15 Best Things to Do in Rye, NY

Rye, NY
Sorin Vidis / shutterstock.com

Rye is a lovely coastal suburban city that belongs to Westchester County, New York.

It’s a great leisure and tourist destination for those traveling alone, with family, friends, or special someone—everyone of all ages.

You’ll enjoy its laid-back charm and family and kid-friendly ambiance.

Rye boasts a rich history, arts, and culture, a quaint downtown district with various shopping and dining spots, a wildlife refuge, natural wonders, and majestic Long Island Sound waterfront views.

Some memorable places to create memories include Westchester Children’s Museum for kids’ enjoyment, Playland, an amusement park for the whole family, and Rye Historical Society for history buffs and museum visitors.

However, the city has more arresting things once you step foot in its beautiful areas.

Are you interested in what this place carries?

Delve into the splendor of Rye, New York, and enjoy these best things to do!

Spot Some Wildlife at Marshlands Conservancy

A deer at Marshlands Conservancy
Larsek / Shutterstock.com

There are plenty of things to do with the family or friends at the 147-acre wildlife sanctuary, Marshlands Conservancy.

You can picnic here, hike on designated trails, watch magnificent birds, and go cross-country skiing in the winter.

As this place consists of diverse habitats, expect to spot wildlife, including wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, American woodcocks, and many more.

Wild turkey at Marshlands Conservancy
Larsek / Shutterstock.com

Appreciate the scenic freshwater ponds, deciduous forests, salt marsh, one-and-a-half miles of shoreline, and other features of Marshlands Conservancy as you explore and soak in its natural beauty.

In addition, a nature center and open field sit on this arresting protected area.

If you’re interested in visiting this sanctuary, it lies on Boston Post Road and borders Milton Harbor.

Flock of birds over Marshlands Conservancy
Larsek / Shutterstock.com

Let the Kids Have Fun at the Westchester Children’s Museum

If you’re looking for one of the best places to take your children, head to the Westchester Children’s Museum.

The museum offers hands-on experience in its interactive space, where children can do many exciting things.

These include building their roller coaster, playing a round of ping pong, exploring what makes things fly, diving into Toddler Beach, and more.

From interesting exhibits to fun programs, there’s always something enjoyable at this place.

The museum’s welcoming, colorful environment best suits preschool to middle school-age children.

If you can’t wait for your children to experience what the Westchester Children’s Museum has in store, find this place on Playland Parkway on the boardwalk next to Playland Park.

Travel Back in Time at the Jay Heritage Center

The Jay Heritage Center, a not-for-profit organization, is a great way to glimpse the lands of America and its political history.

Managed by the organization, the 23-acre Jay Estate in Rye is one of the oldest National Historic Landmarks, as it was the childhood home of one of the nation’s greatest leaders and founding fathers, John Jay.

Visitors will enjoy this place because the center uses it for recreation and hosting programs about the nation’s history, social justice, architecture, landscape conservation, and environmental stewardship.

Overlooking Long Island Sound, the site is part of the Boston Post Road Historic District.

To catch the breathtaking views of this landmark, visit the Jay Heritage Center on Boston Post Road.

Hike the Trails at the Rye Nature Center

If you want to leave the busy crowds behind, go to the Rye Nature Center on Boston Post Road.

The Friends of Rye Nature Center (FRNC) manages and operates this 47-acre forest and wildlife preserve.

Enjoy your time here by soaking in the serene, refreshing atmosphere and reconnecting with nature.

Get some endurance exercise by jogging or hiking over two miles of trails.

The Rye Nature Center also has ponds, streams, and granite outcroppings.

At the same time, it boasts cozy indoor and outdoor classrooms and museum space for visitors.

If you want more, the FRNC offers electrifying events, programs, and camps that allow you to explore the outdoors while learning about nature and making friends.

The Rye Nature Center also has a family and kid-friendly environment.

Tour the Square House Museum at the Rye Historical Society

While in the city, don’t miss the chance to visit the 1964-founded Rye Historical Society housed in the Square House Museum, which has welcomed visitors for nearly three centuries.

The Square House Museum, which has served as a home, an inn, a tavern, and a city hall, is now a restored historical museum and exhibit hall, offering changing exhibits and tours of period rooms.

These five period rooms are the front hall, tavern room, warming kitchen, upstairs hallway, and innkeeper’s bedroom, each having antique furniture, decorative arts, and artifacts illustrating tavern life during the late 1700s.

The Rye Historical Society is a great way to learn and see the abundant historical and cultural heritage of the Rye community and the nation.

Besides the Square House Museum, the Society also operates the 1667-built Knapp House, the oldest surviving house in Westchester County, featuring over 25,000 archived items of the Village of Rye and the Rye Historical Society.

Located on the Boston Post Road, get back in touch with the past through the Society’s collections of artifacts, archives, lectures, programs, and events throughout the year!

Go on Exciting Rides and Relive Your Childhood Memories at Playland

Merry-go-round at Playland
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

You can’t and won’t forget what you’ll experience when you visit the 280-acre Playland, also known as Rye Playland or Playland Amusement Park.

Nestled on Playland Parkway on Long Island Sound, people of all ages can enjoy the city’s famous seasonal amusement park that’s been around since 1928, giving beautiful memories through over 50 exciting rides and attractions.

Bring out the inner child in you as you go on thrill rides like the historic Dragon Coaster and Dragonator and family rides like Gondola Wheel and Music Express.

All children will enjoy the children’s rides, such as the Boat Ride, Kiddy Carousel, Crazy Submarine, and many others!

Rollercoaster at Playland
Jose F. Donneys / Shutterstock.com

Aside from ice rinks and an Olympic-size pool, the art-deco-style park also has restaurants and concession stands if you feel hungry after doing exhilarating outdoor activities.

Playland also features concert series that add entertainment to visitors.

This National Historic Landmark is one of the places to be for a fun-filled experience with families, friends, or groups.

A ride at Playland
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

Engage in Art at The Rye Arts Center

Five Rye families founded The Rye Art Center in 1960.

Its name changed to The Rye Arts Center in 1987 to embrace all art forms.

This place is great for young children to adults who’ll delight in their chosen craft or appreciate all kinds of art.

Whether one wants to view gallery exhibits, attend performances, learn to play musical instruments, join art tours, or enroll in art classes, there’s something worthwhile at this center.

Moreover, the arts center has a shop where you can buy creative artwork like fuel mugs, embroidered hats, and tote bags.

You can find The Rye Arts Center on Milton Road.

Play a Round of Golf at Rye Golf Club

Rye Golf Club is the place to be if you’re a golfer or someone who wants to try golfing.

Conveniently nestled on the historic Boston Post Road, this 126-acre facility is a member-only club owned by the City of Rye.

Devereaux Emmet designed the challenging 18-hole golf course in 1921, with breathtaking views of Long Island Sound.

Rye Golf Club offers leisure activities, including a heated swimming pool, wading pool, sand volleyball court, and play areas, which are great to enjoy in the summer.

You’ll also enjoy the Whitby Castle restaurant and bar that host elegant and casual events and serves classic continental dishes.

Other amenities to draw more of your interest include an indoor golf learning center, a golf snack bar, and a golf shop.

There are many more to enjoy while at Rye Golf Club.

Enjoy Reading Books at Rye Free Reading Room

For those who love reading, Rye Free Reading Room is the best place for you.

The public library dates back to 1884, which you can visit on Boston Post Road.

You’re guaranteed to enjoy your preferred book here, as it has a quiet, clean, and relaxing atmosphere.

Aside from books and other physical materials, the library provides access to ebooks, audiobooks, music, film, and more.

Rye Free Reading Room also features programs and events that might interest you.

Furthermore, taking your kids to this library is an excellent idea as it fits them, too.

Go Birdwatching at Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary

The waters of Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary
bleung / Shutterstock.com

The 179-acre Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary sits on the shore of the Long Island Sound along a migratory flyway.

Home to a vast diversity of marine life, the nature preserve features a Manursing Lake, a salt-marsh wetland, a bamboo grove, and fields of native grasses and wildflowers.

The lake, a mixture of salt and freshwater, hosts over 5,000 ducks during winter.

There are also three miles of trails through forest and field.

The National Audubon Society of New York has recognized Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary as an important bird area because of its significant bird habitat and flyway.

Besides being a great spot for birdwatching, the sanctuary’s nature center building boasts nature exhibits and a place for learning programs.

Restrooms, maps, checklists of seasonally distinct bird species, and information are also available at the nature center.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Longford’s Ice Cream

Located on Elm Place, Longford’s Ice Cream is one of the places to cool down and enjoy the freshest, creamiest, and tastiest handmade ice cream around.

They offer many flavors guaranteed to thrill sweet enthusiasts.

Longford’s Ice Cream consistently produces over 60 flavors of ice cream, including strawberry, mint Oreo comb, cookie monster, vanilla, and chocolate.

They also offer seasonal favorites and more than 30 flavors of sorbet and gelato, including coconut fresh fruit sorbet, raspberry fresh fruit sorbet, Tahitian vanilla authentic gelato, and fresh mint chunk gelato.

Moreover, dairy-free flavors are also available.

Locals and visitors flock to Longford’s Ice Cream, especially during the summer.

Learn to Skate at Playland Ice Casino

If you’re interested in ice skating or hockey, head to Playland Ice Casino.

It’s located on Playland Parkway, just a few footsteps from Playland, with beautiful waterfront views.

It’s an excellent place to have fun with others, including your friends and family, especially the kids.

Playland Ice Casino features three ice skating rinks: one NHL-sized rink with bleachers, one studio rink with team benches, and one kiddie rink with a private area.

It offers a learn-to-skate program, various skating and hockey clinics and camps, freestyle sessions, public skating sessions featuring black lights and live DJs, birthday party and event packages, and many others!

It also has an in-house food concessions area with large video arcade games.

Playland Ice Casino is a hockey, figure skating, and public skating spot where you can share smiles and laughs as you skate or play hockey here with them.

Find a Good Book at Arcade Booksellers

Tucked on Theodore Fremd Avenue, Arcade Booksellers is the go-to place for book lovers and those looking for a one-of-a-kind book.

It’s the only independent bookstore in Rye.

It’s also a favorite local shop, and Westchester Magazine has touted this spot as “many book groups’ store of choice.”

Arcade Booksellers has all kinds of books, from fiction and non-fiction to children’s books.

If you can’t decide upon any book, Patrick Corcoran, the knowledgeable owner, will be happy to help you search for the perfect book.

What’s more, you’re sure to leave smiling and satisfied as he gift-wraps for free.

Explore the Vibrant Downtown Rye

There are many diverse and interesting things to explore in Downtown Rye alone, with family or friends.

Fill up your basket with different varieties of goods at Rye Country Store, look for French delicacies at June & Ho, shop your favorite looks at Palmer & Purchase, or find some gifts at Pink Shop Rye.

If you feel hungry afterward or crave delicious foods and drinks, you can dine at one of the numerous restaurants, some of which have outdoor seating options.

Some dining spots you might like are Rafele Rye for Italian cuisine, Bareburger for a bite of juicy burgers, and Ruby’s Oyster Bar & Bistro for seafood.

Fogama is excellent for classic Japanese fare, Aurora for brick-oven pizzas, and Frankie & Johnnie’s Steakhouse for the tastiest steaks.

Besides shopping and dining opportunities, Downtown Rye has many establishments offering different services you may need.

Have Fun in the Sun at Rye Town Park and Oakland Beach

A beach house at Rye Town Park and Oakland Beach
Jim.henderson, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

For a waterfront picnic and fun with family or friends, you will love Rye Town Park-Bathing Complex and Oakland Beach, right next to Playland.

Architects Upjohn and Conable and landscape architects Brinley and Holbrook designed this historic park and public beach in 1909.

The park’s landscape features include stone walls, a stone bridge, a terrace overlook, light fixtures, staircases, ramps, pathways, lawns, trees, plantings, a small lake, and the charming white-sand Oakland Beach.

There are 17 structures in the park, including historically significant Spanish Mission Style buildings boasting exemplary architecture popular at that time.

At this lovely place, you can enjoy swimming on the beach, strolling through the sand, or relaxing on the warm sand, soaking in the daylight.

Children will enjoy playing around here, too.

End your day with dinner at The Barley Beach House, which also sits in the area, while catching the spectacular sunset over Long Island Sound.

Final Thoughts

The beautiful city of Rye has many things to offer.

From fascinating museums to natural attractions, there’s something that catches everyone’s interest and makes them experience it firsthand.

So, plan your trip and enjoy the best things to do in Rye, New York!

Spotted a mistake, have some feedback, or just want to chat with our editorial team? Click here to get in touch.
Find out more about Travel Lens and read our editorial guidelines here.