Things to Do in Hudson Valley, New York
Visiting Hudson Valley? Read our definitive guide to this beautiful East Coast area
It’s no accident that the majestic Hudson Valley was one of the first regions in the US to become a veritable pilgrimage site for artists wanting to paint the scenery here (in case you weren’t paying attention in art history, we’re talking about the Hudson River School). Stretching along the Hudson River from Westchester County to Albany, it’s teeming with vineyards, orchards, farms, meadows and woodlands to explore. And for those who like a dose of culture with their nature, this is the place for you, with the area being home to the world-renowned Storm King Art Center and Dia: Beacon museums. Here at Plum Guide, we will never leave a stone unturned in our assessment of a location, so you know you can trust your expert advice if you want the trip of a lifetime. Without further ado, here is our curated guide to things to do in Hudson Valley.
Visit the Vanderbilt Mansion
For a taste of old school American grandiosity, don’t overlook a visit to the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site. The 54-room Beaux-Arts style mansion was modelled after a typical English country house and boasts beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and rivers. You’ll have to book a private tour if you want to visit, but that little bit of planning will definitely be worth it as soon as you snap your first photo in the terraced Italian Gardens. You can then spend the rest of your life complaining to your other half that your outside space just isn't quite as nice.
Take a trip to the Storm King Art Center
On a pleasant day, there is perhaps nothing better than a walk or cycle along the trails of the world-renowned Storm King Art Center. 100 carefully placed sculptures stand amongst the rolling hills, fields and picture perfect woodlands that make up the five-hundred-acre grounds, and there are even more smaller works to see in the museum building itself. Your friends back home will be impressed you came here so make sure to capture plenty of photographic evidence so you can dine out on this day out for at least a few months post-holiday. If sculptures and gardens are your thing, book your Hudson Valley stay at our home Dancing Sculptures, where statues surround the outdoor infinity pool.
Admire the art at Dia: Beacon
Once an old Nabisco factory likely responsible for somebody’s morning Weetabix, Dia: Beacon now welcomes thousands of visitors a year as one of America’s prime contemporary art institutions. The museum collection is thoughtfully displayed throughout the fully renovated, 240,000 square foot building, with highlights including light installations by Dan Flavin (your tweens will love this for a selfie or 20), plus a number of monumental Richard Serra works. Pro-tip: if the children aren’t big fans of museums, let them swim in the pool off the Beacon waterfront while you’re happily knee deep in Louise Bourgeois.
Explore the Motorcyclepedia Museum
Are you one of those middle-aged people who's really into motorbikes even though you work the most boring job ever? First of all, your therapist would say it’s called compensating. Secondly, don’t skip out on the Motorcyclepedia Museum. There are over 500 motorcycles from 1897 to today on display here for you to geek out over. The displays are thoughtful and the vibe entertaining. This makes a great family day out.
Discover nature at the Teatown Lake Reservation
If all these options feel a bit too much like what your in-laws do on holiday, and you tend to prefer good old fashioned relaxing in nature, the Teatown Lake Reservation should make the cut as you’re planning things to do in Hudson Valley. This beautiful nature reserve in Westchester County lies on 1000 acres. You’ll explore lakes, wildlife, rare flora and 15 miles of trails. Along the way you’ll find waterfalls, streams, hardwood swamps, meadows, mixed forests, hemlock forests, and endless laurel groves. There is also an education centre where programs and outreach activities are organised with local communities and schools.
Marvel at Cohoes Falls
For more of Hudson Valley’s bountiful nature, check out Fall Views Park in Cohoes, home of the breathtaking Cohoes Falls. As you explore some of the four acres of walking trails, you’ll find picturesque waterfalls pouring into cool, winding rivers. Enjoy a picnic or if you really want to feel like an old fogey, take the kids fishing. For those who insist on breaking a sweat on holiday, make the descent to the bottom of the falls via a staircase before climbing back up like the fitness
nut champ you are.
Learn at SUNY Children’s Museum of Science and Technology
Another great idea for the little ones when planning things to do in Hudson Valley is a visit to the SUNY Children’s Museum of Science and Technology (CMOST). This kids’ science museum in Troy, New York does not allow adults unless they are accompanied by children. The fun and educational range of exhibits includes a digital planetarium and more than 100 live animals to discover. Each exhibit here is interactive, so your kids will get to help build a house, explore how machines operate, learn about Hudson River animals and their habitats and explore nano technology. If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry, you’ll learn too.
Wander through the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market
To the hipster parents who wear socks with their sandals and only drink craft coffee, we have heard your plea for organic produce and we are recommending the Saturday Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market to cure your lack-of-visible-kale-to-buy blues. With fresh bread, tasty street food and bountiful local produce direct from the growers on offer, you can make a whole morning of this delicious place. So walk around the stalls, listen to the live music and challenge yourself to taste everything. It won’t be easy as 70 growers, bakers, chefs, and artisans are here to sell their most popular wares, but we believe in you.
Book a table at Blue Hill at Stone Barns
If you call yourself a foodie (or have any foodies back home to impress), a lunch or dinner at Blue Hill at Stone Barns is a must. The restaurant is set on a working farm 30 miles north of Manhattan and is touted by many as the best eatery in the United States. Executive chef and co-owner Dan Barber runs this bucket list farm-to-table dining experience. You’ll need a pretty penny and a reservation if you want to dine here, but it’s a meal you’ll be showing off about for the rest of your life.