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Things to Do

Bayside, Queens: What to do and eat in the quaint neighborhood

Welcome to Bayside, Queens, where the city meets the suburbs and restaurants abound.

While the neighborhood may be known for its waterfront views in the far reaches of northeastern Queens, an influx of trendy nightlife spots, restaurants and cafes has made Bayside an attractive scene to explore.

Whether you’re looking to move or just want to spend the day wandering around a new place, here’s where to eat, shop and hang out in Bayside.

Grab a coffee from Martha’s

Try not to drool over the scores of
Photo Credit: Christa Lopez

Try not to drool over the scores of cakes, pies, puddings and pastries when you step into Martha's Country Bakery, at 41-06 Bell Blvd., for your morning pick-me-up -- but we wouldn't blame you if you did. With a full coffee bar located toward the back of the bakery, Martha's, which also has locations in Forest Hills, Astoria and Williamsburg, serves up more that just delicious baked goods. The coffee menu offers a mix of tried-and-true standbys -- including lattes, cappuccinos and red eyes -- as well as options that highlight Martha's bakery roots, like red velvet or peanut butter hot chocolate. Located on Bell Boulevard, just steps from the Long Island Rail Road station, this is the perfect spot to kick-start your day in Bayside.

Find the castle in Fort Totten

This Gothic Revival-style castle inside Fort Totten (located
Photo Credit: Emilio Guerra

This Gothic Revival-style castle inside Fort Totten (located at the corner of Bell Boulevard and 212th Street) was built in 1887 and used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as their officers' club. Since 1984 it's been home to the Bayside Historical Society. Open to the public, you can walk the property and learn about the Bayside community. Shows have included a look at the native history of the area, which is the oldest carbon-14 dated continually inhabited site in coastal New York State, an exhibit detailing the castle's origin and another about the roaring 20s.

Explore Crocheron Park

You could happily while away hours at Crocheron
Photo Credit: Lauren Cook

You could happily while away hours at Crocheron Park, with its trails, waterfront access to Little Neck Bay and sprawling green space -- plus plenty of benches to sit back and relax upon. The park also boasts playgrounds, a baseball field, tennis and basketball courts and dog-friendly areas for your pup to enjoy. Though the park is a bit of a walk from the center of Bayside Village, it's well worth your time.

Brunch at Aperitif

There is certainly no shortage of eateries in
Photo Credit: Lauren Cook

There is certainly no shortage of eateries in Bayside, which makes choosing a brunch spot that much harder. Aperitif's French bistro-inspired menu will certainly satiate your palate though, with popular dishes like eggs bourguignon (poached egg, braised beef, baguette and hollandaise) and diced filet mignon crepes (with mushrooms and cheese) served alongside brunch staples like French toast, omelets and a sirloin burger. In addition to à la carte mimosas, Bloody Marys and bellinis, Aperitif, at 213-41 39th Ave., also offers unlimited brunch drinks for $18.

Walk along Bell Boulevard

Work off all of that delectable French fare
Photo Credit: Lauren Cook

Work off all of that delectable French fare by taking a stroll down Bell Boulevard. Considered to be Bayside's main drag, Bell is filled with myriad retail stores, nail and hair salons, banks, restaurants and bars. Pop into Karma for some retail therapy, browse the kicks at Sneakers and Sports or pick up some new art supplies from Pete & Sons.

Browse the selection at Turn the Page … Again

While you're wandering along Bell Boulevard, stop by
Photo Credit: Lauren Cook

While you're wandering along Bell Boulevard, stop by Turn the Page ... Again, a used bookstore at 39-15A Bell Blvd. with a mission to give back to the community. This nonprofit is run by mental health business Transitional Services for New York. As an affirmative business, Turn the Page trains people who are attempting to get back into the work force or school for up to a year. Turn the Page helps its employees build the necessary skills to acquire other employment opportunities, all the while selling gently used books at a low cost. Browse the stacks to find fictional treasures in a variety of genres, from young adult and children's books to classics and the latest paperback releases.

Dinner and drinks at FINO wine & tapas

Bayside is home to a largely underrated restaurant
Photo Credit: FINO wine & tapas; Lauren Cook

Bayside is home to a largely underrated restaurant scene that's a true mix of culinary gems, ranging in size from small cafes to large taverns. Nestled among these is FINO wine & tapas, at 39-13 Bell Blvd., which serves up seasonal small plates as well as entrees, charcuterie, gourmet cheeses and desserts. There's something for everyone on this menu, with plenty of vegetarian options like the wild mushroom bruschetta (with goat cheese, truffle oil and lemon zest); roasted bone marrow (with caramelized onion, grilled toast and sea salt) for the carnivores out there; and plenty of seafood plates, including paella for two. Cozy and elegant, this is also a great place to chat with a date or catch up with friends over excellent wine and seasonal cocktails.

Treat yourself at Paté/Roll Smash Ice Cream Bar

Well known for its banh mi sandwiches, described
Photo Credit: Lauren Cook

Well known for its banh mi sandwiches, described by customers as the best in Queens, Paté has partnered with Roll Smash Ice Cream Bar, 4543 Bell Blvd., to bring the people of Bayside made-to-order hand-rolled ice cream. Its rolled ice cream is created using a cream base poured over an iced grill, called an ice pan. The base is mixed with fruit and other fresh ingredients as it freezes. Then, it's pulled into a thin sheet of ice cream before being scraped up into neat little rolls. Whether you're craving something sweet like the berry cheesecake (pictured: strawberry ice cream, graham crackers, cream cheese frosting and fresh blueberries) or a bit of a savory treat (try the matcha-based green fortune or Thai tea), you'll be delighted in watching your flaky yet creamy ice cream crafted before your eyes.

Relax by Oakland Lake in Alley Pond Park

Take your ice cream to go and walk
Photo Credit: Lauren Cook

Take your ice cream to go and walk over to Alley Pond Park, where you can enjoy the sweet end to your day along the shore of Oakland Lake. Sandwiched between Bayside and Oakland Gardens, it's a spring-fed glacial kettle pond that's roughly 15,000 years old, according to the city parks department. Take a seat on a bench and enjoy the peaceful scenery as the sun sets or stroll the path that leads around the lake and try to spot all the flora and fauna of the park. It's also got the largest public high ropes adventure course in the Northeast, according to the parks department.

Fun fact: There was an old legend that the lake was actually 600 feet deep with an underground river that connected to nearby Little Neck Bay. It wasn't until 1969 when that story was debunked by a diving expedition that went searching for the lake's bottom, the parks department says, and found it to be about 20 feet deep with no connection to the bay.


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