Astoria Queens with Kids: Best 30 Things to Do Including Parks, NYC's Largest Pool, Drop-in Play Spaces & MoMI
In many ways, Astoria feels like two separate neighborhoods. The northern section is its own little city perched right on the East River. Everything you need is right there: Great shopping on Steinway Street, Broadway and Astoria Boulevard; a thriving restaurant scene; and the 60-acre, amenity-filled, waterfront Astoria Park, which boasts NYC's largest outdoor pool and famous views of the Hell Gate and RFK Bridges.
The southern part of Astoria, which borders on the more industrial Long Island City, was an early movie industry hot spot, and today is home to Kaufman Astoria Studios (where Sesame Street films) and the Museum of the Moving Image. Although this section has been overhauled over the past few decades and dubbed the Kaufman Arts District, the remaining warehouses hint at its grittier past.
Astoria is well known for its Greek restaurants and stores, and you'll spy numerous Greek Orthodox Churches as you explore. But like its home borough, the neighborhood is quite ethnically diverse—for example, locals call the stretch of Steinway Street between 28th Avenue and Astoria Boulevard "Little Egypt" due to its plethora of Arabic restaurants and shops.
Thanks to its many attractions and relatively affordable housing, (a mixture of modest one- and two-family houses alongside larger buildings), families have been flocking to Astoria. That's reflected by the many online parenting groups like the Astoria Moms Meetup Group, the Astoria New and Expecting Moms Meetup Group and the Astoria Moms Yahoo Group, to name just a few. Locals keep up on everything happening in the nabe on the fabulous local blog We Heart Astoria.
Throughout April, we'll be highlighting everything we love about Astoria, including the best places to play, eat and experience with kids. The neighborhood's official borders are perpetually in dispute, especially on the southern and western edges where it's difficult to tell where the sprawling Long Island City ends. For the purposes of our posts, our geographical boundaries are approximately the East River to the west and Northern Boulevard/49th Street to the east, 36th Avenue to the south and Ditmars Boulevard to the north. We kick off our coverage with the top 30 things to do with kids in Astoria, Queens.
- Stroll along the waterfront in the glorious 60-acre Astoria Park, where you can romp in the playground, enjoy a game of tennis, show off in the skatepark and...
- Splash around the Astoria Park Pool, NYC's largest outdoor public pool which is open in summer
- Celebrate Independence Day a few weeks early at Astoria's annual Grucci fireworks display that's preceded by a free concert
- Strike a pose with the iconic Hell Gate Bridge in the background in Astoria Park
- Catch a free-with-admission screening or try a hands-on filmmaking workshop for kids at the Museum of Moving Image
- Afterward, explore the newly christened Kaufman Arts District, home to MoMI, Kaufman Astoria Studios, the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts and the UA Kaufman Astoria Stadium Cineplex
- Sit back, relax and snack at one of our favorite family-family restaurants in Queens, the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, where kids can roam around the big backyard while adults kick back with food and drinks
- Try the kids' programs, batting cages and the indoor pool at the Astoria Sports Complex
- Hone your vocal skills at Waltz-Astoria's twice-a-week Little Waltzers sing-alongs, which include free snacks
- Drop into indoor romping spot Kids Playhouse to conquer the multilevel Adventure Maze
- Hit the rides and chow down on cotton candy at the annual Astoria Park Carnival, which usually takes place the last weekend in June
- Catch a show by the Astoria Performing Arts Center—the spring production tends to be a family-friendly musical
- Check out the eclectic wares at ma-and-pa shop Lockwood, which is chock-full of designer women and kids' clothing, baby gear, vintage furniture and knickknacks, and even has a place for kids to play
- Introduce the kids to authentic Greek cuisine at the family-owned Taverna Kyclades, which is particularly renown for its seafood
- Or make your own great Greek meal with ingredients you buy at Titan Foods, the largest Greek supermarket in North America
- Bring a blanket and catch free outdoor flicks at Movie Nights in Astoria Park
- Hit the Yoga Room with your baby or toddler in tow, or enjoy free family yoga in the park in the summer
- Drop in for open play, or check out a wide variety of kids' classes and parenting workshops at Raising Astoria
- Experience a Greek Easter season in Astoria, which includes a epitaphios (a reenactment of Christ's burial march) and fireworks
- Try capoeira, Zumba and traditional Greek dancing, just some of the offbeat kids' classes offered at Gym-Azing
- Groove to no-cost kids' concerts in Athens Square Park every summer—the green space is currently being renovated but is expected to reopen soon
- Cozy up with a good kids' book or enjoy a free family event at one of Astoria's three Queens Library branches: the Broadway, Astoria and Steinway branches
- Enjoy free storytime and browse the children's section at the homey Astoria Bookshop
- Watch the hardworking members of the Two Coves Community Garden tend to their plots—the green space is open to the public on weekends in warm weather
- Rub shoulders with local families at Astoria's so-called Secret Playground, which is actually part of PS 85
- Or try a playground with a view in Rainey Park, which borders on the East River
- Head to Astoria Heights Playground on Halloween for the neighborhood's big annual trick-or-treat event
- Find eclectic toys like model trains and plane kits, plus serious art supplies and other offbeat gifts at Rudy’s Hobby & Art Shop
- Want some live music with your meal? Try the brunch at The Strand Smokehouse, which also has a great backyard that kids love
- Try to strike out at Astoria Bowl, which offers free games for kids in spring and summer
Read all of our posts about exploring Astoria, Queens with kids.