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What to Do in New Paltz: How to Spend a Day in This Creative Haven

Wikimedia Commons / Daniel Case

Ulster County’s popular college town buzzes with community activities, restaurants, and breathtaking Hudson Valley views.

If Beacon is the Williamsburg of the Hudson Valley, then New Paltz must be Bushwick. The creative hub is home to countless alternative shops, cultural attractions, and innovative eateries. With SUNY New Paltz right next door, the city thrums with life at all hours. In this ever-changing area, it’s safe to say that a trip into town is never the same.

Ready to plan a socially distant day trip to New Paltz? Our 24-hour guide will get you started.

8:30 a.m. – Eat an award-winning breakfast at Main Street Bistro

It wouldn’t feel right to start a day in New Paltz without a stop at Main Street Bistro. Considering it won our Best of Hudson Valley Readers’ Pick for Ulster County Restaurant in 2020, it’s no surprise that the eatery is pretty darn popular with locals. One look at the menu and you’ll understand why. Hearty egg breakfast platters, like the 59 Main Express and the South of the Border are a steal for only $9. If you’re in the mood for a little sweet and savory action, the Bistro Slam delivers two eggs and bacon with an option of two slices of French toast or two pancakes for just $6.50.

59 Main St, New Paltz

1 p.m. – Enjoy a vegan treat at Commissary 

Lagusta’s Luscious makes its very own organic and vegan chocolates right down the road in New Paltz. Commissary supplies the chocolates, makes its own ramen – also known as Rammissary on Tuesdays. Top picks from the menu include the cheese and pickle plate, paired with jam and Brooklyn-made crackers, with a lavender sumac lemonade. Yum. Don’t forget to browse the zine (small do-it-yourself homemade magazines) collection in the shop – featuring zines from local zinesters in the Hudson Valley.

11 Church St, New Paltz

2:30 p.m. – Embrace your inner art history major at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art

Venture onto the SUNY New Paltz campus to explore the artistry housed within The Dorsky. The museum features a wide variety of mediums and styles, from contemporary art and photography to drawing and sculpture. Check out the website for up-to-date information on the space’s latest collections, along with COVID-19 visiting guidelines.

1 Hawk Dr, New Paltz

4 p.m. – Shop local on Main Street

Small business supporters will be over the moon when they spot the assortment of shops that line central Main Street. Whether you browse for jewelry at Eden Boutique, score vintage antiques at Water Street Market, or find the perfect gift for that special someone at Himalayan Arts, you’ll have the time of your life as you hop from one Hudson Valley store to the next. Even window shoppers will have a blast wandering through the knickknack-laden storefronts that define central New Paltz.

On Huguenot Street, meanwhile, history buffs can weave in and out of the many historic houses and sites that make up the 10-acre National Historic Landmark district. Public tours are available.

7 p.m. – Experience Italy in the Valley at A Tavola Trattoria

A Tavola may be located in New Paltz, but you’ll forget that as soon as you step through the door of this Italian trattoria. Savor dishes like pappardelle Bolognese, made with a meat sauce that is braised for seven hours, and slow roasted beets, paired with burrata, arugula, pistachios, and poppy seeds. For dessert, let your taste buds travel to Northern Italy with the torta ciosota, a Venetian-style carrot cake topped with radicchio and mascarpone frosting.

46 Main St, New Paltz

9 p.m. – Sip in style at Huckleberry

Huckleberry is the hipster chic cocktail bar Brooklyn wishes it had. Think chalkboard menus, warm wood tones, and a drink lineup that rivals any NYC bar. Try the Castaway, with Monkey Shoulder Scotch, coconut puree, pineapple, cinnamon, honey, and lemon. For a refreshing sip, go for the Lightning Bug, with Bisongrass vodka, sparkling wine, and grapefruit bitters. The tap menu updates often and includes quite a few New York ales and stouts.

21 Church St, New Paltz

Alternative: Buy a brew at Bacchus, the Hudson Valley’s original craft beer bar.

10 p.m. – Stay the night at The Inn at Kettleboro

With so much to do in New Paltz, it’s downright impossible to explore every nook and cranny in just one day. That’s why it only makes sense to spend the night at The Inn at Kettleboro. The historic edifice, which dates back to 1830, resides on a 12-acre apple and peach orchard and offers breathtaking views of the Shawangunk Mountains. Guests can enjoy a farm-to-table breakfast in the morning and cozy up on the outdoor blue stone patio at night.

321 State Route 208, New Paltz

Related: What to Do During a Day Trip to Woodstock

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