Only a half hour drive down Interstate 87, Albany makes a great choice for a day trip from Saratoga County. Originally chartered in 1686, Albany became the state capital in 1797. With varied neighborhoods and a rising younger population, Albany is gentrifying and becoming the entertainment hotspot for upstate New York. Albany's cultural scene thrives too, with plenty of parks, museums and performing venues that book nationally known artists and shows. Add in some world class restaurants, and you've got the makings of a great weekend plan!
No trip to Albany would be complete without a visit to the New York State Capitol building, the site of the New York State Legislature. A national historic landmark, the magnificent building took decades to build and is a marvel of 19th-century architecture. Tours are offered, and be sure to ask about the Haunted Tour; the capitol building is rumored to be haunted!
The two most notable museums in Albany include the New York State Museum and the Albany Institute of History & Art. Acting as the state's repository for New York's social, cultural and scientific history, the New York State Museum features approximately 12 new exhibitions each year on historical topics ranging from NY state's civil war involvement to anthropological and geographical specimens, some of which date back as far back as 3.5 billion years! The Albany Institute of History & Art seeks to preserve Albany's history, and displays more locally focused exhibits. The Albany Institute features lectures, book signings, and exhibits that elucidate Albany's historical importance to modern day New York state.
Less than a mile from the capitol building and the New York State Museum sits the USS Slater, a decommissioned destroyer escort ship from World War II. It is the only museum ship of its kind and presents exhibits related to its time in service during the second great war. On nice days, you can walk to it easy from some of the other downtown attractions listed here.
Visiting Albany gives you a great chance to see a nationally touring artist or show at The Egg, an architectural wonder and a major performance venue in the heart of downtown Albany. Check their schedule for upcoming comedy, music, theater and dance offerings.
Depending on when you visit Albany, you may be able to attend a performance by the renowned Albany Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble hailed by the American Record Guide as "one of the country's great orchestras." The ASO performs in two locations, The Palace Theater at 19 Clinton Avenue and The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall at 30 2nd Street in Troy, NY. The ASO attracts top classical artists like YoYo Ma and Yefim Bronfman as soloists and will be making a return appearance to Carnegie Hall in New York, NY during their 2013 season.
Living in Saratoga County gives its residents the best of both worlds; peaceful living with easy access to the unrivaled cultural resources that only a major city like Albany can provide. Leave your comments below telling us your favorite Albany sights and activities!