Port Chester, NY, is a unique gem nestled between New York’s glitz and Connecticut’s charm. This village has a unique history and offers a plethora of culinary delights. Once a modest boat-building community, it has now transformed into a gastronomic paradise. Its downtown restaurant scene is bustling. The diverse immigrant population in the village allows you to enjoy a culinary trip around the world, sampling dishes from:
- And Brazil
All without leaving town. The village’s strategic location has earned it the nickname “Gateway to New England.” Its roots trace back to the 1600s when three brave souls from Greenwich, Connecticut, traded some beads and trinkets with the local Native Americans for this land. Today, Port Chester is a delightful destination in Westchester County. So, get ready as we embark on a journey to discover the best things to do in Port Chester, NY.
- Explore Port Chester, NY for a unique cultural experience!
- Marvel at the Capitol Theatre and Clay Art Center or take a boat ride down Byram River.
- Enjoy amazing restaurants & hotels nearby in Westchester County & Greenwich, perfect for an escape from city life!
A Brief History of Port Chester, New York
Imagine the scene: it’s 1660. Three adventurous souls from Greenwich, Connecticut:
- John Coe
- Peter Disbrow
- Thomas Studwell
Decide to purchase land on Manursing Island near the Byram River from Native Americans. They name this area Rye, possibly after their favorite bread – though that part might not be entirely accurate. Land purchases continue, with the same Native Americans repeatedly agreeing to the deals. This despite the English settlers’ questionable interpretations of their names.
Fast forward to the Colonial era, and the area, known as Saw Pit, was still pretty quiet. That is, save for a few farms and taverns along the Boston Post Road, and many – you guessed it – saw pits for ship-building. But then, drama ensues! The New York Colony is born in 1683, after England wrestles New York City away from the Netherlands. And over the objections of local settlers, the area became part of New York State, and Westchester County.
As the years go by, Saw Pit/Rye starts to boom, thanks to the development of roads and water transportation. The Byram River and Long Island Sound become the lifeblood of the area, and the locals get busy farming, fishing, and building ships. By the time Saw Pit gets a fancy new name – Port Chester – it’s a bustling seaport.
But wait, there’s more! The railroad arrives in 1849, and Port Chester transforms into a transportation hub. And that change attracts manufacturing and makes it a playground for wealthy NYC families. Immigrants from Germany, Ireland, and Italy flock to the area, bringing economic growth and a desperate need for more housing.
From 1870 to World War I, steamships sailed from Port Chester to New York City. The late 19th century sees the expansion of public services, and the 1920s bring paved roads. Over 5,000 men from Port Chester serve in the First and Second World Wars, and the post-war period sees corporations setting up shop in the area.
Port Chester’s 19th- and early 20th-century industrial legacy lives on in buildings like:
- the Simons Manufacturing Company building, now a loft-style office complex
- and the former headquarters of the Life Savers Candy Company, now home to condos
Aside from the Capitol Theater, the Port Chester High School Marching Band is another cultural institution here. It was the very same band that graced the silver screen in Spider-Man 3 and Miracle on 34th Street, calls this village home. And let’s not forget some of the notable past residents:
- Ed Sullivan, the master of American TV, who split time between here and Southbury, CT
- Terrence McNally, the playwright extraordinaire
- Colin Moran, the baseball wizard
- And John Abercrombie, the jazz guitar maestro
Quite a star-studded lineup, no?
Post-World War II
In the 1960s, Cuban refugees fleeing Fidel Castro’s rule settled in Port Chester to work in the factories. As the factories closed, immigrants from Central and South America made the village their home. Many opened restaurants and provided services to the affluent suburban towns surrounding Port Chester.
Some of my oldest memories are of running errands here with my innkeeper father.
The growth of Port Chester’s Hispanic and Latino population hasn’t been without its challenges. In 2009, a federal judge ordered the village to adopt a new voting system to give this community a fair chance to elect one of their own to the board of trustees. Luis Marino, a Peruvian immigrant, was elected to the board in 2010 and is now the village’s mayor.
Today, Port Chester is a vibrant, diverse community, known for its educational institutions, activities, and scenic location along the Byram River. And to think, it all started with three settlers and a piece of bread (maybe).
The Best Things to do in Port Chester, NY
Get ready for an adventure in Port Chester! This village is a trove of attractions along its bustling streets. If you’re a nature lover, you’ll enjoy exploring the parks and the stunning Byram River. There’s something for everyone in Port Chester.
Downtown Port Chester, NY
In the walkable downtown area, beauty salons, restaurants and grocery stores catering to the village’s majority-Hispanic population line the main thoroughfares of Westchester Avenue and North and South Main.
Port Chester’s Capitol Theatre, masterminded by the one and only Thomas Lamb, has been the beating heart of culture since the heyday of the Roaring Twenties. Once a haven for the likes of Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead, the theatre flung open its doors in 1926 and has since become the go-to spot for music aficionados. Nestled on Westchester Avenue, this music venue lures in big-name artists like bees to honey, and the lobby bar, Garcia’s, named in honor of Jerry Garcia, doubles as a local music hub for both the townies and the tourists. The theatre is still a hotbed for live music, comedy, and a mixed bag of other events, solidifying its status as one of the pillars of Port Chester’s cultural community.
Port Chester Post Office
Perched at 245 Westchester Ave, the Port Chester Post Office is not your run-of-the-mill mail stop. This architectural wonder is a sight to behold, flaunting unique features among post offices. It’s so grand, it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The lobby is a time capsule, preserving New Deal-era murals.
The Landmark Condominium (the former Lifesavers factory)
Ever wondered where Lifesavers candies were born? Well, look no further than the heart of Port Chester, where you’ll find The Landmark Condominium. This swanky condo building, with a past as sweet as the candies once produced here, stands as a testament to the town’s knack for reinvention.
From producing sweet treats to providing sweet dreams, this former Lifesavers factory has been transformed into a stylish residential building. So, if you’re a sucker for architecture with a twist, don’t miss the chance to check out this quirky landmark.
AMC Loews Port Chester 14
Take a cinematic journey in the comfort of a plush seat at the AMC Loews Port Chester 14, the village’s own silver screen paradise. With 14 screens at your disposal, you can dive into a world of superheroes, rom-coms, or thrillers, all brought to life with state-of-the-art digital projection. And let’s not forget the snacks! Popcorn, candies, sodas – the gang’s all here. And for those who love the spotlight, the theaters are up for grabs for private events. Grab your popcorn, sit back, and let the magic of the movies sweep you away!
Clay Art Center
For those who appreciate the fine art of pottery, the Clay Art Center in Port Chester is a must-visit. This non-profit organization is like the Hogwarts for potters, dedicated to celebrating and teaching the ceramic arts through a variety of classes, workshops, and exhibitions. The center was founded by Katherine Choy and Henry Okamoto, who were probably the Dumbledore and McGonagall of pottery. With a mission to uplift the practice of ceramic arts, the center invites visitors to explore a myriad of exhibitions showcasing everything from ancient pottery relics to modern ceramic masterpieces. It’s like a time-travel journey through pottery history! And for those who wish to get their hands dirty, workshops are available to learn the art of pottery making. It’s your chance to create your own pottery masterpiece. So, if you’re in Port Chester and craving a dose of culture, make sure to drop by this unique hub and immerse yourself in the wonderful world of ceramics!
This quiet river forms the border between Port Chester, NY, and Greenwich, CT. In its heyday, the river was a bustling hub of trade, with its prime location on the coasts of New York and Connecticut.
Port Chester might have pulled a fast one on Greenwich by building a Costco right on their waterfront, but the former industrial sites in Byram aren’t too impressive either.
Today, it’s a serene waterway that separates the hustle and bustle of Port Chester from Greenwich. You can soak in the river views from the Port Chester Municipal Marina or the Port Chester Yacht Club, rent a boat for a leisurely ride, or even take a quick jaunt into Greenwich.
Port Chester Municipal Marina
The Port Chester Municipal Marina, found at the oh-so-casual address of 1-11 Willett Avenue, is the place to be for anyone who has a soft spot for waterfront shenanigans. It’s got boat and yacht docks, slips, and moorings up for grabs, making it the ideal spot for casting a line or embarking on a leisurely cruise down the Byram River. The marina is perched right on the border of New York and Connecticut states, making it a must-see for anyone passing through. It’s one of the few waterfront parks that faces the Long Island Sound, offering a buffet of activities for tourists and locals alike. Fancy a bit of fishing? It’s got you covered. Prefer to sit back and enjoy the breeze at the pavilions or nearby eateries? Say no more. It’s the Marina that keeps on giving.
Port Chester Yacht Club
Founded in 1928, the Port Chester Yacht Club is the place to be if you’re looking for a nautical adventure just a stone’s throw away from the Big Apple. Sitting pretty next to the Byram River, it offers an array of aquatic activities, including boat rentals and water sports. It’s also a hub for learning the ropes (literally) of seamanship and navigation. But it’s not all about the water – once you’ve had your fill of sea-faring, you can head to the club’s restaurant for a seafood feast. It’s the perfect spot for a day of indulging your inner sailor and dining like a captain.
Parks in Port Chester, NY
You’ll find six parks sprinkled throughout town. Top draws are Columbus Park and Lyon Park. Others to check out if you have time to kill are Edgewood Park and Abendroth Park.
Columbus Park, a 10-acre slice of outdoor heaven near Fox Island, is the family fun zone you didn’t know you needed. It’s got basketball and volleyball courts for those who fancy a little friendly competition, a playground for the kiddos, picnic areas for the sandwich enthusiasts, and a water spray playground for those scorching summer days when you’d rather be a fish. Nestled near the Byram River and Joseph Curtis Recreation Park, it’s the green oasis in the heart of the bayfront village. You can set up a picnic in one of the pocket areas equipped with grills for those who fancy themselves a barbeque maestro. The water spray playground is the perfect spot for kids and adults alike to cool down when the sun’s on full blast. So, if you’re in the mood for a day of outdoor fun and frolic, Columbus Park is your go-to spot.
Nestled at 331 Putnam Avenue, this suburban oasis is basically 20-acres of ‘ahhh’. It’s the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll, a quick jog, or a picnic that attracts all of the ants. And for the budding grill masters among us, the park comes fully equipped with barbeque grills. But wait, there’s more. This isn’t just any park, it’s also home to the historic Bush Lyons Homestead, a 1600s farmhouse that’s so darn impressive it got itself on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. And if you’re a history buff, you can also check out the Veteran’s Memorial Walk and the Vietnam War Memorial. So, if you’re longing for a little peace and quiet, Lyon Park is your ticket to tranquility.
Westchester Tennis Center
At the Westchester Tennis Center, tennis enthusiasts descend in droves, seeking to transform their backhands from “meh” to “marvelous”. This tennis haven offers court rentals, equipment rentals, and training programs for all levels. Newbies still figuring out which end of the racket to hold to seasoned pros who can serve an ace with their eyes closed head here. Visitors can bring their own gear or rent on-site equipment for a small fee, which is handy if you’ve ever experienced the sinking feeling of leaving your beloved racket at home. The center also hosts tennis programs for children and adults, because you’re never too young or too old to fall in love with the game. The Westchester Tennis Center is the perfect pit stop on your Port Chester adventure.
Warrior Baseball NY
Warrior Baseball NY is the mecca for baseball and tennis enthusiasts in Port Chester. Need a court rental? They’ve got it. Left your gear at home? No problem, they’ve got you covered. They even offer tennis programs for both kids and adults. Catering to both casual players and serious athletes, it’s the one-stop shop for all your sporting needs. So lace up your sneakers, grab your baseball cap, and get ready to play ball at Warrior Baseball NY.
Restaurants in Port Chester, NY
Port Chester, NY, is often referred to as “Westchester’s Brooklyn” thanks to its rich culinary diversity. The town boasts an array of global cuisines that can take your palate on a world tour. You can enjoy everything from traditional American dishes to exotic Moroccan cuisine. There are also plenty of restaurants offering mouthwatering Peruvian and zesty Latin dishes. The downtown restaurants, including El Tio, Bartaco, T&J Restaurant and Pizzeria, and Panka Peruvian Bistro, are a huge hit among concert-goers and food lovers.
Hubba’s (formerly Pat’s Hubba Hubba)
Hubba’s, the culinary superhero of Port Chester, has been saving hungry souls with its legendary chili and hot dogs since the Roaring Twenties. Once known as Pat’s Hubba Hubba, this humble eatery has come to be a cherished pit stop for locals, who can’t resist its classic American cuisine. And if you’re a night owl with a rumbling tummy, fret not! Hubba’s serves up its delicious treats until 1 AM on weekdays and 4 AM on weekends. And if you find yourself in Stamford, Connecticut, don’t miss out on their other locations.
For a dash of Spanish flair with a side of cool jazz, look no further than Sonora Restaurant in Port Chester. This culinary hot spot, tucked away on Rectory Street, has been serving up a fiesta of flavors for over two decades. From plant-based tapas for the veggie lovers to meat and seafood dishes for the carnivores among us, there’s something to tickle everyone’s taste buds. The menu also boasts seasonal delights like seafood paella, branzino, and lamb shank that will have you saying ‘muy delicioso’! And let’s not forget about the cocktails – classic concoctions like caipirinha, margarita, and pisco sour are all on offer to wash down your meal. Plus, with a happy hour menu available from 4 to 7 pm, there’s plenty of opportunity for lively chatter and lip-smackingly good food.
Sam’s Bar and Grill P.C.N.Y
Sam’s Bar and Grill, the local watering hole with a penchant for comfort food, has been serving up lip-smacking burgers, sandwiches, and salads to the good people of Port Chester, New York, since 1985. Nestled along Mill Street, with a view of Byram, this establishment has a knack for making taste buds tango. Using fresh, local ingredients, Sam’s dishes up American classics like the Beer Battered Chicken Sandwich and the Steak Wedge Deluxe, both of which have been known to cause spontaneous happy dances. The secret weapon? Sam’s Sauce, a recipe so secret, even the CIA wants in. Perfect for slathering, dipping, or just straight-up spooning, customers can even ask for extra on the side. And because no bar is complete without a little competition, there’s a shuffleboard table for settling old scores. With its delicious food, homey atmosphere, and prime location on the Byram River, Sam’s Bar and Grill is more than just a restaurant – it’s a Port Chester institution.
If you’re hankering for a heaping helping of Italian deliciousness, look no further than Marianacci’s. This family-owned eatery has been serving up pasta, steak, and fish dishes since the Roaring Twenties. With a revolving door of prix fixe menus and a daily dessert selection, Marianacci’s is the go-to spot for a taste of Italy in Port Chester. Whether you’re wooing a date or feeding the fam, this 70-year-old business has got you covered. It’s amore at first bite!
Argana Restaurant & Bar
Ready for a culinary journey to Morocco without leaving New York? Then, make a beeline for Argana Restaurant & Bar. Here, you’ll be transported to the vibrant streets of Marrakech as you dig into traditional Moroccan dishes:
All served in an atmosphere that’s as cozy as a Moroccan riad.
Craving something a little different? Panka Bistro offers a modern twist on Peruvian dishes that are sure to delight your taste buds. With a menu featuring a variety of unique flavors and ingredients, this trendy spot is a must-visit for adventurous foodies.
So gather your friends and embark on a culinary journey to Peru at Panka Bistro.
Saltaire Oyster Bar & Fish House
Seafood lovers, rejoice! Saltaire Oyster Bar & Fish House is your go-to spot for a taste of the ocean in Port Chester. This popular restaurant offers an exquisite selection of fresh oysters and fish dishes, all served in a chic setting along the banks of the Byram River.
Bartaco is a popular restaurant known for its waterfront dining. Its laid-back atmosphere and contemporary decor make it an ideal spot for friends to enjoy delicious Mexican-inspired dishes. Tacos include cauliflower, pork belly, spicy chorizo, falafel, and wild boar. Other options include tamales, quesadilla, and ceviche. After dinner, the bar offers specialty margaritas and mojitos.
Boaters can even dock in front of Bartaco to enjoy a drink, but be careful not to drink and boat.
Got a hankering for some Italian? Make a beeline for Pasquale Ristorante. This family-run joint serves up a cozy atmosphere and plates of pasta that would make nonna proud. Positioned conveniently close to the Greenwich border, Pasquale Ristorante is our secret weapon when it comes to authentic Italian cuisine. We love it so much, we’ve been known to pass off their dishes as our own at family gatherings.
We just neglect to be completely transparent.
Aqui Es Santa Fe
Ever had a hankering for Colombian cuisine but couldn’t find your passport? Fear not! Aqui Es Santa Fe swoops in to save your day (and your taste buds) with its authentic Colombian dishes. Led by Carlos Santos, son of founder Olga Santos, the restaurant serves up healthier versions of Colombian classics. The arepas here are made from house-ground corn – a delightful twist on the usual. And let’s not forget the café’s rainbow-colored empanadas, which come in flavors like purple potato with ricotta and honey. And the sangrias? They’re as refreshing as a dip in the Caribbean Sea.
Hotels, Inn, and Places to Stay in Port Chester, NY
This village is a tiny spit of land between Long Island Sound and King Street. So you’ll have to explore outside of town to find a hotel or inn.
Your closest options are:
- Stanton House Inn, an elegantly charming bed and breakfast in downtown Greenwich, CT, is just a short drive from Port Chester. This historic inn offers a unique blend of cozy accommodations and warm hospitality. It’s an ideal choice for travelers seeking a quiet retreat. With its beautiful gardens, inviting common rooms, and comfortable guest rooms, it’s a perfect home away from home.
- Delamar Greenwich Harbor, a luxurious waterfront hotel that offers an elegant retreat in Greenwich, CT. This boutique hotel is renowned for its refined comfort, personalized service, and unique charm.
- Courtyard by Marriott Rye, a well-known chain hotel, is conveniently located in Rye, New York. It’s right next where Westchester Cross-County Parkway separates from I-95 near the start of Port Chester.
Directions to Port Chester, New York
The drive from Greenwich, CT, to Port Chester, NY, is only 10 minutes. And the ride from the Greenwich train station to the Port Chester train station is even faster, only 5 minutes.
Located at the heart of downtown Port Chester is the Port Chester station, a part of Metro-North’s New Haven line. During peak commuting hours, the journey to Grand Central is just shy of an hour.
You can even walk. The trip from our Greenwich, CT, bed and breakfast to the Port Chester train station takes an hour. And yes, I was bored enough one day to find out that information with my own two feet. Blame it on the pandemic.
If you’re traveling north on I-95, you’ll want to take Exit 21. Once off the highway, make a right onto Boston Post Road and continue straight, which will lead you straight into downtown Port Chester.
For those coming from Greenwich or areas north, you’ll want to take Exit 2 off I-95 South (Delevan Avenue/Byram). At the first full traffic light, make a right onto Delevan Street. This will become Mill Street. At the end of Mill Street, make a left onto Main St.
You could also just drive down the Post Road: West Putnam Avenue in Greenwich becomes the Boston Post Road in Port Chester.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation supervises the 311 bus service. This service provides regular trips between Liberty Square in Port Chester and Stamford, Connecticut, including several stops in Greenwich, Connecticut.
More Towns & Cities Near Port Chester, NY
Port Chester borders a smorgasbord of neighboring towns and cities, each with its own unique charm just waiting to be discovered.
So, why not pop on your explorer’s hat and dive into the delightful diversity of the surrounding area?
Just a short drive from Port Chester, the picturesque coastal city of Rye, NY offers:
- Stunning Long Island Sound beachfront
- An upscale vibe
- A charming downtown area
- Beautiful parks
- Historic sites
It’s also home to Rye Playland, for a little seaside nostalgia. Rye is the perfect destination for a day trip or weekend getaway in New York State. Why not unwind from the bustle of Port Chester by spending a leisurely day exploring the appealing attractions of Rye, NY?
Greenwich, CT, one of the oldest towns in New England, is just a short drive from Port Chester. If you read the directions section, this wouldn’t be a surprise to you. With its stunning waterfront location along the Long Island Sound, Greenwich is the perfect place to relax and unwind.
From the classic vibes of Old Greenwich to the quaint charm of Cos Cob and the waterfront beauty of Riverside, there’s no shortage of lively neighborhoods to discover in this historic town. Why not embark on a journey to Greenwich and immerse yourself in its unique charm?
Located just a short distance from Port Chester, Mamaroneck, NY is a diverse community with roots dating back to the late 1600s. With its beautiful waterfront location and a variety of recreational activities and attractions, Mamaroneck is a great destination for a day trip or weekend getaway.
With its bustling downtown, serene parks, and historic sites, this friendly village has something for everyone.
White Plains, NY
Inland from Port Chester, past the quiet village of Rye Brook, you’ll find the bustling city of White Plains, NY. As the commercial hub of Westchester County, White Plains offers a blend of urban and suburban living that’s hard to resist. With its vibrant downtown filled with high-end shopping, diverse dining, and a thriving arts scene, it’s a destination in its own right.
Port Chester, NY is a hidden gem with a rich history, diverse culinary scene, and unique attractions that cater to a wide range of interests. From the historic Capitol Theatre to the picturesque Byram River, there’s plenty to see and do in this charming village. And with nearby towns like Rye, Greenwich, and Mamaroneck just a short drive away, you’re sure to find even more exciting experiences and attractions to explore.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Port Chester NY famous for?
Port Chester is famous for its attractions, especially the Capitol Theatre, and for its restaurants, high school marching band, and Clay Art Center.
Is Port Chester a nice area?
Port Chester is an ideal place for families and young professionals, as it offers a unique urban suburban mix, plenty of restaurants, coffee shops and parks, and a generally liberal atmosphere.
Is Port Chester upstate NY or downstate?
Port Chester is located Downstate New York, making it a part of the suburban community.
What are the must-see attractions in Port Chester, NY?
Experience the grandeur of the Capitol Theatre, explore art at the Clay Art Center, marvel at the beauty of the Byram River, or enjoy parks and recreational facilities in Port Chester.
What kind of cuisine can I expect to find in Port Chester?
You’ll find a variety of cuisines to tantalize your taste buds in Port Chester, ranging from classic American to Moroccan, Peruvian, and Latin dishes.