Albany (New York)

Empire State Plaza: Corning Tower, left; New York State Museum, center.

Albany is the capital of New York and the county seat of Albany County. It is home to just under 100,000 residents, most of New York State's key government offices, and seven colleges and universities. Albany is an interesting showcase of several centuries' worth of architectural styles, including the modernistic Empire State Plaza. Before the first European settlement by the Dutch in 1614, Albany and its surroundings were home to the Iroquois Five Nations group of indigenous Americans. Albany is the longest continually chartered city in the United States, the original eastern terminus of the Erie Canal, and was a center for the smuggling of alcohol from Canada during the U.S. Prohibition. Writer and journalist William Kennedy, an Albany native, uses the city and its history as the setting for most of his novels, plays and nonfiction books.

Get in

By plane

By train

By car

By bus

Get around

Schuyler Mansion

Getting around Albany and the Capital Region entirely depends on where you are staying and what you want to see. If you plan on spending most of your time within the city of Albany, most downtown sights are within walking distance of each other.

By car

Most residents and visitors get around by car. By the standards of larger cities, traffic is light and traffic jams are rare. Finding parking in some neighborhoods, particularly the Center Square area around Lark Street, can be a challenge.

By taxi

Taxi cabs in Albany are not metered and go by a zone fare within the city limits. Some places are geographically not in the city limits but still may be referred to as "Albany" such as Colonie Center which is in the town of Colonie and Crossgates Mall which is in the town of Guilderland. This may at times leave you open to getting ripped off by the driver. It's best to call the company and ask for the fare prior to getting into the cab.

By bus (CDTA)


Great Western Staircase, State Capitol building.

Albany is an architectural haven, from historic buildings to newly built high rise skyscrapers to churches and temples, Albany has got it all for architectural buffs out there.



Parks and preserves


Albany for free


Albany's professional sports teams include the Albany Devils (ice hockey) and the Tri-City ValleyCats (baseball):


The Egg

There are also the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy and the Proctor's Theatre in Schenectady




South End-Groesbeckville Historic District

In the suburbs surrounding Albany, particularly on the drive down Central Ave toward Schenectady, you can find a strip mall wherever you go with chain stores like Target, Marshalls, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Some of the larger ones are Westgate Plaza, Northway Mall, and Mohawk Commons which used to be an indoor mall (Mohawk Mall)


Downtown area

New Scotland and Pine Hills area

Colonie, Westmere and Latham areas


Albany's bar scene is alive and well and, due to recent crackdowns with ID checks, the face of local nightlife has seen lots of change. Make sure you have your license, passport or ID handy.

SUNY Albany is no longer considered the #1 party school in the United States, but between its 11,000 students and the College of Saint Rose, you will meet lots of sloppy and belligerent 18-21 year-olds on a typical night out. Muggers and other opportunists capitalize on vulnerable drinkers, so avoid Washington Park after dark.

The most popular and concentrated place to barhop is probably Lark Street, where more than a dozen bars from cocktail lounges and dives are crowded between Ontario Street and Central Avenue. Good bets include:

Pearl Street is another good place to go out. Closer to the large state offices, these bars draw a large after-work crowd, and after the Thursday afternoon waterfront concerts in the summer - Alive at 5 - the streets are cordoned off, made pedestrian-only, and overflow with revelers.

Some places of interest:

For the College Crowd:


Downtown area

New Scotland and Pine Hills area

Colonie, Westmere and Latham areas

Stay safe

Like most cities, Albany has blighted areas with crime problems. Use precautions that one would use in any big city. The areas between Washington Ave. and New Scotland Ave. are generally safe to walk, especially east of Lark Street. However, several acts of physical assault have been committed in recent years near the SUNY Albany downtown campus. Arbor Hill near Henry Johnson Blvd. is known as one of the most dangerous areas, though it holds no particular interest to travelers. Occasional muggings and armed robberies have been known to happen to drunk suburbanites on Lark, Madison and other bar streets.

Go next

The Albany metro area, the Capital District, has many more attractions.

Routes through Albany

Buffalo Schenectady  W  E  Rensselaer Springfield
Montreal Cohoes ends  N  S  Saugerties New York City
Troy Watervliet  N  S  Merges into New York City
Montreal Cohoes  N  S  Rensselaer New York City
END  N  S  Saugerties Fort Lee
Auburn Sharon Springs ← Jct W E  W  E  Rensselaer Pittsfield
Utica Schenectady  W  E  END

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, February 04, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.