In some ways Yonkers suffers from the fact that it is so close to New York City. As a result, visitors assume that there is less to do here when, actually, nothing could be further from the truth. If you make the trip out here, then you can expect a wealth of attractions such as beautiful New York style gardens, a range of fun museums, and indoor sporting attractions like sky diving simulators, all sitting next to the glorious and iconic Hudson River.
As well as a huge range of shopping, dining, and entertainment options, Yonkers is a vibrant city that regularly hosts events like musical concerts, art exhibitions, and even its own film festival every October. One of the main attractions of Yonkers is that is has much of the vibrant culture of New York without the crowds, and you can happily get outside here thanks to a number of green spaces in the city. Some of these include gorgeous flower gardens, as well as historical trails that will take you across the county, and even large parks that you wouldn’t expect to find in such an urban area.
Lets explore the best things to do in Yonkers:
1. Hudson River Museum
The Hudson River Museum is an ideal spot to visit if you want to see a whole host of world class galleries and collections that are all conveniently located under one roof.
The museum not only features exhibits that tell the story of Yonkers, but you will also find an outdoor amphitheater on site, a planetarium, and a period house that will make you feel as if you have gone back in time.
2. Untermyer Gardens
The Untermyer Gardens are one of the great jewels in the crown of Yonkers, and are absolutely not to be missed on a trip here.
The gardens are actually a selection of different areas that are arranged according to different themes to showcase the flora and fauna of Yonkers.
These include areas such as the Walled Garden, the Temple of Love, the Sundial Garden, and the Rock Garden.
If you want to spend the afternoon outdoors, then there is no better place to come for a stroll.
3. YoFi Film Festival
You might not immediately think of a film festival when you think of Yonkers, but actually this city does indeed have one in the form of the YoFi Film Festival that was started in 2013. The aim of the festival is to showcase the work of emerging local talent and you can expect a huge range of genres to be screened here from documentaries to animated pieces.
The festival is usually held in October every year so make sure to check it out if you are in town.
4. Ridge Hill
For anyone looking for a lot of entertainment in one place, look no further than Ridge Hill which is actually not a hill at all but a shopping center.
The center is filled with stores from nationwide brands to local favorites, and also has a wealth of dining options if you feel hungry during a visit.
If you happen to be here during the summer months, then you can also enjoy one of the signature events at Ridge Hill in the form of their outdoor movie nights.
5. Hudson Amphitheater
The Hudson Amphitheater is so special because, as well as being a large concert space, it is also blessed with views over the gorgeous and iconic Hudson River.
If you are in town then make sure to check out what’s on at the amphitheater and, whatever your preferences, you will probably find something of interest here.
As well as musical performances, you can also enjoy movie nights, standup comedy, and even quirky events such as Shakespearian festivals.
Recently opened in 2016, iFly at Ridge Hill is one of the most exciting locations in Yonkers and has rapidly made a name for itself as the place to come for anyone looking for a little adventure.
iFly is an indoor skydiving center where you can put on a skydiving suit and fly indoors in a simulated environment that is created using fans.
The air will push you up so that it appears as if you are flying, and you will experience the same feeling of weightlessness as you would during a traditional skydive experience.
The beauty of iFly however is that you won’t have to go up in a plane and make the leap if you don’t want to, but you can still get the same feeling in a controlled and safe environment.
7. The Glenview Mansion
The Glenview Mansion is part of the wider Hudson River Museum, but sits apart from the main building and is known for having once belonged to the John Bond Trevor family.
The mansion has been painstakingly preserved to tell the story of Yonkers, and will tell you much about the kind of lifestyle that residents would have lived at the turn of the century.
There are six rooms that you can visit in total, all of which are filled with period items as well as signage that will fill you in on all the historical details of the house.
You can take a tour of the house with a docent from the area for an even more in-depth visit.
8. 55 Days of Fun
If you are in Yonkers over the summer months, then don’t miss the chance to experience the 55 Days of Fun.
This event is set on the scenic waterfront in the downtown area of Yonkers, and you will find a huge range of outdoor activities for the whole family.
Just some of these include outdoor music concerts such as jazz performances, film screenings under the stars, and special programs for children.
In previous years kids’ events have included education days related to animals and the environment, music classes, and storytelling sessions.
9. Empire City Casino
Located at the famous Yonkers Raceway, the Empire City Casino has over 5,000 slot machines as well as Craps and Electronic Roulette machines that will allow you to try your luck when you are in town.
As well as the actual gaming floor, there are a range of restaurants in the casino including live shows and musical performances.
As the casino is also situated on the raceway, you can catch exhilarating live harness races here if you happen to be here at the right moment.
10. Science Barge
For anyone travelling with children, the Science Barge in Yonkers is not to be missed.
Put simply, the barge is a boat that floats on the picturesque Hudson River, while also teaching you all about science.
You can learn about solar power, the environment, and how the facility has zero carbon emissions, and if you want to check it out then you need to head to 99 Dock Street on the gorgeous waterfront area of Yonkers.
11. Alamo Drafthouse
When you are in Yonkers you may want to relax and watch a movie, and if this is the case then think about heading to the Alamo Drafthouse.
This is a movie theater with a difference, and you can catch some of the latest releases here, as well as a range of more quirky releases.
These include independent and art house films as well as cult classics and ‘quote along’ nights which encourage audience participation.
12. Old Croton Trail
For anyone who wants to get outdoors in Yonkers and take in some of the beauty of Westchester County firsthand, a trip along the Old Croton Trail is one of the best ways to do it.
The trail runs for over 26 miles through the county, including skirting past Yonkers, and it is a firm favorite for anyone in Yonkers who enjoys biking, hiking, or jogging.
13. Cross County Shopping Center
Anyone looking to shop until they drop in Yonkers should consider a trip to the Cross County Shopping Center where you will find department stores as well as smaller local boutiques.
In the summer months the center also hosts the SummerFest event which includes events such as outdoor music concerts, children’s programs, and even fashion shows.
14. Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site
For a taste of old town Yonkers, visitors should consider a visit to the Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site in the Getty Square part of the city.
The house was the original home of Philipse Manor and still has the claim to fame of being the oldest building in Westchester County.
The house was built in 1682 and now operates as a museum, and you can take a tour to enjoy the gorgeous period architecture here as well as learn about the history of the Philipse family.
15. Tibbetts Brook Park
Tibbetts Brook Park is one of the first parks to have been established in Yonkers and dates from 1927 when it was first opened to the public.
Nowadays this is one of the best parks to come to if you want to take in some of the best greenery that Yonkers has to offer, and there are a huge number of things to do here if you make the trip.
Popular activities in the park include hiking on the nature trails that run through it, as well as fishing or bird watching.
You can also go swimming here, and there are a number of sporting venues like basketball courts to choose from.
Incidentally, the park also operates as the home ground of the New York Magpies, so if you visit at the right time you might just be able to take in a game of football.