Your guide to Columbus Day in NYC

Here's everything you need to know about Indigenous Peoples Day (Columbus Day) in NYC

Columbus Day 2016 in NYC
Photograph: Nicholas Baume

Celebrating Columbus Day 2020 doesn’t have to be about the first European who discovered America (more or less), in fact, more and more people are marking Indigenous Peoples Day instead.

The Columbus Day Parade has received backlash over the years as it is historically proven that the man of the hour led the oppression and genocide of indigenous people. If you want to know where you can go to learn more about Native American art and culture, then read on. Or maybe you just want to spend the day eating Italian food? Live your life!  

RECOMMENDED: Best things to do in fall in New York

When is Columbus Day?

This year, Indigenous Peoples Day (Columbus Day) falls on Monday, October 12, 2020. 

What is Columbus Day?

Columbus Day refers to when Christopher Columbus landed in America. Technically, he arrived on October 12, 1492, but since 1970, the United States has observed the occasion on the second Monday of every October. In New York, the holiday is dedicated to celebrating Italian-American heritage. In other states, Christopher Columbus is not celebrated at all. Instead, it's reimagined as Indigenous Peoples' Day drawing attention to the historical truths relating to the genocide and oppression of indigenous people. There are several exhibitions highlighting Native American artwork that would be good to visit during this day in NYC. Read more about them here.

When is the Columbus Day Parade in NYC?

There is no Columbus Day Parade this year.

 

Archive Columbus Day content

The best Columbus Day events in NYC
Things to do

The best Columbus Day events in NYC

It’s Columbus Day! Celebrate by booking for Discovering Columbus
Things to do

It’s Columbus Day! Celebrate by booking for Discovering Columbus

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Fall getaways near NYC

Woodstock, NY

Woodstock, NY

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. What to do: A hiking trail on Overlook Mountain leads to the Instagram-worthy remnants of an unfinished luxury hotel and views of Echo Lake. The General Store of Catskill (356 Main St, Catskill; 518-653-9188, thegeneralstoreofcatskill.com) is another draw, located on the town’s historic Main Street and offering an array of locally-made bath, body and wellness products. Besides all the camping? If you’ve grown tired of that smoky campfire smell and yearn for a real table and chairs, pop into Oriole 9 (17 Tinker St; 845-OR9-5763, oriole9.com) in town. This local favorite is a café-cum-art-gallery that serves fantastic all-day breakfast and lunch. (Go for the curried coconut tofu hash.) Where to stay: Stay at Woodstock Way, a comfortable and contemporary retreat near the center of town right next to the Tannery Brook Waterfall. Or, trade in four walls and a ceiling for something a little more portable. Tentrr.com is a campsite service available in Woodstock and elsewhere upstate. The idea is simple: Book a tent and arrive to a set-up campsite stocked with food and drink. It’s basically Airbnb for campers, touting fully-equipped campsites on private properties all across the Catskills. And don’t worry: Tentrr provides queen-size cots, because you’re too pretty to actually sleep on the ground.

Beacon, NY

Beacon, NY

This quaint city in Dutchess County boasts exceptionally good eating, drinking and art scenes for its size. What to do: 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 sculptures 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 sunset over the Hudson at Long Dock Park. On your way out, head to Storm King Art Center, a bucket-list site that has striking contemporary sculptures amid 500 acres of resplendent green, yellow and brown foliage.  Where to stay: The Roundhouse, a 23-room hotel right on Fishkill Creek, is an old industrial mill building that has been preserved and reworked to include original windows, wood beams, original bricks, and other reclaimed materials found on the site. It boasts a modern American cuisine with views overlooking the creek and waterfall and airy bedrooms, including two penthouse suites with a round bathtub overlooking the water.  

Ithaca, NY

Ithaca, NY

Ithaca, on the southern tip of Cayuga Lake, is a college town through and through, but it's also got that rustic, upstate vibe and gorgeous fall foliage you're looking for with quaint Victorian homes to gaze at. It's a great getaway for those who want to go leaf-peeping and pumpkin picking but also want to check out the local town nightlife and its plethora of restaurants. The best part? It's near to some of New York's most incredible gorges and waterfalls. They don't say "Ithaca is gorges" for nothin'!What to do: Grab breakfast at any one of its popular joints, from Ithaca Bakery to DeWitt Cafe, and head out for a day in the leaves at Robert S. Treman State Park nearby, which is home to Lucifer Falls and a Lord of the Rings-eque gorge you can hike into. And don't skip Taughannock Falls, which is 215 feet tall, and empties into its own gorge. When you're done communing with nature, make sure to go antique hunting at Found In Ithaca and Mimi's Attic, and hit up the Ithaca Farmers Market for homemade pies and apple cider doughnuts, hard cider from local cideries, fresh flowers and much more. And definitely have dinner at Mercato.Where to stay: The William Henry Miller Inn is located right in the heart of downtown Ithaca and within walking distance of as many as 50 restaurants. It's also an incredibly beautiful, historic building from 1878.

Lake Placid, NY

Lake Placid, NY

The beloved lake is just the beginning: This prime Adirondacks spot features shopping, hiking, swimming and one killer mountain.  What to do: Beyond mountain biking and hiking, you can head to the lake for a vast array of watersports. The town of Lake Placid has a rich collection of art and shopping.  Where to stay: The seven-acre, 131-unit Mirror Lake Inn (mirrorlakeinn.com) can't be beat. Every room looks over the lake, and the the cozy fireside accomodations (along with two restaurants and a spa) will keep you in your robe late into the day. 

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North Fork, LI

North Fork, LI

South Fork is so last season. Instead, skip it for Long Island’s North Fork this fall, where the bucolic coast is just warming up. Without traffic you can make it to this venerable stretch of farms and vineyards in a hour and a half. Bring your taste for Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio.What to do: Winery tour options abound here, so take your pick! Sample Merlot at One Woman Wines and Vineyards (5195 Old North Rd, Southold; 631-765-1200, onewomanwines.com), try Coffee Pot Cellars’ sauvignon blanc (31855 Main Rd, Cutchogue; 631-765-8929, coffeepotcellars.com), or sip on something bubbly at Sparkling Pointe (39750 Middle Rd, Southold; 631-765-0200, sparklingpointe.com). No judgment if you decide to hit up all three.Where to stay: North Fork is perfect for a day trip, but if you want to extend your stay, tap Arbor View House B&B (8900 Main Rd, East Marion; 631-477-8440, arborviewhouse.com), known for it’s plush garden and gourmet breakfast, as your relaxing home away from home. Book Now

New Paltz, NY

New Paltz, NY

If you’ve ever walked the six-mile perimeter of Central Park and felt wistful leaving the North Woods—which were designed to resemble a forest in the Adirondacks—then it might be worth heading to New Paltz, NY to tackle some serious hiking. A nature-filled weekend starts by booking a roundtrip ticket to Mohonk Mountain House via the Catskill Carriage, which is redefining the charter bus experience. During your trip, you are provided with every amenity you could possibly need. Wifi, outlets, snacks, candy and even homemade cookies? MTA, take notes.  What to do: The best reason by far to visit Mohonk is to get outside and explore its extensive hiking trails, which are set in 2,200 acres of forests. One of the most popular hikes is a relatively easy trek up to Sky Top Tower, a stone structure that was built about 85 years ago in honor of one of the resort’s founders, and which offers fantastic views of the surrounding area. All of the hiking trails are well marked and maps are provided, offering hikers everything from a beginner path to some serious rock scrambles located along a network of paths situated on lakeside cliffs. Where to stay: Situated at the top of the Shawangunk Ridge, Mohonk Mountain House (1000 Mountain Rest Rd; 845-765-3286, mohonk.com) overlooks the half-mile-long Lake Mohonk and is a National Historic Landmark that has been owned by the same family for almost 140 years. While staying at this 265-room Victorian castle with a full-service spa isn’t exactly roughing it, photos of long-gone relatives, fireplaces and the lack of TVs in each room add some rustic charm.

Hudson, NY

Hudson, NY

This picture-perfect Hudson Valley town has all the charm of a rustic hamlet with the vibrant street life of a bustling downtown. You’re just a few miles from the Catskills, Berkshires and other popular vacation destinations, but you can have a full trip without leaving the quaint riverfront city at all. What to do: Visit the one-of-a-kind Olana State Historic Site just outside the city and grab a meal at the LGBTQ-friendly Lil’ Deb’s Oasis.Where to stay: There are a number of new hotels downtown Hudson that are worth looking into. Try The Wick, a boutique hotel with 55 guest rooms, or if you’re looking for a bit more of a nature experience, try the brand-new modern oasis Piaule Catskill. The Hudson Milliner Guesthouse is also a unique option with personality-filled guest rooms.

Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia, PA

This Northeastern metropolis is just a short train ride away from NYC. Its cobblestone streets and quaint old townhomes make a perfect backdrop to a fall getaway with a heavy dose of historic Americana. (Though don’t worry, there’s a lot to do other than paying a visit to the liberty bell and the constitution center.) What to do: After a trip to the must-hit Philadelphia Museum of Art, check out the recently relocated Barnes Foundation just a short walk. LGBTQ+ travelers should pay a visit to the gayborhood and art lovers can pop in galleries throughout Fishtown. Where to stay: The gorgeous, recently opened Guild House Hotel provides luxuriously appointed rooms in a historic building just blocks from city hall. The “invisible operation” hotel also partners with women-owned businesses to provide food and amenities for rooms.

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Warwick, NY

Warwick, NY

A day at the orchard sounds nice, right? And just an hour and a half away from NYC? Even better.What to do: Warwick’s main attraction is Masker Fruit Farms (45 Ball Rd; 845-986-1058, maskers.com)—a 200-acre orchard open for apple picking seven days a week. Admission is free and and apples are roughly $30 per half bushel (about 20). Swing by the country store on your way out to pick up apple butter and a jug of cider.Where to stay: Warwick Valley Bed & Breakfast (24 Maple Ave; 845-987-7255, wvbedandbreakfast.com) kicks casually accommodations up a notch with on-call massage therapists and a vegetarian or vegan breakfast made at your request.

Saratoga Springs, NY

Saratoga Springs, NY

Saratoga Springs has been a posh retreat from the big city for more than 200 years due to its natural mineral springs that spawned its name. The naturally carbonated wonders are some of the only ones in the country and attract throngs for their healing benefits, namely antacid properties to help upset stomachs and heartburn. But there’s plenty else to see and do in this upstate New York retreat in the fall, from apple picking and corn mazes to foliage hikes and autumnal farmers’ markets. What to do: Zen out at Yaddo (312 Union Ave; 518-584-0746, yaddo.org), an artists’ hub that opened in 1900 and sits on a bucolic 400-acre estate. Its mission is to give artists the space to work without interruption. Today it’s a center for choreography, film, literature, music, painting, performance art, photography, sculpture and video installments, and aside from all the arty happenings, it’s worth a visit just for the pleasant walk around the gardens. You can experience more culture at The National Museum of Dance (99 S Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY; 518-584-2225, dancemuseum.org), at which you can view an ever-growing collection of photographs, videos, costumes, biographies and more artifacts that pay homage to the art of dance, of course.  Where to stay: Right on bustling Broadway, Saratoga Arms (497 Broadway; 518-584-1775, saratogaarms.com) is a stone’s throw from boutique shops and restaurants. Breakfast is included daily at this country-style inn, where you can find wraparound porches, fireplaces and balconies.  Book Now

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