Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Mount Vernon, NY

  • Published 2023/02/23

Mount Vernon is a city in Westchester County, New York.

The city features ethnically diverse neighborhoods and areas that showcase the beauty of New York.

You can find various city parks, places of worship, and even notable buildings in Mount Vernon on the National Register of Historic Places.

If you want a worthwhile weekend getaway from big cities like Brooklyn or Queens, here’s a list of the best things to do in Mount Vernon, New York.

Discover the History behind St. Paul’s Church National Historic Site

Facade of St. Paul's Church National Historic Site

CaptJayRuffins, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take a break from visiting parks and explore St. Paul’s Church National Historic Site, one of the places of worship at Mount Vernon.

It features timeless Georgian-style architecture from a square, wooden structure when the parish was founded.

St. Paul’s Church played a role in the Battle of Pell’s Point when it served as a hospital for the British Army.

Signage of St. Paul's Church National Historic Site

CaptJayRuffins, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Because of its role during the American Revolutionary War, the church was designated a National Historic Site in 1943 and included in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

Learn more about its history on a guided tour, watch a short introductory film about the site, and view the exhibits at St. Paul’s Church National Historic Site.

Explore Downtown Mount Vernon

If this is your first time in the area, make it your first activity to explore Downtown Mount Vernon.

This is the best way to see what the city offers while getting an overview of available restaurants, cafes, shops, and other establishments.

What also makes exploring Downtown Mount Vernon a must is that it has stayed in the same condition as it was 40 years ago, with the same mid-century architecture and appearance.

Step back in time while appreciating the city’s development and progress.

As you explore downtown, check out the Fourth Avenue shopping district, various government offices, and the City Hall.

You can also find restaurants and other places of interest, like Hartley Park, Pioneer Shooting Center, and Foodtown.

Enjoy Authentic Italian Meals at Joe’s Fleetwood Pizzeria

Of all the dining options in Mount Vernon, Joe’s Fleetwood Pizzeria is a restaurant you shouldn’t miss.

The pizzeria opened in 1972 with just four tables and a jukebox and is now a dining staple with a full-size restaurant with a seating capacity of 75 people.

Proudly owned by an Italian native, Joe’s Fleetwood Pizzeria specializes in Neapolitan and Sicilian-style pizza, along with hero sandwiches, pasta, chicken, veal, and seafood-based dishes.

Satisfy your Italian food cravings and order fried calamari and mozzarella sticks, then try their chicken cutlet parmigiana or veal cacciatore.

Other Italian specialties include eggplant parmigiana, eggplant rollatini, shrimp scampi, and seafood calamari.

Don’t forget to order their famous pizza or calzone with various toppings.

Go on a Hike at Hunt Woods Park

From the skyscrapers and busy streets of the city, head to Hunt Woods Park for a much-needed change of scenery.

Also known as Hunt’s Woods Park, it has wooded areas and hiking trails perfect for a quick run or a day surrounded by nature.

You can bring your dogs to Hunt Woods Park as long as they are on a leash.

The trail isn’t paved, but it’s mostly flat, so those with different fitness levels can walk, jog, or run at the tracks without much trouble.

Check Out the Artworks at Luangisa African Gallery

Luangisa African Gallery aims to empower, connect, and preserve African culture and traditions through sculpture, paintings, tribal artifacts, and other artworks.

Located near North Columbus Avenue, the gallery was founded in 1996 by the Luangisa family hailing from Tanzania.

The gallery also offers Fair Trade and authentic Modern African handmade products, clothing, home decor, jewelry, and African weapons.

The items and products are proudly made by artisans across the continent, supporting the economic empowerment of these makers while showcasing African heritage.

Explore Luangisa African Gallery, get a deeper insight into the rich African culture, and support the artisans by purchasing an item.

Hang Out at Willson’s Woods Park

Geese at Willson’s Woods Park

Denmark45, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Acquired in 1924, Wilson’s Woods Park is one of the oldest parks in Westchester County, comprising 33 acres.

It took its name from Charles Hill Wilson, the former owner of the land on which the park was built.

The park is the perfect place to visit for a family day out, featuring facilities like a picnic area, pavilions, a children’s playground, a fishing lake, and a trailhead for hiking.

Willson’s Woods Park is also a popular destination for its waterpark. It has a Tudor Revival-style bathhouse, splash pad, water slides, and a million-gallon swimming pool with artificial waves.

Bring the whole family to the park and enjoy various outdoor activities, from swimming and fishing to ice skating in the winter.

Try the Baked Goods at Padaminas Brazilian Bakery

Do you need a pick-me-up to kickstart your day?

Head to Padaminas Brazilian Bakery for delicious bread and pastries with coffee.

Since its opening in 2001, the bakery has become a go-to for Mount Vernon and Westchester residents for its healthy and home-style Brazilian baked products.

Some must-try bread and pastries at Padaminas Brazilian Bakery include Pão de queijo, Rosca de Creme, Pastel de Pizza, and Maiz Tierno.

Aside from pastries and baked items, the bakery has other must-try food, including sandwiches, burgers, salad, and freshly-made smoothies.

The bakery opens as early as 5:00 a.m., so you can buy bread and coffee or have a quick breakfast before starting your day.

Bring the Family to Hartley Park

Nestled at the heart of Downtown Mount Vernon, Hartley Park is a perfect hangout for a relaxing afternoon.

Various cafes, restaurants, and other establishments surround the park, making it an ideal stopover in the middle of your tour around Mount Vernon.

Park facilities include basketball courts, a children’s playground, a paved walking trail, a small pavilion, and several benches.

Treat the family to a day out and visit Hartley Park.

After a walk in the park, grab a bite at nearby restaurants or resume your tour.

Have a Picnic at Brush Park

With its vast green space, playing courts, and picnic facilities, bring the family for a leisurely picnic at Brush Park.

The park has baseball and softball diamonds, a cooking area, a grill, a children’s playground, and plenty of parking areas.

Visitors at Brush Park, in particular, applaud it for its cleanliness and open spaces suitable for other recreational activities.

Play Frisbee, enjoy a picnic, read a book, or sit back and enjoy the atmosphere.

During the baseball season, you may even get a chance to watch a game or two.

Chill at Maggie Spillane’s Ale House and Rooftop

If you want to unwind after a day spent outside, look no further than Maggie Spillane’s Ale House and Rooftop.

It is one of the few establishments that offer a rooftop garden, giving you a refreshing view of Mount Vernon as you sip on a couple of beers, wines, and cocktails.

The relaxed yet welcoming atmosphere also makes it the perfect venue for socializing and interacting with the locals.

Whether you’re having brunch, dinner, or even a late-night craving, Maggie Spillane’s Ale House and Rooftop will fill your tummy with appetizers, burgers, tacos, and more.

They also host events like fundraisers, parties, and live screenings of your favorite sporting events.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Marvel at the Greenery of the New York Botanical Garden

Pond at the New York Botanical Garden

Johnny Tran /

From Mount Vernon, take a 10-minute drive to the picturesque New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, New York City.

Included in the list of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks, the 250-acre garden is a living museum containing thousands of plants, flowers, shrubs, and trees.

Explore the New York Botanical Garden tour and marvel at Mother Nature’s creations as you navigate the plants and collections.

Rose garden at the New York Botanical Garden

littlenySTOCK /

No matter what season you visit, there’s something to see at the botanical garden.

Check out the lovely peonies and cherry blossoms in spring, and explore the tranquil rock and native plant garden in summer.

By autumn, see the beautiful foliage across the gardens and admire the snowdrops blooming in the middle of winter.

Interior of the New York Botanical Garden conservatory

Pri Ma /

Explore Bronx Little Italy

A pizza from Bronx Little Italy

Danita Delimont /

Live La Dolce Vita even just for a day and travel to Bronx Little Italy in the Bronx, a 12-minute drive from Mount Vernon.

Formally known as Arthur Avenue, the area houses artisanal shops, world-class restaurants, and small shops combined with Italy’s old-world charm.

You will feel as if you’ve been transported to the land of pasta and gelato as you walk around Bronx Little Italy.

People lined up outside a shop at Bronx Little Italy

littlenySTOCK /

Taste classic Italian delicacies and pastries, or have lunch at an authentic Italian restaurant or pizzeria and feast on a plate of rigatoni pasta or a slice of Margherita pizza.

Likewise, you can shop for your favorite Italian food products like cheese and wine to bring home.

You can also browse the shops and buy handmade products, clothing, or accessories.

Fresh produce market at Bronx Little Italy

Joe Tabacca /

Spend the Day at Harbor Island Park

Take a short road trip 30 minutes from Mount Vernon and bask under the warm sun at Harbor Island Park in Mamaroneck, New York.

The park is a perfect summer destination because of its proximity to Mount Vernon.

Visitors can enjoy beach access and other facilities like a children’s playground, marina, boat launch area, and docks.

Sports enthusiasts will also love the ball fields and vast areas for Frisbee, football, and other outdoor sports.

Meanwhile, those who’d like to relax at Harbor Island Park can stay at the picnic area, walk along the dock, or read a book on the benches.

If you’d like to swim on the beach, take note that there is a separate fee to access the beach area.

Beat the Heat at Tibbetts Brook Park

A waterfall at Tibbetts Brook Park

Kenneth Dean /

If you’re looking for a place to visit in summer, don’t miss Tibbetts Brook Park in Yonkers, New York, a 15-minute drive from Mount Vernon.

The park has been around since 1927 and boasts 161 acres of recreational opportunities, from hiking and fishing to swimming and nature watching.

It has a lazy river, water slides, a lap pool, mini islands, water sprays, and waterfalls, making it the perfect summer getaway for the family.

In addition, Tibbetts Brook Park has walking trails that connect to the 14-mile South County Trailway, artificial lakes for fishing, playgrounds, and playing courts.

In the park, you can also find bird and animal species like Canada goose, wood duck, domestic mallards, pigeons, and the American black duck.

Enjoy Various Outdoor Activities at Van Cortlandt Park

House museum of Van Cortlandt Park

HEakin /

Spanning 1,146 acres, Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx is the third-largest park in New York City, bigger than the famous Central Park.

This park is nine minutes from Mount Vernon.

It features a vast space for sporting and leisure activities, including bicycle paths, baseball fields, basketball courts, bocce fields, and a freshwater lake.

If you want to learn a bit of history, visit the Van Cortlandt House Museum and learn about the illustrious family where the park took its name.

Cross country race at Van Cortlandt Park

WoodysPhotos /

Meanwhile, the Van Cortlandt Nature Center is a great starting point if you want to join ranger-led tours.

You can also discover the park’s diverse landscapes, animals, and plants.

Because of its large land area, you can spend a day at Van Cortlandt Park to make the most of your visit.

Night scene at Van Cortlandt Park

eddtoro /

Final Thoughts

Are you itching for a weekend trip from Brooklyn or Queens?

Check out Mount Vernon in Westchester County.

The city has plenty of activities and sights waiting to be discovered.

Consider this list of the best things to do in Mount Vernon, New York, and plan your itinerary today!

© All rights reserved.