Situated roughly in the middle of New York City and Montreal and close to Boston is the buzzing capital of the State of New York, Albany. The city plays host to a number of tourist attractions and destination and is home to a rich cultural background. Albany sits next to the Hudson River which gives it a scenic landscape and a strategic and economic advantage.
Where is Albany?
From a geographical standpoint, Albany New York is close to important city hubs like New York City, Boston, Montreal, and Syracuse. Reaching Albany has become more and more convenient with the development of modern highways, railway services, buses and even an extensive ferry service. The Port of Albany-Rensselaer serves both international and domestic ships along with private tourist boats. Moreover, the Capital has its own international airport – the Albany International Airport – where six major airlines operate.
Culture and History of the Capital City
The Capital City is rich with historical sites to visit. At the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center in Quackenbush Square, experience the intricate architecture and the magnificent skyline view of the city. The Albany City Hall is another popular tourist site where you can take in the awe-inspiring Romanesque structure with numerous murals and carvings.
The New York State Museum and the New York State Library both can be found in the heart of the city of Albany in the Cultural Education Center. Other historical attractions include the USS Slater which is a World War II museum ship at the Quay Street. The USS Slater is one of a kind and still retains the ability to float.
Albany is also known for its exquisite taste in art and literature. The Albany Institute of History and Art near the Center Square Neighborhood offers an amalgam of culture, art and history of the city and Upper Hudson Valley. This museum also has showcases several painting by the Hudson River School and exhibition that feature the Albany Mummies.
Literature, professional theatre and music are also important elements of the Capital City. Along with the iconic New York State Library, the Harmanus Bleecker Library is a bibliophile’s sanctuary at Albany. The Palace Theater, Albany Symphony Orchestra and the Capital Repertory Theatre are some renowned names in the world of entertainment at Albany.
The Hub of Technology
The citizens of Albany have a high literacy rate and the City School District of Albany controls over seventeen public schools in the city as well as seven charter schools. The city had a total of 81 percent graduation rate in the last academic year and a meager 5 percent dropout rate. In fact, the city was once rated third in terms of higher education in Forbes.
Albany is also home to prominent colleges such as the Albany Law School, the Albany Medical College and the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Science. Many important studies and scientific researches were also carried out in some of the most prestigious institutes of the Albany. Joseph Henry of the Albany Academy discovered induction and telegraphy which marks an important scientific and technological milestone for the city. Along with science and tech, geographical and archeological breakthroughs were also made by residents of Albany. James Hall, a prominent paleontologist carried out several important researches in his laboratory in Albany.
To acknowledge the city’s advancement in science and technology, the eastern part of the city has been dedicated to researches and technology and is aptly named the Tech Valley. The area includes big academic institutes that are geared towards a bigger and better technological ecosystem for the world; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute are to name a few.
Annual Festivals and Events in Albany
The highlight of Albany is perhaps the variety of festivals that are held in the city. The Tulip Festival that takes place in the month of May is one of the most awaited festivals of the year in Albany. Along with the Tulip Festival, the Albany Chef’s Food and Wine Festival held at the beginning of the year, the Fourth of July Festival sponsored by Prince Chopper near the Empire State Plaza and the Freihofer’s Run for Women are other anticipated events of the year in the Capital City of New York.
Albany is the ideal place to visit with your family as it offers family-friendly activities and sites. Dave and Busters near at the Crossgates Mall Road is a popular family-friendly arcade place that includes a range of the latest arcade games and scrumptious food from the arcade café next to it.
The vibrancy of Albany only continues to grow as the fall season arrives with the Albany Jazz Festival marking the calendars in September. Another important fall event in Albany is the September in the City Arts Fair and the Lark Fest.
The Albany Jazz Festival has been taking place on the 9th of September for over ten years now. Local artists and iconic jazz players gather in the concert to deliver the finest jazz music along with mouth-watering food and drinks for the audience to enjoy. A wonderful display of fireworks marks the end of the festival and the best part about the Jazz Festival is that it is a public, free event for all ages.
Art gets an entirely new meaning in the City Arts Fair. Held every Wednesday of the month of September at the Tricentennial Park, the festival hosts a number of exciting live musical performances, exhibits and food for the visitors to enjoy.
The Lark Fest is held in the last week of September and is one of the biggest street festivals of the state. The festival is a one day event which includes musical performances, vendor foods and beverages and local artists that display their talents. This family-friendly festival can get seriously crowded though with over 80,000 people joining on the Lark Street. If you’re a social butterfly and love to have some good fun, then the Lark Fest is something worth going to.
The city of Albany lives up to its role as the capital city of the state of New York with its vibrancy, technological advancements, rich historical background and a number of exciting festivals. It should definitely be added to your bucket list of places to visit if it’s your first time in New York.