Westchester County is in the Hudson Valley at the heart of the New York metropolitan area.
Established in 1783, the region was previously inhabited by the Lenape, calling the area “Lenapahoking,” which translates to “homelands of the Lenape.”
The first European contact happened in 1524 when Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano landed there.
In the 1620s, Dutch settlers started arriving in the area, followed by British colonists in the 1640s.
Today, Westchester County is one of the most developed and most populous counties in the Tri-state Area, with New York City, Connecticut, and New Jersey sharing its borders.
Here are the 21 of best things to do in Westchester County, New York.
Stroll around the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy
The 43-acre city public park Untermyer Gardens Conservancy is on North Broadway, Yonkers.
The present-day park is part of the 150-acre estate called “Greystone,” developed by prominent lawyer and civic leader Samuel Untermyer.
Untermyer started developing the gardens in 1916, featuring a Walled Garden inspired by the Charbagh.
Inside the garden are an open-air amphitheater, a tempietto called Temple of the Sky, and a staircase that leads to a viewing deck overlooking the Palisades.
Other sections of the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy include The Temple of Love and Rock and Stream Garden, the Lion & Unicorn Gate and Ruin Garden, and the Rhododendron Walk.
Explore the Rockefeller State Park Preserve
Located on Phelps Way, Pleasantville, is Rockefeller State Park Preserve.
The Rockefeller family donated the land to the State of New York in the 1980s.
The nature preserve is a designated Important Bird Area, with over 180 species of birds calling it their home.
The Rockefeller State Park Preserve is also known for its wildlife diversity, with carriage trails allowing visitors to view animals in their natural habitats.
The 1,771-acre Rockefeller State Park Preserve contains dense forests, wetlands, meandering brooks, open meadows, and a 24-acre Swan Lake.
Rockwood Hall, a section of the park where an English Gothic castle once stood, was the private residence of William Rockefeller.
Marvel at the Architecture of the Lyndhurst Mansion
Sitting on a 67-acre tract of land beside the Hudson River, the mansion was designed by famed Gothic Revival architect Alexander Jackson Davis in 1838.
It was first owned by New York City Mayor William Paulding Jr., then by businessman George Merritt, and lastly, by railroad magnate Jason Gould.
Davis used limestone quarried at the Sing Sing for the mansion’s exterior, incorporating fancy turrets and implementing an asymmetrical outline.
The hallways of the Lyndhurst Mansion are narrow, and the windows have sharp arches, while the ceilings are vaulted and decorated with ornate details.
The estate is set in an English natural landscape park with well-manicured lawns and a conservatory.
Hop on a Hayride at Muscoot Farm
Located on New York State Route 100, Katonah is the farm museum Muscoot Farm.
The estate was originally part of the 86,000-acre Van Cortlandt Manor, divided into smaller pieces after Stephanus Van Cortlandt’s death.
The farm served as the summer home and dairy farm of Ferdinand Travis Hopkins and his family from 1880 to 1924.
The family eventually moved to the farm in 1924 and continued the dairy business until its acquisition by Westchester County in 1967.
Today, Muscoot Farm is an interactive farm museum where visitors can pet farm animals like cows, horses, donkeys, and sheep and view historic buildings, including the Milk House, the Ice House, and the Carriage House.
Hop on a hayride in a tractor-pulled wagon and explore the farm’s back hayfields.
Ride the Iconic Grand Carousel at Playland Park
Often called Rye Playland, the 280-acre park was built in 1928 along the shores of the Long Island Sound.
Playland Park sits on land previously occupied by two other theme parks, Rye Beach and Paradise Park.
The first rides to operate during the park’s opening included Derby Racers, Dragon Coaster, and the iconic Grand Carousel.
The carousel is a 1915 Mangels-Carmel carousel located initially in Connecticut and moved to the park in 1927 for its opening.
It has four rows with 48 jumpers, 18 standers, three chariots, and a band organ designed by famed Italian organ builder, Gavioli.
Join the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor
The 17th-century manor was built for the influential political dynasty, the van Cortland family.
The estate was originally an 86,000-acre land purchased in part by Stephanus Van Cortlandt from the Indians.
The colonial-era house was not occupied until Pierre Van Cortlandt moved in 1732.
The estate was passed down from generation to generation until 1945 when it was sold to a non-relative, Otis Taylor.
John Rockefeller acquired the property in 1953 and restored the brick manor house to its former glory.
Today, the Van Cortlandt Manor is a museum and hosts the annual Halloween spectacle, The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze.
Admire Antiques at Washington Irving's Sunnyside
Located on West Sunnyside Lane, Irvington is the historic Washington Irving's Sunnyside.
The ten-acre estate sits along the Hudson River and is famous as the home of American short story writer Washington Irving.
Irving is most known for his works "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."
Sunnyside follows the Gothic Revival style, incorporating elements from the Scottish Gothic design, Dutch Colonial Revival, and Tudor Revival styles.
The house’s most iconic feature is the wisteria flowers covering its façade.
Today, tours with guides dressed in period costumes are conducted in the estate.
See antique furniture pieces, accessories, and personal effects of the Irving family on this tour.
Fly like a Pro at iFLY Indoor Skydiving
Located on Ridge Hill Boulevard, Yonkers, is iFLY Indoor Skydiving.
The facility offers indoor skydiving lessons where you will learn all the basics, including Stable Flying or just floating in the air, Back Flying Maneuvers where you will flip forward, backward, and side to side, and Transitions, Rolls & Flips.
You can book it for birthdays and other private events, where participants will get skydiving lessons and celebrate in the party room afterward.
iFLY Indoor Skydiving has certified, world-class instructors that can coach skydivers of all ages and supervise parties.
Make your dream of flying a reality and learn indoor skydiving in under two hours!
Remember Slavery at the Philipsburg Manor
Owned by the Dutch Philipse family, the estate encompassed 52,000 acres and included a mill, farm, and stone manor house.
The Philipse family engaged in the slave trade during the 17th and 18th centuries, which helped them build most buildings on the property.
An inventory in 1750 found that the family owned 23 African slaves, making them one of the largest slaveholders in the region.
Today, the Philipsburg Manor is a living museum featuring the lives of the 23 African slaves through restored artifacts and reproductions of items from that dark historical period.
See One of the World’s Largest Hand-Hewn Structures at Croton Gorge Park
The park sits at the foot of the New Croton Dam, the third largest hand-hewn structure in the world, next to the Great Pyramids and the Great Wall of China.
Croton Gorge Park is a popular recreation spot for fishing, sledding, and cross-country skiing.
Its lush greens provide shade perfect for a day of picnicking.
It’s the starting point of the Old Croton Trail, which spans 26.5 miles.
Along the trail are remnants of the Old Croton Aqueduct, including 21 remaining ventilators and ten- to 14-foot-high structures built to allow fresh air to reach the aqueduct.
Relive the Legend at the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow
Also known as the Old Dutch Reformed Church, the 17th-century stone church is prominently featured in Washington Irving’s short story “The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow.”
Designed and funded by wealthy Dutch merchant Frederick Philipse I, the church's construction began in 1685 and was completed between 1697 and 1699.
It features thick fieldstone walls and Flemish-style gambrel, with an octagonal wooden open belfry on the roof’s west end.
The Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow interior features wooden pews, an ornate pulpit, and a pipe organ.
Solve a Mystery at the Puzzle Parlour
The Puzzle Parlour has four escape rooms, each with a different theme and difficulty level.
The Vampire Room will turn your bitten friend into a vampire if you don’t get a hold of the antidote locked at the mysterious Castle Ravenloft.
The Surgery Room is set in a dark operating room where you must escape from your captors.
In the Heist Part I, you’ll need to prevent a corrupt cop from realizing his plans of an elaborate heist.
Finally, at the Alien Conspiracy Room, your group will enter a farmhouse to save alien evidence that the government plans to destroy.
See a Fully Domed House at the Armour-Stiner Octagon House
The visually unique Armor-Stiner Octagon House is on West Clinton Avenue, Irvington.
The Tempietto inspired the octagonal and domed Victorian-era house in San Pietro in Montorio, designed by Donato Bramante.
Built between 1859 and 1860 by Paul J. Armour, it’s the only known house of its style despite the popularity of octagonal houses during the 19th century.
The ornate building is four stories tall, featuring an observatory encompassing 8,400 square feet.
The estate houses the original Lord & Burnham conservatory greenhouse and a gazebo that used to be a well house.
Explore the Cosmos at the Hudson River Museum’s Planetarium
Located on Warburton Avenue, Yonkers, is the Hudson River Museum.
Founded as the Yonkers Museum in 1919, the museum boasts an extensive collection of Hudson River School paintings, as well as exhibits on the history and heritage of the region.
Its central attraction is the Andrus Planetarium, the county’s only public planetarium.
It opened in 1969 in honor of the beginning of the Space Age and man’s first landing on the moon.
The Planetarium offers interactive shows where visitors can see what the sky will look like later at night.
The Hudson River Museum Planetarium also has a Megastar projector capable of showing up to 22 million stars.
Catch the Sunset at the Scenic Hudson RiverWalk Park
The 5.2-acre waterfront park offers panoramic views of the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge stretching the Manhattan skyline.
The park features a riverside esplanade where you can stroll while enjoying the cool breeze from the Hudson River.
There are grass terraces and lawns where you can sit and wait for the sun to set.
The Scenic Hudson RiverWalk Park is an eco-corridor with native plants lining the edge of the esplanade.
See Outdoor Sculptures at the Donald M Kendall Sculpture Gardens
Located on Anderson Hill Road, Purchase is the Donald M Kendall Sculpture Gardens.
The garden is on the ground of the PepsiCo headquarters, containing 45 pieces of outdoor sculptures by contemporary artists, including Alberto Giacometti, Alexander Calder, and Henry Moore.
The collection mainly focuses on 20th-century art, with works from Claes Oldenburg, Richard Erdman, and Henri Laurens.
The 168-acre garden features well-manicured lawns, lush trees, ponds, fountains, topiaries, hedges, and flowerbeds.
At the center of the gardens is the three-story headquarters surrounded by trees, bushes, and a pond at the back.
Westchester County may be one of the most developed regions in the country, but its proximity to the Hudson River gives it a suburban feel.
It offers something for everyone, from nature adventures to historical trips.
On your next getaway, try the best things to do in Westchester County, New York.