View of Astoria neighborhood in New York City

City Guide / New York City

New York City Neighborhood Guide: Astoria

By Ruthie Fierberg | Oct 25, 2021

Most people think of Manhattan when they think of New York City. But the truth is, five boroughs comprise NYC: Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Staten Island, and Queens. The latter is actually the largest, geographically, the second-largest in population, and is the most ethnically diverse county in the entire U.S. 

Astoria is just one neighborhood in Queens, particularly popular not only because of its young and artsy vibe, but also because of its proximity to Midtown Manhattan by subway. The area is budget-friendly, active, close-knit, and alive with the spark of its many cultures, including a longstanding Greek community and Little Egypt. There’s a cool, thrifty, lo-fi feel to it. If Manhattan is Rodeo Drive, then this part of Queens is Melrose Street.

Astoria is a western neighborhood, abutting the East River. It borders Long Island City to the southwest, Sunnyside to the southeast, Woodside to the east, and Ditmars-Steinway to the north.

Thinking about moving to Astoria in Queens? Here’s our guide to the best restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, outdoor attractions, gyms, nightlife, and transportation in the area.

Best restaurants in the area

If you consider yourself a foodie, Astoria is a great place to be. Bursting with culture, it’s hard to find bad food in this part of Queens, and most places are casual and affordable.

Taverna Kyclades was named one of the best Greek restaurants in all of New York, specializing in seafood and traditional Greek food all served family-style.

If you want some quality Italian in Queens, head to Vesta Trattoria & Wine Bar for a cozy neighborhood spot, or taste the best wood-fired pizza in the area at Milkflower

This part of Queens boasts incredible seafood restaurants in general. Hit up Astoria Seafood, which is both a Greek seafood market and restaurant, so you choose your food from the counter display. Abuqir is the Egyptian take on seafood—don’t miss the whole blackened fish or the babaganoush. Also in Little Egypt, Duzan serves up fantastic schwarma and kabobs.

Just outside of Little Egypt, you’ll find authentic Creole cuisine at Sugar Freak, which feels and tastes like New Orleans. Though their dinner menu is fantastic, you can’t miss their brunch, which includes beignet sliders, banana cake pancakes, shrimp and grits, and more. 

Arepas Café is a must-visit for cheap, delicious, and big-portioned classic Venezuelan arepas. Regardless of whether you’re a vegetarian, we recommend the veggie arepa for $7. Right next door is Chela & Garnacha if your craving for Latin flavors bends Mexican. Go for a hibiscus margarita with your tacos order. 

If Mexican is your favorite, you’ll also want to try Dulce Cultura for dinner or just dessert—get a homemade churro or concha for the road!

For a big group, hit up The Strand Smokehouse. This huge space feels like a block party, with picnic tables and a barbecue going in the back. You can’t leave without sampling the ribs.

Ever tried Nigerian cuisine? Now’s your chance! Head to Nneji to try a traditional Nigerian stew. District Saigon serves incredible Vietnamese food and serves some of the tastiest pho in town. 

Where to get groceries

You can certainly swing by the usual supermarket suspects like CTown (one on Newtown Avenue, one on 28th Avenue), Key Foods (on Newtown), or the Associated (on 31st Avenue). Over by the water on First Avenue, you’ll find Brooklyn Harvest Market, which is similar to a Fairway.

But just as Astoria boasts restaurants with authentic cuisines from around the world, so too do their markets. Euro Market on 31st Street is a hidden gem that sells a variety of European, particularly Mediterranean, fare. Trade Fair Supermarket sells delicacies and pantry provisions from Brazil, Greece, Italy, ten different Hispanic countries, the Middle East, and more—often flown in from around the world. Trade Fair also carries a full line of Halal and organic foods. 

City Fresh Market is another great option for fresh quality meats and seafoods, fresh produce, and more. Family Market on Broadway is a fantastic Japanese grocery store that also sells prepared foods. Kiryakos on 23rd Avenue sells imported Greek specialties. Twin Filipino Food Store on 30th Avenue offers Asian groceries and legit Filipino dishes.

Where to get coffee

Ask anyone where to sip the best coffee in Astoria and they will easily tell you Astoria Coffee. They rotate their menu to feature roasters from around the world. OK Café is a close second, if only because their star offerings stray from classic brews. Try their Coffee Soda-Pop or the Red Tea Latte. There are three varieties of Turmeric Latte and their Magic 8 Ball cold brew is, well, magic. 

For a quick cup to go, Kinship Coffee Cooperative is the spot. Mighty Oak Roasters prides itself on its unique flavors, credit to roasting over a wood fire—which is also more environmentally friendly. Under Pressure serves classic coffees as well as an extensive collection of teas, plus fresh juices and smoothies. 

For the neighborhood’s famous Greek take on java, visit the family-owned Cafe Boulis. Add a savory pastry like spanikopita or a sweet dessert for the perfect mini-meal. A classic American bakery serving apple pie and red velvet cake, Martha’s Country Bakery serves coffee from local roasters.

Outdoor attractions

Like many New York neighborhoods, small parks dot this part of Queens. But along the water, you’ll find the greatest views and largest areas of greenery. Queensbridge Park boasts handball courts, baseball fields, and playgrounds for the little ones. Hallets Cove Playground hosts jungle gyms, handball courts, and a half-basketball court. It’s also a launch site to kayak or canoe in the East River. Rainey Park is another spot ripe to sit and read a book while looking out on the view of the river. 

Astoria Park is the largest in the area. It’s best known for its pool, the largest and oldest in the city. You’ll find outdoor tennis courts, a track, a bandstand, biking and hiking trails, basketball courts, and playgrounds. 

The jewel of Astoria’s outdoor offerings is the Socrates Sculpture Park. Previously an abandoned landfill, it is now a free open studio and exhibition space for artists. Snap a photo at the gates of Kaufman Astoria Studios, which houses the sets for “Girls5Eva,” “Sesame Street,” and more.

Local gyms and workout spots

In the center of Astoria along Steinway, you’ll find a New York Sports Club, Planet Fitness, and Blink Fitness. Club Fitness New York is the ultimate workout haven, with 40,000 square feet of fitness space including four different cardio areas, an entire strength-training floor. and locker rooms with steam rooms, saunas, and Jacuzzis. 

If you’re looking for something other than a fitness center, Better Body Bootcamp offers group training that combines weight training with HIIT Cardio. UFC GYM offers an MMA-inspired workout via private coaching or group classes. Sitan Gym teaches Muay Thai—a Thai martial art often referred to as “Thai boxing”—in mixed-level classes. FlexFiit offers a boutique fitness experience focused on circuit training—you can even try a class for free! 

Nightlife

The Beer Garden is practically synonymous with Astoria. There are many of them throughout the neighborhood, but no mistake—when someone says, “The Beer Garden,” they mean the one at Bohemian Hall. It’s quintessential New York and one of the oldest beer gardens in the city. 

For cocktails, head to The Bonnie, Sweet Afton (which also specializes in craft beers), or The Ditty. Deja Vu offers an unbeatable happy hour, while you’ll get more of a club feel at Fusion Lounge

The Let Love Inn is a traditional jazz bar featuring live music (and no cover!) on Mondays and Tuesdays and DJs on the weekends. SingleCut Beersmiths is a 5,000-square-foot microbrewery and tasting room and a full event calendar featuring live music and more. 

Things to do

This part of Queens is more residential, but there are a couple of museums in the area, such as the famous Museum of the Moving Image. True to its name, the museum investigates any image that moves and is dedicated to the “art, history, technique and technology of film, television, and digital media.” The main exhibition is Behind the Screen, an immersive experience that educates visitors about the process of producing, promoting, and presenting movies through artifacts, artwork, interactive stations, and more. Don’t miss the permanent Jim Henson Exhibition, which has been housed at the museum since 2017 and features more than 400 objects from Henson’s work and life.

Founded by artist Isamu Noguchi, the Noguchi Museum presents highlights of his life’s work, including sculptures, drawings, models, and designs. Q.E.D. Astoria is an independently owned and operated community space for the arts. Attend a stand-up show, take a class, watch a screening, listen in on a lecture, or just meet up with like-minded folks. 

Transportation

A monthly Metrocard ($127 for 30 days) is the best bang for your buck and works for subways and buses in NYC. It’s more common to have a car in the neighborhoods further out in Queens, but Astorians still often rely on public transportation. The N/W/R trains run right through the area. Depending on your final destination, you can also take the F/M or the 7 to Queensboro Plaza. Aboveground, you can take the MTA buses to travel throughout NYC.

As is true in any of the five New York City boroughs, Uber and Lyft are everywhere and convenient ways of direct transport from point A to point B. 

Land a great apartment in Astoria

If you like the idea of moving to an apartment in Astoria, Landing offers fully furnished apartments with flexible lease terms, concierge services, seamless transfers, and all the amenities you need. Browse our available apartments in Astoria, or contact us to learn more about how a Landing membership works.

Still looking for the right New York City neighborhood for you? Browse our other New York City neighborhood guides. 

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About the author

Ruthie Fierberg

Ruthie Fierberg is an independent arts journalist, editor, moderator, on-camera host, producer, and theatrical consultant based in New York City. She is the creator and host of the podcast Why We Theater on the Broadway Podcast Network, which digs into the onstage works we love to create the offstage change we need. Find more at ruthiefierberg.com and follow her IG: @ruthiefierceberg / Twitter: @RuthiesATrain.