92: Albany NY ~3 day Itinerary
Updated: Jun 12
Howdy! I've been making itineraries lately, so I figured, why not one for my old college town? I settled there for five years afterwards, which is the second longest I've lived anywhere.
Arrive. Best not to schedule any reservations for right after, since airlines maintain a realm of chaos. Will you be delayed one hour? Five? Who knows. When you land, go straight to the hotel. Check in, ditch your things in the room, and head back out to explore. Crossgates Mall offers a variety of cuisine, a movie theatre, and various other activities, aside from shopping, all conveniently packed into one building.
Breakfast: Grab a bite at the Iron Gate Café. They're pretty popular so there may be a wait, and they ask that tables clear out after an hour on the weekends. Luckily, Friday's a week day.
Morning Activity: Visit the New York State Museum. It's free, and while most of the exhibits have been there forever, some are temporary. There is an antique carousel upstairs. They also host the occasional event so it's worth checking their calendar. The Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza is just outside, surrounding The Egg, a fun-shaped auditorium nearby. In the plaza are large steel sculptures, and beneath the plaza is the Underground Concourse, which features a ton of modern art. Make sure to explore both! In the winter, you can even ice skate in the plaza. This is also where fireworks are let off on July 4th, and where the annual Christmas Tree is lit.
Lunch: You can't visit Albany without grabbing a meal at Bomber's Burrito Bar! It's a mainstay. While you're in the area, explore Lark St. There are cute boutiques and an art gallery nearby.
Afternoon Activity: Visit the Albany Institute of History & Art. This museum isn't free but it is affordable. Most of the exhibits have been there for ages, but some are temporary.
Dinner: Grab a bite at The City Beer Hall. There menu changes every season. They're known to host live music and they have a system wherein you receive tickets for buying drinks, and those tickets can be traded for simplistic wrap pizzas.
Evening Activity: Join the Ghosts of Albany Haunted Walking Tour. You want to book in advance.
Breakfast: Grab a bite at Café Madison. They're popular so there may be a wait.
Morning Activity: Catch a tour of the New York State Capital building. It's free. If you have a group of ten or more, you're going to want to let them know in advance.
Lunch: Grab a bite at the Cobblestone Lunch Shop.
Afternoon Activity: Catch the Saturday, 2:30pm tour of The Education Building of the State of New York. The exterior is beautiful so I can only imagine the interior. Next time I'm in town, I plan to check this out myself! Reservations are required so reach out in advance, by calling 518-474-2418.
Dinner: Grab a bite at The Olde English Pub. Their menu changes seasonally.
Evening Activity: Grab a drink at Pauly's Hotel. They're the oldest tavern in town and you're likely to catch a live concert.
Breakfast: Grab a bite at the Peaches Cafe. Thatcher Park is a bit of a drive away, so the earlier you get in and eat, the earlier you can get hiking.
Morning Activity: Go for a hike at Thatcher State Park. The higher up you climb, the less buggy it gets. Wear bug spray though, especially if it has recently rained. Don't go past the boundaries on to the cliffs. The edges can be loose.
Lunch: Grab a bite at the Cobbleskill Diner for a vintage rustic vibe.
Afternoon Activity: Take a tour through Howe Caverns. You want to book this in advance. This is a cozy walking tour, not a squeezing-crawling-caving tour. No worries!
Dinner: Grab a bite at Nine Pin Cider Works. The menu is pretty extensive for a place that specializes in producing alcohol.
Evening Activity: Visit the Fuze Box to get a feel for Albany's nightlife. The Fuze Box regularly hosts events such as 80's night and drag shows.
Pack up your room, and make sure you're not forgetting anything before checking out. The concierge might print out your boarding pass so it's worth it to ask. Try and eat before you get to the airport for a better value meal. Get home safe!
Albany hosts many events and it's always worth checking the calendar before coming to visit. My favorite event is the Tulip Festival which takes place on Mother's Day weekend at Washington Park. If you only plan to visit Albany once, I suggest aiming for the weekends of either Tulip Fest, Lark Fest, or PearlPalooza to see live music performances and enjoy the wide range of local vendors. Beware though, parking is going to be a headache since lots of folks come in from out of town to take part in the fun.
The Moscow Ballet performs The Nutcracker annually at The Palace Theatre. I get that supporting Russian businesses is controversial at the moment, which is probably reflected in some sites conveniently forgetting to mention which ballet performed at the Palace Theatre in November of 2022, but it's a beautiful show, and if you're in the area, you're not going to want to miss it. From mid-late April through October, there are riverboat tours on the Dutch Apple Cruise. That's a great time if you can fit it in.
Thanks for stopping by. I drop a new blog post every Monday. Toodles!