The barn at Mount Gulian Historic Site in Beacon, NY

15+ Best Things To Do In Beacon NY This Weekend

If you’re wondering what to do in Beacon NY, then you’ve come to the right place. Since moving up to Ulster County, I have always been enamored by this great place and have found so many things to do in Beacon NY that you may need to take a few days to see it all.

Beacon New York is just one of those places that always seems like it’s buzzing with activity. Each and every time I go to visit, I always find something new to see and fun to do.

Whether it’s a new place to shop, a gallery to view or a great place to eat, there is no shortage of things to do in Beacon NY.

So, if you’re looking for things to do in Beacon NY, let me be your guide and take you on a quick tour.

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The outdoor sitting area of Bank Square in Beacon, NY
Outside Seating at Bank Sq Coffee House

Where is Beacon, NY?

Located near the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge and I-84 in Dutchess County NY sits a wonderful place full of art, music, food, and everything in between. Beacon NY is truly a special place in the Hudson Valley.

Beacon New York sits along the Hudson River sandwiched between Wappingers Falls, NY and Cold Spring, NY. It’s located on the southern-most western side of Dutchess County NY.

Directly across the Hudson River you can spot Newburgh, NY. 

The front porch of Mount Gulian Historic Site in Beacon, NY
Mount Gulian Historic Site

Things To Know Before Your Visit To Beacon, NY

  • Make sure you plan your day in advance because there are a lot of things to do in Beacon NY
  • Check the individual websites to confirm the operating hours of the businesses you plan to visit.
  • Reservations may be required to visit certain locations and/or eat at certain restaurants.
  • Make sure to visit during Beacon New York’s ‘Second Saturday’ held every month (Read more about this event below)
  • Street parking on Main Street is always FREE and can be challenging, at times, so having an alternate parking plan (side streets, etc) is ideal.

NYC to Beacon NY

There are several ways one can get to Beacon NY.

By Train: The Beacon train station is within walking distance to Main Street. The Beacon Train stop runs on the Hudson Line of the Metro North Railway System. 

Approximately 90 minutes from Grand Central, this makes it the ideal place for a day trip from NYC.

The Metro-North Train offers a Getaway Package from Grand Central to Beacon New York that includes admission to DIA: Beacon.

By Car: Beacon New York is also conveniently located off of Interstate-84. Interstate-84 can be accessed from the Taconic State Parkway and the New York State Thruway (I-87).

By Ferry: There is ferry service from Newburgh, NY. Running daily from Newburgh Waterfront, the ride itself is about 10-15 minutes and, there is a small fee charged. (Under $2 at the time of this posting)

Hudson River from the ferry boat tour to Bannerman Island

How far is Beacon NY from NYC?

As previously mentioned, Beacon New York is an easy train ride on the Metro-North from New York City (Grand Central Terminal).  It is approximately a 90-minute train ride and it’s a straight ride with no transfers.

By car, though, the ride time may differ. It can be anywhere between 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the day and time of day that you decide to travel.

Due to its close proximity to the Hudson River and having its own Metro-North Train Station, Beacon NY is the hub of activity when people think of the Mid-Hudson Valley Region and Dutchess County.

It’s also the place most likely to attract the type of tourist who might be going away from a long weekend or taking some time for a day trip from NYC.

Because of this popularity, Beacon NY can be more crowded than other, lesser known, and not easily accessible towns in Dutchess County.

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The Best of Dutchess County

Reference this Guide to Dutchess County, NY and see all the wonderful things there are to do in the county. This list comprises of information and links to websites for many things you can enjoy.

What is Beacon NY known for?

Once a mill town, Beacon NY started to experience popularity with the arrival of the Beacon NY museum, DIA:Beacon, in the early 2000s.

This is such a popular spot, that when I ask people what they think of when they think of Beacon NY, they typically say, “DIA:Beacon”. I have written an article all about DIA Beacon: 10+ Things to Experience with your DIA Beacon Admission.

That makes the location one of the Top Things to do in Beacon NY.

10+ Things to Experience with your DIA Beacon Admission

Visitors admiring the art of DIA:Beacon. DIA:Beacon is one of the best things to do in Beacon.
Exhibit at DIA:Beacon

Best Days & Time to find Things to do in Beacon NY

In my opinion, the best day to find things to do in Beacon NY is during their Second Saturday Event.

The streets are bustling with people, the shops are eager to welcome patrons and the galleries showcase the best exhibits around. No matter the season, Beacon New York’s Second Saturday is sure to be a fun day and evening out.

There are so many things to do in Beacon NY that you may need to visit several times, but at least you know that during ‘Second Saturday’ you can probably cover a lot of ground.

Are Some Things to do in Beacon NY within Walking Distance from Another?

It’s easy to take a stroll up and down Beacon New York’s Main Street.

It’s approximately 1 mile in length and full of shops and restaurants. One can make an afternoon of wandering in and out of shops and sampling the best of what Beacon has to offer.

From the train station, you can walk to both DIA:Beacon and to Main Street.

Main Street in Beacon, NY
Roundhouse in Beacon, NY
Roundhouse Restaurant

Best 15+ Things to do in Beacon NY

  • Beacon Farmers’ Market – Held on Sundays from 10 am – 2 pm, this Year-Round Farmer’s Market is very popular. The outdoor season takes place from May – November and the indoor season takes place from December – April. This is just one of the Charming Farmers’ Markets that take place up and down the Hudson Valley and is a favorite of locals and visitors. It offers its patrons a wide variety of products that never disappoint.
  • Beacon Post Office – Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this post office has a beautifully painted map of the Hudson Valley and some murals that display some historical events that have taken place in the Hudson Valley. This is one of the muse-see things to do in Beacon NY for any history lover.
  • Mount Beacon Park – The hike up Mt. Beacon Park begins at a staircase that once was the area where the Beacon Incline Railway existed. I’m not a hiker but have seen photos on Instagram and the view from the top looks amazing. It is free, open year-round and welcomes leashed dogs. I’ve also heard that South Mount Beacon Fire Tower offers a view of Manhattan and Albany on a clear day.
  • Long Dock Park – Located right along the Hudson River near the Beacon Train Station, this park offers magnificent views of the river and the nearby mountains. There is an opportunity to take a boat ride ride to Bannerman Castle from this park during warmer months.
  • Walk across the Hudson River on the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge – Also known as the Hamilton Fish Newburgh Beacon Bridge, the protected walkway over the bridge provides amazing river views. The walk takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes from the Beacon train station to the Newburgh waterfront restaurants.
  • Howland Cultural Center – This former library is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Now a beautiful cultural center that hosts many events throughout the year.
Howland Cultural Center in Beacon, NY
Howland Cultural Center
  • Madam Brett Homestead – As the oldest building in Dutchess County, NY it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was turned into a museum. Typically offering tours ever second Saturday from 1pm – 4pm, it showcases how life was in the 1800’s.
  • Hudson Beach Glass – A staple in Beacon New York and the Hudson Valley, Hudson Beach Glass has their gallery and glass blowing area located in an old firehouse on Main Street. Visiting this place is a real treat and a wonderful example of the art of glass making and glass blowing in the area.

Read all about my experience visiting Hudson Beach Glass

  • Denning’s Point Distillery – Using local ingredients, this distillery produces award-winning products and is committed to serving only the best to the Hudson Valley. The presentation offered by the owner is not only educational but also entertaining. We have a great time with each visit.

Read all about my visit to Denning’s Point Distillery

Sign at Entrance of Dennings Point Distillery in Beacon, NY
Denning’s Point Distillery
  • DIA: Beacon – Where once stood a Nabisco box-printing facility now holds magnificent pieces of art. We are lucky to have such an enormous and significant space to house art in the Hudson Valley. Both the indoor and the outdoor spaces offer wonderful experiences for all who visit.
  • Ferry to Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island – Tours to Bannerman Castle begin at Long Dock Park in Beacon with a ferry ride right to Pollepel Island. This amazing experience should be on everyone’s list of must-do things in Beacon NY.

Read all about my visit to Pollepel Island & Bannerman Castle

  • Mt. Gulian Historic Site – Located just on the other side of I-84, Mt Gulian Historic Site is a popular place for weddings. The original house served a headquarters during the Revolutionary War. It’s located quite a walk from Main Street in Beacon, so a taxi may be the best bet on getting there if you’re visiting on the train.
Bannerman Castle as seen from the Hudson River in the Hudson Valley
Bannerman Castle
  • Stroll up & down Main Street – Take the day to stroll and go into shops, galleries, and eat along the way.
  • Attend Second Saturday – Second Saturday is exactly what the name suggests. It’s a once a month event showcasing art in Beacon New York.
  • Get coffee at Bank Square – This favorite coffee place of the locals is open early and closes late while offering a menu not only consisting of coffee and tea, but also beer, and snacks.
  • Take a photo in front of a mural – What would a trip to Beacon be without a photo of the mural on North Chestnut Street?
Mural in Beacon. This is one of the most popular things to do in Beacon.
  • Story Screen Beacon Theatre – Beacon’s newest addition to entertainment is this newly renovated movie theater. Grab some popcorn and enjoy a movie!

Where to Eat in Beacon NY

  • Get a donut at Glazed Over Donuts – This local hot spot features freshly made donuts with your choice of glazes and toppings. The combinations seem endless.
Glazed over Donut is a favorite place to visit in Beacon, NY
  • Beacon Bread Company – Open for breakfast & lunch, this local favorite is sure to please anyone walking through its doors.
  • Town Crier Cafe – Beacon got a treat when the Town Crier moved from Pawling New York. If you’re interested in listening to live music, as well as, eating delicious food, then this is your place.

Looking for more places to hear live music in the Hudson Valley?
Reference my Ultimate Guide to Popular Places to hear live music!

  • Max’s on Main – Beacon NY’s oldest bar is home to great food and great people. They host weekly events. 
The front door of the Beacon Pantry
  • Homespun Foods – This cozy restaurant serves first-rate food for breakfast, lunch & dinner. The food is always fresh and tastes like it was made in your own kitchen. They have two spots in Beacon: One on Main Street and the other at DIA:Beacon.
  • The Pandorica – If you’re a fan of Doctor Who, then a visit to this popular restaurant is a must!
  • Melzingah Tap House – This gathering place for craft beer enthusiasts, cocktail connoisseurs, and food fanatics is located on Main Street. Offering a fantastic twist on local cuisine, 23 taps of unique craft beer, and custom cocktails sure to delight, it is sure to be your new favorite place to eat. They offer outside dining, so be sure to make a reservation.

Looking for more places to eat in Beacon, NY?
Reference my Ultimate Guide to 50+ Restaurants

that you should visit in Beacon, NY

A Cheese platter lunch in Beacon, NY from Melzingah Tap House
Cheese Platter at Melzingah’s

Tips For A Successful Visit To Beacon NY:

  • Wear comfortable shoes. If you’re there for a day of exploring, then there will be a lot of walking involved.
  • There are plenty of places to stop and take a break while exploring Beacon NY.
  • Don’t try to do it all in one day. There are so many places to eat and drink that it’s almost impossible to do it all in a day.

Until the Next Adventure…

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