Skip the Metro-North ride into Manhattan.
Here are 28 ways to have a cool, culinary, artsy, and fun night out in Westchester.
By Jesse Andreozzi, Juliana Brittis, Elizabeth Colombini, Samantha Garbarini, Sarah Longstreth,
Julia Morgenstern, Jonathan Ortiz, Deborah Skolnik, Gina Valentino, and Dave Zucker
Toss the Milk Duds and say goodbye to everything you think you know about a night at the movies. At iPic Theaters in Dobbs Ferry (pictured above), eight luxury theaters feature fully reclining chaise-lounge seating (complete with pillows, blankets, and waitstaff) with unobstructed views of the big screen. The in-cinema dining experience features selections from adjacent City Perch’s menu, including filet-mignon sliders, liquid-nitrogen-frozen cocktails, and a roster of desserts from Chef Sherry Yard, who won two James Beard Awards for pastry.
Want to see how your pop-culture clout and random knowledge stack up against Westchester’s brightest, well-read citizens? On Wednesdays at Yonkers Brewing Co., Geeks Who Drink (above) serves up bonus rounds and lots of crowlers. In White Plains, Ron Blacks Beer Hall’s Tuesday trivia features beats by DJ Paddy Tubz, prizes all night, and $100 in cash for the brainiest team. Homegrown know-it-alls Let’s Go Trivia are at Captain Lawrence Brewing Company in Elmsford on Wednesdays. Or spend Wednesday night at The Somers Pub, where every team gets food-and-drink specials — and its own electronic buzzer.
Books are just the beginning of what’s happening at Barnes & Noble’s 25,000 sq. ft. Eastchester concept store (above). On the wall along the escalator, there’s a gargantuan word search hiding more than 80 authors’ names. When you’re done puzzling over it, head downstairs to the full-service restaurant (plancha-seared salmon, anyone?), pouring a slew of wines and six beers on tap. If the weather’s still warm, head outside to the patio to hang by the firepit.
Getting some friends together for a bar crawl down White Plains’ Mamaroneck Avenue is basically a Westchester rite of passage. But where to go when drunk college students and raucous partying no longer seem so cute? Start just off the Avenue, at Mediterraneo, where the bar is stylish; the vibe is very see-and-be-seen; and the all-glass building has commanding views of Downtown White Plains. From there, it’s a short walk to Coriander Modern Indian for a Mumbai Mule and Indian small plates at the bar (you’ve got to eat, after all). Then, settle into Lilly’s, a respite from the street’s party-hard bars, with red-leather banquettes, exposed brick, affordable cocktails, and wine by the bottle and on-tap. At the end of the night, keep things classy and ditch the greasy slice. TVB by: Pax Romana’s late-night takeout window serves pasta and Nutella-filled bomboloni until 2 a.m.
Tired of seeing the dust settle atop your trusty old Fender? Head to Lagond Music School’s free adult jam sessions (most Sundays, 7 p.m.-10 p.m.). Put your music chops to the test and shred your instrument of choice to classic funk, rock, and jazz tunes, alongside the Elmsford school’s top instructors. If you’re not quite ready to break out of your shell, grab a drink and enjoy the show (but expect a bit of heavy encouragement). It’s next-level karaoke and perfect for musicians of any expertise.
After a long week at work, find your inner Zen and disconnect at Westchester Yoga Arts. On Fridays at 8 p.m., the New Rochelle studio fills the room with flickering candles as instructors lead you through breathing and meditation exercises and then transition into a relaxing series of poses that will leave you relaxed and ready to TGIF.
Sick of playing Netflix roulette on the couch? You don’t have to choose between going out and vegging out at Yonkers’ Alamo Drafthouse, where movie marathons can include as many as seven films and more than a dozen hours of screen time. Food and craft beer at your seat keep you fueled through this long haul, which might include a string of horror flicks before Halloween (on October 20), all seven Rocky films, or a mystery lineup.
Photo by Christopher Setter
Take some pals — and a bottle of your favorite wine — to Port Chester’s Clay Art Center (above) for Cladies Night (Fridays, 7 p.m.–9 p.m.). The one-off class, geared toward adults who’ve never made pottery before, includes a two-hour introduction to clay and using a potter’s wheel, as you make original pieces (mostly bowls, though quick studies manage to create a cup). Your finest masterpieces will be glazed and fired to pick up at a later date. Name notwithstanding, guys are welcome, too.
Photo courtesy of Zwilling Cooking School
Whether you’d like to take a one-time class or want to make learning an ongoing commitment, Westchester has plenty of options. At Scarsdale Adult School, you don’t have to be a resident to try its many courses, from picking up a new language to memory-improvement techniques. You can brush up on your knife skills at Pleasantville’s ZWILLING Cooking School (pictured above), but there’s so much more, like discovering the flavors of Morocco and Indonesia. If ballroom dance is your thing, from salsa and merengue to East Coast swing, it’s taught at Fred Astaire Dance Studio’s four county locations — no partner needed. On Tuesdays at 7 p.m., get your ping-pong on at Westchester Table Tennis, when the Pleasantville center offers a free group lesson with admission.
If your idea of a great night out includes artistic enlightenment (or inebriation), check out White Plains’ Muse Paintbar (above) or Pinot’s Palette in Mamaroneck and Tuckahoe. Paint bars offer instructor-led painting classes where friends and family are encouraged to eat and imbibe from a menu of wine, beer, and light bites. In Scarsdale, Painting With a Twist takes the concept further, by offering a range of projects like wood-pallet paining and screen art. The best part: It’s BYOB.
On Main Street in Mount Kisco, Pour already qualifies as a great night out, thanks to its rare whiskey selection, absinthe fountain, and atmosphere. But the most popular night (read: book in advance) at this former Victorian home is the one Wednesday per month that they roll out Wine Bingo. It’s the same game you knew as a kid but better with charcuterie, cocktails (there’s a $20 minimum), and bottles of wine as prizes when you shout, “Bingo!”
Next time you need a restaurant for date night, skip what’s hot and new and opt for a little old-school wining and dining. At La Vista in South Salem, cozy up to the fire and indulge in classic Italian dishes with a heavy helping of retro, tableside preparations and doting service. Head to Hastings-on-Hudson for Parisian bistro charm — côte de boeuf for two, an all-French wine list, and pressed-tin ceilings — at Saint George. Or turn a night out into an overnight with fine dining at Equus and a stay at the Castle Hotel & Spa.
At Monroe College in New Rochelle, The Dining Lab offers what may be the tastiest fine-dining deal in the county: a three-course prix-fixe dinner for just $25 (Tues-Fri, reservations required). An even bigger surprise is who’s doing the cooking: It’s run by students from the Culinary Institute of New York. Let them school you in contemporary American cuisine, and you’ll help them earn good grades with an A+ evening out.
Skip the sitter and work on your strike, at Bowlmor in White Plains (pictured above), where 56 bowling lanes, three bars, and 50 arcade games offer fun — and Westchester’s biggest and most shareable burger — for the whole family. At Grand Prix New York in Mount Kisco, indulge in a little family-friendly competition, with a race around the go-kart track, plus bowling, games, and dinner at the onsite restaurant, Fuel. Or, tackle the four-story ropes course, suit up for a game of laser tag, and play indoor bocce or shuffleboard at Spins Hudson (adults, grab a pint from River Outpost Brewing Co.) in Peekskill.
Peekskill is already known for its riverfront sculpture gardens and galleries, but the city’s creative nightlife may surprise you. Kick off your night with a visit to the The Field Gallery, open until 9 p.m. most weekdays, displaying works by local and international artists. From there, it’s a five-minute walk to Eagle Saloon, where the house is full of people and laughs during biweekly Wednesday comedy nights. Writerly types will want to stop at Kurzhals Coffee, which alternates open mics with nights for literature and poetry readings. The BeanRunner Café, with full-time art and photography exhibits, also serves up a stimulating blend of discussions and performances at monthly Monday-night salons. Drop into Antonia’s Studio 4 for slam-poetry performance or swing dance sessions. On you way out of town, swing by LIFE, a series of illuminated paintings by artist Peter Bynum, installed outside of Peekskill Brewery.
Photo by Andy Best/Wings Air
Departing from Westchester County airport, Wings Air Helicopters’ Scenic Helicopter Tours provide bird’s-eye views of iconic New York landmarks — the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, the Freedom Tower, the Statue of Liberty, and more — lit up at night. Shared flights come in 30- and 45-minute increments (priced at about $275 and $405 per person, respectively), or go full-on romantic with a private couple’s tour (request a Champagne toast) from from $660/couple.
Photo courtesy of legoland discovery center westchester
Stop finding excuses to play with your niece’s or nephew’s toys. Head to LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Yonkers for Adult Night, held on the first Thursday of every other month (next up: October 25), where challenging, themed builds are geared toward the not-kids-anymore set. (And yes, there are often drinks!) Plus, you’re welcome to explore the center’s 4D movie theater, rides, and LEGO replica of NYC.
To put it blunt-ly, Westchester is home to some great cigar lounges. In Scarsdale, Mom’s Cigar Warehouse offers customers lounge access, complete with whiskey selection, with a $10 purchase. The Cigar Republic’s 24-hour Elmsford members-only lounge (join for $350) comes with poker table, flat-screen TV, a kitchenette, and free WiFi. Not big on membership fees? Head to Doc James Cigar Lounge in Mamaroneck to puff on Davidoffs in a character-filled former 1830s horse barn.
When it comes to entertainment, the cards are never stacked against you at Empire City Casino. The Yonkers gaming hub boasts more than 5,000 slot machines and a litany of video table games, including poker, blackjack, craps, and roulette. When it’s time to cash out, it’s all bets down on entertainment, from pub grub and a game on the big screen at Dan Rooney’s to live DJs (and vintage bowling lanes) at Alley 810, the casino’s mixology lounge.
Photo courtesy of yonkers comedy club
Westchester’s only dedicated comedy club steps up to the mic and delivers big laughs. Located at Ridge Hill, Yonkers Comedy Club features national touring acts, like Gilbert Gottfried, Bonnie McFarlane, and Rich Vos, plus emerging local talent, at affordable prices. Feel like laughing at yourself? The club hosts karaoke every Wednesday, from 8 p.m. to midnight.
While the exhibitions at these Westchester museums may not come to life, they’re a great way to switch up your nightlife itinerary. Head to the Neuberger (above) on Wednesdays, when the Purchase museum is open until 8 p.m., or book a ticket for its In Conversation series, featuring speakers like photographer John Shearer, American artist Alex Katz, and critic/curator Robert Storr. Expect evening programming — screenings, workshops, and more — when the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in Peekskill reopens as Hudson Valley MOCA this month. Or party hard at Yonkers’ Hudson River Musuem during HRM After Dark, held three times a year (next up: October 19 at 7 p.m.), with gallery tours, cosmic travel shows at the Planetarium, craft beer and bites, and even a DJ-hosted dance party.
Photo by doug schneider
Trumpeter and flugelhornist Mark Morganelli opened Westchester’s only jazz club last year. At Tarrytown’s Jazz Forum, Morganelli and his wife, Ellen Prior, curate everything from the sound to the musically named cocktails, designed to expand your appreciation for the enduring genre and connect you with other live-music fans. Open only Friday through Sunday, this listening room presents headline jazz artists, Brazilian performers, top-notch jazz groups, and monthly jam sessions.
Love late-night dancing in NYC but dread feeling like Cinderella when it’s time to catch the last train to Westchester? Grab someone sexy and get to Don Coqui White Plains, where, on weekends, you’ll find bottle-service specials, food until 2 a.m., and a rotating lineup of DJs straight from the clubs in NYC. For a smaller (but still happenin’) dance floor, join the foodies who flock to Mount Kisco’s Little Drunken Chef for its killer raw bar and eclectic take on tapas. From Thursday through Saturday, stick around after dessert to experience LDC’s transformation into a pounding, DJ-spinning hot spot that goes well into the wee hours.
Photo by Mark Liflander, for LJ Studios Photography
Looking for something a little more exciting than weights and the elliptical at your local gym? Join the circus for the night, at Tarrytown’s Westchester Circus Arts, where adult classes include lyra/aerial hoop and stationary trapeze on Sundays and aerial silks on Mondays and Wednesdays. For an empowering adult workout, White Plains’ Pole Position Dance Studio offers classes suitable for pole-dancer newbies.
Nyack’s sexy riverfront restaurant Sixty 5 on Main has a dirty (and delicious) little secret. Tucked behind the main restaurant, a door with a red light marks the entrance to The Taco Lounge, a taqueria-speakeasy and tiki-inspired hookah lounge. The menu is short but sweet: $4 tacos served six ways (our favorite is the spicy steak and kimchi) — and the hookah lounge is like an island oasis in Rockland County, where you can literally dig your toes into the sand while enjoying tiki-style cocktails.
Held every other Saturday at 7 p.m., The LOFT: Center’s Gaymes Nights are a low-key way to celebrate community — and that big triple-word score. Westchester’s LGBTQ community center opens the doors of its White Plains space to all sexual orientations for this night of board and card games (bring your favorites or pick from the on-site collection). And while admission is free with a suggested donation, “gaymers” often bring treats or chip in for pizza.
It’s not the latest blockbuster flick or hottest new restaurant, but volunteering can be even more satisfying. In New Rochelle, volunteers can help out at the Humane Society of Westchester (above) on Thursday nights by supporting staff, cleaning, and training to become a dog walker. At White Plains Hospital, evening volunteering opportunities range from working at the information desk or with a nursing unit to assisting with patient transport. And the American Red Cross of Metro New York North has afterwork options throughout the county, including acting as a community ambassador, giving presentations on disaster preparedness, and serving as a First Aid and CPR volunteer at local events.
Photo by Nick Carter
Whatever your style, there’s a wealth of local talent to discover at Westchester’s restaurants and bars. In New Rochelle, enjoy jazz and Latin tunes at Alvin & Friends (above) or discover eclectic bands at candlelit wine bar The Gnarly Vine. Over in Hartsdale, catch the The Irish Bank’s live lineup of traditional music and rock ’n’ roll every Friday and Saturday night. Or get your groove on in the Rivertowns with a night of mellow acoustic at Hudson Social, in the Dobbs Ferry Metro-North station, or open jam sessions and experimental acts at Croton-on-Hudson’s The Green Growler.