8 Amtrak Day Trips to Take From the Hudson Valley

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No car? No problem! Take the Amtrak from Poughkeepsie and enjoy at day trip at one of these destinations in and near the Hudson Valley.

We’re all about day trips in the Hudson Valley, but if you’re looking for a change of scenery, an Amtrak train is the ideal way to travel. You can explore the rich history, culture, and culinary scene of cities like Albany, New York, and Philly, or stay local with an adventure in Croton-on-Hudson, Hudson, and Rhinebeck. Check out our list of possible destinations from Poughkeepsie’s station, then get planning!

Albany-Rensselaer Station, Rensselaer

1 hour, 10 minutes


There’s a ton to do in the Capital Region, whether you’re looking to get outside, explore downtown Albany, or make pit stops at the many restaurants and breweries in the area. History buffs and artists should spend their time at the Albany Institute of History and Art, New York State Capitol Building, and New York State Museum. Grab food at Iron Gate Café or The Hollow Bar & Kitchen, dessert at Cheesecake Machismo; and beer at Druthers Brewing Company. For a unique experience in nature, try to spot the endangered Karner blue butterfly inside the Pine Bush Preserve. Big-name music acts often stop in this metropolis, so check if anyone is playing at Empire Live, Lark Hall, or MVP Arena. If you have time for more than just a day trip, jet out of Albany International Airport to destinations like Denver, Florida, and Nashville.

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Croton-Harmon Station, Croton-on-Hudson

40 minutes


If you don’t mind the Uber ride, schedule a car from the station to Croton Gorge Park (it’ll likely cost $12-15) to explore one of the most breathtaking sites in Westchester. With its rich history and Instagrammable vistas—you can actually walk at the top of the Croton Dam for panoramic views of the surrounding area—the Croton Dam is the crown jewel of this Amtrak day trip. Once you’ve had your fill of the scenery, head back to town for a coffee at The Black Cow Coffee Company, Mexican fare at La Catrina, or scoops of hand-crafted ice cream from The Blue Pig. No trip to Croton-on-Hudson is complete without a stroll through Croton Point Park, which affords visitors unmatched views of the Hudson River. If you’re heading back home in the evening, it’s a great place to watch the sunset before boarding your train.

Hudson Station, Hudson

40 minutes

 

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Luckily for day trippers, the Amtrak drops you off at the waterfront near Hudson proper. Wave goodbye to the Hudson River and walk up Warren Street towards Le Gamin County for breakfast. It’s about one mile directly up the main drag, but hear us out—you can take note of the stores, galleries, and eateries you want to visit as you pass them, then make a game plan over breakfast. We’re crazy about the espresso drinks and crepes at Le Gamin Country, and the ratatouille is not to be missed. (A butter crepe alongside a bowl of ratatouille isn’t a totally inharmonious pairing, after all.) Other essential foodie pitstops include Café Mutton, Lil’ Deb’s Oasis, Culture Cream, and Feast & Floret. If you’re interested in seeing art, peek at our guide to the galleries of Hudson, then visit world-class art spaces like Carrie Haddad Gallery, Pamela Salisbury Gallery, and Susan Eley Fine Art. It might not be ideal to purchase a “Danish 1940s two-seat curved settee in new ‘moonlight’ upholstery” if your ride home is the Amtrak, but that’s exactly the sort of item you can discover at Finch, “a unique and expertly curated collection of vintage and modern goods for the home.” There are smaller wares, too, though you may find yourself driving back in a U-Haul if you fall in love with one of the opulent pieces of vintage furniture.

Moynihan Train Hall, Manhattan

1 hour, 35 minutes

 

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Who doesn’t love a good city day? Manhattan needs no introduction and, given its multiplicity of public transportation options, this Amtrak route is especially useful for travelers looking to explore far and wide. Some of our favorite foodie stops in town are Jacob’s Pickles on the Upper West Side, Bodhi Kosher Vegetarian Restaurant in Chinatown, Pepe Giallo in Chelsea, and Yuca Bar in the East Village. When we have a little time to kill, we tend to end up seeing art at the International Center of Photography, window shopping in the East Village, or—cliché as it may be—lounging around in Central Park with a fresh paperback from The Strand Bookstore’s location on Columbus Avenue. That said, it’s also perfectly acceptable to head into the Big Apple with no particular agenda and see where the wind takes you.

Rhinecliff-Kingston Station, Rhinecliff

15 minutes

 

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Call an Uber (about $10) to chaperone you and your crew from the train station to the heart of Rhinebeck, where you’ll spend the day perusing gifts, antiques, art supplies, home goods, artworks, and more. Give yourself a sugar rush at Samuel’s Sweet Shop—the candy store owned by Hilarie Burton, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Paul Rudd—or, if you prefer caffeine to confections, order a cup of coffee brewed with a Partners Coffee blend. Spend time outdoors via a visit to Ferncliff Forest or Poets’ Walk Park. From May through November, tour the Wilderstein Historic Site for a look into a gorgeous 19th-century abode, the interiors of which “offer a splendid microcosm of decorative arts” from the period. When it comes time for dinner, head to Smoky Rock for mouthwatering barbecue, The Amsterdam for seasonal American grub, or Cinnamon for incredible Indian food. If you happen to catch a train back home in the evening, the sunset views from the Rhinecliff-Kingston Station are nothing short of stunning.

Saratoga Springs Station, Saratoga Springs

2 hours, 15 minutes

 

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Take your Saratoga Springs adventure during racing season (July and August) to experience this locale at its best at the Saratoga Racetrack. However, if you make your voyage during the off-season, you can still get a glimpse into the excitement of the sport at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Saratoga Springs’ downtown area mixes a historic feel with plenty of shopping and dining—not entirely unlike some of our favorite Hudson Valley day trip destinations—plus art galleries, bars, and a public park. When it comes time to nourish yourself, stop into Caffé Lena for snacks, slam poetry, and live music; Salt & Char, a modern American steakhouse with a swanky atmosphere; or The Brook Tavern for an upbeat bar and restaurant inside a former horse carriage factory.

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William H. Gray III 30th Street Station, Philadelphia

3 hours, 30 minutes

 

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It’s been a long ride, and you’re likely jonesing for a cup of joe, so after leaving the Amtrak station, walk along the Schuykill River, then turn right on Walnut Street and keep straight till you hit Top Hat Coffee Lounge. From there, Philly is your oyster! Check the boxes with stops at iconic sites like the Liberty Bell and the steps from Rocky, which lead to the Philadelphia Museum of Art—also well worth a visit for its collections of paintings, sculptures, photographs, and artifacts. When it comes time to dine, you could go the traditional touristy route and try a true-blue Philly cheesesteak—we don’t judge! Conversely, you can head to Kpod for authentic Korean fare; South Philly Barbacoa for “the best Mexican barbacoa tacos you’ll ever taste” according to our sister publication, Main Line Today; or Bank & Bourbon for haute American cuisine and superlative spirits. End your evening with a show at one of Philly’s performance venues like The Mann Center, Opera Philadelphia, or the Walnut Street Theater.

Yonkers Station, Yonkers

1 hour, 5 minutes


When in Yonkers, we spend much of our day at Untermyer Gardens Conservancy, a 43-acre outdoor palace where nature meets architecture. Next, learn about art, science, and history at the Hudson River Museum; there, visitors can tour the Glenview Historic Home, view a stellar planetarium show, or peruse the exhibitions on display, which include a collection of Hudson River School paintings. Speaking of the river, X2O Xaviars on the Hudson is a prime choice for serious foodies with American fare as imagined by local culinary leader Peter X. Kelly. If you’re after a more casual dining experience, Francey Brady’s offers delectable pub fare with tons of beer on tap. If you have some spare time to kill, Ridge Hill is something of a town square with shopping, dining, and occasional outdoor events.

Related: 4 Day Trip Itineraries to Follow in the Hudson Valley

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