Hudson Is a Happening Place to Live in Columbia County

The Columbia County destination charms with history, mouthwatering eateries, and some of the finest shopping around on Warren Street.

After spending over a decade away from Hudson for college and post-doctoral research, Caitie Hilverman returned to her hometown in 2018 to raise her family. “I wanted my children to have an experience like I did, a place with people from all walks of life,” she says.

Chartered in 1785, Hudson was a whaling industry hub—its location on the river made it ideal for trading and shipping goods such as whale oil, exotic tapestries, furniture, and more. Many restored 18th-and 19th-century buildings still stand today, serving as homes and businesses, and whales adorn street signs as a tribute to the city’s history.

Photo by Megan Wilson

Although much of the original architecture remains, Hudson has changed quite a bit since Hilverman’s childhood. In 2021, The New York Times reported that per USPS address change data, the Hudson metro area saw one of the largest increases in the country of net in-migration, with many new residents coming from New York City. “I think people see Hudson as the best of both worlds. The dining, art, and shops offer a city feel, but you can travel two minutes to experience more rural living,” says Mayor Kamal Johnson.

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The Culture

Hudson is home to a lively cultural scene, with art galleries, music venues, and seasonal festivals. You can catch live music and other shows at the historic Hudson Hall, Basilica Hudson, the Park Theater on upper Warren, and The Half Moon bar near the water.

On mile-long Warren Street alone, you’ll find over a dozen galleries, including the Caldwell Gallery, The New Gallery, Carrie Haddad, and Robin Rice. This summer, mark your calendar for popular events like Waterfront Wednesdays, the Hudson Sankofa Black Arts & Cultural Festival, and the Hudson Film Festival.

Family Life

While the influx of residents has revitalized areas of the city, it comes at a price; “the cost of living has increased tenfold,” says Mayor Johnson. According to market reports from Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty, the median sale price for a single-family home in Hudson in Q4 of 2023 was $595,000—about $200,000 greater than other HV cities such as Kingston, Newburgh, and Poughkeepsie. (In 2019, the median sale price throughout Columbia County was $273,000).

However, Hilverman—who is the executive director of local nonprofit The Spark of Hudson—notes that several organizations “are trying to make the community work for everyone.” These include the Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood, Friends of Hudson Youth, Columbia County Habitat for Humanity, and more which work to provide affordable housing and low-cost or free family-friendly activities. The Hudson City School District also has an after-school program for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

On the Town

Throughout the city, there’s a plethora of great restaurants, cafés, wine bars, and breweries serving a variety of cuisines. For French, try Le Gamin Country or Le Perche; Pan-Latin fare shines at Lil’ Deb’s Oasis; Feast & Floret and Savona’s specialize in Italian dishes; Café Mutton serves a unique, meat-centric menu; and upscale new American spots include The Maker, Wm. Farmer and Sons, and Swoon Kitchenbar.

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Hudson’s Warren Street is where most of the action happens—from top eateries to fun places to shop.
Hudson’s Warren Street is where most of the action happens—from top eateries to fun places to shop. Photo by Dan Region/ Courtesy of Visit Hudson NY.

There are plenty of clothing boutiques, specialty food stores, and home décor shops to peruse, but what Hudson is best known for is antiques. Must-stops include the 40,000-square-foot Antique Warehouse, 91 North Vintage, Foley & Cox Home, Finch, Sutter Antiques, and Neven & Neven Moderne.

While you can spend a whole day shopping and dining, Hudson also has plenty of recreational areas: Henry Hudson Riverfront Park, Promenade Hill Park, and Oakdale Park, which has a lake for swimming and kayaking. Olana State Historic Site, the home of Hudson River School painter Frederic Church, is short drive south; the grounds are open to the public.

With the influx of new residents and businesses, it’s easy to paint Hudson as a hip, on-the-rise town—but Hilverman assures that it has always been great and is hopeful that the historic city will continue to foster connectivity and civic pride. She advises, “Anyone new to Hudson—seek out how you can contribute to the community, even if it’s in a small way.”

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