Albany may be the center of legislative power, as the capital of New York State, but there's more to this county seat of Albany County than just politics. Indeed, from its architectural landmarks -- the most ostentatious of which is the Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza -- to its museums, parks and year-round activities, you'll find that Albany is full of the lighter side of urban life as well.
Albany is a mecca for architecture enthusiasts. Just about every period of U.S. history is represented in the city's buildings. The Gothic style is evident in the Cathedral of All Saints and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. There's Romanesque in Albany City Hall and Neoclassical in the New York State Education Building. Be sure to include on your itinerary the New York State Museum, the largest museum of its kind in the country, and the Albany Institute of History and Art. Those interested in military collections will enjoy a visit to the Watervliet Arsenal Museum north of Albany. Take a leisurely stroll through Washington Park in the morning. If you care to drive around 30 minutes west of Albany, you'll find a lovely picnic area with an Olympic-size pool and playgrounds for the kids at Thacher State Park.
Wherever there is a legislative seat, there is a table -- and it's usually well laid to cater to the power brokers. Lark Street between Washington Park and Empire State Plaza, a popular spot for the young crowd, has restaurants and bars that offer a wide variety of cuisines. There are also various restaurants -- from fine-dining spots to hole-in-the-wall places -- on New Scotland Avenue. There are international options along Central Avenue and a variety of other good eats on Delaware Avenue and Madison Avenue as well. If you're looking for nightlife, you can go barhopping in Lark Street and Pearl Street. The strip between Ontario Street and Central Avenue also has a lot of lively venues popular with night owls.
Unique boutiques can be found on vibrant Lark Street, just a short walk from downtown, but for upscale shopping, try Stuyvesant Plaza between Western Avenue and Washington Avenue. You're sure to find something that suits your fancy at Crossgates Mall, since it's the biggest in the area. Or immerse yourself in the large collection of shops across the street at Crossgates Commons (home to the biggest Walmart in the world outside of China). The recently renovated Colonie Center has a cinema complex and major stores like Macy's, L.L. Bean and Barnes & Noble. If you're in the suburbs, check out the bargain buys at the Westgate Plaza and Mohawk Commons shopping centers.
1 Fourth Street
1579 Central Ave Albany, NY 12205
42-44 State St
19 Clinton Avenue