There are a number of towns in the Hudson Valley worth eating and drinking around for 24 hours, but Hudson, located in Columbia County, is probably the most well-known. Accessible by Amtrak, it’s one of the easiest upstate options to plan a weekend around, even if you don’t have a car at your disposal.
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, the historic town became the country’s metro area with the largest shift in migration, as wealthy New Yorkers swooped in to buy second homes. What once felt like an artists’ hub with exceptional restaurants now has a more affluent population.
Although Hudson can feel like a Little Brooklyn at times, and the town is at a critical point of transition, there’s more to it than antiquing. It harbors an incredibly active restaurant community even when it's not high season for tourists. Note: This guide is intended to be used with or without a car, and spots that require one have been omitted.
Breakfast: Kitty’s Restaurant and Market Café
Located conveniently across from the Amtrak train station, Kitty’s is a general store selling bespoke vinegars and snacks; a cafe with pastries and coffee; and a nighttime restaurant with a full-service menu that includes schnitzel and chicken-in-a-blanket. Dinner here is good, its breakfast sandwich is a better deal: an omelet with muenster cheese on a seeded bun that can be topped with sauerkraut for an additional cent. Kitty’s has tons of outdoor seating for the warm weather, with indoor seats set aside for dinner. The cafe also has a wine shop on Warren Street called Grapefruit. 60 South Front Street, at Cross Street
Coffee: Moto Coffee
Rev up your morning with a cup of coffee at this hybrid coffee and motorcycle store that’s been open on Warren Street for years. There are a few tables on the sidewalk and more inside, with motorcycles 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 quick to eat, whether or not you brought your wheels. In addition to standard coffee drinks, there are pastries and small snacks. 357 Warren Street, near South Fourth Street
Morning activity: Walk along Warren Street
On the weekends, almost everything on Warren Street is open for business: There are tons of antique furniture stores, vintage clothing shops, and boutiques that highlight sustainably designed housewares made from recycled objects. Walk down the block in the direction of Talbott & Arding, a bakery and provisions shop that sells pastries, cheeses, sandwiches, and canned beer, making it easy to find a food gift for someone back home. (The shop also makes some of the best focaccia around.) On the way, stop into Flowerkraut, a shop that sells flowers and sauerkraut.
Lunch: Cafe Mutton
Cafe Mutton, which opened in 2021, is located two blocks off Warren Street. This order-at-the-counter spot is ideal for a sit-down lunch in a dining room with tons of personality: All over you’ll find vintage mushroom knick-knacks, and the food feels just as homey with items like a fried bologna sandwich, scrapple and eggs, to porridge with chile crisp, scallions, and a poached egg. Once a week, on Fridays, the restaurant is open for dinner with a separate menu. It’s an easier table to snag, even after Cafe Mutton scored a spot on Bon Appétit’s list of America’s best new restaurants. 757 Columbia Street, on the corner of 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 and 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
Afternoon activity: The Spotty Dog Books and Ale
Another one of Hudson’s hybrid businesses, the 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 open every day of the week, fairly unusual for the area. 440 Warren Street, between North Fifth and North Fourth streets
Mid-afternoon snack: El Sabor de Oaxaca
El Sabor de Oaxaca opened on Warren Street last fall, making it one of the newest restaurants in town. As the name suggests, Oaxacan food is the specialty, with several items on the menu that are difficult to find in New York City. There’s birria stew made with goat meat, entomatadas (rolled corn tortillas drenched in sauce), and tlayudas (large discs of masa blanketed in black beans, cheese, and meat). Get the latter dish to-go, and it will come out in a pizza box. Order at the counter and find a seat in the colorful dining room or in the courtyard out front. 364 Warren Street, near North Fourth Street
Backbar has the largest outdoor seating area in Hudson, and in the summer, it’s the best place to drink while the sun is up. The bar looks something like an auto repair shop with its open-air structure filled with mismatched vintage furniture. There are two seating areas with plenty of room for larger groups, and it’s almost always possible to nab a table here. In the late afternoon, it’s ideal for sipping a strong frozen drink while eating inventive bar snacks like tater tots with chile jam, Spam musubi, and 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 its community of queer artists and its recent James Beard Award nomination. Designed to look like a psychedelic tropical hideaway, the restaurant has one of the most fun interiors 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 changes often, but a whole fried fish with herbs and a ginger vinaigrette is a staple. For dessert, there’s parsnip cake, sweet cream ice cream, and love advice priced at “$1.69 or free ;)” on the menu. It helps to make a reservation, but it’s possible to squeeze in with a wait. 747 Columbia Street, near Green Street
Late-night: Half Moon
There’s not much open past 8 p.m. in Hudson, which is what makes Half Moon, an otherwise normal bar a block away from the Amtrak station, quite special. The mixed-use pizzeria and bar stays open until midnight Monday to Thursday — days that many businesses in town close their doors — and until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. A meal or drink here feels festive, with beer from local breweries on tap, a pizza oven that churns out massive pies, and a buzzing crowd that spills out into a sideyard. It’s the best way to close out 24 hours in town. 48 South Front Street, on the corner of Empire State Trail