17 Things to Do in Albany, NY: A Friendly Guide for Fun Experiences

Welcome to Albany, New York! Rich in history and brimming with excitement, this captivating city boasts a little bit of something for everyone.

With a wide variety of activities and attractions, it’s easy to get lost in the fun and embrace the spirit of the Empire State capital.

From world-class museums and a thriving craft beverage scene, to fascinating historical sites and outdoor adventures, Albany has you covered.

Here’s your detailed guide on the top 17 things to do in this great city. Your adventure awaits!

1. Have Breakfast at Jack’s Diner

Start your day in Albany with a hearty meal at Jack’s Diner. This classic American eatery offers a delicious variety of breakfast dishes, perfect for satisfying your morning hunger.

Jack's Diner Storefront
Jack’s Diner II in Albany, New York” by Tyler A. McNeil is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

From mouthwatering cheesy grits to the irresistible Italian Connection omelette, there’s something for everyone.

Their cozy atmosphere and friendly service make you feel right at home. You’ll appreciate the value Jack’s Diner offers, blending great portions with reasonable prices. One TripAdvisor reviewer even proclaimed it a “great breakfast place.”

Located at 547 Central Ave, Jack’s Diner is close to many attractions in Albany.

So, don’t miss out on the chance to experience a true Albany dining staple.

2. Explore the New York State Capitol

Step into the New York State Capitol and immerse yourself in its stunning architecture. As you wander, admire the intricate details and the storybook castle-like design unique to this capitol.

Find yourself amazed by the mix of architectural styles, from lavish staircases to murals that adorn its walls.

"Sheridan" - New York State Capitol Grounds Albany
‘Sheridan’ — New York State Capitol Grounds Albany (NY) July 2015” by Ron Cogswell is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Capitol’s interior will leave you enchanted. While exploring, don’t forget to look up at the mesmerizing ceilings.

A TripAdvisor reviewer shared,

One of the most impressive looking Capitol buildings that we’ve ever visited. Unique architecture.

With so much history and beauty, your experience at the New York State Capitol will surely be unforgettable.

3. Visit the New York State Museum

If you’re looking for a fun and educational experience in Albany, the New York State Museum is a must-see.

Get ready to be amazed by the variety of history, art, and science exhibitions showcased.

New York State Museum, Albany NY
New York State Museum, Albany NY” by PeteDz. is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

While you’re there, don’t miss the opportunity to explore popular exhibits such as Ice Ages and the captivating Black Capital: Harlem in the 1920s display. If you have kids, they’ll love learning about the state’s artistic, social, historical, and environmental legacies.

One visitor from TripAdvisor shared how much they enjoyed their visit to the museum, saying:

Back to the beginnings. We enjoyed an afternoon learning about New York State’s beginnings from the ice pre-ice age through to 9/11. The museum offers something for everyone. Parking is limited. Admission is free however donations are accepted.

So, when you’re in Albany, make sure to include the New York State Museum in your to-do list and create unforgettable memories!

4. Corning Tower Observation Deck

If you’re looking for an amazing view of Albany, the Corning Tower Observation Deck is the place for you. It’s a stunning spot offering 42nd-floor panoramas, showcasing New York State’s capital and the surrounding areas.

When visiting this remarkable deck, you’ll be at the top of the tallest building in New York State outside of New York City, which was dedicated to the memory of Erastus Corning 2nd, a long-time mayor of Albany.

The Empire State Plaza nearby hosts other great attractions like the New York State Museum, making it a must-visit area.

One TripAdvisor user said,

Free, just go up in the express elevator to the 43rd floor for some great views of the city as well as the Hudson River? Worth a visit

So, don’t forget to add this fascinating spot to your Albany itinerary and enjoy an awe-inspiring experience.

5. Empire State Plaza Concourse

If you’re visiting Albany, you absolutely cannot miss a stroll through the Empire State Plaza Concourse.

This underground world, affectionately known as Albany’s “Underground City,” connects all the buildings of the state plaza. You’ll find plenty to explore as you wander around, including art and sculptures.

Empire State Plaza concourse interior
Empire State Plaza concourse interior 2” by Schvaxet is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

From satisfying your hunger pangs at the food courts to running errands at the banks or post office, the Concourse has you covered.

Keep an eye out for events and activities like fitness classes, ice skating, and special programs honoring influential figures like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Don’t just take our word for it – a Yelp reviewer raves about the vast selection of food options and how the concourse is perfect for a change of scenery away from the cold weather.

6. Stroll Through Washington Park

Take a delightful walk through the 84-acre oasis of Washington Park, located in the heart of Albany’s historic district.

The park boasts over 100 species of trees, a charming pond, sports fields, and walking paths for your enjoyment.

You’ll find a variety of activities within the park, such as the lovely Lake House, a children’s playground, tennis and basketball courts, and bike paths. Make sure to marvel at the numerous statues and monuments scattered around the park.

There are options for both relaxation and engagement—you can unwind with a picnic, or join in on open spaces often used for bocce, volleyball, and other recreations. Washington Park is a versatile destination for both locals and visitors.

Don’t just take our word for it, check out this review from a TripAdvisor user who describes the park as “beautiful and calming.” Enjoy your visit to Washington Park while exploring Albany!

7. Discover the Albany Institute of History & Art

Are you ready to explore Albany’s rich history and culture? Head over to the Albany Institute of History & Art, New York’s oldest museum. Its captivating collection features fine art, ceramics, and furniture, showcasing the influence of the Hudson Valley as a cultural crossroads.

Step back in time through exhibitions like The Hudson River School, which offers an awe-inspiring compilation of landscape paintings. You’ll see masterpieces that have shaped the region, state, and nation’s artistic legacy.

Albany New York - Albany Institute of History & Art - Hudson Valley Gallery Museum - United States
Albany New York ~ Albany Institute of History & Art ~ Hudson Valley Gallery Museum – United States” by Onasill – Bill Badzo – 149 Million Views – Thank Y is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

This institute is open from Wednesday to Sunday, allowing you to plan your visit conveniently.

One TripAdvisor review praises the museum:

Is very interesting and diverse museum. They have lots of different exhibits. They had 2 mummies, an exhibit on railroads, sculpture, historic paintings and landscape paintings and history displays.

Worth the time to stop in. Staff is friendly and efficient. Enjoyed my visit very much.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to uncover Albany’s artistic charm and historic tales.

8. Enjoy a Show at the Palace Theatre

Are you looking for top-notch entertainment in Albany? The Palace Theatre is just the spot! This historic venue offers an array of performances, from live music to film screenings, sure to please any arts enthusiast.

Step into the grandeur of the past as you take your seat. With its rich history dating back to 1931, the Palace Theatre has hosted countless memorable moments.

Palace Theatre, Albany, New York
File:Palace Theatre, Albany, New York.jpg” by Kenneth C. Zirkel is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

One TripAdvisor reviewer raved about the “outstanding show”:

We were with two other couples for the Happy Together tour. We had seats way up in the right center balcony. Friends had mobility issues so they were reseated in the first level. It’s a lovely old venue and the show was wonderful!

Aside from major artists and events, you’ll also find unique shows and community programming. For example, the High Society Gala on Jan 27, 2024, promises an upscale evening of entertainment and networking.

So put on your best attire and treat yourself to a captivating experience at Albany’s Palace Theatre.

9. Experience the USS Slater DE-766

Step back in time and immerse yourself in World War II history aboard the USS Slater DE-766. This beautifully restored naval ship now serves as a floating museum on the Hudson River in Albany.

USS Slater (DE-766)
USS Slater (DE-766)” by bill85704 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

As you explore the vessel, you’ll walk in the footsteps of heroes from the Greatest Generation.

The ship is meticulously restored to its 1945 appearance, offering you an authentic glimpse of life on a destroyer escort. A knowledgeable guide will make your tour even more enriching!

Visitors rave about the experience: one TripAdvisor reviewer said it was “a must-see” and “worth every penny.”

10. Tour the Historic Cherry Hill

If you’re looking for a unique historical experience, Historic Cherry Hill is the place for you.

This remarkable site offers a glimpse into the life of five generations of an Albany household.

Cherry Hill Albany
File:Cherry Hill Albany.jpg” by This image or media was taken or created by Matt H. Wade. To see his entire portfolio, click here. @thatmattwade This image is protected by copyright! If you would like to use it, please read this first. is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

As you tour this 18th-century-style mansion, you’ll be amazed by the vast collection of antiques, textiles, and historical artifacts. The house boasts over 70,000 items, giving you a true sense of daily life spanning from 1787 to 1963.

Visitors appreciate the engaging storytelling, like this TripAdvisor review that praises the knowledgeable guides. They bring history to life, making your time at Cherry Hill both educational and enjoyable.

11. Farm-to-Table Restaurants

While exploring Albany, indulge in some mouthwatering farm-to-table eateries. The city boasts a variety of culinary delights, that emphasize locally-sourced, fresh ingredients.

Start your foodie adventure at the cozy Iron Gate Cafe, well-known for its delicious menu and charming ambience. One reviewer raved about the “locally sourcedfoods” they serve, describing the dishes as fresh and delicious.

Josie’s Table is another top choice for New American cuisine, where they masterfully blend flavors while keeping it local. If you’re craving seafood, this spot has you covered.

Savor your meals in these delightful establishments, creating memorable gastronomic experiences as you immerse yourself in Albany’s thriving food scene!

12. Breweries and Wineries

Albany offers a delightful experience for your taste buds with a selection of breweries and wineries to explore. The local scene boasts an array of flavors as you sample and savor the creative concoctions.

Take a colorful journey with Nine Pin Ciderworks, known as New York’s first farm cidery and indulge in their delightful cider made with locally sourced apples.

Another notable experience awaits at the acclaimed Fidens Brewing Company, where you’ll find brews like Delmartian New England IPA and Empire Red Ale.

While exploring Albany’s vibrant winery scene, do not miss the opportunity to visit Adirondack Winery, located in the beautiful Lake George area. Try their unique wine offerings and receive praise from a satisfied TripAdvisor review.

Sip and stroll through the wineries and breweries in Albany, and experience a whirlwind of flavors you won’t soon forget in this friendly, laid-back atmosphere.

13. Shop at Crossgates Mall

During your visit to Albany, make time to shop at Crossgates Mall, a dynamic destination boasting over 150 retail stores. Embrace your inner shopaholic with a fantastic mix of popular brands and a few local must-sees.

Ready to add a dash of laughter to your shopping experience?

Check out FunnyBone Comedy Club and immerse yourself in stand-up comedy shows from renowned performers. One visitor on TripAdvisor raved about their “hilarious comedy shows and great atmosphere.”

For a fun-filled escape, visit 5 Wits Albany, a unique entertainment venue featuring interactive adventures. Put your problem-solving skills to the test and enjoy one of Albany’s most exciting attractions.

Remember to stop by Fort Orange General Store, a charming spot known for its specialty items and unique souvenirs.

14. Albany Riverfront Preserve

With a visit to Albany Riverfront Preserve, you’ll immerse yourself in a delightful mix of nature and entertainment.

The Jennings Landing Amphitheatre hosts beloved events, such as the Summer Alive at Five concert series and the Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival.

Take a leisurely stroll along the scenic trails, or enjoy a peaceful riverside picnic. You can even rent a bike and explore with a little extra speed.

Be sure to capture memories with your camera; this area offers ample opportunities for stunning snapshots.

According to a TripAdvisor review, one satisfied visitor described it as a “beautiful spot to relax and rejuvenate near the rushing waters.”

15. Grab Drinks and Pizza at DeFazio’s Pizzeria Albany

If you’re in Albany, New York, and craving some delicious pizza, head over to DeFazio’s Pizzeria Albany.

This cozy spot serves up mouth-watering wood-fired pizza, appetizers, antipastos, and even homemade desserts. Be sure to try their Capriccio or the popular Buffalo Chicken pizza from their menu.

When you’re done enjoying your pizza, grab a drink at the adjoining Albany Distilling Company. The bartenders are mixology experts, ensuring a delightful experience! Plus, DeFazio’s food can be delivered to customers enjoying cocktails at the bar or on the patio.

According to a satisfied customer on Yelp, DeFazio’s Pizzeria Albany is awesome:

This place was awesome. We sat outside which was very cool. The pizza was phenomenal. We got the bambino, which was so good we came back the week after to get it again.

Their fantastic service and unique pizza toppings make the visit worthwhile.

16. Head Over to Troy Waterfront Farmers Market

Experience the vibrant atmosphere at the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market, where you’ll find over 100 local vendors and farmers.

Wander through the stalls and discover a variety of fresh produce, meats, and baked goods. Don’t miss trying the delicious prepared foods from different global cuisines.

During the warmer months, from May to October, the market welcomes you at Monument Square. When the weather gets colder, between November and April, find them indoors at the Troy Atrium.

This dynamic market transforms itself with seasonal products, giving you an ever-changing experience.

A TripAdvisor user shared their delight, saying the market has a “great selection of different items” and enjoyed the laid-back vibe:

What a really nice market – lots of food choices, goods choices, music playing! It was a big enough market to spend some time poking around but not so big to be overwhelming.

Mark your calendars now, because the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm, offering you something new to explore each time. Your taste buds will thank you for it!

17. Famous Lunch in Troy

Visiting Albany, New York would not be complete without a quick trip to the nearby city of Troy for a bite at the iconic Famous Lunch.

Established in 1932, this all-American diner is known for its delightful mini hot dogs smothered in their scrumptious zippy sauce.

While the world-famous mini hot dogs are the star of the show, don’t miss out on trying other items like the Cheeseburger, Chicken Sandwich, or Sausage and Peppers Sandwich, as seen on their menu.

They’ve even caught the attention of food critics, with one Yelp review exclaiming that:

Believe the hype. These dogs are some of the best I’ve ever eaten. We started with two each and quickly moved to another one. I could have eaten four easily. They are tasty and fresh and the fries are worth the calories. Can’t wait to go backUsefulFunnyCool

So, if you’re around Albany and craving a delicious bite, take a short detour to Troy and indulge in the mouth-watering goodness that Famous Lunch has to offer.

17 Things to do in Albany, New York: Key Takeaways

There’s plenty of things awaiting for you to explore in Albany, New York.

You can start off with the rich history and vibrant culture of the city through its many museums, such as the New York State Museum.

Get a taste of Albany’s craft beverage scene and enjoy its unique, bustling shopping venues.

For outdoorsy folks, you’ll love the charming Washington Park. Experience the warmth and ambiance of community events by checking out Discover Albany’s Events Calendar.

So, make the most of your time in Albany by using this list to make new experiences. Be spontaneous, embrace the local scene, and don’t forget to share your favorite moments with friends and loved ones.

Leave a Reply

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