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10 Top-Rated Things to Do in Tarrytown, NY

Written by Meagan Drillinger
Jan 26, 2021

Just 25 miles north of Manhattan is one of the true jewels of New York State. Tarrytown, in picturesque Westchester County, sits on the banks of the historic (and vitally important) Hudson River, and has been key in the history of the state of New York.

The charming village dates back centuries, steeped in Native American and early settler history. It was put on the map in the 19th and 20th centuries, when it became a frequent stomping ground and residence for the Rockefeller family - essentially New York City royalty.

Today the town has fast forwarded to the 21st century, while still managing to retain its historic essence. From centuries-old architecture to modern-day taco restaurants and coffee shops, Tarrytown is truly the epitome of quaint village living.

In fact, Tarrytown has a literary history, as well. It was the home of Washington Irving, the author of classic tales like Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Today it is possible to tour his historic home in Tarrytown, which is where he penned many of his most famous pieces.

Tarrytown is a village in which to explore art galleries, nature trails, boutiques, and quaint restaurants. It is also at the doorstep of some of the lower Hudson Valley's most beautiful natural scenery, including the Hudson River and Rockefeller State Park Preserve.

If you're ready to dip a toe into the vast Hudson Valley, this is the ideal place to begin. Plan your sightseeing with our list of the top places to visit and things to do in Tarrytown.

Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.

1. Marvel at Lyndhurst Mansion

Lyndhurst
Lyndhurst

Unbeknownst to many, the Hudson Valley is home to some of the country's most historic and impressive stately homes and mansions. Tarrytown is where it all begins with Lyndhurst, a national historic landmark built in 1838.

Perched over the Hudson River, Lyndhurst is a Gothic Revival mansion designed by Alexander Jackson Davis. Its most famous residents have included former New York City mayor William Paulding, merchant George Merritt, and railroad tycoon Jay Gould.

Today, the mansion stands as a reminder of the great wealth that amassed in the Hudson Valley in the 19th century. This top tourist attraction hosts a massive collection of art, antiques, and furniture, and the grounds are among the best examples of 19th-century landscape.

Taking one of the many tours of the mansion is one of the best things to do in Tarrytown - they include a variety of rooms, gardens, and exhibitions. It is also connected to major hiking and biking trails in the area.

Of course, guests are also welcome to stroll the grounds on their own. Sixty-seven acres are open for exploration. Highlights include the Rose Garden, as well as the Rambles. The Rambles is a two-hour, two-mile adventure that gives the best overview of the grand estate.

Address: 635 S Broadway, Tarrytown, New York

2. Tour Washington Irving's Sunnyside

Sunnyside, Washington Irving's home in Sleepy Hollow
Sunnyside, Washington Irving's home in Sleepy Hollow | Tim Evanson / photo modified

Just up the river from Tarrytown is the village of Sleepy Hollow. Though small in size, its reputation has traveled the world, as it was the setting for the iconic Halloween classic, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, written by Washington Irving. Irving himself lived in Tarrytown at the estate, Sunnywide. Today visitors are welcome to tour the literary great's home, which is where he penned his most famous work.

Sunnyside originally was a two-room Dutch stone house, which Irving purchased in 1835. After buying the modest home, he remodeled it, adding architectural elements like Tudor clustered chimneys, stepped gables, Gothic windows, and a Spanish tower.

When visitors tour today, they are able to see many of the rooms as Irving had them, with their original furniture, as well as the manicured gardens that Irving had planted and designed himself.

Insider tip: One of the best times to visit is in the fall, when the property puts on a scavenger hunt and a special exhibit that sheds light on The Legend.

Address: 3 W Sunnyside Ln, Irvington, New York

3. Take a Trip to Sleepy Hollow

Old Dutch Church in Sleepy Hollow
Old Dutch Church in Sleepy Hollow

Speaking of Sleepy Hollow, the small village is just up the river from Tarrytown and is certainly worth exploring. The tiny village is steeped in history, from Native American culture to Dutch settlers, and, of course, Washington Irving's influence. The Rockefeller family also made Sleepy Hollow one of their many residences in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Today, one of the top-rated things to do is to visit the famous Old Dutch Church, whose cemetery is the final resting place for members of the Rockefeller family and Washington Irving. Or there is the site of Philipsburg Manor, a restored farmhouse and estate that dates back to the 18th century and today is used as a living museum.

There is also the sprawling Rockefeller State Park Preserve, which has 45 miles of carriage roads to explore. But we'll get to that in a bit.

If you happen to be in Tarrytown on a Saturday, you can stop by the TaSH Farmers Market, which is a shared farmers market between Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. Since 2015, vendors have been hawking their fresh produce, breads, baked goods, meats, cheeses, and more.

4. Marvel at the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge

Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge illuminated at night
Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge illuminated at night

Historically known as the Tappan Zee Bridge, the now-Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is a New York State landmark that was fully reinvented in 2018. The three-mile, twin-span bridge connects Tarrytown in Westchester County with Rockland County on the other side of the Hudson River. It is the longest bridge in New York State and crosses one of the widest parts of the river.

In addition to being an architectural marvel, the bridge provides a form of recreation for locals and visitors, with the longest shared bicycle/pedestrian path in the nation. One of the top-rated things to do in Tarryton is to discover the bridge's six scenic overlooks, as well as public art stops along the way. The path opened in 2020 and features a visitor center at each end. Each overlook has free Wi-Fi, a seating area, and bike racks.

The bridge is also beloved for its nightly light show, when the entire structure comes alive with a rainbow of LED fixtures. On important dates, the bridge's lights correspond with colors that are evocative of the particular event.

5. Stop by the Tarrytown Lighthouse

Tarrytown Lighthouse at sunset
Tarrytown Lighthouse at sunset

Otherwise known as the Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse, the Tarrytown Lighthouse (or Kingsland Point Lighthouse) is a historic landmark that was first installed in 1883. It was automated in the 1950s and remained in operation until 1961, after which it was rendered useless due to the construction of the bridge.

Over its years in service, there were 12 light keeps and their families that lived within the five-story building. Today, it's possible to tour the lighthouse to get a glimpse into Tarrytown's past. The lighthouse opened to the public in 1983 on the 100th anniversary of the beacon's first lighting. Tours are conducted regularly, taking visitors through the rooms to view the original furnishings, and photographs, which shed light onto life within the lighthouse.

The best views of the lighthouse are from the Westchester RiverWalk at Edge-on-Hudson. Of course, you can always rent a kayak and get out on the water for even more impressive views.

Address: Tarrytown Light-Kingsland Point Path, Sleepy Hollow, New York

6. Catch a Performance at The Tarrytown Music Hall

Tarrytown Music Hall
Tarrytown Music Hall | Ed / photo modified

This small Hudson River town may be quaint in size, but it has attracted monumental names in music, specifically to perform at its Tarrytown Music Hall. Names of past performers include the likes of Miles Davis, Tony Bennett, and Louis Armstrong.

The Tarrytown Music Hall, the oldest theater in Westchester, was built in 1885. It was frequented by New York royalty, from the Rockefellers to the Vanderbilts. It's an intimate space with less than 1,000 seats and to this day draws in big names in rock, jazz, blues, country, R&B, and comedy. In addition to music it hosts dance and film screenings.

The concert hall itself still carries the air of that old-world splendor, with beautiful wooden carvings, gold and red accents, and soaring ceilings. It's certainly a beloved slice of Westchester County history that has carried beautifully into the present.

Fun fact: The space is said to be haunted, and visitors can take paranormal investigation tours on select dates.

Address: 13 Main Street, Tarrytown, New York

7. Browse Main Street

Shops in Tarrytown
Shops in Tarrytown | Doug Kerr / photo modified

If you want to absorb the heart and soul of Tarrytown, it's absolutely worth strolling down historic Main Street. Walk past vintage ice-cream shops, catch live performances on the street, and get swept up in the hum of outdoor dining and shopping.

Main Street is lined with shops, galleries, and antique stores. Check out everything from painting and sculptures at The Canfin Gallery to gifts at Bella's Boutique. Tarrytown is a haven for antiques, as well, from Michael Christopher Antiques to Shaylula.

It's along Main Street that you'll be able to see some of the impressive historic architecture.

If you're staying in Tarrytown until the late afternoon, meander over to the Hudson River to catch a spectacular sunset.

8. Stroll the RiverWalk

The Hudson River is vital to the history of New York and New York City. It has been the lifeline of the state for centuries. There is no better place in Westchester County to get up close and personal with the Hudson River than the Hudson RiverWalk Park in Tarrytown.

The waterfront park offers sweeping views that stretch all the way downriver to the faint Manhattan skyline in the distance. Along the walk, visitors will discover grass terraces and lawns, and an eco-corridor packed with native plants.

The park is a segment of a 51-mile RiverWalk. It's near Tarrytown's Pierson Park, and is one of the best spots in Tarrytown to view the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. Along the walk, it's common to see locals and visitors biking, fishing, picnicking, or simply enjoying a stroll. It's certainly one of the peak highlights of Tarrytown.

Address: 250 W Main Street, Tarrytown, New York

9. Discover the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail

The Old Croton Aqueduct
The Old Croton Aqueduct

The Old Croton Aqueduct was built between 1837 and 1842 to supply water to New York City. The aqueduct carried water some 40 miles from the Croton River to reservoirs in Manhattan. The trail is built along the historic route, which runs in sections through the lower Hudson Valley and is a popular hiking trail for locals and visitors. It became a state park in 1968.

A popular section runs from Tarrytown through Sleepy Hollow, crossing the Pocantico River through Rockefeller State Park Preserve. The trail passes through the grounds of Lyndhurst, as well. The trail continues through stretches of woods, until it reaches Highland Avenue in Ossining.

All along the route are points of historic significance, which makes the entire trip not only physically challenging, but intellectually enlightening.

Travelers opt to return back to Tarrytown via Metro-North Railroad.

10. Immerse Yourself in the Rockefeller State Park Preserve

Rockefeller State Park Preserve
Rockefeller State Park Preserve

One of the crown jewels of the lower Hudson Valley is the Rockefeller State Park Preserve. The property sits on the former Pocantico Hills and Rockwood Hall estates of the Rockefeller family.

The land was purchased by William Rockefeller in 1886, at just 200 acres. It was called Rockwood. Seven years later, John D. Rockefeller bought land at Pocantico Hills. The two combined make up part of what is now the state park preserve. Today more than 1,770 acres have been donated to the state in order to create this stunning natural preserve, which is open year-round.

Visitors to the preserve can explore the 45 miles of carriage roads, which are popular for jogging, riding, walking, and more. Highlights include the stunning Swan Lake and Pocantico River, as well as the towering oak trees, maple, and beach trees. More than 202 species of birds call the area home, and in the fall Monarch butterflies pass through the preserve during their southern migration.

A small gallery at the entrance to the preserve showcases a rotating exhibit of contemporary art, as well as natural history exhibitions.

Address: 125 Phelps Way, Pleasantville, New York

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