QNS Weekender: 11 things to do in Queens

Menorah lighting at the Bay Terrace Shopping Center in 2020. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

The weather outside might be frightful but the holiday events in Queens are just heating up.

To get a jump on your holiday shopping, check out the Redeemer Lutheran Church Christmas fair this weekend, which features handcrafted gifts and decor for the season. On Sunday, head to tree and menorah lightings in Astoria Park, Bayside Hills and Bay Terrace.

For these events and more, here are some things to do in Queens from Dec. 3 to Dec. 5.


Before doing anything in person, make sure to get tested for COVID-19 and register for any of the three available vaccines.

To slow the spread of COVID-19, the New York City Department of Health suggests getting tested often. Here are several places where you can get tested this weekend:

Visit vaccinefinder.nyc.gov to find a vaccination site near you.

As per the city’s executive order, many indoor venues, including nightclubs, movie halls and concert theaters will be requiring that attendees are fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination. Read more about the mandate.


Street Tree Care (Dutch Kills): Volunteer with the NYC Parks Stewardship team, who will teach you to aerate, cultivate, mulch and identify street trees. Volunteers will also learn the important roles street trees play in New York City. Dress in clothes that can get dirty and closed-toed shoes. Those under 18 much be accompanied by a chaperone. Registration is required. 36th Avenue and 30th Street, Dutch Kills. nycparks.org. Free. 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Dec. 3. 


Wetland Restoration (Rockaway Beach): The Stewardship Team will be working with volunteers to identify and safely remove invasive plants and debris to help restore the wetland and create a healthier ecosystem. Volunteers should wear sturdy boots or shoes, long pants and clothing that can get dirty. Those under 18 must be accompanied by a chaperone. Registration is required. Rockaway Beach and 56th Street in Rockaway Beach. nycparks.org. Free. 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Dec. 4. 

Hike and Pick (Forest Park): Get into the great outdoors while helping to beautify public spaces. Volunteers are needed at Forest Park to clean up the Orange Trail on this scenic hike. Registration is required. Pine Grove in Forest Park. nycparks.org. Free. 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Dec. 4. 

Volunteer Event: Park Clean Up (Crocheron Park): Volunteer with the Friends of Crocheron Park and John Golden Park to clean up the park, remove litter and debris. Register at www.crocheronpark.org/registration or . Pine Grove in Forest Park. nycparks.org. Free. 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Dec. 4. 

Christmas Fair (Redeemer Lutheran Church): Do some holiday shopping at this Christmas fair. Gifts include handcrafted items, handmade wreaths, decorations, gourmet food, plants, jewelry and vintage items. Guests can also enjoy dessert at the Christmas Cafe. 36-01 Bell Blvd. rlcb.org. Free. 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Dec. 4. 

Winter Tree ID (Forest Park): Hikers will search for different tree species in the park and learn ways to identify these trees during the changing season. Myrtle Avenue and Park Lane South in Forest Park. nycparks.org. Free. 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., Dec. 4.

Hands on History: All the World’s a (Puppet) Stage! (Rufus King Park): Echoing a popular 19th-century holiday tradition, make puppets and miniature puppet theater this weekend. Registration is suggested but not required. 150-03 Jamaica Ave., King Manor Museum in Rufus King Park. nycparks.org. Free. 1 to 4 p.m., Dec. 4.


Outdoor Skills: Orienteering (Alley Pond Park): Join the Urban Park Rangers in this orienteering exercise. Learn tips and tricks that will enhance your knowledge of the natural world and might just save your life. Alley Pond Adventure Course in Alley Pond Park. nycparks.org. Free. 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., Dec. 5.

9th Annual Holiday Festival & Tree Lighting Celebration (Astoria Park): This annual event is a great way to kick off the holiday season. In addition to lighting up the community tree, the event will feature balloon art and holiday performances by Music for Aardvarks, Academia de Mariachi Nuevo Amanecer and carolers. Astoria Park Lawn in Astoria Park. nycparks.org. Free. 3 to 4:30 p.m., Dec. 5.

Holiday Lighting Festival (Bayside Hills): The Bayside Hills Civic Association is hosting its annual Holiday Lighting Festival. Guests are asked to maintain social distancing. Children will receive holiday goodie bags. Bell Boulevard and 53rd Avenue mall in Bayside Hills. baysidehills.info. Free. 5 p.m., Dec. 5.

Grand Menorah Lighting (Bay Terrace Shopping Center): Hosted by the Chabad of Northeast Queens, this celebration features live entertainment, latkes and apple cider, chocolate coins and a raffle. The upper level of the Bay Terrace Shopping Center. chabadnedqueens.com. Free. 6 p.m., Dec. 5.

To submit an event for QNS Weekender, email jbagcal@schnepsmedia.com.