The town of Peekskill, New York, is located in northern Westchester County, about an hour’s train ride north of New York City. Peekskill is situated along the Hudson River and has a rich history dating back to the early 18th century. This small town is known for its diverse culture and vibrant arts scene, with many galleries, studios, and performance spaces. Visitors can also enjoy various outdoor activities in Peekskill, such as hiking and biking. Travelers of all sorts will find something they enjoy. Here are some of the many interesting things to do in Peekskill, NY!
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How to Get to Peekskill
Peekskill is one of the most accessible towns as an easy day trip from New York City. You can get to Peekskill from the MetroNorth Hudson Line, and then it’s only a 15-minute walk to the downtown area. The ride is about an hour long, with a round-trip ticket costing $35 in peak and $26.50 off-peak from Grand Central Station. You can also book an Uber if you want to explore further than downtown.
Quick History of Peekskill
The town of Peekskill has a rich history, founded back in the 1600s! It started off as a trading post on Annsville Creek, serving as a significant military base in the Revolutionary War. Peekskill’s Birdsall House is where George Washington signed the command for Benedict Arnold of West Point– there are still notable sites in the town today that you can see from this era! By the 19th century, Peekskill transformed into a manufacturing mecca, producing everything from clothing to kitchen appliances. Citizens here also played a major part in the Underground Railroad, with several locations serving this noble movement.
Demographics of Peekskill
In the modern age, Peekskill has moved more towards an art and tech crowd and serves as an amazing gathering place for creative minds. It’s not too overcrowded, ranking as the 101st most populated small city in New York State with about 25,740 residents. We love Peekskill’s diversity, with people from all sorts of different cultures and backgrounds. There are a good number of newer apartments and residences in the area with the goal of attracting younger crowds to continue building upon this up-and-coming small town/city.
Things to Do in Peekskill
1. The Peekskill Coffee House
This quirky coffee shop serves amazing espresso with those beautiful foam designs on top. The Peekskill Coffee House has a lively atmosphere, where visitors and locals gather for a cup of brew and bite to eat. They host fun events such as trivia nights and live music. Make sure you try the crepes, waffles, and other pastries while you’re here!
Bucko! is a fantastic boutique in Peekskill offering unique and quality clothing and home goods. Their philosophy is to provide simple and honest service while creating a social center for the community to grow around. Sustainability is big here, so they offer personal care products on a subscription basis with lower prices for refilling shampoos and conditioners to reduce waste. The store is open from Wednesday to Sunday and offers curbside pickup and free local delivery!
3. Bruised Apple
If you’re a book or record lover, go see what treasures are hidden at Bruised Apple Books. This store has been buying, selling, and trading used books since 1993, offering books both in and out of print. You can also browse their extensive collection of movies, records, CDs, and maps of the Hudson Valley. When you’re in the store, look for the hidden clippings and letters that decorate the walls! This is one of our favorite places to visit in Westchester County.
4. KinoSaito Museum
KinoSaito is a museum and art center celebrating the experimental and collaborative art of Japanese American painter Kikuo Saito. Located in Verplanck in the former St. Patrick’s Catholic School, the newly renovated building houses two large galleries, Saito’s former studio, a multipurpose theatre, and two smaller studios with rotating displays. You can grab a drink at the cafe in warmer months and peruse the stunning garden. Admission to the museum is free, but Thursdays are by appointment only.
5. Try the Food
There’s a variety of delicious restaurants and eateries in Peekskill where you can fuel up in between hiking, walking, shopping, and more:
- Whiskey River: This restaurant is a place to unwind and relax with some comfort food (fish tacos and homemade chips), world-class whiskey, and crafty cocktails. It has a great atmosphere where the owners will check on you personally.
- Hudson Creamery: Stop for a sweet treat of hand-dipped ice cream while touring the town of Peekskill. This creamery closes for the winter season but has fun events leading up to the holidays.
- Birdsall House: You’ll love this laid-back gastro pub with farm-to-table cuisine and 20 microbrews on tap. They have a great place outside to enjoy a meal with live music and seasonal events.
- Iron Vine Tapas: Try some seasonal bites and small plates with a Latin twist in this circa-1863 restaurant! The tapas bar has a variety of delicious dishes and wines and a relaxed atmosphere that gives off an antique vibe.
- Apropos: Visit one of Westchester’s premier dining spots at The Abbey Inn & Spa. All menus are locally inspired, using in-season ingredients, and serving brunch, lunch, and dinner.
6. Summer Boat Cruises
The Hudson River is breathtaking from the water, especially in the Peekskill area. You can book a boat cruise with New York Boat Co. in the warmer months to explore the Hudson with family and friends or for a romantic getaway. There are multiple different cruises, including a Sightseeing Cruise to West Point or River Trip up past the Bear Mountain Bridge. Tickets are available as soon as January 1, and private charters must book through the group page for a reservation.
7. Lincoln Depot Museum
Built within the Peekskill’s original rail depot, the Lincoln Depot Museum is a historic gem where President-elect Abraham Lincon stopped to greet New Yorkers on his inaugural train ride in 1861. The museum is a tribute to Lincoln’s relationship with the state of New York before and during the Civil War times. Visitors can explore a number of different collections of artifacts and memorabilia. This is a great stop for history lovers to learn more about significant events in New York’s history.
8. Paramount Hudson Valley Theater
If you love to see live music, book a ticket to a show at the Paramount Hudson Valley Theater. This historic building remains a popular destination for travelers and locals to enjoy a host of live entertainment. Shows include anything from standup comedy to musicals to ballet performances. The atmosphere is very comfortable, and you must try the specially seasoned popcorn.
9. Peekskill Museum
Peekskill Museum is a wonderful place to explore the culture of Westchester, located at the historic Herrick House built in 1877. Unlike other larger museums, this attraction is a community-supported organization where local residents collect, preserve, study, and display artifacts of the region. Guests can learn about Peekskill through this museum’s programs, exhibits, and publications. Admission is only $5, and visitors are only allowed on Saturdays from 1 pm to 4 pm.
10. Peekskill Brewery
Beers served at the Peekskill Brewery are crafted right in-house! Set on the Hudson River near Riverfront Green Park, this brewpub is known for its sour ales and clean IPAs inspired by the brewmasters. The space is really cool, with multiple levels and an industrial aesthetic. Try some local craft beers in the tap room, beer garden, or full-service restaurant.
11. La Factoria
La Factoria is a great place for dining and entertainment at Charles Point. It’s one of the grandest venues in the area for special events, but also home to Spins Hudson, Fin & Brew, and River Outpost Brewing. Spins is the largest entertainment venue on the Hudson River, with opportunities for intense adventure on ariel rope courses, laser tag arena, and more. Seafood lovers will love the cuisine at Fin & Brew, with gorgeous views of the river.
12. Seasonal Markets
The Peekskill Farmers Market is one of the most popular, running from June to November and offering a fresh seasonal collection of produce, baked goods, prepared foods, and more. The Peekskill Flea Market is a favorite in the summer, and the HoliYAY market is one of many Christmas Markets in Peekskill during the holiday season.
13. Hudson Valley MOCA
Hudson Valley MOCA is a beautiful art gallery leading in thrilling exhibits that spark dialogue and deepen the understanding of contemporary art. An international roster of artists can be viewed here, along with local talent and creatives from around New York. Museum visiting hours are from 11 am to 5 pm from Thursdays to Saturdays, and proof of vaccination is required. The entry fee is a little pricy, but if you spend the day here, you can make it worth the fee.
14. Blue Mountain Reservation
Get outdoors in Peekskill by visiting the Blue Mountain Reservation, not far from Depew Park. This 1,538-acre park is full of groomed hiking trails, bike trails, and opportunities for studying local wildlife. Avid hikers will love exploring the two large peaks, Mt. Blue Mountain and Mt. Spitzenberg. Also on site is the Sportsmans Center with target ranges and the Blue Mountain Trail Lodge, a dormitory-style rental that sleeps up to 30 people for camping adventures.
15. Flat Iron Gallery
Flat Iron Gallery is another beautiful art gallery with an eclectic collection of paintings, photographs, pottery, jewelry, and more. The gallery is hosted in the historic landmark Flatiron Building (Hence the name!), and all pieces are available for purchase. Flat Iron is a perfect spot to find a unique gift for that special someone. The staff here has more than 25 years of experience and will help you pick the perfect fine art piece.
16. Peekskill Central Market
There are lots of opportunities to shop at the Peekskill Central Market and stop to admire the historic architecture of the town. Set right on Main Street, the 176-year-old building is three levels high and was first used as a grocery store in 1838. Start with grabbing a brew at Kurzhals Coffee on the first floor, known for its amazing organic and locally brewed coffee. Shops will ebb and flow throughout the seasons depending on who is renting the space.
17. Easy Day Trips from Peekskill
Elevate your Peekskill trip to the next level with these fun day trip stops that will liven up your visit!
- Kykuit (The Rockefeller Estate): Also known as the John D. Rockefeller Estate, this 40-room historic home is worth exploring, only 26 minutes south of Peekskill. The mansion is over 100 years old, with grand rooms and gardens you can tour.
- Lyndhurst Mansion: This estate looks like a modern-day castle! Once the Gothic Revival home of Jay Gould, guests can explore the 67-acre park in Tarrytown through mansion tours and seasonal events.
- Eat at Goosefeather and Farmer & the Fish: Both of these restaurants have unique cuisine worth taking the extra trip to try. Goosefeather offers a modern twist on Caontense dishes, while Hudson Farmer & The Fish serves some of the best New England-style seafood on the Hudson.
- Teatown Lake Reservation: Teatown is a popular nature preserve in Westchester County, with over 1,000 acres of wilderness to explore. Serving as an educational center, it offers opportunities for many programs, hikes, gardens, and Wildflower Island, home to 280 pieces of local fauna and flora.
Some more day trips a little farther north:
- Storm King Art Center: Close to the popular hiking trails at Storm King Mountain, the art center is an open museum in New Windsor with one of the largest contemporary art exhibitions in the country. You can stroll through the gardens among these massive sculptures while enjoying the natural beauty of the Hudson Valley. It’s one of the coolest museums in Upstate New York!
- Anthony’s Nose: Scaling the 900-ft peak at Anthony’s Nose will give you a stunning view of the Hudson River, Bear Mountain, and Bear Mountain Bridge. This is one of the best and quickest hikes near NYC, but it can be a little rocky, so be careful.
- DIA Beacon Museum: About 32 minutes north of Peekskill is the one-of-a-kind collection of 1960s contemporary artwork at the DIA Beacon. The museum is built within an old Nabisco packaging warehouse, and there are several long-term installations worth exploring. We love Beacon, NY!
Where to Stay in Peekskill
If you decide to stay in Peekskill, try one of these rentals to experience all this northern Westchester region has to offer.
- Coppermine House (Garrison): This rental sleeps 6-8 guests and includes a hot tub, pool, and woodland area only 13 minutes from Peekskill, close to Bear Mountain, Cold Spring, and West Point. [BOOK HERE]
- The Abbey Inn & Spa ($$$$): On the pricey side, but comofortable for work trips. [BOOK HERE]
- The Glabin: Another gem in Garrison, this modern rental in the woods sleeps 6 and has a deck and fire pit perfect for guests looking for a little rustic appeal to their stay. [BOOK HERE]
Big thank you to Westchester Tourism for hosting me on this press trip through Westchester. This allowed me to discover all the cool things to do in Peekskill, New York! All recommendations and opinions are my own, of course!