Free tours through the heart of Flushing, Queens

Now that the U.S. Open is underway, a section of Queens is taking advantage of the influx of visitors by offering free tours as a way to give people a reason to stick around town.

After two years of planning the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce is offering the tours to highlight the culture, history, and food of Flushing.

"Some people spend thousands of dollars to travel thousands of miles to experience a type of culture they can find right here, one stop away from the U.S. Open," said John Choe, the executive director of the chamber of commerce. "We're welcoming people with open arms."

Choe gave us a little taste of parts of the tour. Our first stop was at Soy Bean Chen Flower Shop, where the Chen family makes homemade tofu.

We then headed to Joe's Steam Rice Roll for freshly ground rice flour mixed with water, seasoned with meat and veggies, and then steamed.

This tour takes you through the heart of Flushing and covers food and history.

Queens borough historian Jack Eichenbaum explained what will be discussed.

"Why did Flushing become this large Asian community? And it's a very interesting story," Eichenbaum said. "You have to come on the tour to find out."

Back on the tour, we stopped at the New World Mall, considered a foodie destination.

"Many of the different cuisines you will experience in Flushing are all in one place," Choe said. "You can smell, taste and sample. All the food here is great."

The free tours run Monday to Friday for the duration of the U.S. Open. Fridays include a special food tour. All the guides are from Flushing. You must register for the tour.