White Plains is a city in Westchester County, New York. It is the county seat and commercial hub of Westchester, an affluent suburban county that is home to almost one million people, just north of New York City. White Plains is located in south-central Westchester, with its downtown about 7 miles (11 km) east of the Hudson River and 7 miles (11 km) northwest of the Long Island Sound. It is bordered to the north by the town of North Castle, to the north and east by the town/village of Harrison, to the south by the town/village of Scarsdale, and to the west by the town of Greenburgh.
As of 2013, the city’s total population was estimated to be 57,866, up from 56,853 at the 2010 census. According to the city government, the daytime weekday population is estimated at 250,000. The city was ranked third in the top 10 places to live in New York for 2014, according to national online real estate brokerage Movoto.
During the 17th century, settlers of Manhattan observed a landscape with groves of white balsam and a thick mist hanging over the Bronx River swamps. Historians believe these observations inspired the name for White Plains. Trivia buffs may recall White Plains as the birthplace of famous figures such as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, wife of John F. Kennedy, Jr.
Today, White Plains is known as a shopping mecca, home to upscale department stores like Bloomingdale’s as well as four malls with more than 1,000 small retail establishments between them. Shoppers visiting White Plains might drive four miles east of downtown to The Westchester mall, which features Barneys, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus.
Visitors discover plenty of things to do in downtown White Plains, from purchasing produce to sipping cocktails and watching live performances. Situated between Main Street and Martine Avenue, White Plains Farmers’ Market operates every Wednesday throughout the year. Shoppers peruse the stalls for items like quality meats, organic herbs and homemade pies. Two blocks east, between Maple and Main Streets, bars and restaurants line Mamaroneck Avenue, the center of White Plains nightlife. Right around the corner on City Place, White Plains Performing Arts Center hosts Broadway shows and concerts.
History buffs looking for interesting things to do in White Plains head to the north side of town. Jacob Purdy House provides a historical glimpse at White Plains’ role in the Revolutionary War. The wooden structure served as headquarters for General George Washington in 1778 and possibly in 1776, during the Battle of White Plains. Today, the home is the office of the White Plains Historical Society. A five-minute drive north, Miller House on Virginia Avenue is also notable as another of George Washington’s command posts. Exhibits include the original table and chairs used by the first U.S. President.
While visiting White Plains, outdoor aficionados explore Saxon Woods Park, a 10- minute drive south of downtown. Hiking and cycling trails wind through the 700-acre space, where visitors can relax over a picnic lunch or round of miniature golf. The park also manages Westchester County’s largest swimming pool.
For outdoor adventure on the north side of White Plains, locals visit the 190-acre Cranberry Lake Preserve, with three miles of trails that are perfect for activities like cross country skiing and bird watching. Nearby, 236-acre Silver Lake Preserve permits hiking on the trail heads and overlooks Silver Lake.