The Cutest Things to do in Beacon, NY

The Cutest Things to do in Beacon, NY

Have you ever heard of Beacon, NY? If not, you should! It offers some of the best things to do in the Hudson Valley.

Beacon is a charming little town in upstate New York. Restaurants, culture, and art are embedded in this community. Not only does it make a perfect day trip up from NYC, but folks from all over the Hudson Valley flock here on weekends to peruse the shops, art galleries, and people watch.

It's been having a resurgence in the last decade fueled by artists leaving NYC with the promise of cheaper rents and less grit. (In fact, my husband and I moved here from Brooklyn for a year!)

Because of this, you'll find many art spaces (including the famous Dia Beacon) and a prominent live music scene thanks to folk legend Pete Seeger (Beacon was his hometown.)

It's the perfect sleepy town getaway with an artsy twist. There are too many cute little cafes to count. And you'll have the time of your life stopping at each an every shop on your lazy stroll down Main Street!

So I've put together a list of the best things to do in Beacon, NY. That way, you can create your perfect weekend in Beacon for yourself!

Cute downtown area

DIA Beacon NY

Dia Beacon is one of the main attractions that brings in visitors to the town! In fact, almost everyone I talk to about Beacon knows Dia. It’s a contemporary art museum that used to be a printing factory for Nabisco (so cool!)

If you’re hitting Dia straight from the train station, it’s a super easy walk. Or, there is a shuttle bus from the Metro North that goes straight to the museum. The shuttle also goes to Main Street for your afternoon of shopping, food, and drinks.

General admission is $15, and $12 for students. The hours are-

Friday–Monday, 11 am–4 pm
Thursday–Monday, 11 am–6 pm
Thursday–Monday, 11 am–4 pm

Mount Beacon Fire Tower

Any hikers or nature lovers in the house? If so, then this is definitely your spot. Hiking Mount Beacon is a favorite activity of locals and tourists alike. People come up from NYC, and all over for Hudson Valley’s famous hikes (link), and Mount Beacon is one of them.

First of all, be prepared with the right gear. I see SO many people struggling to hike this mountain is inappropriate clothing. Sneakers, flip flops, khakis, jeans, girls carrying designer handbags- you name it.

Just keep in mind that this is an athletic activity. And while technically you can climb a mountain while wearing jeans and flip-flops… would you really want to? Better pack your hiking boots and leggings.

Also be aware- this hike is a little tough for beginners. That said, there are two plateaus to be able to catch your breath at. The first one overlooks the town. The second one is where the fire tower is located, and overlooks the surrounding woods!

woman overlooking town hiking

Main Street

NOW we’re talking! Browsing and shopping in cute artsy towns is one of my favorite hobbies. And this is one of the cutest ones EVER (especially since there are views of the Hudson River at the beginning of your walk!)

This downtown area is about a mile long and is known for its art galleries and vintage stores. It’s walkable, though very popular (be careful of the traffic!) So here are some of my top picks of where to stop on your journey.

Bank Square- is an eclectic coffee shop where college students, day trippers, and old-time residents mix. It’s really the heart of Beacon, and I think literally everyone in town comes here. If you come during the summer and spring, it's so nice to sit outside with your latte.

Play Toys and Gifts- A fun boutique toy store full of unique toys, gifts, and all-around silly stuff. Drop in for a couple laughs, and leave with something silly.

Hudson Valley Vinyl- If you’re a vinyl head, this is your place. Me and my husband used to come here all the time to look for obscure records and check out the newest indie releases.

Alps Sweet Shop- For chocolate lovers only! I love stopping in this shop and grabbing a couple of my favorite peanut butter cups or chocolate covered cherries.

Glazed Over Donuts- Stop here for a snack! This place serves fresh donuts with your choice of toppings 🤤

Blackbird Attic- Vintage stores are my JAM, and I LOVE this place for vintage shopping. It’s a super cute atmosphere, prices are really reasonable, and they usually have an amazing selection!

Beacon Bath and Bubble- This is a unique little shop that sells bath products, old-timey candy, and vintage soda pop!! I can’t believe it works but it does. Come here to get your bath bomb fix while sipping on a grape soda.

Ella’s Bellas- I wanted to dedicate a part of this blog post to just coffee shops, but then I realized I’d never be able to stop talking about it 😂 So instead, I’ll just tell you that you should make this your second coffee stop. The baked goods they sell here are actually gluten free! Great coffee and great people, with cute decor.

Beacon Creamery- This ice cream shop is located back at the start of Main Street, but I figured it would be the perfect place to end a day, while the sun is setting!

Cute downtown area
woman playing in leaves

Beacon Restaurants

It’s going to be really hard to narrow down suggestions for meals in Beacon, because there are too many good options! But here are a few that I definitely recommend-

Tito Santana’s- another staple for locals and day trippers alike, this place offers great Mexican food. It’s the perfect meal after a hike! You’ll always find a packed house at Tito Santana’s. However, there’s some seating outside in the warmer months.

Kitchen Sink Food and Drink- A cute, hipster-y farm-to-table restaurant. Great place to grab dinner!

Roundhouse- Save up your pennies to eat here! This is definitely the fanciest option to dine at. Located in a local high-end hotel, you can expect wonderful food and luxury ambiance.

Royal Crepes- For breakfast food lovers 😊 Does anyone else love a good crepe? It’s a great option for someone looking for a light meal or something sweet.

Beacon Bread- You might have noticed the word “eclectic” popping up a bit in this post, and this restaurant is no exception. There is no hostess doing the seating, it’s first come, first served. Be prepared for a wait. But once you sit down, you’ll be treated to a delicious brunch, coffee, with a side of homemade bread.

Max’s on Main- Beacon’s oldest bar! This is one of the first restaurants that stood out to me in Beacon because of the distinctive sign. There’s a bar section to have a drink in, and a restaurant section. The food here is quite good!

Beacon Falls Cafe- A quaint little restaurant that all the locals come to for brunch. Have a mimosa for me! 🥂

colorful restaurant interior
multi colored cupcake


Beacon Bars and Breweries

Dogwood- this bar is a little bit off the main drag, but it's certainly worth the extra effort to find it! It's a really cozy friendly place to grab a pint and a small bite to eat! Live music on weekends

Oak Vino Wine Bar- Sleeper hit! I haven’t heard a lot about this wine bar in any “best of” Beacon lists, but I really like it. It’s spacious yet still feels intimate. A really chill place to grab a glass of wine.

Quinn’s- This place is really something else. From the outside it looks like a hipster-y dive bar. It's a little different once inside. They serve mostly ramen. I also had a spicy plum wine and listened to the most wonderful jazz music.

2 Way Brewing Company- Beacon’s first brewery! 2 Way was just opening up just as we were leaving Beacon to move back to NYC. We used to come here when there were just a few patrons scattered amongst the bar. Now, it’s jam packed every day of the week! It’s definitely a hangout for locals, but don’t let that stop you from stopping in for a beer or two (or a flight.) Also- it’s a 5 minute walk from the train.

Hudson Valley Brewery- One of the newer breweries to open up, this space is much bigger than 2 Way. Yet the place is still always packed! They have a great selection, and my husband says that this is the place for sour beers.

More Things to Do

Madam Brett Park - Love nature but don’t want to hike? Then you need to come to Madam Brett Park! Located off the main drag, you’ll have to go a little out of your way, but it’s totally worth it. There are lush green fields and falling-apart old buildings to be discovered. You won't be sad you missed it.

Pete and Toshi Seeger Park- located on the Hudson River waterfront, this is where you need to come and watch the sunset! Me and Matt’s engagement photos were taken here ❤️ With gorgeous views of the river, there are a few sections to the park. A picnic area with grills available, a proper waterfront, and also more nature trails nearby that are filled with wildflowers in the spring and summer.

Fishkill Overlook Falls- This is a small bridge over Fishkill Creek that has some really beautiful waterfalls. Located at the end of Main Street next to the Roundhouse, it’ll be hard to miss if you’re in that area! Definitely worth a visit.

Second Saturdays- A monthly celebration! Every second Saturday of the month, all of Beacon’s shops and galleries host a city-wide celebration of art. There’s live music and wine at many of the galleries. It’s just a really fun time! Typically, businesses are open from 10am-9pm.

woman in fancy dress in the woods
Waterfall in a river

Getting to Beacon NY

If you're coming from NYC, it's as simple as taking the train from Metro North in Grand Central. You'll just need to take the train to the Beacon stop. From there, I'd recommend taking cabs or a ride-sharing service.

If you're driving I'd just be advised that the highways, especially around rush hour there is heavy traffic. Be prepared for waits and congestion. Parking along the street and in certain designated parking lots is actually pretty easy.

Main Street beacon NY

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