Hempstead is the most populous town in America, with a whopping 700,000 residents, located on the South Shore of Nassau County, New York. The town is highly urbanized and fragmented, containing 22 semi-autonomous villages within its boundaries, and forty other neighborhoods.

Garden City, encompassing the "Nassau Hub" region, has its own article. The other prominent communities in Hempstead include Floral Park, Hempstead Village, Valley Stream, Rockville Centre, Freeport, Merrick, and the Five Towns area.


Freeport's Nautical Mile
St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre
Jones Beach

Hempstead is the nation's most populous town, and the second most populous municipality in New York, and one of the twenty largest municipalities in the country. It is divided into 22 villages and 40 additional neighborhoods, including the following:

  • Bellmore is a fairly affluent village in the eastern part of town, close to the ocean. This isn't the place to go if you are looking for action, but if you are looking for a nice place to just hangout this is a safe area.
  • The Five Towns is somewhat of a misnomer, as it includes eight communities in the western part of town — Cedarhurst, Inwood, Lawrence, Woodmere, Woodsburgh, Hewlett, Hewlett Bay Park, Hewlett Harbor, and Hewlett Nek. They are adjacent to the New York City borough of Queens.

Get in


Although many people reach this area by automobile, the town’s urbanized nature and large population also allows most areas to have easy rail access. The Lynbrook, Rockville Center, Baldwin, Freeport, Merrick, Bellmore, Wantagh, and Seaford areas can all be easily reached from New York City by the South Shore Line ("Babylon branch") of the Long Island Railroad. However, if you are headed for the actual shore (including Freeport's Nautical Mile), most of these stations will still leave you about 2 miles (3.2 km) inland, and local public transportation options are limited.

Additionally, downtown Hempstead, Garden City, Floral Park and Stewart Manor can be reached via the Hempstead branch. The Far Rockaway Branch serves the Five Towns with five stations serving Hewlett, Woodmere, Inwood, Cedarhurst and Lawrence, and the West Hempstead branch serves Hempstead Gardens, Lakeview, Malvern and Westwood. With the exception of the Hempstead branch, all of these branches converge at Valley Stream, which allows for much of the town to be easily accessible without a car.

Get around

  • 1 Jones Beach State Park. 6.5 miles (10.5 km) of white sand beach along the Atlantic Ocean, and another beach along calm Zachs Bay.    
  • 2 Rock Hall Museum, 199 Broadway, Lawrence. A colonial house, now a Town of Hempstead museum    
  • 3 Wantagh Museum, 1700 Wantagh Ave, +1 516-826-8767, . mid-April to mid-Nov: Su 2-4PM. The Wantagh Museum features three structures: The Station (built in 1885), The "Jamaica" Railroad Car (built in 1912 for the Long Island Rail Road) and the Original Wantagh Post Office (built in 1907).    
  • 4 Baldwin Historical Society & Museum, 1980 Grand Avenue, Baldwin. Su 1–4PM, also open for special events. Free.
  • 1 Freeport Nautical Mile, Woodcleft Ave, Freeport. Several restaurants and bars on a canal in Freeport.
  • Five Guys Burgers & Fries, 3497 Hempstead Tpke, Levittown, +1 516 796-1237. Great burgers, fries and sandwiches. Also located in Long Beach.
  • My Hero, 1005 Jerusalem Ave, North Merrick, +1 516 785-9226. Some would argue that they have the best sandwiches and heroes on Long Island. My Hero has been here for years and is extremely popular. It is advised to call ahead as there is always a line.
  • Imperial Diner, 63 W Merrick Road, Freeport (on Merrick Road in Downtown Freeport), +1 516-868-0303. Su–Th 07:00-22:00; F Sa 07:00-23:00. Top-tier diner with a very broad menu. Mostly American food, a few Greek specialties. Notably for a diner, a good place for seafood. $15-$45.
  • Freeport also has numerous inexpensive casual Central American, Caribbean, and northern South American restaurants near the center of town, mostly catering to a Latino clientele.







Go next

Routes through Hempstead
Floral ParkGarden City  W   E  END

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