Looking for the best things to do in Hudson Valley, New York? We got you! This region of New York is full of incredible places to visit and things to see. Not only does its proximity to New York City make it an easy escape for both city dwellers and visitors to the area looking for a getaway, but this area is full of day trips and there are enough charming towns in the Hudson Valley full of historic sites and natural beauty to fill an entire vacation or road trip.
Nestled along the Hudson River in New York, this region is renowned for its picturesque landscapes that’s inspired the biggest names in American literature for hundreds of years, including rolling hills, lush vineyards, and the iconic Catskill and Shawangunk mountain ranges.
The area’s historic significance is evident in its charming towns, dotted with well-preserved colonial architecture and landmarks like West Point Military Academy. You’ll find early colonial history, American Revolutionary history here, and historic figures who’ve called the Hudson Valley home.
The Hudson Valley also boasts a thriving arts and culinary scene, with numerous art galleries, outdoor sculpture parks, music festivals, farm-to-table restaurants, and wineries, making it a haven for artists, foodies, and nature enthusiasts alike.
Not to mention the area is full of architectural gems from castles to an impressive collection of Gilded Age mansions and estates that served as homes to New York City’s wealthiest and most influential figures.
This guide for what to do in the Hudson Valley, NY will cover a curated selection of historic sites, places to experience the natural beauty of the Hudson Valley, cultural centers, culinary highlights, and of course, visiting some of the best towns in New York that can be found here in the Hudson Valley!
Top Picks for What to do in Hudson, New York
Dine at the Culinary Institute of America
Dining at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park is one of the best things to do in the Hudson Valley, New York if you’re looking for a unique and memorable experience. Located just south of Hyde Park, the school has four eateries that are open to the public.
You can choose from three fine-dining restaurants serving American, Italian, and French cuisine, or a casual café serving artisan baked goods. CIA staff and students work at these establishments, so you know the experience is top-notch (as is the food). You’ll enjoy meticulously crafted dishes, carefully chosen wine pairings, innovative culinary techniques, and more.
You’ll need to make reservations in advance for a table at the three restaurants. Just make sure to check the times before you go because each place holds different hours.
Opus 40 & Quarryman’s Museum
For unique things to do in Hudson Valley, visit Opus 40 & Quarryman’s Museum. The sculpture garden and museum show the artistic spirit and natural beauty of the region. It was created over four decades by an artist named Harvey Fite and features bluestone pathways and sculptures.
Admission to the park includes access to the Quarryman’s Museum. The home museum was Fite’s personal residence and studio. Through exploring preserved rooms, personal artifacts, and exhibits, you’ll learn about Fite’s work and the region’s quarrying history.
The Opus 40 garden and the museum hold different hours every season. Also, a few different tours are available to guests on the weekends.
Storm King Art Center
Storm King Art Center is another excellent stop and what to do in the Hudson Valley if you’re interested in the local art scene. The 500-acre sculpture park is rumored to be largest collection of its kind in the US, featuring outdoor monuments by world-renown contemporary artists.
If you want to enjoy the great outdoors, a visit to Storm King Art Center is perfect. There are easy hiking trails or you can simply walk the grassy fields over rolling hills. There’s a small café and lots of places to enjoy a picnic. You can rent bikes in the park and explore the art or take the tram for a scenic trip around the entire property.
The park is open every day but Tuesday and your tickets are made available online in timed blocks, 2 weeks in advance of your visit.
Walkway Over the Hudson
The Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie is the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world. One of the best places to visit in Hudson Valley, you’ll enjoy unbeatable views of the surrounding river, mountains, and the city.
There’s parking and clearly marked entrances on either side of the bridge, and it takes about 40 minutes to walk end to end.
There are also a few attractions along the way. First, the bridge is popular with hikers, being part of the Empire State Trail. You’ll also see people on bikes, kids on scooters, and more.
And you can choose from a few loop trails that connect to the Walkway Over the Hudson. If you do the 4.4-mile Walkway Loop Trail, you’ll also go over the Mid-Hudson Bridge, to the south. This bridge is where you can see a fascinating music installation on it called Bridge Music!
Franklin D. Roosevelt Historic National Site
If you love exploring the historic mansions of New York, visit the Franklin D. Roosevelt Historic National Site in Hyde Park. The home of one of America’s most influential presidents, touring the gorgeous Springwood Estate is one of the best things to do in Hudson Valley.
The estate was the Roosevelt family home and today functions as a museum and presidential library. There are exhibits, art installations, and tours you can take. You’ll learn about the president, as well as the Great Depression and World War II. You can also walk nature trails on the grounds and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Run by the National Park Service, there’s a small entry fee for everyone 15 years and older.
Bannerman Castle is a captivating historical landmark on Pollepel Island in the middle of the Hudson River. Only accessible by boat, there are tours to the island from Beacon that offer a bit of the valley’s unusual history!
Built by Scottish-American businessman Francis Bannerman VI in the early 20th century, it served as a storage facility for his military surplus business.
You can choose from scenic river cruises or kayak tours, both of which include walking tours of the island. During tours, you’ll learn about legends surrounding the island and the castle’s intriguing past. Then you’ll have a chance to enjoy views of the Hudson Valley from the river, go on a walk through the castle’s old gardens, and more.
This is definitely one of the coolest things to do in the Hudson Valley if you’re into architecture and want to see a New York-Scottish castle!
Tour the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site
For more historic things to do in Hudson Valley, visit the stunning Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site in Hyde Park. This magnificent Gilded Age-era mansion was built by the Vanderbilts, one of the wealthiest families in the US.
Also run by the National Park Service, the grounds are free to visit, including hiking trails and estate gardens. But you can pay a fee for access to the house at the visitors center onsite, which includes a guided tour and should be booked in advance. There are 18 rooms across 3 floors that have been beautifully restored to their former glory.
Just an hour north of NYC, the charming and historic Tarrytown, a must-visit and one of our favorite stops in Hudson Valley, New York. Tarrytown’s Main Street is absolutely beautiful, lined with interesting shops, boutiques, quaint cafes, and upscale restaurants.
Tarrytown is known for its many breathtaking historic mansions dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. There’s the Rockefeller estate, Kykuit, the Gilded-Age Lyndhurst Mansion, as well as the (very pink!) octagonal-shaped Armour-Stiner Octagon House.
For those interested in outdoor activities, especially so close to NYC, Tarrytown is an ideal stop. We love the scenic walks available to you at Scenic Hudson RiverWalk Park. You’ll love the sweeping views of the Hudson, the Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge, the adorable Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse, and more!
Washington Irving’s Sunnyside Estate
And no visit to Tarrytown is complete without a visit to Sunnyside, owned by Washington Irving who wrote “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” and is considered the pioneer of American short story writing.
Irving actually spent a considerable amount of his childhood in Tarrytown, and many local places made their way into his famed tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman along with being the inspiration and setting behind another one of his famed classics, “Rip Van Winkle”.
In his later years, the region’s literary icon moved back and purchased Sunnyside.
Mid-May through mid-September, the house is open for tours. You can go inside the house and learn about Irving from guides in period attire! The riverside estate also has gardens you can explore, as well as great views of the Hudson River.
We visited around Halloween time and it was really fun since they had special programming around spooky season, not to mention this is just an enchanting time to visit the Hudson Valley in general!
Visit Sleepy Hollow
Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow are very close to each other and were once considered part of the same town. Sleepy Hollow is our favorite Halloween getaway because of the history and folklore around the town and it’s connection to Washington Irving’s story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” But it’s a treasure to visit any other time of the year, too!
There are so many great things to do in Hudson Valley right here, like explore the charming downtown area, especially along Beekman Street. You’ll find great places to eat here. And in the fall, it’ll get you in the holiday mood when everything is decked out in Halloween décor!
Take a stroll through town and make sure to stop at the Headless Horseman Statue on Broadway, right after Gordon Road. Around here you’ll also find the 300-year-old Old Dutch Reformed Church and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Both are important places in Irving’s story and you can also find Irving’s final resting place in the cemetery here as well.
And not far from here is Phillipsburg Manor, another very important historical site in Hudson Valley. If you’re interested in the history and development of the area, don’t miss out on a tour here.
Croton Gorge Park
Croton Gorge Park, located just outside Croton-on-Hudson, is a unique Hudson Valley attraction and an easy way to enjoy the region’s natural beauty. This 97-acre park nestles up against the majestic Croton Dam which feeds into the Croton River.
The dam itself is a stunning historic landmark and you can enjoy the views from the bottom with the massive rushing waterfall or climb to the top to see the reservoir.
At Croton Gorge Park, there are scenic trails that are easy enough for everyone, grassy lawns with a fountain, and picnic tables under shade trees. Fishing is also a popular pastime at the reservoir.
The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor
If you’re in Sleepy Hollow around Halloween and looking for more spooky places to visit in Hudson Valley, head a bit further north along the Hudson Valley to Croton-on-the-Hudson for the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze!
It’s held every fall at Van Cortlandt Manor and has become one of the most anticipated events of the fall season.
At The Blaze, you’ll walk through mesmerizing displays of illuminated pumpkin sculptures numbering in the thousands! The event lights up the fall night skies and creates a magical atmosphere.
There’s music that syncs to the pumpkin art installations, hot apple cider, and yummy autumnal goodies to try. This has become a very popular event for Hudson Valley in recent years, and tickets go fast, so get yours early!
Tour Kykuit a Rockefeller Estate
Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate is the most popular Tarrytown attraction and the Hudson Valley. Home to the Rockefeller family for four generations, it’s now a historical site that offers tours. You’ll learn about the famed family and admire the home’s beautiful architecture, art collection, and furnishings across 40 rooms!
Wander through beautifully manicured gardens, showcasing sculptures, fountains, and manicured landscapes. Take in the sweeping views of the Hudson River Valley from the terraces.
We visited in the fall and it was truly magical! One of our highlights would be their private art collection you’ll get to walk through in the basement area.
Kykuit is open for tours from mid-May through mid-November and begin from the Visitor Center at Philipsburg Manor nearby, you’ll want to secure your tickets in advance though!
Check Out Art Omi
Art Omi is a vibrant art center and sculpture park located north of Hudson, NY. It’s renowned for its commitment to fostering artistic expression, centering around art education and rotating residency programs. It’s considered one of the best things to do in Hudson Valley because of the 120-acre park full of interesting sculptures that are open to the public.
The vast sculpture and architecture park features works by artists and architects, offering a diverse range of art scattered across grassy hills and craggy forests. Art Omi also hosts exhibitions and events that showcase the work of international artists at their onsite gallery. There are also workshops and guided tours available.
The park is open year-round from sunrise to sunset and every season offers a different and stunning background for the art installations. However, the gallery at the Benenson Center is only open from 9 AM to 5 PM, April through the end of October.
Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown is a captivating destination both inside and out, showcasing exquisite architecture and stunning landscapes. The house is a prime example of Gothic Revival architecture and dates back to the first half of the 1800s.
You can take a variety of guided tours of the mansion, some of which cover the full history of the estate, while others take you throughout the entire house and the grounds. There are also tours available of just the picturesque grounds, or you can explore them on your own. In fact, this is a must, with picture-perfect scenery around every corner!
Tours are generally offered from April through October, but the grounds are open to the public all year. Lyndhurst also hosts a range of events, including outdoor concerts, craft fairs, and holiday celebrations. Check their current events and get your tickets on their website.
Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture
Stone Barn is best known for Blue Hill, a very famous farm-to-table dining experience featuring the farm’s seasonal offerings. Reservations are highly coveted and are released a month in advance.
Enjoying a meal at Blue Hill is one of the best things to do in Hudson Valley, but that’s not all there is to do at Stone Barns Center.
Located in Pocantico Hills, Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture is an organic teaching farm that’s open to the public for visits. You can enjoy nature walks, visit the sheep, cows and pigs, or take self-guided tours of the fields.
It’s free to visit but you pay for parking. You can also pay for guided tours of the property where you’ll learn more about the sustainable agriculture that takes place here.
Hike Around Rockefeller State Preserve
You’ll find a wonderful opportunity for a nature walk on the historic Rockefeller State Preserve in Sleepy Hollow. This 1,400-acre park was once the country estate of the Rockefeller family. Today, it’s a New York State park-preserve with over 55 miles of paved carriage roads and walking trails.
The preserve features a diverse array of habitats, including woodlands, meadows, wetlands, and streams. You’ll see 200-year-old trees, rare birds, monarch butterflies, flying squirrels, and more. Winding trails are perfect for a hike, jog, or bike ride. You can enjoy a picnic on one of the grassy lawns or go fishing at one of the lakes or the river.
At the visitors center near Swan Lake, you can find out about seasonal horseback riding. The Rockefeller State Preserve includes the Rockwood Hall estate that enjoys sweeping views of the Hudson. There are more trails here, and in the winter this is a popular spot for sledding! The entire preserve is also great for snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing.
The park is open year-round from 8 AM to 4:30 PM. Admission is free but there’s a small parking fee.
Untermyer Gardens Conservatory
For unique things to do in Hudson Valley, New York, visit Untermyer Gardens Conservancy, a stunning 43-acre park in Yonkers. The gardens were part of an estate belonging to a prominent New Yorker named Samuel Untermyer.
We were blown away by the beauty of the gardens here. Unfortunately, the original estate is no more, but the grounds here are inspiring. Our favorite area was the Temple of Love which consisted of a series of man-made waterfalls, stone pathways and bridges, and of course the pergola at the top offering stunning views of the Palisades and grounds.
The gardens feature sculptures, waterfalls, rare flower gardens, terraces, walking trails, and views of the Hudson. The main attraction is a breathtaking Persian-style Walled Garden, with fountains and manicured walkways.
You can enjoy the garden on your own or take tours where you’ll learn about the history of the estate. The conservancy also hosts events throughout the year, including concerts and a holiday light display. The Untermyer Gardens Conservancy is free to visit and holds different hours each season.
Mohonk Mountain House & Mohonk Preserve
Mohonk Mountain House is a historic Victorian castle that sits on the Shawangunk Ridge in New Paltz, NY. One of the best places to visit in the Hudson Valley, this iconic stay boasts a luxurious spa and fine dining. Accommodations range from traditional rooms to private cottages.
The resort offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, golf, and boating on Lake Mohonk. In the winter there’s an outdoor skating rink and snowshoeing. Not a guest of Mohonk Mountain House? You can purchase a day pass/permit to hike their trails.
Mohonk Preserve is a non-profit nature preserve adjacent to the Mohonk Mountain House. The preserve is made up of 8,000 acres of protected land with over 70 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and rock climbing. You can enjoy scenic carriage roads, birdwatching, and fishing in the preserve’s streams and ponds.
Olana State Historic Site
Another showstopping mansion/castle and one of the coolest things to do in Hudson Valley is visit Olana State Historic Site near the town of Catskill. This unique and stunning estate was once the home of the famous Hudson River School painter Frederic Edwin Church, who designed the mansion himself.
Touring the mansion is one of the best things to do in Hudson Valley. It’s an experience to see the unique blend of Victorian and Middle Eastern architecture, one-of-a-kind artwork, and a panoramic view of the Hudson River Valley. You can also take a stroll through the site’s beautiful gardens and grounds that feature fabulous views of the Hudson River.
A variety of tours of the house and grounds are available by reserving tickets online, and the grounds are also open to the public for free. Olana also offers art exhibitions and nature walks.
Minnewaska State Park & Shawangunk Mountains
We love the Minnewaska State Park Preserve for hiking with amazing views. The 22,000-acre park in the Shawangunk Mountains features stunning scenic views, waterfalls, gorgeous fall foliage, and pristine lakes.
There are over 50 miles of hiking trails for every skill level, including accessible trails like the easy Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road Loop (1.9-mile loop). Or for a fun and easy waterfall hike, try the out-and-back 1-mile Awosting Falls Connection trail.
Rock climbers love Shawangunk’s striking cliffs. The park’s streams and lakes offer the perfect spot for trout fishing. And in the winter months, you can go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Visit the Historic Huguenot Street
Historic Huguenot Street is a fascinating historic district in New Paltz. The 10-acre site tells the story of French Protestant settlers who worked with the Esopus, the local indigenous people, to settle peacefully in the area.
Today, you can visit the collection of beautifully preserved early 18th-century stone structures that function as living museums with artifacts and exhibits. Additionally, there’s a replica Esopus wigwam onsite where you’ll learn more about the original inhabitants of Hudson Valley. And Huguenot Street includes a visitors center where you can sign up for tours and a research library.
It’s also worth exploring downtown New Paltz before or after your visit where you can find places to eat and drink while exploring around all the cool Hudson Valley attractions nearby.
Kingston, New York is a place where you’ll find a wide range of things to do in Hudson Valley, and one of our personal favorite towns we’ve visited in the region. It was one of the first Dutch settlements along with New Amsterdam (New York City) and was the first capital of New York after the American Revolution. In fact, the city of Kingston is packed with history and interesting historical landmarks.
The Stockade District is a National Historic Landmark District filled with well-preserved 17th Dutch-style stone houses, museums, galleries, and shops. You can take guided tours of the district and visit the Senate House State Historic Site.
The Stockade District, or Uptown Kingston, was also home to all of our favorite antique and vintage shopping not to mention there are plenty of cool independent boutiques to check out along with tons of cool murals.
Other historic attractions in Kingston include the Trolley Museum of New York, the Hudson River Maritime Museum, and the Roundout Lighthouse.
Shoppers will want to visit Kingston for the top-notch antique malls and vintage shops here, as well as curated home goods stores and gift shops. When you get hungry, check out the darling Rosie General or grab vegan treats at Sweet Maresa’s. And the street art in Kingston is excellent, with murals annually rotated throughout the city.
Explore the Town of Hudson
Once an important port city along the Hudson River, today the city of Hudson is known for its antique shops, art galleries, its pretty downtown, and its excellent food scene.
One of the top things to do in Hudson is to explore the numerous art galleries and studios scattered throughout the city, showcasing a diverse range of contemporary and traditional art.
You can take ferry tours from Henry Hudson Riverfront Park to the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse where you’ll learn about this unique structure. And Hudson River Historic District features over 700 buildings dating back as early as the 1700s.
Hudson also has a great food scene with stops like Kitty’s Restaurant and Market, Lil’ Deb’s Oasis, and Swoon Kitchenbar. We also loved the many one-of-a-kind stores on Warren Street including Magic Hill Mercantile and Spotty Dog Books & Ale!
Also, you won’t want to leave without spending a few hours at The Antique Warehouse here, we spent 3 hours! There are numerous vendors in a huge warehouse selling anything and everything from entire 19th-century bars to vintage clothing that even the wardrobe departments for film studios come to shop at!
Visit or Stay in Saugerties Lighthouse
If you’re interested in the lighthouses of Hudson River, you’ll want to check out the Saugerties Lighthouse located at the mouth of the Esopus Creek in Saugerties, NY. Built in 1869, this historic lighthouse serves today as a popular tourist destination and bed and breakfast.
In fact, this is one of the few East Coast lighthouses you can spend the night in!
The Saugerties Lighthouse can only be reached by taking a short hike through a nature preserve or by boat. You can enjoy a quiet retreat on the Hudson River in this charming lighthouse. One of the rooms has been turned into a museum room and is accessible to guests.
Just passing through? On Sunday afternoons in the summer, you can pay a small fee and get a 20-minute tour of the lighthouse and the museum room.
Regardless of whether or not you’re looking for a unique stay, you can walk along the path and just take a look at the lighthouse as well as enjoy the serene views of the Hudson River. We also recommend exploring all the other cool things to do in Saugerties too!
Take a Scenic Train Ride through the Hudson Valley
A great way to start (or end) a trip to the Hudson Valley is with a relaxing, scenic train ride through the region. There are two main options for train travel are Amtrak and Metro North.
Amtrak’s Adirondack service runs daily from New York City to Montreal, with stops in the Hudson Valley. The train offers stunning views of the Hudson River as you ride along the east bank.
Metro North’s Hudson line runs from Grand Central Terminal to Poughkeepsie, with several stops in Hudson Valley along the way. The train ride offers beautiful views of the river, the Catskill Mountains, and the region’s historic towns and villages.
Another fun option for a scenic train ride and one of the best things to do in Hudson Valley is ride the Catskill Mountain Railroad. A heritage railroad that runs in Kingston, you can enjoy a historic train ride through the Catskill Mountains.
There are a variety of excursion options throughout the year. You can book different seasonal rides, dinner trains, and special events, all while enjoying the beauty of the surrounding countryside! The railroad operates seasonally from May to October.
Check Out Beacon
Beacon is a really cool town in the heart of Hudson Valley known for its arts scene. The city has a rich industrial history, and the revitalization of its waterfront and Main Street has transformed it into a vibrant cultural and tourist destination.
Just take a stroll through town and you’ll find tons of great eateries, shops, and tons of art galleries. Make sure to check out Second Saturdays, where local artists, galleries, and restaurants put on an event once a month.
And you’ll want to explore Dia: Beacon, a contemporary art museum inside an old factory.
The area also has great scenic walks and hiking trails. You can walk along the Hudson River waterfront, hike Mount Beacon, or visit the Hudson Highlands State Park nearby.
Spend an Afternoon in Millbrook
Millbrook is a charming village in the heart of Hudson Valley, New York. A very wealthy community, its crown jewel is the picturesque Franklin Avenue, lined with shade trees and quaint storefronts. There’s great antique shopping here, too (Millbrook Antique Center was especially good)!
At the northern end of the avenue is a great boutique called Creel & Gow. And across the street, you can also see the Hitchcock Estate Gatehouse. Timothy Leary actually lived at the estate in the 1960s and it served as the headquarters of his controversial psychedelic drug research!
One of the top attractions in Millbrook is the Innisfree Garden, a seasonal garden with a beautiful, unique design that blends Eastern and Western garden traditions.
And nearby, Wing’s Castle is an enchanting medieval-style castle in Millbrook built over several decades by eccentric local artists. Today it’s an adults-only bed and breakfast where you can stay or stop by to take tours.
Another charming village a short way from the banks of the Hudson River is Millerton. It’s actually home to the flagship Harney & Sons tea company, which started in the basement of the family’s home in 1983! We stopped by to grab buy gifts and shop for tea in person while also getting an iced tea to walk around with.
And especially along Main Street, the town has several cute shops and antique stores to explore. You’ll also find several art galleries and restaurants.
For hikers, the Harlem Valley Rail Trail runs right through the middle of Millerton. The scenic 10-mile trail offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. It’s popular with walkers, joggers, and cyclists, and offers easy access to local attractions such as the Taconic State Park.
Locust Grove Estate
For more historic things to do in Hudson Valley, visiting Locust Grove Estate is a must. The estate ins one of the best things to do in Poughkeepsie and was once the home of Samuel Morse, the inventor of the Morse code! Today, it is a museum that features guided tours of the mansion, gardens, and carriage house.
Locust Grove Estate includes 200 acres that boast a beautiful nature preserve, stunning views of the Hudson River, and 5 miles of hiking trails. Throughout the year, the estate hosts outdoor concerts and other public events.
You can visit Locust Grove grounds for free all year round from 10 AM to 5 PM. Tours of the mansion cost an admission fee and are only available May through the end of October.
Hike in the Hudson Highlands State Park
Hudson Highlands State Park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers in Hudson Valley, New York. The park covers over 8,000 acres of woodlands with breathtaking scenery and a lush mountainous setting.
There are trails for every skill level at Hudson Highlands State Park, but the most famous hiking trail is the challenging Breakneck Ridge Trail. This trail is known for its steep inclines and rocky terrain, but also its rewarding views of the Hudson River! The trail is a 3-mile loop. Bring hiking sticks and be prepared for steep inclines, narrow pathways, and rock scrambles.
Another popular hike further south is the Anthony’s Nose trail. This moderate out-and-back trail is popular for its views of Bear Mountain Bridge and the surrounding area. Either side of the trail features rock scrambles but levels out for a nice forest hike before you reach the summit with it’s great view.
Spend a Day in Cold Spring
After a day of hiking, head to Cold Spring nearby! This beautiful historic town in Hudson Valley has a lovely Main Street with ivy-covered storefronts and stunning river views. Explore cute boutiques, vintage shops, antique shops, and galleries that line Main Street. When you’re hungry, stop at the Foundry Rose or Le Bouchon.
You can take a stroll along the scenic waterfront. Or check out historic landmarks like the West Point Foundry Preserve, where you can also hike trails with interesting historic remnants and great views of the Hudson River.
Go to the Legendary Woodstock
One of the most fascinating (and infamous) places to visit in Hudson Valley is Woodstock, New York. Famous for the 1969 music festival by the same name, Woodstock is now a hub for artists, musicians, and nature lovers. Although, the actual music festival was held at Bethel, New York, Woodstock has encapsulated the bohemian spirit of the festival and you can find that present throughout the galleries, shops, and things to do here.
Stroll down Tinker Street, the main thoroughfare, to browse galleries and boutiques. Enjoy live music, or grab a bite to eat at one of the many eateries offering locally sourced cuisine.
Woodstock is also home to the Woodstock Playhouse, a renowned theater featuring Broadway-caliber productions. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore nearby Overlook Mountain. In the summer, the town hosts the annual Woodstock Film Festival.
And in the winter, visitors can hit the slopes at nearby Catskills ski resorts, some of the best skiing near New York City.
Bear Mountain State Park
Bear Mountain State Park is a popular recreational area that offers a variety of outdoor things to do in Hudson Valley. The park offers several hiking trails for every skill level, including the famous Appalachian Trail and the challenging Bear Mountain Loop Trail. Or if you prefer water activities, there is a large lake for boating and fishing.
Other attractions within the park include the Bear Mountain Zoo, Fort Clinton, the Perkins Memorial Tower, and the Trailside Museums and Zoo. The park is also home to several picnic areas and campgrounds. And there’s also the Bear Mountain Inn, a historic lodge located in Bear Mountain State Park. The lodge offers 15 different room types, as well as restaurants and bars that are open to non-guests.
Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site
Fans of American Revolutionary War history will want to check out Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh. It was used by General George Washington as his headquarters during the American Revolutionary War.
You can tour the historic home where Washington stayed, as well as the museum where you’ll learn about the Revolutionary War and the role Washington played in the formation of the US. The site also includes memorials, gardens, a picnic area, and a playground.
The grounds are open to the public, but if you want to tour the museum and home, there’s an admission fee. Throughout the year, the site hosts reenactments, talks, and hands-on activities for all ages with hosts in period costumes!
Visit the Town of Catskill
More things to do in Hudson Valley, New York can be found in the town of Catskill. The town is known for its rich history, picture-perfect landscapes, and it’s local breweries!
One of the top things to do here is visit the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. This was the former home and studio of Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School of Art. The site features guided tours of the artist’s home and studio, as well as changing exhibitions of contemporary art.
For beer lovers, Subversive Malt + Brewing is a popular destination, offering a rotating selection of craft beers made with locally sourced ingredients. Or if you’re up for some excellent hard cider, Left Bank Ciders is a must-visit. They offer a variety of delicious ciders made from locally grown apples.
The best time to visit the Hudson Valley is during the fall season, particularly in September and October. This is when the region’s stunning foliage colors are at their peak, creating a picturesque and scenic atmosphere for visitors to enjoy. Although, there are special opportunities to enjoy each season of the year! Many historic sites are only open from late spring through late fall too, which is something to consider when planning your visit.
One of the best main streets to visit in the Hudson Valley is Beacon’s Main Street. It offers a vibrant arts scene, eclectic shops, delicious restaurants, and stunning views of the Hudson River.
The Hudson Valley is known for its scenic beauty, charming towns, historic sites, vibrant arts scene, farm-to-table cuisine, and outdoor recreational opportunities, making it an enticing destination for travelers seeking a blend of natural, cultural, and culinary experiences.
It’s easy to take a day trip to the Hudson Valley from New York City, but there is so much to do in the Hudson Valley you can easily create a road trip or an entire vacation exploring the region’s natural landscapes, charming towns, and historic sites.
The Hudson Valley is popular due to its combination of natural beauty, rich history, vibrant arts scene, farm-to-table cuisine, and proximity to New York City. It offers a diverse range of experiences, making it an attractive destination for travelers seeking culture, outdoor activities, and scenic landscapes.
Best Places to Visit in the Hudson Valley, New York (Post Summary):
- Dine at the Culinary Institute
- Opus 40 & Quarryman’s Museum
- Storm King Art Center
- Walkway Over the Hudson
- Franklin D. Roosevelt Historic Site
- Bannerman Castle
- Tour the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site
- Visit Tarrytown
- Washington Irving’s Sunnyside Estate
- Visit Sleepy Hollow
- Croton Gorge Park
- The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor
- Tour Kykuit a Rockefeller Estate
- Check Out Art Omi
- Lyndhurst Mansion
- Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture
- Hike around Rockefeller State Preserve
- Untermyer Gardens Conservancy
- Mohonk Mountain House & Mohonk Reserve
- Olana State Historic Site
- Minnewaska State Park & Shawangunk Mountains
- Visit the Historic Huguenot Street
- Visit Kingston
- Explore the Town of Hudson
- Visit or Stay in Saugerties Lighthouse
- Take a Scenic Train Ride through the Hudson Valley
- Check Out Beacon
- Spend an Afternoon in Millbrook
- Visit Millerton
- Locust Grove Estate
- Hike the Hudson Highlands State Park
- Spend a Day in Cold Spring
- Go to the Legendary Woodstock
- Bear Mountain State Park
- Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site
- Visit the Town of Catskill
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