Exploring New York City is always thrilling, but let’s mix it up once in a while and open our horizons to what lies outside the concrete jungle of the Big Apple. Luckily, the city is surrounded by picturesque areas offering a more laid-back vibe — cozy coffee shops, relaxing river walks, and even historic (while sometimes creepy) cemeteries — making it easy to have fun. So, dive into this guide to learn more about a few underrated spots that might just be perfect for your next big adventure!
Pleasantville lies at the heart of Westchester and very close to EF Academy New York. Its charming name and Gilmore Girls vibe is enough reason to want to tour more of this sweet village. From a cluster of cute bakeries and coffee shops, including the Lil Chocolate Shoppe — perfect for satisfying sugar cravings – to lovely boutiques and shops, this town is like a Hallmark movie set come to life. What’s more, every Saturday, it hosts the Pleasantville Farmers Market, a popular spot amongst locals with live music, family programs, and the best vendors offering organic jams, flaky pastries, fresh fruits, and more! As a cultural hub, the town celebrates many small artists, and thus, it’s an absolute must to visit the Jacob Burns Film Center, a successful non-profit art house, which showcases cinema anywhere from popular releases to independently produced films, foreign movies, and documentaries.
Let’s segue into the small town of Sleepy Hollow, a place renowned for Washington Irving’s famous horror tale that pays homage to the 17th century Old Dutch Church, the 1600s dated gravestones of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, and the famous Headless Horseman statue; spots perfectly preserved in history and literature. In nice weather, a peaceful stroll through Kingsland Point Park, a short trip to the 1883 Lighthouse, and afterward, a picnic overseeing the sparkling waters of the Hudson River with a view of the Tappan Zee Bridge can create the most wonderful itinerary!
Full of character, the classic river town of Tarrytown is a popular destination thanks in part to the Historic Districts displaying 19th and 20th-century architecture and first-class entertainment that includes great shops, restaurants with diverse cuisines, and theaters – notably Tarrytown’s historic Music Hall. Coming soon, at the end of April, the Lyndhurst castle offers a fantastic festival and market experience, true to the small-town spirit, with unique fashion, jewelry, accessories, and beautiful trinkets from over 200 vendors! There’s also face painting, puppet theater, and pottery, along with many more fun activities that can make for a picture-perfect day.
Bonus in the city: Bronx!
Though officially a borough of New York City, the Bronx gets to bend the rules because of the many amazing activities it offers from the Botanical Gardens to the Bronx Zoo, (the real) Little Italy on Arthur Avenue and, the popular Yankee Stadium. This borough has so much personality that it can never get boring, but more importantly, it allows the chance to get a taste of the real New York!
We all love NYC and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, however, venturing outside of our comfort zones or avoiding the clichés can lead to unexpected and new experiences that may make you want to come back for more. As such, some of these great places bursting with history, culture, and literature could be the right ones to begin with. What are you waiting for? Let’s get to exploring!