About 15 years ago, a friend told me that Long Island City and Hunter’s Point were going to be the places to be. At the time, the area seemed too industrial to be the next hot spot, but the subsequent years have proved my friend right.
Who would have thought that former warehouses would be renovated to become restaurants and boutiques and that LIC would be full of young families, eager to enjoy the amazing waterfront parks and amenities? Unfortunately, not me.
When you visit LIC now, you can see construction going up everywhere. So much has changed in just the last few years that we wanted to update our last list of fun things to do. Go forth and explore!
Want to get to know the whole borough? Check out our Queens Guide for Families.
1. Take in the Manhattan skyline next to the iconic Pepsi sign and gaze out over Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island.
2. Bike down the boardwalk in Gantry Plaza State Park. (The less crowded North end is perfect for shaky riders.)
3. Visit the Gantry Plaza State Park's playground, which has a state-of-the-art water play area during the summer months.
4. Go fishing off Pier 4 at Gantry Plaza State Park.
5. Once playtime's done, head to nearby Riverview Restaurant to dine outdoors and enjoy great views of Gantry and the East River.
There are plenty of delicious food offerings at LIC Flea. Photo courtesy LIC Flea
6. Another great dining option is the LIC Flea, where everyone in the family can find something they like.
7. Enjoy delectable treats, coffee, and hot chocolate at Cannelle.
8. Work off the calories with a gymnastics class at LIC Kids Gymnastics.
9. Fly through the air with the greatest of ease after taking trapeze, aerial arts, and other classes from the teachers at Circus Warehouse.
10. Shop from a selection of adorable kids’ clothes at Tiny You.
11. Discover hidden treasures at Just Things, a fascinatingly eclectic second-hand store.
12. Take a parent-child class at The Yoga Room.
13. Learn about Japanese culture through shadow puppet shows, kabuki, and art workshops at Resobox.
14. Chow down on home-style pizzas and pastas at family-run trattoria Manetta's Fine Foods.
15. Have brunch while taking in a kid-friendly stand-up show at The Creek and The Cave.
16. Bike or stroll over LIC's Roosevelt Island Bridge to visit, which is like a small town oasis (with highrises!) in the midst of New York City.
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Hunter's Point South Park is ready for action. Photo by Shira Kronzon
17. Visit yet another amazing waterfront playground at Hunter’s Point South Park.
18. While you’re there, bring your pup to the dog park, or for the dog-less, live vicariously by watching them play.
19. Grab a coffee and baked goods at COFFEED, a kiosk with outdoor seating.
20. Take that coffee along as you catch the ferry for an East River adventure.
LIC Beach is the ultimate sandbox. Photo by Shira Kronzon
21. Hit the “LIC Beach,” a sandy spot next to the ferry landing where kids can dig to their hearts content. (While it is just off the East River, it’s more a giant sandbox than an actual beach, despite the name.)
22. During the summer months, catch an outdoor movie at Hunter’s Point South Park’s Landing Events space.
23. Get a culture fix from the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, which hosts theater, dance and music performances, including a weekend family series.
24. Don’t miss the matinees at The Secret Theatre.
25. Go retro at the old-school Court Square Diner, conveniently located right near MoMA PS1. (Kids’ meals come with dessert.)
26. Speaking of PS1, enjoy some outdoor fun with the long-running the museum's Warm Up music and art series on summer Saturdays.
Socrates Sculpture Park has plenty of festivals and family events. Photo courtesy of the park
27. Check out the stunning Manhattan views, outdoor exhibits, and free kids’ art workshops on Saturday mornings at Socrates Sculpture Park.
28. Can’t get enough statues? Head to the SculptureCenter for indoor art.
29. Go kayaking for free at Hallets Cove.
30. Team up to get out of an escape room or pit yourself against each other with paintball, archery tag, or laser tag at Indoor Extreme Sports.
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Get to know the Noguchi museum. Photo by Katherine Abbott/courtesy of The Noguchi Museum
31. Be artistic with your kids at the wonderful drop-in Open Studio sessions on the first Sunday of every month at The Noguchi Museum.
32. Learn to ice-skate year-round at indoor rink City Ice Pavilion.
33. Frolic at the tree-lined playground at Andrews Grove, which locals call “Shady Park.”
34. Head to the waterfront Queensbridge Park for the playgrounds and amazing views.
35. Visit the LIC branch of the Queens Library for weekly storytime (although we admit we can’t wait to see the architecturally fascinating new Hunter’s Point Library finally open).
36. Romp at the playground and spray showers at Murray Playground.
37. Get a treat and sit in the old-school British telephone booths at Sweet Leaf Coffee.
38. Break out of a themed escape room and solve a mystery at Komnata Quest.
39. Attend a performance or event at the New York Irish Center.
40. Explore sports and art classes for kids and adults at the LIC YMCA.
41. Rent a bike from LIC Bicycles and head out exploring.
42. Take a soccer class from the Long Island City Soccer Club.
43. Take a class or just browse at Artist & Craftsman Supply Long Island City, a fantastic art supply store.
Kids love a good wall at Brooklyn Boulders. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Boulders
44. Take a class or just free-climb at Brooklyn Boulders Queensbridge.
45. Head to City Owlets with your toddlers and preschoolers for a little indoor play.
Top photo: Check out the iconic Pepsi Cola sign. Photo by Eden, Janine and Jim/CC BY 2.0