Looking for Low-Key? These Suburbs are Calling. 

Apr 15, 2024

We get it – the NYC hustle and bustle can be a lot sometimes. So when many of our clients decide to search the suburbs, finding a relaxed, low-key community often tops the list. With countless amenities, activities, and a welcoming vibe, these towns are great places to call “home” without being too far from the city.

Pleasantville, New York (Westchester)

Its name says it all. Pleasantville is a popular NYC suburb with a quick commute and endless activities and amenities. Home to the Jacob Burns Film Center, a nonprofit film house that screens independent and foreign films, hosts festivals, and offers educational programs.

Pleasantville has a rich history dating back to the colonial era with Victorian homes like Henry Hunter’s built by Joseph R. Banks House 1874, adding to its charm and character. Walk, run, or bike in Rockefeller State Park Preserve, with over 1,700 acres of forests, fields, a lake, and wetlands. But first, have a delicious good time at the Farmer’s Market, the region’s largest year-round market.

Ossining, New York (Westchester)

With a picturesque downtown and thriving arts scene anchored by the Ossining Arts Council, this suburb is a hub for local makers. Ossining offers a range of housing options, from historic to modern, making it accessible for individuals and families with diverse budgets. Visit the bald eagles congregating at Teatown and enjoy the thousand-acre preserve’s hiking trails. Ossining is also a prime location to experience the infamous and spooktacular Halloween in Sleepy Hollow.

Hastings-on-Hudson, New York (Westchester)

Rich with cultural landmarks and points of interest, like the Arts Council of Rockland and the Hastings Historical Society, there are numerous opportunities to engage with the arts and local history. Hastings-on-Hudson is near Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, which follows the path of an aqueduct used to bring water to NYC during the 18th and 19th centuries. Running 26 miles from Croton Gorge Park to Van Cortlandt Park, its stunning views of the Palisades and Hudson River can’t be missed. And if you want to hunker down and relax after touring, grab a picnic and head to MacEachron Waterfront Park where you can take it all in. 

Maplewood, New Jersey

Maplewood epitomizes a family-friendly suburb. This welcoming and creative community town hosts block parties, get-togethers, and festivals, like Maplewoodstock Music & Art Festival, Maplewood Street Fair & Craft Show, and Mayfest, bringing everyone together throughout the year. The South Mountain Reservation, located nearby is another go-to, home to everything from a large reservoir (check out the swan boats) to hiking, biking, pet-friendly zones, and the Turtle Back Zoo.

Westfield, New Jersey

Westfield residents have access to countless parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities, including Tamaques Park and Mindowaskin Park, which offer walking trails, sports fields, picnic areas, and more for outdoor enjoyment. Westfield is home to cultural attractions such as the Miller-Cory House Museum and the Center for Creativity at Rialto Theater, offering local history and the arts within arm’s length.

Ridgefield, Connecticut

Surrounded by the Berkshire Mountains, Ridgefield combines small-town charm with rich cultural offerings. There’s also lots to do. Ballard Park, for starters, is a central gathering place for concerts and community events while Seth Low Pierrepont State Park Reserve is home to several hiking trails and a beautiful lake perfect for fishing and kayaking.

If local arts and culture are a must, don’t forget to check out the Ridgefield Playhouse on your visit. This popular regional theater hosts a diverse array of live performances, from concerts to comedy nights. There’s also the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum which is known for its innovative contemporary art exhibitions. This blend of natural beauty and cultural richness makes Ridgefield a delightful, low-key retreat within easy reach of NYC. 

Sea Cliff, New York (Long Island)

Stroll through the picturesque streets in this waterfront community and you’ll see stunning Victorian houses, quaint shops, restaurants, and even a family-friendly beer garden, complete with retro arcade games. Sea Cliff has long been a go-to for young families and creatively-minded New Yorkers, who appreciate the Brooklyn-esque vibe and special events like the annual Sea Cliff Mini Mart.

While you’re here, explore nearby parks such as Garvies Point Preserve, known for annual events like the Native American Fall Festival and spring’s Native Plant Sale, and birdwatch at Welwyn Preserve. Or, if you’d rather, take a walk down the historic Sea Cliff staircases from the top of Cliff Way down to the boulevard and Sea Cliff Beach, home to Sea Cliff Yacht Club and more. 

Glen Head, New York (Long Island)

Adjacent to Sea Cliff is Glen Head. With just 4,800 people, this walkable suburb packs a lot despite its small size. Here, you’ll find the Henry Tappan Pool, Beach & Marina with scenic views, two playgrounds, and waterfront activities like boating and fishing. After a day at the beach, grab a bite at a beachfront restaurant and bar, the Sunset Club, or head to Maldon & Mignonette offering classic bistro food with a seasonal twist. 

Another option? Grab your swimsuit and visit Shore Thing Rentals, which offers stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and bikes.

Despite its low-key atmosphere, Glen Head, part of the greater Glen Cove area, hosts year-round community events, such as Morgan Park Summer Music Festival and Feast of St. Rocco, also known as “The Best Feast in the East.”  Get your fix of culture at Nassau County Museum of Art and catch The Frick Estate Lectures, which discuss all things writing and art related. 

Looking for a low-key town to call home? Let’s talk! Schedule a free Suburbs Strategy session now.

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