A quintessential Capital District "thing" to do with visiting friends?

looking up at Nipper 991 Broadway 2016-April

Rebecca emails:

I have some friends visiting from D.C.for Memorial Day weekend..one half of the couple has never been to this area and is really looking forward to it. I have a few things planned (we all like food, booze, history, and walking around so those areas are covered but I'm open to related suggestions) but I'm wondering what readers think is a quintessential Capital District "thing" I can do with them? Meaning, what activity/place/experience is a "must do" while visiting this area? Thanks!

As you know, there are many good things in this area. And there are a lot of fun things to do as summer starts. (It will start. Probably.) But that "thing" that's really says Albany or this area... we've always thought there isn't a clear answer to that.

So... got a suggestion for Rebecca and her friends? Please share! We'd love to hear it.


Thatcher Park, Indian Ladder Farms, Empire State Plaza, NYS Museum, Great Flats Brewing

Maybe bring them to the cidery and brewery at Indian Ladder Farms.

Go to Troy Saturday morning. Hit up the boutiques and farmers market. Get inspired to cook a nice dinner and grab supplies at the market. Invite some local friends to the dinner (Albany, Where the People are the Attraction.) For extra points cook out, Thacher, Corning Preserve, wherever. Close the day with an evening stroll through the lit up Empire State Plaza.

Take a hair-raising, indirect ride in a shared taxi after waiting 3-12 times longer than you are told it will be!

Yeah I think I might also go with Thatcher Park, and Indian Ladder Farms with their new cidery & brewery too.

You could also hike the Kaaterskill Falls (just go early for parking) and check out some of the nearby breweries like Crossroads or Suarez.

1. If they like history and want to hear fun facts about Albany, the Dutch Apple is a really fun sightseeing cruise. You listen on the first part, and then on the second you can just hang out. It's great if the weather is beautiful, especially, and it also has bar/snacks on board.

2. Indian Ladder/Thatcher Park are awesome stops.

3. NYS Museum is free, manageable and interesting. Follow it will a stroll of Empire State Plaza.

The Figgs shows at The Low Beat, Friday and/or Saturday!

A must see when they're back in town!

Definitely the escarpment , Indian ladder and new Visitor Cntr. at Thatcher Park. If have the time, Blue My Lake and ADK. Museum area.

Perhaps a bit off-the-wall, but Albany Rural Cemetery is a really nice walk, gives some history and has some great views of the capital region environs. Great place to walk after partaking in brunch/lunch. Tour like the 19th-century folks did.

As a DC transplant myself, one of the things that really stuck out to me when I moved here was the Empire State Plaza. It's so cool to just go and walk around the space, especially at night. It reminded me a lot of walking the DC monuments at night.

Restaurants / breweries are always low-hanging fruit.

Another big one for me was the proximity to Lake George and the Adirondacks. You can essentially wake up in the morning and spend the first 2/3 of the day up in the mountains or on the lake where the air, the trees - everything - is so grand and different, yet so close. Then you're back in the car and home in time for a local night out.

Maybe off topic but it strikes me how transplants seem to like the ESP and everyone who grew up here hates it.

the ESP is striking... it just doesn't grow on you when you start to learn some of the history behind it.

I love hiking in the area, but just a friendly reminder to check yourselves for ticks. This season is supposedly going to be/is bad.

Thanks for so many suggestions..Dutch Apple Cruise slipped my mind and will be added to the list!

NYS Museum, for sure! if you're going to the Empire State Plaza, you should also do the tour of the NYS Capitol -- i've lived here my whole life but didn't take the tour until my mid-twenties, and it is really beautiful and interesting. and if your visitors are in town during TulipFest, then i would definitely attend!

Depending on time frame, there is a ton of good cultural and recreational things to do in downtown Albany, starting with the NYS Museum and working yourself over to the Capitol (by way of the ESP) for a tour (they do offer limited Saturday tours every other weekend, otherwise, there are a few a day during the work week). I'd then take them downtown for lunch/dinner, a ton of great restaurants within walking distant (Old English, City Beer Hall, the Hollow, to name a few).

From there, if they are game for heading out doors, a ton of options east (Grafton), west (Vroman's Nose), north (loads around Lake George area), or south (Katterskill Falls).

Take a sunset cruise aboard one of the two boats at Adirondack Charters and Cruises of Saratoga Lake. Don't forget to bring a bottle of wine. Great price and a fun trip.

Do the history thing. Albany has the oldest continuous city charter in the Western hemisphere so take advantage of the 400+ years it has been here. State Capitol tour, walk around the Stockade in Schenectady, take the Underground Railroad tour in Albany, Albany Rural Cemetery, Martin Van Buren's house in Kinderhook, etc.

The NYS History museum has an excellent 9/11 exhibit that leaves most viewers with an emotional impact during the exploration of the exhibit.
The Hudson-Mohawk area is beautiful with waterfalls that are rarely seen except by locals.
The Saratoga and Bennington battlefields are interesting for history buffs.

If you are going to Dutch Apple, be sure to allow about 2 hours to tour the USS Slater, right next to Dutch Apple. Especially if you like history.

The Plaza is where I always start with visitors. Visit the state museum then grab a map for the modern art collection that's on and under the concourse and visit the memorials. Go up to the top of the Corning tower and Do the Capital tour. The Albany institute of History And Art is another great place to visit.

Cider Belly Doughnuts
Albany style cheesecake at Cheesecake Machismo
SPAC/ Proctors/ Palace/ Egg/ TU/ EMPAC/ Troy Music Hall
Captain JP cruise
Capital Pride/ Black & Latino Gay Pride
Glimmerglass Opera
Alive at Five/ Rockin' on the River
First Friday/ Troy Night Out
Jumpin' Jacks, Scotia
Howe's Cavern
Great Escape / Splashwater Kingdom
Saratoga Racetrack / Racino
Rivers Casino, Schenectady
Brunch at Café Madison, Albany
Drive by the Nipper building
Hoffman's Playland at Huck Finn's
Albany Institute of History and Art
Walk/ bike the Corning Preserve
Spectrum 8 Cinema

The Plaza is where I always start with visitors. Visit the state museum then grab a map for the modern art collection that's on and under the concourse and visit the memorials. Go up to the top of the Corning tower and Do the Capital tour. The Albany institute of History And Art is another great place to visit.

A night at the Speakeasy for sure. Dinner somewhere quaint like Lark and Lily, drinks and jazz at Savoy, walk around Washington Park.....City Beer Hall brunch.....drinks or dinner at Wellingtons a must....haircut atand a shave at Patsy's, concert at The Egg..beer at biergarden and ramen noodles at Tanpopo.....five rivers Hike....Indian ladder farm breakfast and coffee and Thacher park hike.....day trip to berkshires Hudson Troy etc.....think I'd give a miss on the "drive by the nipper building".....

Just did this with guests from Sweden to provide a good overview. Indian Ladder Cidery and Brewery will be rockin Memorial Day Saturday post parade as will Smitty's. Thatcher Park and Empire State Plaza/NYS Museum always impressive. I'd throw in a visit to Troy including a downtown architecture stroll and visit to Peck's or Lucas Confectionary, Slidin' Dirty and Hill at Muza.

Surprised no one said Saratoga - congress park, shops, Saratoga spa
State Park.

I would tailor it based on interests and time but if you have the time. Cooperstown is always a great drive. Plenty to do. If you go eat lunch at the Otesaga resort. The view overlooking the lake is awesome. great buffet lunch. very inexpensive as well. and if they like baseball even better. They have a ton going on that weekend.

If you are staying in Albany. Yono's or trying to get a reservation at 518 speakeasy is a different thing after you go walk around the plaza eat Cheesecake Machismo and/or Ciderbelly doughnuts.

There is always Saratoga for shopping and dinner.

Observation deck in Corning tower
Looks like an indoor weekend:
Tang Museum at Skidmore
Rockwell museum
MISCI in Schenectady
Albany Institute of History and Art
MASS MoCA/ Clark Institute
Shaker Village
FASNY Museum of Firefighting
Saratoga Auto/Racing Museum
Empire State Aerosciences Museum
Albany Pine Bush, if the weather clears. Visitor center/mountain biking

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