Explore Uncommonly Cool Art in Hudson Valley, New York

 “A haven for artists, artisans, chefs, and environmentalists”
 “A haven for artists, artisans, chefs, and environmentalists”
 “A haven for artists, artisans, chefs, and environmentalists”

Extraordinary Art Experiences Can Be Found on Both Sides of the Hudson River

Not only was the Hudson Valley named one of Time Magazine’s world’s greatest places, but the town of Beacon was ranked as the #1 “coolest small town in America.” That’s some serious street cred, and we have to believe the area’s thriving art scene is a big factor in its dominating charm. Once an industrial community, Beacon has a history for creating, both practical things and things of beauty. It’s why we are including it in our own list of great communities to view art.

Just over 60 miles north of Manhattan, Beacon is an easy jaunt from New York City and a refreshing change of pace for tourists and locals alike, who may need a breather from the often frenzied nature of the city. You can explore castle ruins in the morning at Bannerman Island and be perusing vintage treasures at the open air flea market by afternoon. From its historic main street lined with shops and galleries to its small but savvy restaurant and craft brew scene, Beacon has all the character of a small town but the sophistication of a more urban community.

On the other side of the Hudson in Windsor, New York is the outdoor Storm King Art Center, named after the nearby Storm King Mountain. The art center is an open air museum covering approximately 500 acres and boasting one of the largest collections of outdoor contemporary sculptures in the United States.

Starting with Beacon, we are ticking off the list of unique art sites that make this area of New York state particularly special. Because we know gallery hopping can stir up an appetite, we also researched some great local dining options to share with you.


Exceptional Art:

Dia: BeaconDia Beacon, Riggio Galleries, photo by Bill Jacobson

The Dia is a conglomeration of 11 art locations, with both domestic and international sites. The name of the institution is derived from the Greek word “Dia'' meaning “through.” The name choice reflects Dia’s mission to be a thoroughfare by which artists can gain entry into the art world, hosting a select group of artists who may be otherwise hindered by “scale or scope.”

The Dia Beacon location is an expansive modern art gallery and museum located on the banks of the Hudson River in what was once a Nabisco box printing factory. With a decidedly eclectic vibe, Dia Beacon features art and artists from the counterculture era of the 1960s to present day.

Featured works include art by well known artists such as Andy Warhol (who has been the inspiration to many artists for decades) and a host of other large scale pieces, including sculptures which encompass entire rooms in the giant Dia Beacon art space.


3 Beekman Street, Beacon, New York

Hudson Beach Glass Inc.

Hudson Beach Glass is an art studio and gallery space which has been “casting functional and sculptural objects for over 35 years.” The gallery, featuring their own work as well as representing over 40 artists, is on Main Street located within walking distance of the Dia in what used to be a firehouse. In addition to touring the art gallery, visitors can enjoy glass blowing demonstrations.

Consistent with its name, Hudson Beach Glass has a large inventory of incredible glass blown artwork as well as jewelry and other fine crafts. If you want to really immerse yourself in the experience, the shop has been known to offer workshops where amateur and aspiring artists can try their hand at glass blowing.


162 Main St, Beacon, New York

Clutter Art Gallery

Located just across Main Street, the Clutter Gallery offers a funky collection of designer toy and subculture art. The space hosts a permanent collection of toys and also features rotating exhibitions. The operation is run by a husband and wife team who also publish Clutter Magazine, which covers the designer toy industry.

The storefront and gallery draws collectors from around the world for its impressive list of artists such as Ron English, a well known and highly-esteemed toy industry artisan. Clutter Gallery also attracts a wide variety of curious tourists thanks to the unique, quirky and often cutting edge nature of the art. Featuring a range of pieces including sludge demon sculptures and zombie-like painted creatures, this isn’t your grandmother’s idea of a stroll through the art gallery, which makes it an all the more exciting and entertaining venture.

Something to consider if you plan to go -- although technically a toy gallery, there are a number of works geared toward more mature audiences.


163 Main St, Beacon, New York


Local Cuisine:

If you get hungry while traversing Beacon’s Main Street, or just need a shot of caffeine to fuel your journey, check out some of the great local food spots. The culinary opportunities include great coffee, craft brew and casual and fine dining locales, including:

Bank Square Coffeehouse

We suggest the well known Bank Square Coffeehouse for some java, which offers a variety of baked goods as well as a pretty decent craft beer list. A self-described “arty hangout with eclectic furniture,” the coffeehouse maintains the ambiance for which Beacon is known.


129 Main St, Beacon, New York

Brother's TrattoriaBaked Eggplant Napoleon, photo from Brother's Trattoria's Instagram page

If you are seeking something a bit more “white table cloth,” in nature, Brother’s Trattoria, offering upscale northern and southern Italian fare, gets rave reviews.

Although we’re a little confused by the apostrophe placement (there appear to be multiple brothers who happen to look very much alike), the menu is phenomenal and we highly recommend that you make time in your agenda to hang out with the brother’s. Oops, we meant to say, the “brothers.”


465 Main St, Beacon, New York

More Exceptional Art -- on the Other Side of the Hudson:

Storm King Art CenterStorm King Art Center, photo by Caleb Wright

Across the river is the truly one-of-a-kind Storm King Art Center, which presents art installations in the gorgeous natural landscape within the hills and meadows of the valley. Storm King is about a 25 minute drive from the Dia, so we recommend planning a stop on the way into or out of Beacon.

Storm King features modern and contemporary art, with permanent as well as special exhibitions within its natural setting. The collection includes large scale sculptures, as well as drawings and photographs. We find the outdoor venue a calming space to enjoy and appreciate art.


1 Museum Rd, New Windsor, New York


We hope you enjoyed learning about Beacon and Storm King as we share great locales to view art. We recommend a trip to Hudson Valley to experience it first-hand. In the meantime, you can also shop whimsical, peaceful, bohemian and eclectic styles on our UGallery website.