Why Locals Love White Plains (And You Will Too)

This Westchester county seat offers Big Apple thrills—without the big city hassle

Count 45 oversized pieces in the Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens at Pepsi’s world headquarters.


White Plains, New York, is New York City’s northern neighbor and home to major corporations, colleges and an airport. It’s also a suburban solace for commuters, who can catch a Metro North train and be in Manhattan in under an hour. Although it’s a suburb of New York City, White Plains is much more than a bedroom community. On weekends, residents stay put, because this town has plenty to offer. I know, having worked here for more than 10 years. There’s great shopping, arts and culture, outdoor recreation, international cuisine and nightlife. Most of it’s walkable, but ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft make it easy to get around even if you don’t have a drivers license. Here are a few things to do in White Plains—and reasons to stay a while.

Points of purchase

Savor, White Plains’ chic food court, is located in The Westchester shopping mall.

If you can’t buy it here, you can’t buy it anywhere. There are several malls, shopping centers and freestanding department stores (I’m looking at you, Bloomingdales). The Westchester is a destination unto itself, with four levels of window shopping. The newly renovated food court, Savor, puts a tasty spin on “fast” food, with stylish dining spaces and an outdoor patio with a fireplace. The Galleria, anchored by Macy’s, is the more mainstream of the two malls, with brands like Old Navy and Aéropostale. There’s also a slew of independent shops along Mamaroneck Avenue and Main Street.

Art all around

If you’re not careful, you might miss the White Plains Performing Arts Center, which can be overshadowed by the 15-screen Cinema de Lux located in the same complex. But the WPPAC’s calendar of events—2017 shows include The Hunchback of Notre Dame and West Side Story—is worth checking out. For visual art, the ArtsWestchester gallery is in the heart of the city, but I’m always game to drive to the Neuberger Museum of Art (on the SUNY Purchase College campus) in the neighboring town of Purchase, where the permanent collection includes such artists as Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock and Alexander Calder. Afterward, I head across the street, to the grounds of PepsiCo headquarters, and drive through the Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens, open to the public late March–October, to admire its 45 oversized works.

Green space (that’s sometimes white)

It’s only about two miles south of downtown on Mamaroneck Avenue to reach Gillie Park, a city park with tennis courts, or Saxon Woods Park, a county park with an 18-hole golf course. Saxon Woods is better for kids, with its huge playground and mini-golf course. If you know someone with a county parks pass, you can also get into the outdoor swimming pool. Of course, this being New York, the pool’s only open Memorial Day through Labor Day. (In winter, try cross-country skiing.) There are plenty of places to hike and bike, with groomed trails at Silver Lake Preserve and along the Jack Harrington Greenway. In particular, I look forward to Bicycle Sundays, the days in May, June and September when the Bronx River Parkway is closed to vehicles. The scenic 13-mile stretch south to Yonkers is open to people on foot, skates, scooters or bikes.

International eats

Of all the things to do in White Plains, my favorite (don’t judge) is to eat. You can dine like you’re in a different country for every meal. Do breakfast in Brazil, with a strong coffee and pineapple pastry at Araras Coffee & More. For lunch, Coriander Modern Indian offers vegan and gluten-free options. I like to snack on spanakopita and other Middle Eastern groceries from Yaranush market. For a fine dining experience, a table at Mediterraneo is a hot ticket, so make dinner reservations in advance. Or if what you seek is classic American comfort food, City Limits Diner has a huge menu.

After dark

The nightlife scene is at its best on Friday and Saturday nights. Dance until the wee hours at clubs like Don Coqui, or enjoy a concert or sporting event (including the Westchester Knicks at the Westchester County Center. Whatever you choose, you’ll be sure to find plenty to fill your time here!

Written by Traci L. Suppa

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