Good holiday and New Year's stuff to do?

champagne flutesBen emails:

My wife and I are new to Albany, don't know anyone (losers, I know), and are looking for some good holiday and new year's stuff to do. Not so much the 'get wasted at Jillian's after paying $100 cover for a free glass of Cristalino,' but maybe something a bit more unique. Any ideas?

Or, to phrase Ben's question a little bit differently, if were talking with someone who's new to the Capital Region, what holiday traditions or stuff to do would you tell them about?

Got a suggestion for Ben and his wife? Please share!

photo: Flickr user _FXR


I think the key to a good time on New Years Eve is to have no expectations. It's like the prom, its rookie night and not everyone gets laid.

We used to have a pretty thriving "first night", with free CDTA bus fare, tons of music, theatre, food and activities across the city, but that ended in the late 90s. I'll be interested to see what people suggest. I too have been wondering the same thing for the past decade or so.

Get buttons for Saratoga first night.
Rent a movie, and get a dinner to go from Lombado's ( shrimp francese, and veal parm are my favorites). Spend a nice quiet, safe evening at home.
Get hot corned beef sandwiches from Saatti's in Newton Plaza, and go to the Spectrum movie house to see "The Artist ".
Buy tickets to the Carib,go to Times Square,get adopted by The Trumps and you can hang out with Regis,and Joy!
When i was young my favorite date places on New Years Eve were Stone Ends, and The Golden Fox. Unfortunatly, they are gone now.

On Christmas Eve, my family and I always go out to dinner. I The independent restaurants in Albany have never been full; I don't know about the chain ones near the malls.
After than we go see the holiday lights in Washington Park- they used to let you walk around them, but now they make you drive your car.

Daisy Bakers in Troy, NY always has a great NYE party. There is a dinner, but there is also a very reasonable cover to just join in the dancing fun. Last year they had the Lustre Kings play and it was an awesome party. I think they are having The El Dorados play this year.

There is a night run (5K) in Saratoga and Wolff's Biergarten in Albany is having a Beefsteak dinner with live music (check their website for details).

I agree with Barold, NYE is the last night I want to be out. All the restarounts are jammed, service is often lacking, and menu prices are jacked up significantly.. Although there is this societal expectation that you do something. ("What did you do for New Years?"). For me it is a holiday to spend with friends, but since you are new to the area... If you want a good story to tell about what you did, why don't you consider taking the train to Times Square? Althouh the Daisy Bakers sounded nice, and I love Wolffs.

Free fireworks in Congress Park in Saratoga (unless the City Council gives that the axe this week in its budget vote).

My husband and I drove up to Saratoga for First Night last year and had a ball. We had an early dinner at the Irish Pub and then hit the events. We saw comedy, improv and heard lots of different music. It was really a terrific evening capped off with fireworks at midnight (which may not happen this year due to budget stuff). Get your button and schedule for the evening and enjoy yourself!

Get into the holiday spirit this Saturday afternoon at the umpteenth annual Nowell Sing We Clear concert in Altamont. Very different and always very good -- order advance tickets because they do sell out. - Expensive but fun

Steve Barnes posted a number of New Years dinner events on tablehopping today, I would have to suggest spending the evening at Yono's, Albany's finest fine dining establishment. The staff is amazing, the food is out of this world, and you will, without a doubt, have the best champagne toast in Albany that night. (check the events page)

Also on the events page, they have posted the new Wine Class Schedule! As a full semester "graduate" I suggest it with no reservations!

thanks everyone for the suggestions!

Olde English Pub! $50 includes dinner, beer, wine, and champ from 9pm to 1am. If you're looking to stay close to home this is the place to be!

I've always been one for Trivial Pursuit and grown up drinks at home on NYE. It occurred to me yesterday, though, that I've NEVER gone out on New Year's Eve as an adult (not a big fan of crowds but I do like going out!). I think I may try to score reservations somewhere.

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