Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Mount Vernon, NY

  • Published 2023/01/25

For a good reason, Mount Vernon is a jewel of Westchester County, New York.

This vibrant city comprises two primary sections: South-side Mount Vernon and North-side Mount Vernon.

Initially settled by Connecticut residents in 1664, the city was made an official village in 1853 and then an entire city in 1892.

Interestingly, the town gets its name from George Washington’s Mount Vernon property in Virginia.

Whether you are looking for free attractions or activities, there is plenty to do with your friends and family in this historic city!

Here is a list of free things to do in Mount Vernon, New York.

Take a Journey Back in Time to Saint Paul’s Church National Historic Site

Exterior of Saint Paul's Church National Historic Site

CaptJayRuffins, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located just 20 miles north of New York City, Saint Paul’s Church National Historic Site’s Church has been a cornerstone of colonial Eastchester life since 1665.

Saint Paul’s Church National Historic Site has been a testament to American freedom since 1704, when the cemetery adjacent to Eastchester village green first opened.

That same area saw America’s first extraordinary election in 1733, an iconic display of people claiming their right to expression and politics.

Beyond this defining moment, Saint Paul’s Church also played its part in military history.

It served wounded soldiers during the Revolutionary War Battle at Pell’s Point.

Its current stone chapel commemorates these legacies, providing an essential window into early American society and culture.

Spend the Day at Brush Memorial Park

Come and create lasting memories at Brush Memorial Park!

There’s something for everyone here.

Get your gloves out and play some tight ball in either softball or baseball.

Enjoy a delicious meal from the park’s cookout area; grill it onsite for an added fun touch.

When you’re done playing with the kids, let them enjoy some time in the Playground before ending a day filled with moments to treasure.

Head home after an unforgettable experience at Brush Park that will stay with you for years!

Spend a Lazy Sunday at Hartley Park

Situated at 144 North 5th Avenue, Hartley Park is a haven for all occasions.

Whether it’s a leisurely picnic underneath one of the lush trees or a weekend game of chess, Hartley Park has something to offer everyone.

Visitors will find two full-sized basketball courts and a dedicated children’s Playground, perfect for parents and kids alike.

Additionally, the park invites locals to enjoy jazz music performances and experience cultural dance entertainment throughout the year, allowing visitors to unite over all sorts of cultures.

Each year, the Community Fall Festival invites scores of people to get together for an evening celebration.

At the same time, National Night Out allows citizens and first responders to connect in the first week of August.

No matter what brings you here, you will have an unforgettable time at Hartley Park!

Discover a Rich History at the Bill of Rights Museum

Step back in time at the Bill of Rights Museum near Saint Paul’s Church National Historic Site inside the former Carriage Shed or Parish Hall.

Here you can witness a unique way to experience some of our nation’s important history.

The Bill of Rights Museum is a relic as it still prominently displays horse rings from parishioners who used them.

An 18th-century printing press and handcrafted dioramas depicting John Peter Zenger and his trial are among the outstanding features.

You will also find an original 12-article legislative journal from Congress’s first session.

Check out artifacts, photographs, maps, and text panels that detail amazing stories about Westchester County during the American Revolution and other historical tidbits about Saint Paul’s Church.

To take in this fascinating museum, book an appointment Tuesday through Friday for a self-guided tour.

Read a Book at Mount Vernon Public Library

Interior of Mount Vernon Public Library

DJAter, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located at 28 South First Avenue, the Mount Vernon Public Library is a Carnegie library serving as Westchester County’s main library.

With an impressive collection of over 500,000 items—books, serials, 17,000 multimedia, visual recordings, and other collectible material—you should find something interesting here.

It also has two loft floors to house its valuable and historical items.

With galleries and events rooms available, the Mount Vernon Public Library offers a quarterly calendar of activities and programming to keep you occupied.

It also offers WiFi access, laptops for in-house use, e-readers for your convenience, plus study spaces for those studying needs.

So if you’re ever near Westchester County and are looking for something interesting to do on the side, why not visit the Mount Vernon Public Library?

Bring Your Dog to Hunt’s Woods Park

Hunt’s Woods Park is a verdant oasis in the middle of the City, located at 171 Central Parkway.

It’s a great place to spend quality bonding time with your furry friend.

It features lush greenery and plentiful local flora, and its trails are also perfect for biking or hiking.

Additionally, benches around the park invite moments of refreshment and reflection as you watch out for giant mushrooms!

If you’re looking for an adventure, marvel at the giant trees that line the creek along one of the many nature trails.

Whether you want to stroll or just let the dogs run free, Hunt’s Woods Park will help you create lasting memories with your pet.

See the Murals of the Drip Project

The Drip Project is an ever-evolving collection of images painted by some of NYC’s most well-known graffiti artists to establish an arts area.

The initiative leverages art to uplift the local community by transforming drab, dilapidated warehouse walls or buildings into public canvases.

This forms part of Mayor Richard Thomas’ grand plan to develop arts and culture for Mount Vernon, allowing artists to showcase their talent and adding vibrancy to the city.

The Mes Hall at 255 Washington St. hosts this project; muralists can be spotted painting the building façade.

Thanks to the work of some talented local artists, Mes Hall is now a wild mixture of art and architecture.

For example, a mighty tiger and Astro Boy have been painted on its back wall, steps away from New Haven Line’s Metro-North station!

Supported by a thriving community of musicians and creatives, it is set to become a center for art and creativity in New York City.

Uncover the Scenic Wonders of Willson’s Woods Park

Geese at Willson's Woods Park

Denmark45, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Willson’s Woods Park is one of the country’s oldest parks on Bradford Road.

It was purchased in 1924 and named in honor of the previous property owner, Charles Hill Willson.

Willson’s Woods Park is an infinitely enjoyable wonderland with 23 acres of exploration.

It is a place to breathe fresh air while fishing on the lake, stroll beneath vibrant trees and shrubs, or ice skate on its frozen winter lake.

There are countless opportunities for bird-watching adventures and outdoor picnics that will make any visit memorable!

The park also houses over 50 species of birds, with mallard ducks being the most common sight.

Previously, however, Canadian geese were sighted more frequently than any other species.

Visitors should note that dogs are welcome but should always be on a leash.

Take a Journey through the Majestic Memorial Field

At Memorial Field, sports enthusiasts can play various games on a modern synthetic turf field that can be customized for football, soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey.

Beyond the extensive athletic options offered by the multi-use sports field, the park includes a futuristic eight-lane track for running around or leisurely walking outdoors.

There is also an onsite skate park for those looking for more extreme thrills.

This facility has no shortage of features, from its 3,900-seat grandstand featuring an LED-lit sound system and press box to its space dedicated to home, visiting locker rooms, referees, and trainers.

When you’re done having fun with your favorite game, grab a snack at one of the stands before leaving!

With nearly 100 years of history, hosting Jackson 5 concerts and Coca-Cola commercials, the Memorial Field offers lasting memories while accommodating each player’s passion!

Ride a Bike at Scout Field

Scout Field is a 22.9-acre paradise in Mt. Vernon and Yonkers along the Bronx River.

Travel along the riverside route and enjoy the trees on a warm day, perhaps with a pick-up volleyball game.

Cross the bridge to get to a short path leading to Gramatan Avenue and explore while following the creek.

Beyond an ideal spot for recreation activities, including running, biking, and nature studies, Scout Field also has a tranquil atmosphere.

Listen to birds singing their tunes as you take in the picturesque scene before your eyes.

With nearby access to the Bronx River Pathway, visitors will undoubtedly have a fulfilling experience at Scout Field.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Mount Vernon is full of exciting and educational activities that won’t cost you a dime.

If you want even more to do in the area, you can enjoy plenty of other free attractions nearby.

Learn Local History at the Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site

A building at Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site

ALT55-VictorM, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site is in Yonkers, New York, 13 minutes from Mount Vernon.

It is an iconic landmark with a long and storied history.

Built in the 1680s, the manor was occupied by four generations of the Philipse family.

They held title to more than 200,000 acres and were considered New York’s wealthiest family.

After their departure following the American Revolution, Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site served as Yonkers City Hall until a new city hall was constructed and became home to numerous immigrants.

Fortunately, thanks to its recognition as a historic site and building of great significance, this beautiful home was saved and given to New York State.

Discover the Philipse Manor Hall Community Gallery and its temporary art exhibitions that explore Indigenous, European, and African histories.

Immerse yourself in this incredible place to gain unparalleled insight into past cultures as presented by local artists with a civic mission!

Commune with Nature at the Tibbets Brooks Park

Tibbetts Brook Park in Yonkers is a destination for locals and visitors alike seeking rest, recreation, and respite from city life.

Since 1927, this 161-acre park—inspired by George Tippet, a pioneer settler during the colonial era—has served as an oasis of green amid urban development.

Tibbetts Brook Park offers various activities like swimming, hiking, athletics, nature viewing, and angling, from its lakes and playgrounds to its playing fields and event lawns.

For generations of Westchester County residents, it has been a source of global connection and cultural celebration.

Despite its popularity, the park remains an easily accessible haven of natural beauty in an increasingly developed world.

Tibbetts Brook Park hosts events like festivals and cultural celebrations during summertime.

It is a perfect way to experience the unique nature of its surroundings while having fun with family and friends alike.

You can find this park nine minutes from Mount Vernon.

Unwind at Crotona Park

Waters at Croton Point Park

Linda Harms /

Located on the eastern shore of the Hudson River, Croton Point Park offers a wealth of adventures for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

It is an ideal spot for picnicking, hiking, and exploring, boasting nearly 508 acres with campgrounds, swimming areas, and hilly terrain.

Visitors to the park enjoy discovering its rich history and marveling at its remarkable natural features, like the picturesque 3.3-acre lake full of local wildlife and 28 species of trees.

Welcome sign of Croton Point Park

Linda Harms /

If you want more active fun, there are 20 hard tennis courts, five baseball diamonds, and 11 playgrounds to take advantage of.

The park additionally has a Nature Center, which houses some of the oldest wine cellars in New York State.

Since 1888, Croton Point Park has been a treasured site providing a wonderful escape from the Bronx, New York City, 17 minutes from Mount Vernon.

It is perfect for reconnecting with the beauty of nature.

The grounds of Croton Point Park

Linda Harms /

Bring the Folks to Bronx Park

Bronx Park is a hidden gem in the Bronx, located just 13 minutes from Mount Vernon.

With an impressive total area of 718 acres, it is the eighth-largest park in the City.

Bronx Park features spectacular outdoor areas and boasts two unique features: the renowned New York Botanical Garden and the iconic Bronx Zoo.

On top of that, this park is home to a wide variety of species, such as plants and animals along the Bronx River and in its forests.

For those looking for recreation, Bronx Park has something for everyone.

It has playgrounds, bike trails, baseball diamonds, tennis courts, basketball courts, and even football fields, all open to visitors.

Spend the Day at Van Cortlandt Park

The waters of Van Cortlandt Park

Michael Birts /

Van Cortlandt Park is the third-largest park in New York City.

It spans over 1000 acres with mountains, valleys, and rugged terrain providing endless outdoor opportunities in the northwest part of the Bronx.

Located about ten minutes from Mount Vernon, the park will let you explore Tibbetts Brook and Van Cortlandt lake, the largest freshwater lake in New York City.

Nature lovers can discover old-growth woodlands, outcrops of Inwood marble, and Fordham gneiss within their exploration.

Likewise, take advantage of several walking routes and five main hiking trails.

Entrance arch of Van Cortlandt Park

Anthony22 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy recreational sports at the many playing fields and playgrounds.

Visit the Van Cortlandt House Museum, the oldest standing structure in the Bronx and the first public golf course in America, for a unique insight into local history.

Get out of your comfort zone and enjoy an extraordinary experience at Van Cortlandt Park.

Final Thoughts

Mount Vernon is a great place to visit for anyone looking to explore the hidden gems of New York City.

Whether exploring its beautiful greenery or discovering local history, Mount Vernon will provide an unforgettable adventure you’ll want to experience again and again.

Enjoy the free things to do in Mount Vernon, New York!

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