Countless towns across the Hudson Valley are havens for all types of creatives, and Beacon is no exception. With a population of about 14,000 over 5 square miles, this Dutchess County river city has seen a boom in popularity over the past two decades, and has been a particular hit with those trading NYC for more open spaces since the start of the pandemic.
Beacon’s past as an industrial hub is still evident on Main Street, but instead of factories, the 19th century buildings are now chic condos and clothing boutiques, independent art studios, and eclectic eateries. There are so many shops you’ll want to check out along the mile-long route including the floral and décor store Raven Rose, Inglenook Marketplace (don’t miss their fabulous house-poured candles), stylish thrift shop Vintage: Beacon, and spots that specialize in health and wellness products like The Leaf and Sanctuary.
The restaurant scene is flourishing as well. For a scenic brunch or lunch with views of Fishkill Creek’s falls, grab a bite at The Roundhouse, a boutique hotel with a farm-to-table restaurant. We also recommend Homespun Foods, an organic café with an extensive collection of wine and craft beers; Beacon Falls Café, an American bistro; or Beacon Bread Company, a prime brunch spot with a full-service bakery. End the day with a drink at Wonderbar, the Story Screen Beacon movie theater’s own craft cocktail and small bites lounge. For a light bite, go vegan at Matcha Thomas wellness teahouse or Peaceful Provisions (their delicious donuts graced our last Best of Hudson Valley cover), grab artisanal Swedish chocolates at Hakan Chocolatier, or get your java fix at Bank Square Coffeehouse.
Although it’s a city, part of what makes Beacon such a draw is that it’s in the heart of the Valley. Outdoor destinations like Long Dock Park and Mount Beacon are only minutes away from Main Street. A beloved farmers market with local purveyors occurs year-round on Sundays at 223 Main Street. And no trip to Beacon would be complete without a visit to Dia:Beacon—one of the largest contemporary art museums in the country. Dia is housed in an old Nabisco factory and its opening in 2003 can be credited for kickstarting Beacon’s revival.