Everything you need to know about visiting Flushing Meadows-Corona Park (Grand Central Pkwy to Van Wyck Expwy between Roosevelt Ave and Robinson Pkwy, Queens, New York, 11375).
Sure, you’ve been to Citi Field. But that’s not the only reason to make the trip to Willets Point: Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, an expansive mass of greenery a stone’s throw from where you watch the Mets, offers more space than you could ever explore in one day. Depending on whom you ask, it’s the second-largest park in the city (1,255 acres), home to U.S. Open–caliber tennis at Arthur Ashe Stadium, flowers, history and art at the Queens Botanical Gardens, Museum and Theatre, par-3 golf courses, lakes, BBQ pits, countless soccer fields and more than enough lounge-worthy places to spend an afternoon in the sun. Aside from being the perfect venue for your weekend pursuits, it’s worth noting that the park hosted two World’s Fairs (1939 and 1964), and iconic reminders of the latter still stand in the park.
Explore the world in Queens
The futuristic-looking Unisphere structure was created for the 1964 World’s Fair to showcase advances in technology, computers and the dawn of the Space Age. It’s also one of the city’s most memorable and recognizable landmarks (and not just because it made a cameo in Men in Black): At 140 feet, it’s the largest replica of Earth on Earth, made of stainless steel and orbited by three rings representing the first man in space, the first American to orbit earth and the first communications satellite. In the summer, you can take a refreshing dip in the surrounding fountains; at night, the entire thing is bathed in light, turning it into a glowing orb that’s impossible to miss.
Get out your green thumb
Originally created for the 1939 World’s Fair as a five-acre showcase of old-fashioned gardens, the Queens Botanical Garden relocated and grew to 39 acres, and it’s now home to some of the most gorgeous flowers, herbs and pollinators in the city. And even though it is located on top of an old ash landfill, the garden adheres to sustainable practices wherever possible: The visitor’s building was the first to be LEED certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, and farm and composting events are held there regularly. Two highlights: the herb garden, which groups herbs by uses like healing and cooking, and the fragrance walk, where you can discover plants that make your fingers smell like gum, soap...or even pizza.
Make time for the museum
One of the coolest things at the Queens Museum within the park is the Panorama of the City of New York, a 9,335-square-foot, hand-painted mini version of the city made of wood, plastic and paper that took three years to create initially: It features all 895,000 buildings built before 1992, as well as bridges, parks and famous landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. Other long-term exhibits include the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass and artifacts from both World’s Fairs. If you’re planning your visit instead of showing up spontaneously, be sure to check the events calendar: The museum also features rotating modern art exhibits including movies, photo, live music and poetry performances.
Our New York editorial team is constantly updating and reviewing the best attractions, activities and venues across the city, so that you're always in the know, with the best of NYC. at your fingertips. Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was most recently updated with new tips on July 27, 2017.