It’s not just shopping centers and raucous bar crawls that entertain in the county seat. The arts, international eateries, and boutique shopping comprise a dynamic Downtown that deserves a full day, an open mind, and an empty stomach.
The best time to visit The Westchester (125 Westchester Ave; www.simon.com/the-westchester) is in the morning, before the normal crowds descend for the post-holiday sales. Stop by MAD Donuts’ (www.maddonutshop.com) debut brick-and-mortar to grab a cinnamon-glazed apple fritter, then get your steps in window shopping the high-end designer boutiques and mall-staple stores.
Photos by Doug Schneider
Hop in the car and head to Aberdeen (3 Barker Ave; www.aberdeenwhiteplains.com), tucked into the lobby of a Marriott, for its popular Cantonese dim sum carts laden with roasted pork buns, sesame balls, har gaw, chive dumplings, turnip cakes, and chicken feet.
Swing by the Garden of Remembrance (148 Martine Ave; parks.westchestergov.com/garden-of-remembrance) to view sculptor Rita Rapaport’s Gates of Remembrance, a symbolic memorial of the horrors of the Holocaust. From there, it’s a short walk to the headquarters of ArtsWestchester (31 Mamaroneck Ave; www.artswestchester.org), which features 4,500 square feet of gallery space, with an emphasis on artists from New York State.
Head up to the sixth floor to get a primer on African artifacts at Dafco’s Gallery (31 Mamaroneck Ave #601; www.dafcogallery.com), where the impressive collection includes ceremonial masks, shields, headdresses, fertility statues, and more — all available for purchase.
Just around the corner is Loola Doola (206 Martine Ave), a small boutique showcasing local designers and chic, won’t-feel-guilty-about-the-price handbags, custom designed by owner Lauren Morris.
Take a quick stroll down Mamaroneck Ave to the corner of E Post Rd to check out the latest installation from Art in Vacant Spaces, a partnership program between the business-improvement district and Purchase College, which fills empty storefronts and building sites with eye-popping designs from student artists.
Grab a snack with an international twist. At Araras Coffee & More (406 Mamaroneck Ave), Brazilian baked goods can swing savory with traditional cheese bread or sweet with alfajores and brigadeiros. Or, pop into Japanese Daido Market (522 Mamaroneck Ave; www.daidomarket.com) and hope they’re not out of the warm, filled-to-order cream puffs (weekends only).
Down the block is LOLA New York (396 Mamaroneck Ave; www.lolany.com), where owners and BFFs Dawn Pasacreta and Denise Elias curate a cool mix of easy-to-wear, stylish women’s clothing; on-trend accessories; affordable designer jewelry; and beauty products.
White Plains is known for its party scene, but not every bar is rowdy. At Wolf & Warrior (195A E Post Rd; www.wolfandwarrior.com), the county’s newest brewery, owner Mike Chiltern pairs his Patagonia blonde ale and Pack Leader IPA with laid-back vibes. On the other side of Downtown, the bar at BLT Steak (221 Main St; www.bltrestaurants.com) is devoid of college crowds while serving serious craft cocktails with trendy ingredients, like butterfly pea flower syrup and Ramazzotti amaro.
Choose a spot for dinner. Slurp Wellfleets, Kumamotos, and Beausoleils at KEE Oyster House (126-128 E Post Rd; www.keeoysterhouse.com), or trade bivalves for bucatini at white-tablecloth Italian La Bocca (8 Church St; www.laboccaristorante.com). Showcase design and some of the city’s best views mean you’ll likely need a reservation to
dine at Mediterraneo (189 Main St; www.zhospitalitygroup.com), or you can take your chances with the often lengthy wait at TVB by: Pax Romana (171 E Post Rd; www.paxromanany.com) for homemade pastas, including a cozy carbonara, at affordable prices.