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This professional theater company formerly based in Croton-on-Hudson 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 the Whippoorwill Hall Theatre at the North Castle Public Library.
19 Whippoorwill Rd E, Armonk (914) 271-2811; www.hudsonstage.com
The new Bedford Playhouse exploded on the scene with appearances by the likes of Kerry Kennedy, Clive Davis, and Glenn Close. Three theaters, a café, and concession area set the stage for a fresh and vital addition to the county’s arts-and-cutlure footprint.
633 Old Post Rd; www.bedfordplayhouse.org
This ensemble doesn’t just perform classical music; it tries to put the works in a historical and cultural context. For example, an English early Baroque performance of “Sweet Sorrow, music for broken consort from Britannia and Germany,” was followed by a buffet of English cheeses and German mulled wine. The programs, which are held at the Gothic Church of St. Mary the Virgin, often feature a guest speaker and an illustrated program book.
26 N Greeley Ave, Chappaqua (914) 238-8015; www.ars-antiqua.org
Ensconced in the former home of Readers Digest, “ChappPAC,” as it’s known to locals, boasts a 425-seat venue to promote a unique blend of national, regional, and local artistic and cultural events. Comedian Robert Klein, singers Edwin McCain, Ricki Lee Jones, and Jessica Lynn, and the Off Center Dance Theatre are just some of the gifted artists who have appeared there.
480 Bedford Rd; www.chappaquapac.org
This Classical Revival theater was built in 1902 and 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, which benefits the local library.
85 Main St, Irvington; 914.591.6602; www.irvingtontheater.com
This historic house and formal estate grounds were once the home of Founding Father John Jay, first chief justice of the US Supreme Court. Today, the 1800s house, along with an 1820s schoolhouse and an 1830s barn, often host tours and special events (especially historical lectures). Its annual Barn Dance is an anticipated yearly event.
400 Jay St, Katonah; 914.232.565; www.johnjayhomestead.org
On the 90-acre grounds of Caramoor, you can find Mediterranean-style architecture, landscaped gardens, Asian and Renaissance art — and plenty of music. Classical, folk, bluegrass, and jazz performances take place in the grand outdoor Venetian theater, the intimate Spanish Courtyard or gorgeous Sunken Garden, or the elegant Music Room inside the historic Rosen House. Performances take place year-round but really ramp up every summer, during Caramoor’s International Music Festival, when artists like Joshua Bell and Roseanne Cash come to play.
149 Girdle Ridge Rd, Katonah, 914.232.5035; www.caramoor.org
Incongruously located in Larchmont, the Mamaroneck Artists Guild is the oldest artists’ cooperative in the county. (It was founded in 1953.) Today, the co-op maintains a nonprofit gallery with rotating exhibitions from its 200-plus members. Many look forward to its yearly Small Works show, as well as a holiday-time art show and sale with pieces priced for gift giving.
126 Larchmont Ave, Larchmont; 914.834.1117; www.mamaroneckartistsguild.org
You can find a little of everything at this intimate, 275-seat theater. Music performances range from classical to bluegrass, and there are also series devoted to theater, comedy, dance, film, and children’s events. Recent performers include indie singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins, folk-rock legend Art Garfunkel, music/literature variety show Wesley Stace’s Cabinet of Wonders, contemporary dance troupe Taylor 2, and experimental theater piece The Table.
153 Library Ln, Mamaroneck; 914.698.0098; www.emelin.org
This innovative theater puts on a few mainstage productions each year, including regional premieres of musicals such as Next to Normal, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Avenue Q. But its real emphasis is on shows for kids and teens, hosting 10 shows for young people each year.
300 Waverly Ave, 2nd fl; www.wstshows.com
For the last 30 years of his life, celebrated composer Aaron Copland lived and worked at Rock Hill, a hilltop house in Cortlandt Manor. Copland House, Inc., is the organization charged with keeping his legacy alive, and it does so by hosting performances at nearby Merestead, a 130-acre estate with a 26-room Georgian Revival mansion designed by famed architects Delano & Aldrich. Composers such as John Corigliano, Richard Danielpour, David Amram, Stephen Schwartz, and Steve Reich have all appeared at Copland House at Merestead programs to conduct, play, and/or discuss their work.
455 Byram Lake Rd, Mount Kisco; 914.788.4659; www.coplandhouse.org
The focus at the Katonah Art Center is on its classes; students come here for instruction in Theatre and Dance Arts (TADA), visual art, music, and even fitness and yoga. There are also special events, such as exhibitions, moonlight jams for adults, and open houses. Parents also can rent out the center for birthday parties.
131 Bedford Rd, Katonah; 914.232.4843; www.katonahartcenter.com
St. Paul’s Church (pictured right) is notable for its role in the Revolutionary War, when it served as the site of a wartime hospital after the Battle of Pell’s Point; graves in the church’s cemetery date back to 1704. Today, you can see living-history interpretations, take a tour that climbs a wooden staircase to see the 1758 bronze bell in the church tower or hear a history lecture or organ concert. During “First Thursdays,” free events are held from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
897 S Columbus Ave, Mount Vernon; 914.667.4116; www.nps.gov/sapa
The Museum of Arts & Culture at New Rochelle High School stands out as being the only museum in Westchester located on a high-school campus; in fact, it’s the only Regents-chartered museum in a school in New York State. Exhibitions often have a local focus, such as the inaugural exhibition centered on Norman Rockwell (who lived in New Rochelle for a time), or another about Ragtime that included a visit from writer E.L. Doctorow.
265 Clove Rd, New Rochelle; 914.576.4657; www.nredfund.org/museum
The New Rochelle Opera was started in the early 1980s by singer Camille Coppola as a way to bring opera to Westchester and foster an appreciation of live opera. The company continues in this mission today, staging productions of favorites like Madama Butterfly, Cavalleria Rusticana, I Pagliacci, Tosca, and others.
PO Box 55, New Rochelle; 914.576.0365; www.nropera.org
This professional orchestra started off as the Westchester Chamber Orchestra and grew until the name no longer applied to the full, symphonic works it was presenting in its programming. Guest soloists like pianist Alon Goldstein, flutist Carol Wincenc, and pianist Adam Kent have joined founder/artistic director Maestro Barry Charles Hoffman for the symphony’s four-concert season. Performances are held at the Christopher J. Murphy Auditorium at Iona College in New Rochelle.
Christopher J. Murphy Auditorium at Iona College; 715 North Ave, New Rochelle; 914.654.4926; www.thesymphonyofwestchester.org
The unassuming white saltbox house in New Rochelle looks like it could belong to any family, but, in the early 1800s, it belonged to Thomas Paine, the Revolutionary War author of Common Sense and The American Crisis. Today, it’s set up as a museum, and visitors can learn about 18th-century life and see local historical artifacts.
20 Sicard Ave, New Rochelle; 914.633.1776; www.thomaspainecottage.org
The Hammond Museum features a gallery with a rotating series of concurrent exhibitions. But the art continues outside on the grounds, where a quaint garden path takes visitors through a variety of landscapes, from a pond with lily pads to a tea garden to a bamboo grove. The garden also hosts special events, such as a yearly moon-viewing concert and an annual blessing of the animals.
28 Deveau Rd, North Salem; 914.669.5033; www.hammondmuseum.org
Located in the old Croton Falls elementary-school building, the Schoolhouse Theater is ostensibly the longest-running professional not-for-profit theater in the county, presenting plays like The Crucible, Nora (both of which have also been launched Off-Broadway), and The Seafarer.
3 Owens Rd; www.schoolhousetheater.org
Boasting a thousand-acre private nature preserve, Teatown is one of the largest and most active environmental-education-and-science centers in the region. It offers 15 miles of hiking trails, exhibits, summer day camps, and year-round programs, including the ever-popular EagleFest, in February.
1600 Spring Valley Rd; www.teatown.org
The HVCCA turned a massive 12,000 sq ft 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.hudsonvalleymoca.org
Paramount Pictures built this grand all-talking movie palace in 1930, and it operated for more than 75 years until it closed in October 2012. But it’s back — rechristened Paramount Hudson Valley and under new management — and hosting performers again, including Herman’s Hermits, the Marshall Tucker Band, Belinda Carlisle, and Daisy Jopling.
1008 Brown St, Peekskill; 914.739.0039; www.paramounthudsonvalley.com
The Pelham Art Center regularly hosts free art events that focus on some aspect of world culture. A cherry-blossom festival held in April, for example, offered workshops in Ikebana (flower-arranging), a demonstration on weaving a cherry blossom using a traditional hand-weaving method, and a performance of Japanese classical dance. The center also offers regular classes and workshops, in addition to a rotating art exhibition.
155 Fifth Ave, Pelham; 914.738.2525; www.pelhamartcenter.org
A group of concerned citizens saved this 1920s theater from the wrecking ball in 2002. Now, it operates as an art-house cinema, specializing in documentaries, repertory classics screened in 35mm, family films, and curated series such as the Westchester Italian Film Festival. Classes are also offered for students through 12th grade.
175 Wolfs Ln, Pelham; 914.738.7337; www.thepicturehouse.org
Expect top independent, documentary, and foreign films to play here, sometimes with their directors in tow, ready to answer questions at a post-screening Q&A. (Werner Herzog, Danny Boyle, and Steven Spielberg have attended events.) In addition to first-run features, the center hosts ongoing film series — past series have focused on dance on film, issues of social justice, or the cinema of a particular country, like Romania — and director Jonathan Demme hand-picks his personal underrated favorites for the “Rarely Seen Cinema” series. The center also runs the Media Arts Lab, which offers classes for students, along with a residence for international filmmakers.
364 Manville Rd, Pleasantville; 914.747.5555; www.burnsfilmcenter.org
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, an 18th-century Anglo-Dutch farming, milling, and trading 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 annual Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, where 7,000 illuminated, carved pumpkins are on display.
639 Bedford Rd, Pocantico Hills; 914.631.8200; www.hudsonvalley.org
For those who appreciate the ceramic arts and all things pottery, the Clay Art Center has a gallery with a rotating exhibition of sculptural and functional ceramics, as well as The Shop at CAC, where invited guest artists from around the nation sell their wares. For those who aren’t content just to look at the works, there are also classes, workshops, and demonstrations where you can make your own.
40 Beech St, Port Chester; 914.937.2047; www.clayartcenter.org
The 1926 Thomas W. Lamb-designed Capitol Theatre was a haven for touring artists like the Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd in its heyday during the ’60s and ’70s, and, after a period of disuse, came roaring back in 2012 with a grand-reopening Bob Dylan concert. Today, when the biggest names in music come to the county, they come here. Since its reopening, Al Green, the Alabama Shakes, Elvis Costello, My Morning Jacket, Pixies, Queens of the Stone Age, and Sleigh Bells have performed here.
149 Westchester Ave, Port Chester 914.937.4126; www.thecapitoltheatre.com
Located on the campus of Purchase College in a building designed by Philip Johnson, the Neuberger Museum of Art showcases the art of the 20th and 21st centuries. African art is a large part of the Museum’s collection, with a special focus on the arts of Central Africa. Rotating exhibitions in the past have focused on the works of Andy Warhol, Forrest Bess, Hannah Wilke, Chuck Close, and William Wegman, as well as Nina Chanel Abney, Yto Barrada, Engels the Artist, and John Shearer.
Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Rd, Purchase 914.251.6100; www.neuberger.org
There are four theaters that comprise the Performing Arts Center complex, also located on the campus of Purchase College, and each one is optimized for a different type of live performance including orchestras, solo classical artists, film, chamber music, dance, theater, and family events. For the popular “Talk Cinema” series, film critic and historian Harlan Jacobson screens a yet-to-be-released film and then discusses it with a critic or filmmaker afterward.
Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Rd, Purchase; 914.251.6200; www.artscenter.org
This year-round facility offers a vibrant, colorful, and interactive venue for preschoolers through middle-schoolers to play and discover. Whether it’s Museum Mini, Pajama Night, or Hungry Caterpillars, your kids are guaranteed to have a great time.
100 Playland Parkway; www.discoverwcm.org
Head to the gallery at the Rye Arts Center to see works by local, national, and international artists. Once inspired, you can register for one of the Center’s classes, which focus on art, music, and dance. For those with more of a scientific mind, there’s a new STEM+Arts program, which has classes with a scientific, technological, engineering, or math component.
51 Milton Rd, Rye; 914.967.0700; www.ryeartscenter.org
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
The Gothic Revival mansion has been home to a number of prominent New York families, including New York City Mayor William Paulding, merchant George Merritt, and railroad tycoon Jay Gould. Visitors are invited to walk the landscaped grounds, which overlook the Hudson River, or tour the mansion during one of its special events.
635 S Broadway, Tarrytown; 914.631.4481; www.lyndhurst.org
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 have included Donovan, George Thorogood & The Destroyers, The Robert Cray Band, Chirs Isaak, and a Day One of Summer screening of Jaws with raffles, props, and giveaways.
13 Main St, Tarrytown; 914.631.3390; www.tarrytownmusichall.org
This is where to go as a source for all things Italia, from language classes to films to — our favorite — cooking demonstrations. (There are adult classes, and the “Piccoli Cuochi” series is a cooking class for kids.) Professors often stop by to give a lecture in an area of their expertise, and sometimes they even lead trips to Italy.
24 Depot Sq, Tuckahoe 914.771.8700; www.wiccny.org
You can really hang tough — alone or together — anywhere on the 13,000 square feet of rocky indoor terrain in the heart of the county. Offering not only rock climbing, roped climbing, bouldering, private belays, and autobelays but also classes and a gear shop, this venue promises good, healthy fun for family members and “social climbers” ages 6 and up.
1 Commerce St; valhalla.thecliffsclimbing.com
Westchester Community College is known primarily for the degrees it offers, but the Smart Arts event series brings world-class cultural offerings to students and non-students alike in its Academic Arts Theater. Events range from professor-led forums on classic works of literature to contemporary ballet to a magic show with famed illusionists The Spencers. The college also hosts an international film series.
75 Grasslands Rd, Valhalla; 914.606.6600; www.sunywcc.edu/about/smartarts
Since 1965, the nonprofit organization now known as ArtsWestchester has been working to support the arts in the county. Its home at the Arts Exchange, a former bank building, hosts exhibitions, live performances, and classes. It’s also a haven for those who want to create art, as there are artists’ studios and rehearsal spaces for rent.
Arts Exchange, 31 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains, 914.428.4220; www.artswestchester.org
Members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and other major ensembles — along with professional singers and members of West Point Brass — form the core of three resident ensembles dedicated to bringing a variety of music to downtown White Plains. The cornerstone of Downtown Music at Grace’s programming is its Noonday Getaway series, consisting of free, half-hour concerts, usually held on Wednesdays at 12:10 pm and designed to fit within a lunch hour.
Grace Church, 33 Church St, White Plains 914.949.0384; www.dtmusic.org
The Art Deco Westchester County Center, opened in 1930, is known to host bigger happenings, like sporting events (it’s home to the Westchester Knicks and the New York Liberty) and live trade shows. But there are cultural offerings as well, including an annual performance of The Nutcracker by the Westchester Ballet Company. Past events, put on by WM Concerts & Events, include performances by Aretha Franklin and Itzhak Perlman.
198 Central Ave, White Plains; 914.995.4050; www.countycenter.biz
The Westchester Philharmonic is led by two principal conductors: Jaime Laredo and Ted Sperling. Laredo has received worldwide acclaim as a soloist, conductor, recitalist, pedagogue, and chamber musician. Sperling has more than 30 years experience in the New York theater and concert world. The Philharmonic is based in White Plains, but most performances take place at the 1,300-seat Concert Hall at the Performing Arts Center in Purchase.
123 Main St, 9th Fl, White Plains 914.682.3707; www.westchesterphil.org
Look for big-name musicals to make regional stops at the White Plains Performing Arts Center, where past productions have included Les Misérables, Rent, and Man of La Mancha. In addition to bigger main-stage shows, the venue hosts one-night-only special events, including live music, comedy, and family events.
11 City Pl, White Plains; 914.328.1600; www.wppac.com
Food made from scratch on-site plus 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, or movie quiz night.
2548 Central Ave, Yonkers; 914.226.3082; www.drafthouse.com/nyc_area/yonkers
Gaming entertainment can be had in the county on more than 5,300 slot machines including electronic roulette, video poker, and keno at this “racino.” There’s also a half-mile standardbred-harness-racing dirt track operating five nights a week, live entertainment, and two full-service restaurants.
810 Yonkers Ave, Yonkers; 914.968.4200; www.empirecitycasino.com
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 planetarium underwent a significant technological upgrade in 2013 for state-of-the-art weekend star shows.
511 Warburton Ave, Yonkers; 914.963.4550; www.hrm.org
Adrenaline junkies of all ages can experience the thrill, without the risk, of a skydive, over at iFly Westchester. Kids as young as 3 can take a dive, but this is also a great locale for birthdays, corporate events, and even private parties. Instructors teach participants all they need to know, so no experience necessary. The Ridge Hill site remains the only in NYS.
849 Ridge Hill Boulevard; www.iflyworld.com/westchester
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, 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
The Axial Theatre was founded by playwright, director, and acting teacher Howard Meyer with a mission to produce and present new plays. The Theatre presented Meyer’s Radiance, for example, which was a two-time semifinalist at the esteemed O’Neill National Playwright’s Conference. Performances usually take place at St. John’s Episcopal Church Community House in Pleasantville.
PO Box 1004, Yorktown Heights; 914.286.7680; www.axialtheatre.org
Beloved family-friendly musicals are usually on the marquee at the Yorktown Stage, and past productions have included Little Shop of Horrors, Fiddler on the Roof, and Grease. The theater mounts between two and four main-stage productions each year. For budding theatrical stars, there are camps and workshops for children and teens.
1974 Commerce St, Yorktown Heights; 914.962.0606; www.yorktownstage.org