The Hudson Valley city of Beacon has blossomed into an art lover’s paradise and a popular weekend getaway thanks to the Dia Art Foundation converting a Nabisco box printing factory on the banks of the Hudson into Dia:Beacon (pictured) in 2003. Now visitors flock to this contemporary and modern art museum and to visit the galleries, restaurants, and bars that have helped make this such a lively community. While a trip up to Beacon is easily doable in a day from New York City, there’s so much more to enjoy, so why not plan your visit over a weekend (especially so you can leave time for a brewpub crawl)?

FRIDAY

6 pm: Dogwood is a cozy pub and restaurant on Main Street that offers standout versions of comfort food, including tasty vegetarian options, an impressive (rotating) selection of craft beers, and live music.

8:30 pm: The legendary Town Crier Café changed locations a few times since opening in Beekman in 1972, eventually settling in an 8,000-square-foot, 250-seat venue on Main Street in Beacon. It's a must-visit as well as the place to be for live music on Friday nights, whether for the free Friday Salon series shows at 7pm or the ticketed headliner performances that start at 8:30. Check the calendar for the regular procession of A-list names in folk, rock, jazz, blues, and pop.

SATURDAY

9 am: Start the day right with breakfast at the Beacon Bread Company. This cozy spot has items for every type of breakfast fan, from the savory omelette aficionado to vegan (or non-vegan) pancake lovers to avocado toast devotees. The cafe's bakery supplies the baked goods, so there's plenty of sweets as well. 

11 am: In its 300,000-square-foot facility located on the Hudson River, Dia:Beacon houses Dia Art Foundation's renowned collection, comprised of art from the 1960s to the present, as well as special exhibitions and new commissions. One of the main benefits of the location is that it has space both inside and out to show off large-scale sculptures and installations, such as Richard Serra’s monumental steel sculptures, which visitors can walk through and around. It also showcases works from other noted artists such as Dan Flavin, Joseph Beuys, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Agnes Martin, and Andy Warhol. Its 30-plus acres of artistically landscaped grounds offer a serene setting for a stroll. Children under 12 are admitted free. Leave yourself at least two hours for your visit.

1:30 pm: Grab a laid-back lunch at Homespun Foods on Main Street in town or stay at the museum longer and have a bite at the Homespun Dia:Beacon café. Fans of the British sci-fi series "Dr. Who" should stray from the itinerary here and head to lunch at The Pandorica. Run by a London expat, the respected restaurant turns out dishes like "fish fingers and custard" and other insider-friendly takes, and also offers a serious tea menu, plus decor with references to the show.

2:30 pm: After lunch, wander in and out of the numerous art galleries, boutiques, and antique shops along Main Street. Standouts include: the Hudson Beach Glass gallery and glass-blowing demonstration studio located inside a restored firehouse, the Beacon Artists Union, boutiques Reservoir & Wood and Vintage Beacon, and quirky gift and toy shop, Zakka Joy.

3:30 pm: Take a tour and visit the tasting room of Denning’s Point Distillery, located in one of Beacon's downtown 19th-century buildings. On the second and fourth Saturday of every month, they host the "Distilled Blues Open Jam Sessions" from 4-7 pm.

Exterior of the Roundhouse at Beacon Falls, Beacon, New York

6 pm: The team behind Beacon Bread Company has diversified Beacon's global offerings, with tacos and a range of Mexican dishes at Tito Santana Taqueria, and Middle Eastern specialties at Ziatun. If you're not already staying there, a visit to The Roundhouse (pictured) is a must. Located at the east end of Main Street, this boutique hotel and restaurant represents the stylish new side of Beacon while evoking its past as a mill town. The dining room is lined with windows overlooking waterfalls, and the menu spotlights New American cuisine (dinner is offered Friday-Saturday, and there's a Sunday brunch as well). 

8 pm: Beacon is one of the emerging scenes in New York's craft beer renaissance, so for those night owls out there, go for a brewpub crawl. Hail a 10-minute ride to Industrial Arts, which in 2019 opened a massive new beer garden and pub with plans to add on-site brewing. From there, head back to Main Street for a pint at Hudson Valley Brewery. Then, walk a few blocks to see what's on tap at Draught Industries, which offers a rotating menu of local and regional craft beers of note. Finish off the crawl on the west side of Main Street at 2 Way Brewing Company, another local standout that offers a beer style for everyone, from hefeweizen to IPA to stout. It's worth noting that the breweries consider themselves family-friendly, so stop by during the day if you have kids in tow. 

SUNDAY

10 am: Treat yourself to an upscale Sunday brunch at the Beacon Falls Cafe, where the chef, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, turns out seasonal frittatas, savory variations on Eggs Benedict, Bananas Foster French Toast, and much more. If you dare, order the "Ultimate Bloody," a Bloody Mary topped with fried finger foods like chicken tenders. 

1 pm: A short walk away is the Howland Cultural Center, a 40-year-old arts institution that hosts everything from a chamber music series to film screenings to family entertainment. Housed in an architecturally significant building that dates to 1872, the Howland offers early Sunday afternoon programming, so check the schedule and get a dose of culture before departing your new favorite city! 

GETTING THERE

By plane:

  • Stewart International Airport (SWF) Newburgh, NY: 20 minutes 
  • Westchester County Airport (HPN) White Plains, NY: 1 hour
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Queens, NY: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • LaGuardia Airport (LGA), Queens, NY: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), Newark, NJ: 1 hour, 40 minutes

By train:

  • Metro-North Railroad Hudson Line from Grand Central Terminal in New York City to Beacon 
  • For train travel from north of Poughkeepsie, take an Amtrak train to Poughkeepsie and transfer to a Metro-North train. Beacon is the second stop.

By car:

  • From New York City: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • From Albany: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • From Boston: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • From Philadelphia: 2 hours, 45 minutes
  • From Montreal: 5 hours, 30 minutes
  • From Toronto: 7 hours