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White Plains: Essential Things Parents Must Know

White Plains: Essential Things Parents Must Know

As a corporate and retail hub that combines the traditional amenities of top-quality suburban living with a vibrant urban core, White Plains is a family-friendly city in lower Westchester County. Here's what you need to know if you're considering a move to White Plains.

By Katelin Walling

Just 25 miles from Manhattan, White Plains—the county seat of Westchester County since 1757—was founded in 1683, when men in nearby Rye purchased 4, 435 acres from the Weckquaeskeck Indians. Today, White Plains is a corporate and retail hub that combines the traditional amenities of top-quality suburban living—numerous parks and recreational facilities, well-regarded schools, and public library—with a vibrant urban core, including government offices and courts and two major shopping malls. All of these factors combine to make White Plains a family-friendly city in lower Westchester County.

Here’s everything you need to know if you're considering moving your family to White Plains.

Schools in White Plains

Public Schools Serving White Plains

Children who live in White Plains will attend one of nine public schools in the White Plains Public School District:

  • Church Street: kindergarten through fifth grades
  • Eastview Middle School: sixth grade
  • George Washington: kindergarten through fifth grades
  • Highlands Middle School: seventh and eighth grades
  • Mamaroneck Ave: kindergarten through fifth grades
  • Post Road: kindergarten through fifth grades
  • Ridgeway: kindergarten through fifth grades
  • Rochambeau Alternative High School: ninth through 12th grades for students who perform better in a smaller, less structured environment
  • White Plains High School: ninth through 12th grades

Private Schools Serving White Plains

There are more than 50 private schools serving the White Plains area, including preschools, mixed-age schools, religious schools, and schools for children with special needs.

Private preschools serving White Plains include:

  • Country Day Nursery School at St. Bartholomew’s: German-English, Russian-English, and Spanish-English pre-K programs
  • The Early Childhood Center at Memorial United Methodist Church
  • Elmwood Day School
  • Kodomono Kuni: Japanese-English program
  • Mohawk Country Day School
  • Ridgeway Nursery School and Kindergarten
  • Temple Israel Center Nursery School
  • YWCA White Plains Early Care Programs

Private mixed-age schools serving White Plains include:

  • Fusion Academy & Learning Center Westchester: sixth through 12th grades
  • German International School New York: German-English bilingual, college-preparatory for kindergarten through 12th grades

Private religious schools serving White Plains include:

  • Archbishop Stepinac High School: ninth through 12th grades, all-boys’ school, Catholic
  • Our Lady of Sorrows School: kindergarten through eighth grades, Catholic
  • Solomon Schechter School Westchester: Lower School for kindergarten through fifth grades (the Upper School for sixth through 12th grades is in nearby Hartsdale), Jewish

Private schools for students with special needs serving White Plains include:

  • John A Coleman School: special education and early intervention services for ages 18 months to 8 years
  • NY School for the Deaf: offers programs from infancy through 12th grades, as well as vocational programs
  • Windward School: first through ninth grades for students with language-based learning disabilities

Public Transportation: Metro-North Stops Serving White Plains

For those parents who work in New York City and will have to commute on a daily basis, or for the family that wants to visit the city for a day, the city of White Plains has two Metro-North train stations:

  • North White Plains, 1 Haarlem Ave.: approximately a 45-minute commute
  • White Plains, 16 Ferris Ave.: approximately a 40-minute commute 

There are three other Metro-North stations near White Plains:

  • Hartsdale, 1 E. Hartsdale Ave.: approximately a 40-minute commute
  • Scarsdale, 1 Depot Place: approximately a 40-minute commute
  • Valhalla, 1 Cleveland St.: approximately a 45-minute commute

Things to Do with Kids in White Plains

Annual Parades and Festivals in White Plains

There are seven annual parades and festivals held in White Plains that offer entertainment for the whole family:

  • JazzFest: This September festival is a five-day celebration of Jazz that culminates with a Jazz and Food Festival. All events are either free or affordable.
  • Memorial Day Parade: The city’s Memorial Day Parade begins on Church Street, between Main Street and Hamilton Avenue and ends at the Rural Cemetery on North Broadway. Step off is at 10am.
  • National Night Out Celebration: The White Plains Department of Public Safety annual event held in August promotes police-community partnership and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer places to live.
  • White Plains Hispanic Heritage Festival: This day-long celebration (typically held in mid-September) celebrates the multi-national and diverse Latin community of White Plains and the surrounding area, including cuisine, vendors, music, dance, and performers.
  • White Plains Juneteenth Festival: This June festival celebrates observing the end of slavery in the United States.
  • White Plains Outdoor Arts Festival: This community tradition for more than 50 years features diverse displays of fine arts and crafts, showcasing painting, photography, ceramics, glasswork, jewelry, textiles and more. It also features emerging artists, a free children’s arts and crafts table, and food vendors. This event takes place the first weekend after Memorial Day.
  • White Plains St. Patrick’s Day Parade: This March parade steps off at 12pm from the intersection of Mamaroneck Avenue and Old Mamaroneck Road and ends at City Hall.

Community Centers in White Plains

The city of White Plains offers a variety of community programs, including volunteer organizations, programs for elderly, health organizations, arts programs, and thrift stores. White Plains is also home to a handful of centers that foster a sense of community, including a few golf courses, a YMCA, a YWCA, and a nearby JCC.

JCC of Mid-Westchester in nearby Scarsdale

While there is not a JCC located in White Plains proper, the closest is the JCC of Mid-Westchester, located in nearby Scarsdale. This nonprofit organization provides cultural, social, educational, and recreational and fitness services to members of the community. It offers programs such as swimming, personal training, yoga, art and dance classes, birthday parties, special needs programs, adult classes, and teen-specific services.

Maple Moor Golf Course

Named for the abundance of maple trees on the land, this 18-hole golf course was designed by Tom Winton, and was unveiled to the public in 1927. This course also has practice greens and a catering facility in the clubhouse.

Westchester Hills Golf Club

In addition to the golf facilities, which includes a driving range and two large greens, this membership club also offers a pool, tennis courts, a clubhouse with fine dining and social events, live entertainment, and holiday celebrations.

White Plains YMCA

The YMCA is committed to youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. This nonprofit welcomes all, regardless of age, race, religion, or economic status. If offers a variety of programs, including child care, summer camp, fitness classes and facilities, swimming, and residence.

White Plains Youth Bureau

Since becoming a formal office of city government in 1970, the bureau has helped thousands of youth grow into successful adults. Today the bureau works with more than 2,000 children each day in 50 programs, including after-school, neighborhood, and leadership programs; Project Hope, which aims to reduce and eliminate the risk of youth becoming involved with substances and other risky behaviors; youth employment services; and sports and recreation programs.

YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester

The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all by providing supportive housing for low-income women, cultivating girls to be tomorrow’s leaders, preparing children for a bright future, and putting health and wellness within reach for all. The center provides programs such as swimming, gymnastics, summer camps, programs for those with special needs, residence, and women and community programs.

Community Events in White Plains

White Plains hosts a variety of special events for its community members, including:

  • A Day of Remembrance: Pays homage to the lives lost on Sept. 11
  • Dog Days of Summer: Swimming for the dogs at Kittrell Pool
  • Farmers’ Market: Held Wednesdays, from 8am-4pm, April through the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and is located on Court Street, between Main Street and Martine Avenue
  • Halloween Window Painting: Scout Troops are invited to paint the town
  • Howl-o-Ween Costume Party: A dog costume contest
  • Frightfully Fun Festival & Parade: A Halloween festival for school-age children, including corm maze, crafts, and magic show
  • WinterFest: Celebrates the holiday season with shopping and musical and dance performances
  • New Year’s Eve Family Spectacular: Live music, ball drop, and a countdown to the New Year

Parks in White Plains

White Plains is home to three major parks, and 21 smaller parks, including:

Cranberry Lake Preserve

Since 1967, this 190-acre preserve has been a safe haven for animals and plants in Westchester County, including migratory birds, turtles, and dragonflies. Within the preserve are a 4-acre lake, cliffs and scrublands, mixed hardwood forest, and a swamp. The Nature Center offers family-oriented nature programs on weekends and houses a variety of interactive, educational displays and live animals.

Saxon Woods Park

Known as Saxton Forest in the colonial times, this 700-acre park offers a variety of recreational facilities, including an 18-hole golf course, a mini-golf course, the county’s largest swimming pool, a children’s aquatic playground, and picnic areas. It also offers a trail system for hiking, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding.

Silver Lake Preserve

Known during the colonial period as Horton’s Pond due to the Horton family’s grain mill powered by the pond, this 236-acre preserve was acquired by Westchester in 1924 and 1925. This park features trails through woodlands and unmowed fields, small streams, and old stone foundations.

Smaller Parks in White Plains

  • Bark Dog Park: water fountain, bag dispenser, and waste receptacle
  • Battle Hill Park: accessible playground, baseball and softball, basketball, recreation room, and soccer
  • Battle of White Plains Park: accessible playground
  • Chatterton Playground: accessible playground and basketball
  • Druss Park: playground
  • Gardella Park: accessible playground and pool, baseball and softball, basketball, grill, locker room, picnicking, and soccer
  • Gillie Park: accessible playground, baseball and softball, playground, recreation room, and tennis
  • Kittrell Park: accessible playground, basketball, locker room, playground, and pool
  • Liberty Park: fishing and picnic areas
  • Turnure Park: accessible playground, chairs, and restrooms

Shopping in White Plains

White Plains is home to two major shopping destinations.

The Westchester

As a Simon Mall, The Westchester is a shopping destination in Westchester County. It offers a variety of high-end and affordable stores, including:

  • American Eagle
  • Anthropologie
  • Armani Exchange
  • Banana Republic
  • Brooks Brothers
  • Gap
  • J.Jill
  • J Crew
  • Lego
  • Madewell
  • Nordstrom
  • Theory
  • Williams-Sonoma

The Galleria at White Plains

This shopping center has nearly 130 retailers, including:

  • American Eagle
  • Claire’s
  • Footlocker
  • Forever 21
  • H&M
  • Macy’s
  • Sears

Main image: The White Plains farmers' market, which is held Wednesdays, from 8am-4pm, April through the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and is located on Court Street, between Main Street and Martine Avenue 
Courtesy City of White Plains


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