5 Top-Rated Things to Do in Woodstock (2023)
One of the most famous small towns in the state of Connecticut is Woodstock and Woodstock is so much more than just a small town. Nestled at the foot of the Catskill Mountains, this is an upstate New York mountain town that is a famous global brand today. Woodstock stands for a symbol of love, art, peace, and community, and the city has been a household name all over the world right since the 1960s.
While the concert that put Woodstock on the global map was not actually held here, but the concert brought a lot of international fame and recognition to the town and also helped cement it firmly as an oasis of love, peace, and understanding. The town’s roots as a tie-dyed hippy haven have today extended much further than this, and it continues to retain its art-forward personality.
With dozens of boutiques, galleries, spiritual centers, educational centers, stunning hiking trails, gorgeous nature preserves, outdoor markets, and farmers’ markets, there is no end of things to do and places to see in Woodstock. Since the city is located just 90 miles north of New York City, visitors to Woodstock find themselves becoming part of another world altogether, where the emphasis is on local, homegrown stuff and small businesses.
5 Top-Rated Things to Do in Woodstock
So if you are ready to begin exploring this quaint little town, here are the top-rated things to do in Woodstock.
1. Explore The Stunning Trails In Catskill Park
Woodstock is nestled at the heart of over 700,000 acres of stunning wilderness. The Catskill Park, also known as the Catskill Forest Preserve, is a New York State Park that is sprawled across four counties in the state.
Established in 1885, around 286,000 acres of land within this park are preserved and protected from any type of development. This has made Woodstock a prime point of attraction for nature enthusiasts who want to explore the wilderness.
Believe it or not, there are over 35 peaks and ridges in the Catskills Park that have elevations of 3500 feet or more, and 19 of these have trails that take you right to their summits. This translates to mean that Woodstock is the perfect gateway to hundreds of miles of gorgeous trails that run the spectrum, offering easy strolls to intense trekking.
The area is full of wildlife, including black bears, deer, fish, birds, and even bobcats and cougars. There is some surprise that always awaits you at Catskill Park.
Most locals in Woodstock love to take out time to explore Overlook Mountain, which is a beautiful rounded-topped mountain that looms in the distance of the town. The southernmost peak of the Catskill Range reaches a height of over 3000 feet, and the views you get from here are absolutely breathtaking.
2. Explore the Ashokan Reservoir
There is no doubt that New York City has the bragging rights to some awesome water sights. After all, it has some of the cleanest drinking water in the United States, and as surprising as it sounds, this water actually comes from the Catskill region, located just outside of Woodstock.
The water supply system of New York City can be traced back to the Ashokan Reservoir, which is just a short drive from Woodstock. The reservoir is one of the biggest in the country, having over two miles of paved walkways around it, along with some of the most stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges. Even though you cannot swim in the Ashokan Reservoir, you can take a walk around the area and spot several wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for a sight of the magnificent bald eagles. Walking and biking around the reservoir are some of the most popular activities amongst the locals, and visitors as well flock here to enjoy the peace and quiet of the area.
One of the most popular tourist attractions near the reservoirs is the Ashokan Rail Trail which is an 11.5-mile-long multi-use trail that was just recently completed at the end of 2019. This trail is used all year round for biking, walking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. You will also find many signage all around the area that sheds some light on the culture and history of the Catskill Mountains and the creation of the Shokan Reservoir.
3. Increase Your Knowledge As You Wander Through The Many Art Galleries in Woodstock
Much before the 1969 music festival, Woodstock was always known as a utopian art colony. The town’s artsy roots can be traced back as early as the 1900s. The art scene began with The Byrdcliffe Colony, which was founded in 1903 and still exists today. This was a woodsy retreat where artists were frequently invited to come and create marvelous pieces of art. Since these times, Woodstock has become a shining beacon for creative folks. In fact, such was the draw of Woodstock that even Bob Dylan had a home at Byrdcliffe.
Today also, there is no dearth of art throughout the Woodstock community, whether it is the various galleries and museums that dot Tinker Street, the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum, and the seminars and classes that even visitors can participate in at the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild.
4. Browse the Many Outdoor Markets of Woodstock
One of the favorite pastimes of the locals of Woodstock is being outdoors. This is a community that loves nature, and due to this, you will find many outdoor markets in the summer months.
One of the most beloved outdoor markets in Woodstock is the Mower’s Saturday/Sunday Flea Market, located just a block from the central Village Green on Maple Lane. This is a small green space that comes to life on the weekends as vendors from all across Ulster County arrive here. You will find everything from vintage jewelry and clothes and records to freshly made wood-fired pizza and much more. There is also a lot of live entertainment, making it a popular place for neighbors to socialize.
The Woodstock Farm Festival runs from May to early October. This farm festival brings together local farmers, bakers, and makers all together to sell their goods. You will find fresh farm eggs, locally cured meats, mushrooms, ice cream, and many other cooked foods. If you are a foodie, then this is a must-visit place when you are in Woodstock.
5. The Unique Attraction That Is Opus 40
Spread out over a massive 60 acres, Opus 40 is a world-famous sculpture park and museum located just outside Woodstock. This park remains open five days a week from April to November. You can visit the park as part of a guided tour, educational field trip, nature walk, or just to take a stroll through the park. Live music and theater shows are some events that liven up the park. The initiative of Opus 40 also offers many free community programs to enrich the Catskill area with classes, concerts, and fairs.
The space of Opus 40 dates back to 1938 when found Harvey Fite, an artist and one of the founders of the Bard College Fine Arts Department, bought this land. Earlier, this site used to sit on an abandoned bluestone quarry, and it was only in 1939 that Fite began developing the site.
Even today, you will be awed to see the historical roots of this place since only quarryman’s tools were used to fit together the thousands of stones that were used to create the ramps, terraces, and steps. Even today, these ramps still exist and are known to be famous sculptures in their own right.
Today, Opus 40 is one of the gems in the crown of Catskills and a very interesting stop to visit when you are in Woodstock.