New Rochelle is one of the southernmost cities in Westchester County with a rich history dating back to 1688 when Protestant refugees made their way from France to escape persecution, many from the French city of La Rochelle (hence the city's current name). Now the seventh largest city in New York state with a population of over 75,000, New Rochelle has become a destination spot for families. You'll find quintessential suburban living with sprawling homes and gorgeous lawns as well as a thriving downtown with high-rise luxury condos complete with high-end amenities, shopping, restaurants and an eclectic and growing arts scene.
We've already written about things to do nearby in Scarsdale, Mamaroneck and Pelham. In January we'll be highlighting the city of New Rochelle and all it has to offer residents and visitors. We'll take a close look at what to do and where to eat, shop and play in the area, starting with our list of 25 things to do in New Rochelle with kids. Be sure to sign up for our FREE weekly newsletter to stay up to date on the latest events, news and happenings for Westchester families.
For many, New Rochelle may conjure up fond memories of The Dick Van Dyke Show however, there's so much more to New Rochelle. One of the first movie studios in the country, Thanhouser's Film Corporation, called New Rochelle home in the early 1900's. The city was also home to Terrytoons, the studio that created Mighty Mouse (one of my favorite shows as a kid) and other famous cartoon characters. New Rochelle's close proximity to Manhattan, stunning parks, reputable school system and notable colleges make it a great place to live and visit. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Enjoy Family Saturdays and other family programming at the New Rochelle Public Library
- Check out the castles then hit the playgrounds, all with gorgeous, sweeping views of the Sound on Glen Island.
- Shop local and enjoy kids' activities and events at New Rochelle Grand Market.
- Gaze at the stars at monthly presentations open to the public and hosted by New Rochelle High School in their on-site planetarium (call for dates).
- Head to New Roc City to catch a flick or go nuts at Fun Fuzion, where you'll find go bowling, an arcade, go-karts, glow-in-the dark mini golf and more.
- Celebrate Easter at New Rochelle's annual Egg-Stravaganza.
- Choose from aquatics, sports and after-school programs at the New Rochelle YMCA.
- Spend a day with a good book at Huguenot Children's Library.
- Then go for a romp in Jack's Friendship Garden at Huguenot Park (adjacent to the library).
- Cheer on local and nationally ranked Monroe College's men and women's basketball teams at live games in downtown New Rochelle.
- Step back in time at the Thomas Paine Cottage Museum.
- Have a day of fun in the sun at Hudson Park and Beach.
- Explore New Rochelle's art scene at the New Rochelle Arts Fest (or anytime).
- Feast on flavorful southern cuisine at Sweet Potatoes.
- Learn to skate at Sidney E. Frank Skate Park.
- Take a dance class at New Beginnings Performing Arts Studio.
- Enjoy the fantastic fireworks display at the 4th of July Spark the Sound.
- Take younger kids to the annual Halloween Bash for not-too-spooky fun.
- Explore the arts program at Growing Minds of New York.
- Score toys and games at Merry go Round Toy Store.
- Welcome the holiday season at the Holiday Lighting at Memorial Plaza.
- Try vegetarian and vegan fare at Jolo's Kitchen.
- Ring in the new year with the whole family at the very kid-friendly New Year's Eve Celebration (with a countdown at noon).
- Make a routine haircut more fun at Magic Cuts for Kids.
- Kids climbing the walls at home? Head to the the Rock Club and let them go crazy.
Top image credit: WalkingGeek. All other photos taken by MommyPoppins.com.