The sun sets over the Hudson.

Sunset views in over the Hudson.

There’s More to New York Than New York City

I always hear people say, “New York, New York, a city so nice, they named it twice.” I completely agree with the allure of New York City and could not imagine spending college anywhere else. However, the trips I’ve taken outside of the city have been some of my most memorable memories from college so far. Growing up in a slower-paced environment, occasionally taking a break from the hustle and bustle of New York City has also been very helpful. If you’re thinking of somewhere to go for your next free weekend but have already been to Times Square thrice, here are some day trip options!

A view of a river and mountains from a train window.
Train ride upstate.
A glass structure sits on top of a pink carpet for an art exhibit.
An exhibit in the Dia Beacon, a Dia Art Foundation museum in Beacon, New York.
The author walking down a street in Beacon, New York.
Roaming the streets of Beacon!

Beacon: For Art Lovers

For all art lovers, Beacon is a day trip spot I highly recommend! Getting there is easy. You can take the Metro-North Railroad toward Poughkeepsie from Grand Central. The round-trip ticket is about $35 and you can get there in 90 minutes. The easiest way to plan your trip is to download the MYmta app on your phone. The train ride itself is enjoyable too with amazing views of the Hudson River (tip: sit on the left side!).

Near the train station is Dia Beacon, with ticket prices at $12 for students. It’s perfect for anyone interested in contemporary art! The main street is also not far away. There you can find cute cafes, restaurants, and shops. My friends and I tried Nepalese food at Momo Valley; they even had a full page of vegan options!

There are a couple of thrift stores scattered around if you’re on the hunt for an original vintage item. There’s even a flea market during the spring and summer months. If you stay until sunset, check out the views at the Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock Park.

Cold Spring: For the Hikers

A plate of steak frites and a bowl of mussels.
A yummy lunch in Cold Spring, New York.
A boutique store selling ceramics, clothing, stuffed animals, and candles.

Similar to Beacon, you can take the Metro-North train from Grand Central to Cold Spring. It’s actually the stop before Beacon, so the train ride is even shorter, making it a perfect day trip!

Not far from the train station and main street is the Washburn Trail. It’s a great hiking spot with amazing views of the Hudson River. In total, it’s about five miles, so make sure you don’t arrive in Cold Spring too late. The website has great instructions so you’re less likely to get lost, and the entrance is clearly labeled so you’ll know where to start. There are a ton of other hiking paths near the Cold Spring area, so anyone can find one based on their skills/interests.

For things to do after a good hike, check out Le Bouchon for some French food or Riverview for a riverside dinner. Cold Spring Antiques Center is also a must-see, and you’ll definitely find something special to bring home. For those who aren’t into hiking but still enjoy nature, there are multiple scenic spots/parks scattered around the area such as Foundry Dock Park.


Hudson: For Foodies

A person gazes into a shop window.
The streets of Hudson, New York.
Two plates of food with a vase and a violet flower.
A dinner in Hudson.

Next up is Hudson, and I call this the destination for foodies even though New York City is undoubtedly known for its wide selection of cuisines. The meals I’ve had in Hudson were unbeatable. With a huge restaurant selection, I argue that Hudson is definitely a weekend trip destination. Luckily, I’ve been able to find Airbnbs at affordable prices. Slightly more north, the easiest way to get to Hudson without a car is the Amtrak. Get tickets online early to bag the best deals. The main street is a quick walk from the station!

Detailing all the great food I tried is my favorite part. If you want a quick bite/drink check out Verdigris Tea and Chocolate Bar, The Maker Cafe, or Hudson Roastery. Breakfast spots I recommend are Le Perche and Cafe Mutton. For dinner, check out Feast & Floret, Hudson Food Studio, or Wm. Farmer and Sons. This list is not exhaustive but includes places I’ve enjoyed.

When you’re not eating, check out The Antique Warehouse. This is one of the largest warehouses for antiques in the northeast. If you love scenic views, head over to Henry Hudson Riverfront Park during sunset (or sunrise if you’re a morning person).

The Met Cloisters: A Slice of Europe in New York City

I’m still sad I didn’t get the chance to study away at one of NYU’s locations in Europe, so visiting The Met Cloisters made me feel better. This one is technically still in New York City. So if you’re not ready to commit to a long train ride but still want to get out of the hustle and bustle, this is the best option! One hundred percent doable for a day trip or even half a day if you’re an early riser. The 1 subway train goes all the way up to Dyckman Street Station. From there, it’s around a 15-minute walk to the museum.

The best part is, because it’s part of The Met, they operate on a pay-what-you-wish system for all New York State students. The cloisters specialize in European medieval art and have incredibly beautiful gardens. I highly recommend going when it’s sunny—my friend and I spent hours sitting in the garden chatting.

The Met Cloisters.
The walk up to the cloisters.
The author sitting in one of the gardens at The Met Cloisters.
One of the gardens!

Bonus Trip Destination: American Dream Mall, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Bowls of spaghetti.
Lunch at the mall.
Two students watch the sunset on the rooftop of the mall’s parking lot.
The rooftop parking lot is a great sunset-watching spot!

OK, so this one isn’t technically in New York State. However, I wanted to put it in because growing up in a more suburban area, I spent a lot of my weekends at the local mall with my friends. While it might seem insignificant after moving to New York City…I really missed shopping malls. My friend actually told me about this huge mall close to the city that is accessible by public transport and I knew I had to go. On weekends there’s a special bus service that takes people from the Port Authority Bus Terminal to the mall in around 20 minutes.

The mall has all the shops you can imagine. In addition, there’s even an indoor ski resort that offers day passes. If you’re like me and you can’t ski or snowboard to save your life, the mall also has miniature golf, a Ferris wheel, and an aquarium. You really can spend all day there, and I’ve made a ton of good memories with my friends at American Dream.

Yasmin Hung (she/her/hers) is a rising senior pursuing Psychology in CAS with a minor in public health. She is interested in research regarding inclusive healthcare, particularly in women’s and reproductive health. As an international student, originally from Taiwan, she moved many times growing up. NYU’s diverse student body and global campus experiences are what drew her to this university. When she isn’t working as an admissions ambassador or studying for her next psychology exam, she enjoys cooking for her friends, meticulously organizing niche Spotify playlists, and trying out new Chinese food restaurants around NYC.