Long Island City became a city in 1870 and was later annexed by New York City in 1898.
Once known as a mainly industrial area, Long Island City is now a bustling residential and commercial area in Queens – a borough in New York City.
The neighborhood has experienced a great influx of people who are looking to reside there or who just want to visit and experience popular land marks and tourist destinations. You also can’t miss the rich artistic vibe of the area as there are quite a number of studio spaces, art institutions and art galleries.
Looking for a place to relax after spending the day exploring parts of the city, go over to the waterfront parks and the view alone is sure to put a smile on your face.
There are a lot of things you can do to have a fun time in Long Island city and if you didn’t know that, then this page is for you. We have put together a list of really interesting and fun things that you can do in the city.
Without much ado, let’s jump right into it.
Long Island City Things to Do
- Visit the Gantry Plaza State Park
- Check out the Historic Long Island City Courthouse
- Enjoy contemporary art at the MoMA PS1
- Admire the sculpture and artwork at SculptureCenter
- Feast your eyes on the Manhattan Skyline at Hunter’s Point South Park
- Go to the Flux Factory in Long Island City and enjoy Offbeat Art
- Spend the day at the Queensbridge Park
- Check out the Pepsi-Cola Sign and be sure to take pictures
- Open your mind and expand your horizons at the Self-Taught Genius Gallery
- Enjoy Indoor Climbing at The Cliffs in LIC
- Marvel at the Life-Work of Isamu Noguchi at the Noguchi Museum
- Enjoy Craft Beer at the Rockaway Brewing Company
- Admire Art at the Socrates Sculpture Park
Visit the Gantry Plaza State Park
The 12-acre Gantry Plaza State Park is a wonderful place where you can relax in the afternoon, while feasting your eyes on the amazing views of the riverside.
While there, you can take pictures of the Manhattan skyline capturing the Empire State Building and the United Nations headquarters.
Stretch your legs and take a walk along the piers, while admiring the river, the manicured gardens as well as the mist fountain.
You can also take pictures of the restored gantries, which as you know is a highlight of the park.
The park is in the Hunters point section of Long Island City. It is located on 4-09 47th Road Long Island City, NY 11101 and opens by 8am daily.
Check out the Historic Long Island City Courthouse
Located near the corner of Thomson Avenue and Court Square is the Long Island City Courthouse, a building with a lot of history.
It was built by the Long Island City government between 1872 and 1876. There were quite a number of scandals, controversies, cost overruns, budget issues and ultimately delays surrounding the construction of the building.
That notwithstanding, the French Second Empire-style building has remained one of the most important buildings in Queens and was made a New York City Landmark in 1976.
The courthouse was originally designed by George Hathorne, but after a fire incident in 1904 Peter M. Coco, a well-known Long Island City architect was called upon to redesign it.
Enjoy contemporary art at the MoMA PS1
Located in Court Square, Long Island City is the MoMA PSI. It is one of the largest art galleries in the United States that is just for contemporary art.
So if you are a lover of contemporary art and you want to view masterpieces of Modern Art, this space is the place to be.
The PS1 was opened to the public in 1997, had an affiliation with the Museum of Modern Arts which was finalized in 2000 and in 2010 became known as MoMA PS1.
To know what is next in the world of modern art and to view experimental and thought provoking contemporary art, pay a visit to the MoMA PS1. You surely will not regret time spent there.
Funfact: The building was a public school that in 1963 was closed as a result of low attendance. It was later turned into a warehouse before it eventually became a space for the exhibition of modern art.
Admire the sculpture and artwork at SculptureCenter
The SculptureCenter is a non-for-profit art museum in Long Island city, formerly known as “The Clay Club” and which used to be opposite the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.
It was founded in 1928 by sculptor Dorothea Henrietta Denslow and she opened the doors of the space to children as well as other artists.
In 1932 it relocated to 8 West Fourth Street in the West Village and later moved to a carriage house at 167 East 69th Street on the Upper East Side in 1948.
At this location on the Upper East Side, it organized a school for artists and taught welding, wax modeling, clay modeling, portraiture, figure painting and stone carving. Children were not left out as they also had after-school classes for kids.
The studio and the school were closed in 2001 and in 2014, came back bigger and better in Queens.
The SculptureCenter has showcased works by a lot of famous artists including Turner Prize Winner – Charlotte Prodger as well as Hugo Boss Prize winners -Anika Yi and Simone Leigh.
One of the very entertaining and educating ways to pass time is to go and admire the excellent sculptures and figures at the Sculpturecenter.
Feast your eyes on the Skyline at Hunter’s Point South Park
The view of the Manhattan skyline from Hunter’s Point South Park is amazing. Be sure to capture this with your camera so that you can always have that awesome view with you.
Apart from the view, the park is a really nice place to take a stroll in, or you can just relax and rest your legs on any of the benches in the Park.
If you have children you can take them to the children’s playground and your dog will be very happy on the dog run. You and your friends can also have a good time enjoying the game of sand volleyball.
Go to the Flux Factory in Long Island City and enjoy Offbeat Art
The Flux Factory in Long Island City, set up in a place that was once a greeting card factory, is a haven for outsider artists.
Their activities, projects and programs are so as to achieve their aim of being a space for artistic experimentation.
To bring this to fruition, they have put together special activities, events and exercise; organized performance art, group shows, lectures and also brought in artists for residency programs.
Some of their offbeat activities include the “Seaworthy” series where artists were requested to build boats for the New York waterways; the “Long Walks on the Beach” event where they rallied a group of strangers to come together for a stroll along the Rockaway Beach.
This is clearly a fun and fast way to meet new people and make friends; as well as the “Going Places(Doing Stuff)” event, where artists led bus tours.
Like we pointed out earlier, they will like to be seen as a space for artistic experimentation and they are really passing across the message.
So, if you are in Long Island city and in the mood for some offbeat art, the Flux factory is the place to be.
Spend the day at the Queensbridge Park
You can say the Queensbridge Park got its name from the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge.
It is very difficult for one to be bored in this park as there are a lot of amenities and activities to keep people well entertained.
You can be a part of various games that are played there such as football, basketball, volleyball, amongst others.
Bring your children to have fun on the playground for Kids that has swings, jungle gyms and other things that will make the little ones giddy with happiness.
Check out the Pepsi-Cola Sign and be sure to take pictures
Have you really visited a place if you do not go to famous landmarks there? One of such landmarks in Long Island city is the Pepsi-Cola sign at Gantry Plaza State Park.
The sign was designated a city landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2016.
The sign which was originally a 50-foot model of a Pepsi bottle was made for PepsiCo by the General Outdoor Advertising Company, in 1940.
It was later changed in the 1970s and rebuilt in 1993 by the Artkraft Strauss Sign Corporation.
After the Pepsi facility in Long Island City shut down, the sign was moved to the Gantry Plaza.
As you can see this is not just a regular sign but a sign that has a lot of history, so much so that it became a landmark. You have to see this sign for yourself and remember to take pictures.
Open your mind and expand your horizons at the Self-Taught Genius Gallery
Outsider art is art that is made by an untrained or self-taught artist and that is what you get to see and admire at the Self-Taught Genius Gallery.
So in case you didn’t know, one must not be trained in the conventional way before you can become an artist.
The Self-Taught Genius Gallery was opened by the American Folk Art Museum in 2017 and at this gallery, you get to see a lot of art works from self-taught artists.
This is really nice seeing that outsider art is not something that is usually displayed in conventional art galleries or a museum. But the fact that there is a space where they are put up to be admired and appreciated shows that value is being accorded to self-taught artists.
You can visit the Self-Taught Genius Gallery and admire these amazing arts for yourself. It will surely be worth your while.
Enjoy Indoor Climbing at The Cliffs in LIC
For lovers of exercise, check out the Cliffs in Long Island City. They provide an amazing indoor climbing experience with their climbing walls and routes.
If you love climbing and you thought that was not a possibility in a city such as LIC, now you know that’s not true. You can go there to work out, let off some steam and break a sweat.
The Cliffs has indeed built a climbing community that keeps expanding and this is through their well thought out programs and initiatives.
Marvel at the Life-Work of Isamu Noguchi at the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City
The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, now referred to as the Noguchi Museum, was founded in 1985 by the famed Japanese artist Isamu Noguchi.
The museum was built by the Noguchi in his life time, solely for the purpose of displaying his amazing work and there had not been any museum of that kind in the United States.
Noguchi died in 1988 but his wonderful work, possessions, and archives can still be seen today at the Noguchi Museum.
Enjoy Craft Beer at the Rockaway Brewing Company
You can take a break from visiting parks and art galleries to enjoy cold and refreshing craft beer at the Rockaway Brewing Company.
Owners Marcus Burnett and Ethan Long were inspired after a west coast trip and they have never looked back since.
They started small from a two barrel system to a five barrel system. You can enjoy their beer not just in Long Island City but in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.
You can even tour the brew house if you wish and get to see for yourself how things are done.
Admire Art at the Socrates Sculpture Park
The Socrates Sculpture Park is a place where people can create and showcase their art work.
The Park was designated a public park by the New York City government in 1998.
At this park, you get to admire and enjoy different pieces of public art, showcased there.
The interesting thing about the park is that visitors can view the process of the art creation if they wish and this will even help for the better understanding and appreciation of the art.
Bring Your Kids to Court 16 in LIC
Court 16 is a place where your children can enjoy a game of tennis and also sharpen their skills in the game. It is also a good form of exercise for the kids and they are sure to enjoy themselves.
They have a goal of promoting tennis for children and of course there is no discrimination as children from every background and of all physical abilities are allowed.
Their LED-lighted courts can be customized and adjusted to suit whoever is playing, so you can be rest assured that your kids will be comfortable while playing.
In conclusion, there is no doubt that as a tourist or a visitor in Long Island City, there is a lot of fun activities to keep you occupied for the duration of your stay.
If you had difficulty thinking about what to do, we are sure you do not have that issue anymore. We have done the work for you, so just relax and select places you’ll like to visit, then go on and have a good time.