A 2021 guide to Hudson, NY written by Erin Lindsey/Escape Brooklyn. Photos by Erin Lindsey & Lawrence Braun for Escape Brooklyn.

Hudson, NY is the perfect town for your maiden voyage upstate — in fact, it was ours! Ten+ years ago, a coworker returned from a weekend Upstate with tales of a sleepy town dotted with quaint B&Bs, great antique shopping, farmland and fields of wildflowers. Soon after, we were on our own first trip to Upstate NY that inspired many trips back to the region (and ultimately, Escape Brooklyn.)

Ten+ years later, Hudson is “sleepy town” no more — on the contrary, it now brands itself as the “downtown of Upstate.” The metropolitan area boasts 200 independent establishments including antique and boutique shops, hotels, art galleries, restaurants and bars, mostly along Warren Street.

Visually, this charming town is a treat, delighting visitors and aesthetes with its stunning and Wes Anderson-esque architecture. The restoration of some 300 historic buildings in two square miles makes it one of the historically richest, and most diverse architectural cities in New York State.

It seems the secret is out: according to the NY Times, Hudson, NY’s population grew faster than any other metropolitan area in 2020. Hudson seems to have charmed quite a few of its past visitors and inspired many to leave large cities, once and for all. With the large boost in population, expect even more new businesses to open at the hands of its new creative recruits.

Part of its appeal — for relocation or visiting — is no doubt Hudson’s accessibility. For those who don’t want to deal with the hassle of a car, Hudson is easily accessed from NYC via Amtrak and very pedestrian/bike friendly. If you’re driving from NYC, the 120-mile drive takes about 2.5 hours, passing scenic overlooks, farm stands, and landmark diners that have inspired city escapees for years.

Read on for our guide to Hudson, NY.

Where to Stay: Hotels in Hudson, NY

Unwind poolside at the Amelia, which is surrounded by lush gardens. Photo: Lawrence Braun.

Hudson has an abundance of boutique hotels, Airbnbs and old-school B&B’s — and given that it’s one of the most popular towns for New Yorkers to escape, we say the more the merrier. In 2016, we created a Guide to Hudson that included stays at Rivertown Lodge and Wm. Farmer & Sons; more recently, we stayed at Hudson’s newest hotel offering, the very lovely Amelia.

Tucked away a few blocks from Hudson’s main street, the Amelia offers eight spacious, thoughtfully designed guest rooms and suites. Housed in a Queen Anne-style private residence, rooms feature modern furnishings, each blending traditional and modern aesthetic; beds are comfortable and are richly appointed with Matouk bed linens. In summer, indulge in a peaceful day by the pool, bordered by a garden of hydrangeas, bluebells, roses and other beautiful specimens. In chillier months, cozy up at the outdoor fire pit with a s’mores kit, or indoors by the fireplace with a borrowed book in the hotel’s curated elegant library.

Throughout the boutique hotel, original details have been carefully preserved, from woodwork and moldings to its fireplaces and leaded windows. On the main floor, guests can make use of a kitchenette, where Nespresso is served and the makings for a light breakfast are provided. Plentiful common spaces — which are great for remote work — include a library, lounge & dining room, outdoor decks and porches.

Up a striking central staircase, all eight rooms are located on the second and third floors of this lovely boutique hotel. Each room is unique: like the Hudson View Room 2 with its Oriel window and fireplace; the Garden View, with its oversize windows overlooking the garden and nearby Mount Merino; or Hudson View 3 with its large soaking tub. All rooms have indulgent bathrooms with Frette bath towels and rain showers.

On a quiet street on the southern edge of town, it’s just a ten minute walk (or 2 minute cab) from Amtrak station — passing some of Hudon’s best gems like cheese and provision shop Talbott & Arding, watering hole Half Moon, and breakfast/lunch fave Kitty’s. In fact, it’s walkable to most (if not all) of Hudson’s best restaurants, shops and more.

Things to Do in Hudson, NY: Shop Main Street & Explore Nearby Towns

Bring a picnic and watch sunset at the riverfront park in Hudson, NY, overlooking the Athens lighthouse. Photo: Erin Lindsey/Escape Brooklyn.

Hudson, NY is set at the foot of the Catskill Mountains (with skiing, fishing, and hiking) — but also central in the Hudson Valley (with its shopping and restaurants and breweries) — and so the activities are endless. We’ll do our best here.

If you’re opting for a trip to Hudson over other Upstate locations, chances are you’re into arts & culture over a purely “outdoorsy” trip. With that in mind, spend a day meandering around town, checking out the small businesses on and around Warren Street. Some EB favorites are Flowerkraut, a floral studio and sauerkraut shop; Clove & Creek, a beautifully curated home/apparel/gift shop; Red Chair, an antique shop with a focus on French items; Paula Grief, handmade ceramics; Quiet Botanist, a botanical apothecary and dry flower shop; and Jon Doe Records, a unique vinyl shop.

When perusing Warren St., visitors will likely be overwhelmed by the sea of super-curated, but pricey antique shops. But if you’re in the market and willing to dig a little, much better deals can be found at Coxsackie Antique Center, about 25 minutes up the road. (On the way, stop at the very cute Black Horse Farms for snacks and farm goodies.) Alternately, the massive (we’re talking 40,000 square feet massive) Antique Warehouse is also a great spot to spend a few hours searching for treasures. Last, for a souvenir you’ll never forget, stop into Hudson River Tattoo for great traditional style work.

Just across the Hudson River, the small towns of Athens and Catskill are also worth checking out. In summer, take advantage of the weekend evening ferry rides that shuttle between Hudson and Athens, where you can have dinner on the waterfront at bar/restaurant The Stewart House. A ten minute drive south will take you into Catskill, which is also seeing huge growth thanks to migrations from Hudson and NYC; check out HiLo for lunch or grab a pint at Crossroads Brewery.

Enjoy the Outdoors Around Hudson: Go for a Hike, and Visit a Local Farm or Outdoor Museum

Stissing Mountain fire tower in peak autumn. Photo: Denny Brownell.

During warmer months (or if you’re into icy, frozen waterfalls in winter) check out the High Falls Conservation Area where a short 1.5 mile trail leads to an overlook of a dramatic waterfall. More challenging but 100% worth the effort is the Stissing Mountain trail, where a 1.8 mile climb takes you to a mountaintop firetower with stunning 360º views of the Catskills/Hudson Valley region. Further afoot into the Catskills, Tannersville, Windham and Hunter are under 45 minute drives, each with great hiking and skiing options as well. After any hike, make sure to treat yourself accordingly at the newly opened (and very delicious) Culture Cream, for all your post-hike indulgent pleasures.

For those less hike-inclined, farm and museum visits are also great ways to spend the day outside. Every Sunday, nearby Kinderhook Farm has free farm tours, where the farmers will walk you through sheep and cow pastures; check out the shop and stock up on provisions while you’re there, too. Other must-sees nearby are Art Omi, a 120-acre sculpture park with tons of space and sculpture to explore — and Olana, a historic house museum of Hudson River Valley painter Frederic Church, whose property has some leisurely trails with stunning views of the Hudson River.

Where to Eat: The Best Restaurants in Hudson, NY

Wm. Farmer & Sons in Hudson, NY. Photo: Erin Lindsey/Escape Brooklyn.

Most hotels don’t include breakfast in Hudson; instead, explore all the options in and around town. Within easy range of the Amelia, check out Kitty’s for casual-but-delicious fare (think breakfast sandwiches and hash browns) or Talbott & Arding for baked goods, sandwiches, pastries and other provisions. Further uptown, Cafe Mutton serves up beautiful dishes like its roasted mushroom scramble or scrapple & eggs. For more of a sit-down, boozy brunch vibe, Rivertown Lodge and the Maker Hotel are both solid options. (Of note: all these breakfast recommendations are interchangeable with lunch.)

For lunch, our favorite spot is Lil Deb’s Oasis, who serves tropical comfort food in a tiki-themed bar. Dinner is great too; make sure to bring dough for this cash only spot. Burger lovers and diner enthusiasts will enjoy Grazin’, a farm-to-table burger joint, and the first restaurant in the world to serve up 100% animal-welfare approved burgers.

For dinner, first and foremost: make a reservation whenever possible. Even on a weekday, getting a table (anywhere) isn’t easy and you’ll need to plan ahead.

Our favorite dinner in town is Wm. Farmer & Sons, whose ambiance and food are both top notch. We had the same meal twice here: shaved brussel sprouts, wild mushrooms over a pastry, potato gnocchi, and a roasted fennel & kabocha squash gratin. Another go-to is Swoon Kitchenbar, offering up farm-to-table fare with daily specials including Meatless Mondays and Burger Thursdays. More adventurous eaters should try the Vietnamese cuisine at Food Studio, or the new Malaysian menu created by chef Zak Pellacio of Fatty Crabs, at Backbar. (Backbar is also one of our favorite bars in Hudson; more on that below.) Last, for a memorable meal, check out Feast & Floret, serving beautiful Italian fare in a space that has a floral shop in the middle of the dining room.

Bars in Hudson, NY: From a Craft Beer Bookshop, to Dive Bars With Live Music and Upscale Cocktail Bars

Half Moon in Hudson, NY. Photo: Erin Lindsey/Escape Brooklyn.

Depending on your mood, there’s a wide range of bars in Hudson these days — from no-frills dives to fancy cocktail lounges to dance parties. Starting at the “dive” end of things, Half Moon is Hudson’s local go-to watering hole, with pretty regular live music, a jukebox, pool table, and the best happy hour in town. Up on Warren Street, Spotty Dog is a fun concept that’s now being repeated elsewhere in the Hudson Valley: a bookshop with a bar. There’s a couple couches and chairs around for leisure drinking and reading. Just down the street, newly opened Lawrence Park is the only bar open after midnight — and hosts tons of events (DJs, queer performances, dance, etc.)

On the highbrow side of things, the Maker Hotel’s Lounge is gorgeous, decadent, and intimate–great for special occasions; or check out Sonder, a natural wine bar with snacks that is a perfect vibe for date night.