Often, people think travel isn’t something that can be a regular part of their lives because trips are expensive, time consuming and require a lot of planning. However, that’s just not true.
For me, traveling is a mindset. It doesn’t need to involve a flight to a new city, a car ride to a weekend getaway or even sitting on a train for a few hours. Travel can be a staycation in your own town, or if you’re like me and live in a major city, a day trip to a neighborhood you don’t spend much time in.
As part of #Take12Trips, I’m planning some awesome trips to new countries and cities I haven’t visited, but as a whole, my focus is just dedicating time to experiencing new things and getting outside of my comfort zone on a regular basis.
After spending almost half of January in Florida, and with a slew of trips coming in April, I decided February and March needed to be a bit slower paced. In February, I didn’t leave New York (a rarity for me!). Instead, I spent time exploring Astoria, a part of the city I don’t usually spend much time in.
Astoria conjures images of great Greek food and shawarma. Streets are lined with cafes and delis, there’s no shortage of flaky phyllo pastries. February weather meant I limited my exploring to indoor activities (trying new restaurants, checking out new bars and boutiques), but Astoria offers plenty of outdoor activities as well, including gorgeous views of Manhattan’s skyline.
My favorite places in Astoria, Queens
Food & Drink
- Milkflower: This place is heaven. Wood fired pizzas that are nothing short of amazing, the best burrata I’ve ever had and a cozy atmosphere
- The Bonnie: If I lived in Astoria, this gastropub would be my local go-to for great cocktails and tasty bar food. The atmosphere reminded me of my former haunt when I lived on Upper East Side, the Penrose
- Bohemian Hall: An old-school, big beer garden with shady trees, picnic tables and pitchers of icy beer. This is one of my favorite places to go on summer weekends. In February, we went here for a silent disco- which, was fun and I’d recommend everyone experience at least once
- Gossip Coffee: Cold brews, delicious doughnuts and a cute outdoor garden- this place has all the makings of a perfect neighborhood coffee shop
- The Strand Smokehouse: A Sunday brunch vibe must-do. Sit on the front porch, have a whiskey cocktail, chill out to the live music and indulge in southern comfort food
- The Queens Kickshaw: Fancy grilled cheese and craft ciders. The gouda grilled cheese with guava jam, black beam hummus and pickled jalapeños is killer
- Studio Square: A massive indoor / outdoor beer garden with Strongbow on tap? A+ in my book
- LIC Food & Flea: Think baby Smorgasburg, there’s a good, varied selection of food and drinks. Come here for lunch on a spring Saturday and then walk along the waterfront in the Gantry Plaza State Park
- King of Falafel & Shawarma: Hands-down, some of the best falafel in New York
Shopping & Outdoors
- Titan Foods: One-stop shop for everything Greek
- Lockwood Shop: New York needs more places like this- great gifts, cute housewares, stylish (yet affordable) jewelry and clothing
- Socrates Sculpture Park: Farmers Market on Saturdays, waterfront yoga in the spring and summer, and cool art installations. What’s not to love?
- Astoria Park: Great views of the NYC skyline and Roosevelt Island, the perfect place to watch the sun set over the city
- Long Island City Piers: Stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. The piers and adjacent park are newly renovated, making this the perfect place to spend a summer Saturday relaxing in the sun
- Museum of the Moving Image: I haven’t been here yet, but I know I’ll love it from what I’ve heard
I haven’t spent much time in Queens in relation to other parts of New York City, but love what I’ve seen so far. Comment or shoot me an email if you’ve got a favorite place you think I should check out 🙂
Coming up in March for #Take12Trips: Charleston, South Carolina