What to do in Albany on a weekday in January.
December 19, 2013 9:16 AM   Subscribe

I have to take a crash solo trip to Albany, NY in mid-January for a (very short) business meeting on a Wednesday morning and another meeting the next day. I will be staying in a hotel near the SUNY campus, and my meetings are downtown. I'm looking for suggestions of things to do afterwards on Wednesday, as I will have the whole day and evening to kill, as well as a bit of time on Thursday morning. I will not have a car or bike, but am perfectly happy to walk sizable distances or take public transit, and though I plan on dressing appropriately for the weather, I'd prefer activities that involve at least some amount of indoor time, are open on a weekday, and are on the cheaper end. Suggestions on places to eat are also welcome! Oh, and though I have driven through it, I have never actually been there before. Thanks!
posted by likeatoaster to Travel & Transportation around Albany, NY (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Wolff's Biergarten to eat and drink. Or the Olde English. Same owner. Good food.

Pine Bush Preserve. You'll be cold. It will still be pretty.

Albany Institute of History & Art.

The Gem Floor of the NYS Museum. There are better in this world. There are none that hold a dearer place in my 6 year-old heart.

Tours of the Capital. They are actually really good-- my sister was a Capital Tourguide for years.

El Mariachi-- More eats.

Walk up and down and around Lark Street, go into Washington Park, stop at The Daily Grind for coffee.

Corning Tower Observation Deck.

Let me think a bit more.
posted by oflinkey at 9:31 AM on December 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Ice Skating at the Empire State Plaza.
posted by oflinkey at 9:33 AM on December 19, 2013

One more, one more, sorry mods....

New World Bistro Bar. Chef Ric Orlando won Chopped and nearly won Chopped Champions. No idea if that means anything to anyone, but he was sort of a riot on the show. Alex Guarnaschelli clearly hated him.
posted by oflinkey at 9:41 AM on December 19, 2013

I second Ice Skating at the Empire Plaza and a trip to the top of the Corning Tower, although double check their hours because they are reduced in winter - I think they are open til 3 pm on weekdays.

The New York State Museum is huge and free and open.
posted by mai at 9:59 AM on December 19, 2013

Response by poster: Thank you so much for the suggestions! I am particularly excited about the Pine Bush Preserve, and will probably also check out one of the museums.
posted by likeatoaster at 10:23 AM on December 19, 2013

I generally second oflinkey's suggestions! If you have any questions about public transportation, please let me know. I'm a regular CDTA rider and am familiar with a lot of the routes. Indeed, I'd be happy to do a test run of anything you're thinking of doing if I'm not familiar with it--I have time and enjoy bus adventures!

Most of these suggestions are very walkable from downtown. One caveat: while, if your hotel is near the uptown SUNY campus, you may actually be pretty close to the Pine Bush Preserve (which is indeed lovely!) in terms of distance, to the best of my knowledge none of the roads surrounding it have sidewalks or are otherwise particularly walkable. This is also something I can look into, though.

Also, the Empire State Plaza skating rink, while it is open 11 am-8 pm, only gets zambonied once (at 3 p.m., if I recall) so either 11-1 (the earlier, the better) or after the zamboni break are the best times to skate for ice quality--the ice gets very scuffed up in the later hours.
posted by beryllium at 10:57 AM on December 19, 2013

Oflinkey's got you covered. Capriccio's also great eats. New World Bistro (fantastic) is just a short walk from the Spectrum if you find yourself in the mood for a movie, they usually run something a little more interesting than just the latest blockbusters.
posted by mrgoat at 1:28 PM on December 19, 2013

Get the East Utica Greens at Delmonico's Italian Steakhouse. And the One Pound Lasagna.
posted by Wet Spot at 5:47 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

You will be pretty close to Stuyvesant Plaza at your hotel - The Book House is a lovely bookstore that I highly recommend. It's an Albany institution.
posted by imalaowai at 9:06 PM on December 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

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