Cultural Hues and Unforgettable Views: The Bronx, Brooklyn & Queens

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Summer is coming here in New York City and reasons to enjoy the (finally) nice weather and explore all the facets of the Big Apple continue to multiply. Whether you are a history-junkie, a street-art enthusiast, a foodie, or simply just enjoy soaking up the rich diversity that floats throughout the city, New York does not disappoint. Explore beyond the typical city streets of Manhattan and dive into the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens to discover some of the most unique and culturally diverse neighborhoods the city has to offer. Here are our best tips to visit the 3 most booming boroughs of NYC.

(Photo by Annie Spratt)

Hip-Hop, Architecture, and Greenery in The Bronx

Looking to plan a visit to the Bronx, but not sure of what to do? The Bronx, otherwise known as the Hip-Hop and breakdancing origin of the world, has more character seeping out of its historically preserved graffiti colored walls than you may be aware of. Wander the streets of what were once the main performing centers for the Puerto Rican and African-American communities who invented the B-boy and B-girl street-style of dance, and pay a visit to the newly renovated Bronx River Art Center to explore one of the main foundations of the Bronx’s cultural scene.

Yet, this isn’t the only form of entertainment housed by this eccentric borough. Stroll down Grand Concourse to admire its Art Deco treasures. Visit the Bronx Walk of Fame to learn about all the famous artists, writers, or athletes who originated from the Boogie-Down Bronx. Speaking of sports, don’t forget to pay a visit to the infamous New York Yankee Stadium and feel like a true local watching a New Yorker’s favorite sport. Or, if baseball isn’t your preference, pay a visit to either the Bronx Zoo or the very well aged 50-acre forest apart of the New York Botanical Garden.

(Photo by Tagger Yancey / NYC & Company)

In a quick half mile you will find the far less touristy, more authentic Little Italy in the Bronx called Belmont. This is the home of Arthur Avenue Market, and a plethora of Italian restaurants, pizzerias, bakeries and pastry shops, influenced purely by Neapolitan and Sicilian cookery. Later, walk off those carbs in Van Cortlandt Park, nearly a thousand acres just as rich in greenery as it is in history and culture, a common trend amongst the Bronx.

(Photo by Joe Buglewicz/NYC and Company)

 

Trendy Shops, Hipsters, and Breathtaking Views in Brooklyn

After spending some time in bustling Manhattan, you may yearn for a break from the high-rises and city sounds. Walking through the neighborhoods of Brooklyn feels as though you are resting in the afternoon sun, maybe even with a drink at hand, which you can easily obtain at one of several renowned Brooklyn bars and local breweries. Walk, ride, or bike across the Brooklyn Bridge and experience the change of atmosphere that you didn’t know you needed.

Revel in the indie-infused vibes of Williamsburg, where you can find a plethora of noteworthy art galleries and trendy cafes. Begin your window-shopping trip at the corner of North 4th Street and Bedford Ave, where you will find the infamous boutique-lined streets. Explore the local markets, such as the Brooklyn Flea and Artists & Fleas to purchase unique products created by local artisans. These items make for special souvenirs! This hipster hub is one of Brooklyn’s most exciting neighborhoods consumed by lively music and a blend of cultures only you will be able to feel when walking through.

Explore Downtown Brooklyn all the way to DUMBO, where arts and cultures blossom and thrive. Head to Washington Street, between Front and Water Street, where you are able to capture the cobblestoned streets of DUMBO, the Manhattan Bridge, and the Empire State Building in the same photograph. Walk through Brooklyn Bridge Park to take in the spectacular views of Lower Manhattan’s panoramic skyline. Ride Jane’s Carousel, a beautiful antique carousel built in 1922. This way, you can ‘wow’ your friends with stories and snapshots to show that you saw these iconic landmarks in a perspective different than the typical tourist here in New York City.

(Photo by Wes Hicks)

Another fan favorite in the summer is the beachfront Coney Island, offering activities the entire family will enjoy. Walk along the boardwalk to find amusement rides such as the infamous Wonder Wheel, Nathan’s Famous hot dog shop, live music, street-performers, and shops and restaurants to please everyone. Coney Island is an electric neighborhood to explore outside of the city for both relaxation and entertainment at any hour.

(Photo by Dan Gold/NYC and Company)

 

Queens: Heaven on Earth for Foodies and Art Lovers

When you think New York, I’d assume that Queens does not automatically come to mind. But, as the 2nd largest, most ethnically diverse borough in the city, Queens should be up there in places to go when visiting New York.

Astoria, a personal favorite catering my love for Greek cuisine, houses the most Greek restaurants outside of Athens, Greece. Although you may not find ancient ruins here, you will find a plethora of worldly inspired eats, including, but not limited to, Peruvian, Tibetan, Egyptian, Colombian, Italian, Brazilian, Baltic and Japanese. Basically, whatever culture you feel like tasting, it’s here.

(Photo by Tagger Yancey/ NYC and Company)

Moving beyond the belly (although it may be difficult once your senses absorb the alluring spices of freshly cooked meats and vegetables), Astoria offers an extensive experience for art and culture lovers. Explore the Kaufman Arts District of Queens, the vibrant 24-blocks within Astoria that promotes art advocacy and creative industries that originated in the area. Whether or not you have a passion for film, television and digital media, the Museum of the Moving Image should be on your list, as it is the only institution in the nation that touches upon the art, technology and social impact of these mediums. If you time it right, you may opt for a free 2PM tour that is offered every day of operation.

(Photo by Forgemind ArchiMedia)

The breathtaking vistas continue at the adjacent up-and-coming Long Island City, where the waterfront scenic spots, including Gantry State Park, will ease your inner photographer itch. This evolving industrial neighborhood is home to the MoMa PS1, one of the oldest and largest contemporary art establishments in the nation. While in Long Island City this summer, visit Socrates Sculpture Park, open seven days a week and completely free of charge. This outdoor museum and Public Park allows you to view the latest sculptures and multi-media installations. Welcome summer here at Socrates Summer Solstice Celebration on June 21st, or enjoy the countless opportunities offered throughout these warmer and often cheerier months here in New York City, including art-making workshops, yoga or Tai Chai classes, and Jazz concerts, free of charge.

 

The Best of The Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens in 1 day

A visit to New York City may seem overwhelming. There are so many things to do in NYC! Although your visit to Manhattan alone may make up the most of your NYC experience, there is so much more to see in the outer boroughs… So make sure you don’t neglect them when planning your stay! If you’re short on time, save one day for the Triboro Tour from Hip Hop To Hipsters, one of the best NYC bus tours, and embark on a panoramic journey throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. See the best of the 3 boroughs in one exciting visit while letting our friendly and knowledgeable New York experts tell you all about the history and culture along the way.We also offer the tour in a Sprinter Van for extra comfort. Take this opportunity to bask in the real New York and collect precious travel tips from our local guides. Better yet, add a delicious and authentic southern style Barbecue lunch to your tour for a small additional charge. After all, nothing screams summer like some good ol’ BBQ! Also, if you are interested in finding more to do in New York City, search through our complete range of tours, attractions and activities. We can also tailor-make programs specifically to match your desires and budgets. Harlem Spirituals is the ideal one-stop-shop to simplify your planning! Find more information on www.harlemspirituals.com.

What’s on the top of your ‘must see’ list in these three boroughs? Share it with us! And, if you enjoyed or found this post useful, please continue on sharing the love with friends and family!

Interested in learning more about the Bronx, Brooklyn, or Queens? Then you would enjoy these previous articles:

5 Reasons to Visit The Bronx

5 Must-See Neighborhoods in Brooklyn

4 Reasons to Travel to Queens