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Manhattan, where? Many are discovering (what locals already know): the unique adventures, sightseeing, spectacular views, eats, drinks, culture and nightlife that are to be found in Queens. Now you can experience it as a local with this guide to create one perfect day in Queens.
For a leisure start to the day, a chance to read the paper and, of course, enjoy a great cup of coffee, you must visit COFFEED, the coffee shop with a conscience. Located on Northern Boulevard at 37th Street, COFFEED is a sustainable shop. It uses locally and ethically sourced ingredients and donates a percentage of food and drink sales to local charities. Here you will find great seating and comfortable environment. Everything’s fresh, and they even offer wine — just think “It’s happy hour somewhere.”
If you love Thai cuisine, there is a hidden-gem in Woodside named, Thailand Center Point. It is a family owned business that offers the most authentic Thai food around. Hint: If spicy food does not agree with you, mention it to your server. (Their “regular” level is medium spicy.)
Prefer something else?
Here are a few other options.
For French cuisine, a lovely restaurant in Long Island City, where the owner is also the chef, is Café Triskell. It has an excellent lunch menu (actually, good for brunch and dinner, too). Hint: Their special recipe of Chicken Bisteeya is not to be missed — you won’t regret it.
Tennis then food, anyone? If you are planning to go to the largest public tennis facility in the world, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, to attend the U.S. Open, take the train one stop to Main Street and visit the Happy Family Hotpot (Chinese/Mongolian Cuisine) in Flushing, where you can create your own soup. Start by choosing a spice- or cream-based soup, and then select items to be added (options include various vegetables and meats). Best part? The pots cook at your table.
For amazing Korean BBQ in Flushing, go to San Soo Kap; it’s open 24/7. These are just a few of my favorites. Obviously, there’s a diverse selection to keep us foodies satisfied.
After a good meal, it’s time to work off a few calories by exploring the history and culture of Queens. A visit to the Queens Museum is a must. It houses a 9,335-square-foot, scaled-down, architectural-model panorama of all five boroughs. So you can visit all the boroughs at once. The permanent collection includes a display of Tiffany glass, Salvador Dali paintings, crime scene photographs from the Daily News archives and more than 6,000 artifacts from the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs.
Prefer the outdoors?
Visit the Queens Botanical Garden, with 40 acres of trees, shrubs, herbs and flower patches. Something is always blooming, no matter the season. There’s a Cherry Circle, Fragrance Walk, Perennial Garden, Arboretum, Pinetum and The Victorian Wedding Garden. Hint: Romantic setting that’s perfect for two.
Sports fans know that Queens is the home of the New York Mets at Citi Field. Visit the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum, adjacent to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. Mama’s of Corona is a popular Italian restaurant/café located in the shadows of the stadium (including an in-the-park stand, along with other restaurants).
Not a sports fan? Never fear: Visit Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which is the second largest public space in all of NYC. With roughly 1,255 acres, it is about 1.5 times larger than Manhattan’s Central Park, and it hosts a wonderful mix of flora, fauna, waterways, paths, athletic facilities, statues and cultural organizations.
Queens also offers the best views — it’s not bragging if it’s true — happy hour spots and live entertainment venues. The Z Hotel Rooftop in Long Island City is not only a great place for drinks, music and food, but it also touts breathtaking views of the New York skyline. Café Ole in Astoria mixes the best sangrias, pairing perfectly with their authentic paella. Prefer suds? Also in Astoria, try the Bohemian Hall Beer Garden which offers a large selection of craft beer. Its competition, Studio Square, also offers craft beer but includes a rooftop with skyline views.
Ready to boogie?
Visit Mundo at the Paper Factory Hotel with different theme nights that include flamenco and Arabic nights. It’s never boring.
Last but not least, visiting Queens would not be complete without a trip to Spa Castle in College Point. Pay $40 to access the facilities that include a pool, sauna, steam room and much, much more. Splurge a little (because you deserve it) and select spa treatments from their extensive menu.
Now that’s what I call a perfect day. Final Hint: Feel free to rest and repeat your perfect day as often as needed. Manhattan, where? The real magic happens in Queens.
— Olga Maria Czarkowski is a Queens-based fashion, travel and lifestyle Latina writer who runs the Dreams in Heels blog (dreamsinheels.com).