Here, there’s no need to worry about that “mom bun” when you leave the house in these Westchester suburbs…
While we totally get the cliche of the mom in PJ pants, screeching through morning drop off, many suburbs still adopt some level of “dress code”—and that “code” can range from competitive dressing to Saturday chic, depending on where you land.
Many parents, though, are looking for a town that’s a little more laid back—not so much PJs-all-day, but more “yes to sweatpants.” For these city families, moving to the suburbs also means sinking into a Sunday morning vibe seven days a week. Our take? Not having to blow out your hair or slip into skinny jeans before heading out can be an amazing thing.
If that sounds in line with your expectations of the ‘burbs, consider these Westchester suburbs where sweats and sneakers are more than welcome.
Head to Warburton Avenue and Main Street and it’s clear Hastings-on-Hudson is a very laid back community. From the local general store—Chelsea Dry Goods—to a farm-to-table cafe and gluten-free French bakery, the vibe is decidedly welcoming with an artsy undertone. Here you’ll find the polished NYC set alongside an active creative crew—artists, writers, designers and more—mixed in with neighbors from around the globe.
“We moved here because we wanted a walkable, laid back town—not a pressure cooker,” says Annabel, a mom of one who moved to Hastings in 2017. “The schools have a real arts push, which we love, and we can easily walk to a coffee shop and some restaurants, which is great for us.”
The New York Times calls Thornwood “an unpretentious place where neighbors know one another”—and we couldn’t agree more. With a relaxed, friendly vibe that permeates the community—this is a suburb where people greet each other by name—there’s no shame in stepping out in sweats, whether it’s for school drop off or to grab a quick bite at Thornwood Coach diner or The Barley House.
What’s more, with its strong schools and a recent push to improve walkability in town, this relaxed community is ideal for families. On weekends, many take to the playground at James M. Carroll Park or to summer concerts at Leith’s Pond—a pond that, in the winter, doubles as a public ice skating rink and draws tons of families weekend after weekend.
Another Mount Pleasant hamlet, Valhalla is packed with cul-de-sacs and tons of green spaces—here, tree-lined streets are the norm. Also common? Sweeping water views and lots of wildlife—deer, turkeys and rabbit, for starters—often right in residents’ backyards. In short, you’ll feel far from the city when you land in Valhalla—and the laid back residents like it that way.
That said, while Valhalla is a very low-key community, it’s far from sleepy. At Kensico Dam plaza, expect tons of seasonal events including outdoor concerts and movies, July 4th fireworks and an annual Winter Wonderland carnival including rides, games and food trucks.
At first glance, Croton seems like a welcoming Rivertown—there’s lots of green space and lush, towering trees lining the streets. But, as residents will tell you, it goes much deeper than that.
“At first I was nervous about moving to Croton,” says Taryn, a mom of two, who moved to Croton from Stamford—by way of Soho. “We seemed really far from our neighbors and I worried we wouldn’t meet people. But I was wrong. There’s such a sense of community and there’s so much to do, especially if your family likes to be outside.” Her family, she says, heads to the waterfront for swimming and kayaking in the summer and, until it gets too cold, they love hiking around the area.
But Croton is more than just a hotspot for active families. Since the early 1900s, the community has been a creative outpost, with writers like Edna St. Vincent Millay, Gloria Swanson and John Reed calling the town “home” throughout the years. Now, Tony Award-winning actress Audra McDonald along with tons of actors, artists, designers and writers live here, citing its calm, laid back vibe as a key reason for making the leap.
Another small town in Westchester—Tuckahoe is home to just 6,600 people—this community oozes charm and chill, making it ideal for families who want a laid back lifestyle. That said, in exchange for that relaxed, “sweatpant” vibe, residents don’t have to give up their city go-tos—Tuckahoe has plenty of small coffee shops and cafes and, even, date night-quality restaurants along Main Street and Columbus Avenue.
The town is also very walkable and bikeable—many families stroll around the small downtown, or hop on bikes and hit the Bronx River Pathway. On weekends, expect to hit the farmers market at Depot Square—a hotspot that hosts everything from Easter egg hunts to July 4th fireworks during the year.
There are hundreds of towns to choose from. How do you figure it all out? You simply don’t, without getting a Suburban Jungle Strategist to help you through it all. Schedule here for your strategy session with our innovative suburbs strategy team. All services are completely free.