I moved to New York a little over four years ago and found myself living in Astoria for the better part of my time in the city. It wasn’t until I moved in with my boyfriend a few years ago that I traded in my Queens address to try out other neighborhoods in New York. It was a bittersweet decision and there are things I absolutely miss about my first home in New York. Some of my favorite places and best things to do in the city are in Astoria.
Although I’m insanely happy in my new apartment on the Upper West Side, Astoria will always have a big piece of my heart. It will always be the place that taught my fresh, doe-eyed New York self how to be a real New Yorker. Or at least how to fake it. It’s where I learned my first lessons, created my first daily routines, and where I truly made New York home.
This Greek neighborhood sitting just a few train stops passed the East River has a bunch of reasons to visit. For one, it’s where real residents of the city live and a great place to escape the big crowds in Manhattan. It’s pretty rare to find tourists in this part of the city. But I think it’s really important that when you’re visiting New York that you get out and explore the wonderful neighborhoods of this constantly growing city. In my opinion, Astoria is one of the best places to start.
So I made a list of all the best places in Astoria. Between beer gardens, dive bars and karaoke spots, there’s enough here to give you a full day itinerary of the best Astoria has to offer.
The city life of New York doesn’t mean you have to give up completely on the calming effects of nature and that’s why we have places like Astoria Park. It’s a beautiful park with incredible river views and year-round activities. I used to live just about a seven minute walk from the park and I would go just to lay in the sun and read a book or listen to music. It’s an easy place to enjoy a morning stroll and get some Instagram worthy photos before exploring the rest of the neighborhood.
During my first summer in New York, one of my favorite activities was packing some food and homemade sangria up and catching movies in the park. There is also a public pool, skate park, running track and tennis courts if you like to stay active.
Location: 19 19th St, Queens, NY 11105
The assumption that everyone moved to New York City to be a singer or actor is for the most part true (with the exception of me). That makes Karaoke bars a little different than they are in the rest of the world, because everyone can actually sing. This can be nerve racking if you aren’t a good singer (like me). But even if that’s the case, the most fun you can probably have in Astoria is at Karaoke Shout.
I have spent plenty of nights here with my best friend, drunkenly rapping Left Eye’s part in Waterfalls. With private rooms in the back, the shy singers can always create their own comfortable atmosphere. But with the lively bar in front, it would be a shame to miss some truly entertaining singing by mostly locals and bar regulars. Even the bartenders can sing (and will sometimes grab the mic to bail you out if you need her).
There’s drink specials almost everyday. Mondays are the best time to come because songs are free! The rest of the week each song is $1-$2 depending on the night.
Location: 32-46 Steinway St, Astoria, NY 11103
Mom’s Bar and Kitchen
Mom’s is probably my favorite brunch spot in Astoria (maybe even the city). The best part of their brunch menu? It’s all day, every day! Because I work in a bar, I tend to have a weird schedule that turns weekdays into my weekends, so it’s always nice to find a brunch place that accommodates my lifestyle and I have spent plenty of Monday mornings with one of their Iced American coffee drinks.
The 90s nostalgic ambience is only the start of what makes this place one of my favorites. The list includes their big mouth milkshakes, wine coolers and the Capri Sun party pouch! I would be extremely disappointed if you went and didn’t order all three.
I should note that they opened a second location in midtown because the concept of this bar was so popular in Astoria. Although I think it is definitely worth going to the original Queens location, you can indulge in the same menu on 9th Avenue and 48th Street.
Location: 33-01 31st Ave, Astoria, NY 11106
SingleCut Craft Brewery
I didn’t know how much I loved beer until I moved to New York. In fact, I used to drink my beer with (gasp!) LEMONADE. Although I still maintain that a shandy is refreshingly delicious (especially in the summer), my taste for craft beer has evolved a lot over the last few years. Maybe it’s because I kickstarted my New York City bartending career off at the House of Brews? Whatever the reason is, I love beer now and haven’t added lemonade to it in quite some time.
So if you love beer as much as I do, or if you’re ready to graduate from a shandy, you don’t want to miss going to SingleCut Beersmiths. It is one of my favorite local craft breweries and it just happens to be in Astoria. I was lucky enough during my time at House of Brews to tour the brewery and hang out in their tap room, which is open to the public Thursday through Sunday. They also stay true to the music theme of the breweries name, along with the names of their beers, and have live music on the weekends.
I love sour beers and although I know they aren’t for everyone, SingleCut brews some of the best sours in the city. The brewery is a little out there in Astoria so be prepared to go for a good walk or perhaps a cab ride – I promise it’s worth it.
Location: 19-33 37th St, Queens, NY 11105
Bohemian Beer Garden
There’s nothing quite like a beer garden on a nice summer day, and this one is by far my favorite in the city. The Bohemian Beer Garden is the oldest in the city and still one of the largest outdoor drinking spaces you will find in New York. With tons of picnic tables, it’s not hard to get a group together, grab a spot and spend a nice day soaking up the sun.
This beer garden is hugely representative of the history of Astoria and the important people who helped shape the neighborhood. Staying true to the Czech Republic’s Bohemian history, you will find plenty of reasons to love this place. They have a large menu with delicious authentic food items and a full bar for anyone who isn’t a beer drinker. Besides, you can do a lot worse in New York City than a $7 mug of beer.
Location: 2919 24th Ave, Astoria, NY 11102