Where to Go Before (or After) the U.S. Open

More than tennis, anyone?

Photo courtesy of New York Hall of Science

Have tickets to see Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, and other tennis greats battle it out on center court at the U.S. Open? For those lucky enough to be attending this year’s final Grand Slam tournament, here are the best spots to hit around the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Sweatbands optional. 

Queens Museum

Less than a five-minute stroll from the center, this little-known gem is home to a handful of art and educational exhibitions—among them, the Panorama: the world’s largest scale model of New York City. Spanning 9,335 square feet, the miniature metropolis features every street, park, and building built across the five boroughs before 1992, along with a 15-inch Empire State Building and a Statue of Liberty that’s less than two inches tall. Other long-term exhibitions include a one-of-a-kind collection of Tiffany glass and a relief map of the New York City Water Supply System—not to mention more than 900 objects from the World’s Fair. New York City Building, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park 

where to go before the u.s. open
Photo courtesy of Queens Museum

New York Hall of Science

There’s a ton to take in at this sprawling institution, which showcases more than 450 interactive displays and hosts countless events on everything from animation to music to astronomy. And don’t forget 60,000 square feet of outdoor space and a 3-D theater. Adults and kids alike can explore “Life Beyond Earth,” discover the similarities between humans and animals, and partake in a number of sports including baseball, rock climbing, miniature golf, and drag racing. Fun daily demonstrations include cow eye dissections and lessons on how to crush a can without touching it. And no, David Blaine is not involved. 47-01 111th Street, Corona  

where to go before the u.s. open
Photo courtesy of New York Hall of Science

The Shops at SkyView Center

Love to shop? Of course you do! Browse more than 30 retail stores—including Best Buy, Nordstrom Rack, Michaels, and Old Navy—at this 700,000-square-foot shopping mall, just 15 minutes from the arena by foot. And if you manage to work up an appetite, grab a quick bite at one of the casual eateries, such as Beard Papa’s cream puffs or dumplings from Grandma’s Dim Sum. If you are in the neighborhood on the 25th, celebrate the start of the U.S. Open at The Shops, where there will be music, giveaways, and a Wii tennis tournament from 1 to 4 p.m. 40-24 College Point Boulevard, Flushing 

Fantasy Forest Amusement Park

Sited on the edge of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, this kids’ paradise is less than a mile from the tennis center. Visitors big and small can zoom around the Queens Motor Speedway in a miniature race car, take a turn on the Corona Cobra (the only roller coaster in Queens), or go round and round on the historic Flushing Meadows Carousel, built for the 1964 World’s Fair. 5351 111th Street, Corona 

where to go before the u.s. open
Photo courtesy of Fantasy Forest Amusement Park

Mikkeller Brewing NYC

Nothing brings on an intense thirst like swiveling your head to watch the ball go back and forth. So take to this newly opened bar at Citi Field, where you’ll find more than 60 craft beers on draft—from juicy IPAs and pilsners to rich stouts and porters. Featuring soaring ceilings and picnic-style tables, the lively joint—which broadcasts games on several TVs scattered throughout the 10,000-square-foot space—is sure to get you pumped up for any sports outing. The food is good here, too: Get the Korean-inspired boneless chicken strips with garlic sauce or the classic burger, made with a Pat LaFrieda short rib patty and a Martin’s potato bun. (The supercrispy, organic tater tots are also a must.)

Note that the brewery is open noon–10 p.m. on Sunday, 4–10 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, and noon–midnight on Friday and Saturday. The bar is closed Monday and Tuesday unless there’s something going on at the stadium, in which case it opens two hours before day games (which usually start around 1 p.m.) and three hours before night events (which begin around 7 p.m.). 123-01 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing 

where to go before the u.s. open
Photo courtesy of Mikkeller Brewing NYC/Facebook

Louis Armstrong House Museum

This year marks the 50th anniversary of “What a Wonderful World,” so there is no better time to learn all about one of jazz’s greatest giants in Louis Armstrong’s former home, now a National Historic Landmark. Take a 40-minute tour of the legendary trumpeter’s house (where he and his wife lived out the remainder of their years), which contains all the original furniture and decor left after their deaths. You’ll see the living room, peppered with souvenirs from his world travels, and the bedroom, showcasing a king-size bed—not to mention Armstrong’s version of a “man cave,” where he once entertained the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Clark Terry. Stop by the Japanese-inspired garden in the back, where top jazz bands play in the summertime. 34-56 107th Street, Corona

where to go before the u.s. open
Photo courtesy of Louis Armstrong House Museum

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