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If you’re considering a move away from New York City because you’re feeling a little cooped up—you don’t have to move far to feel freer. Just to the north of the city, in an enviable geographic location, lies historic Westchester County—the gateway to the picturesque Hudson Valley and just a short ride from NYC by train or car.
Westchester has something for everyone. It’s home to 45 cities, towns, and villages spread out over 450 square miles of verdant terrain, with a spectrum of municipalities from bustling downtowns to quaint suburban utopias. Each offers a unique mix of opportunities for living, working, and playing. And they’re all accessible to one another, which means the entire region is yours to explore.
Here are five good reasons to consider a move to Westchester County.
Manhattan is 30 minutes away
Westchester really couldn’t be better for commuting. Many of its municipalities are less than a half-hour from Manhattan by Metro-North or car. These include New Rochelle—one of the fastest-growing cities in the state, with a developing downtown, diverse neighborhoods, and a vibrant creative culture—and Yonkers, which has been ranked one of the “Top 100 Best Places to Live.”
The county is well-served by I-287, I-87, I-684, and the Saw Mill River Parkway, plus several stops on the Metro-North’s New Haven and Harlem lines, with conveniently located downtown stations. If you’re a working professional who’s commuting to the office, you’ll appreciate this accessibility. But Westchester is also a good option for the work-from-home types, because when things finally return to normal, you’ll still have access to everything NYC has to offer.
A variety of lifestyles
You might think of Westchester and expect the suburban stereotype: A nice Colonial with a white picket fence and a neatly manicured lawn. But Westchester offers a diverse mix of living options, from single-family homes on spacious lots to new downtown developments loaded with amenities. If you’re living in NYC and want more space but not necessarily the upkeep that comes with an entire house, you can buy or rent a luxury apartment that wouldn’t be out of place in Murray Hill or Williamsburg, except for the fact that it’ll be much more affordable. The county continues to welcome transit-oriented new developments in walking distance of train stations, restaurants, arts, and entertainment, which are great for residents who need to commute into New York City and those who prefer living in the heart of the action.
But you can get the suburban idyll, as well as nationally-recognized schools. U.S. News & World Report consistently rates the county’s schools as some of the best in the country; in 2020, 13 Westchester high schools ranked among the top 50 nationwide. There are also prestigious private and public elementary schools, and 28 higher-education institutions throughout the county.
So, whether you’re looking for a luxury apartment within walking distance of restaurants, entertainment, or the office, or a quaint and quiet single-family house near A+ public schools, Westchester has a place for you to call home.
Welcome to the great outdoors
Once you’re outside of NYC, the rest of New York State opens up to you. And it all starts in Westchester, which has trails for hiking and biking, lakes for kayaking, rivers for canoeing, parks for playing in, and vibrant, walkable downtowns to explore. The county boasts more than 18,000 acres of parkland, so there is always an opportunity to explore a new outdoor space and make your own adventure. It has shorelines along the Long Island Sound and, of course, the mighty Hudson River, and lies partially within Hudson Highlands State Park, which has some of the best hiking and climbing in the state.
And that’s just in the county proper. From Westchester, the rest of the Hudson Valley is easily accessible. You can drive up to Hunter Mountain to ski in the winter, choose from dozens of farms and orchards for apple- and pumpkin-picking in the fall, and spend your spring and summer hiking, biking, swimming, and exploring all that the region has to offer.
Access to arts and culture
NYC may be the entertainment mecca of the world, but Westchester has a diverse array of arts and culture options that shouldn’t be overlooked. The county is home to a dozen museums and art galleries, and nearly twice as many performing arts venues, headlined by the historic Paramount Theatre in Peekskill. The vibrant cultural landscape enhances quality of life for residents and strengthens the local economy: Arts and culture are key economic drivers in Westchester county, generating $172.3 million in total economic activity and creating more than 5,000 jobs.
What’s more, every city and town has a slightly different vibe, and different things to offer. And they’re all close to one another. You can drive to a different town for the day, shop the boutiques, visit the museums and historic sites, and check out the downtown and Main Street.
A hub of economic activity
Unlike many suburban and exurban communities, which rely heavily on property taxes, Westchester’s economy is business-centered. More than 170 companies are headquartered in the county, employing more than 400,000 people. You may have heard of some of them, like IBM, Pepsi, MasterCard, Heineken USA, Regeneron, and Danone North America. The county is also home to nearly 34,000 firms, and there is a strong nonprofit community too; in fact, the nonprofit sector is the largest employer among all industries in Westchester, with nearly 54,000 employees.
Together, Westchester businesses generate more than $1 billion in annual payroll, and alumni from prestigious universities and institutions make the county one of the best-educated workforces in the nation. That means Westchester is loaded with young professionals and talent who contribute greatly to the vibrancy and culture of the lifestyle here.
With so much to offer, it’s easy to see why so many people are choosing to call Westchester County home. Find out more at westchestercatalyst.com/live.