32 Best Things to Do in Poughkeepsie, NY

Poughkeepsie, NY
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Poughkeepsie possesses a unique charm that is simply irresistible.

Nestled within the lush Hudson Valley, the quaint city appears as a hidden gem awaiting discovery.

Countless afternoons can be spent strolling through its historic streets, savoring the stunning river views, and immersing in the vibrant local culture.

The city never fails to surprise and enchant with its endless offerings.

Whether it's the artistic touch that infuses life into every corner, or the warm welcome from the townsfolk, Poughkeepsie's allure is compelling.

Now, it's time to explore the 32 best things to do in Poughkeepsie, New York!

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Walter Whalen, Myron Brookshire, Mary Bassett, Mary Burgess, Alonzo Jeffrey, Eduardo Wells and Steven Sewell.

Take Some Photos of the Mid-Hudson Bridge

Mid-Hudson Bridge
Colin D. Young / Shutterstock.com

Every day I'm greeted by the sight of the majestic Mid-Hudson Bridge, stretching across the Hudson River.

No matter the season, this architectural marvel never fails to amaze me.

Whether it's glowing in the summer sunshine or dusted with a layer of winter frost, there's something magical about the way it connects our little city of Poughkeepsie, New York, with the rest of the world.

One of my favorite past times is to stroll along the waterfront just as the day is winding down.

The view of the bridge's lights reflected on the river's surface is truly mesmerizing.

It's a sight that never gets old, and one that I feel so privileged to have right on my doorstep.

The Mid-Hudson Bridge isn't just an iconic landmark in our city, it's a constant reminder of the history and heritage that binds us all together.

Mid-Hudson Bridge view at night
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Opened in August 1930, this cantilever bridge has stood the test of time, bearing witness to countless changes and developments in our city and in the world at large.

For anyone visiting Poughkeepsie, I always recommend taking a walk along the pedestrian pathway of the bridge.

From there, you get a wonderful panoramic view of the Hudson River that's hard to beat.

It's also an opportunity to appreciate the scale and grandeur of the bridge up close.

This is not just any bridge; it's a symbol of our community, our history, and our connection to the wider world.

And each time I look at it, I'm reminded of how proud I am to call Poughkeepsie home.

Far aerial view of the Mid-Hudson Bridge
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Discover Various Hidden Gems at Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center

Strolling into the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center evokes a sense of stepping into a treasure trove.

The first thing that strikes you is the sheer range of the art collection - it's a captivating tapestry of ancient to contemporary masterpieces.

As someone who's been to many galleries, it’s refreshing to see such a diverse mix of well-known and emerging artists.

Plus, there’s always a new faculty or student exhibit to spur your curiosity.

The gallery has a unique interactive element to it.

There’s an ongoing project where you're cordially invited to add your personal creative touch.

I added a little scribble of my own the last time I was there.

It’s not every day you get to contribute to an evolving piece of art!

Now, onto the piece de resistance - an enticing pile of candy in the middle of a fun installation.

Yes, you heard me right!

Art imitates life and life, in this case, is deliciously sweet.

And with the museum's encouragement to dive in and sample some, it adds a delightful, unexpected twist to your typical gallery visit.

Around the campus, there's much more to explore too.

The immaculate grounds and the majestic Chapel are perfect for a leisurely walk post-museum visit.

And if you're driving over, you’re in luck. There's free 2-hour parking for visitors.

Listen to Joseph Bertolozzi's Bridge Music

When my morning jog takes me across the pedestrian entrance on the east side of the bridge, it's like running through a live music performance.

The melody isn't from a band or an orchestra but from the bridge itself, transformed into a colossal musical instrument by Joseph Bertolozzi.

His creation, Bridge Music, is a unique blend of art and architecture, turning the sounds of the bridge into a symphony that echoes over the Hudson River.

One thing I love about living here is the view.

The Hudson River is always a sight to behold, and it gets even better when you're at the height of the bridge.

But what makes this particular vista truly special is the soundtrack.

Bertolozzi's music is unlike anything you've ever heard.

It's rhythmic, it's melodic, and it's entirely created from the sounds of the bridge itself.

However, the bridge isn't just a platform for this unique piece of music.

It's also a popular spot for hiking, especially for those of us who can't resist a good view.

From the top, you get a panoramic view of the Hudson River, and it's absolutely breathtaking, especially during sunset.

Immerse in the Artistic Enchantment of Barrett Art Center

Exterior of the Barrett Art Center
Pksherpa, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Believe me, there are few places in the Hudson Valley as vibrant and alive with artistic expression as the Barrett Art Center.

Nestled amidst the historic ambiance of the Dutchess County, this place has been my sanctum for art for years.

One thing I love about living here is the view.

The Hudson River is always a sight to behold, and it gets even better when you're at the height of the bridge.

But what makes this particular vista truly special is the soundtrack.

Bertolozzi's music is unlike anything you've ever heard.

Spend a Day at Quiet Cove Riverfront Park

The minute you step into Quiet Cove Riverfront Park, you are enveloped in a mesmerising symphony of serene landscapes and the gentle whisper of the Hudson River.

A local's favourite hangout, this park is a palette of panoramic river views and lush greenery.

The park is equipped with a plethora of picnic tables, making it a perfect place for a family day out.

The waterfront is easily accessible, and effortlessly accommodates a multitude of activities.

One of my favourite pastimes is kayaking into the inviting calmness of the river.

An easily accessible entrance point for kayakers makes this activity even more enjoyable.

More than once, I've watched as an eager pup learns to navigate the waters, under the watchful eye of its owner.

The park also boasts an indoor space that is ideal for parties or gatherings, providing a unique location that combines the grandeur of nature with the comforts of a cozy indoor setting.

It also holds a special spot for the elderly community, who often find solace in simply sitting by the riverbank, immersing themselves in the peaceful ambiance.

The park's parking facilities are more than adequate, ensuring a hassle-free visit.

It even allows for parking closer to the waterfront for those who require it, making it an inclusive space for everyone.

The authorities are always striving for improvement; a new traffic light is being installed on Rt 9 to make access to the park even smoother.

Fishing enthusiasts are a common sight too, despite the rocky terrain.

Have a Tranquil Getaway at Peach Hill Park

There's a little slice of natural haven tucked away in my city, a place that never fails to invigorate me with its beauty while offering a good workout.

It's none other than Peach Hill Park, a place so tucked away in nature's bounty that it feels like a different world altogether.

The park has four main trails, each unraveling a different aspect of the park's stunning landscape.

The trails converge at the hilltop, offering panoramic views of the surrounding area, a sight that makes the climb worth every step.

For those who prefer an easier stroll, there's a shorter gravel loop path that still offers a beautiful meander through the park.

What really makes Peach Hill Park unique is the presence of apple trees scattered across the property.

It's not uncommon to find a quiet spot under one of these trees, settle down on a bench or picnic table, and lose yourself in a good book or the simple act of bird-watching.

You might even spot a deer or two if you're lucky.

The park's pathways are well-tended and clearly marked, ensuring that you can enjoy your walk without worrying about losing your way.

The sense of tranquility the park provides is unmatched, but there's one thing you need to be prepared for - the ticks.

Despite the park's explicit warnings, I was taken aback by the number of ticks during my initial visits.

But with proper clothing and plenty of tick repellent, you'll be fine.

A thorough check and a shower after the day's adventure have now become a part of my routine.

Stroll Above the Hudson

Walkway Over the Hudson
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Here's the thing about living near the Walkway Over the Hudson - it's never just a bridge.

It's a part of your life, your routine, almost akin to a silent friend that always provides a comforting presence.

Standing tall since 1889, the historic bridge is a constant reminder of time subtly flowing like the Hudson beneath.

On weekdays or weekends, my jog always includes this magnificent piece of history.

I enjoy the cool morning breeze and the soft hues of the rising sun reflecting off the Hudson River.

The Walkway is one of the best spots in the city, and it's not just for the breathtaking views of the river, city, mountains, and skies.

The energetic joggers, the casual strollers, the enthusiastic bikers, everyone adds to the vibrant vibe of the place.

Even the trains running alongside the river below seem to blend into the picture like a beautiful piece of a moving puzzle.

Evenings are a different story altogether. As the sun drops, the Walkway transforms into a serene sanctuary.

History marker at Hudson State Historic Park's footbridge
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I often take slow, leisurely walks, soaking in the peace and tranquility.

The view of the sun setting over the distant mountains is nothing short of spectacular.

The soft glow of the setting sun reflecting off the water is a sight to behold.

Accessibility is a crucial aspect, and the Walkway doesn't disappoint.

An elevator operates from the top of the bridge to the Eastern shoreline below, ensuring easy access for everyone.

The bridge even offers a golf cart service, a thoughtful addition for the elderly or disabled.

People at the Hudson State Historic Park's walkway
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Explore the Natural Beauty at The Preserve at Vassar

Sometimes, you just need to escape the concrete jungle, ditch the car, and hop on a bike or lace up your walking shoes.

My favorite local spot to do just that is The Preserve at Vassar.

Riding my bike through the winding trails is an exhilarating experience, and it doesn't cost a dime.

I usually meet people tending to their gardens, their hands deep in the soil, their faces radiant under the sun.

Watching them work in harmony with nature is both calming and inspiring.

The Preserve at Vassar is also my go-to place for a leisurely walk.

The parking can be tricky at times, but once you're there, you're spoilt for choice.

You can amble along the regular path, venture into the woods, or tackle one of the more difficult trails if you're feeling adventurous.

Just be sure to pay attention to the labels, especially if you're not a fan of steep descents or navigating around gnarly tree roots!

But it's not all about the workout.

One of the highlights of my visits was seeing the turtles lounging around in the pond.

It's a gentle reminder to slow down and appreciate life's simple pleasures.

Spend a Quintessential Lunch at Lola's Cafe

There's something quite special about Lola's Cafe.

Nestled in the heart of our city, it has become my go-to spot for an inventive and satisfying lunch.

You must wonder, "Is there a website for Lola's Cafe?"

I cannot recount how many times I've strolled into Lola's, greeted by the friendly staff who seem to remember every local face.

From their inventive sandwich list to the diverse salads and soups, it's a place that never fails to offer something new each time.

However, let me tell you about the two dishes that have won my heart repeatedly.

First off, the chicken, goat cheese, and berry salad.

Now, I know what you're thinking, "berries in a salad?"

But believe me, the fusion of flavors is a culinary delight you wouldn't want to miss.

The sweetness of the berries, the tanginess of the goat cheese, and the perfectly grilled chicken create a far-from-ordinary salad.

I still haven't found the exact name of this salad on their menu, but that hasn't stopped me from ordering it time and again.

And then there's the chocolate cream pie.

I consider myself somewhat of a dessert connoisseur, and I can confidently say that Lola's serves one of the best pies in the city.

The creamy texture and the rich chocolate flavor are a match made in heaven.

Don't be surprised if you find the café a bit crowded on your visit; Lola's popularity among locals is no secret.

Spend an Evening at Bardavon

Bardavon Opera House
Brian Logan Photography / Shutterstock.com

Imagine being in a place where legendary artists pour their hearts out, where you get to watch classic films in an old-world charm theater, and where every corner tells a tale of its past.

That's Bardavon for you, a gem in the heart of our city.

One of my favorite memories was seeing Amanda Palmer's phenomenal performance.

You could feel every beat, every note, and every word she sang, resonating through the theater and into your soul.

The building is a sight to behold with its immaculate architecture and well-maintained interiors.

What heightens the experience is the people.

Name sign of Bardavon 1869 Opera House along the street
Brian Logan Photography / Shutterstock.com

The volunteers who usher you, like the delightful Joan, enlighten you about the theater's glory, making you feel an undeniable connection with the place.

It's not just an old theater, it's a sanctuary for art lovers where each performance is celebrated.

Apart from live music, the theater offers a trip down memory lane with classic films.

I remember watching 'It's a Wonderful Life' around the holidays, the melodious notes from the restored organ filled the air with nostalgia.

Bardavon is more than just a theater; it is a treasure trove of memories, a place where art is revered, and a space where every performance leaves you yearning for more.

Front exterior of the Bardavon 1869 Opera House
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See the Tranquility of the Rail Trail

As the hustle and bustle of downtown Poughkeepsie becomes all too familiar, I often find solace in the serene Rail Trail.

This beautiful spot, unexpectedly nestled among the busy roads and the daily traffic, takes me back to a time when life was slower and savoring every moment was the norm.

While you may have to be cautious entering the trail due to the almost non-existent shoulder, the serenity and peace are worth the caution once you're inside.

I regularly take advantage of the well-paved and maintained walkways to exercise daily.

The Rail Trail accommodates it all, be it a brisk walk, a light jog, or a bike ride.

My favorite thing about the Rail Trail is its accessibility.

No matter where you are in the city, a convenient entrance or exit leads to this outdoor haven.

Plus, the pathways are entirely handicap accessible.

This inclusiveness encourages the entire community to step outside and enjoy the fresh air.

There are even benches strategically placed for those who want to stop, rest, and soak in the serenity of the surroundings.

And if you're a fan of picnics like me, there’s no better place to set down your basket.

Just imagine sitting under the shade of tall trees, the gentle rustle of leaves in the wind providing the perfect background music, as you lay back and enjoy a relaxing picnic.

It's an experience that never gets old.

As for the fishing enthusiasts, you might need to work a bit harder to get your catch due to the abundance of algae and tall grasses.

But I promise the calming atmosphere of this natural oasis makes every effort worthwhile.

Have a Leisurely Day at Upper Landing Park

There's something truly charming about Upper Landing Park, my favorite urban oasis nestled right on the banks of the Hudson River.

It's not just the fact that it's an incredibly clean place to relax and unwind or the fact that it's home to a magnificent 21-story glass elevator leading to a walkway over the water.

No, it's more than that.

Upper Landing Park is a haven of tranquility amidst the hustle and bustle of city life.

I tend to start my visits with a leisurely stroll along the riverfront, taking in the serene views.

The park is always spotlessly clean, and the tranquility of the water is a welcome retreat from the noise of the city.

The elevator ride up to the walkway is always an adventure in itself.

The view from the top is absolutely breathtaking - the Hudson River stretches out below, its surface sparkling in the sunlight, while the cityscape stretches out in all directions.

And the walkway - oh, the walkway!

It's possibly the longest and highest walking bridge in the world, but don't let that scare you away.

It's completely safe and offers a view unlike any other.

One of my favorite things about Upper Landing Park is the unexpected surprises that often wait around every corner.

On my most recent visit, I stumbled upon an impromptu jazz performance.

The audience, a mix of locals and tourists, was prepared with folding chairs and umbrellas, and the park was filled with the smooth sounds of jazz.

It was a delightful experience, and it made me appreciate the park's role as a cultural hub in our city even more.

Explore the Majestic Locust Grove Estate

Exterior of Locust Grove Estate
Daniel Case, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can't fully appreciate the beauty and tranquillity of Poughkeepsie, New York until you've strolled through the grounds of the awe-inspiring Locust Grove Estate.

Nestled in 150 acres of pristine woodland, the estate is an idyllic oasis away from the hustle and bustle of life.

The Tuscan-style villa once owned by Samuel Morse is a sight to behold, while the serene walking trails draw you into a world of peace and serenity.

Whether you're a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or an ardent hiker, the sprawling estate has something for everyone.

The small museum on the grounds dedicated to Samuel Morse offers a fascinating insight into the life of the man who brought us Morse code.

Make sure to stop by the lovely visitor's center, where you can pick up a trail map and take a small rest.

The meticulously maintained gardens are a perfect place for a tranquil walk and provide the most stunning backdrop for weddings and portraits.

Exterior of the Locust Grove Estate
Daniel Case, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As an amateur photographer, I often find myself wandering the grounds, camera in hand, trying to capture the beauty of the place.

It's no wonder then, that you'll often see professional photographers taking advantage of the picture-perfect surroundings.

One of my personal favorite activities at the Locust Grove Estate is the Sunset Sensations Event.

This unique experience brings together food, wine, and education in a delightful blend.

You get to enjoy a wonderful food and wine pairing while a chef and wine expert discuss what is being served.

Spend an Afternoon at Top Cottage

One of the best ways to spend an afternoon is visiting Top Cottage, a hidden gem in our city, not just for its historical significance but also for the stunning views it offers.

If you're a history buff like me, you'll love that this was where President Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill had important discussions.

Imagine them sitting on the porch, contemplating the weight of the world.

It's not just them; even the King and Queen of England graced this home with their presence.

The house itself is quite beautiful, albeit simple, and the grounds are open from sunrise to sunset.

The view from the back porch of the Shawangunks and Catskills is truly breathtaking, especially during sunset.

It's the kind of place where you just want to grab a good book or a sketch pad and just sit there all day, soaking in the calm and quiet.

Now, I do have to let you know that the house is only open at limited times, and there could be times when it's closed unexpectedly.

I remember a day when I decided to go for a walk there, only to find the gates locked without any signage.

But don't let that discourage you!

Even when it's closed, you can still enjoy a lovely walk around the perimeter and admire the architecture through the windows.

However, I highly suggest planning your visit.

Drive up here, soak in the atmosphere, and then pick up the trail for a lovely hike.

Wander Around Barton Orchards

The smell of homemade pies baking is the sweetest kind of nostalgia.

It's a smell that transports me right to the heart of my grandma's kitchen.

But for me, it's not just a memory, it's a reality every time I visit Barton Orchards.

Upon entering the Apple Core, you're hit with a delicious blend of fruit preserves, warm baked goods and that irresistible aroma of pies.

Their four berry and cherry pies are legendary in these parts and, in my humble opinion, they live up to the hype.

Each bite is a balance of tart and sweet, and the crust is buttery and flaky, just like grandma's.

And even though they're best known for their pies, they have an array of other mouthwatering treats that should not be missed.

However, it's not just the sweet treats that draw me in.

It's also the charm of the place that makes it more than just a fruit stand.

Read a Few Books at the Adriance Memorial Library

Exterior of Adriance Memorial Library
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When I first stepped foot into the Adriance Memorial Library, I was immediately taken by the grandeur and charm of the Classical Revival style building.

The majestic architecture, combined with intricate art pieces scattered around the lobby, gives an air of sophistication that is hard to ignore.

You can't help but feel as though you're stepping back in time, surrounded by years of history.

What I appreciate most about this library is the vast array of resources available.

From books, CDs, and videos, there's a wealth of knowledge and entertainment at your fingertips.

One of the highlights of my library visits is nestling into a comfy chair with a hot cup of coffee and my laptop.

The serene ambiance makes it the perfect place to get some work done or simply lose yourself in an intriguing novel.

One unique feature that really stands out is their community fridge.

Supported by library patrons, it's an example of the strong sense of community that this library fosters.

Lastly, I must mention the library's archives.

It's like stepping into a treasure trove of history.

I look forward to spending more time exploring these archives and immersing myself in the rich history they hold.

Have Fun at McCann Memorial Golf Course

Have you ever come across a place that's so charming and delightful that you can't help but fall in love with it?

That's exactly what happened when I first visited the McCann Memorial Golf Course.

Gliding through nature's beauty, the course is an absolute gem hidden in plain sight.

My first experience at McCann was indeed a memorable one.

The course, with its lush greens and well-manicured fairways, was nothing short of beautiful.

Our round took a leisurely four hours and fifteen minutes, and it was absolutely perfect.

I was particularly impressed with how well-maintained the course conditions were and how the greens, despite recent aeration, were of high quality.

Despite my initial delight, a subsequent visit was not as satisfying.

Unwind at the Mid-Hudson Discovery Museum

Exterior of the Mid-Hudson Discovery Museum
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

When my kiddo first began toddling around, I started taking him to the Mid-Hudson Discovery Museum.

It's a hidden gem in our city that offers fun and educational activities for young children.

Now that he's six, there's still a plethora of interactive exhibits that keep him entertained.

This place is a fantastic haven of hands-on experiences that allow my son to explore his interests.

When you step inside, you're welcomed by an adorable play town set-up on the first floor.

It has all sorts of cute areas like a fire truck, kitchen, grocery store, and mechanics area.

There's even an indoor playground and a large wooden train track set-up.

Aerial view of the Mid-Hudson Discovery Museum
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

The highlight is these exciting air tunnels where you can funnel small colored handkerchiefs through.

Venture upstairs, and you'll find cool science stations beckoning the slightly older kids.

The area is neat, clean, and sorted nicely, making it a breeze for kids to explore and engage in hands-on activities.

Although there's no cafe, there are vending machines if you fancy a snack.

Plus, there's an eating area where you can munch on your homemade sandwiches or packed lunches.

Interior of the Mid-Hudson Discovery Museum
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Enjoy an Evening at Schatzi's Pub and Bier Garden

There's something undeniably inviting about Schatzi's Pub and Bier Garden.

It's the sort of place where you can lose track of time, immersed in laughter, conversation, and the tantalizing flavors of their food.

I've been frequenting Schatzi’s for a little over a year now, and it has never failed to satiate my cravings.

Let me walk you through my usual Thursday night.

The bustle of the day melts away as I step into the warm, homey interiors of this pub.

Their Thursday Wings are legendary among my circle, and for good reason too.

Every bite bursts with flavor, leaving you longing for more.

But it's not just the wings; their menu is a culinary adventure.

On my last visit, I indulged in spanakopita, pierogies, and a Reuben.

The spanakopita was a revelation.

The flaky crust and delicious filling had me reaching for seconds before I knew it.

Schatzi's isn't just about food; it's also a haven for craft beer enthusiasts.

The beer garden is a jovial space where patrons can enjoy top-notch brews amidst a convivial atmosphere.

It's a delightful escape from the ordinary, with the gentle clinking of beer glasses and laughter-filled chatter.

Taste Some Thai Cuisines at Thailicious

When the craving for authentic Thai cuisine hits, I know there's only one place to go – Thailicious.

The menu is as diverse as Thai culture, offering various dishes that cater to various taste preferences.

Gluten-free options are plainly marked, creating an inclusive dining experience for all patrons.

The evening always begins with an assortment of appetizers; the chicken satay and curry puffs are too irresistible to pass up.

Their tantalizing flavors set the bar high for the entrées to follow, and they rarely disappoint.

The chicken pad Thai is a must-try; it's a symphony of taste, perfectly balancing Thai cuisine's sweet, sour, and spicy elements.

The drunken noodles dish, while being a touch too heavy on the fish sauce, was still a hearty and satisfying entrée.

The yellow curry is another standout – a dish that bursts with intense flavors, leaving a lasting impression.

The spicy beef salad, while a bit pricey considering the portion size, is still a worthwhile addition to the meal.

Despite the occasional slow service during less busy times, the Thailicious dining experience remains overwhelmingly positive.

The restaurant's clean and inviting space and its delicious food cement its reputation as my go-to for Thai cuisine.

Wander Around Victor C. Waryas Park

Victor C. Waryas Park
quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com

My hometown, Poughkeepsie, has its fair share of hidden gems, and Victor C. Waryas Park is definitely one of them.

Located along the scenic Hudson River, the park has transformed from a once drug-infested area in the 70s to a beautiful, family-friendly destination.

One of the best things about this park is its versatility.

It offers a little something for everyone.

If you love grilling, there are several BBQ grills scattered throughout the park.

If you're into skateboarding, there's a skateboard ramp where you can showcase your skills.

Or if you just want a quiet place to relax, there's no better place than the long stretch of sidewalks along the river bank, where you can enjoy a peaceful stroll or simply sit and watch the boats sail by.

I was particularly delighted to notice that the skate park was bustling with young skaters, a sight that truly warmed my heart.

Yet, what stood out the most that day was the exciting rumor that's been going around - that blue crabs and sturgeons have returned to the river.

Grab Some Beers at Mill House Brewing Company

There’s a little gem in our city that never fails to impress - the Mill House Brewing Company.

Set in a renovated mill, this watering hole is a treasure trove of house-brewed beers and elevated pub fare.

It’s the kind of place that makes you proud to be a local.

The food at Mill House is more than just your run-of-the-mill pub snacks.

I've tried almost everything on their menu and have yet to be disappointed.

Their bang bang cauliflower, lamb gyros, chicken sandwich, and hot Nashville chicken salad are definite must-tries.

And if you have a sweet tooth, their cookie and ice cream dessert is divine.

What sets Mill House Brewing Company apart is not just the food and beer but the atmosphere.

I've also been to a couple of events held in their top-floor loft room, and it's a great venue for gatherings or special occasions.

When it's time to decide on a dinner spot, and the multitude of options paralyzes us, my friends and I always land up at Mill House.

Pay a Visit to Springside Landmark

The last original building of Springside Landmark
Daniel Case, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever wanted to escape the hustle and bustle of the city without actually leaving?

To immerse yourself in nature while still enjoying the comforts of your own city?

Look no further! Just a short stroll from my doorstep, the Springside Landmark is a serene retreat that offers just that.

A stroll through the grounds of the Springside Landmark feels like stepping back into a different era as the lush greenery and well-maintained trails transport you away from modern life.

The former home of the founder of Vassar College, it's an oasis in a busy city.

Each visit reveals something new. One day, you might discover a hidden trail looping through a wooded area.

The next, you'll find yourself marveling at the manicured gardens sprawled across 20 acres of landscaped beauty.

While most of the historic house is not accessible to the public, this doesn't deter from the joy of exploring Springside's grounds.

The charm here lies in the nature preserve's tranquility, rather than a tour of historic architecture.

Ideal for a light walk or a short hike, the trails are brimming with local flora and fauna and offer a serene respite from the city's pace.

Watch a Show at The Chance Theater

Ever since I was a sprightly youngster, The Chance Theater has been my favorite getaway.

Its history is tangible, almost as if I could reach out and touch it. I have some precious memories of attending shows at this place.

The sound is incredible, the atmosphere electrifying, and the shows are always a hit - it's like being in a live, breathing piece of rock 'n roll history.

After a few years away, I recently made a trip back to this vintage venue.

As soon as I stepped in, I was hit with a wave of nostalgia.

The Chance Theater was just as I remembered it, like a time capsule keeping the spirit of rock alive.

It's not a "nice" place; it's a cool place, the kind where you would want to enjoy a live rock concert.

However, there are a few areas where the theater could improve.

For instance, they really need to start selling and serving food.

A good rock show can work up an appetite, after all.

And a bathroom on the ground level would be a huge improvement.

The steps leading down to the current bathrooms are uneven and can be a hazardous journey for anyone handicapped or anyone who has enjoyed a drink or two.

Another thing to consider is an update to the ventilation system.

Explore the Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center

Street view of  Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center
quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com

Who knew we had our very own slice of Victorian elegance right here in our city?

The historic Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center is truly a gem that adds a dash of charm to our community.

I recall the evening I experienced the powerful rendition of Les Miserables.

The sights, the sounds, the raw emotions flowing from the stage were nothing short of stunning.

The performers' talent was outstanding - I was transported straight into the heart of 19th-century France.

Another memorable experience was when my kids were part of the youth theater program.

Facade of  Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center
quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com

Watching them perform in the production of The Wizard of Oz was a moment of sheer pride and joy.

The way this center nurtures young talent is commendable.

The best part about this arts center? Its location.

Just a short stroll from the Metro-North Poughkeepsie station, it's one of the historic places you can easily reach.

An evening at the Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center is more than just an outing - it's a journey into a world of art, culture, and history.

Go Jumping Around at Bounce Trampoline Sports

Let me share with you the times I've taken my son to Bounce Trampoline Sports, his favorite playground.

It is truly a kid's paradise with numerous trampoline areas to jump to their heart's content, not to mention dodgeball and basketball events to keep them entertained.

Every time we've stepped into this vibrant indoor amusement center, my 8-year-old's face lights up with excitement.

The place has never struck me as dirty or rundown; rather, it's a place brimming with youthful energy and laughter.

I can't comment on the condition of the bathrooms since we've never had to use them, but when it comes to the overall environment, we've never encountered any safety issues.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Immerse in History at the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt

Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Jeffrey M. Frank / Shutterstock.com

As the seasons change, so does the kaleidoscope of colors on the grounds of the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site.

It's my favorite spot for a stroll, where the history of our nation is always palpable, whether you're winding your way through the museum, the library, or the historic home itself.

The drive to the estate is like going on a journey through time.

As you get closer, the modern world falls away, replaced by the tranquility of the sprawling grounds.

It's not uncommon for me to spend a good three hours here, immersing myself in the life and times of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The museum and library spread across two floors, each brimming with various fascinating exhibits that offer incredible insights into the former president's life, his family, and the significant events of his time.

The grounds and garden area beckon with their beauty at every turn.

Whether it's the blooms of spring or the fiery hues of fall, the estate never fails to take my breath away.

Front entrance of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site
Deror_avi, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You'll often find me idly wandering the garden paths, soaking in the serene atmosphere and marveling at the well-kept splendor of the estate.

The historic home stands as a testament to a bygone era. Stepping inside is like stepping into a history book, each room telling a story of its own.

Picture-taking is allowed inside the house as long as the flash is turned off, allowing me to capture timeless moments of my exploration.

I can't help but recommend getting a National Park pass. It not only gives you access to this historic site but to countless others across the country.

In fact, it's a great way to inspire school-aged students and instill in them a love for history.

A greenhouse outside Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site
Liz Van Steenburgh / Shutterstock.com

See Various Flowers at Beatrix Farrand Garden

Every winter, I find myself drawn to the serene beauty of the Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield, right here in Hyde Park.

Even under the blanket of snow, the garden's beauty is something to behold.

Each time I visit, I regret not capturing more of its frozen charm through my camera lens.

The garden, interestingly, is tucked away behind a thick grove of trees and closed doors.

But don’t be fooled by these doors; they're there to keep the deer out, not us garden enthusiasts.

This picturesque oasis was designed by Beatrix Farrand almost a century ago and has remained a hidden gem in our city since then.

The meticulously manicured lawns and vibrant flower beds are a testament to Farrand's brilliant design capabilities.

But the garden isn't just about stunning landscapes and tranquil environments.

It's also a place of joy and celebration!

I recently had a blast attending a Bollywood dance class on the garden's sprawling lawn.

The rhythm of the music echoing amidst the blooming flowers was an experience I didn't know I needed.

Revisit History at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
Michael Gordon / Shutterstock.com

Have you ever stepped into a time capsule that takes you back to some of the most defining moments of the 20th century?

That's how it feels when you visit the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

Nestled in the heart of my hometown, this is not just a place of learning, but a testament to the grit and resilience of a nation led by one of its greatest leaders.

Every corner of the museum at FDR Library has a story to tell.

From the interactive exhibits to the vast array of artifacts, each piece collectively paints a vivid picture of FDR's presidency and his unparalleled dedication to the nation and its people.

The museum's layout is chronological, starting with his election leading up to his passing, leaving no stone unturned.

Exterior of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
Michael Gordon / Shutterstock.com

You'll also find an entire section dedicated to Eleanor Roosevelt, a leader in her own right who has left an indelible mark on American history.

The museum doesn't shy away from the trials the Roosevelts faced, providing visitors an unbiased glimpse into their lives.

As you wander through the library, it's hard not to be astounded by the sheer volume of correspondence.

Letters from ordinary U.S. citizens, notes from global leaders, and war correspondences, everything is meticulously preserved and presented.

It's almost like FDR's conversations are echoing around you.

The estate itself is expansive, with multiple buildings, including the main welcome center, their house, and stables.

You can even pay your respects at their final resting place in the garden.

Remember to set aside a good part of your day to fully explore and appreciate the richness of history this place offers.

And, of course, a visit wouldn't be complete without a stop at the New Deal shop and bookstore on site.

Stroll Down History Lane at Vanderbilt Mansion

Exterior of the Vanderbilt Mansion
littlenySTOCK / Shutterstock.com

As I wander through the grand, beaux arts mansion, I can't help but get swept up in the rich history that fills each of the 54 rooms.

You see, this isn't just a house; it's a carefully maintained museum where every corner echoes with stories from the past.

Each tour of the mansion, which you must buy a $10 ticket for, is guided by a knowledgeable individual who seems to hold a personal encyclopedia of the Vanderbilt family history.

Every fact and every anecdote brings the grandeur of the past to life, making the tour worth every penny. It's a fascinating journey that I recommend everyone to embark on.

But the mansion is just one part of the experience.

Facade of the Vanderbilt Mansion
littlenySTOCK / Shutterstock.com

The grounds are equally breathtaking, with beautifully manicured gardens that offer a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

As I stroll down the garden paths, I often find myself stopping by the overlook.

The sight of the Hudson River from there is nothing short of spectacular.

And the best part? You can explore the gardens and the overlook for free.

If you're a fan of hiking, there's a loop trail that you should definitely try. It's a pleasant walk that's sure to leave you feeling refreshed.

Don't forget to visit the visitor center, where you can learn more about the Vanderbilt family through an interesting family tree display.

And yes, there's even a friendly goat that you can say hello to on your way to the mansion and gardens.

Witness the Serenity of Roosevelt Farm Lane Trail

I've always cherished the calmness of the woods, which is why I frequently find myself wandering the trails of Roosevelt Farm Lane Trail.

This hidden gem, tucked away in the heart of nature, is my favorite spot to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Morning visits here are particularly delightful.

I love the serenity that envelops the park early in the day, lending an almost exclusive feel to my walks.

The main trail is a dream for runners, with its flat, wide, and well-maintained path, similar to a fire road.

And the best part? It's bike-friendly!

The same trail stretches east to Val-Kill and Top Cottage, offering options for either a round-trip or a point-to-point adventure.

If you're in the mood for a more rugged journey, branching off onto the bumpier side trails is the way to go.

They may be a bit lumpy, but the added challenge of maneuvering around is an experience in itself.

Visit Franny Reese State Park

Franny Reese State Park
CE Photography / Shutterstock.com

Where history meets nature, Franny Reese State Park has never failed to amaze me.

You'd think living so close to this 251-acre park would take away its charm, but every visit is a new adventure.

Filled with hiking and biking trails, it's perfect for those weekends when you just want to escape the city's bustle.

My favorite part of the park is the ruins of the 19th-century Cedar Glen estate.

As an amateur historian, I find myself drawn to the stone remains, imagining the life that once bloomed there.

The trails are well-marked and maintained, so even novice hikers can follow them easily.

There are a few steep areas, but they're short and manageable.

But it's not just the hikes and history that make this park special.

Map sign of Franny Reese State Park
KMarsh / Shutterstock.com

The Hudson River views are absolutely breathtaking, especially from the Mid-Hudson Bridge overlook on the yellow trail.

The fall colors reflecting off the water surface are a sight to behold.

One thing to keep in mind is that parking can be a bit limited, and there are no restroom facilities, so plan accordingly.

Also, while the park map does indicate some 'scenic overlooks', they may not always be visible due to the dense tree growth.

With cool stone ruins, quiet trails, and beautiful Hudson River views, to me, this park is a hidden gem.

An abandoned estate at Franny Reese State Park
Linda Harms / Shutterstock.com

Final Thoughts

Poughkeepsie, my home, is bursting with an array of fascinating attractions and activities.

Whether it's the stunning exhibitions at the Barrett Art Center or the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center in Vassar College or the breathtaking views from the Walkway Over the Hudson, there's always something to marvel at.

So, whether you're just visiting or looking to make Poughkeepsie, New York, your home, I can assure you that you're in for a treat.

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