Exploring Unique Attractions and Green Spaces in Queens
NYC Attractions in Queens
One of the most unique things to do in Queens is visit the site where magician Harry Houdini is buried. This cemetery also contains his famous steel-lined wand and seance table.
The New York Hall of Science is a great place for kids to learn about science through hands-on interactive exhibits. This museum also has an outdoor Science Playground and Rocket Park.
1. Queens Museum
The Queens Museum is a top attraction for locals and visitors from around the world. It hosts a variety of exhibitions and events that showcase the diverse cultural aspects of Queens. It also offers guided tours in multiple languages to cater to non-English speakers.
The museum is also home to the famous Panorama of New York City, which features a large-scale model of the city. The model includes every building that existed until 1992 in all five boroughs. It’s a fascinating sight, especially for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts.
The museum also houses a collection of art, including works by Noguchi and other artists. It’s a great place to visit with kids, and the admission price is very affordable. A stroll through the park is also a must-do activity. It is home to the Queens Giant, a 133.8-foot tulip poplar tree that is one of the oldest in the city. It attracts many visitors during Halloween, when people hold seances and the traditional Broken Wand ceremony to communicate with Harry Houdini.
2. Flushing Meadows Park
Once the site of two World’s Fairs, Queens’ largest park now has a host of green spaces and recreational activities. The Unisphere and the Queens Museum of Art are found in the central section, and CitiField, home of the National League’s New York Mets, is north of that.
The New York Hall of Science, an indoor attraction founded at the 1964 World’s Fair, is one of the best things to do in Queens for kids and families – although adults can have fun learning here as well. The outdoor Science Playground and Rocket Park help burn off extra energy.
Also in the central section is a botanical garden that started as an exhibit at the 1939 World’s Fair. The Queens Botanical Garden is a beautiful respite from the concrete jungle and, at 39 acres, is one of the biggest things to do in Queens. The adjacent Queens Museum of the Moving Image is a treasure trove of movie history, featuring everything from early film equipment to a huge collection of video games.
3. The Panorama of New York City
Conceived as a celebration of the city’s municipal infrastructure for the 1964 World’s Fair, The Panorama of New York City remains one of the most impressive things to do in Queens. The massive 9,335-square-foot, built to scale re-creation of the five boroughs is the largest architectural model in the world. It cost $672,663 and took more than 100 people three years to assemble.
It includes every building constructed before 1992 and even has a few fake ones added in for good measure. The original model used to have a day-and-night cycle as well, but the phosphorescent paint has long since worn out. The museum isn’t sure exactly when the Panorama will be updated to reflect changes to the real city, but it wants to preserve this artifact as long as possible. Hundreds of people have already bought property on the model, commemorating their first dates, school buildings, and childhood homes for as little as $100.
4. Alley Pond Park
The second largest park in Queens, Alley Pond Park features a combination of picnic areas and nature trails along with the vital Alley Pond Environmental Center. Situated between the neighborhoods of Douglaston and Bayside, the glacier-formed terrain is rugged with sandy ridges and kettle ponds within oak, beech and tulip poplar woodlands, alongside freshwater wetlands and tidal marshes.
Among the attractions, you’ll find the 133.8-foot “Queens Giant” (Liriodendron tulipifera)—the tallest carefully measured tree in the city. Learn about this impressive tree and other park landmarks on an Urban Park Ranger tour or explore the natural side of the area with six hiking trails ranging from easy to difficult.
You can also spend an afternoon outdoors playing basketball, tennis, baseball or handball at one of the many courts and fields throughout the park. Alternatively, you can visit the Noguchi Museum to see a collection of outdoor sculptures and landscape designs by the Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi.