21 Things To Do in Poughkeepsie with Kids

The Mid-Hudson Children's Museum has lots of hands-on activities that appeal to younger kids. Photo by  Katherine Dhurandhar
The Mid-Hudson Children's Museum has lots of hands-on activities that appeal to younger kids. Photo by Katherine Dhurandhar
2/23/24 - By Lisa Johnston

Nestled next to the Hudson River, the bustling little city of Poughkeepsie, NY, is packed with family-friendly destinations. This Dutchess County destination is located an hour’s drive from White Plains, around 90 minutes from the George Washington Bridge, and it’s easily accessible via Metro-North.  

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite things to do in Poughkeepsie, with both indoor and outdoor options to suit any type of day trip.

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Best Things To Do in Poughkeepsie, NY with Kids

1. Visit A Children’s Museum

Bring your preschoolers to the Mid-Hudson Discovery Museum. With its standby RiverTown play area, regularly updated exhibits, and ongoing events, this hands-on museum is perfect for the younger set.

2.  Get Your Jump On

Bounce off the walls at Bounce! Trampoline Sports, which offers toddler and open bounce times—a great choice for rainy day visits.

3. …Or Your Climb

Bring the family to a walk-in climbing session at The Gravity Vault.

4.  Head to the Drive-In

Catch a flick with the entire family—including Fido—at the Overlook Drive-In Theater.

5. Go for a Swim

Cool off at Pulaski and Spratt Parks in the summer, with season pass deals that can’t be beat.

6. See a Show

Check out what’s on at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center, which often features kid-friendly shows and performances, like the Royal Hanneford Circus.

7. Stay for a Skate

Also at the Civic Center is the McCann Ice Arena, where the family can rent skates and head out onto the ice during the public skating sessions.

8. Play All Day

At Spins Bowl, families can do everything from bowling—there are 26 “family lanes”—to playing in the arcade, and families with teenagers in tow may even try their hand at ax throwing.

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Things To Do in Poughkeepsie with Kids: Walkway over the Hudson
Bike, walk, or scoot over the Walkway over the Hudson. Photo by Fred Schaeffer

Fun Free Things to Do in Poughkeepsie, NY with Kids

9. Walk Across An Elevated Bridge

Trek the 212-foot-high Walkway over the Hudson, hailed as the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world. Open year-round, the 1.28-mile Walkway provides stunning views of the Hudson River and surrounding landscapes.

10. Hit the Farmer’s Market

From May to October, take a stroll through the Poughkeepsie Waterfront Market on Tuesday afternoons. Don’t miss the cooking demonstrations!

11. Visit Greenvale Park

Kids can run and play at the Greenvale Park playground or on the baseball field—and if you visit in the summer, you’ll be able to catch their free summer concert series.  

12. Check out Colleges

While your kids might be too young to think about college at the moment, you can stroll through the campuses of Vassar and Marist, both of which are located in Poughkeepsie.

13. Grab a Book

If you’re in town in March, don’t miss the free Poughkeepsie Book Festival.

Family-Friendly Restaurants in Poughkeepsie, NY

14. Mill House Brewing Company

Adults will love the locally brewed beer and classic eats, while kids can pick from favorites like pizza and chicken tenders from the specific kids’ menu.

15. Lola’s Cafe

For a quick sandwich or salad stop, check out this cafe, which also offers bowls, wraps and more.

16. Farmers & Chef

While they don’t have a dedicated kids’ menu, there are options that will appeal to kids, like the burger and wings. There’s a great outdoor patio for the warmer weather, too.

17. Spoons Ice Cream

With flavors like peanut butter craze, cookie monster, and birthday cake, you can’t go wrong with a stop at this cute ice cream shop.

18. The Pastry Garden   

Indulge in the totally delicious treats and gourmet ice cream at The Pastry Garden.

Family-Friendly Poughkeepsie Hotels

19. DoubleTree by Hilton

For an easy stay, consider the DoubleTree, which is a quick ride to attractions like the Mid-Hudson Discovery Museum and restaurants.

20. Courtyard by Marriot

For a closer-to-the-river option, consider this hotel, which is also a 10-minute drive to Walkway Over the Hudson

21. Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa

For a high-end option, this property over the river in Milton is a good choice—and in particular, the private houses work well for families, with room to spread out and pet-friendly options, too.  

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