From scenic waterfront walks to historic parks, New York City’s most diverse borough is a multi-stop destination for experiencing some of the best of NYC’s history, nature, and culture.
Hunter's Point South Park
You’ll be able to see as far south as the Financial District and as far north as the Upper East Side while you walk along the waterfront and venture into the neighboring Gantry Plaza State Park. Stop for lunch at the 13,000-square-foot pavilion or get a taste of Long Island City’s international cuisine along Vernon Boulevard.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
During the warmer months, rent a boat and cruise around Meadow Lake or rent a surrey and take a ride around the park’s 897 acres.
The beach is quietest in the morning but around mid afternoon it comes alive with beach volleyball, football games, and mini parties. During high tide, surfers meet up to catch some waves at the beach, the only beach where surfing is legal in New York City. The neighborhood is beach-friendly with many seafood spots, bars, and the famous Caracas Arepas bar. If you’ve no beach wear or gear, no worries. There are many spots to shop for all you need for a perfect beach day.
During the summer, our Urban Park Rangers host birding and canoeing trips around the Jamaica Bay area. The National Park Service offers programs year-round including tours, hikes, and lectures near the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.
King Manor Museum
If you’re hanging out in Jamaica, Queens, check out one of our historic houses, the King Manor Museum. The home once belonged to Rufus King, a framer and signer of the Constitution, one of the first senators from New York, and an important figure in the anti-slavery movement. Tours of the house are available to the public, as well as programming on the life and legacy of Rufus King.
Baisely Pond Park
The Jamaica/South Jamaica area is predominately Caribbean and South Asian. In 2011, the neighborhood welcomed a field just for cricket, a popular sport played in the Caribbean and South Asia.
Juniper Valley Park
During the spring, the 55-acre park is perfect for a stroll or run as its crabapple and cherry trees bloom for the season.
Many birders in the Queens area flock to Highland Park where Ridgewood Reservoir is home to more than 151 species of birds. The reservoir sits on both sides of Brooklyn and Queens and is the area’s best kept secret for runners, birders, and lovers enjoying its quiet walkways. The reservoir is set so high above the park that you can see as far as the Financial District in Manhattan during the winter, when the leaves are gone. The reservoir operated as a water supply for Brooklyn from 1858 to 1959.
A visit to Queens isn't complete without visiting Astoria, perhaps the borough’s most popular neighborhood.
Come summer, take a splash in New York City’s largest and oldest public pool. The pool is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the summer.
The park itself is a neighborhood favorite with stunning views of the Triborough Bridge and the Hell Gate Bridge, especially at sunset.
Ralph Demarco Park
A bit north of Astoria Park is the lovely Ralph Demarco Park. Locals cherish its beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline and Hell Gate Bridge while enjoying a quiet day out on the waterfront.
Socrates Sculpture Park
While you’re hanging out along the Astoria, stop by Socrates Sculpture Park, our free outdoor art gallery. Throughout the year the park bursts to life with large-scale sculptures and multimedia pieces on its 5-acre lawn. See this artwork, the Living Pyramid by Agnes Dene's, through August 30.
Just south of Astoria is the iconic Queensbridge Park, named for the towering views of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge. There’s a seating area that lounges onto the water. Head here for a perfect view of New York City from the East River.
Venture through the rest of the park and have a lunch on the picnic tables under the park’s massive trees. The park is a year-round favorite, but especially beautiful come fall when the leaves change their colors.
Alley Pond Park Adventure Course
Across the way is NYC Parks’ obstacle course at Alley Pond Park. Climb the boulder wall or telephone pool, try out the swings and zip lines, or challenge your loved ones to tug-of-war. The course is free on Sundays during the summer.
Fort Totten Park
Up in Bayside, Queens, Fort Totten Park is a perfect getaway spot on the bay. The military fort was built in 1862 to protect the New York Harbor, then later used as a hospital care center during the Civil War. Throughout the warmer months, our Urban Park Rangers host tours of this historic area.
On hot summer days, swimmers can take a dip in the pool and sunbathe around its grassy edges, or take canoes out and paddle along Little Neck Bay. The pool is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the summer.
If you’re a nature lover, stop by Kissena Park. Stroll through the park’s historic tree grove, which was once a 19th century horticultural nursery for the New York region. Today, the 237-acre park is home to over 100 varieties of trees, including rare finds like the Persian parrotia of Iran, the Chinese toon, and the katsura of Asia.
The park is best known for the Kissena Velodrome, a 400-meter, state-of-the-art cycling track which held the 1964 Olympic Trials.
Queens County Farm
Over at Queens County Farm, you can meet sheep, goats, chickens, pigs and cows grazing on the 5-acre farm, which has been around since the 17th century. During the fall, the farm staff hosts many harvest events, including the annual Amazing Maize Maze adventure through the 3-acre corn field.