22 Things Every Westchester Resident Needs to Do
It’s been six years since our editors presented a list of local must-dos. Now we offer an updated collection, showcasing the next generation of essential county events, attractions, and activities.
Photo by Augusto F. Menezes
Enjoy an outdoor festival from our curated list
Among the county’s must-attend events, few score higher marks than the fleet of fun festivals taking place throughout the spring and summer. Westchester Magazine’s own Wine & Food Festival is a great place to start, with six days of the county’s best eats and events. Croton-on-Hudson’s Clearwater Festival draws a range of acclaimed acts, as do the White Plains Jazz Festival and Pleasantville Music Festival, both of which offer prime ways to enjoy some of the nation’s top performers.
Photo by Andre Baranowski
Eat at a farm-to-table restaurant
Dining at one of Westchester’s farm-to-table restaurants is perhaps the best way to taste the very essence of the county. The world-famous Blue Hill at Stone Barns (pictured above) is the crown jewel of the local dining scene. This renowned restaurant was once voted best in the nation by Eater, and it sports an elaborate tasting menu from a James Beard Award-winning chef. The Twisted Oak and RiverMarket, both in nearby Tarrytown, also offer top-notch farm-to-table eats.
Have an intimate gathering at the Bedford Playhouse’s Tasting Room
Feel like a true suburban big shot at one of the county’s hottest new venues, Bedford Playhouse, where its VIP Tasting & Green Room can be yours alone for the schmoozing. At $695 for 90 minutes, you and your crew (8 max) can feel like you’re livin’ large backstage at the kickoff gig of your world-tour rock concert.
Enjoy a next-level movie experience at iPic in Dobbs Ferry
Big-theater cinema never felt so good — or was so deee-luxe — as it is over at iPic in Dobbs Ferry. Featuring sumptuous banks of top-grade leather recliners (even chaise lounges!), trendy farm-to-glass cocktails, and server-delivered upscale cuisine (overseen by celeb-chef Sherry Yard) right to your walled-off tandem seat, iPic utterly transforms the traditional movie-going experience. And yes, you can get all the gratis popcorn you want.
Check out vintage video games at Broken Bow in Tuckahoe
Embrace your inner gaming nerd. Play all your favorite video games from your childhood on a large-screen TV while enjoying a beer at this family-owned-and-operated microbrewery. Craft ales are brewed on location and perfect for drinking during a competitive game of Super Mario Brothers.
Get cultured at Hudson Valley MOCA
It’s high time to spend a day absorbing some quality culture at Peekskill’s recently revamped Hudson Valley MOCA. The rebranded museum (previously The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art) currently has a blockbuster show featuring work from some of the biggest-name living artists — taken straight from the collection of the museum’s founders, Marc and Livia Straus.
Photos courtesy of MSG photos
Watch a Westchester Knicks and/or NY Liberty game
Game on! No need to head to the city to see professional athletes now that the Westchester Knicks and the NY Liberty play in our very own crib. Head to the County Center in White Plains for an electrifying game and cheer on these ultra-talented players. Perfect for a fun date-night close to home or a night out with friends.
Fly to new heights at iFly in Yonkers
Think you’ve done it all? Try skydiving without the sky. That’s what’s in store at the exciting venue known as iFly at Ridge Hill. This Yonkers venue is the only one in the state where you can soar indoors — sporting all the exhilaration of the real thing but so safely, a 3-year-old can do it. You’ll leave not only with your own Flight Certificate from iFly but with a lifelong memory, as well.
Laugh it up at one of Westchester’s new comedy clubs
One new way to spend an evening in Westchester is doubled-over laughing. Believe it or not, the county is home to more than its fair share of funnymen, with two standout comedy clubs: Lucy’s Laugh Lounge in Pleasantville and the recently renamed Yonkers Comedy Club. In addition, comedy connoisseurs can stop by The Tarrytown Music Hall, which also frequently hosts big-name sidesplitters.
Check out some of the region’s hottest food at Savor Westchester
Trendy açai bowls? Check. Quinoa-centric grain bowls? Check. Sushi burritos? Check. At this truly next-level food court in The Westchester in White Plains, curious culinary explorers can find some of the Big Apple’s hottest eats. Highlights include the ultra-popular Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue, uber-healthy The Little Beet, Melt Shop, and Juice Generation.
Try paddling the waterways of Westchester
When the warm weather finally hits, one of the best ways to experience the scenic waterways of Westchester is via paddleboard. At SUP Westchester in Mamaroneck, those curious about the shore can enjoy solo or group paddle-boarding lessons, or just rent a kayak or board and explore for the day. SUP even offers fitness and yoga classes atop the boards, for those who want to find inner peace while peeping nature.
Photo courtesy of Bona Bona Ice Cream
Enjoy ice cream at Bona Bona’s new spot in Port Chester
Chopped champion Nick DiBona garnered a cult following with his scrumptious Bona Bona ice-cream line. Formerly purveyed solely via a food truck, this delectable dairy dream now has its own brick-and-mortar in DiBona’s hometown of Port Chester. Ample seating and colorful décor are on tap – but so is alcohol, in the form of some boozy shakes that make this more than just a kids’ malt shop. Also, be sure to check out the sprinkle room.
Photo by Ethan Harrison
Get Your Farm on at Stone Barns or Muscoot Farm
Disconnect with tech and connect with your local roots by spending the day getting dirty at the farm. Engage your children by signing them up for a summer camp at Muscoot Farm, or take an insider’s tour of Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture to check out the greenhouse, planting fields, and livestock.
Take a scenic tour of NYC or the Hudson Valley from Westchester County Airport with Wings Air Helicopters
See the fall foliage of the Hudson Valley (and the world-famous landmarks and skyscrapers of NYC) from a bird’s-eye view on a helicopter tour departing from Westchester County Airport. Tours last from 30-45 minutes and are narrated by experienced pilots. Perfect for a date or even a proposal.
Cruise around the Hudson Valley on a boat tour
To be a Westchesterite is to love the Hudson River, and there’s no better way to express that love than to take a rhapsodic river cruise with a company like Trinity Cruise Company. Launching from bucolic Riverfront Green Park in Peekskill, Trinity offers trips on the former USCG Buoy Tender Evening Star from Wednesdays to Sundays throughout the summer, along with fun (and alcohol-friendly!) themed cruises.
Connect with your inner Indiana Jones at Boundless Adventures, Purchase
Drop your inhibitions and resurrect the adventure-lover in you at family-friendly Boundless Adventures on the campus of Purchase College. This new-to-the-area, eco-friendly aerial-adventure park features 9 treetop obstacle courses, along with ziplines, bridges, and rope challenges suitable for suburban thrill-seekers of every stripe and skill level, as they climb, crawl, swing, and traverse their way to glory.
Photo courtesy of UGK
Slip into an underground dinner
Anyone with a soft spot for hush-hush eats need look no further than Westchester's array of underground dinners. One supper club worth sneaking into is founder and chef Andrew Mercado’s UNDERGROUND by A-Game, a $100-$150-per-person pop-up that supplies drinks, daring dishes, and entertainment all in a secret Westchester location. For a more laid-back repast, give Bronx-born chef Charles Grand’s Infusions a try. These $95-per-person three- to eight-course dinners combine gourmet food with infusions of natural herbs and alcohol.
Photo courtesy of Wolf Conservation Center
Sleep with the wolves via Wolf Conservation Center
Kevin Costner may like to dance with wolves, but Westchesterites can actually sleep with them, at the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem. Here, you can take a deep dive into the fascinating lupine world, including presentations on wolf biology and a chance to observe majestic ambassador wolves in their enclosure. Spend an unforgettable evening ululating with these crepuscular creatures of myth and legend.
Photo by Ken Gabrielsen
Take your kids to Rockin’ Jump in Yonkers or Mount Kisco
Visit the one place in the county where it’s actually encouraged that your kid bounce off the walls. Rockin’ Jump, with its two Westchester locations, offers a Jump Arena perfect for acrobatics, a Dodgeball Arena (how much more fun would it be to bounce away on the trampoline to avoid getting pelted?), a Slam Dunk Zone for basketball, and a multilevel climbing wall.
Create pottery during Cladies Night at Clay Art Center
Bond with buddies over a little mud during Clay Art Center’s “Cladies Night: Sip & Spin Wheel Class.” This one-time instructional class offers friends, first dates, or just those curious about ceramics an opportunity to hit the potter’s wheel in a lighthearted atmosphere. During the BYOB event, guests can sip wine as they craft two clay pieces that are glazed, fired, and then picked up at a later date. www.clayartcenter.org
Find next-gen rehab with cryotherapy
Freeze away your pain and diminish wrinkles with cryotherapy at one of the county’s hotspots to get this cold treatment. Nordic Edge in Scarsdale and Eastchester, Evolve Athletic Club in White Plains, and Freeze Cryotherapy in Rye Brook offer this alt-healing method that athletes swear by for its myriad recovery properties.
Chow down on a pig roast at The Cookery
Channel your inner carnivore during this decadent way to experience all the joys of a whole-pig roast right in Dobbs Ferry. This David DiBari-helmed eatery offers an $85-per-person Swine Dinner, which comes with a market appetizer, as well as three seasonal sides, not to mention your tableside pig. Other versions, all of which must be booked in advance, include Hogs & Hops and Swine & Dine, which come with beer and wine pairings, respectively.
- Oldies but Goodies (from previous bucket lists) -
1. Gobble soft-serve ice cream at King Kone
2. Spy Chagall’s & Matisse's stained-glass windows at Union Church of Pocantico Hills
3. Visit Rye Playland
4. Enjoy Bronx River Bicycle Sundays
5. See a show at the renowned Capitol Theatre
6. Stroll ethereal Untermyer Gardens
7. Explore Rockefeller State Preserve
8. Experience Westchester’s mansions, including Lyndhurst, Philipsburg Manor, and Van Cortlandt Manor
9. Stargaze at the Hudson River Museum Planetarium
10. Watch a great film at Jacob Burns Film Center
11. Enjoy music al fresco at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
12. Wander the Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens
13. Have fun at the Harbor Island Beer Fest
14. Indulge in the experience of Stew Leonard’s
15. Get a taste of the good ol‘ days at Walter’s Hot Dogs
Photo by Andre Baranowski