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The best hidden gems at Rockaway Beach from a local expert

Written by
Jennifer Picht

No summer in NYC would be complete without a trip to one of New York's best beaches: Rockaway Beach. We have the perfect itinerary for what to do when you visit (including a killer list of things to do). However, you can't beat reading suggestions from a Rockaway resident. That's why we got in-touch with Rachel Krieger, founder of Ladies of Business Rockaway Beach—a growing organization for female Rockaway business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Krieger certainly knows some of the best shops, eateries and haunts in the small beach town—especially those owned and operated by women. So we asked her to share her favorites, including some lesser-known gems, which you must check out this summer. Here's what she had to say: 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Rockaway Beach, NY

Where to snag throwback duds
Zingara Vintage, owned by Erin Silvers, is not only a wonderful store full of treasures, it’s an example of what this community has become and strives to be: a place to find comfort and warmth (full of inspiration and strangeness), which takes a bow to the past while looking toward the future. Zingara houses an ever-changing collection of clothing for women and men, beach gear, jewels by the incredibly talented Melissa Draugsvold and Goldie's Natural Beauty Products. You can also find postcards and crystals, lamps and old toys.

Where to burn your last paycheck
I love shopping at Off Season. Owner Abra Boero is usually behind the counter waiting to greet you. The clothing selection, designed and manufactured by creative partners Boero and Judi Rosen, is super-chic and high-quality. It’s definitely not for everyone’s budget, but worth every penny. The shop also carries beach, home and beauty necessities. So if you end up having too much fun at the beach and unexpectedly stay the night, you’ll have all your bases covered. At End of the A, owners Tara and Beth keep this beautifully curated store stocked with mostly women’s apparel and accessories, but my favorite items to buy here are for the home.

Where to peep some art
Art is all around us at Rockaway! Residents and visitors have turned the public streets, walls and parks into their own canvas. Beth Perkins and Susanna Ray are just two of the many local artists and residents featured in exhibits at The Rockaway Beach Surf Club, which curates some fantastic shows and keeps its walls covered with an eclectic collection of surf-inspired artists. We have a beautiful gallery in Fort Tilden where the Rockaway Artist Alliance produces shows and exhibits all throughout the year, including works by local and foreign artists, live musical performances and collaborations with MOMA PS1.

Where to get some grub
My personal favorites are CaracasUmas and Cuisine by Claudette. A great breakfast spot in the summer is La Fruteria (at Beach 97th St). Yes, there’s avocado toast, and their breakfast sandwich is the perfect thing to eat after a long night out or a morning surf or yoga session. Don’t leave without an affogato—espresso poured over Blue Marble Ice cream. I also love Last Dragon Pizza. Owner Nicole Russell is on fire! She makes a gluten-free cauliflower pizza that is out of this world.

What to do when you’re not sunbathing on the beach
Rockaway is all about socializing in the summer time. Rockaway Beach Surf Club has something going on almost every night of the week (and tacos!). They just reinstated Tuesday Country Nights with Patsy (yeehaw)! Rockaway Brewing Company has become somewhat of a cultural community center hosting rad events from art shows to weekly "fam jams” (a.k.a. open mic night). Boardwalk concessions such as Rippers, Low Tide and Caracas have live music all summer long (weather permitting). Get there early—shows start at or before 6pm and end at 10pm. (Park Rules.) Riis Park Beach Bazaar hosts bands and performances at their stage located on Bay 9, and restaurants and bars such as Thai Rock and Bungalow Bar host live music Thursday through Sunday.

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