Albany Tourist Information and Tourism

(Albany, New York - NY, USA)

New York State's capital city is known more for its legislative and political power than its tourism and culture. However, a number of Albany's neighborhoods have enjoyed much attention and regeneration in recent years, such as Lark Street and Pearl Street, which are now lively strips brimming with enticing shops, trendy bars and popular eateries.

Albany was chosen to be the state capital at the very end of the 18th century, due to its strategic setting within the fur trading region and its proximity to prosperous colonies of the time. Today, the expansive Empire State Plaza and its stylish government buildings form an important centerpiece to the city, creating a dramatic skyline best viewed from across the Hudson River.

By day, the downtown district is a lively spot with many modern office blocks, although after the workers commute their way home, this part of Albany soon empties and takes on an altogether different, far quieter character. Tourists should therefore consider their evening options carefully, perhaps checking out the free Metroland weekly publication or the tourist information outlet on Quackenbush Square, on the corner of Clinton Avenue and Broadway, close to Wallenburg Park.

Albany Tourist Information and Tourism: Top Sights

Downtown Albany is a good place to start any sightseeing expedition in this capital, with the modern buildings of the Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza being particularly eye-catching. Look out for the Erastus Corning Tower and head on up to the 42nd floor, where a popular observation deck will allow you to admire panoramas of not only the city and the Hudson River, but also the remote mountainous scenery of the Adirondacks and Catskills. Close by, State Street forms a major artery in the downtown district and connects both the river and Interstate I-787. Numerous period homes stand along State Street, including the former residence of famous Moby Dick author, Herman Melville. When the evening arrives, you can choose between a dinner river cruise (based in neighboring Troy) or some live entertainment at the Capital Repertory Theater, the Center for the Performing Arts, the Palace Theater or the Union Center. More information about Albany Tourist Attractions.

Being New York's capital means that Albany is called home by some of the state's most important buildings, adding a great deal of character to the downtown district. The New York State Capitol boasts especially grand architecture, although lacks the typical dome, due to initial structural and subsidence problems. Close by and next to Academy Park / Lafayette Park is Albany City Hall, which operates as the seat of government and is also where you will find the office of the mayor. Both the Cathedral of All Saints and the New York State Education Building stand close to each other and serve as additional noteworthy city landmarks, while the rather understated Van Ostrande-Radliff House (also named 48 Hudson Avenue) is the oldest building in the entire city, dating back to the late 1720s. More information about Albany Landmarks and Monuments.

For cultural and historical information about Albany, the New York State Museum at the Cultural Education Center is the place to come, being found alongside the Empire State Plaza and housing the Governor's Collection of Contemporary Native American Crafts. Just a short distance to the north of the city, the Watervliet Arsenal is one serious tourist attraction for military buffs, as is the Destroyer Escort Historical Museum, which is actually an old US Navy warship docked on the Hudson River, next to Quay Street. Comprising no less than three buildings, the Albany Institute of History and Art boasts enormous collections of art, with literally thousands of paintings, sculptures and artifacts on display. Further themed exhibitions can be found at the University Art Museum on Washington Avenue, and the Linda - WAMC's Performing Arts Studio, which resides on Washington Avenue and was established in the latter part of the 1960s. More information about Albany Museums and Albany Art Galleries.

The city of Albany enjoys a close relationship with the neighboring cities of Sarasota Springs, Schenectady and Troy, which together with the state capital combine to form an area named the Capital District. Many quality attractions lie within the neighboring city of Troy, to the northeast, where 19th-century buildings, plentiful antiques stores (on River Street) and a regular farmers' market form much of the appeal. In the small town of Sarasota Springs, to the north, museums concentrate on topics such as automobiles, children and history, and in Schenectady, to the northwest, the historic Stockade district contains an array of characterful old buildings from the Revolutionary War period. Also close to Albany, the Cohoes Falls attraction is a spectacular waterfall on the Mohawk River, and the nature theme continues at the John Boyd Thacher State Park, where you can admire views of the distant Green Mountains and the Hudson Valley. During the winter, skiing excursions to the resorts around both the Adirondack and the Catskill mountains become extremely popular. More information about Albany Attractions Nearby.

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