Spend a sophisticated day of design and film in the most royal of our boroughs. Grade-schoolers through college kids will love these inspiring, off-the-beaten-path spots.
Stop 1: Turkish Pastries
Start your day with something sweet at Istanbul import Güllüoglu Baklava Cafe, where you can treat yourself to an array of Turkish desserts like walnut- or pistachio-filled baklava and kazandibi (a thick, milky pudding topped with a caramelizing coating). If savory is a little more your brunch style, you can’t go wrong with the traditional borek: a phyllo-dough pastry stuffed with beef, cheese, or spinach. 30-92 31st Street, Astoria
Stop 2: A Little Bit of Zen
Now you should have enough energy for the Noguchi Museum, an elegant temple to design in Long Island City dedicated to the work of Japanese artist and designer Isamu Noguchi (you may know his name from the sleek glass-topped coffee tables he created in the mid-20th century or his works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art). The museum building is minimalist, with a very zen feeling, but the art is sculptural and sensual—kids can walk around it and experience it more physically than they could if it were hanging on a wall. Noguchi’s memories of night fishing, guided only by the light of paper lanterns, inspired the current exhibition, “Akari: Sculpture by Other Means,” featuring his one-of-a-kind illuminated sculptures. 9-10 33rd Street, Astoria
Stop 3: Arepas!
Queens is known for its wide-ranging ethnic cuisine, but under-the-radar Venezuelan spot Arepas Cafe offers a rare treat for lunch. And just as the name suggests, the arepas—loaded with chicken, cheese, and fried sweet plantains—are a taste bud’s dream come true. Honorable mentions include the mini empanadas, yucca fries, and a brown sugar lemonade to wash it all down. 33-07 36th Avenue, Astoria
Stop 4: Muppets and Movies
Your next stop is the Museum of the Moving Image, where film appreciation is serious business. Packed with movie memorabilia, including set design sketches, costumes, and a real Chewbacca mask from the Star Wars films, the museum also has interactive experiences: Kids can create stop-motion animation and add sound effects and music to famous movie scenes.
And if you haven’t been to MOMI’s “The Jim Henson Exhibition” yet, what are you waiting for? Discover how the master puppeteer created groundbreaking projects like The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, and Labyrinth, and get an up-close view of the almost 500 artifacts—puppets, character sketches, storyboards, and costumes—that helped launch Henson’s historic 40-year career. 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria
Stop 5: A Class-y Ending
If you’ve got energy for one more activity, check out the class schedule at Playday. Depending on the day, you can drop younger kids off to try spin art, embroidery, yoga, chess strategy, or emoji design—while the grown-ups grab a pint at LIC Bar, just seven blocks away. 537 51st Avenue, Long Island City