16 Best Performing Arts Venues in The Catskills, New York

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Fodor's choice

Set on 2,000 acres of gently rolling farmland where the 1969 Woodstock music festival took place—not in the town of Woodstock, 60 miles away—this sprawling complex is what put the Southern Catskills back on the map. It's a gorgeous facility, built of stone and wood. First and foremost there's the 15,000-seat outdoor amphitheater that draws some of the biggest names in the business. The lineup is heavy with classic rock, but more modern names show here, too. The museum tells the story of the momentous music festival and the era that spawned it with lots of colorful exhibits and a wry sense of humor. It's a captivating and, to some, emotional experience combining film and interactive displays, text panels, and artifacts that recreate the unique experience of the original three-day festival. There’s a gift shop here, as well as a decent café.

Maverick Concerts

Fodor's choice

Founded in 1915, Maverick Concerts is the country's oldest continuously running summer chamber-music series. Every summer since has seen a confluence of world-class musicians drawn by superlative acoustics in a gorgeous 1916 "chapel" renowned by audiophiles for its acoustics. Gone are the days when concerts were free, but you can still bring your own chair and enjoy the pay-what-you-can prices. The season runs from late June to early September.

Belleayre Music Festival

Lyle Lovett, the Neville Brothers, Herbie Hancock, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater are among the performers who have appeared at the annual Belleayre Music Festival, held Saturday nights in July and August. Friday nights in August bring the Jazz Club, when the audience dances up a storm under the stars.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Callicoon Theater

Independent and foreign films are on the schedule at the Callicoon Theater, one of the few single-screen theaters still operating in the country. The 1948 theater has changed with the times, but retains its old-time feel. At $5.50, ticket prices are also a blast from the past.

Doctorow Center for the Performing Arts

In a pretty building along the main drag, the Doctorow Center for the Performing Arts multi-arts complex hosts an active program of music, dance, and theater events. Besides performances in the Evelyn Weisberg Concert Hall, there are also first-run movies at the Mountain Cinema and a one-of-a-kind collection of historic pianos at the Catskill Mountain Foundation Piano Performance Museum.

Forestburgh Playhouse

A mixture of professional and nonprofessional actors brings the words of famous playwrights to life at the Forestburgh Playhouse. The playhouse, one of a handful of small summer theaters left in the country, has kick-started the careers of a number of Broadway stars. Shows change frequently from June through September, ranging from popular musicals to children's events.

Frank W. Cyr Center

The Frank W. Cyr Center inhabits the former Rexmere Hotel, which was built in 1898 by local hotel magnate Dr. Stephen E. Churchill. Surrounding the center is the 100-acre Churchill Park, which Churchill created complete with man-made lakes, tree clusters, meadows, and idyllic summer homes. Local arts organizations utilize the center. The Friends of Music present classical-music concerts using a Steinway grand piano flanked by Corinthian columns, and the Mt. Utsayantha Arts League hangs regional artists' works in the gallery space. (Otsego-Northern Catskills BOCES and various administrative offices occupy other parts of the building.) On the back porch are rocking chairs from which you can survey the park's lakes and groves.

Grazhda Music and Art Center of Greene County

In the shadow of the architecturally stunning St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church, Grazhda is also a beauty in its own right. The dramatically peaked roof is covered with wood shingles and dotted with dormer windows. Every Saturday night from July 4 through Labor Day weekend you can hear classical music and jazz at this lovely space. During the first two weeks in August, Ukrainian arts-and-crafts workshops are offered.

Kaaterskill Fine Arts

Part of Hunter Village Square, Kaaterskill Fine Arts is a bright, well-lighted space showcasing high-quality crafts and fine arts by artists with ties to the region. In a corner is the Village Bookstore, stocking the largest selection of regional books in the northern Catskills. It also has an extensive general-interest collection and gift items crafted by regional artists and artisans.


For four weekends in September and October, Hunter Mountain becomes a stand-in for the Alps when the harvest is celebrated with German and Austrian music, food, and dance. Watch men imitate courting rituals of the wood grouse during traditional dances; after a couple of beers, you may be tempted to try it yourself. You won't feel out of place in your dirndl or lederhosen.

The Gallery

Timothy Touhey runs The Gallery in an old tin-ceilinged department store, where he showcases his sculptures and vibrant paintings. The congenial Touhey may let you peek into his studio, or he might play a tune for you on the upright piano. A second space, at the back of the building, displays regional artists' works.

Walt Meade Gallery and Hilt Kelly Hall

The Roxbury Arts Group transformed a 1911 classical-revival building that had housed the YMCA into the Walk Meade Gallery and Hilt Kelly Hall, which hosts year-round dance and theater performances, concerts, and children's programs. On Sunday of Columbus Day weekend, hundreds of North American fiddlers converge for a series of concerts, jam sessions, and dance. The Todd Mountain Theatre Project premieres new plays by New York playwrights for three weeks in August, and the gallery showcases works by local artists.

Windham Chamber Music Festival

Two former Metropolitan Opera performers started the Windham Chamber Music Festival in 1997. The festival makes the most of the soaring acoustics at the Windham Performing Arts Center, which occupies an 1826 Greek Revival church. Saturday-evening concerts are scheduled throughout the summer, and other events take place during the rest of the year.

Windham Fine Arts

At this gallery in an 1855 Federal-style house, soft lighting bounces off richly hued wooden floors and illuminates the work of regional and national artists. You may see contemporary, representational, and traditional works in all mediums here. The gallery is open Thursday through Monday (Friday through Monday from Labor Day to Memorial Day).

Woodstock Film Festival

Cinephiles flock to Woodstock for five days in October, for the fiercely independent Woodstock Film Festival. Celebrity-led seminars, film screenings, and raucous parties—most in Woodstock—will keep you buzzing until morning.