6 NYC Suburbs That Strike The Perfect Urban Balance

Feb 10, 2023

Walkability, amazing restaurants, and total suburban serenity – these communities have it ALL 

Can’t imagine life outside the city – but know it’s time to make a move to suburbia? Don’t settle. We’ve rounded up 6 NYC towns that offer the best of both worlds: suburban living paired with big-city amenities (and, of course, quick commutes for easy access). 

#1. Montclair, NJ

There’s a reason so many Montclair residents are recent NYC transplants. A perfect mix of urban and suburban, Montclair is just 12 miles from the city – about 40 minutes by bus and train.

With a massive cultural scene (the Montclair Film Festival, Montclair Art Museum, and Alexander Kasser Theatre, for starters), Montclair has long been a destination for area residents and even celebrities – Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Daniel Craig, and Stephen Colbert, among others, have been known to make appearances.

And because it’s home to Montclair State University, you can expect all of the perks of a college town – visiting artists and musicians, top-tier performances, seasonal celebrations, and more. So if you’re worried about a lack of arts and culture, scratch that off your list. 

Also lending to the urban vibe? Montclair’s vibrant downtown, packed with amazing restaurants and nightlife. We love Nami Nori, a casual sushi restaurant – you might know it from its West Village and Williamsburg locations. After grabbing a bite, head to Wellmont Theater. This renowned venue has hosted world-class acts like Elvis Costello, The Roots and Sarah Silverman. Another win for music lovers: every September downtown Montclair hosts the Montclair Jazz Festival which attracts performers and fans from around the globe. Don’t miss it. 

#2. Rockville Centre, NY

Frequently ranked among the best places to live in New York State, Rockville Centre offers A+ schools and plenty of the urban amenities city dwellers don’t want to give up – think gourmet shops, locally-owned boutiques, and top-rated restaurants. We love Mangia Bene, Chadwick’s and The Tap Room when we feel like exploring the world of IPAs.

Located on the south shore of Long Island, just a 37 minute train ride to NYC, RVC – as the locals refer to it – really strikes that sought-after balance between suburban living and urban access. Thanks to a very walkable downtown area, it’s easy to get places on foot – ideal for one-car families. And – bonus – it’s just 15 minutes to Jones Beach.

Other big-city perks? The Rockville Centre Public Library and its jam-packed calendar of community events. Checking out RVC on a Sunday? Pick up your groceries from local farmers and artisans at the Rockville Centre Farmers Market.

#3. Larchmont, NY

Our NY Strategist Eleanor Johnson said it best: “I love that my kids have urban and suburban life accessible to them. We’ve had days where in the morning, we are enjoying our local beach and in the afternoon we are in the city visiting the Natural History Museum.”

It’s this ideal mix of urban and suburban that draws countless city-dwellers. In Larchmont, residents get the best of the ‘burbs – big backyards, waterfront access, A+ schools – plus the vibrant downtown, total walkability, and diverse food, culture, arts, and music they’ve come to expect in a big city. Think small-town vibe with urban access – all just 35  minutes to midtown, by train.

Another reason to consider Larchmont? The town is known for having a tight-knit community feel. During the pandemic, residents rallied to keep struggling restaurants afloat, and to raise money for local businesses impacted by the downturn. This sense of community pride is pervasive in Larchmont, with newcomers welcomed warmly via school and neighborhood groups.

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#4.  Rye, NY

History, waterfront access, sought-after shopping and dining – there’s always so much happening in Rye. Less than an hour from midtown by train, Rye offers that all-important suburban serenity while still being close to everything, from Trader Joe’s to the local train station to the beach (and everything in between). 

And that’s just the beginning. Rye’s shopping scene is second to none with a lineup of clothing boutiques and home goods shops you won’t find anywhere else – NYC included. While you’re touring, check out Sarza, Misfit Bazaar and Angela’s Edit. Then there’s the foodie scene. Spots like Rafele Rye and OKO consistently rank among the best of the best, in Westchester and beyond. 

Rye also offers a standout arts and cultural scene anchored by The Rye Arts Center. Check out the latest exhibits from local artists, or take classes year-round – the center offers opportunities for seasoned and novice  painters. 

#5. Greenwich, CT

From hedge funds to hospitality to agencies, Greenwich has its own major business district, home to many prominent organizations. This corporate presence – plus the new SaksWorks opening – gives the community a decidedly urban edge.

But just blocks away, it’s a completely different story. In the more residential neighborhoods, expect nestled communities and luxe leafy enclaves lining the Long Island Sound. 

Downtown Greenwich is another major draw. Here, farm-to-table restaurants, small-batch coffee shops, high-end boutiques, and name-brand shops take center stage, and draw shoppers and diners from across Fairfield County and Westchester communities. Pair that with hotspots like the newly-opened Happy Monkey from celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and classics like L’Escale. And don’t forget the endless local gems – Eastend tops our list!

Beyond the go-to’s, Greenwich residents have a packed social calendar, including tons of events and activities throughout the year. Art to the Avenue, Greenwich Town Party, Greenwich International Film Festival, and Caramoor Summer Music Festival are always popular, as is the annual Greenwich Wine + Food festival. A coming-together of food, wine, and music, expect top small bites from Greenwich restaurants, amazing pairings, and performances from A-listers – past musical guests have included Tim McGraw, Little Big Town, and Train have all performed in the past. 

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#6. Ridgewood, NJ

With a bustling downtown and 50-minute commute to NYC, it’s easy to see why Ridgewood lands on so many people’s “must-see” lists. Downtown Ridgewood is lined with local businesses, popular restaurants, cafes, and more, while the residential neighborhoods include a mix of modern and century-old homes. That perfect balance of hustle-and-bustle and low-key living makes Ridgewood a go-to for urbanites.

There’s also a unique historial thread running through town. Ridgewood centers around a nearly-200-year-old train station in the heart of the business district – and many hit the original Warner Theater to catch a movie on weekends. This blend of new and old lends to that welcoming vibe.

Other major draws? Graydon Park, complete with an outdoor roller rink, pool, and plenty of sports fields. If you dive into the community sports scene – or have young athletes in the family – expect to spend some serious time here. Veterans Field is another multi-activity complex and home to the town’s band shell which hosts concerts all summer long. In the winter, hit the hills at Citizens Park or ice skating at Ridgewood Wild Duck Pond.

And let’s not forget the restaurant and cultural scene. Our locals love Latour and Cafe 37 – and The James Rose Center for Landscape Architectural Research and Design is a one-of-a-kind historic gem that will delight even the most discerning museum goer.  

Want to find your perfect community? Let’s talk. Whether you’re looking for a community that feels decidedly urban or want to get away from the hustle and bustle, we’ve got you covered. Get in touch to learn more and schedule your Strategy Session now

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