Astoria has been on the radar of must-visit neighborhoods for years now. The Greeks and Eastern Europeans have known about this little gem for ages, but lately city transplants are bypassing more expensive Brooklyn ‘hoods and flocking there in hoards. With apartments being larger, and the commute to Midtown reasonable, it’s easy to see why.
With my in-laws living in Queens, we’ve spent many a weekend wandering around Astoria. Here’s a few of our favorite stops–you can make a day of it, or pick and choose your pleasure!
For baked goods, bagels, and coffee: Gian Piero Bakery
A local favorite, you’ll find this old school Italian bakery packed with neighborhood residents most mornings. No worries, grab your pastries and latte to go (maybe even cannoli for later on in the day), and take a leisurely stroll towards your next stop.
For a fun museum outing: The Museum of the Moving Image
The Museum of the Moving Image is packed with fun for cinephiles. Featuring movie trivia, full length motion pictures, interactive exhibits (the voiceover booth is SO much fun!), and memorabilia from your favorite films (hello makeup kits from Sex and the City movie!), it’s truly a museum in which all members of your family will find something to enjoy.
If you have an IDNYC, you automatically have a free year’s membership just by showing your card. Win!
For loading up on European goodies: The EuroMarket
All that movie viewing probably left you a bit peckish, so head to the specialty European market in Astoria, The EuroMarket. You’ll notice from the range of flags flying out front that this supermarket covers most European cultures and their favorite edibles.
From an olive bar that will compete with that of Eataly’s (in both size and price!) to having Nutella’s delicious chocolate and vanilla combo cousin EuroCrem, to housing European specialties from the motherlands (everything from coffee to candy to cheese), the EuroMarket is a favorite stop among European transplants and their American families.
A few Bosnian treats we always load up on are: smoked beef (for the hubby), Chocolino, Cedevita, Smoki, and a huge hunk of feta cheese.
For creative cocktails and Indian fare: Kurry Qulture
Kurry Qulture is a recent discovery on our Astoria list, but we love it so much we’ve already been back several times. Their cocktails are fresh and innovative, featuring personal favorites such as the Mango Royal, with Chambord, Mango, and Champagne, and the Ready to Rumble, with Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Vanilla Bitters, and Simple Syrup.
The Indian dishes have a modern take on timeless classics. For example, instead of traditional Naan bread, they bake their Naan infused with olives and garlic, paying homage to the historically Greek neighborhood the restaurant is nestled in.
The restaurant has an adorable garden out back, perfect for the upcoming warm nights.
For an evening of hookah and mint tea: Steinway Street
Now that you’re properly fed, cultured, snacked, and cocktailed, it’s time for a nightcap of Moroccan Mint Tea and hookah. Head to Steinway Street, where you’ll find one hookah cafe after another. Be smart here, because as you look into some of them you’ll notice they’re filled exclusively with men.
Unless you’re also of the male gender, you probably want to steer clear of these to pay respect to the culture–but don’t worry, there’s plenty of unisex hookah lounges down the street.
You’ll notice most don’t serve alcohol, which stays true to the Muslim tradition of hookah lounges. But it’s okay, you should still be properly buzzed from your Kurry Qulture cocktails;-) Sit back, enjoy the music, lights, conversation, and hazy atmosphere as you reflect on your day in Astoria.