Queens Water Lantern Festival – A Must-See Lighting Event


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Dive into the illuminating world of the Queens Water Lantern Festival – a celebration of love, peace, hope, and the spirit of community. 

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Festival highlights

About the Queens Water Lantern Festival

The Queens Water Lantern Festival transcends the typical concept of a light show, offering a heartfelt experience steeped in meaning and community connection. This enchanting festival is not merely an exhibition of glowing lanterns; it is a vibrant celebration of life, love, peace, and the enduring spirit of hope that connects us all. It becomes a momentous occasion where people come together to honor departed loved ones, release their deepest wishes into the universe, and bask in the unity that such shared acts of hope and remembrance can foster. 

Beyond the luminescent allure of the lanterns, the festival atmosphere is enriched with live music that resonates through the air, engaging games that spark laughter and joy, and an array of food trucks offering delectable treats to enhance the experience.

Another interesting aspect of the Queens Water Lantern Festival is the opportunity for attendees to actively participate in the creation and personalization of their lanterns. Before their symbolic journey across the water begins, participants gather in a communal space equipped with materials to design and decorate their lanterns. This creative activity not only adds a personal touch to the festival but also serves as a cathartic expression of individuality and emotion. 

As the night unfolds, these water lanterns, each a reflection of someone’s inner world, join together in a brilliant spectacle, showcasing a breathtaking interplay of light and water that captures the essence of human connection and shared dreams.

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An image inspired by the Queens Water Lantern Festival

Festival Dates (2024)

The Queens Water Lantern Festival is set to illuminate the water surface on April 20, 2024, offering a mesmerizing evening under the stars. This date has been carefully chosen to coincide with the beauty of spring in New York City, when the weather begins to warm and nature awakens. It is a perfect time to enjoy the outdoor festivities that the festival is known for. Ensure you’re part of this unforgettable light festival experience.

Where It’s Located and How to Get There

The highly-anticipated water lantern spectacle finds its serene home at the Fountain of the Planets in Universe Ct, Queens, New York, United States. This picturesque setting within Flushing Meadows Corona Park, famed for its expansive green spaces and cultural landmarks, offers the perfect backdrop for the festival’s enchanting display of water lanterns. The tranquil waters of the fountain amplify the beauty of the twinkling lights, creating a spectacle of peace and communal harmony under the New York sky.

The Fountain of the Planets is conveniently located a short distance from LaGuardia Airport, the nearest major airport. The distance between the airport and the festival site is approximately 6 miles, making it easily accessible for visitors flying in for the event.

To get from LaGuardia Airport to the Fountain of the Planets, visitors have several options:

  • Taxi: A quick and direct way to reach the festival, with a journey time of around 15-20 minutes depending on traffic.
  • Public Bus: The Q48 bus offers a route from LaGuardia Airport to the vicinity of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, followed by a short walk to the Fountain of the Planets.
  • Rideshare: Services like Uber and Lyft can provide direct transportation to the park, offering convenience and flexibility.

For those traveling to the festival from other cities by train, here are detailed guidelines:

From Philadelphia:

–Take an Amtrak train from Philadelphia 30th Street Station to Penn Station, New York. From there, catch the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to Mets-Willets Point Station, followed by a short walk to the festival site.

From Boston:

–Board an Amtrak train from South Station to Penn Station, New York. Transfer to the LIRR at Penn Station, heading to Mets-Willets Point Station, and then walk to the festival.

From Washington D.C.:

–Amtrak trains run from Union Station to Penn Station, New York. Upon arrival, switch to the LIRR to Mets-Willets Point Station, with the festival a brief stroll away.

If you liked this festival, you can also check out these other breathtaking water lantern festivals:

Kaga Yuzen Toro Nagashi

Full Moon Lantern Festival

Festival Hours

The gates to the Queens Water Lantern Festival swing open at 4:30 PM, setting the stage for an evening brimming with enchantment and communal joy. Attendees are welcomed to the rhythms of live music, the diverse flavors of food trucks, and a variety of engaging activities designed to entertain and inspire. This early part of the event offers a perfect opportunity to mingle, enjoy the ambiance, and prepare for the highlight of the evening.

As the clock strikes 7:00 PM, the festival transitions into a more introspective phase, with attendees invited to design their water lanterns. This creative process is not just about decoration but also reflection, allowing participants to imbue their lanterns with personal significance. 

From 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM, the festival reaches its crescendo as these lanterns, each a bearer of hope and dreams, are gently launched onto the water, creating a spectacle of light that dances across the surface until the night’s end.

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An image inspired from the Queens Water Lantern Festival

How Much Does It Cost to Attend the Queens Water Lantern Festival

Attending the Queens Water Lantern Festival is an experience that comes with various pricing options, ensuring that everyone can find a suitable ticket. If you plan ahead and purchase your tickets by April 12, 2024, the cost for regular adult admission is $35.99. This early bird pricing not only offers savings but also encourages early commitment to a night of unforgettable memories.

For those making decisions a bit closer to the event, the ticket price sees a slight increase to $45.99, valid until April 19, 2024. This late registration option is perfect for attendees who need a little extra time to plan. However, if you find yourself deciding to join the festivities on the day itself, April 20, the ticket price is set at $55.99, reflecting the convenience of last-minute access.

Understanding that families often attend together, the festival provides reduced pricing for youth (ages 8-14) at $13.70, while kids 7 and below can enjoy the event for free

Meanwhile, each adult ticket includes a wristband for entry, a floating lantern kit, an LED candle to ensure safety, and a commemorative drawstring bag filled with unique items like conversation and playing cards, a marker for decorating your lantern, and the assurance of lantern retrieval and water clean-up post-event. This inclusive package not only enhances the festival experience but also underscores the event’s commitment to environmental stewardship and engaging community interaction.

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An image inspired by the mesmerizing Queens Water Lantern Festival

Weather and What to Wear

April in Queens, New York, offers a transitional climate that is quintessentially spring, with temperatures that gently nudge the landscape into bloom. The month typically sees daytime highs that hover around the mid-60s°F (about 18°C) while evenings can cool down to the lower 50s°F (around 10°C to 12°C). This mild weather provides an ideal backdrop for the Queens Water Lantern Festival, allowing attendees to comfortably enjoy the spectacle of lights against the night sky.

To ensure a comfortable experience at the festival, here are some recommended clothing options:

  • Light Jacket or Sweater: Evenings can be cool, especially by the water, so a light layer is essential.
  • Comfortable Footwear: Expect some walking within the festival grounds, so comfortable shoes are a must.
  • Rain Gear: Spring weather can be unpredictable, so consider bringing a compact umbrella or a raincoat.
  • Hat and Sunglasses: Protect yourself from the afternoon sun if you plan to arrive when gates open.
  • Warm Accessories: A scarf or a beanie might be a cozy addition for the cooler evening hours.

Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby

After a magical evening at the Queens Water Lantern Festival, a comfortable and inviting hotel awaits to continue your experience in New York. Here are some nearby options that combine convenience with comfort, ensuring a restful night after the day’s festivities.

Courtyard by Marriott New York Queens/Fresh Meadows

  • Location: 183-15 Horace Harding Expy, Queens, NY 11365, United States
  • Description: This 3-star hotel offers a modern and comfortable stay, with easy access to local attractions and the festival site.
  • Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, fitness center, air-conditioned rooms.

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott New York Queens/Fresh Meadows

  • Location: 183-31 Horace Harding Expy, Queens, NY 11365, United States
  • Description: Offering a warm and welcoming atmosphere, this 2-star hotel provides excellent value with convenient amenities and services.
  • Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, fitness center.

Asiatic Hotel New York

  • Location: 135-21 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11354, United States
  • Description: Located in the vibrant heart of Queens, this 2-star hotel is a great choice for travelers looking for an accessible, comfortable stay with dining options nearby.
  • Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, restaurant.

Where to Eat

Exploring the local cuisine is an integral part of any festival experience, and the Queens Water Lantern Festival is no exception. Here are some nearby restaurants where you can indulge in delicious meals that complement your day.

O Lavrador

  • Location: 138-40 101st Ave, Queens, NY 11435, United States
  • Description: A Portuguese restaurant that enchants with its traditional cuisine, served in a setting adorned with mosaics and marble arches, complete with a cozy bar.
  • Foods: Tiramisu, Portuguese chicken churrasco, and grilled lamb chops with rosemary sauce.

Park Side Restaurant

  • Location: 107-01 Corona Ave., Queens, NY 11368, United States
  • Description: An Italian gem in Queens, known for its vegetarian options and family-friendly atmosphere, including high chairs for the little ones.
  • Foods: Veal chop allegria, chicken piccata, and fettuccine carbonara.

Vetro Restaurant & Lounge

  • Location: 164-49 Cross Bay Blvd, Queens, NY 11414, United States
  • Description: Offers an elegant dining experience with an Italian flair, boasting a wine cellar and lounge, plus captivating views of Jamaica Bay.
  • Foods: Chicken rollatini, pork pizzaiola, and sterling silver shell steak.

More Things to Do in the Area

Beyond the luminous allure of the Queens Water Lantern Festival, Queens, New York, unfolds as a tapestry of cultural, historical, and recreational activities. Here are some highlights that promise to enrich your visit with unforgettable experiences.

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New York Hall of Science

  • Location: 47-01 111th St, Queens, NY 11368, United States
  • Description: A premier science museum that captivates visitors of all ages with interactive exhibits, educational programs, and innovative installations.
  • Activities: Explore over 450 interactive displays, attend hands-on workshops, and experience the thrilling science playground.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

  • Location: Grand Central Parkway and, Van Wyck Expy, Queens, 11354, United States
  • Description: Known as the site of two 20th-century World’s Fairs, this expansive park is a hub of activity and green space in northern Queens.
  • Activities: Enjoy leisurely walks, visit the Queens Museum and the Unisphere, and partake in recreational activities like boating and baseball.

Museum of the Moving Image

  • Location: 36-01 35th Ave, Queens, NY 11106, United States
  • Description: Situated in the historic Astoria Studios, this museum is dedicated to the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media.
  • Activities: Delve into the world of moving images through interactive exhibits, view screenings of classic and contemporary films, and participate in educational programs.

An Illuminating Conclusion: Wrapping Up Your Unforgettable Journey to Queens Water Lantern Festival

The Queens Water Lantern Festival stands out as a beacon of hope, unity, and beauty in the heart of Queens, New York. It’s an event where light meets water, wishes meet the sky, and individuals from all walks of life come together in a shared, mesmerizing experience. 

Amidst the glow of lanterns, attendees find a moment of peace, reflection, and connection. This festival is not just an event; it’s a journey of light, love, and communal harmony that stays with you long after the lanterns have drifted away.


Is parking available at the festival?

Yes, there is limited parking available near Flushing Meadows Corona Park. We recommend arriving early or using public transportation to ensure a hassle-free experience.

Can I bring my pet to the festival?

Unfortunately, pets are not allowed at the festival to ensure the safety and comfort of all the attendees.

Is smoking permitted at the event?

Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is not permitted within the festival area to create a comfortable and healthy environment for all attendees.

What should I do if it rains on the day of the festival?

The Queens Water Lantern Festival is a rain-or-shine event. We recommend bringing a raincoat or an umbrella just in case. Check the festival’s official social media channels for updates on the day of the event.

Are there any age restrictions for the festival?

The festival is a family-friendly event open to all ages. Children 7 and under can attend for free, and there is a reduced price for youth tickets.

Can I bring my own food and drinks?

While outside food and drinks are not prohibited, we encourage you to explore the variety of food trucks and stalls available at the festival for a complete experience.

What is included with my adult ticket purchase?

Each adult ticket includes a wristband for entry, a floating lantern kit, an LED candle, a commemorative drawstring bag, conversation and playing cards, a marker, and contributes to lantern retrieval and water clean-up efforts.

How can I participate in the lantern decoration?

Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to participate in the lantern decoration activity. Materials for decoration are provided, and this is a wonderful opportunity to personalize your lantern with messages, wishes, or art before the launch.

Sources: https://www.waterlanternfestival.com/queens.php 


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