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In 2015, Queens residents had a collective laugh and groan when Lonely Planet named the New York borough the top spot to visit in the entire United States. A laugh because, duh, and a groan because, well, secret's out.
Queens may not be as glam as Manhattan or as hip at Brooklyn, but it is a big borough—the biggest of N.Y.C.'s five, in fact—which means there’s plenty to explore. And what better person to provide a list of top spots to visit than a local? So this InStyle staffer and proud Queens resident for the last 10 years narrowed down the bars, restaurants, museums, and more worth making the trek out for. Sure, there's Citi Field (home of the Mets) and Corona Park (above, host to two of the largest World's Fairs ever held in the United States) but the recommendations that follow are less well known destinations that will offer you a taste of everything the borough has to offer.
1. MoMa PS1
A trip to this public school-turned-exhibition-space (hence the name) is worthwhile for many reasons, but especially during the summer for its Warm Up series. Now in its 19th year, this Saturday night staple features outdoor concerts led by local and international DJs who spin a range of music genres in the museum's outdoor courtyard. Another reason to make the trip? M. Wells Dinette, a cafeteria-style restaurant led by Hugue Dufour and Sarah Obraitis of the popular local steakhouse M. Wells. (More of a foodie than an art lover? You don't need to purchase admission to the museum to enter.)
22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City; momaps1.org
2. Queens County Farm
Yes, this is an actual place in one of New York City's five boroughs. The 47 acres that comprise this site house the requisite farm animals and seasonal vegetable bounty, plus historic farm buildings that date back to 1697. Check out its events calendar for happenings you can't find anywhere else in New York City, like a summertime Indian powwow and an almost too good corn maze in the fall.
Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park; queensfarm.org
3. Museum of the Moving Image
From farmland beauty to sights that make you recoil in horror, Queens has it all. Movie and TV fanatics flock to this museum for its comprehensive collection of artifacts relating to all things moving on film, from old-school arcade games to the makeup mold you see above, created for the possessed young girl Linda Blair played in The Exorcist.
Museum of the Moving Image
36-01 35 Ave, Astoria; movingimage.us
4. Spa Castle
It's worth making a day out of a trip here, as this four-level, 100,000-square-foot spa has more to offer than massages. A combination of traditional Asian saunas and European-like spa services, the site also offers guests a fitness center, restaurant, and sleeping and meditation rooms. But buyer beware: No shoes are allowed throughout the vicinity, and no clothes are allowed in gender-specific mineral-infused bath areas.
131-10 11th Ave, College Point; ny.spacastleusa.com
5. Astoria Park
They say the best views of Manhattan are from outside of it, and that is certainly true of Astoria Park. Located on the East River, the park offers a great lawn, tennis and bocce ball courts, a running track, children's playground, and, in the summer, access to New York City's largest—and cleanliest—public pool, all with half the crowds of that other popular park tourists tend to frequent.
19th Street and Ditmars Blvd.; nycgovparks.org
6. Joe's Shanghai
While this restaurant has two outposts in Manhattan, the Flushing location is the original that spawned their now-famous crab and pork soup dumplings.
136-21 37th Avenue, Flushing; joeshanghairestaurants.com
7. Rockaway Beach
Following mass destruction and devastation from 2012's Hurricane Sandy, Rockaway Beach is back and better than ever. (Where else can you simultaneously glimpse dolphins and the New York City skyline?) The atmosphere is so far from anything else you'll find in Queens—let alone New York—that you shouldn't let the trek deter you. Just keep reminding yourself, in the wise words of The Ramones, "it's not hard, not far to reach."
8. Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden
The oldest beer garden in New York can get crowded in the summer, and its no wonder: in addition to it's plethora of shady, 100-year-old trees, the venue offers a full menu of tastily authentic Czech cuisine. Traveling with kids? This may be the one place in the whole of New York where you won't feel uncomfortable having a baby in bar.
Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden
2919 24th Ave, Astoria; bohemianhall.com
9. Taverna Kyclades
However, no trip to Astoria is complete without indulging in some of the area's great Greek food, and the spot to head to first is Taverna Kyclades, which doesn't take reservations and often has an hour-long wait for a table on any given night—and that was before Bill Murray and George Clooney popped by to sample some of the restaurant's fresh fish dishes.
33-07 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria; tavernakyclades.com