For millions of Americans, moving to New York and living in Manhattan or Brooklyn is a lifelong dream. But for many actual New Yorkers, the dream is moving out of the city to the suburbs to get away from the hustle and bustle, have a yard and more open space, own a home, take advantage of better schools, or simply save money. Even concerns about coronavirus have led to an exodus of residents from New York City.
Fortunately, there are dozens of New York suburbs in which to find your dream home or rental, in Westchester County, Long Island, Connecticut, or New Jersey, whether you’re moving out of the city or relocating long distance from elsewhere in the U.S. Some are lined with mostly single-family homes while others have a bevy of apartments. The best NYC suburbs also have their own wonderful parks, restaurants, boutiques, and family fun to experience — and offer considerable savings compared to living in many New York City neighborhoods (particularly Manhattan). While most offer relatively convenient access to the city by train or car, you may be spared the longer commute thanks to the increasing acceptance of working from home. These locations can be ideal for a trip to the city once or twice a week, or whenever your employer wants some facetime.
So which are the best New York suburbs for your foray away from the city? From the Nutmeg State to the heart of Devils country, the Island to Westchester, here are nine of the best NYC suburbs where you can get started looking for your new home. To help guide your search, we’ve pulled together important details like typical home values based on homes sold from Zillow, median rent and public school grades from Niche.com, cost of living from BestPlaces.net, and commute times from rome2rio.com.
NYC Suburbs: Rent, Home values & Miles
|Town||Median Rent||Typical Home Value||Miles from Manhattan|
|New Rochelle, NY||$1,494||$628,500||18 miles|
|Yonkers, NY||$1,344||$566,800||16 miles|
|Jericho, NY||$2,044||$878,600||26 miles|
|Syosset, NY||$2,256||$713,600||30 miles|
|New Haven, CT||$1,179||$180,000||77 miles|
|Stamford, CT||$1,761||$475,300||36 miles|
|East Hanover, NJ||$2,281||$485,000||25 miles|
|Fairfield Twp, NJ||$2,096||$545,000||24 miles|
|Ridgewood, NJ||$1,996||$785,700||23 miles|
WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NY
NEW ROCHELLE, NY
With a footprint running from a gorgeous residential Long Island Sound waterfront through wooded suburbs to the north, New Rochelle is a friendly and convenient urban suburb, rated seventh most diverse in the state. The city’s age distribution is nearly evenly spread among all age groups, and almost one in three residents are of Hispanic or Latino backgrounds. About half of all inhabitants rent their homes or apartments, mostly concentrated south towards downtown and the bay, and around the Iona College campus.
Housing is also very diverse in New Rochelle, from some of the most expensive neighborhoods in the nation on the north end and million-dollar gated communities along the Sound, to more affordable housing located around downtown and Home Park. The busy but casual downtown south of the Thruway features condos, high rises, and rentals along with office buildings, shopping districts, and restaurants. A number of parks and yacht clubs line islands and peninsulas along the shore.
New Rochelle Fast Facts
|Affordability compared to Manhattan||32.2% cheaper|
|Typical Home Value||$628,500|
|Public School Rating||A|
|Distance from Lower Manhattan||18 miles|
Best commuting options: A train ride into NYC’s Financial District takes an hour along the Metro-North Railroad New Haven Line with a transfer to the subway at Harlem-125th. The drive via I-95 and FDR Drive is about 60 minutes at rush hour and just a 30 minutes off-peak.
Just north of The Bronx along the Hudson River, Yonkers is New York City’s largest suburb, bigger even than other cities around the state like Syracuse and Albany. The city is a residential urban sprawl similar to Queens and parts of Brooklyn, a friendly and cute respite from Manhattan. It’s ranked as the second-most diverse suburb in New York, including one in five residents of Hispanic and Latino heritage.
Yonkers is mostly residential, with tight blocks of detached homes and pockets of apartment and condo buildings, and a nearly even split between renters and homeowners. The city has one of the highest public transit usage levels in the nation, and a quarter of residents don’t own a car. Downtown is located in the Getty Square neighborhood along the river, which is a shopping hub for both Yonkers and The Bronx. More retail centers are found at Cross County and Ridge Hill, and along Central Avenue. Other sites include 43-acre Untermyer Park, and the Empire City Casino and Yonkers Raceway.
Yonkers Fast Facts
|Affordability compared to Manhattan||40.5% cheaper|
|Typical Home Value||$566,800|
|Public School Rating||B-|
|Distance from Lower Manhattan||16 miles|
Best commuting options: Commuting into Lower Manhattan takes about an hour via the Metro-North Railroad Hudson Line and the subway through Harlem-125th. The drive south along the Henry Hudson Parkway takes about an hour at rush hour and 25 minutes at other times.
LONG ISLAND, NY
Out on the North Shore of Long Island is the hamlet of Jericho. At the junction of the Long Island Expressway and Jericho Turnpike, Jericho is a family town rated the Best Place to Live in all of New York State by Niche.com Over 70% of residents are college grads and half earn above $65,000 a year. Half the population is older than 45 and a third of the diverse town’s residents are of Asian ancestry.
Jericho was also rated as the fifth best place in the nation to raise a family, with Jericho schools rated A+ and a homeownership rate of nearly 85%. It offers a suburban family atmosphere, primarily with neighborhoods of two-story homes. There is no walkable downtown, but there are several retail and dining outlets along Jericho Turnpike. It’s also home to the iconic Westbury Music Fair theatre, PGA-rated Meadow Brook Golf Club, and headquarters of a handful of major corporations.
Jericho Fast Facts
|Affordability compared to Manhattan||21.4% cheaper|
|Typical Home Value||$878,600|
|Public School Rating||A+|
|Distance from Lower Manhattan||26 miles|
Best commuting options: Penn Station is just 45 minutes away via the Long Island Railroad from nearby Hicksville. The rush hour drive to Lower Manhattan is about an hour along the Long Island Expressway, and about 35 minutes off-peak.
Just an hour by train into Manhattan, Syosset on Long Island also offers a rural lifestyle in eastern Nassau County. Niche.com rates it as a top ten best place to live in the state, as well as offering top rankings for best public schools and best place to raise a family. The hamlet is educated, prosperous, and family oriented, with almost half of its residents earning over $65,000 yearly, nearly 65% holding a college degree, and a quarter under age 18. Natalie Portman, Idina Menzel, Elaine Chao, and Judd Apatow all call Syosset their hometown.
Syosset is largely residential, with over 90% homeownership among its many streets with large split-level homes. Bordering Oyster Bay and directly north of Jones Beach, it offers easy access to a variety of recreation choices. Modern retail and casual dining can be found along the Jericho Turnpike which, despite its name, is a surface street. Jackson Avenue by the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) station offers a small, walkable main street with eateries, cafes, and shops. The Long Island Expressway runs right through the hamlet.
Syosset Fast Facts
|Affordability compared to Manhattan||27.3% cheaper|
|Typical Home Value||$713,600|
|Public School Rating||A+|
|Distance from Lower Manhattan||30 miles|
Best commuting options: The Long Island Rail Road will take you from Syosset Station to Penn Station in an hour. During rush hour, the drive down the Long Island Expressway will take about 75 minutes, and about 40 minutes off-peak.
NEW HAVEN, CT
A little farther away than traditional NYC suburbs, New Haven offers its own big city amenities just a couple of hours away from New York. It’s the 15th most diverse city in the nation, with African-Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, and whites each representing about 30% of the population, with adults under 45 making up nearly half of all residents. Despite its distance from New York, it remains a commuter bedroom community, with 72% of all residents renting their homes or apartments and a large population of families and young professionals.
The central focus of New Haven is the campus of Yale University on the north end of downtown. One of the most residential city centers in the U.S., downtown New Haven attracts both professionals and students with the 16-acre New Haven Green and its restaurants, bars, and shops along popular Chapel Street. New Haven was named the number-one best foodie city in America, known for Louis’ Lunch, the birthplace of the modern hamburger, and its New Haven-style pizza, known locally as apizza, a thin-crust, coal-fired Neapolitan. Much of Long Wharf along the harbor near downtown is industrial, but down the East Shore and up the Quinnipiac River, the waterfront is highly residential. The outer neighborhoods of New Haven have a suburban feel, with tree-lined family blocks and apartment complexes.
New Haven, CT Fast Facts
|Affordability compared to Manhattan||60.4% cheaper|
|Typical Home Value||$180,000|
|Public School Rating||C|
|Distance from Lower Manhattan||77 miles|
Best commuting options: Penn Station is about 100 minutes from New Haven Station via Amtrak. The less expensive Metro-North Railroad to Grand Central takes 90 minutes. The drive down the Connecticut Turnpike/I-95 runs nearly 2½ hours during rush hour, but can be done off-peak in about 90 minutes.
Stretching the length of the Connecticut panhandle from Long Island Sound to the New York State border, Stamford is a city with a distinct urban/suburban mix just northeast of Greenwich and Westchester. It’s a blend of young professionals and families, and a desirable New York suburb for commuters, rated one of America’s best cities for outdoor activities, for public schools, to raise a family, and as one of the nation’s healthiest. At 44%, Stamford also has the highest percentage of college graduates of any major metropolitan area.
Nearly 45% of Stamford residents are between ages 25 and 54, with about an even split between renters and homeowners. North Stamford is exurban rural, with the city’s lowest density, highest incomes, and most single-family houses. But downtown and South End along the water are young and vibrant, with trendy condos and high-rise apartments, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, hotels, and entertainment venues along with the headquarters of a number of financial institutions and 18 Fortune 500 companies.
Stamford, CT Fast Facts
|Affordability compared to Manhattan||54.1% cheaper|
|Typical Home Value||$475,300|
|Public School Rating||A-|
|Distance from Lower Manhattan||36 miles|
Best commuting options: Amtrak Acela or North East Regional will get you from Stamford Station to Penn Station in about 45 minutes. For a cheaper price, Metro-North Railroad’s New Haven Line will get you into Grand Central in about 60 minutes. During rush hour, I-95 will get you into the city in 90 minutes, or about 45 minutes at other times.
EAST HANOVER TOWNSHIP, NJ
East Hanover is a township favored by retirees and older residents, with over half the population above the age of 45 and nearly two-in-five above 55. The relatively small town is heavily residential, where 95% of residents own their own homes in a community with a mix of rural and suburban with large yards. Located just off the I-280 Essex Freeway east of Parsippany, it’s a short commute into New York, but most residents don’t work in the city.
The township’s busy (but not walkable) retail corridor along Route 10 includes big box stores, chain dining, and The Funplex family amusement center and waterpark. There’s a sprinkling of community parks, as well as a full-sized golf course, plus woods for exploring by the Passaic River and hiking along the Troy Meadows Wetlands Preserve boardwalk.
East Hanover Township Fast Facts
|Affordability compared to Manhattan||42.5% cheaper|
|Typical Home Value||$485,000|
|Public School Rating||A-|
|Distance from Lower Manhattan||25 miles|
Best commuting options: During rush hour, the drive into Lower Manhattan takes about 75 minutes, and about 30 minutes off-peak. If you don’t wish to drive into the city, you can pick up New Jersey Transit’s Morris & Essex Line in Newark, which runs into Penn Station in about 30 minutes.
FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP, NJ
North of East Hanover, the land becomes more rural as you approach the township of Fairfield. The township (not to be confused with the two other New Jersey places named Fairfield) offers a tranquil, rustic lifestyle despite being bisected by Interstate 80. Over half the residents are 45 years and older and just under 9-in-10 own their homes.
The north end of the township is a vast marshy woods known as Great Piece Meadows where the Passaic River and wetlands invite hiking, fishing, and birdwatching. South of I-80 is a residential cluster of single-family homes on open, friendly neighborhood streets. A number of national chain retailers and casual dining restaurants line busy US Route 46, while large industrial parks and the Essex County Caldwell Airport inhabit the south end of the township. Two large country clubs and Wayne’s Willowbrook Mall and its 14-screen movie theater sit just outside Fairfield’s borders.
Fairfield Township, NJ Fast Facts
|Affordability compared to Manhattan||42.9% cheaper|
|Typical Home Value||$545,000|
|Public School Rating||A|
|Distance from Lower Manhattan||24 miles|
Best commuting options: Lower Manhattan is about a 75-minute drive during the morning rush and about 35 minutes the remainder of the day. You also have the option of driving to the Newark train station where it’s about 30 minutes to Penn Station via New Jersey Transit’s Morris & Essex Line.
Located a bit north of Paterson and Hackensack, Ridgewood is a sparse suburban bedroom community in Bergen County. It’s rated as the fourth-best place to live in all of New Jersey, and Money Magazine named it one of its top 30 best places to live in the nation, with its A+ rated schools a major draw. Over half of the residents earn over $65,000 annually, three-quarters are college grads, and nearly a third are under 18.
Ridgewood features mostly tree-lined streets of single-family homes, and nearly 80% of residents are homeowners, many of which commute to work in Manhattan’s Financial District. The village has a quaint downtown along Ridgewood Avenue and around Wilsey Square with restaurants, boutiques, and cafes. There are community athletic facilities at Veterans Field, a public pool and beach at Graydon Park, and a duck pond and dog park at Saddle River County Park.
Ridgewood, NJ Fast Facts
|Affordability compared to Manhattan||31.7% cheaper|
|Typical Home Value||$785,700|
|Public School Rating||A+|
|Distance from Lower Manhattan||23 miles|
Best commuting options: Travel time into the Financial District is just over an hour via New Jersey Transit’s Bergen County Line from Ridgewood Station and the PATH train. The drive in rush hour is about 70 minutes and 35 minutes off-peak along the New Jersey Turnpike.
MAKING YOUR MOVE TO THE NEW YORK SUBURBS
No matter where you choose, you’ll most likely exchange a lower cost of living and rent for a longer commute into the city. But with more open space, fewer people, less noise, and more families, the best New York suburbs can make a great new place to live. As you’re planning your move, check out our detailed Moving Checklist to help stay on track and reduce stress.
Michael Hochman is currently working as a lifestyle and travel writer for Apartment Guide and rent.com.