Albany Introduction Walking Tour, Albany

Albany Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Albany

Albany is a small city, but with many notably beautiful and interesting places to discover. This tour you will guide you to the most famous places in Albany, where you can learn more about the United States' history, politics, economics, arts and culture.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Albany Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Albany Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Albany (See other walking tours in Albany)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 18
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 Km or 3.7 Miles
Author: Maia
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Empire State Plaza
  • Erastus Corning Tower
  • New York State Museum
  • Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
  • New York State Executive Mansion
  • Schuyler Mansion
  • MVP Arena
  • Albany Union Station
  • First Church in Albany (Reformed)
  • Palace Theatre
  • St. Peter's Episcopal Church
  • Albany City Hall
  • New York State Capitol
  • The Egg
  • The Alfred E. Smith Building
  • Albany Institute of History & Art
  • Washington Avenue Armory
  • Lark Street
Empire State Plaza

1) Empire State Plaza

The Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza (known commonly as the Empire State Plaza, and less formally as the South Mall) is a complex of several state government buildings in downtown Albany. The buildings constituting the plaza include:
the four Agency office buildings, the Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd Tower, The Egg (a theater),
the Cultural Education Center (State Museum, Library, and Archives), the Robert Abrams Building for Law and Justice (known previously as the Justice Building), the Legislative Office Building (LOB) and the Swan Street Building.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Erastus Corning Tower

2) Erastus Corning Tower

The Erastus Corning Tower, also known as the Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd Tower or simply the Corning Tower, is a skyscraper located in downtown Albany. Completed in 1966 and sided with Vermont Pearl marble and glass, the state office building is part of the Empire State Plaza. At 589 feet and 44 stories in height, it is the tallest skyscraper in the state of New York outside of New York City. From 2000 to 2004, it was the tallest structure in the World Almanac's list of "Other Tall Buildings in North American Cities". The Corning Tower houses the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Office of General Services.

An observation deck is located on the Corning Tower's 42nd floor. It offers expansive views of Albany, the Hudson River, and the surrounding area. Panels below the windows give information about the visible landmarks. The observation deck, however, does not feature a 360-degree view because it has no windows on the west side. A nonstop elevator to the 42nd floor reaches a speed of 26 km/h (16 MPH). The deck is open to the public for free Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You can access the observation deck, by the plaza or concourse levels. Upon taking office in 2010, Governor Andrew Cuomo eliminated that photo ID requirement.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
New York State Museum

3) New York State Museum (must see)

The New York State Museum is a huge museum with a lot of educational information for you. It was established in 1836; the current modern building was raised in 1976.

The museum houses art, artifacts (prehistoric and historic), and ecofacts that reflect New York State’s cultural, natural, and geological development. Operated by the New York State Education Department's Office of Cultural Education, it is the nation's oldest and largest state museum. Formerly located in the State Education Building, the museum now occupies the first four floors of the Cultural Education Center. The collections of the New York State Museum include geological samples, paleontology specimens, historic materials, and art.

Their anthropological collections are extensive, and include the collections of several early and well-known anthropologists, including Lewis H. Morgan and Arthur C. Parker. These collections are open to researchers for analysis. The museum has not only unique collections of art works, historic artifacts, documents and constant exhibits, such as: Birds of New York or Ancient Life of New York - A Billion Years of Earth History, but also many different programs, such as a Cultural Resource Survey Program. This museum is a must-see stop.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

4) Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Mother church of the Diocese of Albany, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is a Roman Catholic cathedral founded in 1852 and designed in Gothic style. In 1976 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Designed by Irish American architect Patrick Keely to accommodate Albany's growing population of Catholic immigrants, it is the second-oldest cathedral in the state, after St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. It is also the third oldest Catholic cathedral in the United States, and the first American Catholic cathedral in the Neo-Gothic architectural style. It has two tower spires, which are considered to be a symbol of New York's capital city. Interestingly, they were built at different times: the north one in 1862, the south one in 1888. In 1862, one of the bishops of the cathedral blessed its bells. Inside the cathedral is a crypt that contains six coffins of Howard Hubbard's predecessors. The cathedral was renovated in May 2010 and now is in much better condition.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
New York State Executive Mansion

5) New York State Executive Mansion

The New York State Executive Mansion is the official residence of the Governor of New York. It has housed 31 governors and their families. The Italianate building was constructed in 1856 as a banker's private home. Samuel Tilden became the first governor to reside in the house in 1875 and twenty-nine consecutive governors had used the building on a mostly full-time basis. The mansion is the first governor's residence in the country to earn Gold status using the LEED for Existing Buildings rating system. The Executive Mansion has been the home of three men who became president: Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin Roosevelt.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Schuyler Mansion

6) Schuyler Mansion (must see)

Schuyler Mansion is a historic house. The brick mansion is now a museum and an official National Historic Landmark and was constructed from 1761 to 1762 for Philip Schuyler who resided there from 1763 until his death in 1804.
The house was visited by several notable figures including George Washington and served as a host and prison to British General John Burgoyne for several days after his defeat at the Battle of Saratoga. From 1886 to 1913, the mansion served as an orphanage until the state assumed ownership. It was restored and dedicated as an historic monument on October 17, 1917. It was declared a National Historic Landmark on December 24, 1967. Schuyler called the home "The Pasture" because of the pasture view towards the Hudson River.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
MVP Arena

7) MVP Arena

MVP Arena is an indoor facility that can accommodate between 6,000 and 17,500 people, with a maximum of 15,500 seats available for sporting events. It was designed by Crozier Associates and opened its doors on January 30, 1990, with a performance by Frank Sinatra.

The arena's name has changed over the years due to naming rights agreements. It was Pepsi Arena from 1997 to 2006 and then Times Union Center from January 1, 2007, until October 2021 when the Times Union decided not to renew its naming rights. MVP Health Services took over naming rights, and it became MVP Arena on January 1, 2022. ASM Global manages the facility.

MVP Arena has hosted various events, including the 2000 New York State Democratic Convention, which nominated Hillary Clinton as the U.S. Senate candidate. In 2010, it became the new home for the New Jersey Devils' AHL franchise, leading to facility upgrades. It currently hosts the Siena Saints men's basketball team, Albany Firebirds (starting in 2024), and Albany FireWolves (since late 2021).

The arena has hosted concerts by well-known artists like Metallica, U2, Phish, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, and Celine Dion. It has also been a venue for major sports leagues and exhibition games. In addition, it hosts entertainment events like Monster Jam, Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live, and the Professional Bull Riders premier tour. MVP Arena has played a significant role in Albany's cultural and sporting scene, offering a wide range of entertainment experiences for the community and visitors.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Albany Union Station

8) Albany Union Station

Union Station, also known as Albany Union Station was built during 1899–1900 and it originally served as the city's railroad station but now houses bank offices. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

Perhaps no other building has been so important to the growth of Albany during the twentieth century as Union Station. Its construction was carried out by Norcross Brothers, who were considered to be one of the finest contractors of the period. The station received 96 trains per day in 1900 and 121 per day during World War II. It was the Capital District's main railroad station until December 1968. Built primarily to serve the New York Central's passenger trains, it also hosted the services of the Delaware & Hudson.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
First Church in Albany (Reformed)

9) First Church in Albany (Reformed) (must see)

First Reformed Church in Albany was designed by Philip Hooker and built in 1798. It is a member of the Reformed Church in America and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. The congregation of the First Church in Albany is the second oldest congregation in the state of New York. It was established in 1642 to serve the Dutch inhabitants of Fort Orange, the adjacent village of Beverwyck, and the patronship of Rensselaerswyck in general.

The current church is the fourth building. The pulpit was imported from the Netherlands in 1656 and is the oldest pulpit in the United States. Shortly after being constructed a memorial service was held for Alexander Hamilton here. The name North Dutch Church came about when the Second Reformed Church was built in 1806 and called the South Church. Theodore Roosevelt attended services here while Governor. The First Church has many notable artifacts, including the oldest pulpit and weathercock in the United States, both from 1656. The church also has a large collection of colonial silver and archival records from the 18th century to today.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Palace Theatre

10) Palace Theatre (must see)

The Palace Theatre is an entertainment venue, in downtown Albany. The 2,844 seat theater is owned by the City of Albany and presents various music, drama, film and comedy performances. It is home to the Albany Symphony Orchestra. At its opening, in October 1931, it was the third largest movie theater in the world.
Designed by John Eberson, The Palace is considered an excellent example of the architect's atmospheric theaters. It is a brick and stone steel frame building in two sections with the interior designed and decorated in the Austrian Baroque style. The foyer, between the lobby and main entrance, has red marble staircases decorated in scrollwork, cartouches, and garlands. The heavily decorated ceilings and walls include pilasters rising to complex entablatures, statuary, and arches framing the wall boxes; a Czech made crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling. In 1979 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Nine years later it was declared a contributing property to the Clinton Avenue Historic District.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
St. Peter's Episcopal Church

11) St. Peter's Episcopal Church (must see)

St. Peter's Episcopal Church, also known as St. Peter's Church has had 3 buildings throughout its history. The first was built in 1715-17 and opened to the public by Reverend Thomas Barclay; it was the first Anglican church in New York west of the Hudson River, and north of the city of New York. In 1731 the church was damaged by a fire and a second church was finished in 1803. The third and current church was built in 1860, designed by Richard Upjohn and his son Richard M. Upjohn. The remains of Lord Howe are interred under the vestibule; he is the only British Lord buried in the United States.

The church itself has walls of Schenectady bluestone with trim of New Jersey sandstone. A 20-foot (6.1 m) square tower rises from the southeast corner, with a narrow 180-foot (55 m) octagonal tower on its own southeast carrying a spiral staircase. Decoration on the facades is French Gothic in character. The church's interior is finished in black walnut and includes some original Clayton & Bell stained glass windows and sculpture by Louis Saint-Gaudens. It has a mosaic floor decorated in various religious motifs.
Holy Communion is offered on Sunday and Wednesday mornings. A later Sunday service alternates each week between Communion and Morning Prayer. Sunday school is also held at the same time.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Albany City Hall

12) Albany City Hall (must see)

Albany City Hall is the seat of government of the city of Albany. It houses the office of the mayor, the Common Council chamber, the city and traffic courts, as well as other city services. The current building was designed by Henry Hobson Richardson in his particular Romanesque style and opened in 1883. Critics consider the building to have been designed around the high point of Richardson's career. It is a rectangular, three-and-a-half-story building with a 202-foot tall tower at its southwest corner. The tower contains one of the only municipal carillons in the country. Albany's first city hall was the Stadt Huys, built by the Dutch at the intersection of Broadway and Hudson Avenue probably in the 1660s. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 4, 1972.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
New York State Capitol

13) New York State Capitol (must see)

Built between 1867 and 1899 at a cost of $25 million (worth approximately half a billion current dollars), The New York State Capitol was the most expensive government building of its time. Three teams of architects worked on the design of the Capitol during the 32 years of its construction. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and the following year it was declared a National Historic Landmark.

The Capitol is one of the most remarkable buildings in Albany, also housing the New York State Legislature. The Capitol is also famous for its very expensive interior decorations, most of which are open for the public. The Capitol has outstandingly attractive grounds. The ground floor of the state capitol was built in the Classical/Romanesque style and the next two floors in a Renaissance Classical style. The staircase, worth one million dollars, is the building's top attraction. Other pieces to note are the huge Senate Room, with beautiful woodwork and stained glass decorations, and a beautiful sculpture garden.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
The Egg

14) The Egg (must see)

The Egg is a performing arts venue. Named for the shape it resembles, it was designed by Harrison & Abramovitz as part of the Empire State Plaza project, and built between 1966 and 1978. It is located in the northeast corner of the Plaza.

The Egg has become an icon of New York's Capital District, due to its unusual shape and central location. The Egg is slightly inclined, and has a small pedestal on which it appears to sit. In fact, the building is held by a stem that goes down six stories into the Plaza. Attached to this stem is a concrete girdle that surrounds The Egg, enabling it to retain its shape and transmitting its weight to the pedestal. The Egg houses two amphitheaters, the 450-seat Lewis A. Swyer Theatre and the 982-seat Kitty Carlisle Hart Theatre.

It draws many performing acts to Albany, including music, dance, and traditional stage presentations as varied as Henry Rollins, the Zucchini Brothers, Emmylou Harris, the New York City Ballet, Perú Negro, Demetri Martin, They Might Be Giants, Porcupine Tree and Hot Tuna.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
The Alfred E. Smith Building

15) The Alfred E. Smith Building

The Alfred E. Smith Building, known officially as the Alfred E. Smith State Office Building and sometimes called simply the Smith Building, is a structure located in downtown Albany, across the street from the New York State Capitol and One Commerce Plaza. The Art Deco skyscraper has 34 stories and at 388 feet is Albany's second tallest structure.

Built originally with an observation deck on the 31st floor, the 350-foot-high open-air deck was closed in 1976 when the 589-foot-tall 42nd floor enclosed Corning Tower Observation Deck was opened. Completed in 1928, it houses offices of the New York State government. The Alfred E. Smith Building has several distinctive features. These include the engraving of the names of all 62 New York State counties around the street-level facade and an Art Deco lobby with a mural depicting famous New Yorkers. The skyscraper is constructed of limestone and granite, and offers spectacular views of Albany and the nearby landscape.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Albany Institute of History & Art

16) Albany Institute of History & Art (must see)

This museum was built in 1791 and it is "dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting and promoting interest in the history, art, and culture of Albany and the Upper Hudson Valley region". It houses a unique and enormous collection of art of more than 20,000 objects which belong to different genres like architecture, fashion, photography and many historical artifacts, and include 1600 paintings, 1100 drawings, 4000 prints, 600 sculptures, 500 pieces of furniture, 1200 ceramics, 4000 pieces of clothing and accessories, and 5450 other historical artifacts.

Its library collections house 140,000 printed volumes and 85,000 photographs. To supplement its permanent exhibits, the institute hosts a number of traveling exhibitions yearly. There are permanent exhibits like 19th Century American Sculpture, Ancient Egypt and many more. Moreover, it has a gift shop, where you can buy something special for your friends and family.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Washington Avenue Armory

17) Washington Avenue Armory

The Washington Avenue Armory, officially known as the Washington Avenue Armory Sports and Convention Arena, is a multipurpose arena. It was the home of the Albany Legends of the International Basketball League. As well, it was the home of the Albany Patroons basketball teams of the Continental Basketball Association and United States Basketball League. The Armory has a capacity of 4,300 for concerts and conventions and 3,600 for sports events.

It was built in 1890 for the Tenth Battalion of the New York National Guard, designed by state architect Isaac Perry. The Armory has 38,000 square feet of floor space, meeting facilities, and two video screens. Jay Baron is the Armory's general manager. The Armory was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 2, 1995. The Armory is currently the home of the Albany All Stars Roller Derby, the Capital Region's original all girl Roller Derby. The history of the church goes back to 1704, when Queen Anne founded a "chapel of the Onondagas" to bring missionaries.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Lark Street

18) Lark Street

Lark Street is a historic street in Albany. It is the site of many independently owned shops, coffee houses, restaurants, art galleries, antique shops, marketing agencies, bars and tattoo shops. Shoppers can find here contemporary art, antiques, jewelry, vintage clothing, flowers, books and wine. Lark Street and Jay Street was used as a location during the filming of Ironweed. The Washington Avenue Armory is located at the corner of Lark Street and Washington Avenue.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

Walking Tours in Albany, New York

Create Your Own Walk in Albany

Create Your Own Walk in Albany

Creating your own self-guided walk in Albany is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Albany Museums and Galleries Tour

Albany Museums and Galleries Tour

Albany is a city with a variety of cultural places such as museums and galleries. Visits to some of the city's interesting places, like the New York State Museum and Albany Institute of History & Art, should be part of your travel plans. Take our tour to find the best places and learn more about Albany!

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.4 Km or 3.4 Miles