Best Hotels in Long Island City, New York
Heading to NYC and looking to ditch the normal routine? Long Island City (LIC) is your answer. This eccentric Queens neighborhood has ditched its industrial past to make way for a killer art scene, luxe developments and sweet hotels.
Just a stone’s throw from Manhattan, Long Island City, New York, is an off-the-beaten-path destination you’ll fall in love with. Once a booming manufacturing center, producing a range of products from pianos to macaroni, Long Island City is an up-and-coming walkable haven for young professionals who want a short commute and artists who want to be part of a thriving creative community. LIC has the highest concentration of art galleries, studio space and art institutions of any other neighborhood in New York City.
Here you'll find all the amenities of Manhattan without the rush, making LIC feel like a hidden gem. Though LIC is part of Queens, it features a unique character and history all of its own. Whether you’re checking out the views at Gantry State Plaza Park, soaking up the art at MoMA PS1, or just want a good old-fashioned bar crawl, Long Island City has plenty to do with hotels to match.
Why We Love Long Island City
Even if you skew more Brooklyn than Queens, you gotta admit Long Island City is worth the visit. Here are just a few of the many reasons why we think Long Island City is your next favorite spot:
- Happenin’ hotels: Duh. Hotels in Long Island City are bursting with flavor from within the neighborhood art scene and have sweet amenities to match. From loft-inspired rooms to rooftops complete with cocktails and 360 views, Long Island City hotels bring it when it comes to a place to stay.
- Culture shock: Long Island City is a must for art fans. The neighborhood is flooded with galleries, museums and studios housed in 19th-century industrial buildings. Plus, who can forget MoMA PS1? One of the oldest nonprofit contemporary art institutes in the country, MoMA PS1 offers exhibitions and events like no other.
- Skyline love: Is there really anything better than a great view? Check out the jaw-dropping skyline from Gantry State Plaza Park to see what we’re talking about. Why stay in Manhattan, when Long Island City has the best vantage point of the city that never sleeps?
- Easy Access: Long Island City is a great alternative to more popular New York City areas. Not only will you experience something new, but it’s easy to get wherever you want to go. Just at the edge of Queens, a quick bike ride will take you to Brooklyn, a 12-minute subway ride will get you to Midtown, and of course, there’s always the Queensboro bridge.
- Fit for Queens: While staying in Long Island City, the Queens borough just waits to be explored. Catch the Mets at Citi Field, spend a day at Flushing Meadows, explore the breweries and don’t forget to try Italian ice.
Where to Stay in Long Island City
Long Island City features several sub-neighborhoods, each with their own character and charm. Whether you'll be traveling to LIC for business or pleasure, there's an amazing neighborhood for you. Here are some of the best places to stay in Long Island City, where you'll never be far from something to do or something yummy to eat:
- Astoria: Astoria is one of the top neighborhoods to stay in Long Island City, and in Queens overall. This 'hood is home to a diverse community of young professionals and family-owned business and is only a short subway ride to Midtown. Travelers will find an abundance of enticing restaurants and cozy neighborhood bars. They'll also have easy access to Museum of the Moving Image.
- Steinway: Steinway is a quiet residential area north of Ditmars and home to the Steinway Piano Factory. You can tour the factory from September through the end of June to watch the entire Steinway-making process. Try a fresh brew at SingleCut Beersmiths while you're in the area and ponder pianos with your traveling companion.
- Ditmars: Ditmars is a residential area in Astoria and the center of New York City's Greek community. Dine at Taverna Kyclades for stand-out Greek cuisine or relax in the huge old-school Beer Garden at Bohemian Hall. Don't forget to satisfy your sweet tooth at La Guli Pastry Shop for a life-changing cannoli. Finally, before you leave Ditmars to return to ordinary, make sure to stop at Astoria Park for breathtaking views of Manhattan.
- Hunters Point: Hunters Point is the neighborhood most people think of when they imagine Long Island City. Hunters Point, which once was an industrial hub, is morphing into a hip residential area. This LIC neighborhood is a quick trip to Manhattan and offers glittering views of the city skyline. It's where you'll find MoMA PS1, streets lined with 19th-century brownstones, and Gantry Plaza State Park for killer waterfront views.
- Dutch Kills: Dutch Kills is far less malevolent than it sounds. Sandwiched between Astoria and Hunters Points, Dutch Kills may be the best neighborhood to stay in LIC if you're looking for a range of hotel options. This old neighborhood was home to the first settlers in Queens in 1636. In Dutch Kills, you'll find an eclectic mix of eateries, trendy bars and comfy coffee shops. Dutch Kills is becoming a culinary destination where visitors and locals head to eat at places like Beija Flor and Beebe's.
- Sunnyside: Sunnyside is a small and diverse middle-class neighborhood with historic significance and an artistic vibe. While in Sunnyside, you'll enjoy easy access to Manhattan and interesting restaurants. Cruise down Queens Boulevard where you'll find tempting ethnic restaurants such as Arriba Arriba and Tangra.
Places to Eat in Long Island City
If you're planning a trip, you're probably wondering where to eat in LIC. After all, what journey would feel complete without tasting regional specialties? Long City Island residents have it made when it comes to amazing food, and they arguably live among the best pizza and bagel joints in the city. Astoria, in particular, is famous for authentic Greek food and is worth a visit alone. Though you can definitely find mouthwatering slices and chewy housemade bagels in LIC, there's a wide range of worthwhile stops to satisfy your inner foodie. Here are some of the great restaurants in Long Island City you'll want to save your appetite for:
- Casa Enrique: Casa Enrique is a popular Mexican restaurant serving traditional family recipes in a bright mod setting. Daily specials are made with fresh seasonal ingredients, and tacos keep customers coming back. This LIC destination is consistently packed with hungry locals and tourists alike.
- Beebe's: Located in the lobby of the Boro Hotel, Beebe's is proud to serve up old-school pizza piled with toppings like arugula and housemade ricotta. They also offer other menu items inspired by New York classics that are sure to make you glad you made it to the Big Apple. Large windows fill this contemporary restaurant with light and stunning city views to make every bite even better.
- John Brown Smokehouse: John Brown Smokehouse has won a spot in many barbecue-loving hearts throughout the city. John Brown Smokehouse was founded to bring Kansas City style barbecue to lucky LIC residents, and pitmasters work passionately to cook the freshest, juiciest barbecue one can imagine. Hurry in for sticky-good burnt ends, smoked turkey or a specialty sandwich like the John Brown Rueben.
- LIC Market: Have you been wondering where can you go for moules-frites happy hour? They read your mind at LIC Market. This small charming cafe fills up fast on weekends but is worth the wait if you're craving locally-sourced ingredients, natural wine and food that tastes as good as it makes you feel.
- Takumen: Attention all ramen lovers — gather your friends and head to Takumen for a noodle night to remember. Contemporary and comfortable interiors greet guests as they prepare to indulge in tasty ramen while sipping on sake, Japanese whiskey or local craft beer. For dessert, you might treat yourself to an Ichigo Sundae which includes honey cream sauce, vanilla ice cream, fresh mint and lemon zest.
If you're looking for a low-key spot to take your date or have already tried the most popular restaurants, you have plenty of options. Here's food to check out in Long Island City for the frequent visitor:
- Manducatis: How does a quiet evening dining on savory Old World dishes sound? Since 1977, Manducatis Restaurant has proudly served comforting Italian fare like homemade lasagna and chicken piccata in an unforgettable, low-key setting.
- Massa's Coal Fired Pizzeria and Bar: You may have heard of pizza legend Patsy Grimaldi. Did you know his nephew Bill Massa also uses the family's recipes, which you can experience at Massa's Coal Fired Pizzeria and Bar? Take a bite of family tradition without the long lines at this must-try pizza place.
- Jora Restaurant and Bar: For authentic Peruvian cuisine bursting with flavor and friendly staff to make you feel at home, head to Jora Restaurant and Bar. Enjoy dishes like Peruvian-style seafood paella, and make sure to save room for dessert. Who could pass up pumpkin and sweet potato fritters stuffed with chocolate?
- Sweet Chick: Travelers who want to "feel like a kid again" can skip to Sweet Chick and warm their tummies with home-baked desserts and comforting classics like fried chicken and waffles and mac and cheese, served in a laid-back atmosphere.
Things to See in Long Island City
Long Island City is a destination for artists and art lovers alike. This part of town attracts visitors who want to soak up creative energy at one of the galleries or art museums in the area. Even if you've been to LIC a thousand times, you'll still find something new in the ever-evolving art scene. There are also plenty of spots to gaze at the wondrous Manhattan skyline. Here are the top tourist attractions in LIC you won't want to miss:
- LIC Flea and Food: LIC Flea and Food is a large outdoor market and a popular attraction. Here you can browse vendors selling everything from antiques to internationally inspired eats and drinks, and each vendor is carefully selected. Check out some of their past vendors to get an idea of why people flock to this fun waterfront market which runs monthly from May to October.
- Museum of the Moving Image: Museum of the Moving Image is one of the best places to visit in Long Island City for cinema buffs, filmmakers and anyone who appreciates art. Every year, the museum shows more than 400 films, including contemporary and classic pieces, to share some of the world's greatest cinematic creations. Visitors can explore the exhibits to learn about the creative process behind moving images and get inspired.
- The Noguchi Museum: Founded by American artist Isamu Noguchi, this museum houses the artist's most critical work. The building itself was designed by Noguchi and is considered one of his greatest achievements. Noguchi was a pioneer in transforming LIC into the vibrant art community it is today. Here you can roam indoor and outdoor galleries and contemplate the art in a peaceful sculpture garden.
- MoMA PS1: As an affiliate of the Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1 is one of the largest nonprofit contemporary art institutions in the country. Rather than focusing on collecting art, MoMA PS1 is dedicated to showcasing the most experimental art in the world through changing exhibits. The museum is driven to bring contemporary art to a broad audience and invites visitors to explore art in a welcoming environment. If you're looking for artistic inspiration and new ideas, this is the place to visit in LIC.
- Gantry Plaza State Park: This 12-acre riverside park offers magnificent views of the Manhattan skyline, and is one of the great tourist attractions in Long Island City. Visitors can stroll the gardens or four piers and stop to admire the restored gantries.
- The Cliffs at LIC: Didn't think you'd be rock climbing while visiting Long City Island? Think again, cause that's what the Cliffs is all about. Get ready to get brave and scale the towering indoor walls – no experience necessary. If you're a beginner, you can even sign up for a class to learn how to climb and make the experience less intimidating and a lot of fun.
- The Creek and the Cave: Where can you play pinball, check out a comedy show and eat Mexican food all in the same place? If this sounds like a slice of paradise to you, The Creek and the Cave is calling your name.
- SculptureCenter: SculptureCenter, which was founded in 1928, is another artistic area to visit in Long Island City. SculptureCenter embraces new ideas and strives to introduce emerging artists to the world. They offer free events and programs for all ages to engage the public, connect them to contemporary creators, and keep art alive.
If you've already hit the most popular sites in LIC, here are a few hidden gems worth checking out:
- The Secret Theatre: The Secret Theatre is a small performing arts venue that'll make you feel like a local. With a space designed to seat no more than 99 patrons, you might get to catch a play, musical, opera, film or class in this intimate locale. Check their events schedule and be in on their secret.
- Rockaway Brewing Company: Rockaway Brewing Company is a hip neighborhood watering hole which may be easy to miss if you don't keep an eye out for their sign. Stop in and fill up a growler of fresh handcrafted brew, which was likely concocted to the sound of reggae.
- Socrates Sculpture Park: If you need to stretch your legs while staying in Astoria, consider visiting Socrates Sculpture Park. Once an abandoned landfill, artists and community members have transformed this land into a continuously changing exhibition space. This outdoor museum and public park is always free to visit and open every day of the year.
Where to Find the Best Hotels in Long Island City, New York
Long Island City is one of New York's best-kept secrets. With amazing sub-neighborhoods, outstanding restaurants and inspiring attractions, it's certainly worth a visit.
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