This Queens neighborhood has it all -- it's the hometown to stars like Tony Bennett, Cyndi Lauper and Christopher Walken, and has been featured in films ("GoodFellas," "Serpico") and was the setting for "All in the Family." And, it's become hot spot for good restaurants and bars. As more young professionals move in – drawn by the quick trip to midtown – the options keep expanding alongside the longtime businesses.
It is impossible to hit all the best that Astoria has to offer in just one day because there's just too much -- Astoria Bier & Cheese, Mom's, the LetLove Inn, Astoria Park and all of Steinway Street -- but we've taken on the challenge of putting together a list of things you won't want to miss.
Get to Astoria by ferry
The NYC Ferry route between Manhattan and Astoria opened in August, offering a scenic view of the skyline and a quick, hassle-free way to get between the boroughs for $2.75 -- the same price as the subway. It also stops at Long Island City and Roosevelt Island, if you're feeling adventurous and want to explore more of the city's waterfront. From the Astoria landing, it is an easy and pleasant walk into the heart of the neighborhood. Take Astoria Boulevard to Vernon Boulevard until it turns into Main Street. Take a right from Main Street onto 30th Avenue and continue until you reach your next Astoria destination.
(East 35th Street at FDR Drive, Pier 11 in Manhattan and 3-10 Astoria Blvd. in Queens)
Walk the Socrates Sculpture Park
More than a dozen sculptures are spread throughout this outdoor museum along the waterfront. The park features a rotation of pieces by city-based artists in exhibitions throughout the year. The 2017 Socrates Annual featured Tanda Francis' "Take Me With You" (pictured), meant to address the scarcity of clean water. Sreshta Rit Premnath's "Only One Way" combines "thumbs' up" and other symbols with a series of slumping figures. The park is open to the public daily from 9 a.m. to sundown. (32-01 Vernon Blvd.)
Welling Court Mural Project highlights beautiful street art
On your way into Astoria, stop and take a look at some of the 140 murals that have grown out of the Welling Court Mural Project. Colors, shapes and words seem to pop off the buildings as you pass by. New Yorkers and artists from around the world, including Abe Lincoln Jr., Lady Pink, Magda Love and Icy & Sot, have contributed to the project. You'll see political cartoons (President Donald Trump as a spoiled child), inspirational quotes ("Do or do not. There is no try," by "Star Wars" icon Yoda), grotesque and dark characters (a terrifying octopus), as well as beautiful and peaceful murals (a group of boys in a boat). (Start at 30th Avenue at 12th Street)
Grab coffee and a pastry from Astoria Coffee
This locally owned shop offers handcrafted drinks, including a chai latte with cinnamon (pictured), and a selection of delicious baked goods from Amy's Bread and Ceci Cela, like an almond croissant. The space offers an intimate place to work or chat with friends over a cup of coffee and is centrally located. It's a block from the 30th Avenue subway stop and a quick walk to other Astoria haunts. The couple that owns it, Dennis Lee and Liz Wick, ran Astoria Coffee Delivery before starting the brick-and-mortar shop in 2014. (30-04 30th St. at 30th Avenue)
Get behind the screen at the Museum of the Moving Image
Film and photography fans will enjoy this museum. Through the use of historical artifacts, like old cameras, interactive displays that show you how movie magic works, and numerous screenings, the story of cinematography unfolds. Spend an hour or two perusing the building, or catch a film, but don't miss the permanent Jim Henson exhibit, which opened in July 2017 and features 47 Muppets as well as details of the creator's journey to bring us his beloved creation. Admission is $15. If you want more film history, The Astor Room, where silent film stars like Rudolph Valentino and Charlie Chaplin, once frequented is just across 36th Street. (36-01 35th Ave.)
Brunch at Queens Comfort
A visit to Astoria would be incomplete without brunch at this 30th Avenue staple that serves up what it advertises: comfort food. The restaurant looks like someone's living room, with memorabilia all over the walls and funky holiday props. The menu is as unique as its decor, like the "Hobbits Salty Pork Benedict," the "Cap'n Crunch Crusted Chicken Sandwich" and the "Atomic Fire Balls" deep fried mac and cheese. Dinner is always an option if the line is too long for brunch on the weekends. Queens Comfort is cash-only and you can bring your own beer, too. (40-09 30th Ave.)
Enjoy a joke or get crafty at Q.E.D.
This space is a place to show and tell, it's website says, and offers a little bit of everything when it comes to entertainment. Check out Q.E.D.'s daily schedule of trivia, standup comedy, improv and storytelling events, which are free or very affordable -- $10 is the most you'll end up spending on a show. If you want to take a swing dance class, learn how to embroider or play board games, Q.E.D offers that too, and more. (27-16 23rd Ave.)
Get a taste of authentic Greek food at Taverna Kyclades
Yes, there is usually a line at this restaurant, which has been recommended by the Michelin Guide, but it's worth the wait. But when you do get seated, you can count on getting large portions, fresh food and good service. Try the fried or grilled calamari and the Greek salad (pictured) to start. The salmon steak or filet of sole with a side of lemon potatoes is a great option for an entree. Taverna Kyclades also gives you a complimentary blackberry yogurt dessert when you think you're done. (3307 Ditmars Blvd.)
Finish your day off at Il Fornaio Bakery
Open from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., this Italian bakery has all the goodies you can imagine: cakes, cookies, cupcakes, muffins, pastries, pies and more. The sweets in the display case are simply mouthwatering to look at and you could spend a long time gazing, but make sure to take home some of the brightly colored rainbow cookies (pictured) or the cannoli. The bakery is also well known for its creative, made-to-order cakes, including a Burn Book from "Mean Girls." (29-14 30th Ave.)