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The Best Hudson Valley Art Galleries, Classes, Music Venues, and More


Actors’ Equity Theater

Shadowland Stages

For 35 years, this circa-1920s Art Deco vaudeville/movie house has been home to professional plays that are rarely seen in the region. Shadowland Stages holds six productions a year in its 179-seat main theater.

It also hosts a lively education program — acting and performance classes for both children and adults — at The Studio at Shadowland Stages, its black-box second stage where additional productions will soon be planned.

Ellenville, www.shadowlandstages.org

Creative Classes for All Abilities


Debbie Major’s son, Gage, graduated high school in 2011 with the dream of becoming an actor. But there were no programs available for Gage, who is disabled, and his twin brother, Jacob, who is on the autism spectrum and loves to sing. So, Major — with a resume that includes vocalist, musician, and music educator — began an arts program for them that grew into interactive performing and creative arts programs for all ages and abilities in Westchester, Dutchess, and Sullivan counties, as well as at its flagship Zylofone Studios in Orange County.

Campbell Hall, www.zylofone.org

photo courtesy of bethel woods center for the arts


Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (We Are Golden)

As part of Bethel Woods’ year-long celebration of Woodstock’s 50th anniversary, the Museum at Bethel Woods presents this astounding and inspiring exhibition (open through Dec 31). Highlights include artifacts from the 1969 festival (there’s a recreated stage with instruments, clothing, and even plywood), first-person commentary from festival-goers, photos from noted photographers, and a place for visitors to be part of the conversation about what they want from society today.

Bethel, www.bethelwoodscenter.org

Music Festival (Summer)

Taste of Country Music Festival

This three-day music festival at Hunter Mountain — the only multi-day camping country music festival in the Northeast — brings out the brightest stars in country music. Camp out with friends and enjoy great food and beverage with jaw-dropping acts. The 2019 lineup included performances by Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, and Brett Eldredge.

Hunter, www.tasteofcountryfestival.com

Music Festival (Winter)

Hudson Jazz Festival

The region’s premiere intimate jazz festival brings top-flight jazz musicians to Hudson to perform music from around the globe. Past performers, including Bobby Sanabria and Lynn Arialle, have lit up Hudson Hall at the Historic Hudson Opera House with fiery technique and lively improvisation, alongside free film screenings, workshops, and more.

Hudson, www.hudsonhall.org

New Theater (Blackbox)

Denizen Theatre

In its 50–70 person venue, the Denizen focuses on programming from emerging playwrights and stripped-down productions that highlight the interplay between story, actor, and audience. With discounted rates for students and people under 30, the Denizen aims to introduce new generations to high-quality theater.

New Paltz, www.denizentheatre.com

Outdoor Winter Event

Teatown Hudson River Eaglefest

Getting outside in February is often a chore, but this annual event is worth the effort. Taking place in prime eagle-spotting season (Feb. 8 in 2020), the activities at Croton Point Park include viewing stations with educators, bird-of-prey shows, a heated tent filled with dozens of environmental organizations providing fun activities and goodies — plus food trucks. More viewing sites are at other spots along the Hudson River.

Croton-on-Hudson and around the Hudson Valley, www.teatown.org

Theater for Classic Movies

Lafayette Theater

This Beaux Arts-style, circa-1924 movie palace was designed by Eugene DeRosa — whose work also included the Apollo and Broadway Theater — and was named after the Marquis de Lafayette. Today, the 942-seat theater retains its gilded ornamentation and red velvet drapery while showing first-run films every day, as well as a Saturday Morning Classic series in fall, winter, and spring. Before the last show every Saturday, be serenaded by the Mighty Wurlitzer organ.

Suffern, www.lafayettetheatersuffern.com

Theater for Live Shows

Palace Theatre

Dating back to 1931 when the theater presented vaudeville acts between feature films, the Palace Theatre continues its tradition of hosting the finest in live entertainment and is also the home of the Albany Symphony Orchestra. Everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Tony Bennett has graced the stage over the years.

Albany, www.palacealbany.org

Photo by Rafael Quiringdong

Way to Experience Music New & Old

The Falcon

This intimate Marlboro spot was once a 19th-century button factory; now, its renovated hall is one of the best-sounding rooms in the Hudson Valley. The Falcon is split into several spaces, including taproom and beer garden, art gallery, and multiple live music stages playing host to regular R&B, blues, jazz, roots, and folk musicians, many of them local. And on top of all this is the Avalon Archives Museum of Roots, Rock & Roll: a collection of obscure (and some not-so-obscure) posters, photographs, and other musical memorabilia.

Marlboro, www.liveatthefalcon.com

Readers’ Picks


Art Gallery

Emerge Galleries



Arts Center

Unison Arts Center

New Paltz


Art Classes for Adults

Woodstock School of Art



Community Theater

County Players

Wappingers Falls


Educational Programs for Adults


Orange Ulster BOCES

Goshen, Newburgh


Dutchess County Community College



Historic Site

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

Hyde Park


Historical Society

Wappingers Falls Historical Society

Wappingers Falls


Live Music Joint

The Falcon



Main Street


Movie Theater (Independent)

Upstate Films




Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum



Music Classes for Adults

New Windsor Music Academy

New Windsor


Paint & Sip Venue

Artist Collective of Hyde Park

Hyde Park


Venues for Plays and Concerts (Indoors)

Denizen Theatre

New Paltz


Venues for Plays and Concerts (Outdoors)

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts