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OMI International Arts Center
Photograph: Bryan Zimmerman / Courtesy Metro Pictures | Olaf Breuning, Clouds (2014)

The best art day trips from NYC

Looking for culture and a quick getaway? Look no further. Here are our favorite art destinations within a four-hour drive.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

As temperatures climb, it's time to get out of the city and explore the region's best art offerings. Take a day, just you and your loved ones and friends, to hop on a train or in a car to see the newest stunning exhibitions outside of New York City. You’d be surprised what you can find within a four-hour drive. To get you started, here are our suggestions for places to visit. Don't forget to reserve your tickets ahead of time and be ready to adhere to each museum's safety protocols. Bon voyage and happy art hunting!

RECOMMENDED: All of the best day trips from NYC

1hr by car, 1hr 45mins by train

This 500-acre landscape of fields, hills and woodlands is home to one of the finest sculpture parks anywhere, boasting a collection of more than 100 outdoor works by some of the biggest names, including Louise Bourgeois, Mark di Suvero and David Smith. This spring, check out indoor and outdoor installations by artist Sarah Sze to coincide with the unveiling of Sze’s Fallen Sky, a major new site-specific commission by the artist that will become part of Storm King’s permanent collection. The current Outlooks installation by artist Martha Tuttle, A stone that thinks of Enceladus, is now a two-year presentation and will remain on view through the 2021 season.

 1 Museum Rd, New Windsor, NY (, 845-534-3115)


35mins by car, 55mins by train

A 28-acre public garden and cultural center in the Bronx overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades, Wave Hill offers many natural pleasures, including a magnificent stand of pines, a formal garden and a hiking trail running through the woods. But there’s also art, which can be found on the grounds or in Wave Hill’s main space, the Glyndor Gallery. There are also additional exhibition areas, including the Sunroom Project Space and Wave Hill House. This spring and summer, look out for exhibits like "Gyun Hur: So we can be near," "Shoshanna Weinberger: Fragments of Perception" and "The Shadow of the Sun: Ross Bleckner and Zachari Logan."

W 249th St and Independence Ave, Bronx, NY (, 718-549-3200)



2hrs by car

Generally thought of as one of the earliest examples of Earth Art, art, OPUS 40 is a wonder to behold: The work of one man, Harvey Fite, who labored on the piece for 37 years, starting in 1938, when he purchased an abandoned quarry in Saugerties, New York (best known as the site of Woodstock). The result is a winding “total artistic environment” comprising six-and-a-half acres of bluestone blocks fitted together with a technique Fite borrowed from ancient Mayan temples. In fact, Opus 40 resembles nothing so much as mysterious edifice left by a forgotten civilization or, perhaps, extraterrestrial visitors. The grounds also include a museum devoted to quarryman tools that Fite found around the site.

50 Fite Road, Saugerties, NY (, 845-246-3400)

2hr 41min by car

Art Omi sits on 120 acres in the Hudson Valley and peppered over its landscape are large-scale works and a 1,500-square-foot gallery. The Sculpture & Architecture Park currently offers more than 60 works by artists and architects that are changed each year. Accessing the museum is free (donations welcome) but you'll have to register ahead of time on weekends. So far, Art Omi has hosted more than 2,000 artists from over 100 countries. What will you see this spring and summer? Don't miss Clouds by Olaf Breuning (pictured)—it's a visual pun about the "flatness" that happens when humans attempt to depict the natural world.

1405 County Route 22, Ghent, NY 12075 (artomi.org518-392-4747)



2hr 25min by car


Founded in 1898 by Samuel Longstreth Parrish as a one-room exhibition hall in Southampton Village, this major art museum in the Hamptons is now a massive facility in Water Mill that presents about 15 temporary exhibitions each year, or about 3,000 works, including special exhibitions and group shows. You won't be able to drive by because its "Field of Dreams" exhibit in front of its building will call your attention. Check out "Affinities for Abstraction," by women artists starting May 2, and do not miss the major Roy Lichtenstein survey starting August 1.

279 Montauk Highway, Water Mill, NY 11976 (, 631-283-2118)

2hr 20min by car

This stunning home that used to belong to artist and explorer Frederic Church will stop you in your tracks. Olana, which is the "old Latin name for a place in Persia, to which the artist’s home bears some resemblance in situation," was where Church lived full time in the 1890s and painted during and after his training with artist Thomas Cole. Now, a National Historic Landmark within the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, Olana hosts tours, events and exhibitions. Starting May 2, you'll be able to see "Fallen" by Jean Shin, a site-specific work around the lawn's fallen hemlock. It'll be part of Olana's larger 2021 collaborative exhibition, "Cross Pollination: Heade, Cole, Church, and Our Contemporary Moment," which begins June 12.

5720 State Route 9G, Hudson, NY 12534 (, 518-828-1872)

Philadelphia Museum of Art

2hrs by car, 2hrs by train

It’s not every institution that can claim an association with Sylvester Stallone and Marcel Duchamp, but Philly’s premier museum is able to do just that. Thousands of visitors come each year just to snap their picture on PMA’s “Rocky” steps as the entrance is now known thanks to its appearance in the movie that launched Stallone’s career. As for Duchamp, the museum owns two of his enigmatic masterpieces “The Large Glass” and “Étant donnés,” which you could say respectively represent the Mona Lisa and Sistine Ceiling of 20th-century Conceptual Art. The museum is just as renowned for its other holdings, which, like The Met’s in New York, is encyclopedic in scope. Don't miss striking prints, drawings, and photographs in the "Expressions" exhibit on through July 31 or the delicate work in "Kōgei: Art Craft Japan."

 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA (, 215-763-8100)

Dia: Beacon
Photograph: Courtesy Dia Art Foundation/Bill Jacobson Studio

Dia: Beacon

1hr 30mins by car, 2hrs by train

The aptly name Dia: Beacon is indeed a signal destination for fans of contemporary art—or anyone else, for that matter. Located just up the river from New York in Dutchess County, Dia: Beacon (which is housed in a 300,000-square-foot facility that was once Nabisco’s box printing factory), serves as the sprawling showcase for the Dia Art Foundation’s unparalleled collection of Minimalist Art. It also features temporary exhibitions by some of today’s leading artists, including California Light and Space artist Robert Irwin, who has an environmental installation now on view. 3 Beekman St, Beacon, NY (, 845-440-0100)

Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #411 b, d, e: Isometric figure with progressively darker gradiations of grey ink wash on each plane, 1984/2003.


3hrs by car, 3hrs by train

Located in an old firehouse that also once housed a Baptist church, The Dan Flavin Art Institute is one of several artist-project sites maintained by the Dia Art Foundation across the country. It is, as the name suggests, dedicated to Dan Flavin (1933–1996) the sculptor known for creating spectacularly colorful installations out of fluorescent light fixtures. Some of his earliest works, a series dating from 1961 to 1964 called “Icons,” is currently on view. The Dan Flavin Art Institute also mounts exhibitions of other artists’ work.

Corwith Avenue off Main Street, Bridgehampton, NY. (, 631-537-1476)

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
Photograph: Christopher E. Manning / Courtesy The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum | Frank Stella's Stars

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

1hr 30mins by car, 2hrs by train

The fall, leaf-peeping season is the time most people think of going to Ridgefield, CT, but summer is just as lovely, and it’s worth the trip just to visit this museum devoted to contemporary art—one the first of its kind in the country. It was founded in 1964 by fashion designer Larry Aldrich (1906–2001), who sold his collection of Picasso, Miró, Chagall, Paul Klee among others to pay for the property: A former church and general store dating from the 18th century. A major renovation and expansion opened in 2004. The museum offers a roster of multiple exhibitions, with the highlights this season being Frank Stella’s "Stars," and "After the Mobile," a two-part solo exhibition by artist Tim Prentice. Both have indoor and outdoor components.

258 Main St, Ridgefield, CT (, 203-438-4519)


2hrs 30mins by car, 3hrs by train

One of the most interesting things about the live/work homestead shared by AbEx great Jackson Pollock and his wife, the painter Lee Krasner, is how small the studio that birthed Pollock’s game-changing “drip” paintings actually is: The floor on which Pollock spread out his canvases to make his paintings is only barely larger than the works themselves (for comparison, one of Pollock’s larger compositions, One: Number 31 (1950), measures roughly nine by 18 feet). The House is a modest cedar-shingled affair typical of the old fishermen residencies that still dot the Hamptons, as is the adjacent barn that contains the studio. There, you’ll find a display of artifacts—Pollock’s paint-splattered shoes, paint cans and brushes—and of course, the aforementioned floor, which retains the spattered vestiges of some of history’s most famous artworks. A spotlight on the work of abstract-expressionist Mary Abbott will be on from May 1 to July 25.

830 Springs-Fireplace Road East Hampton, NY (, 631-324-4929)

2hrs by car, 1hr 30mins by train

If you looking for the latest in contemporary art while you’re in Philly, check the ICA, which showcases work by some of the brightest lights working today. Through May 9, artist Jessica Vaughn's exhibition, "Our Primary Focus Is To Be Successful," will examine late 20th- and 21st-century office culture.

118 S 36th St, Philadelphia, PA (, 215-898-7108)


4hrs 15min by car

Founded in 1951, the Corning Museum of Glass wows visitors with more than 50,000 glass objects in its collection, some over 3,500 years old. The many galleries showcase works from almost every country in the world, and represent glassmaking from antiquity through the present day. Contemporary artworks include pieces by significant artists such as Klaus MojeKaren LaMonteBruno PedrosaDale ChihulyLibenský / Brychtová and Josiah McElheny. You'll also want to see items from the show Blown Away, and an exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of Corelle. Guests can also watch live glassmaking demonstrations or even learn to make glass at the museum.

One Museum Way, Corning, NY 14830 (, 607-937-5371) 

1hr by car 1hr 30min by train

The home of famous painter Edward Hopper is open to the public. Built in 1858 by his maternal grandfather, it served as his primary residence until 1910. After his death, the house fell into disrepair, but was saved from demolition and restored by members of the local community. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can tour the home, which includes his work, belongings, notes from his family members, and exhibitions of work by other artists inspired by Hopper. It opens officially on April 15.

82 North Broadway, Nyack, NY 10960 (, 845-358-0774)


1hr 20min by car and train

Grounds For Sculpture was founded by artist and philanthropist Seward Johnson and opened in 1992 on what used to be the New Jersey State Fairgrounds and was a natural extension of its predecessor, The Johnson Atelier. Across 42 verdant acres, there are about 300 contemporary sculptures and indoors, six galleries hold temporary exhibitions. More than 700 artists have shown their work here and the permanent collection has about 150 artists on view, including Clement Meadmore, Anthony Caro, Beverly Pepper, Kiki Smith, George Segal, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Isaac Witkin, Joyce J. Scott, Willie Cole, and founder Seward Johnson. 

80 Sculptors Way Hamilton, NJ 08619 (, 609-586-0616)

The Barnes Foundation

2hrs by car, 1hr 30mins by train

The Barnes Foundation describes itself as “the greatest private collection of post-impressionist and early-modern art” and it's hard to argue with that, not only because its holdings of Cézannes, Matisses, Picassos and Renoirs represent quality but also quantity, with the Renoirs alone adding up to 181 pieces. Originally housed in the stately home of founder Albert C. Barnes in nearby Merion, PA, the collection relocated in 2012 to a new building in Philadelphia designed by Williams and Billie Tsien, the same team behind the now lost American Folk Art Museum. The original Merion location remains open to the public and features a 12-acre arboretum. Don't miss "Soutine / de Kooning: Conversations in Paint" on through August 8.

2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA (, 215-278-7000)


3hrs 45mins by car, 6hrs 30mins by train

Located in North Adams, Massachusetts amid the rolling countryside of Berkshire County, Mass MoCA takes up a rambling complex of former 19th-century factory buildings spread across 13 acres. Nearly 200,000 square feet is given over to exhibition space for contemporary art, but that’s not all: There’s an 850-seat theater, an outdoor concert area that can accommodate upwards of 9,000 people, plus an amphitheater, various rehearsal studios and artists’ workshops. That’s all on top of additional 200,000 square feet of space for “commercial tenants in creative industries.” In other words, there’s a lot of room for stuff to happen and it does with numerous shows, performance events, films and concerts. You'll want to check out Glenn Kaino's "In the Light of a Shadow" (pictured), an immersive exhibit that connects protests around the world, and "Close to You," a group exhibition that explores how visual arts conjure feelings of closeness.

1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA (, 413-662-2111)

The best day trips from NYC

Good for everyone
2 hrs 50mins by car

Tucked into the Catskills, this Ulster County hamlet is a real melting pot, the kind of place where you can expect to see a conservative old-timer and a Brooklyn lumbersexual sipping Buds along the bar in perfect harmony. For every no-nonsense staple (Phoenicia Diner), there’s a hipster newbie (the Graham & Co.). Try Peekamoose if you want to be trendy—the restaurant is known as the "Gramercy of the Catskills." If you’re looking to do something unique, float down the creek’s rapids—one of the most popular things to do in Phoenicia—or hike at Giant Ledge. The mellow, no-frills, hippie-dippie local culture makes it easy for anyone to relax here.


Good for hippies at heart
2 hrs, 11mins by car

Though the name conjures a crowd splashed in tie-dye and the faint scent of marijuana, Woodstock isn’t actually where the 1969 festival was held. (That was in Bethel, about two hours away.) Even so, the town is a mix of retired hippies—a street there is named after the late great Band member Levon Helm—artists and city dwellers who feel the need to flee the metropolis on weekends. Woodstock the chance to connect with nature thanks to Overlook Mountain and its various trails as well as a healthy shopping scene with quaint local shops like Candlestock and the Golden Notebook and its weekend flea market, delicious food that can be found at places like Silvia and The Mud Cub and drinks at Station Bar & Curio.


Good for small town fans
1hr 20mins by Metro-North

This quaint city in Dutchess County boasts an exceptionally good eating, drinking and art scene for its size. Walk five minutes from the train station to Dia:Beacon, a modern art museum housed in a former Nabisco box factory. It houses the Dia Foundation’s permanent collection of works from the ‘60s on, including minimalist sculpture by Anne Truitt and Dan Flavin’s work with fluorescent lights. If you’d rather spend the day sampling some booze, Dennings Point Distillery on Main Street also offers tours and tastings of their bourbon, whiskey, gin and vodka every Friday and Saturday. Before you board the train back to the city, spend a few quiet minutes watching the sun set over the Hudson at Long Dock Park. — Annalise Mantz

Good for hikers and nature enthusiasts
2 hrs by car

Picture this: over 8,000 acres of forests, cliffs, ponds and streams that are ideal for hiking, cycling, horseback riding, trail running, rock climbing and more. Just 90 miles north of New York City, in Ulster County, Mohonk Preserve is truly a nature lover's slice of paradise that, unlike most other hiking grounds, is also home to horseback riding opportunities within designated carriage roads that promise less foot traffic than other destinations. Make sure to start your day early to make a full day of it.


Good for those who want a mix of town and country
3hrs by LIRR or car

Beyond all the worth-the-trip views of riverside bluffs and verdant trees, New Paltz is the most historic on this list, with preserved houses that were around 100 years before we even became the U.S. of A. So, yeah. Pretty old. Learn about the lives of the 17th-century Huguenot settlers, as performers (dolled up in duds from the period) take you through 30 buildings over 10 acres, including seven historic homes and a reconstructed 1717 church. (Want to retain the back-to-basics spirit as you take in the National Historic Landmark District? Leave the selfie stick at home.) 

Good for photo enthusiasts
1hr by car

With its rolling green hills and massive sculpture installations, Storm King Art Center is tailor-made for stunning photographs. Art aficionados and nature lovers alike will enjoy wandering the 500-acre art park featuring works from more than 100 artists including Alexander Calder and Maya Lin. Take the guided tram tour around the park once to get the lay of the land, then set off on foot or rent a bike for a day of exploring and Instagramming. Visitors can even climb inside a select number of the works. The artistic flair extends to the riverfront village of Cornwall-on-Hudson, where you can dine at the eclectic restaurant–art gallery combo Painter’s–Annalise Mantz


Good for hikers
2hrs by car

Between its rugged landscape and forested pine-barrens area, upstate has some stellar natural spots, and Minnewaska State Park Preserve is one of the best. The more than 22,000-acre spread has been converted into an egalitarian playground with 50 miles of trails, a new rock-climbing spot at the Dickie Barre cliffs, as well as old carriage roads well suited for mountain biking. Cool off with a swim in Lake Minnewaska or Lake Awosting, nestled between towering white bluffs and known for their translucent aquamarine color. Afterward, head to New Paltz for a break at the Water Street Market, where you can eat, shop, and take in art, outdoor movies on Monday nights (June–Aug) and free music on Tuesdays. Historic Huguenot Street is also worth a gander; the road features seven 300-year-old stone houses from the original settlement and provides a tangible glimpse at the history of the town. — Rosie Haney

Good for outdoorsy folk
70mins by Metro-North

The Hudson Highlands have lush landscapes, peaks and breathtaking hikes for all levels. Little Stony Point Loop offers a relaxed jaunt along a flat peninsula where you can wade into the Hudson River at the beach. Explore old ruins, including a crumbled mansion and defunct dairy farm, on the gradually sloping, partially unpaved Cornish Estate Trail, which starts opposite Little Stony Point Loop, marked by blue blazes. The adventurous should tackle the steep climbs and rock scrambles that lead to the summit of Breakneck Ridge for an impressive 360-degree vista of Storm King Mountain, Bannerman Castle and, on clear days, the Catskills. For detailed guidebooks and maps, check out New York–New Jersey Trail Conference, Open Space Institute and Appalachian Mountain Club, and bring water and appropriate footwear, even for the simpler treks. — Nadia Chaudhury


Good for adrenaline-junkies
2hrs by car

Put some space between you and the ground on an adrenaline-revving three-hour zip-line excursion at Hunter Mountain. Daredevils should check out the SkyRider Tour, an above-the-canopy course with more than two miles of whooshing fun split over five separate lines, each of which reaches a height of 600 feet and shoots riders along at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. For something more low-key but still high up, try the Mid-Mountain Tour, which tops out at 60 feet and includes six lines, nine tree platforms and four rope bridges. Take your buzz to Last Chance Antiques & Cheese Café, a quirky combination of a gourmet cheese shop with an extensive beer list that also hosts local live bands. — Sarah Rammos

Good for history lovers
30–45mins by Metro-North to Tarrytown

Take a five-minute cab ride from the station to Philipsburg Manor Upper Mills living-history museum—a farm and mill dating back to 1750—to try hands-on activities. Staffers in period costume demonstrate grinding grain in the gristmill, threshing wheat and preparing goods for shipping with traditional instruments. The visit also provides a sobering reminder that slavery was not confined to the South, which guided tours highlight. Explore the dairy, kitchens and bed chambers in the main house, then bask in the rustic scenery from the bridge overlooking the pond. Take the 15-minute walk to the Bridge View Tavern for craft brews, pub grub, and views of the bridge and stretch of the Hudson River known as the Tappan Zee. —Lauren Piro

Airbnbs near breweries

Near: Hudson Valley Brewery in Beacon, NY

About the brewery: On East Main Street, this spot specializes in hoppy beer with complementary flavors that make it easy to go down. Drafts and wide cans are both found in its big space.

The stay: Less than a mile from downtown Beacon, NY, this cozy and private apartment is a safe haven once you're done trying the brews at Hudson Valley Brewery. It suits up to four guests though it's just a one-bedroom. There's a cute porch to sit out on once the weather gets warmer, too. $130 per night.


Near: Industrial Arts Brewing in Beacon, NY

About the brewery: It is known for its fresh, hoppy beers you can taste in a state-of-the-art brewhouse located in the Garnerville Arts and Industrial Complex. You can get to it in 15 minutes from this enchanting stay in nearby Cold Spring.

The stay: There's a beautiful wrap-around porch, mature trees, and beautiful green space to take in around this stately home, which also boasts a comfortable ground floor with two sitting rooms, a dining room, and a farmhouse kitchen. It can accommodate eight guests across four bedrooms. $600 per night.

The Dakin House near Crossroads Brewing Company
Photograph: Courtesy Airbnb

The Dakin House near Crossroads Brewing Company

Near: Crossroads Brewing Company in Athens, NY

About the brewery: Located in the Brooks Opera House, this spot has a seven-barrel brewhouse with 10 taps that offer a selection of award-winning beers, including the beloved Outrage IPA or its full-bodied Black Rock Stout.

The stay: Stay in style in the Dakin House, a renovated Greek Federal Style home built in 1800. You'll have the third floor to yourself with large light-filled open spaces, original hardwood floors, a comfortable living/dining room and a separate bedroom, with a queen-size bed and adjoining private bath. $225 per night.

Near: The Albany Distilling Company Bar in Albany, NY

About the distillery: This is for the lover of clear alcohol. Located in the renovated shell of a 19th-century Nabisco factory, this spot is a small craft distillery with a full line of spirits, from cocktails and whiskey to vodka and rum. Albany has a ton of breweries, so make sure to check this one out for something different.

The stay: This three-level stay has everything you'll need for a comfortable stay, including a full kitchen and bar, a big living room and a master bedroom with a full bath. $115 per night.


Near: The Suarez Family Brewery in Hudson, NY

About the brewery: Owned and operated by a former Brooklyn resident, this small mom-and-pop specializes in ales of mixed fermentation, unfiltered lagers and other crispy little beers (the Wheat Pale Ale and Crispy Little).

The stay: Stay in an authentic Sears catalog home in Hudson—a quiet and comfortable getaway for those looking to take a low-key escape from the city. $162 per night.

Near: Victory Brewing Company in Downington, PA

About the brewery: This spot is celebrating 25 years in the business and has a lot to show for it, including 20 brands of beer like the popular Prima Pils, HopDevil, DirtWolf, Summer Love, and Golden Monkey and Sour Monkey brews. Unique to this spot is its growler filler that allows any 20 draft beers to be routed to the counter-pressure growler filler, which makes the beers' shelf life longer. 

The stay: A stay in this 1850 townhouse will accommodate four comfortably across two bedrooms. It still holds much of its original character, including stone walls and pumpkin pine flooring. You'll have all three floors to use as your own. $302 per night.


Near: Tree House Brewing in Charlton, Massachusetts. 

About the brewery: A beer mecca, this spot is considered to be one of the best in the U.S. It's a non-distributing brewery, meaning you can only purchase on-site, so it's worth a trip. It's famous for its IPAs and stouts.

The stay: This 1,200-square-foot apartment is just 13 minutes from Tree House Brewing. Situated on a quiet street in Southbridge, it's within walking distance to Main Street. The apartment can accommodate up to four guests. $139 per night.

Near: The Alchemist in Stowe, VT

About the brewery: The Alchemist strives to have the happiest brew on the market and has a huge following. It's beloved for its Heady Topper DIPA and Focal Banger IPA. This is its "visitor center," where you can sample its offerings and purchase a case of whatever you like. Its original location is in Waterbury, VT.

The Stay: The Lounge is in the heart of Stowe, which makes it just a few minutes' drive from the brewery. This one-bedroom apartment is located on Main Street, so it's easy to walk the downtown area. It is located on the first floor of the Butler House and is a clean and comfortable stay for those visiting the area. $212 per night.


Near: Lawson's Finest Liquids in Waitsfield, VT

About the brewery: This spot boasts world-class IPAs and maple brews (you read that—it is in Vermont, after all). It's a highly-acclaimed, small-batch artisanal brewery that'll have you appreciating the simplicity of a really good, cold drink.

The stay: The area is a bit more rural, so if you want the full experience, grab a private room at The Farm on Mad River, a five-bedroom bed and breakfast. $95 per night.

Near: Foam Brewers in Burlington, VT

About the brewery: Foam, which is right on the waterfront of Lake Champlain, brews in small batches so it can serve up a changing beer lineup, and just like its name suggests, it focuses on crafting the perfect foamy beer.

The stay: It's just a few minutes' walk to the brewery from this clean and historic apartment (form 1912) with three bedrooms. The suite of bedrooms share one bathroom that has a claw foot tub that is "scrubbed daily," so you don't have to be afraid of a good soak after you've downed your suds. $334 per night.

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