Historic Theaters and Stage-Side Eats: Where to Enjoy Live Music in Upstate New York

Kamasi Washington and Patrice Quinn at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, N.Y. Photo by Alejandro Storm via Bearsville Theater

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    If you crave a little culture during an Upstate escape, these top venues will be music to your ears. After a long day of sightseeing and outdoor adventures, soak in the local scene and unwind at these spots that range from a historic theater to former vaudeville stages.

    The Bearsville Theater (Woodstock, N.Y.)
    Big acts and local talent alike deliver quality jams at this stream-side Woodstock venue, pictured above, which has hosted the likes of The Band, The Pretenders and Bela Fleck. Conveniently located next to the renowned Bear Cafe (a great spot to grab dinner), the Bearsville Theater boasts a packed calendar of rollicking shows.

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    Late-night revelry at BSP in Kingston. Photo via BSP

    BSP (Kingston, N.Y.)
    Built in the early 1900s, this former vaudeville and movie house has been transformed into a thriving hub for culture and nightlife. The calendar runs the gamut of great evening gigs including deejays, indie bands, jazz, poetry and comedy.

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    The Towne Crier in Beacon. Photo by Mickey Deneher

    The Towne Crier (Beacon, N.Y.)
    For more than 40 years, the Towne Crier has lent its stage to some of the best performers in the biz, helping to launch the careers of folks like Pete Seeger and Richie Havens. In 2012, the Towne Crier relocated from its original home in Pawling to Beacon, where it continues to serve up fantastic live music with a heaping side order of farm-to-table dining.

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    Loretta Lynn at Tarrytown Music Hall. Photo via Tarrytown Music Hall

    Tarrytown Music Hall (Tarrytown, N.Y.)
    The oldest theater in Westchester, Tarrytown Music Hall was built in 1885 by chocolate mogul William Wallace as a multi-use space that showcased silent films, political events and A-list talent like Mae West and Woodrow Wilson. Now the lovely 843-seat theater — which is listed on the National Register for Historic Places — delivers events ranging from symphonies to pop stars and family programming.

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    A night featuring Skid Row, Rachel Lorin and more at the Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie. Photo via Chance Theater

    The Chance Theater (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.)
    The space now known as the Chance Theater has been entertaining locals with cutting-edge acts since 1912. Over the decades it’s had many incarnations: In the 1920s, it was vaudeville’s Dutchess Theater; in the 1970s it was Sal’s Last Chance Saloon, hosting greats like The Police, The Ramones and Muddy Waters. Now, this concert and nightclub destination presents a rowdy roster of thrash-worthy metal, rock, punk and indie music.

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    Club Helskini in Hudson. Photo via Helsinki Hudson

    Club Helsinki (Hudson, N.Y.)
    Once a cultural staple of the Berkshires, Club Helsinki relocated to Hudson and brought with it an elegantly curated calendar and a restaurant that celebrates seasonal flavors. With two performance spaces, a gallery and outdoor dining, Club Helsinki offers the perfect backdrop in which to relish singer-songwriters, cabaret, soul, rock and more.

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