The Rivertowns have a reputation for being artsy, and the cultural venues that stretch from Yonkers to Peekskill live up to it. From a cool dinner-and-a-movie theater to a warehouse showcasing ultra-contemporary art, you can see why this area of the county has been dubbed “hipsturbia.”
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Food made from scratch on-site and drinks, including a large selection of local and craft beers, are served at your seats while you watch a movie. The cinema shows first-run features and indie movies, and also hosts special events like a Ghostbusters quote-along, ’80s dance party, and movie quiz night.
2548 Central Ave, Yonkers (914) 226-3082; www.drafthouse.com/nyc_area/yonkers
Croton Academy of Arts
Founded in 2003, the Croton Academy of Arts allows kids, teens, and adults to get in touch with their creative sides through classes and workshops. For those who don’t want to trek all the way down to UCB in the City, it’s one of the few institutions in the area to focus on comedy, with classes in both improv and sketch comedy.
8 Old Post Rd S, Croton-on-Hudson (914) 862-0988; www.crotonacademy.com
Historic Hudson Valley
Historic Hudson Valley maintains and runs programs at a number of historic properties in Westchester’s Rivertowns: Kykuit, an estate (once owned by the Rockefeller family) that houses a world-class collection of art; Washington Irving’s Sunnyside, a cottage that belonged to the author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”; Philipsburg Manor, a 17th-century Anglo-Dutch farming and milling center; and the Union Church of Pocantico Hills, which features stained-glass windows by Matisse and Chagall. Festivals and other special events take place at these sites throughout the year, including The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze.
639 Bedford Rd, Pocantico Hills (914) 631-8200; www.hudsonvalley.org
Hudson River Museum
Overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades, the museum’s exhibitions often highlight the connection to the river; many Hudson River School artists are represented in its collection. The on-site Andrus Planetarium underwent a big technological upgrade in 2013 for state-of-the-art weekend star shows.
511 Warburton Ave, Yonkers (914) 963-4550; www.hrm.org
Hudson Stage Company
This professional theater company presents a mix of bigger mainstage productions of contemporary plays, such as Stones in His Pockets, God of Carnage, and Rabbit Hole, along with smaller staged readings. Performances take place at Whippoorwill Hall at the North Castle Public Library in Armonk.
1 Van Wyck St, Croton-on-Hudson (914) 271-2811; www.hudsonstage.com
Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art
The HVCCA turned a massive 12,000-square-foot former paneling factory in Peekskill into a space for cutting-edge contemporary art by artists like Folkert de Jong, Thomas Hirschhorn, and Skewville. It was founded by Livia and Marc Straus, who were included as part of the “The Top 100 Collectors in America” by Art & Antiques Magazine.
1701 Main St, Peekskill (914) 788-0100; www.hvcca.org
Hudson Valley Writers’ Center
Located in the former Philipse Manor train station, the center offers writing classes in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, in addition to hosting readings, open-mic nights, and other literary events, many with authors published by the HVWC’s Slapering Hol Press.
300 Riverside Dr, Sleepy Hollow (914) 332-5953; www.writerscenter.org
Irvington Town Hall Theater
This Classical Revival theater was built in 1902 and was patterned after the Ford Theater in Washington, DC. Today, it hosts concerts, plays, dance performances, family shows, and a Best Of Film Series, in addition to a yearly spelling bee that benefits the local library.
5 Main St, Irvington (914) 591-6602; www.irvingtontheater.com
The Gothic Revival mansion on the Hudson has been home to a number of prominent New York families, including railroad tycoon Jay Gould. Visitors are invited to walk the landscaped grounds or tour the mansion during one of its special events.
635 S Broadway, Tarrytown (914) 631-4481; www.lyndhurst.org
Rhythm in the Night, The Irish Dance Spectacular, at Paramount Hudson Valley.
Paramount Hudson Valley
Paramount Pictures built this grand all-talking movie palace in 1930, and it operated for more than 75 years as the Paramount Center for the Arts. The Paramount closed in October 2012, but it’s back—rechristened the Paramount Hudson Valley and under new management—and hosting performers again, including Rosie O’Donnell, the Marshall Tucker Band, and Daisy Jopling.
1008 Brown St, Peekskill (914) 739-0039; www.paramounthudsonvalley.com
Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site
Dating all the way back to the 1600s, the manor house has had many lives—it was, for example, Yonkers’ first city hall. Today, the site offers self-guided tours (be sure to check out the 1750s papier-mâché Rococo ceiling), a museum of art and history that includes the Cochran Collection of American Portraiture, and space for special events like lectures, book signings, and festivals.
29 Warburton Ave, Yonkers (914) 965-4027; www.nysparks.com/historic-sites/37/details.aspx
For a different twist on a book reading, at Spoken Interludes guests are treated to a buffet dinner before three or four authors give readings and discuss new work. Recent authors have included Meg Wolitzer, Ben Marcus, Rebecca Mead, and Jennifer Egan. Events take place at The Riverview in Hastings-on-Hudson.
Tarrytown Music Hall
This 843-seat theater earned the right to be a National Landmark building for its mix of Queen Anne, Victorian, and Art Deco architectural elements. Its programming is no less diverse, with a year-round lineup of music, dance, comedy, film, and family events. Recent presentations here have included Feist with Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene, the Indigo Girls, Drew Carey, a production of Hair, and a screening of Purple Rain.
13 Main St, Tarrytown (914) 631-3390; www.tarrytownmusichall.org