Recently, offMetro and The Skint created a list of some of the best free and cheap things to do in Brooklyn. This month, we rode the rails to Queens, seeking Greek food, free fitness classes, and any other affordable fun we could find.
From a mecca for street artists to museums and outdoor sculpture gardens, here are oM’s five favorite free things to do in Queens.
5Pointz | Free
Where: Long Island City
Why: The 200,000-square-foot factory building is known as one of the premier centers of the world’s graffiti scene, but visitors can expect to find musicians, break dancers, filmmakers and all other types of artists within its walls.
How to get there: Take the 7 to 45 Rd – Court House Square and walk north on 23rd Street.
Queens Botanical Garden | Free
When: Free on Wednesdays, 3-6pm and Sundays, 4-6pm
Why: You’ve likely never met a greener garden. Set on 39 acres, QBG has grown from an exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair to a premier cultural institution that’s helping further the fight for a more sustainable future for NYC. This urban sanctuary has a stunning new LEED Platinum visitors center, peaceful, flower-lined trails, and various education programs—from composting and tree care workshops to a popular farmers market—making the Queens Botanical Garden a great idea for a quick romantic getaway within the city.
How to get there: No. 7 subway or Long Island Rail Road (Port Washington line) to Main Street/Flushing. Q44 or Q20 bus, or walk 8 blocks south to QBG.
Museum of the Moving Image | Free
When: Fridays, free admission, 4pm-8pm
Why: From optical toys to digital art, Museum of the Moving Image appeals to artists and TV lovers alike. Check the site for frequently updated events and exhibits like the New York City Greek Film Festival and Jim Henson’s Fantastic World.
How to get there: Take the R train to Steinway Street. Walk south on Steinway Street and take a right on 35th Avenue.
Socrates Sculpture Park | Free
Where: Long Island City
Why: The story of this park has all the elements of a New York City success story. Up until 1986, the site was an illegal dumping ground and riverside landfill when a group of artists and local community members decided to transform it into an outdoor exhibition space and garden. This verdant gem of NYC also hosts a free craft bazaar, movie night, theatrical performances, farmers markets, and much more.
How to get there: Monday through Friday take the N or W train to the Broadway stop in Queens and walk eight blocks west on Broadway (toward the East River) to the intersection of Vernon Boulevard. On Saturday and Sunday, take the N train to the Broadway stop.
Queens Museum of Art | Free
Where: Flushing Meadows Corona Park
When: Wednesday – Sunday: 12-6pm, free museum tours on Sundays 2pm, 3pm, 4pm. (Admission is by suggested donation)
Why: QMA is home to the world’s largest architectural scale model, and through January 15, the Wonderstruck in the Panorama: Drawings by Brian Selznick will be on view to give a spectacular behind the scenes look at how the museum’s main attraction was designed and constructed. Join the “Dreamers Unite!” art event and outdoor dance party on October 1 at the Unisphere Fountain.
How to get there: Take the #7 train to Mets-Willets Point and follow the signs to Flushing Meadows Corona Park through the exit ramp of the station into the park. There will be Queens Museum directing you on a fifteen-minute walk through the park to the museum, which is located next to the Unisphere, the giant steel globe. The entrance is on the side facing the parking lot.
Photo: Peter Aaron/Esto