Are you looking for a getaway (day trip or weekend trip) from the city? These are the best places to visit and things to do upstate New York.
Popular areas or regions in upstate New York include Central New York, the Catskills, the Hudson Valley, the Adirondacks, the Finger Lakes, Thousand Islands, Niagara Frontier, and Chautauqua-Allegheny. The exact definition of upstate is still up to debate and depending on who you ask. For most people who live in New York City, upstate is north of us or above NYC.
Note that I can only share places I’ve been and things I’ve done or want to do. I tend to often opt for day trips since I live in Brooklyn. For places that are further than 3 hour drive, I’d recommend doing it over the weekend. I have a lot of day trip/road trip ideas, so be sure to read to the end for links.
- Haines Falls – Kaaterskill Falls
- Beacon – Dia: Beacon
- Hudson – must-visit shops & must-try restraurants on Warren Street
- Pine Plains – Stissing House
- Phoenicia – Pheonicia Diner
- Catskill – Piaule
- Ghent – Art Omi
- Lake George
- Keene – Indian Head, Adirondack Mountain Reserve
- High Falls – Table Rocks, Mohonk Preserve
1. Kaaterskill Falls, Haines Falls
Kaaterskill Falls trail is rated as easy with a moderate climb if you decide to hike to the bottom of the falls. It’s kid and family friendly and takes about 2 hours to finish.
BLOG POST: Hike Kaaterskill Falls in the Catskills
Red Chair On Warren – Swedish, Belgian and French antiques
The Quiet Botanist – skincare & beauty products
Nikki Chasin – clothing for the creatives
BEAM – home goods store (check out their Brooklyn location for more stock and inspo!)
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK:
Kitty’s Market Café – amazing rotisserie chicken & chicken sandwich. It’s right across the street from the train station if you’re taking the Amtrak. Stop by early because they tend to close down early.
Feast & Floret – Italian inspired food, wine, local flowers and more
Cafe Mutton – the most aesthetically pleasing shop with amazing and delicious brunch menu
Talbott and Arding – more than a cheese shop
The Maker – It’s a hotel, but come to the cafe to grab a coffee and pastries.
Culture Cream – ice cream that’s good for the gut
Warren Street – Hudson, NY on the first day of snow in 2022
Red Chair on Warren – Hudson, NY
Kitty’s – Hudson, NY
Check out Olana, a castle with Moorish accents atop the mountain. It’s built by Frederic Edwin Church, a major figure in the Hudson River School of painting.
Olana State Historic Site – Hudson, NY
Stissing House’s ambiance
5. Phoenicia Diner, Phoenicia
Must-stop diner serving fresh food sourced from Catskills and Hudson Valley farms. Built in 1962!
5681 NY-28, Phoenicia, NY 12464
Walk-in, no reservations!
7. Art Omi
Arts center ft. a 120-acre Sculpture & Architecture Park, contemporary art gallery with residency and art programs. Formely known as Omi International Center.
1405 Co Rte 22, Ghent, NY 12075
It is free to the public and open daily.
8. Lake George
The popular vacation destination in the Adirondacks, New York.
I stayed at a hotel here overnight in order to make it to Indian Head hike early the next day last fall (fall 2022). Highly recommend a night stay and wander the town in the morning!
9. Indian Head, Keene
This is one of the best hikign trail I’ve done upstate New York thus far. I did it in the fall of 2022, and I’d say timing it to be at peak fall foliage was the most challenging part. And as you can see from the very yellow and brown foliage photos, it’s a couple of days past peak. It’s the parking reservation system that they’ve been doing that makes it a bit more difficult to get to. So please plan ahead & RESERVE HERE!
PLACES ON MY LIST TO VISIT:
Watkins Glen – Watkins Glen State Park & town
Letchworth State Park
Au Sable – Ausable Chasm
Green Lakes State Park
Niagara Falls & Buffalo