Where to take friends visiting from out of town?

empire state plaza ice skating 2012 state libraryPau asks via Twitter:

hey guys, I need your help! Some friends from Mexico are visiting me this weekend; since I'm not local either, I've no idea what is typical here, or where should I take them?! Any suggestions from you and your readers will be welcome.

This is a fun question. Because we get the impression Pau isn't just looking for something to do with her friends, she's also looking for something that will give them a sense of this place.

So, got a suggestion or two? Please share!


Thacher Park.. beautiful views. The City Beer Hall.. fun night out!!

I always seem to take out of towners up to Thatcher Park, it gives them a wonderful view of the valley.

You should include a little about yourself and the people who are visiting, i.e. age, family, interests, etc.
That would allow for the better suggestions.

Lake George Winter carnival

Take them on a tour of the NYS Capitol building. It's an amazing building and the tours are free and warm.

the state museum might be cool. lots of local state wide history. and its free, i believe.

This is one you have to save for say, July... the Rensselaer County Snow Hole. As long as there has been a reasonable amount of snow in the winter, you can find snow still there for most if not all of the year. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Snow_Hole

Troy Farmers Market is a great way to start a Saturday!

The State Museum, skating on the Plaza and admiring the NYS Capital building would make a nice day. You could also stop and get lunch at City Beer Hall or a place on Lark Street.

ice skating at the plaza!

@Spencer-- on the weekend?

On Saturday, agreed on starting the day at the Troy Farmers Market.

One of the local parks during the afternoon(Saratoga National Battlefield, Saratoga Spa, Grafton, Thatcher). I like the Pine Bush since it's unique to this area and they have a great Discovery Center. Or, if it's too cold, check out the State Museum in Albany.

And the RPI Big Red Freakout is this Saturday night at 7pm. It's always an interesting sporting event to observe - mainly due to the emphatic audience/fans. (wear red, if you go)

On Sunday, hop across the Mass border to the Clark Museum which has an awesome selection of artwork and that area of Mass/Berkshires is great to explore any time of year.

If your friends are still here into the week (on Monday,etc), bring them to the State Capitol (Mon-Fri free tours) and to the Corning Tower (Mon-Fri til 3:30pm) to see a cool view of the area for free.

Ah, the usual route...
Thacher park, Cohoes falls, Clark museum of arts.
If it was, say, July you could take them to Grafton lake for swimming or Kingston for a Hudson river tour or Kaaterskill falls for a short hike. Also, Vroman's nose.

Start your exploration at the Albany Visitors Center at Quackenbush Square, where the helpful attendant can suggest many fun activities taking place throughout the weekend. You can also view our exhibit that tells the story of Albany from the arrival of Henry Hudson in 1609 to present day.

We suggest visiting the New York State Museum (free), Ice Skating on the Empire State Plaza (rentals are $3-4, open 11 am - 8 pm), and the Albany Institute of History & Art to see the Albany Mummies exhibit ($10 admission). If you're in the mood for a laugh, check out the Comedy Works for their show schedule.

You can find many great restaurants and other events and activities on our website, albany.org. Have a great weekend!

Farmers Market in Schenectady at Proxtors. The Rose Garden in Central Park in Schenectady. To a play at Curtain Call Theater in Latham. Corning Tower Observation deck.

Boston? NYC? Montreal? Anywhere but here...just kidding...kind of!

my friend is actually coming up this friday so i planned a whole weekend of ideas for us!!
maybe some will interest you :)

free snoeshowing 12pm albany pinebush
ice skating (free!)
latte @ the grind
(do we need lunch?) dali mamma???
dinner (where?? umana)
wine tasting
730 watch the olympics opening/smoke hookah (invite friends over?)
bar (all the lark bars/palais

troy @ night? (the ruck/confectionary/footsy magoos)
city beer hall??
guys from who's line @ proctors
Albany Symphony Orchestra - Bolero & Wagner @ the palace
Dessert Extravaganza and Chocolate Festival in stillwater
The Front Parlor storytelling series' anniversary event is at The Linda

ode english pub brunch?

mineral baths?
light hike?

The main building of The Clark in Williamstown, MA is closed for renovations. They only have one small gallery open in a different building, not quite worth the drive.

Let's talk food.

Breakfast: Egg and cheese on a hard roll. Lots of good places to get one, but if you go to Dan's Place Two, make sure to get it with sausage.

Lunch: Famous Lunch, obviously. Sure it's in Troy, but those little three inch wieners really belong to the whole Capital Region.

Dinner: A Fish Fry "sandwich" ideally from Off Shore Pier in East Greenbush, but any Ted's will do in a pinch.

Farms: Indian Ladder if you plan to stay in Albany County, and make sure to get one of their apple cider donuts. Yes, it's a fall classic, but they are available all year long. Or, if you are crossing the river a trip to Golden Harvest will also put you adjacent to Harvest Spirits, where they have revived the American classic spirit of applejack. Theirs is fantastic (as is their apple vodka which really tastes more like a fruity eau de vie than the popularly bland spirit).

Local culture: Bring them to a tavern. It doesn't really matter which one. We live in the shadow of Buffalo and thus our wings are often marginalized. However, they are without a doubt in the top 10% of wings worldwide (if not higher). The Ale House and The Ruck are top picks. But recently the Wall Street Journal offered high praise for those from Across the Street Pub in Albany.

For a fancy lunch you could also check out Jack's Oyster House and feel like an old man eating. Just stick to the classics and realize you are there for the experience and history of the place.

Sledding at Capital Hills Golf Course (way up New Scotland Ave towards Slingerlands).
The museums, particularly the NYS Museum & the Empire State Plaza in general never fail to delight.
Lake George Winter Carnival & dinner in Saratoga?

Hi guys, thank you all for the suggestions. Most of you agree that we should visit Thatcher park and I haven't been there myself so we're definitely going!
To those asking for more details; me, my husband and our friends (a couple too) are 28-31, enjoy food and booze. We're not big party people tho. Lake George & Saratoga sound awesome too.

The merry monk on Pearl st. Great food, atmosphere and service!

I take everyone to Smokers Choice, that smoke shop in Troy Plaza. You don't have to smoke, just go there for the smoky ambiance, its a cross between The Wire and Breaking Bad, or a short date with David Mamet. I was robbed at gun point in the Friendly's next door so I take my guests over for a Friendly Frank and a Fribble. But that's just for memories, and to see my ex-wife in her sexy Friendly's uniform. Boy, she's holding up great! If you want something classy, go down to Famous Lunch for a stack of zippy dogs. If you still have friends after all that you know they are real friends.

I am from Mexico and live here. Everybody loves Saratoga Springs. We do not have Victorian Houses in Mexico. Skiing, snow shoe walking at Spac

If staying in Albany:
If they're here on Friday, definitely take advantage of tours of the Capitol, Education Building, and the Court of Appeals -- fantastic architecture and history!

Saturday or Sunday Brunch at Madison Cafe (though get there by 9:30 am to avoid wait) -- best brunch in the area or at City Beer hall (open at 11, comes with a beer/mimosa/bloody mary)!

I agree with other commenters that skating at the Plaza is an absolute and is so cheap! It's the best way to show guests the plaza buildings and try to explain the Egg :)

Warm up by walking down to Lark St. and getting them a delicious and beautiful individually-sized pastry from Crisan!

Dinner- Wine Bar on Lark is a really nice option for a group of four. They don't take reservations, but the wait usually isn't long and you can sip wine by the fireplace as you wait.

If Saratoga is an option (do it!): Fried chicken and Sweet Tea at Hattie's is highly recommended, finish off with chocolate from Kilwin's or gelato from Eugenio's (yes, worth it even in winter!). Walk around to the cute little shops, and stop in to the Saratoga Salsa and Spice Company and try their salsas and hot sauces!

Then you should convince them to come back in August for racing season...

Have fun!

All the following suggestions sound great to me and mine will largely reiterate what’s already been said.

In terms of food, I highlight recommend Café Madison for breakfast/brunch over the weekend. Excellent food and atmosphere, but recommend making reservations in advance for they get busy quickly. An alternative would be Irongate Café on Washington Ave, a stone’s throw from the Capitol building, providing you easy access to all of the museums in the area. Unfortunately, with it being winter, you’ll miss out on the wonderful outdoor seating both of these restuarants offer, providing a very leisurely way to wake up for the day and enjoy some great food.

For dinner, definitely have to reiterate the Merry Monk downtown, but given your friends are from Mexico (and not to stereotype them into being big soccer fans, unlike most Americans), Wolf’s Biergarten on Broadway would be another excellent opportunity to enjoy good beir, food and fussball.

I won’t rename all of the cultural venues already listed, but highly recommend you check out 1st Friday in Albany, which is tonight, Feb. 7th this month (http://1stfridayalbany.org/) . Tons of stuff to do and much of it free (like free admission to the Albany Institute of History and Art, which is now featuring a great mummy exhibit). Again, being winter, some of the charm and hubbub of this event is subdued, but there are still a ton of opportunities (again, free) to take advantage of.

Additionally, if they want to get the theater experience, but not at NYC prices, the Capital Rep downtown or Proctors in Schenectady would also be worth checking out.

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