There are so many things to do in Poughkeepsie

The Best Things to do in Poughkeepsie:
A Three-Day Weekend Itinerary

Got a 3-day weekend coming your way? If you’re looking for a fun and memorable weekend getaway, look no further than the bustling little city of Poughkeepsie, the last stop on the Metro North Hudson Line! With so many things to do in Poughkeepsie, where does one begin?

In this blog post, we’ll be taking a look at a potential weekend itinerary for exploring and experiencing some of the best places and things that Poughkeepsie has to offer. I’ve compiled a list of some of the must-see things to do in Poughkeepsie and activities that will help you make the most of your visit. 

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Where is Poughkeepsie NY

Located in the beautiful Hudson Valley region of New York State, a short hour and a half train ride from New York City, is Poughkeepsie also known as Queen City of the Hudson. Poughkeepsie is a charming city that offers a wide range of activities and attractions for all ages, from young children to the young at heart. 

Located in Dutchess County, Poughkeepsie is known for many things: From historic sites and museums to outdoor adventures and delicious culinary experiences, Poughkeepsie has something for everyone and I’m sure at least one of these will become one of your favorite things to do.

Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, a film or music lover; or an outdoor enthusiast, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Poughkeepsie; one of the best small towns in the State of New York that will keep you entertained and engaged. So, grab your bags and let’s head to Poughkeepsie for a weekend of fun and adventure!

The Hudson Valley Planner
Hudson Valley Planner

By using a planner, like this one that I created, you can jot down all the events you want to attend & keep track of a year’s worth of outings.

Things to do in Poughkeepsie: Day 1

Public Mansions, Presidents, Picnics & The Philharmonic

Things to do in the Hudson Valley in November
Photo from Wikimedia Commons
  • Start the day with a visit to Locust Grove, a mansion in Poughkeepsie that is listed in the national register of historic places and was once home to artist Samuel Morse, the inventor of Morse Code. The mansion, which was completed in 1851, is a beautiful example of Italianate architecture and features original furnishings and artworks. 

Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the mansion, as well as the surrounding gardens and grounds. For up-to-date hours of operation and cost visit their website. This is one of the more interesting things to do in Poughkeepsie.

Bridge Music, Hudson River and the Walkway over the Hudson
  • After that, take a stroll along the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge, The Walkway Over The Hudson, and enjoy the views of the Hudson River and the Poughkeepsie Bridge/Mid-Hudson Bridge. The Walkway, which was completed in 2009, is a popular spot for walking, biking, and photography and an overall great experience. 

The Walkway spans the Hudson River and connects the city of Poughkeepsie with the town of Highland. The Walkway is accessible from either side and is typically open year round from 7am until sunset. However, seasonal hours and special events may alter these times. For up-to-date hours of operation go to their website. This is one of the more exciting things to do in Poughkeepsie.

The sign at Upper Landing Park in Poughkeepsie, NY
A movie screen is set up at Landing Park in Poughkeepsie, NY
Movies under the Walkway over the Hudson
  • In the afternoon, grab a picnic lunch at one of Poughkeepsie’s public parks or trails and enjoy a leisurely outdoor meal. Poughkeepsie has several beautiful parks and trails that offer panoramic views of the Hudson River and the surrounding landscape. 

Some popular spots for exploring include Upper Landing Park, which offers visitors beautiful scenery and setting to enjoy alongside the Hudson River, an engaging walk through over 300 years of local history, and access to Walkway Over the Hudson’s waterfront elevator.  

View from the Mid Hudson Childrens Museum parking lot

There’s also Victor C. Waryas Park, which has 9 acres of greenspace at the foot of Main Street, Poughkeepsie, along the Hudson River. This park offers picnic areas with tables, outdoor grills, and a pavilion as well as a children’s playground, public restrooms, riverwalk, boat launch, dock, restaurant and a large grassy area with plenty of shade. 

Springwood in Hyde Park is one of the Hudson Valley Landmarks important in history
FDR Home in Hyde Park, NY
  • From there, head over to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Home and Presidential Library, a National Historic Site located just a short drive away. While this attraction is located in Hyde Park rather than Poughkeepsie, it is just an 8 to 9-minute drive, just close enough as to make it worthwhile for any history buff. 

The home, which was built in 1908, was the primary residence of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his family for over 30 years. Visitors can take a guided tour of the home, which includes the living room, dining room, kitchen, and bedrooms, as well as the Presidential Library and Museum. For up-to-date hours of operation, cost and tour availability visit their website.

Visiting Bardovan is one of the best things to do in Poughkeepsie
  • In the evening, catch a film screening at the Bardavon Opera House or attend a performance by the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. The Bardavon Opera House, which was built in 1869, is a historic theater that hosts a variety of performances, including concerts, plays, and film screenings. The Hudson Valley Philharmonic is a professional orchestra that performs classical and contemporary music. Check the calendar for performance schedules and ticket availability on their website. This is one of the most fun things to do in Poughkeepsie.

Looking for some other places to see live music in the Hudson Valley? Then check out this list!

Things to do in Poughkeepsie: Day 2

Food, Art and Culture

  • Begin the day by heading over to Main Street for breakfast at one of the many eateries. Then browse the local shops and restaurants, including the Mill House Brewing and Rosticceria Rossi. 

Main Street is the heart of Poughkeepsie and is home to a variety of local businesses, including antique stores, gift shops, and restaurants. The Mill House Brewing Company is a popular spot for craft beer and pub food, while Rosticceria Rossi is a family-owned Italian restaurant/grocery store that is known for its wood-fired pizzas and pasta dishes.

Museums in the Hudson Valley
  • After a morning/afternoon of shopping and eating, head on over to Vassar College. Vassar is a prestigious liberal arts college which was founded in 1861 and is known for its rigorous academic programs, beautiful Hudson valley campus, and impressive alumnae. 

Visitors can either take a guided tour of the campus, which includes stops at the main quad, the library, and the student center or they can visit the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, a museum on the Vassar College campus featuring a diverse collection of artworks. The Art Center, which was founded in 1864, houses over 19,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm and Thursday, late night from 5 p.m. – 9.p.m. Best part: This is one of the best free things to do in Poughkeepsie.

Additionally, in the summer and fall you can visit their farm market which offers a variety of local flavors. 

  • In the evening, catch a performance at the Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center. The Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center is a multi-purpose arts venue that hosts a variety of performances, including concerts, plays, and dance productions. This is one of the most inspiring things to do in Poughkeepsie.

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Things to do in Poughkeepsie: Day 3

Something for the Entire Family (Kids Activities Included)

  • While many of the activities listed above are certainly kid friendly. I thought parents would appreciate a list of things to do that were tailored with the younger ones in mind. 

For those traveling with the whole family start the day with a visit to the Mid Hudson Children’s Museum, a hands-on museum that is located in downtown Poughkeepsie and offers a variety of interactive exhibits and programs for children of all ages. 

The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday 11 am to 5 pm. Admission is less than $10 for adults and children over 1 year old. While there is no best time to visit, keep in mind that during the months of May through Oct the Poughkeepsie Waterfront Market is open Monday’s from 3pm to 6 pm.

  • After a morning of exploring their imagination, help the kids work off some of that pent up energy at the Poughkeepsie Galleria where you can enjoy the rest of the afternoon enjoying the Escape Room, Virtual Reality experience, the RPM Raceway or Mini-Golf. 

Additionally, the mall offers a variety of stores for shopping and a food court as well as a few other dining establishments. The Poughkeepsie Galleria also offers a movie complex, playing as many as 10 movies at once.

More Things to do in Poughkeepsie & Nearby

Beacon Long Dock Park and Hudson Valley Summer Events go together.

The locations and tourist attractions listed on the itinerary above are just some of the most popular and well-known things to do in the area. However, Poughkeepsie and surrounding towns such as Hyde Park, Wappingers Falls, Fishkill and Beacon offer almost endless attractions and activities. 

From beautiful landscapes along the miles of trails for walking and hiking to local community annual events and unique places that ride alongside the banks of the Hudson River. From events hosted by local farmers to the Dutchess County Fair or a baseball game at Dutchess Stadium. 

Dutchess County Fair Ferris Wheel

You can visit the Hudson Heritage Center to learn about the history of the region or take a tour of the Culinary Institute of America to see how some of the world’s best chefs are trained.

Marist College is another popular destination in Poughkeepsie, offering a beautiful campus and a variety of cultural events. The Poughkeepsie train station is a historic landmark that is worth a visit. 

A Bannerman Castle Tour is one of the best things to do in the Hudson Valley

You can explore the natural beauty of Barton Orchards for some apple picking, take a boat ride along the east bank of the Hudson River or check out Bannerman Island from a Ferry that departs from Beacon, NY. 

You could also check out the Springside National Historic Site. This National Historic Landmark is located on the Hudson River Valley Greenway Trail and is open for visitors to enjoy walking trails year-round. 

And if you are willing to drive a little further, there’s always Hudson Highlands State Park located in Cold Spring, NY. The Hudson Highlands and Hudson River provide spectacular backdrops for the many outdoor activities that can be enjoyed here, such as hiking, boating, fishing, and birding. The park’s extensive hiking trail network includes terrain that varies from easy to challenging.

Gazebo in Cold Spring

So, no matter what your interest or what time of year you plan to visit, a weekend in Poughkeepsie will keep you busy. Whether you are coming from New York City or Putnam County, White Plains, Columbia County, Rockland County or Orange County; Poughkeepsie is just a car ride away and offers something for everyone. So, what are you waiting for…start planning your next weekend trip to Poughkeepsie.  

More Things to Do in Dutchess County:

19+ Things to do in Dutchess County (Some May Surprise You)

The Best Places to Eat in Beacon, NY

The Best Things to do when visiting Rhinebeck, NY

Until the Next Adventure…

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