FOLLOW US
15 Things to Do in Albany, NY

Albany, the historic capital of New York State, offers a rich tapestry of experiences that blend its storied past with a vibrant present. From the echoes of political triumphs in grand government buildings to the serene beauty of landscaped parks and the cultural beats of modern art and performance venues, Albany is a city that invites exploration. Whether you're a history buff, nature lover, or arts enthusiast, this city on the banks of the Hudson River has something to entice every traveler. As the seat of New York's government, Albany is steeped in history, yet it pulses with a lively contemporary scene that makes it a dynamic destination for visitors.

Advertisement

01 Discover the rich history at the New York State Museum

New York State Museum

Explore the extensive collections and exhibits at the New York State Museum, where you can delve into the natural and cultural history of New York. From engaging displays about the state's ecological diversity to artifacts that tell the story of its inhabitants, the museum offers a comprehensive look at what makes New York unique. The museum also features a carousel that provides a whimsical touch, perfect for families and those young at heart. Additionally, the museum regularly hosts temporary exhibitions and educational programs, making each visit a new learning opportunity.

Advertisement

02 Take a stroll through Washington Park

Washington Park

Washington Park is a haven of tranquility in the heart of Albany. With its picturesque lake, beautifully manicured gardens, and ample walking paths, it's the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or a peaceful afternoon picnic. The park is also home to several statues and memorials, adding a touch of historical significance to your visit. Seasonal events, such as the Tulip Festival in spring, bring vibrant color and community spirit to the park's already charming atmosphere.

Advertisement

03 Admire the architecture of the New York State Capitol

New York State Capitol

The New York State Capitol is an architectural marvel, boasting intricate carvings and stunning stonework. Take a guided tour to learn about the history of this iconic building and the legislative process of New York State. The Capitol has been the seat of government since the 1880s and is renowned for its "Million Dollar Staircase," a must-see for architecture enthusiasts. The building's mix of Romanesque and Renaissance styles makes it a standout landmark in Albany's skyline.

Advertisement

04 Enjoy a performance at The Egg

the egg

The Egg is a striking venue known for its unique, egg-shaped design. It hosts a variety of performances ranging from music concerts to comedy shows, providing top-notch entertainment for all ages. The venue's distinctive shape is not only visually appealing but also enhances the acoustics, making every show an unforgettable auditory experience. Located in the Empire State Plaza, The Egg is a symbol of Albany's commitment to the arts and a focal point for cultural events.

Advertisement

05 Visit the Historic USS Slater

Historic USS Slater

Step aboard the USS Slater, a World War II destroyer escort, and experience naval history firsthand. This floating museum offers a glimpse into the life of sailors during wartime and is one of the only remaining ships of its kind. Restored to its former glory, the USS Slater is a tribute to the naval forces that played a crucial role in American history. The ship is meticulously maintained by volunteers, ensuring that its legacy is preserved for future generations.

Advertisement

06 Explore the Albany Institute of History & Art

The Albany Institute of History & Art is one of the oldest museums in the United States. It houses an impressive collection of art, historical artifacts, and exhibits that showcase the region's rich heritage. The museum's collections include significant holdings of Hudson River School paintings, reflecting the area's influence on American art. Educational programs and interactive exhibits make the institute a place where history and art come alive for visitors of all ages.

07 Experience the lively atmosphere at Lark Street

lark street

Lark Street is Albany's vibrant cultural hub, lined with eclectic shops, cafes, and restaurants. It's the perfect place to experience the local scene, enjoy live music, and sample diverse cuisine. Often referred to as "Albany's Greenwich Village," this lively street embodies the artistic spirit of the city. The neighborhood's Victorian brownstones and annual street festivals add to its bohemian charm and draw both locals and tourists alike.

Advertisement

08 Relax at the Corning Preserve

Corning Preserve

The Corning Preserve offers a waterfront escape with walking and biking trails along the Hudson River. It's a great spot for outdoor activities or simply enjoying the scenic views of the water. The preserve also features a boat launch, making it an ideal location for kayaking or canoeing adventures. The Jennings Landing amphitheater within the preserve is a venue for summer concerts and community events, adding to the area's recreational appeal.

Advertisement

09 Attend a festival at Empire State Plaza

empire state plaza

Empire State Plaza is not only a government center but also a venue for numerous festivals and events throughout the year. From art fairs to food festivals, there's always something exciting happening at the plaza. The plaza's modernist architecture provides a unique backdrop for these cultural gatherings. The reflecting pools and surrounding sculptures create an artistic environment that complements the plaza's role as a center for civic engagement and enjoyment.

Advertisement

10 Learn at the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site

Visit the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, the 18th-century home of Revolutionary War General Philip Schuyler. The mansion offers a window into colonial life and the Schuyler family's role in American history. The site also includes a formal garden and an orchard, adding to the authenticity of the historical experience. The mansion's connection to Alexander Hamilton, who married one of Schuyler's daughters, has recently attracted fans of the popular musical, bringing renewed interest to this historic home.

11 Go shopping at Crossgates Mall

Crossgates Mall is a shopper's paradise, featuring a wide array of stores, restaurants, and entertainment options. Whether you're looking for the latest fashion trends or a fun family outing, Crossgates has something for everyone. The mall also includes a movie theater and an indoor entertainment complex, providing fun for all ages. As one of the largest shopping centers in the region, Crossgates Mall is a key destination for those seeking retail therapy or a day out with friends and family.

12 Take in the views from the John Boyd Thacher State Park

John Boyd Thacher State Park

John Boyd Thacher State Park is a natural wonderland with breathtaking views of the Hudson-Mohawk Valleys and the Adirondack and Green Mountains. Hiking trails, rock climbing, and picnicking are just a few of the activities available in this picturesque setting. The park is also known for its fossil-bearing formations, attracting geology enthusiasts from around the world. The park's visitor center offers exhibits and interactive displays that educate guests about the local ecology and geological significance of the area.

Advertisement

13 Sample local brews at Albany's craft breweries

Albany's craft beer scene is thriving, with numerous breweries offering tours and tastings. Sample unique, locally brewed beers and learn about the brewing process from passionate artisans. The city's breweries often feature seasonal and experimental brews, providing a taste of Albany's innovative spirit. These local establishments are part of a growing trend that supports small businesses and adds to the city's diverse culinary landscape.

14 Attend a show at the Palace Theatre

albany palace theatre

The Palace Theatre is a historic entertainment venue that hosts a variety of performances, from Broadway shows to classical concerts. Its ornate interior and rich history make it a must-visit for any arts and culture enthusiast. The theatre's marquee is a beacon in downtown Albany, signaling a night of exceptional entertainment. The Palace Theatre also offers educational programs and community outreach, fostering a love for the performing arts in the Capital Region.

Advertisement

15 Visit the Ten Broeck Mansion

The Ten Broeck Mansion, built in 1798, is a beautifully preserved example of Federal-style architecture. Guided tours provide insight into the lives of the prominent Ten Broeck family and the evolution of Albany over the centuries. The mansion's gardens and grounds offer a peaceful retreat and a glimpse into the elegance of a bygone era. The Ten Broeck Mansion also hosts special events and holiday celebrations, allowing visitors to experience the grandeur of the mansion throughout the year.

Share

Scroll Down

for the Next Article

The Getaway Badge
Sign up to receive insider info and deals that will help you travel smarter.
Advertisement
Advertisement