Is Hudson, NY the Coolest Small Town in America?

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Hudson NY came into my life when I moved to New York City. As much as I loved the city, I needed to get away and be somewhere more chill for the weekend.

“No matter what, you need to get out of the city at least once a month,” my friends warned me.

Of course I’ll get out of the city, I thought to myself. I travel for a living!

Then April came and to my great shock, I went a full month without leaving New York City. Hell, I didn’t believe it until I looked back over the month and double-checked my photos! It was officially time to plan a trip to Hudson, New York.

It’s so easy to get sucked into New York City — but this city is such an intense place, it can drain you if you don’t get proper R&R. And sitting on your couch watching Netflix is only R&R up to a certain point. You need to get into places that are quiet, avoid the subway for a few days. And cheaper prices are always a good thing.

I started researching getaways from New York after moving to the city earlier this year. One that consistently piqued my interest was Hudson, New York, and within a few clicks of the mouse, I booked myself a three-night solo getaway in June.

FAQ for Traveling to Hudson, New York

Where is Hudson, NY?

Hudson is located in upstate New York in Columbia County, on the banks of the Hudson River. It’s just over 2 hours from New York City and less than 3 hours from Boston, making it a perfect weekend getaway.

What are the best things to do in Hudson NY?

My favorite things to do in Hudson are eat at all of the incredible restaurants, wander the shops of Warren Street, and go antiquing.

How do you get to Hudson NY?

Hudson is a popular destination with New Yorkers because you can easily get to Hudson from the Amtrak train station in New York and many other East Coast cities. You can also fly into the Albany airport, about an hour from Hudson, or drive.

When is the best time to visit Hudson?

Hudson, like the rest of New York, experiences all four seasons. I would highly recommend visiting Hudson in the spring or summer to take advantage of the beautiful weather or in the fall as the leaves begin to change.

How long should I spend in Hudson?

Hudson NY makes a great weekend trip as you can see much of downtown and the historic district in a day or two. However, it can also be used as a great base to see the rest of the Hudson Valley region on a longer trip.

A street sign reading S Front St next to two flags: American and Pride.
A small detached brick building next to a tall green tree.
An antique store filled with green velvet and gold chairs, lamps, sculptures, a curly rainbow wig, and more.
Warren street and its shops and boutiques, a few pride flags hanging.

Things To Do In Hudson, New York

Hudson is a beautiful town on the Hudson River, just two hours from Manhattan by train. The vast majority of downtown Hudson’s businesses are on Warren Street, which is about a mile long.

Despite having a population of just under 7,000, it’s home to a quirky assortment of shops, galleries, and businesses. It’s one of those small towns in the United States that’s well worth at least a weekend trip.

Because Hudson’s businesses keep such odd hours, I recommend double-checking the hours before going anywhere. I found the Google Maps’ “open now” option very helpful for this.

A brick building with a sign reading The Spotty Dog Books & Ale with a Dalmatian on it.

Warren Street

Warren Street is the main street in Hudson and makes up the majority of the “downtown” area. Along this mile-long main drag, you’ll find shops, bars, antique dealers, restaurants, and more. You can easily spend a few hours wandering down the street and checking out all of the local businesses. You’ll also find many historic buildings and even statues along this strip.

It’s super cute and picturesque as well, so the perfect spot for some photos.

Go Antiquing

There are a surprising number of antique dealers and antique shops in the town of Hudson. You can find everything from 18th century and 19th century treasures to mid-century modern furniture, and everything in between.

A few antique stores worth checking out are Magic Hill, FINCH, and the Antiques Warehouse.

The Spotty Dog Books

The Spotty Dog is a bookstore that doubles as a bar. Pick out any book you’d like and read it at the bar, a local craft beer by your side. It’s one of the best places in Hudson NY to kick back and relax.

Hudson-Athens Lighthouse

The Hudson-Athens Lighthouse, found in the middle of the river between Hudson and Athens, is one of the most famous landmarks in the area.

While you can see it from town anytime, you can also take the ferry and tour it during specific days and times of the year (usually once a month July to October). To see the scheduled dates, check their website and the special events tab.

Historic Hudson Opera House

Hudson Hall is located at the historic Hudson Opera House – the oldest theater in New York State!

Susan B. Anthony, Teddy Roosevelt, and Ralph Waldo Emerson were among those who used to frequent the historic opera. Today, it’s recently renovated (after sitting empty for 50 years!) and used as a music and art venue, as well as weddings and festivals.

Henry Hudson Riverfront Park

If you want to spend time outdoors, head to the Henry Hudson Riverfront Park. This green space pays tribute to Henry Hudson, the English explorer who landed in the New York Harbor in 1609.

The park is perfect for boat-watching, going for a walk, having a picnic, and there are even playgrounds for the kids and an area for dogs!

A gray and blue industrial building with pretty curved windows in front.

Moto Coffee Machine

The Moto Coffee Machine is a coffee shop in the front and a motorcycle shop in the back. Because why not? This quirky shop is definitely worth a stop!

Hudson Historic Homes

Set some time aside to simply wander the streets of Hudson and admire the beautiful architecture. Since Hudson has such a long history, beginning with the original Quaker settlement and city grid of 50 by 120 foot lots, you can find a range of architecture types, from Victorian towers to Queen Anne homes with wrap-around porches, not to mention Georgian estates and Italianate mansions.

The streets are truly a hodgepodge of styles, one next to the other, and many have been undergoing restoration. If you’re lucky, you may even come across one or two that are allowing tours.

Hudson Valley Region

If you’ve got more time, consider renting a car and driving around the Hudson Valley. There are plenty more interesting towns to visit, but they’re not as easy to get to by train as Hudson.

You can take a drive across the Rip Van Winkle Bridge to to Catskill, New York and take some time to explore the Catskill Mountains. You can also explore the capitol region of Albany or head south towards the Hudson Highlands.

Best Restaurants in Hudson, New York

But where Hudson truly shines is its food scene. Thanks to their location in the Hudson Valley, Hudson chefs make use of local ingredients from throughout the region. Many plan their menus around what’s current and local; some, like Grazin’, plan entirely around the local produce!

Here are some of the foodie highlights:

An open-faced cheeseburger with a yellow melty piece of cheese on top, served next to a salad with long carrot ribbons.


Grazin’, a fifties-style diner, is the world’s first certified Animal Welfare Approved restaurant. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s a vegan place — plenty of meat and dairy products are served. But the animals are treated well in life. Everything is free-range and organic, beef is grass-fed, and just about everything on the menu is fresh and local to Hudson NY.

I mean, the menu says stuff like this:


At this place I had THE BEST BURGER OF MY LIFE. And I do not say that lightly. I ordered the Suzi burger, with onions, pepper and ketchup cooked into the patty and topped with a slice of whatever raw cheese was local and available. It was so good, I nearly cried.

I think I actually whispered, “In-&-Out can go to hell,” at one point.

A white brick building with a sign reading Wm Farmer and Sons.

Wm. Farmer and Sons

Most Hudson businesses keep odd hours and shut down for one or two weekdays, most often Wednesdays. To be truthful, I ended up at Wm. Farmer and Sons because they were one of few places actually open on a Wednesday night.

Turns out that was actually a great thing. The restaurant was quiet and slow, and I got to chat with both the bartenders and the resident oyster dude.

Grilled octopus underneath a variety of greens next to a glass of champagne.

I grabbed some fresh dollar oysters (from my home state of Massachusetts, of course) with a glass of prosecco for happy hour (you know how I do!) and tried their famed octopus appetizer as well. The octopus was terrific, but what really blew me away was the green sauce on the side!

This place is so good that I went back the next day for some steak tartare.

A close-up of the menu at Swoon Kitchenbar underneath a lamp.

Swoon Kitchenbar

If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll want to hit up Swoon Kitchenbar — the menu, though not exclusively plant-based, is chock full of delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes.

A cheese plate with three types of cheese, crostini, and jam.

My favorite dish was the astoundingly fresh beet salad, though it wasn’t the prettiest thing to photograph (the top was just various greens and the beets were hidden underneath). And I also tried some local Hudson Valley cheeses. They really know what they’re doing in this part of the world.

A piece of toast covered with mushrooms and a fried egg.
A brick building with a pride flag and a sign reading Hudson River Tattoo.

Italian Market

You guys know how much I live for cured meats — so you won’t be surprised how dangerous Italian sandwich shops are to me. I stopped at Italian Market for something to eat on the train back home to Manhattan, and they made me a terrific sandwich with eggplant, cheese, and various delicious Italian meats.

I made sure to order just a half sandwich because nothing could have stopped me from annihilating a whole one.

I hear they do a great eggplant parmesan, too.

A coffee shop with an ornate red setee on a black and white geometric rug.

Coffee shops in Hudson, New York

My afternoon coffee break is the most important moment of my day — both while traveling and when at home! I made sure to hit up several of Hudson’s best coffee shops.

Rev Coffee, pictured above, has a cool setting with vintage furniture.

Verdigris Tea and Coffee Bar has an incredible selection of coffees, teas, and hot chocolates, with lots of sweet treats for sale as well. I loved their iced coconut cream herbal tea.

Moto Coffee Machine is a cool place, and I wish I had time to try their gourmet sandwiches, but I wasn’t a fan of the smell of the motorcycle shop. Perhaps it was extra motorcycle-y that day?

Cafe le Perche is a lovely little cafe and a nice stop for breakfast as well.

A sign reading "Hat Handmade - Behida Dolic Millinery" hanging from a window.

More Restaurants in Hudson

If you’re craving pasta, check out Ca’mea — they’re one of the few restaurants open on Wednesdays!

Mexican Radio got recommended to me by a few readers, but I decided to skip it as they have an outpost in New York as well.

Hudson Food Studio has a Vietnamese fusion menu and I’d love to try them out next time.

And new places are opening all the time.

Warren Street at twilight, the sky dark blue and the street lamps turning on.

Where to Stay in Hudson, New York

Most people who visit Hudson choose to stay in a historic building, whether it’s a boutique hotel or a home rental. There are also a handful of chains in the area as well. Here are a few of our recommendations.

Top-Rated Hotels in Hudson NY:

Splurge: Inn at 34 is located right in the center of downtown Hudson in a historic building, walking distance to everything you could possibly want to explore in Hudson.

Mid-Range: St. Charles Hotel is another historic building located in downtown Hudson. It’s steps away from some of the great restaurants that town has to offer and parking is available, if you have a car.

Budget: Micosta Leisure Inn is located a bit out of the town center but offers cozy rooms and great service, plus beautiful garden views!

Check out more Hudson hotels here.

Top-Rated Rentals in Hudson

Splurge: This Sun-Drenched Property features 3 rooms and 2 full bathrooms is located just 2 blocks off Warren Street. It’s furnished with everything you need for a weekend getaway.

Mid-Range: This Garden Suite with Parking is located in the heart of Hudson, right on Warren Street. It’s the perfect little one bedroom for a couple.

Budget: This Comforts of Home studio is located about 10 minutes from downtown Hudson and 5 minutes from other amenities. It offers a rural getaway and each unit includes a deck.

See more Hudson NY home rentals here.

An old-fashioned brick building covered in Ivy with an ornate wooden porch with columns.

How to Get to Hudson, New York

The easiest way to get to Hudson, NY is to take Amtrak from Penn Station in New York. The journey is two hours and I paid $72 for a round-trip ticket; book early for the lowest fares.

Hudson is a stop on several Amtrak lines including the Empire Express, which I took (New York to Niagara Falls), Ethan Allen Express (New York to Rutland, Vermont), Maple Leaf (New York to Toronto) and Adirondack (New York to Montreal), so it’s easily accessible from lots of places!

You can also get to the town of Hudson by flying into the airport in Albany, New York and renting a car. If you’re up for a road trip, you can drive from NYC to Hudson in just 2 hours and 15 minutes or from Boston in just about 3 hours.

Is Hudson NY worth it?

This definitely won’t be my last trip to Hudson! I know I’ll be returning again and again. Hudson could end up being my default “escape New York before the city consumes you” getaway. And since my three best friends and I are living in New York, Boston, and upstate New York, it could be a perfect meeting point for us.

I feel like Hudson is a good destination for people who want to chill out and relax, not people who are set on ticking off a sightseeing list. There’s not a lot to do here beyond eating, shopping, and hanging out — and that’s what I love about it.

When I need to get away from the city, Hudson is the place!

A store reading "adage NYC" next to a rainbow Pride flag.

I was also impressed by how queer-friendly Hudson was. I visited during Pride Month and sadly had to leave hours before Hudson’s own Pride Parade took place. But the town was absolutely covered with rainbow flags! They hung from nearly every flagpole down Warren Street, alongside the American flags, and nearly every business had its own rainbow flag or sign out front as well.

Hudson hasn’t been a historical getaway for LGBT travelers like Provincetown or Key West, the kind of place you’d expect to be covered with rainbow flags. Because of that, the message was clear: Hudson was saying, “LGBT travelers, you’re very welcome and we’re so glad you’re here.” I love this. More destinations should follow Hudson’s lead.

I will say one other thing — I enjoyed Hudson the most during the week. I preferred when it was much less crowded and I could be the only person at the bar, even though far fewer places were open. Even if you only have the weekend, see if you can tack on a Thursday or Monday to get the feeling of the town outside peak time.

In a previous version of this post, I wrote about Savor the Taste, The Crimson Sparrow, Bonfiglio & Bread, and Fish and Game, which have since closed.

More Easy Getaways from NYC:

33 Things To Do In the Berkshires

Exploring the North Fork of Long Island

Revisiting Philadelphia, And Doing It Better

A Weekend on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

22 Fabulous Things To Do in Provincetown, MA

Hudson, New York: America's Coolest Small Town

Does Hudson look like your kind of place? Share away!

17 thoughts on “Is Hudson, NY the Coolest Small Town in America?”

  1. Victoria Voner

    Hey Kate! I will have to tell my sister about this place! She lives in Lee, MA and is also trying to get into food photography in New York City! I told her she should think about starting a food blog, however she isn’t really a writer. If you have any tips or ideas that would be the bomb 😉

    Also….YES the burgers are so good out there! In the Berkshires they are just as good, maybe that could be another area to check out? My sister could show you the best spots haha!

    Congrats on this successful blog!

  2. Cold Spring is also a good place to visit. It’s centrally located for a couple of nice hikes in the area as well. Easy to take the Metro North out of Grand Central.

  3. It looks adorable! Totally different part of the country, but the photos actually remind me of some of the small towns that you see in Texas and Oklahoma when you’re driving on the back roads instead of the interstate.

  4. Wow all of that food looks amazing! I love when someplace turns out to be a foodie paradise and those usually turn out to be some of the best weekend getaways.

  5. Yes! My biggest regret while living in NYC was not trekking outside the concrete jungle more often. I highly recommend Bear Mountain and the surrounding lakes if you really want to get into nature. Being from Florida where the lakes all contain alligators, it was really refreshing to be able to swim care-free in a giant body of water.

  6. Such a great town! Warren street every day of the year is so wonderful to walk down. Window shopping in all the small businesses stores and grabbing a bite to eat and walking down to the river or the park really allows you to see the best of hudson (especially on a calm summer day).

    1) Stair Galleries: The auction house always has such great items and always has previews before auctions so you can walk around the two story building and gaze at the beautiful lots. The staff is so friendly from the boss down to the movers, a smile and a hello is always given. The store front display changes every auction they have and they are so well done its hard not to want to peak inside and see what else they’ve done.

    2)Rev Coffee: The small coffee shop on Warren street is a great spot to sit and relax. The inexpensive drinks and food, the great music and the warm staff always makes the visit so welcoming.
    (HINT! the cold brew on a hot summer day hits the spot and the cappuccinos on a frosty winter day warms you right up!) You will almost always see a dog or a inspiring writer in the store just make sure not to startle them when exiting the door, it doesn’t have springs and will make a bang.

    3) Nolitas cafe: The busy little cafe is the best spot when you need a sandwich and you’re on a budget. The fast service and friendly staff will make every time special you will probably be called “Honey” or “Darling” by the women who works there and it truly makes it a friendly place to be.

    4) The food truck lot: In the summer a lot becomes a food truck heaven with all these great trucks ready to serve you great food anything from Indian to Vegetarian to good old burgers. You can for sure get whatever you want

  7. Ohh, what a find! I live in Hoboken and am always scouting out day or weekend trips. I’ve seen Hudson on the map, but haven’t made it there yet (after this post I will!).

    If you’re looking for other spots, I stumbled upon Sleepy Hollow (like, the Headless Horseman Sleepy Hollow!) in the Hudson Valley. Really cool, a bit spooky and a lot of history. Can’t wait to read more!

  8. Have you ever been to Rhinebeck? It’s a beautiful place and also along the Hudson River. I used to live around that area!

  9. Small, charming town, quaint cafes serving delicious made from scratch food, interesting book shops cum bars – well, what’s not to like about Hudon! USA has its fair share of small towns. Loved reading this post and will lookout for similar ones from you in future.

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