There are many Hudson Valley towns worth spending 24 hours dining and drinking around. Hudson, New York, located in Columbia County, is likely the most well-known of the lot. Accessible by Amtrak, Hudson is one of the easiest upstate options to plan a weekend around even if you don’t have access to a car.
In recent years, Hudson has seen an explosion of new and exciting businesses, with nearly every corner of walkable Warren Street populated with shops for browsing. During the pandemic in particular, the historic town also became the metro area with the biggest shift in migration in America, as wealthy New Yorkers swooped in to buy second homes, changing what felt like more of artists’ hub with (relatively) affordable housing, to a population that’s more monied.
Though Hudson can feel comically like a Little Brooklyn at times, and is at critical point of transition, there’s way more to it than just a cute shopping strip; it harbors an incredibly active restaurant community even when it's not high season for tourists. Note: This guide was intended to be used whether or not you have a car, so spots that require one have been omitted.
Coffee: Moto Coffee
Rev up your morning with a cup of coffee at this hybrid coffee and motorcycle store that’s been on Warren Street for years. A few tables are located on the sidewalk, with more inside, and motorcycles are parked all around the space, including in its front windows. It’s a great option to sit down and send some emails, or grab something for on the go, whether or not you brought your wheels. In addition to standard espresso drinks, there are pastries, and a few other snacks as well. 357 Warren Street, near South Fourth Street
Breakfast: Kitty’s Restaurant and Market
Located conveniently across from the Amtrak train station, Kitty’s is part general store selling bespoke vinegars and snacks, part cafe with pastries and coffee, and a nighttime restaurant with a full-service menu that includes schnitzel and a play on pigs-in-a-blanket. Though dinner here is good, it’s a better deal for its breakfast sandwich ($7): an omelet with muenster cheese on a seed bun which comes with sauerkraut for an extra cent. There’s also smoked bacon or chicken sausage for a few dollars more. Kitty’s has tons of outdoor seating for the warm weather, with inside seats reserved for dinner service. The team also owns a wine shop on Warren Street called Grapefruit. 60 South Front Street, at Cross Street
Morning activity: Walk along Warren Street
On the weekends, almost every store is open for business: There are tons of antique furniture stores, vintage clothing shops, and boutiques like Likeminded Objects that highlight sustainably designed housewares made from recycled objects. There’s also Flower Kraut, which, yes, sells flowers and sauerkraut. If you’re still looking to nosh on something before lunch, stop by Talbott & Arding’s sprawling new headquarters just off the main drag, where you’ll find pastries, a cheese counter, and other provisions perfect for snacking or purchasing as a gift for someone back home.
Lunch: Cafe Mutton
Cafe Mutton, which opened last year, is located just two blocks off of Warren Street. This order-at-the-counter spot is ideal for grabbing a sit-down lunch in a dining room with tons of personality: All over you’ll find vintage mushroom knick-knacks. The food feels just as homey as the interior design with items ranging from a fried bologna sandwich, scrapple and eggs, to porridge with chile crisp, scallions, and a poached egg — basically all dishes we’d eat any day of the week. There are also brunch cocktails like a bloody mary and the less-standard prune juice, fernet, and vodka called the “poo driver.” 757 Columbia Street, at Eighth Street
Lunch dessert: Culture Cream
Though not the only ice cream option in town, Culture Cream is by far the most exciting with offbeat flavors like strawberry-miso or coffee-kombucha, which you can get with toppings like spicy peanuts or syrupy cherries. Flavors change often and there are plenty of vegan options, too. In addition to standard scoops, affogato is available. Beyond the ice cream, several fermented food products like small-batch miso are for sale. 318 Warren Street, near South Third Street
Post-lunch snack: Bodega Aguila Real
Family-owned Mexican grocery store Bodega Aguila Real has pantry staples alongside prepared foods fit for to-go like empanadas and tamales — portable treats great for having in hand while you walk around. It’s conveniently located on the same block as Cafe Mutton and Lil’ Deb’s Oasis. 749 Columbia Street, near Eighth Street
Afternoon activity: Spotty Dog Books & Ale
Another hybrid business in town: Spotty Dog is a bookstore where you can peruse fiction, non-fiction, art books, and cookbooks while saddling up to a bar with several beers on tap. In the back, there’s an art supply store, in case creativity strikes. It’s worth noting that it's open every day of the week. 440 Warren Street, between North Fifth and North Fourth streets
Pre-dinner drinks: Backbar
One of the more sprawling businesses on Warren Street, Backbar looks like an auto repair shop with its open-air structure filled with mismatched vintage furniture. There are two separate outside zones here, with plenty of room for big groups — which makes it pretty much a shoo-in that you’ll nab a table. In the late afternoon, Backbar is ideal for its strong frozen drinks section paired with one of its pan-Asian snacky dishes like cumin-spiced tater tots with chile jam, Spam musubi, or black pepper wings with fish sauce. 347 Warren Street, between City Hall Place and South Fourth Street
Dinner: Lil’ Deb’s Oasis
Lil’ Deb’s Oasis is one of Hudson’s most-talked-about restaurants both for fostering a community for queer artists and for its James Beard Award nomination: which is to say, it’s probably a good idea to make a reservation in advance. Designed to look like a psychedelic tropical hideaway, Lil’ Deb’s Oasis has one of the most fun interior design schemes of any restaurant on the Eastern Seaboard: a mix of pastel marble fabrics, lights made of colanders, and tennis balls as a running motif that makes it feel as much an artist studio as a dining room serving up serious eats. The menu, which exudes a sort of summer sex appeal (each dish price ends in a cheeky $.69), changes often — even in winter. Recent bites included sweet plantains with cilantro yogurt, melon salad with corn and chile oil, heirloom tomatoes with dill and creamy cotija, a hefty tamale with a green coconut sauce. The dessert menu includes rice pudding, passionfruit sorbet, and love advice for “$1.69 or free ;)” for the lonely hearts out there. 747 Columbia Street, near Green Street