A weekend in Catskill, New York
Upstate New York has long been a destination for people looking for a little rest and relaxation. There are so many cities to visit that you could say it would take an entire season to even make a dent in exploration. But one city that’s famous for its namesake throughout the region, but actually has a nice little downtown area to explore, is Catskill, New York.
Historic New York City dating back to the 1700s, Catskill is the seat of Greene County and has a simple and pleasant downtown area with artistic shops and restaurants. It is also the location of Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” town, and where Mike Tyson moved to after living in Brooklyn as a child. Fall is definitely the most popular time to visit as the foliage is plentiful, but really, every time you go up it is nice. Here are some important points.
How to get there
Catskill, NY is a forehand up the New York State Freeway (Interstate 87) and US Route 9W also crosses the city from north to south. While you can catch a train from NYC to Hudson, NY (about 20 minutes away), there aren’t a ton of transportation options, so having a car is definitely the way to go.
Where to stay
In the Catskill district, there is a plethora of AirBnBs, but you can also look for places to stay here. We would definitely recommend the local stay itinerary as there are some hidden home gems all over the area. There’s also the Tiny House Resort in Cairo, which is about a 20-minute drive away. Read more about our stay here.
Food + Drink
There are a variety of options for great food and drink in the Catskills, and Catskill, NY is no exception. While you can find a Walmart, Lowe’s, and Home Depot for some essentials if you go the AirBnB route, eating locally is an easy feat in this area.
This is a new Catskill bakery for great pastries, coffee and breakfast + lunch. Created from an old factory building in downtown Catskill by the river, Willa’s has a warm, modern vibe that’s ideal for a trip when you don’t feel like making your own breakfast. in the morning – or need to catch up on some jobs with free WiFi and a bacon and cheddar scone.
This colorful cafe (with its sister ice cream shop next door) offers vegan and vegetarian options to order, as well as healthy options and bowls with chicken and other meats. The nearby ice cream parlor, Bittersweet Catskill, even offers dairy-free scoops. A good place for a quick lunch, if you plan to explore for the day and need some food.
New york restaurant
Popular with locals and visitors alike, don’t be fooled by the name of the New York restaurant; it is in fact a well-run and carefully designed Polish and American restaurant with a rustic, upscale vibe and an extensive wine and cocktail list. I highly recommend booking through Resy as there can be a wait and sometimes a sold-out evening, especially during the peak fall and summer seasons.
Having opened in September 2021, Goodie’s is quickly making a name for itself in the breakfast and lunch food category. The luncheonette serves bagels, sandwiches, and even gluten-free bagels and vegan cream cheese – and has the cutest counter stools and patterned floors.
By the river off Main Street there is a small hole in the wall called Piccolo’s. This place serves wine and has casual Italian cuisine.
On Saturday nights there is karaoke on select weekends at this Main Street bar. Don’t be shy – gulp down some liquid courage and sign up for a song.
Subversive brewing company
Subversive is a chic brasserie that’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it – but once you find it, it’ll be easy to enjoy an IPA or wine / cocktails, all off the bar menu. without an appointment. The outdoor space is suitable for dogs and children, and there’s usually a pop-up food truck or stand outside near tables.
Kaaterskill Farm Natural Warehouse
For natural food shoppers and eaters, this tiny market is right next to Goodie’s and Walmart towards downtown. It’s a tiny place, but full of organic and allergy-friendly foods and vitamin supplements. There is also an (original) sister location in Hudson, NY.
Along the river in downtown Catskill, there is also a craft brewery called Catskill Brewery with outdoor seating. This local craft brewery is open Wednesday through Sunday and offers picnic tables for large groups.
Honorable Mentions to Visit (near Catskill): Gracie’s Luncheonette and the lovely hamlet of Leeds, NY deserve a mention. This restaurant is perched at the top of the river and is worth a visit, if only for its Fruity Pebbles donuts and vintage feel.
The city of Leeds is tiny and has pretty tough cell service, but it’s worth a visit as there are a few restaurants, a bakery with gluten-free treats, and a cafe to boot.
Citizen | 404 Main Street, Catskill
A new on-site home goods, coworking and coffee shop, Citiot serves both coffee and fun vintage finds.
In 2019, Katie Hartsough left a job as vice president of merchandising in the city to live full time in her upstate home. Today, she runs the Kaaterskill Market full time, a home goods store dedicated to sustainability and sells eco-friendly and aesthetic finds.
Antiques Angel of the Marshes
While there aren’t a ton of antique shops in Catskill, Swamp Angel Antiques is a Main Street attraction, with unique items.
Other things to do
Visit the city of Hudson, NY
Known as the ancient mecca of the Catskill region, Hudson is worth a trip to its downtown area if you have the time and a few extra days. There is also a vineyard called White Cliff Vineyards which does weekend tastings right next door.
Hike to Kaaterskill Falls Trailhead
Arguably one of the most popular hiking trails in the mountains, the Kaaterskill Falls Trail is an idyllic hiking destination, but lately it’s often crowded – so plan ahead. It’s worth a visit, as it is the tallest waterfall in New York State.
Catskill Animal Sanctuary
Over 40 different animals and 11 species make up the rescue farm that is Catskill Animal Sanctuary, and there are tours for adults and children on weekends. You can also donate for animal care.
This is a unique ‘farm stay’ in East Durham and quite child friendly. You can stay in the field or come for a day trip / walk depending on the season.
The Athens waterfront is a beautiful area not far from Catskill, and opposite, the Hudson Athens Lighthouse is a landmark worth a photo. The lighthouse is a Second Empire architectural style lighthouse.
Skiing at Wyndham or Hunter Mountain
The beautiful thing about Catskill is its proximity to Windham and Hunter Mountains for winter sports. During the winter months, Snow Rabbits will flock to this area for skiing and snowboarding, about 20-30 minutes from Catskill proper.
New York Zipline Adventure Tours
In the Catskills, the zip line is a must. The New York Zipline Adventure Tour at Hunter Mountain is the tallest, fastest, and longest biplane canopy tour in North America.
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