preserved bridge cranes and a huge Pepsi Cola sign. The park is named after the gantry cranes fixated on the piers.
The Cliffs LIC
For you athletic freaks, The Cliffs is the place to be. Do you want to go rock-climbing in the city? Check this place out. Go and sweat out that jet lag (if applicable).
An Urban Legend: 5 Pointz
Before it was taken down, one of the absolute best things to do in Long Island City was to visit the infamous 5 Pointz. New York’s graffiti scene is very common in Queens and it is said that the most well know artists do their work here. For many years the scene had a place where it was legal to spray paint the walls. The former and legendary 5 Pointz is located near the MoMA PS1 (opposite Jackson Avenue) and was unfortunately painted white in the winter of 2013 to make room for more apartment buildings.
The Historic Hunters Point in Long Island City
You can take a trip to the early 19th century as you walk around 45th Avenue from 21st to 23rd Street. The houses are all still preserved from the past and you can catch a glimpse of the original Long Island City.
Take a Walk on the Queensboro Bridge (59th Street Bridge)
A lot of things to do in Long Island City does require money, just like anywhere else in NYC. If you don’t feel like spending any then we suggest taking a walk on the Queensboro Bridge. It’s that beautiful bridge you can see from Gantry Plaza State Park and it’s the one that connects Manhattan to Queens. The bridge has a pedestrian walkway and a bike lane for bicyclists. Here you’ll have an amazing view as well as being able to see the Roosevelt Island Tram as well.
Top Restaurants / Bars on Long Island City
With Long Island City an up-and-coming neighborhood, many restaurants and bars are popping up to accommodate the influx of people moving in. There are many culinary options in this thriving neighborhood. You just need to know where to look. We can help you out with this.
Our Recommended Food Spots to Check Out in LIC
- Black Star Bakery – It’s located right near Gantry Plaza State Park and offers a great selection especially for breakfast or brunch. (Address: 2-10 50th Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101)
- Casa Enrique – If you’re in the mood for Mexican food and you’re in the LIC area, this is the place to go. Their tacos are to die for. (Address: 5-48 49th Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101)
- Corner Bistro – Do you want a simple American joint? Then check out Corner Bistro in LIC. Here they have their famous burgers. To make it even more American, they have buffalo wings, fries and pickles as well. (Address: 47-18 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, NY 11101)
- Cyclo – This Vietnamese spot serves some of the best comfort food but with a contemporary twist. The menu is diverse and has a bunch of vegetarian options as well. (Address: 5-51 47th Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101)
- LIC Flea and Food – Every summer, Long Island City hosts something very similar to the famous Smorgasburg. Restaurants and vendors from Queens participate and is something a foodie should attend.
Shopping in Long Island City
Just like Williamsburg in Brooklyn, LIC isn’t a neighborhood that has a lot of mainstream stores, if it even has any. It’s an upcoming neighborhood, so maybe one day in the future, superstore giants will make their way into the area. As of right now, there are a bunch of vintage stores and special boutique stores to choose from.
Long Island City Kleaners is a great place to start, especially for men. Another great spot is Just Things. There’s a lot of vintage bling and purses available, so make sure to check it out.
The Art Scene and Museums in LIC
There are a few places in LIC where you can go to experience museums or the art scene. Below are some of the best places to check out.
The Sculpture Center
The Long Island City Sculpture Center is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the creative world of thriving artists in Queens. In an area where a workshop was once located, the architect, Maya Lin created this great art museum in 2002. (Address: 44-19 Purves Street / Jackson Avenue)
This is the little brother to the MoMA in Manhattan but it definitely isn’t inferior. The museum holds one of the largest exhibits on contemporary art. During the summer, MoMA PS1 holds what they call a Warm-Up party. Be sure to check this museum out. Go look at the amazing art and have a blast at the same time. (Address: 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101)
This museum was opened up by the well-known Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi. You can find his work here. There are 12 exhibitions and a gift shop. (Address: 9-01 33rd Rd, Queens, NY 11106)
Hotels in Long Island City
Below are just some of the hotels that are located near or in LIC.
- LIC Hotel (Address: 44-04 21st St, Long Island City, NY 11101)
- Z NYC Hotel (11-01 43rd Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101)
- Paper Factory Hotel (37-06 36th St, Long Island City, NY 11101)
Living in Long Island City
There are brand new luxury high risers that are being built because there is a huge influx of people making their way into the neighborhood. The LIC skyline is continuously evolving and even a lot of businesses are making their way to the area. Keep an eye on this neighborhood in the upcoming years.
If you liked LIC, definitely check out Williamsburg in Brooklyn as well as Astoria which is the neighboring area. Both areas are accessible by the G train or the N or W trains.
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.