It’s back for 2018, the Newburgh Illuminated Festival. Truly, it is one of the best days you can ever visit the city. Even though a tornado hit downtown, the community is definitely going to come out bigger than ever for this annual festival.
It is located at the intersection of Broadway and Liberty Street. The best place to park is the Ann Street municipal lot, and even the waterfront, walk up Washington to Liberty Street. Let’s hope it’s a sunny day!
Just 60 miles north of New York City, you will find another city called Newburgh. Home to the second largest historic district in New York State, Newburgh is seeing a slow but steady comeback in recent years. Many people looking to get away from NYC for the weekend will often visit Beacon, Newburgh’s sister city right across the river. However, Newburghers are hard at work to get your attention to discover the potential and beauty of this Queen city.
In recent years there has been an uptick in new businesses, restaurants, artists, and entrepreneurs making Newburgh their home. While a lot of this new energy and excitement can be seen walking down Liberty Street and Lower Broadway, there is plenty more hidden inside the many warehouses and outer neighborhoods of the city. Here are few recommendations to get the most out of your experience visiting the City of Newburgh!
How to get here: From NYC take the Metro North Hudson line to Beacon. From there you can catch a ferry that runs rush hour Monday through Friday, or hop on one of the many taxis available at the train station to Newburgh.
What to do: Marvel at the architecture, the restored houses and the ones in decay. You’ll fall in love and will have a restoration project dreamed up before you leave. Visit a pop-up art gallery, musical performance or literary reading. Get out of your car, walk around and talk to people. Newburghers are friendly and want you to experience the city. The best conversations start off by just saying hi.
Where to eat: Newburgh really has all kinds of food. There are plenty of fine dining options, but if you love Latin food you won’t be disappointed. You can find everything from pupusas to baleadas in the city. Visit the cafes and coffee shops, but do a bit of urban exploring and you will discover diversity just like any other large city.
Make sure: Check out the City of Newburgh events calendar for all of the local happenings and pop-up events. Also, use the Downtown Newburgh neighborhood map to orient yourself while exploring the city.
FOOD/COFFEE/TREATS: You can find food catering to all taste buds and wallet sizes in the City of Newburgh. This list is by no means complete, but just a sample of what you can find.
– 2 Alice’s Coffee Lounge: Located right on Broadway, this is a great spot to study, meet a client, or simply hang out for a few hours. They often have open mic nights and live music on the weekends.
– Alejandra’s: Come here if you like authentic Mexican food and want to rub shoulders with local families eating out. They also have Mexican breakfast and fresh juices.
–Blacc Vanilla: A new coffee shop located on the north side of the city. Decorated in a sexy urban sleek vibe, it’s being dubbed the new meeting spot.
– Bliss Kitchen: Newburgh’s vegan Indian restaurant run by a family of local doctors. Hours can be a bit spotty but come for the lunch buffet. Many people come and do take out.
– Caffe Macchiato: One of the true gems of the city, in business for over ten years. It overlooks Washington’s Headquarters and is a big hit for lunch and brunch. A great spot to meet locals and get a feel for the city. Kitchen closes at 2:30 pm.
– Calabash: A family run Jamaican restaurant on Liberty Street, loved by all. Generous portions and well priced. Ask Deborah about the “secret menu.”
– Commodore Chocolatier: In Newburgh since 1935. They run a beautiful shop on Broadway that is a must-visit. Very popular during the holiday season for their candy making demonstrations.
– Liberty Street Bistro: A new restaurant bringing upscale dining to Liberty Street. Very popular for dinner, pasta Monday’s and their signature drinks.
– Los Portales: No fuss authentic Mexican food that is a local staple. They have all the traditional Mexican dishes, but also cater to vegetarians, just ask.
– Macchu Picchu: A popular Peruvian restaurant on Broadway open since 1990. Come here for the ceviche and rotisserie chicken. Vegetarian options are available as well.
– Ms. Fairfax: Newburgh’s version of Le Pain Quotidien. Communal tables, simple food, and a lively social scene. Come here to run into the movers and shakers of Newburgh. Buzzing dinner crowd. Look out for special cookouts and weekend parties.
– Newburgh Brewery: Located behind Washington’s HQ towards the waterfront. They have quickly become the symbol of the city with their logo “Newburgh has heart”. They have a large tasting room filled with games and communal tables. Live music on the weekends. Look out for special events.
– Newburgh Waterfront: Separated from the rest of the city, many people come here and see no other parts of the city. Come here for upscale dining at one of the many restaurants, take a walk along the waterfront, or to visit the marina. At night some of the restaurants turn into a club scene, popular with the local college students.
– North Plank Road Tavern: In operation since 1801. Great for history buffs or those who love fine dining. Popular with locals. Ask to see the trap door from the Prohibition era. Located at the northern edge of the city, close to I84.
– Palate Wine Shop: Come here to bond with Francophiles and buy wine of course. A beautifully restored storefront on Liberty Street with wine tastings most Fridays. A great spot to pick up your wine before checking into your AirBnB for the weekend.
– Pamela’s on the Hudson: A hidden restaurant on the Newburgh waterfront, located at the very northern end of the city. Come here for brunch, live music or the sold-out comedy shows or murder mystery dinners.
– Seoul Kitchen: Relocated from Beacon with a dedicated following. The owner will come by and asked how you liked your food, giving it that motherly home-cooked feel. Friday and Saturday nights they are open late for Ramen.
– The Daily Beet: New juice bar in the city that carries smoothies and green juices. Soon to be offering seasonal sandwiches, salads, and soups.
– The Pizza Shop: A pizza restaurant housed in the completely rehabilitated West Shore Train Station. Constructed by Warren and Wetmore, the architectural firm that designed Grand Central Station in NYC. Waiter service and a self-service area.
– The Wherehouse: A Newburgh staple since they opened. Frequented by bikers, college students, and locals. Come for the many beer and burger selections. Live music usually on the weekends. Open late.
– Zulimar Restaurant: Honduranian restaurant on Washington Street. Don’t let the dark windows fool you, it’s very family friendly and very affordable. Try their traditional breakfast, baleadas. They serve them all day long.
SHOP: Newburgh used to be a city full of industries and shops and a booming downtown. Urban renewal demolished the downtown shopping district but fortunately, we have many other business corridors left. Brave business owners are bringing retail back slowly. They deserve all the support they can get.
– Cream Boutique: Retail women’s clothing shop, showcasing the latest in popular fashion. Voted best new boutique.
– Cream Kidz: Younger sibling of Cream. Children’s shop offering the latest in fashion, and custom outfits.
– DMU Music: You’ll want to come here if you are a DJ in need of equipment. They also do rentals, repairs, and installations.
– Hale’s Hardware – A family-owned hardware store on Broadway. Yup, you don’t need to go all the way into the town to grab any last minute necessities.
– Jenny’s Floral Design: Run by a lovely Irish woman who has completely beautified her corner in Newburgh with her fabulous shop. She does everything from high-end commercial jobs and weddings to sweet bouquets for your love.
– Newburgh Arts Supply: Quaint art shop that supplies everything an artist could possibly need. Come here to stock up on paint supplies or find items to keep the kids busy for the car ride. The owners are amazingly knowledgeable about Newburgh and are at the center of the arts scene. Be sure to check out their antique collection.
– Newburgh Mercantile: A boutique inside an old fire station that offers custom framing and locally made gifts. They have a lot of Newburgh-inspired times for sale, a perfect way to remember your trip.
– Newburgh Vintage Emporium: Right off the I84 ramp. Voted Best Antique Store 4 years in a row by the Times Herald Record. A large store that houses many vendors in one space.
– Simple Gifts & Goodies: At the southern end of Liberty Street. A gift and ice cream/candy shop located inside an old candy kitchen. Come here for homemade ice cream and chat up the sweet owners about Newburgh.
MUSEUMS/ART GALLERIES: Newburgh might not have as many full-time open galleries as other Hudson Valley towns, but artists are making their mark on the city. Make sure to check out the events calendar for pop-up art events in surprising locations.
– Ann Street Gallery: Gallery featuring new installations regularly. Come for the artist receptions, or visit during daily hours.
– Atlas Gallery: Different events happening here every weekend. Everything from jazz and classical music to live dance and literature readings. They also function as a gallery and party space.
– Chris Davidson Gallery: Fine art gallery inside the Regal Bag Building. Check to make sure what is the most recent pop-up exhibition.
– Downing Film Center: Located on the waterfront in the Yellow Bird Building. They specialize in independent, foreign, and classic cinema. Make sure to try out the homemade cookies.
– Karpeles Manuscript Museum: A chance to see rare documents close up inside a beautiful old bank. Admission is free. Check hours.
– Matt Kinney Gallery: Located inside Atlas Studios. Kinney often uses the palette of the natural world to explore form and subject. Check his Facebook page for his most recent exhibit.
– Motorcyclepedia Museum: Do you love old motorcycles, new motorcycles, all motorcycles? This is the place for you. Over 500 motorcycles from 1897 till now on display. Check for special events.
– Washington’s Headquarters Museum: Learn all about Washington’s stay in Newburgh and see artifacts from the Revolutionary War period. Picture worthy sites of the Hudson River can be seen here.
Photo by Lauren K. Berg
HISTORIC HOUSES/SITES: Newburgh is known for its history. Sure, it’s easy enough to drive around with the windows open and stare at a bunch of buildings, but get out your car and see them up close. Go inside if the site offers tours.
– Captian David Crawford House: Home to the Newburgh Historical Society. Open on Sundays 1-4pm. Check for special talks and exhibits.
– Downing Park: Designed by legendary landscape architects Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, the same duo that designed Central Park.
– Dutch Reformed Church: If you love American architecture, come here. It isn’t open to the public as it still needs to be stabilized but, it is an outstanding Greek Revival building designed in 1835 by Alexander Jackson Davis.
– Fullerton Mansion: Tour the 1868 home of Judge William Fullerton and learn about how he became known as the “Great American Cross-Examiner.” A rare opportunity to see inside a lived-in home. Tours upon request. $5
– Old Town Cemetery: Established in 1713 by Palatine German refugees. It’s in disrepair, but it is one of the few cemeteries you can walk through in Newburgh and take photos. Sadly beautiful.
– Walk Newburgh Tours: Don’t want to walk around Newburgh alone? Don’t know what you are looking at? Book a tour!
– Washington’s Headquarters: The first publicly owned and operated historic site in the nation. Washington stayed here the longest than at any headquarters throughout the Revolution. An anchor to what has kept Newburgh to be special.
NIGHTLIFE: You won’t go club hopping in Newburgh, but there are a few popular places to choose from that locals and college students go to. Check the events calendar for special events and parties.
– Ms. Fairfax: Known for their dance parties on the weekend. Check their Facebook page to find out the most current events
– Newburgh Brewery: Great for live music on the weekends, open late Friday and Saturday. Check their website or Facebook page to find out what for special events.
– Newburgh Waterfront: Jam-packed on weekend nights. Finding a parking spot can be tough. Very clubby scene popular with the young college crowd.
– The Wherehouse: Local bar and burger joint open late on the weekends. Live music of all tastes. Check their Facebook page to find out which band is playing.
– Terrace Tavern: Bar where longtime Newburgh residents go to listen to old jams and play pool.
BOAT TOURS: No visit to the Hudson Valley would be complete without getting up and close with the river. Fortunately, there are local boat tours that can get you out on the water for the day, even if you don’t own a boat, kayak, or jet ski.
– Pride of the Hudson: Cruises from May 1st – October 31st to see Bannerman’s Island, Cold Spring, Storm King Mountain, Breakneck Mountain, and West Point
– River Rose: A Mississippi paddle wheeler that serves as a sightseeing boat, party boat, and dinner cruises.
WHERE TO STAY: There are no hotels in the city of Newburgh. If you are looking for a traditional hotel, you’ll have to venture out to the town of Newburgh or, to other cities.
– AirBnB: Newburgh has an array of options on AirBnB, with many super hosts selling out all weekends of the month straight. Be sure to book in advance.
– Goldsmith Denniston House: Local bed and breakfast on Montgomery Street with old world charm.
– Stockbridge Ramsdell House: Historic house with a bed a breakfast. One of the 5 houses saved by Libby Lyon.
ANNUAL EVENTS: During the year there are special events happening downtown that are worthy of their own visits. The city is usually bustling with life during these times, making it the optimal opportunity to discover Newburgh.
– Candlelight Tour: December. The Newburgh Historical Society’s annual Candlelight Tour features a dozen decorated homes including a diverse assortment of public and private spaces.
– George Washington’s Birthday Celebration: February. This annual family event is jammed packed with music, military demonstrations, crafts, historical presentations, topical talks, and birthday cake.
– Hudson Valley Vegan Food Festival: August. Well attended festival with food trucks and vendors. Promoting health awareness, nutrition, and wellness. Pets welcome, usually held in Delano Hitch Park.
– Kites Over the Hudson: September. Running 30 years, highlight event for the children. Free.
– Liberty Street Film Series: Summer. Last Saturdays June to September. On the lawn of Washington’s HQ. Free.
– Newburgh Illuminated Festival: June. Quickly becoming the most popular event in the city. Great opportunity to visit and see the city completely filled with life. Free.
– Newburgh Open Studios: September. A popular event that allows a rare glimpse inside artist studios in the city. Free.
– New York Air Show: July. Airshow featuring the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds along with some of the nation’s top military and civilian performers. Attended by thousands of people.
LOCAL ATTRACTIONS TO VISIT: If you would like to expand your adventures beyond Newburgh, there are plenty of sights to see within a short drive.
– Bannerman Island: A castle on the Hudson that was the home and arsenal of Frank Bannerman. A fire destroyed the castle, but there are efforts to restore it. During the warmer months catch a boat ride or kayak and tour the beautiful grounds.
– Beacon: Newburgh’s sister city across the river. There are plenty of things to do here from galleries to restaurants, hikes to pop-up shops.
– Gomez Mill House: In the town of Newburgh. The oldest Jewish dwelling in North America. A historic frontier house from the early 1700’s constructed by one of the first Jewish settlers. It’s like traveling back in time.
– Lawrence Orchard Farm: Popular local farm in the town that offers pick your own fruit and vegetables. Come to see the Little Village and the animals.
– Orange County Choppers: Come if you loved the TV show, love motorcycles, and live bands.
– Storm King Art Center: An open-air museum sculpture park. Fall is the most popular time to go.
– Walkway Over the Hudson: A linear walkway spanning the Hudson River. At 212 feet tall and 1.28 miles long, it is the longest, elevated pedestrian bridge in the world.
The Newburgh Illuminated Festival will be this Saturday, June 3, noon – 10pm. If you are looking for the chance to visit and discover Newburgh, this is an excellent opportunity to see how the community is able to transform itself. There will be vendors, artists, and plenty of food. Make sure to go to the Newburgh Illuminated Festival website to see all that will be happening.
Click here to see photos from 2015, 2014, 2013. It gets better every year!
Newburgh Last Saturdays are still going strong despite the cold weather! All over Newburgh businesses will be holding special events and staying open later just for you! Check out all of the events on the Newburgh Last Saturdays Fan Page, and tag your events #NBLS or #NewburghLastSaturdays.
Soaring, swirling, kites of all kinds will bob and weave as they dance in the wind at Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site during Kites Over the Hudson, on Saturday, September 20th, 2 PM to 4 PM.
Free kites will be given to the first 150 children 15 and under during this Hudson River Ramble event. Prizes will be awarded in various kite categories, and refreshments will be served to all who attend. And there will be a Kite Hospital, staffed by members of Chapter 1782 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, to repair most kite catastrophes!