25 Things You Need To Know About Albany Before You Move ThereHead to the Capital District of Albany—where the odds will most definitely be in your favor.
1. Albany Is As American As Apple Pie
Source: Discover Albany FacebookThe list of what makes Albany so great could go on forever. But it’s the hard-working, salt-of-the earth people, the families, the culture, the community, and the dedication to preserving heritage and history that really stands out. It’s no wonder Albany won the All American City award in 1991 and 2009.
2. Hockey Is Kind Of A Big Deal
Source: Albany Devils FacebookYou’re in Upstate New York. Of course hockey is a big deal. But now the city of Albany gets their very own pro team – the Albany Devils. They joined the American Hockey League in 2010 as the top affiliate to the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. Join in on the fun and catch a game at the Times Union Center.
3. ValleyCats, Ho!
Source: Albany, NY – Albany.com FacebookWait, that was the call for the Thundercats. Well, it pertains to the ValleyCats, too, and even more so since they’re, you know, real. (Sorry, Thundercat lovers.) This minor league baseball team plays home games at the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy, but the beauty of being in the Tri-City is that it makes them an Albany team, too. Catch them while they’re hot – the Valleycats were the New York-Penn League champions in 2010 and 2013.
4. You’ll Be In The Capital District
Source: rpi.eduDon’t worry, it’s nothing like the Hunger Games. Locally, Albany is part of the Tri-City area which also includes the cities of Troy and Schenectady. The Capital District region encompasses the Tri-City region as well as the surrounding areas of Clifton Park, Glenmont, East Greenbush and out towards Mohawk. Western New Yorkers are WNY proud, Central New Yorkers are CNY proud–you can now consider yourself Capital District proud.
5. Albany’s Capitol Building Puts Yours To Shame
Source: WikipediaThe Empire State Plaza is essentially the hub of all things government related for the state and quite an impressive one, at that. Albany is the capital after all, so it deserves a fitting crown. The 98 acres of buildings includes the Capitol and State Museum. This is where the business gets done, so expect to see a lot of suits, especially during business hours. It’s great for a tour and surprisingly won’t put you to sleep.
6. It’s Always Harvest Time In Albany
Source: Honest Weight Food Co-Op FacebookThe Capital Region is overflowing with farmer’s markets and grocers who buy from them, many of which are located within the limits of Albany. The city takes great pride in making sure that the freshest produce from local farmers and families is readily available. Check out the Honest Weight Food Co-Op grocery store, too, which is sort of like a localized, community-strong version of Whole Foods, without having to give up your whole paycheck. Look for them at the region’s annual Harvest Fest.
7. SUNY Is The Only University You Need To Know
Source: University At Albany – SUNY FacebookThe State University of New York, known better as SUNY, is one of the largest and most impressive systems of universities, colleges and community colleges in the country with nearly half a million students enrolled. There are campuses across the state, but Albany knows theirs is the best. Okay, every region thinks their campus is the best. But this is Albany. Of course it’s the best.
8. The Waterways Are Waiting For You
Source: Albany, NY – Albany.com FacebookThe Hudson River, Mohawk River and the Erie Canal Locks create an experience for anyone looking to escape the concrete for the day. You can hit the water on a narrated cruise or a party boat, go canoeing, kayaking, rowing, and even tubing, creating the perfect New York summer fun.
9. Americans Can Thank Albany For Christmas
Source: Discover Albany FacebookThe first celebration of the feast of St. Nicholas along with the first mentions of Santa Claus in America, although not proven, can be traced back to Albany. Santa Claus is believed to have first been mentioned in the States in the Van Rensselaer papers in the State Education Department collection of historic transcripts. Albany continues to come to life during the holidays with Deck The Halls celebrations, holiday plays and performances, and a city that is lit up like a … well, a Christmas tree.
10. You Don’t Know Fish Fry Until You’ve Had Albany Fish Fry
Source: Ted’s Fish Fry FacebookSpeaking of food in Albany, you should at the very least be prepared for one of the most deceivingly delicious sandwiches of your life. It might not look like much – well, actually it looks like a whole lot – but don’t let its rough exterior fool you. Albany’s famous fish fry sandwich is legend for a reason. Head to Ted’s Fish Fry to check out on out for yourself.
11. Cheesecake Heaven Is Right Here In Albany
Source: Cheesecake Machismo FacebookCalling this cheesecake the best cheesecake you’ll ever have really doesn’t do it justice. The Cheesecake here at Cheesecake Machismo could, quite frankly, end wars. It also makes you say the word cheesecake more times in one sentence than you probably should, but it’s cheesecake so who cares? The world needs more cheesecake. Especially from Machismo.
12. Come For Coffee And An Open Mic
Source: Hudson River Coffee House FacebookSometimes a cup of coffee and an open mic night are all that you need. And that’s exactly what you get at the Hudson River Coffee House. It’s a venue that defines what coffee houses promised us they would be when the craze began and what all others wish they could be. With a hipster-retro vibe in an unassuming spot and, of course, great coffee selections, Hudson River Coffee House will be your new go-to spot.
13. Melba Sauce: The Universal Condiment
Source: Flickr user Casey BisonOne more thing you should probably know about cuisine etiquette in Albany has to do with Melba sauce. It’s a delicious raspberry sauce that is so good, you could probably just make a (very sweet) meal of its own out of it. But the unique part comes in what it’s used for. Although Melba sauce is usually used to garnish sweets and pastries, here in Albany, they dip their mozzarella sticks in it. Sometimes their sweet potato fries, too. Don’t shoot the messenger and don’t knock it ‘til you try it.
14. Music Lovers Pack Pearl Ave.
Source: Downtown Albany, NY FacebookA mini-scale Lalapalooza, PearlPalooza packs the streets with music lovers from all over the region every September. With live bands from all around the region gracing the stage, food and alcohol vendors, and free admission, this event gets loud in the best way possible.
15. You Can Find Amazing History Around Every Corner
Source: Albanycvb.blogspot.comFind the historic marker that stands at the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center preserving Lincoln’s speech on the Capitol steps, the same place where he lay in state during his funeral train following his assassination. There is also some strange but true history of Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth being in close proximity to each other in Albany in 1861 and more crazy coincidences of the assassination that lead back to the Tri City area, all ready for you to learn about here.
16. Winter Doesn’t Ever Get Boring Here
Source: Albany, NY – Albany.com FacebookI’m sure I don’t have to mention that winter time in Albany can get a little nippy. But one of the things New York State has always been good at is turning the perils of harsh winters into something fun. Ice skate at the Empire Skate Plaza, play a game of ice hockey, go sledding and snow tubing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing—all right at your fingertips. Just keep your gloves on.
17. Not To Mention Some Awesome Architecture
Source: Flickr user Jimmy Emerson, DVMDowntown Albany is home to four centuries of truly awesome architecture that not many cities have been able to preserve. The Capitol and City Hall are both stunning sights, but even the houses in neighborhoods like Helderberg and Arbor Hil bear a signature look that can often resemble something out of an American-style Norman Rockwell painting.
18. And A World Of Tulips
Source: Albany, NY – Albany.com FacebookFor over 65 years, visitors from all across the state and beyond have packed Washingon Park in Albany in spring for the annual Tulip Festival. Celebrating Dutch heritage with an amazing 140 varieties of 211,000 tulips, fine art shows, crafts, gardening exhibits, food vendors and more, the Tulip Festival rings in Mother’s Day weekend in a most memorable way.
19. Albany Is Proud Of Everyone
Source: Albany, NY – Albany.com FacebookCome as you are, be who you want to be, whoever you are. Albany welcomes everyone with open arms. Mid-town has the most open and diverse population, with a trendy vibe and eclectic mix of residents, unique shops, night clubs, and bars. The increased gentrification in recent years has many people comparing the neighborhood to New York City’s Greenwich Village.
20. Albany: Where Governors Become Presidents
Source: WikipediaAs the capital of New York State, Albany is home to four New York Governors who eventually went on to be elected as Vice President of the United States: Daniel D. Thompkins, Levi P. Morton, Theodore Roosevelt, and Nelson A. Rockefeller. Four Governors also went on to become President of the United States, including Grover Cleveland, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Martin Van Buren, and Theodore Roosevelt.
21. The Fresh Food Doesn’t End At The Markets
Source: Albany, NY – Albany.com FacebookAlbany is also home to a really great restaurant scene. Farm to table, Indonesian, burgers, Brazilian, barbecue, Caribbean, pizza – the dining world in the city is your proverbial oyster. And yes, they’ve got those, too. The only problem you’ll have concerning dinner plans here is making a decision on where you want to go.
22. Albany’s Cuisine Is So Good, They Made A Festival For It
Source: Albany Wine and Dine for the Arts Festival FacebookWhen you want to sample a little bit of everything the city has to offer and get tipsy while doing it, don’t miss the Albany Chefs’ Food & Wine Festival. This highly-anticipated annual event comes around every January where you can stuff your face, sip away at various wines, and watch cooking demonstrations and seminars by the area’s best chefs with your friends. Topped off with the Chef’s Grand Gala Dinner and Reception, this festival is one you won’t want to miss. But definitely do wear elastic-waisted pants.
23. Get Your Theater Fix At The Palace
Source: Discover Albany FacebookBack when the Palace Theatre’s doors opened, it was the third-largest movie house in the world. It continues to be a premier location for movies and live performance shows for Albany, bringing such acts as Jerry Seinfeld, the American Idiot Broadway show, and Bruce Springsteen to the city.
24. Homemade Chocolates? Yes, Please
Source: Krause’s Homemade Candy FacebookHershey? Meh. Godiva? They’re good, I guess. Willy Wonka? Please. None of these places can hold a candle to Krause’s Homemade Candy, a household name throughout Albany for their amazing, chocolate-y artisan creations. And you’ve got them right here in town.
25. Albany’s Dull? That’s News To Albany
Source: Albany, NY – Albany.com FacebookSome of the other regions around New York would have you believe that Albany is a dull area if you let them. But those people have clearly never been here. One visit during the Capital District Scottish Games would easily change their minds. No one feels dull while wearing a kilt. What do you love about living in Albany? Leave a comment and let us know!
Zip Codes and Neighborhoods in Albany, NY
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