The 11 Best Commuter Towns to NYC

From Bronxville to Ridgewood

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best-commuter-towns-to-nyc: an nj transit train.
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Whether as a result of more flexible work situations, a need for more greenery or wanting to own your first home, many millennials are making moves out of NYC and into the ‘burbs. (Hey, there comes a time in every New Yorker’s life where the desire for more space and less cockroaches outweighs the allure of living in the greatest city on earth.)

And while it may be a hard pill to swallow for some New Yorkers, the suburbs are increasingly becoming cool (yep, we said it) with many offering cultural activities, restaurant and shopping scenes you might otherwise expect to find in some of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods. Wondering where to live if you work in Manhattan? Well, these are just some of the most charming commuter towns near NYC to look into as you start your search, whether you’re gung-ho on moving quickly or just want to check some of these places out, ya know, for the future. Take a look below to see our pick of the best towns, including exactly what makes each one so appealing, how the schools stack up and what the median home price is, courtesy of

The 16 Most Charming Small Towns in New York

commuter towns tarrytown ny
Westchester County Tourism and Film

1. Tarrytown, NY

  • Commute time to/from Midtown: 1 hour or less
  • Median Home Price: $650K

If you or your significant other already do the reverse commute thing right now, Tarrytown might be the ideal place to lay down roots. Located at the convergence of Routes 287 & 87, it’s just minutes from the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge—previously known as The Tappan Zee—meaning that points well into New York, Connecticut and New Jersey are all easily accessible from this Hudson River town. A Metro North train stop also quickly serves rail commuters into Grand Central, so folks wondering where to live if they work in Manhattan will not be disappointed by this budget-friendly town.

But beyond the ease of getting to the office, many are drawn to Tarrytown and neighboring Sleepy Hollow—which are technically separate towns but feel interconnected and even share a school district—for the historic architecture, charm and natural beauty paired with picturesque Hudson River views. The aforementioned views are on full display at Lyndhurst Mansion, a grandiose Gothic Revival country home steeped in history that sits in a park beside the river.

Submerged and surrounded by rocks in the river, Tarrytown Lighthouse is a dreamy and highly Instagrammable moment. In fact, the more you explore this utopian town and environs, the more you’ll understand why famous fams like the Goulds, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts were drawn here early on and made it the spot of their sprawling country estates. These wealthy New York families were also notable benefactors of the Tarrytown Music Hall, the oldest theater in Westchester County, not to mention one of the few theaters in the U.S. built before 1900. Did we mention it's gorg?

The schools: Pleasant, brick-faced buildings you might expect to see in a movie or TV show are what the schools in Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow actually look like. The regional district further charms potential residents with an A+ education, according to Niche.

The shopping & restaurant scene: For locals, the quaint and compact downtowns of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow make running errands a breeze, and the unique shopping keeps them coming back. Highlights include The Swan’s House, a vintage-furniture-meets-gift-meets-stationary shop run by a local couple. More gems, including gifts and jewelry, can be found at Pretty Funny Vintage, which bills itself as a place for finding “old and new curious goods.”

For eats, look into RiverMarket Bar and Kitchen, Sweet Grass Grill, Bistro12, Tarry Tavern, Mint, and Lefteris Gyro, but do not pass go before booking a table at Goosefeather. The seriously stunning restaurant and modern Chinese cuisine served up here by celeb chef Dale Talde are even worth a trip up from the city if you’re not looking to settle into the area.

commuter towns maplewood nj
Joy Yagid

2. Maplewood, NJ

  • Commute time to/from Midtown: 35 to 45 minutes
  • Median Home Price: $645K

Tucked away and more under-the-radar than neighboring Montclair, Maplewood’s popularity—and real estate values—have grown significantly over the last few years, even prior to the pandemic. This is, in part, thanks to super quick commutes by NJ Transit trains (i.e., it’s where you want to live if you work in Manhattan) and the adorable allures of downtown Maplewood Village, a small walkable area idyllic for shopping, eating and congregating with family or friends. Springfield Avenue, another shopping district, houses the town’s farmer’s market, an arts center, chain and unique restaurant offerings, plus a growing list of shops, including General Store Cooperative—a marketplace and café that aims to highlight products from local creators and entrepreneurs.

The schools: A regional school district serves pupils from Maplewood and its neighbor, South Orange, another commuter town in New Jersey showing growth in desirability. Niche rates the district an A- overall.

The shopping & restaurant scene: The highly-celebrated artisanal pizza at Artie’s, craft cocktails at Coda Kitchen & Bar, the slurp-worthy ramen at Ani Ramen, and pristine, French technical execution of dishes at Lorena's—which recently moved to a larger space—are all a big draw for commuters that want to live nearby to seriously quality grub.

Book worms will be pleased to discover the award-winning [words] Bookstore, while Perch Home, Kokoro and No. 165 are notable shops in town known for selling everything from gifts and home items to décor and clothing.

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3. Port Washington, NY

  • Commute time to/from Midtown: 50 minutes
  • Median Home Price: $908.5K

“Movie and literature buffs should know all about this hamlet that is tucked along the shoreline of the Long Island Sound and offers its residents spectacular waterfront sunsets all year round,” says Shaughnessy Dusling, licensed real estate salesperson with EXP Realty and long-time Long Island resident. “With three yacht clubs and a marina, boating is a summertime staple,” she says. “Blumenfeld Family Park is a great place to visit with the kids, so they can enjoy a splash pad and a sprayground.”

Pack a picnic and some Champagne and visit the nearby Sands Point Preserve, the inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. “There you’ll see the opulent and luxury estates built in the early 20th century,” Dusling tells us.

The schools: With an average SAT rate of 1300 and an average graduation rate of 92 percent, schools in Port Washington are top notch, with the district earning that coveted A rating from Niche.

The shopping & restaurant scene: Commercial areas with shopping and dining are staggered across town but concentrate around Main St. Top-rated restaurants in the area include Italian crowd pleasers La Piccola Liguria Restaurant, DiMaggio's Trattoria and Bosphorus Cafe Grill for casual, Turkish delights. Vegans, vegetarians and carnivores alike should make it a point to try the food at Wild Honey on Main. They offer daily specials, and fun themes like a weekly taco night.

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Barry Winiker

4. Weehawken, NJ

  • Commute Time to/from Midtown: 30 minutes, or under
  • Median Home Price: $821.5K

With sweeping, panoramic views over Manhattan, Weehawken is quickly becoming one of New Jersey’s most coveted addresses for New York City commuters.

In this charming, waterfront town, contemporary condo and apartment buildings line the Hudson River waterfront, most of them steps from the ferries at Port Imperial and Lincoln Harbor, which are able to whisk commuters across the Hudson River and into Midtown Manhattan in less than 10 minutes. Reachable by foot for residents, commuters can also jump on frequent NJ Transit buses at various bus stops around town, and depending on traffic, be in Port Authority in roughly 20 minutes.

The Palisades cut this town in half, and up the cliff, larger, single-family homes—many with small-but-ample backyards—can be found in a variety of sizes and architecture styles, from modest brick townhomes to charming Tudor and Victorian-influenced dwellings; there are even many sprawling, villa-like mansions. The big draw for families in this town, especially for those who left New York for more space but want so-close-you-can-see-it proximity, are the many parks. There’s Hamilton Park, named for Alexander Hamilton who died in Weehawken during that famous duel, Weehawken Waterfront Park, which is currently being expanded with a public pool, splash park and ice rink, and Weehawken Pier—which juts directly into the Hudson River on concrete pilings for dramatic effect.

The schools: Schools are well-regarded and noted for their diversity, with Niche giving them an overall grading of A-. The town has an adorable local library, as well.

The shopping & restaurant scene: Blu on the Hudson, a chic new restaurant with a beautiful bar, fine dining room, excellent wine selection and sushi restaurant, recently opened in town. It also has al fresco dining in the summer with views over Manhattan. Meanwhile, the long-standing Charrito’s, a favorite in the area, has been serving up authentic, Oaxacan-inspired Mexican grub with jaw-dropping views for decades.

Park Avenue, the town’s thoroughfare which shares many businesses with neighboring Union City, has many major services and is home to a popular bagel shop and crepe restaurant, among other casual eateries. Local grocery stores in Weehawken include fan favorites Whole Foods and Lidl.

commuter towns huntington ny
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5. Huntington, NY

  • Commute time to/from Midtown: 1 hour
  • Median Home Price: $860K

If that 60-minute mark is your threshold for commuting—and it tends to be for a lot of New Yorker’s on the move—Huntington is a town you’ll want to get familiar with, and quickly. “Huntington offers a robust downtown area with many locally owned restaurants, bars and boutique shopping. Minutes away is also the Walt Whitman Mall, filled with your favorite luxury brands,” Dusling tells us.

The median sales price in Huntington is roughly the same as New York City, but what you’ll get for that money is completely different, like this fully renovated charmer with a nice-sized yard.

One little part of the city you can take with you here? Huntington is notable for embracing diversity and hosts an annual Gay Pride Parade that’s well attended, Dusling says.

The schools: A very competitive Long Island public school district, roughly 4,500 students in Huntington’s district are receiving a top-notch education (i.e., a A grade), according to Niche.

The restaurant & shopping scene: Shops we love in Huntington include Sedoni Gallery, a jewelry, gift and decor store; Scensational, which does custom fragrances and sells skin and body care products; and Main Street Nursery, which has a top notch selection of plants, flowers and things that will make your new garden beautiful.

Dining in Huntington is always delicious, and highlights include the Mexican food at Besito. (We could give the margaritas a big kiss, and the fresh, tableside guacamole is always a good idea.) Meanwhile, elevated versions of American classics are dreamt up in a casual, contemporary space at The Shed. “After dinner, you can check out a concert or fight night at The Paramount, Huntington’s live entertainment venue,” Dusling adds.

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Jeremy D'Entremont, Images

6. Greenwich, CT

  • Commute time to/from Midtown: Roughly 1 hour
  • Median Home Price: $2.5M

Greenwich—you’ve certainly heard of it before and it’s totally a thing, and for good reason. The affluent, Connecticut town sits on the Long Island Sound and borders New York State with a Metro North commute that’s sub-one hour from Grand Central Station. Prospective residents here have the luxury of deciding on a home in the many different parts of town that speak to their personality, whether that’s within walking distance of the train station and all the shopping and dining Greenwich Avenue has to offer, or is further afoot in a more private, bucolic part of town, or perhaps positioned within close proximity to the water. Those looking to be right on the Sound in the desirable Old Greenwich, Riverside, Cos Cob, or Belle Haven neighborhoods will certainly pay a premium to do so, but if you’re going to splurge on a family home, these kinds of locations makes the average $2.5M price tag in town somewhat tolerable when you consider you're also getting a beach house in the process.

The schools: Families escaping the Manhattan and Brooklyn private school systems move to Greenwich just for the education. And there are many options based on your little’s needs, including 11 public elementary schools and three middle schools. Niche gives the overall school district here an A+.

The shopping & restaurant scene: Shopping in Greenwich on “The Avenue” is a treat; the bustling downtown area filled with restaurants and shops has a cosmopolitan flair, even if it’s all housed in the footprint of a small, charming historic town. RH, Tiffany & Co., Hermes, J.Crew, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lululemon, Club Monaco and Aesop are just a few of the familiar retailers you’ll find, but there are plenty more, scattered between coffee shops with exposed brick like CFCF Coffee Roasters, not to mention every kind of restaurant from fine dining to stylish eateries and even fast casual and pizza joints. L’escale, a restaurant on the waterfront and a stone’s throw from Greenwich Avenue, has become an institution during the warmer months when patrons take in the French fare on a beautiful patio overlooking the water.

sayville best commuter towns near nyc
Discover Long Island

7. Sayville, NY

  • Commute time to/from Midtown: 1.5 hours
  • Median Home Price: $629K

If you don’t mind a slightly longer commute, Sayville, NY is packed with value. The Long Island village on the South Shore is packed with well kept, historic and ranch style homes, and feels worlds away from the City, even if it is drawing commuters, thanks in part to its coastal, maritime vibe. A starting point for ferries heading to Fire Island, many residents of Sayville keep boats in the marinas themselves, and Dusling notes that several playgrounds, mini golf, a tiny movie theatre and the beach will keep families busy in the summer. In non-pandemic times, there’s also a costume-friendly Pirate Festival, which you should *probably* get involved in whether you choose to live here or not.

The schools: With an average graduation rate of 97 percent and average SAT score of 1230, Niche gives Sayville Union Free School District the solid A rating it deserves.

The shopping & restaurant scene: For a smaller Main Street area, Sayville packs a lot of desirability—a sushi shop, a healthy eatery dedicated to açai bowls and breakfast bowls, a chocolate shop, a pet supply shop and a highly-rated comic book store. There are many distinct restaurants in town, including Italian at Butera’s, Asian fusion at T.O.A., and American grub in a historic setting—that was also a haunt of Teddy Roosevelt—at The Sayville Inn. “Waterfront dining can be had at Kingston’s Clam Bar. Located in West Sayville, they have outdoor dining and spectacular and fresh seafood. If you’re looking for a great dive, enjoy darts and some quick grub at Station Pub,” Dusling tells us.

8. Cranford, NJ

  • Commute time to/from Midtown: 45-50 minutes
  • Median Home Price: $698.9K

This evolving community is already a slice of the American suburban dream, and is seeing a further boom thanks to incentives from transit-oriented development projects and grants. The town’s NJ Transit stop cuts right through the center of the main commercial district, which is filled with charming shops, restaurants and a plaza where a handsome, free standing clock keeps commuters on-time.

In Cranford, you can expect lots of appeal by the way of friendly parks (Lenape, Nomahegan, and Birchwood Park are all notable), plus cute gazebos and a variety of well-kept homes in various architecture styles—many packed with historical details.

The schools: New Jersey’s public schools are regularly rated amongst the top in all of the U.S., and within the state itself, Cranford is ranked #11, according to Niche. It also awards the Cranford Public School District an A rating, so you can feel confident your kids are getting one of the best public educations in the country.

The shopping & restaurant scene: Dynamic shops filled with fine gifts, vintage treasures or dedicated to specialties like soaps and bath products, jewelry and even comics and collectibles can be found in Cranford.

When it comes to eating out, every dish at Garlic Rose—a local favorite—is a hit, as is the service. Track 5 is a music-themed coffee shop in town serving up specialty lattes, and the Thirsty Turtle not only has a great name, it also has great burgers and crowd-pleasing shareables.

best commuter towns to nyc bronxville ny
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9. Bronxville, NY

  • Commute Time to/from Midtown: 44 minutes
  • Median Home Price: $1.2M

This affluent town in Westchester County is located just 15 miles outside the city so commuting to pretty much anywhere in Manhattan is a breeze, either by car or on the Metro North. Best of all, Bronxville provides a quiet and perfectly suburban respite from the city despite its close proximity. The community is friendly and the village is beautiful, walkable and safe. Yes, there’s wealth and privilege here, but it’s not ostentatious, and Bronxville has been consistently ranked among the best places outside of NYC to raise a family. Plus, it’s home to the liberal arts school Sarah Lawrence College, which contributes to its appeal for folks with more progressive political leanings. That said, if you’re looking for diversity, this town probably won’t be your best bet (according to the latest Census, the population here is 85 percent white).

The schools: One of the reasons that Bronxville is considered such an excellent place to raise a family is the fact that its public schools are top-notch. Indeed, GreatSchools rankings range from sevens to perfect tens for elementary, middle and high schools in the town and Niche gives the schools an overall A+ rating, so moving here pretty much ensures a good education for your offspring.

The shopping & restaurant scene: This charming college town has a median income of over $200K, so you can expect a wide selection of high-end restaurants—Il Bacio Trattoria and Tredici Social are a couple local favorites for Italian food—as well as artisanal food shops and fancy boutiques. In other words, small businesses reign supreme in Bronxville and they all cater to the upper-middle class demographic of the village.

best-commuter-towns-to-nyc: a bridge and clock tower in hoboken, nj.
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10. Hoboken, NJ

  • Commute Time to/from Midtown: 27 minutes
  • Median Home Price: $850K

There’s no denying the scenic charm of Hoboken, a beloved New Jersey town that sits pretty on the Hudson River—a location that serves up sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline. (Yep, you’ll be just a stone’s throw away from the big city.) Hoboken also boasts beautiful parks and a Waterfront Walkway with plenty of lush, green spaces to enjoy. Best of all, this small city is wonderfully clean and totally walkable. Don’t be fooled by its size, though—Hoboken is a New Jersey gem with a particularly vibrant nightlife scene and a commute to midtown that’s shorter than what most people have in one of the boroughs, so it’s a great place for folks who want a little distance from the city without making a complete shift to suburban life.

The schools: The schools in Hoboken are grade A (literally, that’s their grade on Niche) and the academics are great. Not only that, but the school district scores high points for diversity, so urbanites won’t need to lament the loss of that, and has the #1 ranking for best places to teach in New Jersey. (And a happy teacher is a good teacher, right?)

The shopping & restaurant scene: Although you can get pretty much everywhere you need to go on foot, Hoboken feels more like a small city than a town—namely because the main drag, Washington Street, has so much going on. There are shops of all kinds, yoga studios and more than 200 different restaurants and bars in just one square mile, which means you’ll be spoiled with choice when looking for a date night locale.

11. Ridgewood, NJ

  • Commute Time to/from Midtown: 47 minutes
  • Median Home Price: $982.5K

This historic enclave in Bergen County, New Jersey has views of the city, a suburban feel and seriously appealing real estate that the New York Times describes as “beautiful and interesting.” Ridgewood has long been favored by working professionals and upper-middle class families who appreciate its charm, which can best be described as a cross between a small New England town and a nicely groomed suburb with more cultural appeal than most. There’s an annual film festival, a gorgeous art deco movie theater, a natural swimming hole and easy access to the sprawling 577-acre Saddle River County Park where families can enjoy the outdoors. Plus, you get all this and more while still only being less than an hour away from the Big Apple, which is why Ridgewood checks all the boxes—particularly for those who are looking to buy a home just under or at the $1M mark.

The schools: There are a lot of things going for Ridgewood, but one of its most appealing attributes for families is the fact that its public schools have been awarded a rare A+ rating by Niche and boast a 99 percent graduation rate. (Ridgewood public schools win an astounding A+ rating in every category except diversity, where it still gets an above average B.)

The shopping & restaurant scene: Ridgewood is known for its array of upscale shops—Apricot Lane shouldn’t be missed if you’re looking to be tempted by a high-end clothing boutique—most of which can be found in the village’s main business district, Pedestrian Plaza. There are numerous high-quality dining opportunities as well, including Pearl Restaurant, an elegant, New American eatery, and White Maple Cafe, which serves up excellent bistro fare. Bottom line: There’s plenty of shopping and eating to be done in Ridgewood (and none of it’s low-rent).

*OneKey MLS data

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