18 Best Things To Do in Poughkeepsie, Hudson Valley
Known as “The Queen City of the Hudson,” Poughkeepsie is situated in the beautiful Hudson Valley on the banks of the Hudson River and is home to over 30,000 people. Established in the 17th century by the Dutch, Poughkeepsie is a bustling college town filled with wonderful examples of historic architecture alongside trendy boutiques and excellent fine dining restaurants. No less than 22 beautiful green parks surround the area, which features plenty of urban spaces in which to relax. Photo: lightningboldt/Fotolia
» Walkway over the Hudson
Otherwise known as the Poughkeepsie Bridge, the Walkway over the Hudson is a long bridge that connects Poughkeepsie on the east bank of the Hudson River and Highland on the west bank. Built as a double track railroad bridge in 1889, it was damaged by a fire in 1974, after which it earned a place on the National Register of Historic Places.
It was then restored as the Walkway over the Hudson State Historical Park in 2009, a linear pedestrian walkway spanning the river at 212 feet tall and 1.28 miles long, making it the longest footbridge in the world. The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset. Read more
Contact: 82 Washington Street, 845-454-9649
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»Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College
Founded in 1864 as the Vassar College Art Gallery, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is based on the campus of Vassar College and features a teaching museum, exhibition space displaying works from antiquity to contemporary times, and a major art repository. Designed by world-renowned architect César Pelli, the building has been called “a symphony of architecture” and features the renovated collegiate-gothic Taylor-Van Ingen Hall and the Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller glass hexagonal entrance pavilion.
Named after the building’s largest donor, the Lehman Loeb Art Center is home to a collection of over 18,000 works, including the notable Warburg Collection of Old Masters prints and a wide range of works by major European and American twentieth-century painters. The Hildegarde Krause Baker Sculpture Garden is a beautifully landscaped and lush garden that boasts a stellar collection of twentieth-century sculptures.
Contact: 124 Raymond Ave Box 703, 845-437-5237
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Photo: Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College
»Locust Grove Estate
Overlooking the Hudson River from high on a bluff, Locust Grove is a 200-acre National Historic Landmark estate that includes a historic Italianate-style mansion built in 1951, a beautiful carriage house and miles of carriage roads, landscaped grounds with a flower and vegetable garden, and an ice house. Architect A. J. Davis designed the Italianate villa for artist and inventor Samuel Morse, and the estate features a collection of over 15,000 pieces of furniture, paintings, and decorative arts that can be viewed by the public on guided group tours of the mansion and the surrounding grounds.
The property also includes a museum that showcases antique exhibits, a gallery of beautiful artworks, and a nature reserve with natural and landscaped grounds. The estate offers guided tours, lectures, and other special events, as well as a range of educational programs for all ages. Visitors can also explore five miles of 19th-century carriage roads that wind through the woods.
Contact: 2683 South Road, 845-454-4500
Photo: Locust Grove Estate
» Mid-Hudson Children's Museum
Located in the heart of the historic Hudson Riverfront, the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum (MHCM) is dedicated to creating a community where young children can learn through exploration, examination, and discovery. The museum features an array of exhibitions and displays that focus on science, nature, art, music, and literacy and allows children to engage in interactive and immersive play to develop foundational skills and interpersonal connections through exploring, moving, pretending, creating, collaborating, and discovering.
Educational programs include playgroup workshops, StarLab Planetarium shows, summer camps, and field trips, as well as outreach programs for local schools. The museum also hosts a variety of special events throughout the year from art, music, and cultural programs to festive holiday celebrations. Read more
Contact: 75 North Water Street, 845-471-0589
Photo: Mid-Hudson Children's Museum
»Bardavon Opera House, Poughkeepsie, NY
Built in 1869, the Bardavon Opera House is the oldest continuously operating theater in New York State. Located in the downtown district of Poughkeepsie, the opera house, designed by JA Wood, has been serving the community as a venue for various performing arts for over 140 years. The 944-seat opera house is home to two historic theaters and the region’s premiere orchestra, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic (the HVP), and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Bardavon Opera House presents a variety of arts-based performances, including theater, dance, and classic films for a broad diversity of audiences in both of its venues. It also offers several educational and arts-based programs and learning experiences for children and adults.
Contact: 35 Market Street, 845-473-5288
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Photo: Bardavon Opera House
Founded in 1929, Marist College is a world-renowned college of the arts and sciences. Overlooking the Hudson River in the heart of the historic Hudson Valley, the college started a school that became one of the leading colleges in the nation.
The college is surrounded by the homes of some of this country's most influential people, and visitors to the college shouldn’t miss the opportunity of seeing the home and museum of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt's retreat, Val-Kill, both just a short distance from the college.
Contact: 3399 North Road, 845-575-3000
Photo: Marist College
»Art Centro, Poughkeepsie, NY
Located in the former Barrett Clay Works building in the Middle Main neighborhood of downtown Poughkeepsie, Art Centro is a community arts space that offers a variety of art and dance classes and art-based facilities to the community. Established to enrich and engage the local community in the arts, Art Centro hosts an array of workshops, rehearsals, performances, and community meetings throughout the year and features several private art studios and a gallery space where artists can exhibit their work.
Ceramics and art classes are available for both adults and children, and visitors can watch talented artists at work in an open studio. The center also offers special drawing and painting classes, fusion dance classes, and ten studios that can be rented for private use.
Contact: 485 Main Street, 845-454-4525
Photo: Art Centro
»Rosticceria Rossi & Sons, Poughkeepsie, NY
Founded in 1979 by John Rossi, Rosticceria Rossi & Sons (or simply Rossi’s Deli) became an institution in downtown Poughkeepsie with a steady stream of regulars lining up to enjoy the fresh, ready-made food that comes out of the kitchen. Delicious daily specials include roasted salmon, Maryland crab cakes, chicken Francese and braised beef pasta, while sandwiches, homemade soups, salads and Panini are lunchtime favorites.
The deli presents a range of imported goods that attract gourmands and food lovers from far and wide, and it also boasts a full range of Pastosa Ravioli from Bay Bridge in Brooklyn. Rossi’s Deli caters special events and occasions and is open Monday through Saturday.
Contact: 45 South Clover St, 845-471-0654
Photo: Rosticceria Rossi & Sons
»The Artist's Palate
The Artist’s Palate is a contemporary wine bar and bistro on Main Street that offers an innovative menu and wine list in a cosmopolitan and elegant atmosphere. Housed in what was once the home of Golden Era clothing store M. Schwartz, The Artist’s Palate has a stylish 70-seat dining room with industrial accents in the dark wood tables, marble bar, and soft lighting. An upmarket gallery features revolving exhibitions of up-and-coming local artists.
Combining seasonal ingredients with new flavor concepts, chefs at the eatery treat food as art, producing dishes such as a Matisse Salad of mixed greens, Bartlett pears, blue cheese crackers and toasted hazelnuts, Maine lobster mac and cheese, and an Artist’s Plate of imported charcuteries such as soppressata, Parma ham, and capicola served with assorted cheeses, marinated olives, and vegetables. An extensive array of wines, handcrafted beers, and handcrafted cocktails complement the seasonal menu, which is available for lunch and dinner six days a week.
Contact: 307 Main Street, 845-483-8074
Photo: The Artist's Palate
»Mid-Hudson Heritage Center
The Mid-Hudson Heritage Center is a public gallery space dedicated to enriching the community through various arts and cultural events, as well as inspiring the public to take an interest in the arts. Located on Main Street, the gallery space hosts an array of art-based events and functions throughout the year, including author readings, art exhibitions, lectures, film screenings, meetings, and workshops by artists and experts in the industry.
The center is also home to permanent historical exhibits showcasing the history and heritage of Poughkeepsie. The Mid-Hudson Heritage Center is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday, and guided tours are available by individual appointment.
Contact: 317 Main Street, 845-214-1113
Photo: Mid-Hudson Heritage Center
»Mill House Brewing
Located in the rehabilitated Mill House, Mill House Brewing Company presents the region’s best food and beer offerings in a historic and appealing setting, providing an unrivaled Hudson Valley dining experience. Alongside the brewery’s artfully crafted ales distributed across four states, Mill House offers a seasonal menu of fresh fare created from ingredients sourced from local farmers, producers, and artisans.
Appetizers include beer steamed mussels, buffalo fried oysters, and flank steak tacos, while charcuteries platters feature handmade sausages, salamis, and cheeses. Entrées include burgers pizza, fish and chips, various types of steak and ribs, fresh fish, and vegetarian options. End with a sweet dessert and pair your meal with one of the many bottled or on tap beers from the brewery.
Contact: 289 Mill Street, 845-485-2739
Photo: Mill House Brewing
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»Crave, Poughkeepsie, NY
Located under the Walkway Over the Hudson on Washington Street, Crave is a modern eatery that presents great food and wine, outstanding service, and a casual, friendly ambiance. Start with small plates to share made with fresh ingredients from the garden, such as chicken-fried oysters served with sweet corn aioli, pork belly and sweet and sour cabbage, and ricotta gnocchi with pancetta and bacon ragu.
Mains include bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin served with smoked potatoes and mustard jus, Chatham cod with Pommes Dauphine and sweet corn puree steeped in a bacon vinaigrette, or duck breast and spaetzle served with cranberries and sunchokes. Crave offers an exceptional private dining space with a sheltered patio and elegant lounge where diners can enjoy a sumptuous meal and excellent wines on special occasions.
Contact: 129 Washington Street, 845-452-3501
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»Blue Collar Brewery
Housed in a building that was formerly home to the meat packing company Morris and Co. at 40 Cottage Street, Blue Collar Brewery produces five categories of beers, namely light, pale, dark, seasonal, and brewer’s reserve on tap and in bottles. The brewery also offers a pub menu of seasonal fare made with locally sourced ingredients.
Dishes include snack plates of tacos, buffalo wings, nuggets, and onion rings, and larger plates of wraps, sandwiches, steaks, ribs, chicken, and chili dogs. Designed to serve as a reminder of the importance of work ethic and the American way of life, the brewery features an open kitchen and a warm and welcoming ambiance. Blue Collar Brewery is open seven days a week.
Contact: 40 Cottage Street, 845-454-BREW
Photo: Blue Collar Brewery
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»Shadows on the Hudson, Poughkeepsie, NY
Perched high above the Hudson River on the Poughkeepsie waterfront, Shadows on the Hudson is an award-winning restaurant that serves world-class cuisine against a backdrop of breathtaking views. Guests can choose from five beautifully furnished dining spaces, ranging from the casual and warm Sunset Room or the modern Winter Room to the Sunrise Deck and True River Rooms, which boast spectacular panoramic vistas of the river.
Progressive American-style menus are available for brunch, lunch, and dinner and present a wide variety of dishes that appeal to all tastes. Dishes include homemade pasta, grilled meat and fish dishes, freshly roasted vegetables, and garden crisp salads. An intimate bar menu features small plates of snacks such as calamari, wings, and garlic bread while a comprehensive wine list features sparkling, white, red and limited wines, as well as champagnes and imported spirits to pair with cuisine.
Contact: 176 Rinaldi Boulevard, 845-486-950
Photo: Shadows on the Hudson
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»Empire Cruise Lines
Empire Cruise Lines offer a variety of seasonal sightseeing cruises on the Hudson River between the months of May and October. Cruises are held on the M/V Mystère, a 60-foot, double-decker passenger vessel with ample seating and standing room and modern amenities. Voyages depart from Victor C. Waryas Park in the heart of the Hudson River Valley.
The range of cruises available on the M/V Mystère includes romantic sunset cruises, relaxing dinner cruises, cruises for events such as reunions and rehearsal dinners or corporate functions, and private pre-arranged cruises for weddings and other special occasions. Savor some of the world’s best wines on a Wine Cruise that sails past stately mansions or book a unique lunch cruise with a group of friends and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Hudson Valley together.
Contact: 29 North Water Street, 845-345-8510
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Photo: Empire Cruise Lines
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18 Best Things To Do in Poughkeepsie, Hudson Valley
- Walkway over the Hudson, Photo: Courtesy of fromthepolder - Fotolia.com
- Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, Photo: Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College
- Locust Grove Estate, Photo: Locust Grove Estate
- Mid-Hudson Children's Museum, Photo: Mid-Hudson Children's Museum
- Bardavon Opera House, Poughkeepsie, NY, Photo: Bardavon Opera House
- Marist College, Photo: Marist College
- Art Centro, Poughkeepsie, NY, Photo: Art Centro
- Rosticceria Rossi & Sons, Poughkeepsie, NY, Photo: Rosticceria Rossi & Sons
- The Artist's Palate, Photo: The Artist's Palate
- Mid-Hudson Heritage Center, Photo: Mid-Hudson Heritage Center
- Mill House Brewing, Photo: Mill House Brewing
- Crave, Poughkeepsie, NY, Photo: Crave
- Blue Collar Brewery, Photo: Blue Collar Brewery
- Shadows on the Hudson, Poughkeepsie, NY, Photo: Shadows on the Hudson
- Empire Cruise Lines, Photo: Empire Cruise Lines
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of lightningboldt - Fotolia.com
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