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things to do in sunnyside queens
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/A. Rieva M. La Flor

The best things to do in Sunnyside, Queens

Sunnyside, Queens, is chock-full of outstanding grub hubs, vintage treasure troves and watering holes

By Tolly Wright

If you’ve only been riding the 7 Train as a means to Citi Field, or worse—to get from Times Square to Grand Central—it’s time you saw the glory of the neighborhood that is Sunnyside, Queens. Here, delicious food from Latin, Asian and European cultures meld into one tasty and budget-friendly foodie heaven. Fans of thrift stores are in luck, too. So what are you waiting for—find one of those affordable apartments in NYC and move here ASAP.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Sunnyside, Queens

Things to do in Sunnyside, Queens

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Wally Gobetz

1. Donovan’s Pub

Restaurants Hamburgers Woodside

Since 1966 all of Queens and beyond has known that this Irish tavern, which sits on the Woodside and Sunnyside border, is the home to one of the juiciest burgers in the borough. The area’s Hibernian immigrants and enthusiasts alike appreciate the classic pub touches—dark wood booths, stained glass, wood-burning fireplaces—that make it feel authentically celtic. Though it appears small on the outside the space also has three different rooms, which means you can feel free to bring the whole village when they have live music on Fridays and Saturdays.

2. La Flor

Restaurants Mexican Woodside

A favorite among breakfast and lunch lovers, La Flor offers sweet and savory Mexican-fusion meals that will leave your mouth watering. Puebla-born owner Viko Ortega, put his past as a pastry-chef to good use with fresh baked pastries and desserts that are worth an order. The menu heavily features dishes from south of the border (tacos, tortas, quesadillas), but the salads and omelettes will hit the spot while remaining healthy.

Photograph: Ilenia Martini

3. Salt & Fat

Restaurants American Sunnyside

A hometown son makes his neighborhood proud with Sunnyside-native Daniel Yi’s romantic debut restaurant Salt & Fat. The chef’s tasty Asian-fusion menu—which includes Korean barbecued hanger steak, oxtail terrine and braised pork—is made all the tastier with the complimentary bacon-fat popcorn and mini yogurt drinks that bookend each meal. The romantic lights make it a favorite for couples hoping for an adventurous date night.

things to do in sunnyside queens
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Jando S.

4. Sunnyside Thrift Shop

Shopping Sunnyside

Unlike those over-priced second hand shops that crowd storefronts in Manhattan and North Brooklyn, this place in a genuine thrift store. Among the VHS tapes, china and old electronics you’ll find some true treasures. Shoppers with patience and a keen eye are rewarded for their trouble with the occasional designer dress or excellent quality leather boots for just $12.

things to do in sunnyside queens
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Bradley H.

5. Venturo Osteria & Wine Bar

Restaurants Italian Sunnyside

House-made cheeses, fresh baked focaccia and Italian dishes with locally sourced ingredients are just some of the wonderful things you can expect at this eatery. The charming spot has a rustic flare with wood beams from a 19th century home, exposed bricks, and a beautiful mural, but during the warmer-months you might as well take advantage of the outdoor patio. The menu is always changing, but there are usually a few dishes to share, should you want an excuse to get close to your dining partner.

things to do in sunnyside queens
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Kevin K.

6. Mangal Kabob

Restaurants Turkish Sunnyside

Hungry locals who don’t want to wait very long for a tasty meal flock to this delivery and takeout staple. Turkish delights and Middle Eastern fare like baba ganoush, gyros, kebabs and pide make up the savory menu. Be sure to leave room for dessert; the baklava, a fluffy layered pastry with chopped nuts and honey, is particularly divine.

things to do in sunnyside queens
Photograph: Courtesy Stay Vintage

7. Stray Vintage

Shopping Sunnyside

Whether you’re new to the nabe, want to spruce up your pad or you’re looking for a unique gift idea, check out this excellently curated vintage shop. Here you’ll find decorative knick-knacks, quirky wall art, beautiful furniture, unusual jewelry and handmade stationery. Music fans should also sift through their record offerings for some new tunes.

Photograph: Shutterstock

8. The Courtyard Ale House

Bars Beer bars Sunnyside

If you’re hoping to hear some true Irish brogues look no further than the bartenders and regulars at this rather large pub and sport bars. With 24 beers on tap, they’ve got plenty of local brews, craft IPAs and rare pours—but they’d be just as happy to get you a Guinness, if that’s what you’re after. Some nights they have live music, but when the Mets make it to the playoffs, or there’s a good Irish football game on, be ready to make noise and cheer with the locals.

things to do in sunnyside queens
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Tammy T.

9. Pete’s Grill and Diner

Restaurants Sunnyside

Though established in 2007, this 24-hour diner delivers the full experience with abundance. Get your fill of all-day breakfast options—Buttermilk pancakes, crispy waffles, cinnamon raisin or challah french toast and eggs made every way, including an extensive omelette selection—as well as typical lunch and dinner fare like reubens, grilled cheese and, as the menu suggests, a “burger bonanza.” Wash it all down with soda fountain classics like egg creams, root beer floats and milkshakes that are so thick, you’ll need a spoon.

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