If you are seeking a day trip from NYC or just wanted to stay in a quiet area in New York State but still close enough to the Big Apple and other cities, check out Pelham NY. From authentic picture houses, haunted landmarks to cultural hubs, here are the best things to do in Pelham.
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Where is Pelham
Don’t get confused: there are technically two Pelhams in New York. Pelham village is located just north of New York City and West of New Rochelle and it’s a village. The Pelham in the Bronx refers to Pelham Bay and Pelham Bay Park, which are also worth a day trip from NYC and therefore included among the recommendations for Pelham things to do.
How to Get to Pelham NY
Even though it is a small town in the state of New York, there are quite a number of things to do in Pelham for travellers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city. It’s about 14 miles northeast of Manhattan, and super accessible from the city.
The most comfortable and direct option is also the most expensive. If you want a nice, smooth ride with minimal stops on your way to Pelham, catch a train from Grand Central on either the New Haven or New Canaan lines.
These trains run every half an hour. Prices vary depending on the time of day, but even during peak times the cost will be less than $20.
If you’re looking for something a bit cheaper and more adventurous, take a bus or subway through Manhattan, across the Bronx, and up into Pelham. To take the subway, take the 5 to Eastchester-Dyre Ave.
Should you like to stay above ground, the 60, 61, BX16, and Q0 bus lines will all take you to Pelham. Any of the subway or bus options will be $2.75 each way.
For longer stays in NYC, I usually buy a metro unlimited ticket, which allows 7 day travel on all buses and metro through the city of NYC. It costs 33 USD and is a good deal if you take the metro at least 12 times.
Where to Stay in Pelham
There aren’t a lot of hotels in Pelham, so you’ve got better chances of staying in New Rochelle. However, if you manage to be quick, you might snatch an apartment in Pelham, at Pelham Train Station. Reserve here.
A sought after and classy stay outside of Pelham is the Radisson Hotel New Rochelle. It’s only a ten minute drive away from Pelham village. Onsite, you can take advantage of the hotel restaurant, an outdoor pool and a fitness centre. Look at the rooms here.
What to See in the Village of Pelham
No trip to New York is complete without a slice (or three) of pizza. New York is famous all over the world for its pizza, and the slices in Pelham live up to the hype.
The best slice in the village can be found at Pelham Pizza and Ristorante, a family run pizzeria that offers both mouthwatering classic and Sicilian style pies. Be sure to come hungry, your mouth will thank you.
Address: 113 Fifth Ave, Pelham, NY 10803
Historical Self Guided Walking Tour
The village at Pelham is brimming with rich history, and can keep any history nut busy exploring for days. Take yourself on a self guided walking tour to explore the sites of a Revolutionary War battle, land originally owned by the Siwanoy Indians, and so much more.
You can find a chronological history of the area and a map for the self guided tour on the official site.
Pelham Bay Park
More than three times the size of Central Park, Pelham Bay Park in Pelham Bronx is the largest park in New York City and is almost entirely overlooked by tourists.
While everyone else crowds themselves in Central Park, spend a nice, quiet afternoon enjoying the natural beauty of Pelham Bay Park. The park has something for everyone.
During your visit you’ll find miles of hiking trails, a quiet beach on the western end of the Long Island Sound called Orchard Beach, multiple golf courses and diverse plant and animal life.
Many wonderful events occur in the park. Most recently was a Bronx Native American Festival that celebrated the unique culture of the local native tribes through music, food, storytelling and art.
Be sure to check out what fun Pelham New York events will be going on in the park during your stay. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and meet some new New York friends.
Pelham Art Centre
Pelham Art Centre is a nonprofit that strives to make art accessible to everyone through free exhibits and affordable classes.
Check out their website before your trip to see what’s on display and what kinds of exciting classes and workshops are available. The Centre is closed on Sundays, so make your plans accordingly.
Address: 155 Fifth Ave #1503, Pelham, NY 10803
Sprain Ridge Park
For nature and adventure lovers, Sprain Ridge Park is a must-visit on your trip to Pelham village. The heavily wooded park offers a big variety of trails for hiking and mountain biking. With 5 miles of technical trails, these mountain biking trails are not for beginners or the faint of heart. If you’re new to mountain biking and would like to give it a shot on your trip, there are biking classes and other outdoorsy workshops available to sign up for at the park.
Address: 149 Jackson Ave, Yonkers, NY 10706
While New York is famous for its pizza, Pelham and area have plenty of other famous foods that cannot be ignored. One of the best dishes to try near Pelham are hot dogs from Walter’s hot dog stand.
A hot dog may sound basic, but Walter’s is a local favorite that has been serving hot dogs from a funky art deco pagoda since 1928. They’ve had almost 100 years to perfect their recipe, so don’t miss out on this well loved lunch spot.
Address: 937 Palmer Ave, Mamaroneck, NY 10543
Thomas Paine Cottage Museum
The museum is technically part of New Rochelle but it’s not far from the village and should be on your Pelham must see list. Thomas Paine is a very important historical figure and you might recall him as being the author of Common Sense.
The Revolutionary War hero lived at the cottage from 1802 to 1806 and was buried nearby for a while. The house was only part of the 300 acre-large farm that he was awarded for his services in the war.
Since 1910, the historic house has been operating as a historic house open to the public over the weekend. If you can, visit during one of the events hosted here for that extra special immersive feeling. Check the calendar in advance.
Address: 20 Sicard Ave, New Rochelle, NY 10804
Execution Rocks Lighthouse
Also in New Rochelle, this lighthouse provides a quaint view for those walking the riverside. It is still active and its automatic light flashes every ten seconds. The lighthouse keeper house is no longer in use.
The tower is 55 feet (7m) in height and located on a tiny island off the shore, actually marking the border between towns. You can access the island via a water taxi or guided tours by the Lighthouse Restorations organization. You can even stay overnight!
But if you do, be aware of its bleak history. If you are into haunted sites in the US, this is a great place to check out.
Read also: The best haunted places in Colorado
The island name didn’t come out of nowhere. Before the lighthouse was built in 1849, Colonial prisoners of the British were chained to the rocks to drown on the island.
Apart from that, fire struck the lighthouse and a shipwreck took place here too. And then, it was also a site where serial killer Carl Panzram discarded the bodies f his victims. In the 1920s he lured away, raped and killed 20 sailors.
Here’s a fun fact for a change: the light from the lighthouse also reaches mansions that inspired The Great Gatsby and you can see them on the lighthouse tour.
New York’s Pelham may be small but you can still find some unique shopping here. Try the INSPO boutique, a lifestyle and fashion shop run by a mother-daughter duo.
Not only can you stock up on comfortable yet timeless fashion and home décor but you can join events too. The boutique store hosts yoga sessions and beauty nights, for instance.
Address: 144 Fifth Ave, Pelham, NY 10803
Indie Film Nights
For nightly entertainment at a local cinema, reserve a seat the Pelham Picture House. It’s a classic 20th century movie theatre, which has been preserved due to local efforts.
What’s also unique about it is that you get to see that movies you usually won’t find at theatres typically showing big box office hits. Prices are reasonable. Double check if Tuesdays still come with reduced ticket deals.
Address: 175 Wolfs Ln, Pelham, NY 10803
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