New York’s state capital, Albany is considered a fundamental area for business and trading. With the landscape dotted by numerous state government buildings, the economy in this area is largely controlled by government activities. Albany is also emerging as a technology center, and Forbes Magazine placed Albany 34th on their list of “Best Places for Business” In 2005.
The narrowed streets and remarkable architecture speak volumes of Albany’s Dutch heritage. As one of the oldest cities in the USA, Albany attracts tourists who enjoy historic buildings, theaters and museums.
Commonly referred to as the Capital District, Albany is closely tied with the surrounding counties of Schenectady, Troy and Saratoga Springs. The bulk of the capital region is known as the Metropolitian Statistical Area, or MSA, and makes up the fourth largest urban area in the state of New York.
Albany lies approximately 150 miles north of New York City, and is lined by the Hudson River. The city’s population was estimated to be 93,539 in 2008.
Every Mother’s Day weekend Albany hosts its annual Tulip Festival in Washington Park. The Park blossoms into a sea of color with the blooming of over 210,000 tulips in more than 140 varieties. This highly anticipated spring event celebrates Albany’s Dutch heritage and begins every year in true Dutch tradition when, as in the Netherlands, the streets are scrubbed prior to a celebration. During a fun-filled weekend in late fall, Albany hosts the annual Pride of New York Harvest Festival at the Empire State Plaza. Crowds come prepared to sample fine quality food, wine and beer from New York growers and producers.
Albany and the Capital Region have much to offer in theatre, music, dance, and visual arts. Music ranges from a Times Union Center rock concert to a symphony orchestra performance at the Palace Theatre, while stage performances include ballet at the Egg and live theatre at the Capital Rep. The works of internationally acclaimed painters, sculptors and photographers are showcased in museums and galleries throughout the area. The Albany Institute of History and Art, founded in 1791, is one of the oldest museums in the country, and there’s always a new exhibit at Albany Center Gallery.
Albany and the Capital Region have an abundance of fine retail stores, small boutique shops, major department stores and specialty gift shops. Shoppers have a choice of settings from the eclectic Lark Street Neighborhood known as the “Village in the City” to the major retail meccas of Crossgates Mall and Colonie Center. Reminiscent of yesteryear community markets, Stuyvesant Plaza offers a plethora of boutiques, whimsical shops and name brand stores.
With great sports facilities and events, four seasons of recreational activities and beautiful parks and gardens, the Capital Region is the place for adventure. Spectators and participants alike can have their fill of everything from boating to skiing, hiking to snowshoeing, and basketball to football. Nature at its finest is waiting to be experienced in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, one of the largest of only about 20 other inland, Pine Barren ecosystems in the world. A hike through John Boyd Thacker State Park provides marvelous views from the Helderberg Escarpment. Spectators will love watching the Albany Devils in an exciting hockey game, or cheering on players at a collegiate basketball game.
Many tours explore Albany and the Capital Region’s history, heritage, art, architecture and landscape. Choices include a self-guided walk, bike, or trolley tour through downtown Albany; a picturesque cruise on the majestic Hudson River; an adventure through the Erie Canal Locks on a canal boat; or splashing around with Albany’s own Aqua Ducks.
Casual or formal, suburban variety or country inn, Albany has the ideal culinary experience for everyone. Popular choices include sampling the spices of Indonesia at Yono’s, indulging in the delicacies of France at La Serre, savoring fine fare from the land and ocean at Jack’s Oyster House, delighting in the sizzle of an exceptional entrée at Angelo’s 677 Prime, or experiencing the zest of the south at Bayou Café. Albany celebrates its 1609 founding twice a year with Restaurant Week, and the Albany Chefs’ Food and Wine Festival held annually in January is a “can’t miss” event.
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