The fact that tourists have been increasingly flocking to Brooklyn over Manhattan is well known.
But Queens, one of the most diverse spots in the world, has silently ascended, even going so far as to be named the top travel destination in the US by Lonely Planet for 2015.
The number of
people visiting Queens has, in fact, increased by 12% in the last few years. And of the 54 million people who visited New York City, over 12% of them made a stop in Queens.
With an exploding food scene, unrivalled diversity, and even beautiful beaches, Queens is poised to be the next hotspot in New York City.
The borough is booming with stylish new hotels like the Z NYC Hotel, The Boro, and Ravel. Five new hotels opened in Queens last year alone, and 47 are in the works.
The Z NYC Hotel is in the heart of Long Island City, which is quickly developing into a Miami-like waterfront full of shiny high rises and swanky bars and restaurants. The boutique hotel features requisite hipster touches like mason jars and old timey, vintage décor, as well as unrivalled, jaw-dropping views of Manhattan through floor-to-ceiling windows. Views are best appreciated from the rooftop bar, which has 360-degree views of the skyline.
In the shadow of the Queensboro Bridge, Ravel is a sleek hotel with an 8,000-square-foot rooftop bar and restaurant; Penthouse808, which has a 40 foot bar as well as epic Manhattan views; and a clubby vibe underscored by live DJs.
The Boro Hotel is a super minimalist, über-designy hotel inside of a raw, industrial space -- think lots of concrete and and cement. It too has sweeping views of Manhattan that pretty much span Harlem to FiDi. Many of its rooms have terraces and balconies from which to soak them in.
Some consider Sweetleaf the hipster pioneer of Queens. Launched in 2008 as a shabby chic café focused on single-origin espresso, Sweetleaf is now world-famous, and has opened two more locations: one in Williamsburg and another in Queens, which also serves cocktails.
Dutch Kills is one of the borough's most famous bars -- its signage is minimal, but its cocktails are exceptional.
Sweet Afton is another favourite local bar. Mostly made of old shipping crates and deconstructed tugboats, it's homey and cosy with great cocktails, an excellent beer selection, and delicious, locally-sourced bar bites.
Burnside Biscuits is the new kid on the block -- a stylish Southern restaurant in a massive, minimalist space. Obviously, fried chicken and biscuits are the stars of the menu, but vegetables and non-fried menu items also abound.
The LIC Flea & Food is Queens' answer to Brooklyn's now insanely packed Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg. In its third year, the waterfront flea market has a focus on local vendors -- like, Queens local. It also features a new beer garden that serves exclusively Queens-brewed beers.
Queens-brewed beer you ask? A microbrew scene is bubbling in the borough, which has always had specialty suds stores and beer gardens aplenty, like the famous Beer Garden at Bohemian Hall, which has been around since 1910 and is probably the biggest outdoor drinking venue in New York.
Check out the Beer Garden at Bohemian Hall here »
The borough is now also home to a whopping eight microbreweries and counting: SingleCut Beersmiths, Queens Brewery, LIC Beer Project, Transmitter Brewing, Finback, Rockaway Brewing, Bridge and Tunnel, and Big Alice.
With so many local breweries, it's only natural that Queens would launch its very own celebration, Queens Beer Week.
If you need to soak up all that beer, check out Astoria Bier and Cheese, an 1,100-square foot paradise of 80 different cheeses and 300 kinds of bottled beer, plus 11 mostly local drafts.
Check out Astoria Bier and Wine here »
It's not just the hip and happening that attracts visitors to Queens though. The borough is one of the most diverse county's on earth, with almost half of its population born outside of the US.
Flushing's Chinatown is bigger and more authentic than Manhattan's, with over 30,000 people that were born in China.
The ethnic cuisine in Queens is appropriately the stuff of legend. Flushing is famous for its Chinese food, Astoria for its Greek goodness, and Woodside for its authentic Thai dishes. And for culinary adventurers there are also little-known cuisines like Tibetan, Uzbekistani and Guyanaese to sample.
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