New York City's Flushing Chinatown: The Complete Guide (2024)

United States

New York


John Roleke

John Roleke

John Roleke is a Queens travel expert, guidebook contributor, and freelance writer and photographer.

TripSavvy'seditorial guidelines


Astrid Taran

New York City's Flushing Chinatown: The Complete Guide (1)

Astrid Taran

Senior Editor, Special Projects

Astrid is the Senior Special Projects Editor at TripSavvy and has been with the site since 2016.

TripSavvy'seditorial guidelines

Updated on 05/09/22

New York City's Flushing Chinatown: The Complete Guide (2)

In This Article

  • Things to Do

  • How to Get There

  • Where to Eat and Drink

  • Tips For Your Visit

Downtown Flushing, the largest urban center in Queens, is also home to the second largest Chinatown in New York City. Unlike Manhattan's Chinatown, though, Flushing's Chinatown is a true American fusion. For food, there's everything from McDonald's and Chinese seafood restaurants to street vendors selling fried noodles. For drinks, there are Irish bars, Starbucks, and bubble tea cafes. The shopping ranges from the standard Old Navy and upscale Benetton to Chinese bookstores, herbal medicine shops, Asian groceries, and music stores that stock the latest hits from Shanghai.

The neighborhood is home to a vibrant middle class and blue-collar community. Until the 1970s, Flushing was mostly an Italian and Greek neighborhood, but the downtown was shaken by the economic turmoil of the 1970s. People left Flushing and housing prices dropped. Korean and Chinese immigrants began to settle in Flushing by the late 1970s.

Today, Flushing's sidewalks pulse with a variety of different ethnic groups, but is primarily comprised of East Asian residents, specifically those of Chinese and Korean descent. Many of the Chinese arrivals to Flushing have come from Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and even Latin America—all earlier immigrant groups to the United States. The large representation of the extended Chinese community takes the eating possibilities in Flushing to the next level.

The commercial heart of the area is the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, which extends for several blocks in all directions. Further south on Main Street, the majority of stores cater to South Asian residents: the Pakistanis, Indians, Sikhs, and Afghans who also call Flushing home. If you're planning a trip to check out this diverse gem of a neighborhood, here's what to know.

New York City's Flushing Chinatown: The Complete Guide (3)

Things to Do

Downtown Flushing is a major shopping mecca, with stores running the gamut from Old Navy to Chinese herbalists. The neighborhood's numerous shops are lined up with plenty of unique offerings, some of which are difficult to find outside mainland China. For those looking for a different type of fun, Flushing is also home to some excellent karaoke bars. Here are a few stops that should definitely be on your list:

  • New World Mall: This three story shopping center features over 100 retail shops, including a massive Asian supermarket on the first and second floors, as well as a food court and karaoke lounge.
  • Shun An Tong Health Herbal Co.: One of the oldest Chinese herbalists in Flushing. You can watch the herbalist prepare remedies from ginseng, mushrooms, shark's fin, and other traditional medicines.
  • Real KTV: This karaoke bar featured a large selection of English and Chinese songs, with quality speakers, fun lighting, and an option to order (excellent!) food off of your karaoke screen.
  • World Book Store: This cozy shop dedicates its first floor and basem*nt to rare books and magazines in both English and Chinese.
  • Magic Castle: A mecca for pop culture lovers, this Korean shop sells toys, stickers and more emblazoned with cute characters like Hello Kitty, Kogepan, Pucca, Dragonball Z, and San-X.
  • Soy Bean Chan Flower Shop: This unique plant shop sells douhua, also known as tofu custard, or tofu fa, out of its store window. The unique Chinese dessert, delicious with a topping of sweet syrup, is the perfect post-dim sum treat.

How to Get There

Public Transportation: Subway, Train, and Bus

  • The 7 subway serves downtown Flushing with its terminal station on Main Street.
  • The LIRR train on the Port Washington line also stops on Main Street. Buses connect Flushing to the rest of Queens and also north to the Bronx.
  • The following buses serve Flushing downtown: 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 25, 28, 34, 44, 65 and 66.

Driving and Parking

  • It is fairly easy to drive to Flushing, but traffic and parking downtown can trigger migraines. Northern Boulevard and Main Street are the two most prominent thoroughfares. Exit the Whitestone Expressway (Interstate 678/Van Wyck) at Northern Boulevard. Or exit the Long Island Expressway (I-495) at Main Street and drive north for about a mile.
  • There is a large, two-level municipal lot at 37th Avenue and Union Street. There is asmaller municipal lot next to the LIRR at 41st Avenue, just west of Main Street.
  • On a weekday you might get lucky and find a spot on the side streets. The farther you go toward College Point Boulevard (west of Main), the more likely you will find street parking. Residential streets like those east of Union tend to have parking restrictions. Parking on Main Street is for the lucky and the thrill-seeking.

Where to Eat and Drink

As in most Chinatowns, there are restaurants on nearly every street in downtown Flushing, but one strip deserves attention. On Prince Street near 38th and 39th avenues, just a few blocks from Main Street, a few excellent eating establishments rub shoulders. Don't miss out on bubble tea—sweet, milky tea served cold or hot and often with tapioca balls—a treat that is easy to find in Flushing's Chinatown.

  • Szechwan Absolute: This is the spot to order Chongquing-style chicken, which is fried twice and slathered in dry peppers.
  • White Bear: With 34 kinds of exceptional dumplings, it's hard to go wrong at this tiny spot. The most popular item on the menu, wontons with hot sauce, come filled with pork and vegetables.
  • Haidilao: The Flushing outpost of a high-end hot pot chain from China offers manicures and massages to guests while they wait for a table.
  • Da Xi: Tucked inside a shopping mall, this trendy Sichuan restaurant nails dishes like dry pot spare rips, map tofu, and wood ear mushrooms.
  • Nurlan Uyghur Restaurant: Nurlan is one of the only restaurants in New York City to specialize in the cuisine of the Uyghur population, making it a unique spot to prioritize on your trip. Heavily influenced by Central Asian spices, you'll find lots of cumin and coriander here, especially in the restaurant's chewy hand-pulled noodles, called lagman.
  • Dumpling Galaxy:You can find just about any type of dumpling here, including shrimp and cucumber, lamb and green squash, and even sweet dessert dumplings, if you can't get enough.
  • PappaRich: This Malaysian bubble tea spot also has great food options, like hand-stretched roti pancakes sevred with chicken curry.
  • Yeh's Bakery: This long-standing Taiwanese bakery has classic treats like red-bean mooncakes and cream-filled buns in heavy rotation.
  • Mad For Chicken: A popular chain, the Flushing location of Mad For Chicken is the ultimate spot for crispy, juicy Korean fried chicken.
  • American Food: Hot dog and kebab vendors are at the corners of Main and 38th Avenue and 39th Avenue, while diners and McDonald's are easy to be found here, too. The ever popular Joe's Best Burger steps up the fast-food experience with fresh-cooked burgers and fries.

Tips For Your Visit

  • While parking may be available for a fee, public transportation is the best option for visiting Flushing's Chinatown.
  • The 7 train to Main Street can become crowded and congested during the U.S. Open, so make sure to check dates and times if you're heading to Flushing in the summer.
  • Many of the smaller shops and restaurants will not accept credit cards, so make sure to have cash on hand.

Was this page helpful?

Thanks for letting us know!

Tell us why!

New York City's Flushing Chinatown: The Complete Guide (2024)


Is Flushing the biggest Chinatown? ›

Consequently, Flushing's Chinatown has grown rapidly enough to become the largest Chinatown outside Asia. The Flushing Chinatown has surpassed the original Manhattan Chinatown in size.

Is Flushing worth visiting? ›

Queens' Flushing neighborhood is a constantly evolving and diverse area. Home to one of NYC's Chinatowns, this vibrant neighborhood has a different feel than other Queens neighborhoods. It was even frequently visited by Anthony Bourdain, so you know it's a must-visit.

Is Flushing Chinatown better than Manhattan? ›

Overall, Chinatown Manhattan looks a lot like the older, working class neighborhoods of Chinese cities. Flushing, in contrast, offers a much more fast-paced way of living. You'll see a lot of young people in the streets sporting the latest Chinese street fashion and dining and shopping at chic and modern places.

What is Flushing known for? ›

Dynamic Flushing holds Queens' Chinatown, its bustling main blocks lined with herbal shops and Asian bakeries and restaurants. The neighborhood is quite lush, too; indeed, it's home to the borough's botanical garden and one of NYC's largest parks.

What is the 2nd largest Chinatown in the world? ›

1. San Francisco. Cramped and colourful, San Francisco's Chinatown covers 24 square blocks and houses the second biggest Chinese community outside Asia (New York's is first).

Is Flushing Main Street safe? ›

Young professionals, families, and students find Flushing NYC to be a desirable neighborhood to live in because rent there is typically less expensive than in other parts of the city. The neighborhood is safe and has a low crime rate, making it an excellent place to raise children.

Which Chinatown is better in NYC? ›

Manhattan Chinatown

The most popular Chinatown in the city, this is where everyone tends to go when looking to have a great time enjoying the Asian culture. It's colorful storefronts, elaborate parades on Chinese New Year and fascinatingly authentic marketplaces made for a crazy but fun place to wander through.

Is Flushing walkable? ›

Flushing is the 41st most walkable neighborhood in New York with a Walk Score of 89.

What is the best street to walk down in Chinatown NYC? ›

1. Stroll Mott Street. This is Chinatown's unofficial "Main Street” where many of the first Chinese-owned shops and restaurants opened in the early days of Chinatown. Today it is lined with Chinese restaurants, trendy bubble tea shops, and tourist-type gift shops.

What is the most famous street in Chinatown NYC? ›

Bloody Angle (Doyers Street), the most famous street in NYC's Chinatown. Chinatown's Doyers Street may be just 200 feet long, but it's one of the most famous streets in New York, so you must check it out. The street is more like an alleyway, and it has a sharp bend in it where Nom Wah Tea Parlor is located.

How to haggle in Chinatown NYC? ›

You'll know for sure whether the prices are flexible if the vendor immediately offers you a “discount.” 2. Ask the vendor to go lower, or make an opening bid of 75 to 85 percent of the asking price. Coming in at half or less will only get you ignored or scolded, and bargaining is a game of respect.

Is Flushing the same as Chinatown? ›

Flushing's first wave of immigrants came from Taiwan, starting the area's shift into the Little Chinatown that it is today. Korean and Chinese immigrants also began to settle in the Flushing area, creating a dynamic town, distinct from the Chinatown of Manhattan.

Is Flushing bigger than Chinatown? ›

Downtown Flushing, the largest urban center in Queens, is also home to the second largest Chinatown in New York City. Unlike Manhattan's Chinatown, though, Flushing's Chinatown is a true American fusion.

What language is spoken in Flushing? ›

Languages Spoken: Chinese in New York City speak a variety of dialects, but share a common written language. Taishanese and Cantonese are the most dominant dialects spoken in Chinatown. In Flushing, Mandarin, Taiwanese and Cantonese are the most popular dialects.

What is the biggest Chinatown by area? ›

The Manhattan Chinatown contains the largest concentration of ethnic Chinese in the Western hemisphere, and the Flushing Chinatown in Queens has become the world's largest Chinatown, though it has also emerged as the epicenter of organized prostitution in the United States.

Which city has the biggest Chinatown? ›

New York City

The Manhattan Chinatown is home to the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere. The first Chinese immigrants came to Lower Manhattan around 1870, looking for the "golden" opportunities America had to offer.

What is the largest Chinatown in California? ›

San Francisco Chinatown is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia as well as the oldest Chinatown in North America. It is one of the top tourist attractions in San Francisco. You can use this site to learn more about the attractions, culture, history, and events in Chinatown.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Tuan Roob DDS

Last Updated:

Views: 6043

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (42 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Tuan Roob DDS

Birthday: 1999-11-20

Address: Suite 592 642 Pfannerstill Island, South Keila, LA 74970-3076

Phone: +9617721773649

Job: Marketing Producer

Hobby: Skydiving, Flag Football, Knitting, Running, Lego building, Hunting, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Tuan Roob DDS, I am a friendly, good, energetic, faithful, fantastic, gentle, enchanting person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.