Did you know that Albany is home to the invention of perforated toilet paper? We’re not quite sure what happened before that. It must have previously been one long roll and you just tear it and waste more than needed. Yes, that means next time you’re wiping your a$$, be grateful for this city’s inclusion in the original 13 colonies when this area was settled in the late 1600’s.
Capital of the State
In 1797, Albany became New York’s state capital and created its own government system that still functions much like it did back then albeit serious improvements in technology and no more white wigs on peoples’ heads. This area was originally a fur trading post named “Beverwijck” by the Dutch, but was then conquered by the English who rebranded it as Albany. Thank god for that! That last name was a weird one to pronounce.
Dead Bodies in Washington Park
The beautiful Washington Park plays host to numerous events in Albany these days such as the Tulip Festival, annual walkathon, and multiple rock concerts. But, back in the 1800’s, it was used as a cemetery that held more than 30,000 bodies. In mid-1840, everyone that was buried in Washington Park was removed and transferred to a Albany Rural Cemetery instead.
Gender Distribution Leans Toward Women
Most cities are an even split of males and females. Albany tips the scales toward one side, with 52% women. For guys, that means the odds are more in your favor if you stick around the state capital. It also helps to know that the population is nearly 100,000 people. That’s a lot of options! Better start swiping.
Albany Doesn’t Have Many Famous People
Despite a reasonable population size, Albany doesn’t have many famous people. Jimmy Fallon, host of the Tonight Show is the most well-known celebrity we’ve got. He went to college at Saint Rose and started his showed shortly thereafter. Fallon broadcasts from the Rockefeller Center in New York City, a short 3 hour drive south of the capital.
Albany is the flourishing capital of New York. Every year, it attracts thousands of visitors from across the country for its historical importance and interesting attractions, many of which are based around culture. Albany’s population is roughly 98,000 people, who live in the 518 area-code, not far from the Hudson River. Below are Albany’s top attractions that people love to visit.
New York State Museum
Location: 222 Madison Ave, Albany, NY 12230
The New York State Museum, located in the Empire State Plaza, was established on April 15, 1836 under the direction of Governor William Marcy at the state’s first official collection of arts, science, history, and cultural works. It’s the largest museum in the United States with more than 100,000 square feet of exhibits, which the museum staff update periodically to reflect different topics. It’s a hub of cultural and historical significance, holding a plethora of invaluable artifacts some of which are hundreds of years old. Daily, the museum welcomes visitors from local elementary schools around the capital who want to see some of the 16 million specimens on display.
New York State Capitol
The New York State Capitol is a historical landmark and the home of New York’s government seat since the 1880’s. The building was developed in the 19th century over the course of 32 years by 5 architects, using the latest in architectural designs (at the time). Visitors can take guided tours through the large building after a mandatory security check at the front door. Inside the Capitol, you’ll find high ceilings, impressive acoustics, hundreds of stairs, and countless structures with ornate details. Brace yourself because the walk from the street to the front door is a hike that people have called the “million-dollar staircase.”
1 Quay St, Albany, NY 12202
The USS Slater is the last remaining destroyer escort ship from World War II. During the war, 563 of these ships battled the Nazi’s in the Atlantic Ocean, safeguarding American soldiers. Year later, the destroyer escorts aided in protecting the United States Navy from the Japanese invasion at Pearl Harbor. The USS Slater is the last remaining destroyer escort in the US, and it’s currently docked on the Hudson River in Albany, New York. Over the years, the ship has been heavily restored to serve as a floating museum and historical icon. The USS Slater now serves as a historical landmark, hosting guided tours, overnight camping excursions, and naval reunions, with the help of local volunteers.
Times Union Center
Location: 51 S Pearl St, Albany, NY 12207
The Times Union Center is Albany’s top indoor arena, built by Beltrone/MLB for $69.4 million. The arena opened its doors in 1990, originally called the “Knickerbocker Arena”. One year later, the name was changed to the “Pepsi Arena”. The regional newspaper, the Times Union, purchased the naming rights for the building in 2006 and renamed it the “Times Union Center”, which it remains today. The arena holds up to 15,500 people during sporting events and includes 25 luxury suites that are typically sold-out. It’s centrally located in Albany around hundreds of bars and restaurants, such as the Pearl Street Pub. The Times Union Center is home to the Siena Saints MAAC basketball team and the Albany Empire Arena Football team. It also hosts an array of events from sports to concert series.
Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site
The Schuyler mansion state historic site is a Georgian style manor that was built for Revolutionary War General Philip Schuyler starting in 1761. The 18th century estate features Georgian architecture, and many of the General’s furniture, art, paintings, and personal belongings. General Schuyler used this building as his primary residence and the location for political and military strategy meetings with one of the United States’ Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton. This building is a national landmark that has been turned restored and turned into a museum. Tours are given during the hours of 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Wednesday through Sunday.
Washington Park is a 136-acre plot of land that serves as the location for numerous city-wide events throughout the year. With a clean lake, sports fields, playgrounds, and endless greenery, the park is a great place for a casual stroll. Washington Park is also the host of popular annual events, such as Dad Fest, a celebration of fathers, and the Albany Tulip Festival, which attracts more than one hundred local artisans who sell their handmade crafts and home-cooked foods. The event features more than 140,000 tulips and live entertainment from famous musicians and bands of today.
Location: 1 Crossgates Mall Rd, Albany, NY 12203
Crossgates Mall is Albany’s premier shopping and dining location, offering a huge array of more than 180 retailers, a large food court, more than 20 restaurants, and a newly renovated movie theater, Regal Cinemas with IMAX. Crossgates Mall is easily accessible by bus or by car via I-87 and I-90. This bustling shopping center features famous brands like Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, JC Penney’s, Macy’s, and many more. Kids can enjoy the arcade area, tucked behind the food court. Adults come to the mall for the sports bar Dave & Busters, where they can enjoy happy hour, watch live sports with other Albany locals, host parties, and even try some virtual reality gaming.
Albany Pine Bush Preserve
The Albany Pine Bush Preserve is a 3,200-acre nature preserve that protects more than 1,500 plant and animal species, some of which have been classified as endangered by the Federal government. The grounds offer 18 miles of walking trails through sand dunes, a national bird conservation area, and natural gardens. This one-of-a-kind ecosystem is protected by paid staff and several volunteers who focus on environmental education and research. The Albany Pine Bush Preserve is frequently visited by classrooms of students who are learning about biology. The discovery center building contains interactive exhibits that are perfect for expanding young minds.
Albany, New York is an interesting location that blends history, culture, and environmental significance. Next time you’re traveling in New York State, visit the capital and check out some of the top 8 attractions Albany has to offer. In addition, please support Albany’s local businesses.