Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Hudson, NY

  • Published 2023/03/20

Hudson is a city in Columbia County, New York, with a vibrant history and a promising future with much to offer.

Situated around 120 miles north of New York City, Hudson started as a whaling port and became an industrial city.

Now, it is a place teeming with numerous antiques and artists.

Due to its vast collection of antiques, Hudson feels like a window to the past.

Time and again, Hudson has proved it is one of the best riverfront cities in the United States.

The city thrives with scenic beauty, grand architecture, and artistic events that support its booming economy.

From exploring the endless antique stores to enjoying the different entertainments, here’s a list of the 20 best things you should do in Hudson, New York:

Tour the Olana State Historic Site

Olana State Historic Site

North woodsman /

The Olana State Historic Site comprises the main house of Frederic Church, one of the most prominent painters of Hudson River School, and the surrounding landscapes designed by Church himself.

Resting atop a hill, the main building combines Victorian and Persian styles and boasts a collection of sculptures, paintings, and vintage furnishings.

The sprawling 250-acre land surrounding the house are carriage roads swathed with meadows, an artificial lake, and a farm.

Closeup of the architecture of Olana State Historic Site

MG photos /

You can take the guided walking tour to this site or the open-air vehicle tour through the carriage roads, but ensure that you pre-book your excursions.

The site is accessible by car, or you can also take the Skywalk across the river.

If you are an art enthusiast, you cannot afford to miss this site.

Nature trail at Olana State Historic Site

Gill Copeland /

Wander Down Warren Street

Street view of Warren Street

quiggyt4 /

Warren Street, Hudson’s main street, is an antique lover’s paradise.

It is a mile-long street with picturesque buildings, charming antique stores, stylish boutiques, cozy restaurants, and expensive hotels on either side.

You can either head to the Finch for vintage furniture or the Tom Swope Gallery for relics.

On the other hand, Valley Variety offers an impressive collection of modern home furnishings.

Church at Warren Street

Steve Cukrov /

If you love beauty and wellness goodies, visiting The Quiet Botanist is a must!

If you’re a person who prefers apparel shopping over antique hunting, stores, and boutiques like Sideshow Clothing, Marchin, Artemesia, and Meridian are the ones for you!

You can end your day by taking a stroll down Promenade Hill Park, located at the end of the west side of Warren Street.

It provides a breathtaking view of the Hudson River and is a great place to unwind after a long day.

Victorian style townhouse at Warren Street

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Visit the Greenport Conservation Area

The Greenport Conservation Area ought to be on a nature lover’s itinerary.

This place was originally a piece of land belonging to the Mohican Indians.

It was then purchased by the Dutch for farming, and later the Open Space Institute bought it, intending to turn it into a conservation area.

This 736-acre land, overlooking the Hudson River, consists of seven miles of trails for hiking, taking a stroll, cross-country skiing in winter, and an accessible trail.

It provides a beautiful view of the river and the Catskill Mountains in the distance.

Located a short distance from downtown Hudson, this place will certainly give you relaxation with its green and tranquil surroundings.

Catch Live Performances

Hudson Opera House

, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hudson has something for everyone, whether you are in the mood for rock, classical, opera, indie, or funk.

You could go to Hudson Hall (officially named Hudson Hall at the Hudson Opera House).

It is a 21,000-square-foot theatre (the oldest theatre in New York), a performance hall, and a gallery.

The annual Hudson Jazz Festival is hosted here, consisting of several performances, and lasts several days.

The Park Theater Hudson is another place offering lots of live performances, some of which are free.

The Helsinki Hudson has a music venue and a restaurant combined to give the best of both worlds.

You can also check out Basilica Hudson, a performance venue built inside a factory.

It conducts various arts and musical events throughout the year.

Experience the Art Galleries

Hudson boasts around 35 art galleries, each providing a unique and exciting experience.

The city’s art history can be traced back to the foundation of the Hudson River School, from where artists like Thomas Cole and Frederic Church were drawn to Hudson’s scenic landscapes.

You can visit Hudson’s oldest gallery space, the Carrie Haddad Gallery on Warren Street, which is famous for showcasing the works of upcoming regional artists.

The Stair Galleries is known for its art auctions.

You can bid online or over the phone for various items.

However, a prior appointment must be made to see the items in person.

Go Crusing at the Hudson River

Crusing at Hudson River

Evan El-Amin /

To truly bask in nature’s glory, sail in the Hudson River.

The best time to take the cruise is during the evening, as it allows you to watch the sunset over the city from the expanse of sparkling water.

Hudson Cruises is one of the oldest businesses offering lovely sightseeing, luxury cruises, and ferry services.

They even organize a Murder Mystery cruise once a week, in which guests must uncover clues and find the perpetrator.

Do check out their cruise schedules beforehand.

Stop by the Henry Hudson Riverfront Park

Signage of Henry Hudson Riverfront Park

Steve Cukrov /

The Henry Hudson Riverfront Park is located alongside the Hudson River, and its grassy surfaces are ideal for picnics and strolls.

Its serene ambiance offers a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Dining area with a stunning view at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park

Steve Cukrov /

You can watch the boats sail by or the view of the lighthouse with the mountains in the background stretched across the horizon.

It’s a perfect place to end your busy day.

Warehouse at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park

Steve Cukrov /

Sail to the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse

Hudson-Athens Lighthouse

Real Window Creative /

The Hudson-Athens Lighthouse is perched atop a small island in the Hudson River, halfway between Hudson and Athens, NY.

The lighthouse was constructed in 1873 to warn ships about the mudflat between Hudson and Athens, which is hidden underwater during high tide.

The lighthouse became operational in 1874 and is still functional today, helping the ships navigate the Middle Ground Flats.

Aerial view of Hudson-Athens Lighthouse

Felix Lipov /

Hudson Cruises has partnered with the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society to conduct seasonal boat tours from July to October to the lighthouse.

The boarding point is the Henry Hudson Riverfront Park, which provides an excellent view of the lighthouse if one wishes to see it from land.

Check Out the FASNY Museum of Firefighting

Exhibit at FASNY Museum of Firefighting

Doug Kerr, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Established in 1925, the FASNY Museum of Firefighting is an interactive museum comprising all firefighting-related things.

You can spend the better part of a day here in this 50,000-square-foot space learning about the history of firefighting.

You can also check the fire equipment from the 1800s, rare vintage fire engines, along an impressive collection of firefighting artifacts.

Display at FASNY Museum of Firefighting

Doug Kerr, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This museum is a family favorite as it allows children to perform firefighting activities.

Activities like climbing ladders, sliding down poles, putting on a firefighter jacket, and getting behind the wheel of a fire truck are just some of the many exciting activities available for kids.

The museum has a library and a gift shop filled with creative souvenirs.

Visit the Hudson Farmers’ Markets

Many riverfront cities are known for their exceptional farmers’ markets filled with fresh organic food and other locally sourced munchies and ingredients.

The Hudson Farmers’ Market is no different in showcasing its products.

This is Columbia County’s largest farmers market, which brings over 30 native vendors together.

It is open from June through October at two places within the city.

If you’re visiting Hudson during these months, the farmer’s market is an attraction you wouldn’t want to miss.

Apart from the treats, the farmer’s market also has live music performances by local artists.

Dine at Restaurants, Cafés, and Eateries

You can’t fully experience a city until you taste its countless joints’ delightful dishes, potent drinks, and aromatic beverages.

It goes without saying that Hudson, too, has many options available for you regarding food and drinks.

A trip to the Verdigris Tea and Coffee Bar on Warren Street for their delicious baked goods and strong coffee is a must for any coffee lover.

The Hudson Food Studio, with its stylish and rustic design, is famous for its Thai and Vietnamese specialties.

With its wide selection of drinks and warm ambiance, this place will surely enrich your visit to Hudson.

You can also visit their café for brunch and restaurant for an immersive dining experience.

Check Out the Hudson Brewing Company or Hudson Wine Merchants

If you are a beer and wine enthusiast, you must visit two places in Hudson.

One is the Hudson Brewing Company, famous for its craft beer, local wine, and tap cider.

The other one is the Hudson Wine Merchants.

It organizes wine tastings along with art shows in its gallery upstairs.

Admire the Historic Architecture

Hudson is one of the first cities built on a modern grid layout.

Credit goes to the city’s original settlers, but the wealthy traders built huge mansions and elegant townhouses.

As you enter downtown Hudson, it becomes clear why the city’s historic architecture stands out.

The city is an amalgamation of buildings built in different styles, creating a beautiful tapestry of perfectly stacked blocks.

They are all significant landmarks that depict a colorful picture of the city’s mixed architectural styles.

Visit the Hudson Area Library

Hudson Area Library

Thomson200, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Hudson Area Library offers many books on the city’s history, culture, art, and architecture.

It even hosts several events for children and adults alike.

Apart from this, it offers various programs for people to learn a new art or volunteer for different social causes.

Even if you don’t wish to visit the library, the modern-style architecture of the building is worth checking out.

Check into the Rivertown Lodge

The Rivertown Lodge is worth mentioning because of its cozy and retro vibe.

It is a hotel with 27 rooms built in 1928 as a movie theatre.

It was used as a motel for years before eventually being transformed into Riverfront Lodge.

With a bar and a pub next to it, this place is an exciting temporary residence.

The lodge even allows its guests to borrow bikes to tour the town.

One of the main reasons to choose this lodge is that it’s located right on Warren Street, the main thoroughfare of Hudson city.

Watch the Sunset at Promenade Hill Park

At the end of Warren Street facing the Hudson River lies Promenade Hill Park.

Unlike the Henry Hudson Riverfront Park, this area is much smaller and thus offers a unique experience, especially after being renovated in 2021.

For starters, there’s a lot of history here found through interpretive signs and a few sculptures peppered throughout the area.

However, where Promenade Hill Park truly shines is the ambiance it has that’s best enjoyed during sunsets.

Quaint because of its size and landscaping, this is a serene way to enjoy the Hudson River.

Take Your Pooch to Hudson Dog Park

Hudson Dog Park is a large space where you can let your little (or big) ones loose to wick off some pent-up energy during your travels.

A highly rated dog park among locals, this is a well-maintained area where small and large breeds have their own dedicated space.

The park also features a pavilion for plenty of shade, both for the owners and their pets.

Lots of water is also provided here, so you won’t have to worry about any problems when visiting.

Overall, Hudson Dog Park is a great all-rounder and an excellent way to meet new locals and their pets.

Hunt for Treasure at The Antique Warehouse Hudson NY

The Antique Warehouse Hudson NY is a can’t-miss opportunity for travelers with an affinity for vintage aesthetics.

What makes this special is that, unlike other antique shops, this place is a warehouse that can easily swallow 3-4 hours of your time if you’re not mindful.

Ranging from furniture to personal accessories, The Antique Warehouse Hudson NY is a sight to behold with its size and collection.

Hence, it doubles as a museum, but you’d be hard-pressed not to buy at least one excellent item here.

Many of its items go back to the 1940s.

You can find this excellent antique shop along Front Street.

Take a Dip at Oakdale Beach

If you’re visiting during the summer, Oakdale Beach is an excellent addition to your itinerary.

It’s an artificial beach at a sizable pond in the middle of Hudson, allowing visitors to swim and appreciate its calm waters.

It’s a tranquil place, teeming with surrounding vegetation, accentuating the site’s vibe.

Oakdale Beach also has a sandy shore, so it’s a great way to excite younger children.

Find it along North 6th Street.

Do Urban Photography at Public Square

Right along Warren Street is a picturesque public square to stop by.

What makes Public Square a particular place is the overall urban aesthetic of the site.

Surrounded by buildings with a vintage look, the square becomes a historic plaza that’s perfect for photography.

Lined with trees, benches, and a water fountain in the middle, this is also a great spot to take a break as you wander in Warren Street.

There are a couple of vendors here occasionally, most notably during spring and summer.

Final Thoughts

Hudson has a particular allure that will charm you when you see the city for yourself.

There’s a nice mix of natural scenery via the river, but Hudson has a lot of beautiful architecture and landscaping.

Whether touring Downtown Hudson or cruising the Hudson River, you have a lot in store in this underrated city.

To maximize your travel plans, let this list of the best things to do in Hudson, New York, guide the way!

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