The Queens Museum is one of the city's most unexpected pleasures. Its most famous installation is the Panorama of New York City, a gob-smacking 9335-sq-ft miniature New York City, with all buildings accounted for and a 15-minute dusk-to-dawn light simulation. The museum also hosts top exhibitions of global contemporary art, reflecting the diversity of Queens. A fascinating upcoming exhibit explores some of the most interesting and avant-garde NYC designs that never came to fruition, realized through drawings and 3D models.

The QM is housed in a historic building made for the 1939 World’s Fair (and once home to the UN), and you'll find a retro-fabulous collection of memorabilia from both the ’39 and ’64 fairs on display (with reproductions in the gift shop).