Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway gives you one of the greatest casino and horse racing experiences in New York. So much you could spend a weekend getaway or a weeklong vacation at the casino and still keep yourself interested.
But if you’re looking to complete the vacation tour, check out the area because while you’ll find enough thrills at the casino and racetrack, the vibrant and budding area of Yonkers, New York, close to New York City, is thriving with history, nature, major shopping destinations, and so much more.
Ready for a quick tour of what you can experience in the area besides New York casinos? Today’s post will show you why Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway is only the beginning of a fantastic vacation destination located not too far from the Bronx area of New York City.
Tibbetts Brook Park
While Yonkers is a suburb of New York City boasting a population of 200,000, it’s not without its nature and scenery. And while it’s not Upstate New York, don’t think for a second that you won’t find a picturesque setting in this area.
Tibbetts Brook Park is one such place. The 161-acre park has served the area for nearly 100 years, tracing its roots back to 1927. Over time, it has become a popular destination for swimming, hiking, biking, nature watching, fishing, and other notable outdoor recreation activities.
And for a fun fact, if you’re into Australian football, the park is also home to the USAFL’s New York Magpies. Whether Australian football is your thing or if you’d just like to catch a game of a sport obscure in America, catch a game if you’re frequenting the park.
But if Australian football isn’t your thing or if you have zero interest in learning the game, Tibbetts Brook Park also boasts several distinct attractions. It holds a pool, hiking trails, a miniature golf course, two artificial lakes, playgrounds, campsites, and a sporting complex.
Hudson River Museum
You’ll find the Hudson River Museum in Trevor Park and as with many museums, you can make quick work out of this one if you’re only interested in taking a break from gambling Empire City Casino and Yonkers Raceway.
You’ll also find a planetarium here, so if the astronomy branch of science is your thing, visiting the planetarium is a must.
And as with many museums, they’re a great place to frequent if your trip to the area is part of an overall family vacation. If so, gather the crew and bring them to the museum as they contain exhibits bound to excite guests of all ages and interests.
This small river is a popular recreational site and is yet another solid gadget outside the urban bustle that has become Yonkers, New York. The Sawmill River has become a popular place for fishing and picnicking, as it passes through Butternut Ridge Park and V. Everit Macy Park.
The most popular outlet in the area is at Woodlands Lake, which you will find in V. Everit Macy Park. The lake is an impoundment to Sawmill River, and it’s where many outdoor enthusiasts come to nature watch.
If you’re an avid biker, you’ll also find two biking trails along the river named the North County Trailway and the South County Trailway.
As mentioned, you’re still getting a lot of nature here in Yonkers and even in the surrounding area, despite its proximity to New York City. Tibbetts Brook Park was one such area, and the recreational area surrounding Sawmill River is yet another area to get excited over.
Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site
You’ll find this historic museum in the Getty Square section of Yonkers and as with the Hudson River Museum, it’s a great place to spend an hour or two if you’re looking to take a quick break from the casino games at Empire City Casino or the racing at Yonkers Raceway.
Originally the family seat of Philipse Manor, this interesting venue holds a vast collection of paintings from the Cochran Collection of American Portraiture. You’ll find roughly 60 paintings here that include past US Presidents, members of the Philipse family, war heroes, and other historical figures.
Van Cortlandt House Museum
You will take a trip to the Bronx if you want to visit the Van Cortlandt House. But if you’re a fan of the New York Yankees, chances are, you’re taking a trip to the area anyway if you need a break from Empire City Casino.
So, while you’re there, check out this lesser-known site. Built in 1748, this museum was one of the very first house-museums in America, and its claim to fame falls in many distinct areas. George Washington and other prominent Revolutionary War heroes frequented the house.
The Van Cortlandt family was also prominent in the area regarding New York affairs, and the property also became the site of a grain plantation and grist mill. The family sold the property in 1889 in conjunction with Van Cortlandt Park’s recreation.
Used as a historic museum since 1897, this location hit the National Register of Historic Places in 1967 and became a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
This is one interesting attraction. You’re looking at a floating urban farm that found its home docked in Yonkers since 2008. This barge grows crops in its on-site greenhouse, using solar panels, wind turbines, and biofuels while captured rainwater and desalinated water irrigates the crops.
This attraction has also become a public education tool and regularly hosts school groups in Yonkers and other portions of the Greater New York Area. The location often hosts public visits on weekends to witness what might become the way of the future with sustainable agriculture.
So, if you’re looking to see innovation in action and something taken out of a science fiction novel, take a break from the gaming at Empire City Casino and check out the Science Barge. And if you have kids accompanying you on your vacation to Yonkers, this is a must-see.
Cross County Shopping Center
Did you win the jackpot over at Empire City Casino, or did you win the ultimate Pick 5 while betting on horse racing?
If you did, great. If not, you still need to head over to the Cross County Shopping Center and embark on a shopping spree. Even if you didn’t win, perhaps a New York City-style day at the shops is what you need to get that tough loss at the casino out of your mind.
What is waiting for you at this popular attraction? Here, you will find over 100 stores and services and 1,000,000 square feet of retail area. Cross County Shopping Center Comprises just a single floor, so there’s a lot of walkway at this popular venue. But you’ll find more than just an outdoor mall at the shopping center.
Next to the shopping center sits the Mall at Cross County. A smaller mall, it’s an ideal place to come in and shop during a hot day and it includes a few additional retail and dining options.
So, take a day off from the casino and racetrack and see what’s waiting for you at Cross County Shopping Center. You will be glad you made the trip once you experience the number of retail options at one of Yonkers, New York’s hottest outdoor venues.
And if you won money at the slots or tables at the casino or track, it gives you even more reason to venture to this shopping center.
Explore the Attractions in Yonkers, New York
Given its proximity to New York City, there’s a lot to love about Yonkers, New York, and today’s post covers just a sliver of what you’ll find in the area. Of course, you may just venture to the Big Apple itself if you’re playing at Empire City Casino and Yonkers Raceway.
But if you’re looking to stay local or if you dislike the hustle and bustle in the City That Never Sleeps, you have plenty of exciting attractions in the Yonkers region to get excited about, regardless if you’re the outdoors-type or if you prefer an educational experience or even a retail outlet.
Have you been to Empire City Casino and Yonkers Raceway? If so, did you visit any of the above attractions listed here? Tell us in the comments. And let us know if you visited any of the attractions Yonkers offers not listed here. We’re looking forward to your stories.