Long Island City is an area on the extreme western tip of Queens and considered part of New York City.

Truthfully, most tourists never make it out to Long Island City, which is a shame because it has a bunch to offer.

I must admit, it took me the better part of three years before I ventured out there one day to shoot a scene for an independent film. 

Truth be told, I was a bit annoyed about having to trek over there, but once I arrived I was pretty impressed at all the little city offered.

Since then, I’ve made the trip to LIC about a dozen more times over the years. Every time I explore a new part of the area and almost always leave, glad to have made the journey across the bridge. 

If you’re a local or a tourist who wants to see parts of NYC that are off the beaten path, follow my lead below with my picks of  the best things to do in Long Island City. 

1. Visit MoMA PS1

MoMA PS 1  is one of the largest contemporary art institutions in the United States, and a spot you could easily spend all afternoon exploring. 

They veer toward showing off works by unknown artists, which leads to some really cool exhibits. 

The best part is that because it’s part of MoMA, you can buy an admission ticket that gets you access to both museums.

In the summer they host epic Warm Up parties with live music.

Past performers include Solange, Cardi B, Jamie XX, Ritchie Hawtin, and Skepta. 

You’ll want to book your tickets early if you plan on hitting up one of these events because they sell out fast!

Fun Fact: They house the museum in an old public school building, which is why it’s called PS1. 

2. Walk the Queensboro Bridge

If you’re planning on crossing into LIC from Manhattan and want to take the more scenic route, consider walking across the Queensboro Bridge

It offers stunning views of the East River, Empire State Building, and Chrysler Building. 

Just a heads up, the pedestrian walkways are a bit narrow.

It can definitely get a bit crowded during rush hour. 

Expect the walk to take about 30 minutes and bring a jacket as it gets a bit chilly on the bridge. 

3. Chill in Gantry Plaza State Park

This scenic waterfront park is home to the somewhat famous landmark “Pepsi” sign that’s leftover from the old bottling plant. 

You can hop on the ferry at 34th Street for a quick ride over to the plaza from Manhattan. 

When you arrive, you’ll immediately see sprawling green lawns and an absolutely epic view of the city’s skyline.

There are frequently an array of food trucks in the area if you’re hoping to pick up something to snack on.

I love planning and bringing a small picnic to enjoy on the lawn. 

Gantry Plaza State Park is beautiful any time of day, but dusk is when it really shines.

You will have a stunning view as the sun sets and the city comes alive with lights.  

4. Bike Around the Neighborhood

Thanks to CitiBikes, biking around LIC has never been easier.

They have multiple rental sites throughout the neighborhood. 

You can explore all the streets of Long Island City, cycle along the waterfront, or even follow the bike path that begins at Pulaski Bridge.

It will lead you all the way into Manhattan’s East Village. 

5. Climb at The Cliffs at LIC

This indoor climbing spot is one of my favorite fun workout spots to hit up with friends

They offer reasonable equipment rentals and beginner classes, and a well-stocked snack bar.

Plus, everyone who works there is really nice and helpful.

Whether you’re looking for a fun workout or hoping to beat the jetlag, The Cliffs has you covered.

6. Visit LIC Community Boathouse

Close to Gantry Plaza State Park, you’ll find the LIC Community Boathouse

It’s a local community center where nature lovers come together to volunteer, but the real draw is the free kayak rentals available at the boathouse. 

You’ll get to paddle around the East River, taking all the Manhattan skyline from the water. 

7. Pig Out at LIC Flea & Food

If you’re anything like me, you never pass up an opportunity for food and shopping. 

At LIC Flea & Food you’ll browse an array of vintage clothing and jewelry, plus sample all the artisan foods available for purchase. 

My favorite part of shopping at this market is that you can grab a beer to enjoy while you shop, and occasionally there’s even a DJ.  

8. Check Out Long Island City Kleaners

Before you say anything, yes, the spelling of “Kleaners” is correct. 

I bet you’re wondering that kind of establishment misspells a word in their name?

Well, Long Island City Kleaners is an artsy boutique that serves up urban streetwear, skatewear, and accessories. 

If you’re a sneakerhead, you need to check this place out.

They have the largest and most original collection of shoes I’ve ever seen. 

9. Go Bar Hopping

One of my favorite ways to get to know a new area is to go out drinking in it.

You’ll discover new locations, make friends, and ideally get suggestions from locals. 

These are some spots that my friends and I would always attempt to hang out in:

10. Visit the Museum of the Moving Image

This is easily one of my favorite museums to visit when I leave Manhattan.

The Museum of Moving Image specializes in showcasing media throughout the ages. 

It lies just on the outskirts of LIC, along the Astoria border. 

While you’re there, check out my favorite exhibit, featuring Jim Henson, Sesame Street, and Muppet’s Characters. 

11. Explore The Noguchi Museum

Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi was so committed to preserving his work that he founded and designed The Noguchi Museum

His sculptures, drawings, architectural, stage, and furniture designs are all showcased in the museum. 

My favorite part is the sculpture garden, it’s really relaxing!

12. Enjoy Some Popular LIC Restaurants

Anytime I’m exploring a neighborhood, I like to research some of the best restaurants to explore.

LIC has no shortage of delicious spots to check out. These are some spots I like to meet up with friends at:

13. Marvel at The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass

Full disclosure, this is something that’s been on my to-do list for ages. 

This is a tour you’ll want to be ahead of time, as it’s by appointment only

You’ll get to hear all about Tiffany’s secrets to creating their famous glass, plus check out a variety of glass made at the Tiffany furnaces.

14. Check Out Long Island City Breweries

I must admit, I’m not a massive fan of beer, but I appreciate it now and then.

I have slowly got a bit more into the light beers, thanks to a special friend who always encourages me to have a glass or two. 

Bonus points if you hit up all the places on the LIC Brewery Trail. 

Just grab a postcard at the first spot and collect stamps at every brewery you hit up along the two-mile trail.

If you make it to all of them, you get a prize at the end!

My beer-loving friends always are planning nights out at one of these LIC breweries:

Wrapping Up Your Time in Long Island City

best things to do in long island city 2

Long Island City is the perfect spot to spend the entire day exploring while in NYC.  

It’s not a place most tourists have ventured out to, making it the perfect off the radar spot for people to check out. 

Let me know in the comments below what you’re most looking forward to checking out in LIC!


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