Many who are leaving New York City and transitioning to the suburbs worry about missing the energy and amenities of city living. While you can still take a train ride to Grand Central, you may be happy to know that there are quite a few cities within Westchester County and Fairfield County that offer a vibrant city lifestyle within reach - so you could very easily have the best of both worlds!
Keep reading to discover your own city within the suburbs. Plus, the surrounding towns that offer privacy and green space within an arm's reach to city amenities.
With a population of over 130,000 and ranked as the third largest city in Connecticut, Stamford has an unapologetic urban vibe balanced by an abundance of outdoor space and room for activities. Residents of downtown Stamford enjoy 19 miles of shoreline and over 40 parks and recreational centers. Stamford is also home to beautiful public beaches, hiking and golf courses.
If you’re looking to enjoy Stamford’s amenities without living in the city, check out the below neighborhoods.
North Stamford was a village until 1949, when it became part of the City of Stamford. A haven of quiet, wooded hills and meadows, punctuated by rock outcroppings, veined with streams and dotted with ponds and lakes, it is entirely residential save for a few grandfathered gas stations, restaurants and food markets, commercial uses which zoning now forbids.
Consisting of roughly 5,300 households and less than 15,000 residents, North Stamford covers about 19 square miles stretching north from the Merritt Parkway to Westchester County, and to New Canaan and Greenwich on either side. North Stamford is the least densely developed and highest income section of Stamford.
Located just a short drive to downtown Stamford and a car or train ride away from Manhattan, North Stamford also offers access to a rich mix of cultural and entertainment activities. There is a large shopping district just south of the Merritt Parkway on High Ridge Road, as well as easy access to the Stamford Town Center mall downtown, which offers approximately 130 world class shopping and dining and a mix of retailers and services.
With only about 6,600 residents, Old Greenwich is a tight-knit and hospitable community, with most of the houses sitting close together. The front porches of the pristine Victorians welcome passersby, and neighborhood associations lovingly maintain their beautiful beaches. The main commercial strip along Sound Beach Avenue, known by locals as the “Village”, is lined with mostly small, local businesses and restaurants. The community has a hip, modern vibe with numerous options for outdoor fun.
With eight miles of stunning shoreline, Old Greenwich provides for plenty of waterfront activities. The 147-acre Greenwich Point Park (also known as Tod’s Points) offers sandy beaches, toddler-friendly surf, nature trails, two concession stands and outdoor events. The Old Greenwich Yacht Club is also located at Tod’s Point.
Norwalk is a city of many diverse neighborhoods, each benefiting from a style and vibe that meshes modern living with a historic past. Popular for young professionals and families, Norwalk offers the sought-after suburban lifestyle with easy access to a lively downtown, New York City and the Long Island Sound. South Norwalk (SoNo) is the town’s popular restaurant and retail center and is a recognized historic district. It’s also home to some of the more eclectic architecture, with 18th century brick clad buildings that line Washington Street.
If you’re looking to enjoy Norwalk’s amenities without living in the city, check out the below neighborhoods.
With only 3,000 residents, Rowayton prides itself on small-town living. The town has a rich oystering and lobstering history and was a popular homestead for both fishermen and captains. Today, Rowayton residents enjoy this charming town’s sparkling beaches, locally-owned restaurants and proximity to Manhattan.
Neighbors and friends frequently meet up at the beach for a day of fun or congregate at Pinkney Park to enjoy a Shakespearean play. The Rowayton lifestyle is often described as laid-back and casual while enjoying the perks of having a tight-knit community. In the summers, enjoy sunsets at Bayley Beach. In the winter, gather at the local elementary school pond for ice skating, hockey games and impromptu parties with fire pits and lots of food.
Silvermine is a quaint neighborhood that encompasses the beautiful towns of Norwalk, New Canaan and Wilton. With historic roots, the name "Silvermine" comes from old legends of a silver mine in the area, although no silver has ever been found. Originally a mill center, the neighborhood transformed into an artist colony in the early 1900s. Solon Borglum, the sculptor known for his depictions of the American frontier, is credited with establishing Silvermine as an arts hub.
About three miles long and a mile wide, Silvermine extends from either side of the Silvermine River, starting in Norwalk and ending at Silvermine Pond in New Canaan. The narrow roads wind through a landscape lush with trees, streams and ponds. Converted mill properties, farmhouses and antique colonials are still plentiful, though more new construction has begun to pop up. With convenient access to I-95, the Merritt Parkway and the train, this area is popular with commuters.
Darien is a small town, both in physical size (about 12 square miles of land, plus another two of water), and in population (just under 21,000 people), making it a tight-knit community. Many young families are attracted to Darien because of its public schools, which are uniformly renowned and include the top-rated high school in the state. The Darien Public Library is also one of the best libraries in the country. Others are also attracted to the town’s natural beauty and its active social, arts and sports cultures.
While Darien is known for its coastal atmosphere, there is also plenty of activity to be found inland. Residents enjoy access to the Darien Nature Center, located in the heart of Darien’s Cherry Lawn Park. The facility is home to a variety of animals, a grand exhibit gallery, a small theater, a library and several classrooms for nursery school programs. In nearby New Canaan is the popular Grace Farms, where you can experience nature, encounter the arts, pursue justice, foster community, and explore faith within an 80-acre landscape.
Located along the Hudson River, Yonkers is New York’s fourth largest city and the largest city in Westchester County. It serves as the gateway between New York City and the Hudson Valley, with ten Metro North Railroad stations and five major highways to the rest of Westchester County, New York City and beyond. This vibrant city offers historic sites, trendy restaurants, luxury waterfront living, a new 500,000 SF film and television production studio, and plenty of outdoor recreation throughout town.
If you’re looking to enjoy the amenities of Yonkers without living in the city, check out the below neighborhoods.
Hastings consists of three huge hills with winding residential roads lined with trees and a valley that holds the village’s apartments, quaint shops, and restaurants. Meander down the hills and toward the waterfront for views of the majestic New Jersey Palisades across the Hudson River. The appealing downtown stretch is compact, clean, and free of chain stores, and most of the residential areas are brimming with towering trees and colorful dwellings, Hastings has a timeless “Small Town USA” vibe beloved by directors. Even the restaurants—from the old-school diner to the sleek wine bar—have made cameos in TV shows and movies.
Envisioned by William Lawrence in the late 1800’s, Bronxville is a charming English-style Village with a vibrant downtown of shops and restaurants. Within its one square mile, Bronxville offers an eclectic housing selection, including rentals, co-ops, condos, townhouses and single family homes to accommodate the full life cycle of real estate. With close proximity to Manhattan, Bronxville is an ideal combination of city and suburb. Residents enjoy public tennis and paddle courts, and weekly Farmers' Market.
In the heart of Westchester County, White Plains is one of the most accessible cities in the region with a 35 minute express train to Grand Central Station. It is Westchester's commercial hub and is the center for the county’s largest concentration of retail activity. The bars, restaurants, shopping malls, coffee shops, and parks in White Plains make it a very attractive place to live. In addition, with a farmer's market, 15-screen movie theatre, public golf course, skating rink, restaurants and major retail stores throughout the city, it presents something for everyone.
If you’re looking to enjoy the amenities of White Plains without living in the city, check out the below neighborhoods.
An exclusive and sprawling suburb with first-rate food, shopping, and schools. Scarsdale has long lured New York City families who want more space without sacrificing convenience and prestige. It is both stylish and sophisticated with a wonderful mix of architecture and styles. Outside of its bustling downtown village, the 7 square miles of Scarsdale’s tree-lined streets prove to be a tranquil and highly desired escape from nearby New York City.
Harrison, NY is both lively and idyllic. Over 27,000 residents enjoy living in an area convenient to shopping, restaurants, recreation, entertainment, public transportation and tons of lush trails and parks. Harrison's central location makes it convenient to get into the city or enjoy the many nearby towns, great for maximizing the suburban experience. Newer developments, stately country clubs, and planned communities all add to the exciting mix that makes up Harrison.
Located in Northern Westchester, Mount Kisco is one of the most diverse towns in the county with a wide variety of commercial retail stores and restaurants. Here you’ll find both well-known brand names that you are used to in a city plus, many unique boutiques and dining options. Downtown Mount Kisco is a commuter’s hub full of entertainment and its many businesses help ease some of the residential property taxes. Towards the center of town you will find apartments, condominiums, co-ops and townhomes. The neighborhoods throughout include century old Colonials, stately Victorians, newer single-family homes and large estates.
If you’re looking to enjoy the amenities of Mount Kisco without living in the city, check out the below neighborhoods.
Bucolic vistas and an easily walkable downtown. Chappaqua is compact at just under one-half of a square mile. Fanning out from the quaint downtown—which houses the train station, shops, restaurants, and a gazebo that holds summer concerts—are side streets with houses on small lots. As you get further from the epicenter, the lots and homes get significantly larger. Chappaqua’s abundance of natural beauty—parks, trails, and nature preserves—continues to nourish its long-time residents and lure newcomers.
This northern Westchester town, known for country estates and horse farms, is anchored by the charming Bedford Village Green, with 150 miles of walking and riding trails seamlessly woven throughout the area. Though the village has since become an on-trend respite for in-the-know New Yorkers, it still maintains an unmistakable small-town ease.
The town of Bedford is made up of three hamlets that share a local government and police department: Bedford Hills, Katonah, and Bedford Village. The latter is the heart of Bedford. The village of about 2,000 residents has a small stretch of ocal boutiques and cool, unique restaurants. As you venture out, you’ll see a lot more breathing room between residences with an abundance of open fields, tree-lined roads, and stone walls.
The Best NYC Suburbs near City Amenities
We've now covered some of the top neighborhoods to satisfy your city cravings.
If you found this guide to the best suburbs of NYC helpful, why not take our quiz to discover which suburb best fits your personality?
We're not your typical real estate agents.As former city dwellers, we appreciate the qualities that make city lifestyle so unique, from the convenience of walking to your favorite restaurant or corner store to the vast and diverse cultural and entertainment activities. But we’ve also experienced the challenges and frustrations that are motivating you to seek change. During our transition from the city to the suburbs, we had the same thoughts, concerns and questions, prompting us to create a better way to navigate the suburban home buying journey for others.