“Explore Fairfield County” is an informational series that provides a glimpse into the wonderful towns and cities in Fairfield County. Fairfield County is diverse in that it includes big cities, small suburbs, beaches, farms, and busy highways. It covers a large geographic area and, because of this, it has a lot to offer families! To help you get the most out of Fairfield County, our contributors have shared the top things they love about each local area. To read more in this series, click here.”
Greenwich is located in the southwest corner of Fairfield County, on the border of Westchester County, NY, and along the Long Island Sound. Greenwich is a popular place to call home due to its proximity to New York City (less than 45 minutes if you catch the Express train). The town is divided into neighborhoods, each with its own personality, such as Byram, Pemberwick, Glenville, “Greenwich,” Cos Cob, Riverside, and Old Greenwich. School-aged children might attend one of eleven elementary schools (K-5), three middle schools (6-8), or one high school (9-12). There are also a number of private schools in town. We love raising our children here and enjoy making the most of Greenwich’s family-friendly amenities.
1. Greenwich Point Park, aka Tod’s Point
We are so lucky, not to mention spoiled, to have such a beautiful beach available to us. Tod’s Point is the perfect summer meeting place for Greenwich families; weekdays at low tide are the best. In addition to the beach, we enjoy walking or biking the trail along the water and the Friends of Greenwich Point’s concerts in the Seaside Garden.
2. Island Beach
Island Beach is one of our favorite outings and starts with a scenic 20-25 minute ferry ride. On a few occasions, we’ve gone just for the round-trip ride without ever getting off the boat. Of course, we prefer to play on the island, which has a beach, a shaded area for picnics and BBQs, a concession stand, and a small playground. Visitors can spend just a couple of hours or easily stay all day. Greenwich residents can even book ahead to camp overnight.
3. Greenwich Avenue
“The Avenue” is ¾ mile long, filled with a long list of shopping and dining options and a small playground at Greenwich Common. Whether day or night, there’s always something to do, even if you’re just there for a walk. Don’t miss the Greenwich Arts Council’s “Art to the Avenue” in May, where many of the stores host receptions for people who attend to view the work of local artists. Another great event is the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce’s “Sidewalk Sales” in July or the “Holiday Stroll” in December.
4. Playgrounds & Parks
Almost every neighborhood has at least one playground, and a playground at every elementary school. The Byram Park playground has all new equipment and an excellent view of the sound. Bruce Park playground is boundless, with a gated toddler area and open space for older children. The newer Cos Cob playground is small but fun, and the site includes a ¾-mile-long walking path along the water. The Bendheim Western Greenwich Civic Center has a playground, fields, gym, and programming for children of all ages, including a dance studio. On the other side of town is the Eastern Greenwich Civic Center, which is currently closed to the public for remodeling.
Another family-friendly park is Loughlin Park in Cos Cob, which has tennis courts, paddle courts, a baseball diamond, a playground, and a large field. It is within walking distance of several stores and restaurants in the Cos Cob neighborhood. Also down the road in Cos Cob is Bible Street Park.
Another favorite park located in the Old Greenwich neighborhood of town is Binney Park. Binney Park is a 33-acre park with a walking path, gazebo, stone bridge and pond, tennis courts, a large athletic field, and a great playground. There’s no shortage of places to play in Greenwich!
5. Hiking Trails
Greenwich has many hiking trails and is a great way to spend quality time together outdoors. Here are a few of our favorites, including organizations that host events or have special activities for families: Babcock Preserve, Mianus River State Park, Greenwich Audubon Center, and Greenwich Botanical Center.
6. Greenwich Libraries
Greenwich has four libraries in town: the Main Library, Byram, Cos Cob, and Perrot (Old Greenwich). In addition to an endless supply of books, audiobooks, music, and movies, you can find at least one story time a day (although some may require pre-registration). The libraries also offer a variety of children’s programming. Over the years, my children have attended concerts, puppet shows, an animal show, a yo-yo show, yoga classes, and played indoor mini-golf.
7. Bruce Museum
The Bruce Museum is an arts and science museum, and although the exhibits are typically geared more towards adults, they do an excellent job of welcoming children with their youth and family programming. Plus, find out why we love our Bruce Museum membership.
8. Date Nights & Dining
We rarely leave Greenwich for date night because there are so many delicious options in-town. Harvest is one of our favorites, but we also love Mediterraneo, Terra, and East End. Other favorites include Le Penguin, Le Fat Poodle, Valbella, Douro, Doppio, and Lugano.
When we’re in the mood for sushi, some favorite spots include Kira, Miku, Sushi Soba (for a family outing), and Hinoki, a newer restaurant on Greenwich Avenue. We’ve enjoyed celebrating special occasions over dinner at L’Escale.
For more casual dining and/or food to-go, we like Aux Delices, Granola Bar, Grigg Street Pizza, and Meli-Melo. Our mornings are always better when they begin with coffee and breakfast foods from Coffee Cafe Roasters (cfcf), Ada’s Kitchen + Coffee, Raphael’s Bakery, or Sweet Pea’s Baking Company. Also check out a favorite new spot Gregorys Coffee.
9. Holiday Happenings
Holiday happenings around town begin with the Junior League of Greenwich’s Enchanted Forest in mid-November. Then, the reindeer will arrive after Thanksgiving for the Reindeer Festival at Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses. The Town Hall Tree Lighting is the first Friday of December, and the Holiday Stroll on Greenwich Avenue is the first weekend of the month. By the time mid-December is here, it’s hard not to be in the Christmas spirit!
10. Festivals & Special Events
Greenwich Town Party is held on Memorial Day weekend, with an all-day lineup featuring big-name musical acts and local acts. Tickets are sold to Greenwich residents and/or employees only and are known to sell out within minutes. It’s worth getting a ticket to see your favorite bands if you can. Greenwich Wine & Food Festival is a great local festival at the end of September, and a wonderful way to spend a day in Greenwich on the water. Famous chefs and mixologists create delicious food samples, cocktails, and wines for you to try. Proceeds from the event go to support numerous charities.
Other notable events in the spring and summer months include the 4th of July Fireworks, which take place at Binney Park and out by the water at Greenwich Point Park, the Summer Concert Series, Kite Flying Festival, and Outdoor Movie Night.
11. Proximity to Westchester County
We live less than five minutes from New York, so it’s often closer for us to keep ourselves busy in Westchester County. Some places we like to visit include the Westchester Mall, Ridge Hill, Muscoot Farm, PepsiCo Sculpture Garden, and Westchester Children’s Museum. For more information (and much more to do!), be sure to check out our sister site, Westchester County Mom.