19 Fun & Unique Things to Do in Cold Spring, NY

Cold Spring is one of my favorite small towns in New York, surrounded by jaw-dropping beauty and unique history. Located along the Hudson River, you can easily spend the day exploring the downtown, Hudson River or venturing off into the local hiking trails and nature preserves. Cold Spring is also just 50 miles north of Manhattan, making it an easy day trip from NYC or a weekend getaway.

About Cold Spring, New York

Post-Colonial History: Founded in 1818, Cold Spring was named after a nearby cold water spring that was believed to have healing properties. During the American Revolution, Cold Spring played a vital role as a major supply depot for the Continental Army. In the 1800s, the village became a popular destination for wealthy New Yorkers seeking a peaceful escape from the city. The construction of the Hudson River Railroad in the mid-19th century further increased Cold Spring’s popularity. Throughout the 20th century, Cold Spring maintained its reputation as a charming and historic village, with many of its 19th-century buildings still standing today.

Native American History: Before the European invasion, the land that is now Cold Spring, NY, was inhabited by several Native American tribes, including the Wappinger Confederacy, the Mohegan, and the Lenape. These tribes hunted, fished, and farmed the fertile land along the Hudson River for centuries. In the 17th century, the Europeans invaded their land and through violence eventually displaced these Native American populations

Transportation: Getting to Cold Spring

Cold Spring is so easy to get to by train. In fact, the Metro-North train station stops right in the downtown area. Most days, you can take this train hourly from Grand Central. The tickets cost between $13 to $20-ish (depending on peak times). It takes about 8 stops or 1 hour and 20 ish minutes. Be sure to snag a window seat to enjoy the gorgeous Hudson Valley views.

Best Things to Do in Cold Spring, New York

This list will be divided into sections on the different Cold Spring attractions: hiking trails, history and culture, shopping, water activities, and restaurants. So feel free to scroll ahead to the sections you’re most interested in!

I. Hiking Trails in Cold Spring, NY 

Cold Spring is one of the best places to visit in Upstate New York for outdoor lovers. Its prime location on the Hudson River is surrounded by various terrain, creating exciting trails for hikers of all abilities. You can easily make a day of hiking different trails and then exploring the downtown shops and eateries.

1. Anthony’s Nose 

One of the most popular trails near Cold Spring is short but steep, located right along part of the Appalachian Trail. Anthony’s Nose sports an impressive view of Westchester County and the mountain ranges along the Hudson River, right across the river from Bear Mountain. This route has consistently been rated one of the top hikes in Upstate New York, with a bit of crowding on the weekends and afternoon hours. (Parking is limited!)  

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 1.9 miles 
  • Route: Out and Back 

2. Old Cornish Estate Trail (Easy)

Located in the same parking area as Little Stony Point, the Old Cornish Estate Trail is a slightly wooded trail with a minimal incline and accessible to hikers of all skill levels. What sets it apart is the ruins at the end of the hike of the Cornish Estate, a super popular location for both history and ghost lovers with several structures to explore. This is by far the easiest hike in Highland State Park and follows the blue-marked trails.

  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Length: 1.8 miles
  • Route: Out and Back 

3. Bull Hill (Moderate)

Bull Hill Trail (AKA Mount Taurus) is a gorgeous hiking trail in the Hudson Highlands Park. The trailhead is easily accessible with many clear signs, lots of parking space, and located just a 20-minute walk from the train station/downtown of Cold Spring, New York. This trail is moderate and takes about 4-5 hours to complete with some “easy” scrambles and inclines. Along the way, you’ll be rewarded with views of the Hudson River and surrounding mountains, Cornish Estate Ruins, and epic summits.

There are two routes you can take on the Bull Hill Trail. The long loop will bring you around the top of the mountain to the summit (about an hour extra) and the short loop. Both trails connect you with the Cornish Estate Trail (listed above).

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 4.3 miles (short) and 5.4 miles (full)
  • Route: Loop

4. Breakneck Ridge (HARD)

Breakneck Ridge Loop is one of the HARDEST but also most popular Hudson Valley hiking trails, offering four different paths to get to the stunning view at the top– one trail leaves from Cold Spring! The trailhead for this hike is located between Cold Spring and Beacon on Route 9D, and the helpful sign at the entrance will tell you everything you need to know about each trail to pick the right one for your abilities. The longer trails will hit every scenic spot and rocky scramble in the area, with views of Bannerman Castle, Storm King Mountain, and just some of the beautiful lakes in Upstate New York. Don’t do this hike if you’re a beginner, afraid of cliffs, or don’t like scrambling over giant boulders.

  • Difficulty: Hard 
  • Length: Up to 9 miles
  • Route: Various

5. Little Stony Point + Beach

Little Stony Point has a gorgeous beach and clifftop views of the Hudson River along the Hudson Highlands State Park. It’s an easy hike to the top of Little Stony Point, but be sure to also take the trail that walks along the beach/river and loops back to the parking lot. This is just a 1-minute drive or 15-minute walk from downtown (where the Metro-North train is). Perfect for beginners or just those looking to relax and enjoy beautiful views without the challenging hike. 

Bonus: You can also hire a local photographer to take your engagement photos here, starting at $1,400. Check out her portfolio.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1.3 miles
  • Route: Loop

II. For History & Culture in Cold Spring, NY

7. Boscobel House & Gardens 

Boscobel House is a stunning mansion near Cold Spring that overlooks the Hudson River and Constitutional Marsh. The original home, known as the Historic House Museum, was built between 1804 and 1808 and features restored Neoclassical antique decor and one of the finest collections of Federal period decorative arts. Outside the house, there are 68 acres of grounds to explore, including walking the Frances Stevens Reese Woodland Trail of Discovery (a one-mile hiking trail through the forest), the Apple Orchard, Formal Garden, Herb Garden, and Hudson River School Artists Garden, displaying sculptures by Greg Wyatt. (You must reserve a ticket for both the grounds and the museum.) 

8. Magazzino Italian Art Museum

Just a short drive from downtown Cold Spring, the Magazzino Italian Art Museum is a beautiful museum and research center dedicated to celebrating the appreciation of postwar and contemporary Italian Art. The outside may look plain, but on the inside, there are colorful original pieces of art–many that have never been displayed before in the United States–along with a permanent exhibition showcasing a comprehensive panorama of 12 artists involved in the Arte Povera movement. On the hilltop of the Magazzino grounds, you can visit the corral of Sardinian donkeys, hailing from the same Italian island as the museum’s co-founder.

9. Bannerman Castle 

Bannerman Castle sits on the uninhabited Pollepel Island in the Hudson River, which you can get to by booking a ferry tour or bring-your-own kayak/canoe tour. The island has a deep history of Native American superstitions, Dutch romances, and Revolutionary war stories before it was later purchased by Francis Batterman to store Spanish war equipment and ammunition; he’s the one who constructed the Scottish castle that remains today. You can explore the island by walking the ground, boating around it, or joining in special events like movie nights, farm-to-table dinners, theatrical performances, and more.

10. West Point Foundry Preserve 

Visitors to the West Point Foundry Preserve can explore one of the most significant industrial sites in our nation’s history, where some of the first locomotives, steam engines, water pipes for New York, and Civil War cannons were manufactured. The outdoor museum takes up 90 acres, with trails running along the Foundry Brook, historical buildings, and interpretive art features that illustrate the history of the Industrial Revolution and Civil War in the area. You can visit the foundry for free, all year round–bring a set of headphones to access the audiovisual tour to listen to more history about the historical landmarks. 


III. Shopping in Cold Spring, NY 

Cold Spring has an adorable downtown full of unique boutiques and shops. With roots dating back to the 1730s, this is an excellent spot for antique lovers to add to their Cold Spring NY Things do Do list. Most of the best shops are on Main Street, along with delicious eateries and cafes you can stop at for lunch.

11. Antique Shopping in Cold Spring

  • Once Upon a Time– Antique Store: A very organized antique shop with a special selection of vintage Christmas decorations, jewelry, and dollhouse accessories. 
  • Cold Spring Antiques Center- Antique Store: There is a huge selection of antiques at this store mixed with vintage finds, collectibles, and memorabilia. The hallways are a bit narrow, but the rooms are stocked with treasures. 
  • Bijou Galleries Ltd- Antiques Store: Bijous antique team is fantastic. They provide spectacular service and fair pricing on various antiques and vintage products in stock. 
  • Vintage Violet- Antique Store: Vintage Violets offer elegant and luxurious vintage pieces. They feature jewelry, furniture, clothing, artwork, and collectibles.
  • DamnAged Vintage: Here is your spot to find racks upon racks of vintage clothing. The shop is very chic, and they have online photos of their inventory. 

12. Boutique Shopping

  • Archipelago at Home: Archipelago is perfect for finding unique home decor pieces. The shop is small but packed with goods from floor to ceiling. 
  • Poor George- Clothing Store: One of the best shops downtown, with a very trendy selection of handmade goods and vintage clothes. If you need a unique gift, they have a bunch of soaps, housewarming gifts, and greeting cards. 

13. Bookstores in Cold Spring

  • Split Rocks Books: Locals love this small bookshop that sells a curated variety of books and specializes in non-fiction, literary fiction, and small presses. The store was voted Best Independent Bookstore East of the Hudson and was started by a couple who spent their lives in bookstores and libraries. 
  • Riverside Books and Prints: Riverside is a used book store located at Bijou Galleries. You can find a variety of rare and collectible books here, with some rare first editions. 

V. Kayaking & Boating in Cold Spring, NY 

14. Go Kayaking

  • Hudson River Expeditions: Explore Cold Spring from the water with a stand-up paddleboard or kayak tour along the Hudson River. Instructors are available if you need them, and tours close mid-October for the season, reopening by the end of May.
  • Storm King Adventure Tours: If you don’t have any kayaking gear, Storm King Adventure provides everything, with a few different tours to choose from. Trips last between two to trees hours, with the most popular near Cold Spring being to Bannerman’s Island, Moodna Marsh, and Little Stony Point.
    • Kayak to Bannerans Island: You can take a walking and kayaking tour of Bannerman’s Island in a single or double-seat kayak on a 3-hour adventure. A Bannerman Castle historian will direct the tour, sharing a ton of historical facts and stories along the way. ($100 single, $200 double)

15. Fall Foliage Cruise from Manhattan to Cold Spring

Take a Foliage Cruise From Pier 11 in Manhattan to Cold Spring, NY (FALL ONLY): This tour starts from Manhattan and will take you on a cruise up the Hudson River to stop in Cold Spring, seeing all the fall foliage along the way. The boat has a full-service bar, indoor/outdoor seating, private restrooms, and climate-controlled cabins, and it serves as a perfect day trip from NYC. If you want to stay the night, book a ride back the next day!

VI. Best Restaurants in Cold Spring, NY 

  1. Rincon Argentino Cafe: Rincon’s is an adorable Argentinean cafe in a historic brick building on the hidden gem side of Main Street (under the tunnel). They make homemade empanadas and gelato and have a very down-to-earth, friendly vibe. Get some of their yerba mate iced tea! $ (4.7)
  2. The Bird and Bottle Inn: This historic restaurant was built in 1761 and sits on the ancestral lands of the Munsee Lenape, the ancient indigenous people of the Hudson Highlands. The atmosphere of the restored tavern is lively, and the menu features a variety of delicious brunch choices and a mix of elegant-meets-classic American dishes like Faroe Island salmon fingerlings and a short rib brisket burger. $$$ (4.7)
  3. Badageoni: Badageoni is Westchester’s first Georgian Restaurant serving authentic cuisine with a modern take on traditional Georgian recipes.  It’s perfect if you’re looking for a unique dining experience near Cold Spring with dishes like beef and pork Khinkali (Georgian dumplings) and lamb sewers. $$ (4.9)
  4. Cold Spring Coffeehouse: Here, you can find high-quality house-made pastries (including vegan recipes) to go with freshly brewed coffees. They also host open mic nights and live music events. $ (4.7)
  5. Hudson Hill’s Cafe: Hudson Hill’s is a market and cafe using locally sourced organic ingredients from farms in Upstate New York to create a full menu of breakfast, lunch, and bakery goods. You can order anything here, from all-day breakfast to fish tacos to burgers and a number of other homemade comfort meals. $$ (4.5) 

VII. Charming Boutique Hotels in Cold Spring, NY

  • Pig Hill Inn Bed and Breakfast ($$): A vintage Bed & Breakfast built in 1825 with in-room fireplaces, a Victorian Conservatory, and a garden terrace. It’s located right on Main Street, 3 minutes from Dockside Park, and home to Barber and Brew– one of the only breweries in New York with a barbershop inside! [CHECK PRICES HERE]
  • West Point Foundry Bed and Breakfast ($$$): One of the most romantic inns in the Hudson Valley with only two rooms: The French Room and the Napoleon. Amazing views in the fall and includes hot tubs, in-room fireplaces, and easy access to the Cold Spring Train Station. [CHECK PRICES HERE]
  • The Bird and Bottle Inn ($$): Coming soon, the Inn will provide classic and elegant lodging with 260 years old guest rooms modernized with luxurious features.  [CHECK PRICES HERE]
  • Hudson House River Inn ($$): This is a really cool double balcony hotel built in 1832 (on the National Register of Historic Places!), just a short walk away from shopping, dining, and the riverfront. The restaurant is also spectacular, with delicious seafood chowders and entrees. [CHECK PRICES HERE]

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