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Downtown Albany NY for an Afternoon/Evening No Car. Recommendations?

Downtown Albany NY for an Afternoon/Evening No Car. Recommendations?

Old May 22nd, 2011, 12:27 PM
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Downtown Albany NY for an Afternoon/Evening No Car. Recommendations?

Hi there,

It looks like I might be overnighting in Albany in mid-June. I've been through the bus station/train station many a time (give a bit but not much perspective on a place) and I stayed with my cousin in the '90s on two occasions, who was a student at SUNY Albany, but that was more about visiting her. I think we went downtown only very briefly, so I'm looking forward to exploring a bit more.

It's a short stop (I'd be free roughly from 2pm till bedtime, catching a train to NYC the next morning), but I thought I might stroll into the State Capitol (think it's worth going in for a tour?), check out Lark Street and perhaps walk into Washington Park. Any favourite streets (I enjoy looking at homes with character & history) or restaurants you'd particularly recommend? I'd be a solo diner and have a preference for healthy or home-cooking.

Last time I was there I picked up a book on Albany history and it seemed such a bustling, interesting I daresay genteel-seeming place around the turn of the (19th-20th) century. I know it's quieter now, but I think I might enjoy admiring the architecture and relfecting on eras gone by.

Look forward to your thoughts! Daniel
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 12:44 PM
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Will definitely recommend the tour to see the state capitol -- for my taste, this is one of the finest such buildings in the US I've ever seen, and I've been to 29 such places as of now. A must.

There's a nice small art museum, the Albany Institute of History and Art, a few blocks away from the capitol complex that has a good collection of paintings by Hudson River School artists.

The New York State Museum is located at the other end of the capitol complex from the state house. It's good of its kind, but very large -- loads of historical exhibits and such.

There's a nice view from the observation deck of the Corning Tower, which is about in the middle of the capitol complex -- and if you like modernist style art, there's plenty of it free for the viewing within the lower lobby parts of the Corning Tower and in the adjacent underground mall area here. Plus the above-ground plaza has plenty of sculpture from this period.
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 07:29 PM
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Thank you bachslunch for the museum recommendations (enjoying history, I like what you write about the New York State Museum especially) and sounds like I must see the State Capitol!

Best wishes, Daniel
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 10:21 AM
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Where are you staying? As far as restaurants, I like Yono's. It is attached to the Hampton Inn. Usually pretty busy in the bar area (there are tables and a more casual menu in the bar area, more formal dining in the dining room). Other good downtown options include Marche or Jack's. There is also a good Indian place on Central Ave up towards the Lark Street area. Can't recall the name. A walk through Washington Park would be nice as long as its daylight. I wouldn't recommend an evening stroll through it.

A stroll down State Street would also be nice.
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 04:12 PM
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Tom42,

I'm planning on staying at the corner of State & Eagle if that says anything, quite close to the Capitol. Thanks for the restaurant and strolling suggestions!

Best wishes, Daniel
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 05:16 PM
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Daniel,

If you like architecture and design, the capitol definitely is worth a visit. I went on a guided tour (just the guide and me, as it turned out!) which was fascinating. There are public tours (no reservation required) M-F at 10, 12, 2, and 3. Self-guided audiotours are available M-F 9-3 (so it looks like you will have to hustle over there if you arrive around 2 PM).

Corning Tower Observation Deck is open M-F until 4.

I visited the New York State Museum and was not really that impressed by it, but maybe I was just tired. At any rate, you can check out their website at http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/ to see if it is of interest. There is an exhibit (through June 18) on the 1911 Capitol Fire that might be of interest if you tour the capitol first.
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Old Jun 1st, 2011, 07:23 AM
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Thanks Cranachin,

Thanks for the heads-up on the tours. I've decided the Capitol building will be my top priority; as long as the border crossing at Lacolle QC/Champlain NY and traffic is not too bad leaving Montreal, I think I should be able to make one of those later tours. I think that probably won't leave time for much else other than supper, and strolling past historic homes, Lark Street and maybe up to Washington Park. Luckily I'm staying only a block away from the Capitol at State Street Mansion.

Best wishes, Daniel
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Old Jun 21st, 2011, 06:41 AM
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I wanted to thank each of you for the advice in planning my stop in Albany. I really enjoyed my approximately 20 hours in Albany and wish I'd had longer. I've included my trip report if you're interested.

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...-albany-ny.cfm

Best wishes, Daniel
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