Flushing Meadows Corona Park has hosted two World Fairs and been home to the New York Mets for over five decades. It’s perhaps most well-known as the site of the US Open, which attracts thousands of visitors to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center each year. With the world-class tennis tournament running from August 27 through September 9 in 2018, discover what else there is to do in Flushing Meadows, and turn your next visit to the largest park in Queens into a whole day affair.
Bring or rent skates to practice your triple axels any time of year at the indoor World Ice Arena located inside the state-of-the-art Aquatic Center (upstairs, an Olympic-sized pool is available to those with an NYC recreation center membership). Also home to the only speed skating club in the city, World Ice Arena offers youth and adult hockey programs, as well as a slew of figure skating programs to the public. Free skate hours are available all year, but be sure to check the schedule on their website ahead of time, as these hours change seasonally.
Just when you thought you’d seen everything there was to see in the park, Flushing Meadows Golf Center comes into view as you drive through its northwestern corner. Consisting of an 18-hole “Pitch & Putt” course, as well as a mini-golf course complete with waterfalls and bridges, the center caters to both serious and novice golfers. Clubs for the Pitch & Putt green are available for rent. Both courses are fully lit for night play, making it an attractive spot to bring a date after a tennis match or baseball game nearby.
The biggest hidden secret of Flushing Meadows Corona Park is the huge lake in the middle of it! Far from the subway, and perhaps why it remains such a hidden gem, it is a quiet respite from the city south of the Long Island Expressway, best reached by car via the Van Wyck Expressway. Once there, you can rent kayaks, paddleboats, or even take a class to learn how to sail on the lake! Wheel Fun Rentals offers most of these rental services (plus bikes) from their stand on the beautifully renovated Erdele Terrace, where you can grab a bite to eat at a small café on the promenade before setting sail.
If all that physical activity has kicked up an appetite, head over to the Queens International Night Market off of 111th Street. Inspired by the night markets of Taiwan, this open-air food market has vendors serving street food from all over the world. Visitors can try everything from Bengali jhal muri (a spicy puffed rice trail mix-type of snack) to Ethiopian injera (flatbread), reflecting the varied cuisine that can be found all across the borough. Local artisans also set up tables selling knits and crafts, and the market has reserved space for live performances of everything from magic to music to folk dance. Originally an attraction only open on Saturdays during the summer, the Night Market has since become such a success that they’ve extended their schedule into late autumn.
Located near the iconic observation towers and New York State Pavilion is the Queens Theatre, one of the most vibrant performing arts venues in the borough, promoting diversity and cultural appreciation through its programming. Consisting of three stages (a massive main stage, a more intimate studio, and a cozy cabaret-style cocktail bar), the theatre is one of the few in Queens that develops new work, most notably through its New American Voices initiative (formerly the Immigrant Voices Project). Offering programs for children, teens, and adults, people of all ages can not only can take in a show here, but participate in one of its many drama, dance, and music educational programs.
The first East Coast outpost of the Danish brewing company, Mikkeller NYC opened in 2018 after a successful season selling their craft beer inside Citi Field. So successful, in fact, that they decided to open up production right there in the stadium! Accessed by walking down 126th Street, the brewery is located between the Bullpen and Right Field gates (no need to buy a ticket, as the brewery is separate from the stadium and open to the public all year). With beer, wine, and a hyper-local food menu, including Queens chicken wing darlings UFC, Mikkeller is a great way to cap off a day spent at Flushing Meadows before hopping back on the 7 train home.