The day after my birthday I decided I needed to go somewhere in New York. I saw a picture of New Paltz on Instagram one day and knew I had to check it out for myself. It has all the makings of a perfect upstate New York town. There are quaint cafes, picturesque alleyways, and a sense of community that makes you want to pack your bags and become a resident. This town will not disappoint.
If you’re lucky enough to spend 24 hours in New Paltz, here are a few things that will make your quick trip into an unforgettable one.
Situated around 80 miles north of New York City is the village of New Paltz, a progressive little town with a population of just over 6,000 people. With a college close by, New Paltz has the perfect combination of old and new. Charming is the word that comes to mind when you think of New Paltz, and for a small place, it has a lot to offer.
When you visit a small town like New Paltz, you need to take it slow. If you’re there to just peek into to every shop, you’ll be done long before your 24 hours are up. There’s no better way to get to know a town than to sit in their coffee shops, talk up the shop owners, and walk through the streets. Though not as “peace and love” as you’ll get when visiting Woodstock, NY, New Paltz is a happy medium. There are some hippie stores, some classic antique shops, and a lot of reasons to spend the day.
Bookstore & Chill
I’m starting a thing called bookstore & chill, and I don’t care if it’s corny. A great way to peruse a small town is to browse their bookstores, find a great coffee shop, and hang out. We end up doing it everywhere we go. Half because we’re book obsessed (see Independent Book Review for proof) and half because I like to pretend I live in the place I’m visiting. Many of my big moves have started out this way. So when I got to New Paltz, one of the first things I went looking for were the bookstores. Luckily, my two favorite were directly across the street from each other, and the coffee shop was right beside them!
Barner Books and Inquiring Minds are two really great independent bookstores in New Paltz. Barner has more used and rare books while Inquiring Minds has a newer selection. Both were great to look around, and the owners were really nice.
If you only have 24 hours in New Paltz, say no to Starbucks and check out one of the local coffee shops. Lagusta’s Luscious Commissary is a gorgeous coffee shop right across the street from Inquiring Minds bookstore, and a couple doors down from Barner Books. They have really great coffee, a nice chill layout, and an all vegan menu of yummy treats!
The Bakery – If you make it to New Paltz in time for breakfast, you should go to The Bakery. It’s a town favorite and has all the breakfast essentials like bagels, scones, and muffins. They also have breakfast sandwiches if you’re hungry for something heavier. The Bakery calls itself the center of social life in New Paltz, so enjoy your breakfast in their outdoor garden and get a feel for the town!
Lola’s Cafe – 2 words. Counter. Service. When you’re trying to travel on a budget, nothing is better than a restaurant with counter service. You have a place to sit down, can split one plate of food without feeling guilty, and you don’t have to tip! (Though it’s nice to throw in a dollar or two in the tip jar. No pressure though.) This place had yummy bowls and sandwiches. Joe and I split the Hot Chicken Sandwich. It was the perfect lunch choice, and it came with fries! Another great thing about this place was that it looked like a scene from Luke’s Diner. (For reference, check out the featured photo for this blog. Picturesque!)
Karma Road – If you’re trying to keep it healthy in New Paltz, then you should head over to Karma Road. It’s the place to go for a refreshing smoothie or vegetable juice!
Kosiner Brothers Fry Shack – This is a great affordable snack option in New Paltz. They have a wide variety of fries like cinnamon sugar or nacho fries. And they also have lots of sauces to dip them in. Take a seat by the beautiful water fountain pictured above and stuff your face with french fries!
Clemson Bros Brewery – After a full day of exploring, you’ll probably want to wind down and have a beer. You can try out one of the over two dozen beers brewed by Clemson Brewing Company if you go there for dinner. Try them all if you’re up for it! Their food menu offers a large variety of options with affordable prices, so it’s a great place to have a larger dinner meal or to just take a break and drink.
I’m embarrassed to say I almost skipped the Water Street Market. From the outside, I assumed there would only be tacky gift shops like when you’re about to leave a theme park. I was so.very.wrong. Some of my favorite things about my 24 hours in New Paltz were found after walking through the archway and into this market. Though the front is a little misleading, this market stretched far back and includes over a dozen stores. It features an outdoor walkway with the sweetest shops on either side and has everything from cafes and restaurants, to antiques and boutiques.
Eden Boutique – This little store has amazing men and women’s clothing. It’s so gorgeous inside but also has really great, quality items. It’s the kind of place where you keep pointing at things and claiming that you need it. They had a lot of great jewelry.
Antique Barn – You can’t spend 24 hours in New Paltz without going to at least one antique shop. At the very end of the Water Street Market, you’ll find Antique Barn, and it will draw you in. There are a lot of antique shops in upstate New York, and a few really good ones in New Paltz. But we all have our favorites. The Antique Barn is filled with cool stuff, and the barn itself is gorgeous inside and out.
Rock Candy Vintage – Located right on main street, this little vintage shop is small but has a lot of gems. They had a lot of cool small gifts and one of a kind pieces to look through. It’s definitely worth stopping in to see if anything catches your eye.
One of the hippie stores – You can pick which one; they all tend to blend together for me. They had one on the main street, one in Water Street Market, one by the bridge by the edge of town. The list goes on. You’ll find your glass bowls, stone jewelry, and incense in these shops. They also have stuff like hemp bags and tie-dye shirts. They’re fun to go into, and there are a handful in this town.
A few other cool shops to stop in are Salix Intimates for their sustainable lingerie, Rhino Records for cool vinyl, and Handmade & More for neat little gifts.
Denizen Theater – Not only do they have shopping options at Water Street Market, but it is also home to the non-profit arts organization, Denizen Theater. Here you can watch one of the many live theater performances that are often written by locals of New Paltz. Check out their schedule ahead of time to see if any of their shows coincide with your visit.
Water Street Market – If you’re visiting on a weekday, head back over to the Water Street Market for one for one of their events. Weather permitting, they have outdoor movies on Mondays at dusk and live music on Tuesday evenings.
There you have it. Those are the best places you can go if you have 24 hours in New Paltz.
Stop into each store, walk along the water and enjoy every minute of your visit! And while you’re at it, consider expanding your trip and hitting up some of the other awesome small towns in upstate New York like Woodstock or Cold Springs!