Where to Spend a Photogenic “Perfect Day” in and Around Rockville Center


Whether you are looking for a place to dine, relax, work or play, a good atmosphere is essential. From gorgeous exteriors to trendy restaurants, people are looking for exciting backgrounds for selfies and other Instagram-worthy snapshots.

GreaterRockvilleCentre has researched five of the most photogenic spots to capture a day spent with friends or family, or even having fun flying solo. Here’s the scrapbook-worthy scoop of a day, from the morning cup of coffee to the last call.

Ground Central Coffee Company – Lynbrook

As one of the island’s most infamous songwriters once wrote, you can’t start a “perfect day” without that first cup of coffee.

The chorus of Lou Reed’s 1972 track adorns the wall inside the Ground Central Coffee Company. Beneath the sign are shelves lined with vinyl records waiting to be purchased and rotated.

Reed, who graduated from Freeport High School in 1959, joins other Long Island music icons such as Dee Snider and LL Cool J in a mural at the back of the cafe.

Guests can stretch out on the sofas and large armchairs and open their laptops with a coffee, tea, beer or wine by their side. They can also bite into baked goods, sandwiches, flatbreads and more from the shop’s long list of menu items.

The shop is lined with several bookcases, filled with great reads and providing a sophisticated photo backdrop.

The only Long Island location among the New York-based coffee company’s six locations is at Philips Plaza at 659 Sunrise Hwy. at Lynbrook.

Meet Bar and Izakaya – Rockville Center

Meet Bar and Izakaya offers popular Japanese food and drink, including yakitori skewers with various meats, ramen, and sake.

The Japanese word “izakaya” translates to “stay-drink-place” – essentially a Japanese tavern or laid-back hideaway for friendly get-togethers.

The small-plate-centric restaurant serves unique appetizers such as lobster pancakes, fried octopus, shishito peppers, Asian street corn, and ginger squash bisque.

Wall to wall, the restaurant at 216 Sunrise Hwy. at Rockville Center, one can admire shodo, or Japanese calligraphy, and dramatic and elegant black, white, and red paintings of men and women wielding swords.

Lake Hempstead State Park – Hempstead

Hempstead Lake State Park provides the perfect scene to disconnect, relax and reflect. The park offers picnic areas, playgrounds, and basketball courts. Visitors looking for something a little more secluded may consider lingering around the South Pond.

The South Pond area is more remote, accessible by narrow dirt roads through wooded areas. North of the trails at the west end of the pond, there is plenty of open space for children and dogs to run around freely, and the latter often like to bathe.

South Pond, as well as McDonald Pond and the main Hempstead Lake, are all loaded with trout each fall.

Burger Shack – Lynbrook

Burger Shack is no ordinary burger; it’s a great afternoon hangout for those who identify as nerds.

Owner Pasquale Rao has stocked the shelves with superhero toys of all kinds, from classic action figures to Funko Pops.

Anyone with a passion for sci-fi will need to order a signature milkshake honoring Star Wars legends and take a selfie in front of a mural overflowing with cartoon and video game characters.

Fans of old-school games will delight in being able to play their favorite games, from Super Mario to Pac-Man, right in their booth while munching on burgers, dogs and waffles or disco fries.

Dirty Taco and Tequila – Rockville Center

One of the most popular tacos on the island, Dirty Taco and Tequila has four very photogenic locations, including this restaurant at 201 Sunrise Hwy. in Rockville Center.

As the name suggests, Tom Cataldo Jr.’s restaurant offers a menu inspired by global influences, from Asian creations that include Korean tacos with short ribs and kung pao chicken, to Mexican and Spanish delights like street corn mexican and churros. . There are also a variety of brands of tequila, making it the perfect place to end a “perfect day” with a few drinks.

The restaurant is draped in lush calavera art with green landscapes and candles thrown in for at least a dozen photo ops.


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