• Menu
  • Menu
Albany, New York, USA skyline on the Hudson River at sunset.

The Best Things To Do in Albany

Nestled along the banks of the Hudson River, Albany offers a rich tapestry of history, culture, and outdoor activities. From its historic architecture and museums to vibrant neighborhoods and scenic parks, Albany has something for everyone. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best things to do in Albany, New York.

New York State Capitol

Begin your exploration of Albany with a visit to the New York State Capitol, a magnificent building that serves as the seat of government for the state. Designed by architect Thomas Fuller and completed in 1899, the Capitol features stunning architecture, including the Million Dollar Staircase and the Senate Chamber. Guided tours provide insights into the history and workings of the state government.

Albany Institute of History & Art

For a deeper understanding of Albany’s history and cultural heritage, head to the Albany Institute of History & Art. This museum, founded in 1791, houses a diverse collection of artifacts, paintings, and decorative arts. From Hudson River School paintings to exhibits on Albany’s Dutch roots, the museum offers a fascinating journey through the region’s past.

Washington Park

Escape to the tranquility of Washington Park, a picturesque oasis in the heart of Albany. Designed in the 19th century, the park features walking paths, gardens, and scenic ponds. Cherry blossoms in spring and vibrant foliage in autumn add to the park’s allure. It’s a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll, a picnic, or simply enjoying the natural beauty.

The Egg

One of Albany’s iconic structures, The Egg is a performing arts venue with a distinctive, egg-shaped exterior. Located within the Empire State Plaza, The Egg hosts a variety of performances, including concerts, dance productions, and theatrical events. Check the schedule for upcoming shows and enjoy a night of entertainment in this unique architectural gem.

USS Slater DE-766

Step back in time with a visit to the USS Slater DE-766, the only World War II destroyer escort afloat in the United States. Docked on the Hudson River, this living museum offers guided tours that provide a glimpse into the life of sailors during wartime. Explore the decks, engine room, and living quarters of this well-preserved naval vessel.

Empire State Plaza

Explore the Empire State Plaza, a modern complex that houses government offices, cultural institutions, and public spaces. Designed by architect Wallace Harrison, the plaza features impressive structures like The Egg, the New York State Museum, and the Corning Tower. Take a leisurely stroll around the plaza, enjoy the outdoor art installations, and appreciate the modern architecture.

New York State Museum

Delve into the natural and cultural history of New York at the New York State Museum, located on the Empire State Plaza. The museum’s exhibits cover a wide range of topics, from geology and anthropology to art and science. Explore the Native Peoples of New York exhibit, marvel at the Cohoes Mastodon, and discover the state’s rich heritage.

Lark Street

For a taste of Albany’s bohemian and eclectic side, wander down Lark Street. This vibrant neighborhood is lined with unique shops, art galleries, and diverse eateries. Explore independent boutiques, stop by a local coffee shop, and admire the street art that adds to the neighborhood’s character. Lark Street is also known for its nightlife and live music venues.

Albany Pine Bush Preserve

Nature enthusiasts can escape to the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, a unique ecosystem with sand dunes and pitch pine-scrub oak barrens. The preserve offers hiking trails, educational programs, and opportunities for birdwatching. Take a guided tour to learn about the rare species that inhabit this protected area and appreciate the natural beauty of the Albany Pine Bush.

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Visit the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, a historic Catholic cathedral with stunning Gothic Revival architecture. Completed in 1852, the cathedral’s spires and intricate details make it a notable landmark in Albany. Attend a service or simply admire the beauty of this religious institution, which has played a significant role in the city’s history.

Henry Hudson Planetarium

Explore the cosmos at the Henry Hudson Planetarium, located within the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center. The planetarium offers captivating astronomy shows, taking visitors on a journey through the stars and planets. Check the schedule for public shows and special events to experience the wonders of the universe in this immersive setting.

Thacher State Park

Just a short drive from Albany, Thacher State Park provides a scenic retreat with panoramic views of the Hudson Valley and the Adirondack Mountains. The park features hiking trails, picnic areas, and opportunities for rock climbing. The Indian Ladder Trail offers a picturesque hike with views of waterfalls and limestone cliffs.

The Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence

Learn about Albany’s role in the Underground Railroad at The Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence. This historic site was the home of Stephen Myers, a key figure in the anti-slavery movement. Guided tours provide insights into the Myers family’s activism and the network of safe houses that supported escaped slaves on their journey to freedom.

Albany Rural Cemetery

Discover the history, art, and serenity of the Albany Rural Cemetery, one of the oldest rural cemeteries in the United States. Established in 1841, the cemetery is the final resting place for notable figures, including President Chester A. Arthur and author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Explore the picturesque grounds, adorned with elaborate monuments and statues.

Irish American Heritage Museum

Explore the rich heritage and contributions of Irish Americans at the Irish American Heritage Museum. Located in downtown Albany, the museum showcases exhibits on Irish immigration, culture, and history. Attend events and programs that celebrate the vibrant Irish-American community in Albany and the broader context of Irish heritage in the United States.

Madison Avenue Historic District

Stroll through the Madison Avenue Historic District, a neighborhood known for its well-preserved 19th-century architecture. Admire the historic homes, many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The district offers a glimpse into Albany’s past and the architectural styles that defined the city during its formative years.

Albany Aqua Ducks and Trolleys

Experience a unique blend of land and water exploration with Albany Aqua Ducks and Trolleys. These amphibious vehicles provide guided tours of Albany’s historic sites, offering a narrated journey that covers both the city’s streets and the Hudson River. It’s a fun and informative way to discover Albany’s landmarks from a different perspective.

Albany Distilling Company

For those interested in craft spirits, the Albany Distilling Company provides a tasting room and tours that showcase the art of distillation. Learn about the distilling process, sample their handcrafted spirits, and gain insights into the history of distillation in Albany. The cozy atmosphere and knowledgeable staff make this a delightful stop for spirits enthusiasts.

Crossgates Mall

Indulge in shopping, dining, and entertainment at Crossgates Mall, one of the largest shopping centers in the region. With a diverse range of stores, restaurants, and entertainment options, Crossgates Mall offers a bustling atmosphere for those looking to shop, dine, or catch a movie in Albany.

Visit Albany

Albany stands as a city that seamlessly blends its historic roots with modern vibrancy. Whether you’re exploring the corridors of the State Capitol, immersing yourself in the cultural offerings of museums, or enjoying the natural beauty of parks and preserves, Albany invites visitors to discover its diverse attractions. With its unique neighborhoods, historic landmarks, and a thriving arts scene, Albany is a destination that offers a rich and rewarding experience for those eager to explore the capital city of the Empire State.

Sean Campbell

Sean Campbell is a passionate traveler and writer who loves exploring new destinations and immersing himself in different cultures. He believes that travel is not just about visiting famous landmarks, but also about connecting with local communities and discovering the true essence of a place.

Join Sean as he wanders the globe with his wife and son, seeking out unique and memorable experiences, and sharing their insights and stories along the way. From solo adventures to family-friendly destinations, Sean hopes to ignite your wanderlust and encourage you to explore the world with an open mind and adventurous spirit.

View stories

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *