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Westchester County is a county of New York State in the New York metro area. It lies to the immediate north of the New York City borough of the Bronx. Many of its villages and towns serve as bedroom communities for commuters to New York City, but Westchester is also open for business. Pepsico, IBM, MasterCard, Reader’s Digest, and other prominent corporations have their headquarters here. But it’s not all work and no play. There’s plenty to see and do in the county.
Just 30 minutes from Manhattan lies Westchester County, the heart of the magnificent Hudson Valley. Our beautiful home offers a unique mix of charming country villages, picturesque waterfront towns, and sophisticated urban centers.
Westchester County is rich in historical, cultural, and natural attractions, with thousands of acres of public parks, preserves, trails, golf courses, and gardens. Whether you’re looking for a rejuvenating day trip or a more extended getaway, we’re confident you’ll find a great time here.
River or Long Island Sound. Explore a Gilded Age mansion, a Revolutionary-era manor, or an extraordinary formal garden. Catch a performance at one of our historic theaters or an exhibit at our excellent museums. Westchester County is also home to Playland Amusement Park, where you can catch a thrill on our wooden roller coaster, the Dragon Coaster. Our nationally accredited parks system boasts everything from picturesque nature trails and world-class golf courses to beautiful pools and beaches. There is truly something for everyone.
Westchester’s culinary scene is as spectacular as our scenery, with notable farm-to-table restaurants, prominent celebrity chefs, and a flourishing craft beverage industry. We can serve up whatever cuisine and atmosphere you’re craving — from refined bistros to historic inns, cozy neighborhood taverns to elegant waterfront dining rooms, from American classics to a wide range of global gastronomy.
Westchester county population
Westchester County ranks number two (after NYC) for wealthiest areas in New York State and is the seventh wealthiest county nationally. Westchester has long been associated with “old money,” and some of the country’s most affluent families for generations have lived “upstate” to escape the crowds of New York City but close enough to the Big Apple for business or pleasure. The county maintains its rural appeal with thousands of acres of parks and through a political system of townships containing villages containing hamlets that discourage large cities and preserves small municipalities. Although Westchester is home to nearly one million residents, a town like Briarcliff Manor has a population of just under 8,000. Small businesses abound in the towns and villages, and you’ll need to visit the larger cities and towns like Yonkers, White Plains, and Mt Kisco to find national chain stores and malls.
European settlement of the area began with enormous tracts of farmland held by Dutch manor lords, and some of their place names continue to this day, such as Tappan Zee (the Tappan sea), Peekskill (Peek’s creek), and Verplank (from van der Planken, near the bridge). Other names honor the Native Americans who lived here, like Ossining (from the Sint Sinck tribe), Mount Kisco (allegedly named for Chief Cisqua), and the Kitchiwan neighborhood of Ossining (Kitchiwank tribe).
The political geography of Westchester confuses locals and visitors alike. The county has cities, towns, villages, and hamlets, many of which share names and sometimes overlap. ZIP (postal) codes don’t follow municipal boundaries, so the place names in street addresses often don’t match the city, town, or village where the address resides.
What to do in Westchester county
- Beach at Playland Park in Rye.
- Old Croton Aqueduct. Go hiking or biking on the railway that tops the original (now defunct) water supply to New York City. The trail runs on the county’s western side, passing through Yonkers, Hastings-on-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow, Briarcliff Manor, Ossining, and Croton-on-Hudson.
- Visit a farmer’s market or farmstand. Farms are scarce in this primarily suburban county, but agriculture is alive and well in the form of farmers’ markets. Find markets in places like Pleasantville, Tarrytown, Larchmont, Lewisboro, Pound Ridge, and Ossining.
- You can still find a few orchards and farms in the county’s northern end that offer pick-your-own fruit and vegetables in season.
- Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, in Sleepy Hollow’s Pocantico Hills village, promotes regional agriculture through its educational programs, demonstration gardens, and greenhouses.
- Taste local vintages. There are two wineries in the county. See Pleasantville.
- You can enjoy the historic amusement park at Playland in the City of Rye (circa 1928).
- Take sailing lessons at the Croton Sailing School, Senasqua Rd, Croton-on-Hudson, +1 800-859-SAIL.
- Rent a kayak, take a guided tour, or launch your own kayak/canoe. Annsville Creek Paddlesport Center, Route 6 & 202, Annsville Circle, Cortlandt Manor, +1 914 739-2588. A good starting point for paddling the scenic Hudson Highlands.
- Follow Ichabod Crane’s route. Fans of Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow can follow the path of Ichabod Crane from the center of Tarrytown north into Sleepy Hollow. But don’t expect to find the “Western Woods” or anything else from the 1999 movie Sleepy Hollow. Tim Burton’s production is only loosely based on Irving’s story and was filmed mainly in Hertfordshire, England.
- Oakland beach – Westchester’s small beach on the Long Island Sound, with restaurant Seaside Johnny’s right on the property.
- Yonkers Raceway Casino and racetrack.