Experience American History In Hyde Park, New York

things to do in hyde park new york

Hyde Park, NY was once the residence of many prominent socialites and historical figures during the late 19th through 20th centuries. Today, it stands as a preserved relic of a bygone era, allowing guests to view the artifacts and lifestyles from members of the Gilded Age through WWII. This list narrows down the top-rated attractions Hyde Park has to offer.

1. Vanderbilt Mansion

Vanderbilt Mansion - IMG 7939
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daderot used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

One of the oldest estates on the Hudson River, guests to this elegant mansion can witness a glimpse of the lives of late 19th century American aristocrats. Completed in 1899, this site was the former home of Fredrick William Vanderbilt, the grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. Persevered on 200 acres (80.9 hectares) of land, guests are invited to view 54 rooms containing reconstructed living scenes with original furniture and learn about life during the Gilded Age. The site also boasts a collection of fine art work from artists such as William Bartlett and Johann Hermann Carmiencke. The hour-long guided tour included with admission takes guests on an in-depth look at the first, second, and basement floors. After touring the mansion, the Italian-styled gardens provide visitors with a peaceful walk among many flower beds teaming with annuals. Admission is 10 USD and is free for children ages 15 and under. The gardens are free and open year round from sunrise to sunset. From May 2017 to October 2017, tours are offered throughout the day from 9:15 am to 4 pm. The museum can only be viewed through a guided tour.

Vanderbilt Mansion

Address: 119 Vanderbilt Park Rd, Hyde Park, NY 12538

Website: Vanderbilt Mansion

2. Wales House

Wales House, Hyde Park, NY
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daniel Case used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Completed in 1886, this house was once a part of the Vanderbilt estate and was home to Fredrick Vanderbilt’s secretary, Edward Wales. Designed by the firm McKim, Mead & White, who also designed the Vanderbilt estate, this house reflects a Georgian Revival style with red brick walls, three chimneys, and a wide porch complete with balustrades. The house is still privately owned and not open to the public; however, passersby can view it from the street.

Wales House

Address: 23 W. Market Street, Hyde Park, NY

Website: Wales House

3. Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt

Springwood Hyde Park Roosevelt mansion
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ad Meskens used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Also known as “Springwood,” this site was the lifelong home of former US president Franklin D. Roosevelt, who guided the country through the Great Depression and the beginning of WWII. Guided tours are offered which take guests on an in-depth tour of the home and explain the role it played throughout Roosevelt’s life and presidency. Guests can also learn more about the buildings on the site from an introductory film provided in the Henry A. Wallace Visitor and Education Center. Tickets are 18 USD, which also includes admission to the FDR Presidential Library and Museum, and are valid for 2 days. Children 15 and under are free.


Address: 4097 Albany Post Rd, Hyde Park, NY 12538

Website: Springwood

4. Top Cottage

Top Cottage
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daniel Case used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Another prominent residence in Roosevelt’s life, he built Top Cottage in 1938 as a place to escape the pressures of his presidential life. Other than a place to relax, he also invited friends and political allies to discuss current affairs. The Dutch colonial residence was built to be highly accessible in order to accommodate Roosevelt’s wheelchair. Admission is 10 USD.

Top Cottage

Address: 4097 Albany Post Rd Hyde Park, NY 12538

Website: Top Cottage

5. Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum

FDR Museum and Library
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Alexisrael used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Near Springwood is the FDR Presidential Library & Museum, which boasts an impressive collection of documents and artifacts from FDR’s Presidency. Beginning a tradition still alive today, FDR first sought to preserve the artifacts due to the fact that past Presidential papers had been lost, stolen, or greatly damaged due to poor storage. The Archives consist of 17 million documents, audio, film, and photographs, most of which can be viewed on the official website. The Museum hosts a valuable collection of artifacts from Franklin and Eleanor’s life, including his wheelchair, as well as items that reflect American life during the 1930s and 1940s. Admission, which includes Springwood, the Library, and the Museum, is 18 USD. The Library can be explored at your own pace and there is no charge for conducting research in the Archives. The site is open seven days a week from 9 am to 6 pm.

FDR Presidential Library & Museum

Address: 4079 Albany Post Rd, Hyde Park, NY 12538

Website: FDR Presidential Library & Museum

6. Eleanor Roosevelt’s Val-Kill Cottage

Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site - Val Kill P1160083
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Deror_avi used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Finished in the early 1920s, this simple residence quickly became a staple in both the political and private life of Eleanor Roosevelt. At Val-Kill, the Roosevelts forged alliances with advisors, reformers, dignitaries, and film stars to discuss current events and shape political discourse. It was here that Eleanor Roosevelt shaped the role of the First Lady and actively engaged in women’s social reform. The permanent exhibit, “Eleanor Roosevelt and Val-Kill: Emergence of a Political Leader,” accounts her life and work during the 1920s and 1930s. While the surrounding grounds are free to wander, admission to the cottage is 10 USD. Children 15 and under are free. From May to October, the site is open seven days a week from 9 am to 5 pm, with tours offered throughout the day until 4 pm.

Eleanor Roosevelt's Val-Kill Cottage

Address: 106 Valkill Park Rd, Hyde Park, NY 12538

Website: Val-Kill Cottage

7. Staatsburgh State Historic Site (Mills Mansion)

Staatsburgh historical site dutchess 2007 02 07
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Rolfmueller used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Also known as the Mills Mansion, this opulent residence takes guests on a journey through the elegant lives of the elite during the Gilded Age. Built in 1832, the site was greatly expanded during the 1890s. Earning its name from the Mills family who inherited the property from the original owners in 1895, the site was expanded into a 65-room estate and elaborately furnished with fine furniture, oriental rugs, silk fabrics, and an impressive collection of European and Greek art pieces. Admission is 8 USD for adults and 6 USD for students ages 12 and older. Children 12 and under are free. Admission includes a guided tour. The site is open from 11 am to 5 pm with the last tour offered at 4 pm.

Staatsburgh State Historic Site (Mills Mansion)

Address: 75 Mills Mansion 6 Rd, Staatsburg, NY 12580

Website: Staatsburgh State Historic Site (Mills Mansion)

8. St. James Episcopal Church

St. James Episcopal Church, Hyde Park, NY
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Joshmaul used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Completed in 1844, this Gothic Revival structure is still used today as a worship site. From inside, guests can marvel at the towering ceilings and architecture carefully restored to its original detail, and view the Bozeman Organ encased in solid black walnut. During October, the church provides tours of their 200-year-old historic graveyard complete with actors in period costume who tell the stories of people buried there. Although access to the church is free, tickets for the graveyard tour are 20 USD for adults and 10 USD for children under 12.

St. James Episcopal Church

Address: 4526 Albany Post Rd, Hyde Park, NY 12538

Website: St. James Episcopal Church

Experience history in Hyde Park

From the Roosevelts to the Vanderbilts, Hyde Park, New York allows visitors to experience the lavish lifestyles of prominent figures in history. Visit Hyde Park on your next getaway and you shall have a great time!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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A Florida native, theme park aficionado, and amateur history buff, I enjoy learning about new places I plan to travel to one day. When I’m not writing, you can usually find me taking photos around...Read more

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