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Albany offers something for everyone. The lively capital city of New York State is full of surprises. For the sports enthusiast, there are hockey, football, and basketball at the Pepsi Arena. For those who prefer something quieter, there are many museums and historic buildings to tour. Visitors have several options. Guided tours by trolley, on foot, and even by horse drawn-carriage travel through Albany's neighborhoods, providing information about attractions and historic sites.
Explorer Henry Hudson discovered Albany in 1609 while he was seeking a shorter route to the Far East. Soon after, in 1624, Dutch merchants settled there to bring furs from the north and ship them to Europe. Albany still serves under its original charter, which dates back to July 22, 1686. In 1797 it became the Capital of the State of New York.
Albany’s vast Empire State Plaza covers 98 acres. This state office complex took 13 years to build. The Plaza features striking architecture and the world’s largest collection of modern art not housed in a museum. At the end of the super sleek structure is the Capitol building, which was 30 years in the making. The State Capitol sits atop one of the seven hills that fashion the city's landscape. Begun in 1867, construction continued until 1897 when Governor Frank S. Black declared the building finished, ending one of the longest running public works projects up to that time.
Albany’s downtown is thriving, due in large part to the more than $30 million renovation that was undertaken to make the city more appealing. Power lines were replaced and buried underground beneath the 300-year-old streets; new trees were planted; period lampposts replaced with modern illumination; and vintage cobbled sidewalks were built.
A pedestrian bridge spanning the interstate and dubbed the Hudson River Way, allows visitors to enjoy the scenic Hudson River banks once more. Paintings on 30 lampposts along the bridge depict memorable aspects of Albany’s past. The paintings have passersby doing double takes. Trompe l’oeil, a 16th-century painting technique that means, “tricks the eye,” does just that. The paintings appear to be the actual objects depicted, not just artistically rendered images.
Albany is the home of the New York State Museum, the largest state museum in the country.
With three and a half acres of exhibits and no admission charge, the museum is an inexpensive and fascinating way to spend an afternoon.
Albany offers days and nights filled with a wide variety of attractions for people of all ages to experience and enjoy.