20 Best Places and Things To Do in Albany, New York

Albany, the capital of the state of New York, is a vibrant city with a rich history, cultural attractions, and natural beauty. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or a foodie, Albany offers a variety of experiences. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Albany:

1. New York State Capitol

An ornate building, several stories high, of light colored stone. Many arches are visible on its front. On its sides are two large towers with pyramidal red roofs, echoed by similar smaller towers closer to the center with stone tops. In front of the camera, at bottom, is a plaza with a wavy-line pattern.

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_State_Capitol

Start your exploration of Albany with a visit to the New York State Capitol. This magnificent building is a blend of architectural styles and features stunning artwork and historical exhibits. Take a guided tour to learn about the state’s history and see the impressive Assembly Chamber and Senate Chamber.

2. New York State Museum


Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_State_Museum

Immerse yourself in the history, art, and culture of New York State at the New York State Museum. With exhibits ranging from natural history to Native American culture and modern art, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss the Cohoes Mastodon, a centerpiece of the museum’s fossil collection.

3. Washington Park

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Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and relax in the tranquil surroundings of Washington Park. This picturesque park features beautiful gardens, tree-lined paths, and a lake. It’s the perfect place for a leisurely walk, a picnic, or simply enjoying the natural beauty.

4. Schuyler Mansion

A two-story brick house with white window shutters, a wooden balustrade on top and an octagonal projecting front entrance pavilion, seen looking slightly upslope towards its right corner

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schuyler_Mansion

Schuyler Mansion played a significant role in American history. It was the residence of General Philip Schuyler, who was a trusted advisor to George Washington during the Revolutionary War. Schuyler’s daughter, Elizabeth Schuyler, married Alexander Hamilton, the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.

5. Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence

The front of a two-and-a-half story brick building with an exposed basement, seen from a nearby street, partially obstructed by the front of a parked car

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_and_Harriet_Myers_Residence

The Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence is a historic site located in Albany, New York, with significant importance in the history of the Underground Railroad and the fight against slavery. The residence was the home of Stephen and Harriet Myers, who were prominent abolitionists and activists in the mid-19th century. Today, it serves as a museum and educational center dedicated to preserving their legacy and sharing the stories of those who fought for freedom.

6. Erastus Corning II Tower


Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erastus_Corning_Tower

The Corning Tower is an impressive 42-story structure, reaching a height of 589 feet (180 meters). It is a notable example of modernist architecture, featuring a sleek design with a reflective glass exterior. The tower’s clean lines and geometric shape make it a distinct presence in Albany’s skyline. The primary purpose of the Corning Tower is to house various offices of the New York State government. It serves as the headquarters for several state agencies and departments, including the New York State Department of Health, the Office of the State Comptroller, and the New York State Education Department. The tower is a bustling hub for administrative and bureaucratic operations.

7. Albany Institute of History & Art

From left to right, a yellow brick building with a flat roof; a steel, concrete and glass connector, and another brick building with a large tree and lawn in front, seen from across a city street.

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albany_Institute_of_History_%26_Art

Located in downtown Albany, the Albany Institute of History & Art is one of the oldest museums in the United States. It houses a diverse collection of art, artifacts, and historical objects, including Hudson River School paintings, Egyptian mummies, and Native American art. The museum offers fascinating exhibitions that highlight the region’s heritage.

8. Albany Pine Bush Preserve

Pines in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve.jpg

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albany_Pine_Bush

The Albany Pine Bush Preserve is a unique natural area located in Albany, New York. Spanning over 3,200 acres, it is one of the few remaining inland pine barrens ecosystems in the world. The preserve offers visitors a chance to explore a diverse range of habitats, including sand dunes, pine forests, and wetlands, while providing opportunities for outdoor recreation and environmental education.

9. Chester A. Arthur Memorial Tomb

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Chester A. Arthur served as the President of the United States from 1881 to 1885. His presidency was marked by significant political and administrative achievements, including civil service reform. The memorial tomb stands as a tribute to his contributions and legacy. The memorial tomb is an impressive architectural structure designed in the Romanesque Revival style. It features a granite exterior and a prominent dome with a skylight. The design incorporates classical elements, creating a dignified and visually striking monument.

10. Shaker Heritage Society


Image Source: https://home.shakerheritage.org/

The Shaker Heritage Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and sharing the history and legacy of the Shakers, a religious and communal group that played a significant role in American history. Located in Albany, New York, the society operates the Shaker Heritage Site, which offers visitors a chance to explore the rich heritage and unique lifestyle of the Shakers.

11. Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Panorama 1.jpg

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_of_the_Immaculate_Conception_(Albany,_New_York)

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception has a rich history dating back to its establishment in the mid-19th century. It has served as a center of worship and faith for the Catholic community in Albany and the surrounding region. The cathedral’s history is intertwined with the growth and development of Catholicism in the area.

12. New York State Executive Mansion

An ornate brick house with a pyramid-roofed tower on the front seen from slightly below. In front is a flagpole and some tall trees, with shrubbery and a chain link fence at the bottom of the image, closer to the camera.

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_State_Executive_Mansion

The Executive Mansion offers guided tours to the public, providing a glimpse into its historical and architectural heritage. These tours offer visitors an opportunity to explore various rooms, learn about the mansion’s history, and appreciate its artistic and design elements. It’s advisable to check the mansion’s website or contact their office for tour availability and scheduling.

13. American Italian Heritage Museum


Image Source: https://www.albany.org/listing/american-italian-heritage-museum-%26-cultural-center/2514/

The museum’s mission is to promote an understanding and appreciation of the Italian American experience, history, and culture. It serves as a repository of artifacts, stories, and information that highlights the contributions and achievements of Italian Americans across various fields, including art, literature, science, politics, and more. The American Italian Heritage Museum features a range of exhibits that showcase the history, art, traditions, and achievements of Italian Americans. The collections include photographs, documents, memorabilia, and artifacts that offer insights into the experiences and cultural heritage of Italian American communities throughout the country.

14. First Lutheran Church

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The First Lutheran Church has a long and storied history that dates back to its establishment in 1649, making it one of the oldest Lutheran congregations in North America. Over the centuries, the church has played a significant role in the spiritual and social life of Albany, witnessing the city’s growth and changes. The church building itself is a remarkable example of Gothic Revival architecture. The current structure, completed in 1851, features a stately facade, intricate stone carvings, stained glass windows, and a towering spire. The interior is adorned with ornate woodwork, a magnificent pipe organ, and a tranquil sanctuary that exudes a sense of reverence and history.

15. Irish American Heritage Museum


Image Source: https://irish-us.org/explore/exhibits-and-programs

The museum features a variety of exhibits that explore different aspects of Irish American history and culture. These exhibits cover topics such as Irish immigration, the Great Famine, Irish contributions to art, literature, politics, sports, and more. The collections include photographs, artworks, historical documents, and personal items that provide a tangible connection to the Irish American experience.

16. Historic Cherry Hill

A two-and-a-half-story yellow wooden house with a gambrel roof seen from a corner angle amid large trees. A paved path leading to it from the camera is blocked by a chainlink fence.

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_Hill_(Albany,_New_York)

Historic Cherry Hill is a historic house museum located in Albany, New York. It was the home of the Van Rensselaer family for several generations and offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of an affluent family during the 18th and 19th centuries. Take a guided tour of the meticulously restored mansion and explore its various rooms. You’ll see period furnishings, artwork, and personal belongings that provide insights into the lifestyle and tastes of the Van Rensselaer family.

17. St. Peter’s Church

A Gothic stone church with a pointed facade and a tower on the right, with a smaller tower rising from its own right, seen from across a city street

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Peter%27s_Episcopal_Church_(Albany,_New_York)

St. Peter’s Church is a historic Episcopal church located in Albany, New York. Established in 1715, it is one of the oldest churches in the United States and has a significant place in the city’s history. St. Peter’s Church is renowned for its stunning Gothic Revival architecture. The church building, constructed in the mid-19th century, features intricate stonework, towering spires, and beautiful stained glass windows.

18. New York State Women Veterans Memorial

New York State Women Veterans Memorial 001.jpg

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_State_Women_Veterans_Memorial

The New York State Women Veterans Memorial is a tribute to the brave women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Located in Albany, New York, the memorial honors the contributions and sacrifices of women veterans from New York State. The memorial consists of several components that pay tribute to women veterans. It features a central granite obelisk adorned with bronze plaques representing different eras of military service. The plaques include names of women who have served, as well as quotes and images that reflect their dedication and bravery.

19. Rensselaer Lake

Rensselaer Lake, Albany, NY, looking northwest.jpg

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rensselaer_Lake

Rensselaer Lake is known for its scenic beauty, surrounded by lush greenery and wildlife. The lake itself provides a tranquil and serene atmosphere, making it an ideal spot for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The area around Rensselaer Lake features several walking trails that wind through the preserve. These trails offer opportunities for leisurely walks, jogging, or hiking while enjoying the natural surroundings. The trails are well-maintained and provide access to different sections of the lake and the surrounding pine bush ecosystem.

20. St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church

A brick church with elaborate stone decoration, greenish roofs and a tall square open tower at the front.

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Mary%27s_Church_(Albany,_New_York)

St. Mary’s Church features stunning Gothic Revival architecture, with its prominent spires, intricate stonework, and beautiful stained glass windows. The church building itself is a work of art, showcasing intricate details and craftsmanship. St. Mary’s Church holds regular worship services, including daily Masses, Sunday Masses, and special liturgical celebrations. Visitors can attend Mass to experience the spiritual atmosphere and participate in Catholic rituals.

Whether you’re interested in history, culture, nature, or entertainment, you’re sure to find something to enjoy in this vibrant city.