Places to look for local gifts?

Kara emails:

I'm relatively new to town, having moved here over the summer. So I'm still learning my way around and getting to know the best local spots, activities and products. I'm a big fan of buying local in general and when I lived in Ann Arbor, I loved buying local coffee and treats as gifts for visiting friends or for Christmas.
I'd love to ask the All Over Albany community - what are your go-to local gifts and where can I find them?

For the last few years -- including 2015 and 2014 -- we've asked a bunch of people about the sorts of items they'd like to give as part of a "holiday gifts" series. There are some ideas in there.

Got ideas for local-themed or -sourced gifts for newcomers such as Kara? What's your go-to local gift spot? Please share!


The gift shop at the Albany Institute of History and Art has some great local gifts. While there last month, I bought myself these: They aren't locally made, but they are pretty fantastic.

The Troy Farmers' Market also has a bevy of great gift ideas, and I can think of plenty of people on my list who would love a bottle of something from Albany Distilling Co.

Local foods and beverages are the best gifts, with something to suit every taste and budget. The Honest Weight Food Co-op can be one-stop shopping for a lot of local food gifts, from chocolate to cheese, hard cider to hot sauce. (My current favorite local gift is Hedonic Tonic, an artisanal tonic syrup with no high fructose corn syrup. Add seltzer and your favorite gin. Made in North Greenbush.)

Also, art made by local artists and artisans. The Shop at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy has lots of holiday gifts.

The NYS Museum has a great gift shop. I always find good stuff there.

Departure Museum Shop in the Albany Airport is fantastic, a selection of items from regional museums and artists. They also give you free parking if you purchase an item.

I'd also recommend the gift shop at the Albany Institute of History and Art, the Troy and Schenectady Farmers Markets, and the biannual Half Moon Market (the website lists all the local vendors of past markets).


Nine Pin Cider for my whole family!!!

A whole building full of small businesses and artists. The Shirt Factory
Artist Association Holiday Open Houses will be November 25th-27th and December 10th & 11th, 10am -5pm.

Kara, you have great timing. The Hudson-Mohawk Weavers Guild has their annual Show & Sale this Thu through Sun (nov 17-20) at the Pruyn House in Latham. Two full floors of local artisan-made items from clothing, home decor to gifts!

I love doing a market basket from a local farmers market. Troy farmers market has both gift items like knit goods and great food gifts like fresh pasta Saratoga chips and local applejack. I also tend to bring Nine Pin cider as a gift.

Second the Empire State museum gift shop.

Brilliant! Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll have to check those places out.

There is an area in the back of Cider Belly Donuts with locally-made, locally-themed gifts.

Jay Street in Schenectady. Open Door Bookstore!

Woman I went to high school with recently started this company with her husband...Seems to be pretty cool based on my cursory research so far:

Seems like the perfect spot to humbly mention our business, The Empire Crate. We hand-select a variety of foods from across New York State (our first box featured a product from Schenectady) and ship them to your door every month. One-time purchases are available as gifts, too!

BoHo Chic Boutique in Waterford carriers a great selection of locally made gifts:

Albany Visitor Center has a great shop with original, Albany themed work. They did a Holiday Market in conjunction with the City Hall tree lighting last year, and it brought in even more local artists. Keep your eyes peeled.

The other is the gift shop at the Empire State Plaza, across from Prime at the Plaza.

The Albany Heritage Area Visitor's Center gift shop has many unique and handcrafted items from local artisans!!

For the book lovers, I'd recommend The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza (in Albany), or Market Block Books in Troy. Dove & Hudson is also a wonderful used book store located in downtown Albany.

The Shaker Heritage Craft Show runs through Dec. 17, and this Saturday is the Christian Brothers Academy craft show - both are near the airport, and feature local artists and foods.

River Street in Troy has lots of little shops with handmade and local goods... my favorite is T&J Soaps!

The Empire State Plaza Visitor Center and Gift Shop has unique gifts and souvenirs related to the New York State Capitol, Empire State Plaza, Plaza Art Collection and more. They also have a Taste NY section and I Love NY section. The big winner is a mug featuring a little yellow chick (baby chicken) standing next to The Egg with the words, "which came first?". It's a must have!

I like the Broken Mold in Troy for locally made pottery. The owner also teaches classes on how to make ones own pottery. Also check out the Collar City Clay Guild for artists in the area, Just missed their annual pottery sale.

My go to spot is always Elissa Halloran's shop on Lark Street. Last year she had some amazing ornaments which made perfect gifts and I always can find a unique item (jewelry, scarves, decorative items, art, etc.) for pretty much anyone on my list.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.


Recently on All Over Albany

Today's moment of "spring"

Tuesday was the spring equinox. It still doesn't feel much like spring. We've been snapping pics of this clump of crocuses every year going back... (more)

An orchard for Washington Park

Soon to join the many trees of Albany's Washington Park: eight varieties of apple tree. Nine Pin Cider and Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook will be... (more)

"Do you like to eat? Do you like to read?"

Bookmarked: There is an Albany Food Readers Book Club that meets every two months to talk about -- you guessed it -- books about food.... (more)

International Tuesday at The Low Beat

How many of you out there went to Valentine's in Albany when it was still around? Raise your hand. (**cups hands over brow bone, squints,... (more)

The state is looking for someone to design murals for the ESP food court

The state Office of General Services is looking for a New York State artist to paint murals on four walls of the recently renovated food... (more)

Recent Comments

Washington Avenue definitely needs more than one lane in each direction, but that doesn't mean it can't be redesigned. They can reduce the size of the lanes, add a median, and add a protected bike lane where the shoulder of the road now lies. I agree, however, that the entire Harriman loop would have to be redesigned and that includes those over-passes, so this would be an extremely expensive undertaking if they want to do it right. But there could be significant development on the land that is now wasted by asphalt that could offset that cost and bulk up the tax base for the city.

An orchard for Washington Park

...has 1 comment, most recently from Tess

International Tuesday at The Low Beat

...has 1 comment, most recently from Erin T.

Cynthia Nixon is running for governor

...has 4 comments, most recently from Steve

787 is sticking around for a long time, but if you want to change it the time to start is now

...has 5 comments, most recently from Mike

Studying the future direction of Washington Ave

...has 15 comments, most recently from Ed