Tours of Queens, New York for Visitors

Guided & Do-It-Yourself Tours of the Most Diverse Place in the World

The Unisphere
••• The Unisphere in Flusing Meadows Park. John Roleke

Queens is off-the-beaten-path New York, and a tremendous place to explore. It's not the everyday tourist to NYC who comes to Queens, but then not everyone wants to see the same sights. It's not Manhattan. It's Hong Kong-style dumplings sold across from historic English churches. It's avant garde art in a former public school. And it's unforgettable. The tour options--guided and do-it-yourself--are as diverse as the borough.

In Queens there's history to discover, everything from jazz legend Louis Armstrong's home, to the Dutch colonial heritage of religious freedom. Plus there's what's going on now in the arts and culture, and the amazing diversity of eating and shopping brought by immigrants from around the world. Queens is the ultimate New York--and American--"melting pot" where more languages are spoken than anywhere else in the world. In one afternoon it's easy to "visit" a baker's dozen of different countries.

Guided Tours of Queens

Flushing Town Hall's Jazz Trail offers a monthly tour of the neighborhoods, clubs, and museums of Queens' jazz legends, including a visit to the Louis Armstrong House.

  • Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, 11354, 718-463-7700
  • First Saturday of every month, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., $26, $20 FCCA Members


Marc Preven's NEWrotic New York City Tours (NEWrotic as in a neurotic New Yorker) are "urban adventures tours." What that means is that they require a MetroCard, good walking shoes, and a hunger for what he calls "honest, ethnic eats" and experiences.

He leads groups through Elmhurst's Chinatown, Latino Jackson Heights, all the way to the arts community in Long Island City. Every block has him telling a new story, whether it's about the family with the corner dumpling stall or the architecture of a Carnegie library. I personally recommend his tours.


The Queens Council on the Arts leads tours along the route of the #7 subway, a.k.a. the International Express, through many immigrant communities. The White House has designated the 7 subway the only living heritage trail representative of the American immigrant experience.


The Queens Historical Society often has walking tours available, especially in the Flushing area.


The Greater Astoria Historical Society frequently offers walking tours of Astoria and Long Island City. The Haunted Waters tour along the East River is a highlight of the Queens Halloween season.


The Skyline Princess, a triple-decker yacht, sails out of the World's Fair Marina at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Cruise down the East River for Manhattan views, or head east for a tour of Long Island's Gold Coast.

 

Do-It-Yourself Tours of Queens

For a self-guided tour of Queens you need a map and a MetroCard. Most destinations, especially in Western and Central Queens, are readily accessed via subway and bus.

But head east and a car becomes a more practical option. (See more about ​maps and getting around Queens.)

Self-guided tours and attractions in Queens, from Queens.About.com

 


The Queens Council on the Arts (QCA) offers the Queens ArtMap, a great map of cultural activities throughout the borough. It's easy to read, comprehensive, and cheap. The QCA also publishes a map of the contemporary arts in Western Queens, a booklet on Queens cemeteries, and a brochure on the neighborhoods along the 7 subway.


The Richmond Hill Historical Society has an online walking tour map of Old Richmond Hill--the area of Kew Gardens and Richmond Hill adjacent to Forest Park--which is known for its Victorian architecture.