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The best music day trips from NYC

If you're looking for a great concert, festival and a quick getaway from NYC, check out our favorite music day trips

Mountain Jam
Photograph: Patrick Tewey Mountain Jam
By Miles Raymer and Time Out contributors |
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Use our playlist of great road-trip songs to get ready for these killer music day trips from NYC, where the soundtrack continues once you arrive at your destination. There are some awesome music venues within driving distance of our fair city, not to mention sweet summer music festivals, and they each offer a little history and some small(er)-town culture to boot.  

RECOMMENDED: All of the best day trips from NYC

Out-of-town music fests we love

Jamie XX
Photograph: Laura Coulson

Gather Outdoors

This two-day affair brings dance-floor tastemakers like James Murphy, Jamie XX and Maya Jane Coles to an idyllic Catskills location. Between gigs, check out a dizzying range of nonmusical activities, from meditation to mechanical-bull rides.

Monticello, NY (gatheroutdoors.com). May 25, 26; two-day pass $139–$229.

Roots Picnic
Photograph: Dan Sozanski

Roots Picnic

Rap’s greatest group celebrates the 20th anniversary of its classic album Things Fall Apart with help from a bevy of hip-hop and pop faves.

Philadelphia (rootspicnic.com/philly). June 1; $79.50–$89.50.

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Mountain Jam
Photograph: Courtesy Mountain Jam/WarrenHaynes

Mountain Jam

Jam bands (duh), roots rockers and a sprinkling of global sounds exist in harmony at the site of the original Woodstock.

Bethel, NY (mountainjam.com). June 13–16; day pass $89–$109, four-day pass $199, camping $150 per car.

Solid Sound
Photograph: Courtesy Solid Sound Festival

Solid Sound

Jeff Tweedy & Co. hit MASS MoCA with Wilco’s many side projects (including one with Jon Hamm) and Wilco-approved acts like Tortoise and the Feelies.

North Adams, MA (solidsoundfestival.com). June 28–30; day pass $74, weekend pass $189.

Out-of-town music venues we love

The Capitol Theatre
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/onetigerfan
Music

The Capitol Theatre

1hr by car

The Capitol Theatre started as a movie palace dating back to 1926 and these days throws concerts by the likes Wilco and the Dead’s Phil Lesh. For those who don't mind a Metro-North trip, or a short drive, it's a great option for catching big acts in an intimate, comfy setting. Port Chester, NY (thecapitoltheatre.com, 914-937-4126)

Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Rob Sheridan

Nikon at Jones Beach Theater

icon-location-pin Long Island

1hr 15mins by car

This Long Island theater is where classic-rock buffs from the ’burbs meet their NYC counterparts. The booking alternates between iconic old-school acts like Neil Young and contemporary pop-rock sensations such as 5 Seconds of Summer. Whoever's playing, expect a populist, ballpark-style concert experience. Wantagh, NY (jonesbeach.com, 516-221-1000)

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Deer Head Inn
Photograph: Courtesy Bob Weidner

Deer Head Inn

1hr 30mins by car

For decades, legendary improvisers such as Keith Jarrett have plied their trade at this scenic Poconos B&B, which bills itself as the oldest continuously running jazz club in the USA. Delaware Water Gap, PA (deerheadinn.com, 570-424-2000)

The Stone Pony
Photograph: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons/LittleGun

The Stone Pony

1hr 30mins by car

The legend of this Asbury Park, NJ, club has been snowballing since 1974, when Bruce Springsteen first appeared there during the recording of a little record called Born to Run. Turn up today to immerse yourself in E Street Band lore and catch national acts serving up punk, metal, reggae, jam-band stylings and the good-time rock & roll that is the Pony's lifeblood. Asbury Park, NJ (stoneponyonline.com, 732-502-0600)

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Levon Helm Studios

Levon Helm Studios

3hrs by car

In his later years, the late Levon Helm, the masterful singing drummer at the heart of the Band, hosted shows in his homey Woodstock studio, star-studded gigs that he dubbed Midnight Rambles. The tradition continues to this day, as the venue regularly welcomes world-class acts from Los Lobos to Graham Nash. Woodstock, NY (levonhelm.com, 845-679-2744)

Montauk Surf Lodge
Photograph: Courtesy Paul Burke Jr

Montauk Surf Lodge

3 hrs by car

Every weekend from Memorial Day through Labor Day, this trendy Montauk motel becomes the destination for bands worth driving three hours to see in concert. The annual free concert series is a huge hit both among the surfing crowd and city beach tourists, so plan to get there early or, if you really want to see a band, book a room. Montauk, NY (thesurflodge.com, 631-483-5037)

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