Empire State Plaza - In The Heart Of Albany
Visit the Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza (ESP)! Located in the heart of downtown Albany, New York, the Plaza is a 98-acre complex of several state government buildings and convention centers. Built between 1965 and 1978, the Plaza is a spectacular capital center for visitors, state employees, and locals alike. Enjoy fountains, pools, an observation deck, year-round events, a museum, farmers' market, parks, shops, theaters, fine art, and much more.
- General Information
- Tour Empire State Plaza
- State Capitol Building
- Plaza Art Collection
- The Egg
- Corning Tower
- New York State Museum
- NYS Executive Mansion
- Year-Round Fun
Hours: Plaza & Concourse: 6am-11pm Daily
(Corning Tower: Open Monday-Friday, 7:00am-6:00pm)
Phone: (518) 474-2418 (The Empire State Plaza Information Office)
Parking: Limited paid parking is available at the Plaza or close by during weekday business hours. On-street parking is limited, but several parking garages are available.
From The North - Take Interstate 87 (the Adirondack Northway) to the Interstate 90 East exit. Continue east to Interstate 787. Take the Empire Plaza exit.
From the South - Take New York State Thruway (Interstate 87) to Exit 23. Go straight through the Toll Booth to Interstate 787 and take Empire Plaza exit.
From the East - Take Interstate 90 and cross the Hudson River. Take exit to Interstate 787 South, along the river. Take the Empire Plaza exit.
From the West - Take the Interstate 90 to Exit 24 (Albany). Proceed east on Interstate 90 to Interstate 787 South, along the Hudson River. Take Empire Plaza Exit.
Take a Tour of Empire State Plaza
Looking for something fun to do in the Capital City? Spend the day exploring the Plaza! Head to the Empire State Plaza Visitor Center in the North Concourse and learn the history of the Plaza and former Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller. Discover the unique architectural styles. View the ESP Art Collection and visit the Plaza Memorials, including the New York State Vietnam Memorial.
Tour Hours: Take a self-guided tour during open hours, or join a guided public tour on Fridays at 12pm from August 21 - October 23, 2020.
Cost: Free! (Reservations are required and tours are limited to 10 people)
Phone: 518-474-2418 for additional information about Plaza Tours.
Step Inside the New York State Capitol
Editor's Note 9/28/20: Due to concerns regarding COVID-19, visitors are prohibited from entering the Capitol until further notice. The information below reflects the pre-COVID tour schedule and protocol.
Take a self-guided tour between 7am and 7pm, or join a scheduled guided tour. Walk-in tours are available Monday-Friday for individuals and groups with less than 10 persons. Tours are available on Saturdays by reservation only. Reserved tours are also available M-F for groups of ten to 45. (2 weeks advanced reservation required. Call 518-474-2418 to book a tour.) All tours begin at the State Street Lobby of Capitol Building, except for Saturday tours, which set off from the Washington Ave entrance.
Public Tour Hours: Monday-Friday: 10am, 12 pm, 2pm, 3pm
Visit the Plaza Art Collection
Discover 92 paintings, tapestries and sculptures located in the ESP concourse, buildings, and outdoor areas. Said to be "the most important State collection of modern art in the country" by Glenn D. Lowry (Director at the Museum of Modern Art) the Plaza Art Collection is definitely worth seeing!
Hours: Monday-Friday, 7am-6pm
Tours: Fridays at 11am (except on holidays); reservations are required
Catch a Performance at The Egg
Located within the Empire State Plaza, The Egg's unique sculptural curves define Albany's skyline. The Egg houses two theatres, the Kitty Carlisle Hart Theatre and the intimate Lewis A. Swyer Theatre, both offering superb lighting and acoustics. Enjoy comfortable seating and convenient parking. Comedy, dance, music, film, theatre, and family events can all be seen at The Egg.
Box Office: (518) 473-1845
Administrative Office: (518) 473-1061
See the Sights From the Corning Tower Observation Deck
Open to the public, the Corning Tower boasts the best view of Albany! Head to the 42nd floor for spectacular views of Albany, ESP, Hudson River Valley, the Port of Albany, foothills of the Adirondacks, Catskills, and the Berkshires. Bring your ID! In order to gain access to the observation deck, you need to present photo identification at the Corning Tower Security Station. Anyone under 16 must be an accompanied by an adult with photo ID. Quick Fact: Made of glass and marble, the magnificent 42-story Corning Tower is the tallest building in New York State! (outside of New York City)
Observation Deck Hours: 10am- 4pm* Monday-Friday (Closed weekends and holidays) (last check in 3:45pm)
Corning Tower Hours: 7am-6pm daily
* hours subject to change without notice.
Learn at the New York State Museum
Editor's Note 9/28/20: Due to concerns regarding COVID-19, the New York State Museum remains temporarily closed at this time.
View countless and ever-changing exhibitions and collections at the New York State Museum. Dedicated to promoting knowledge in geology, anthropology, biology, and history, the museum is also a research location with dozens of scientists and historians directing projects.
Hours: 9:30am-5pm (Tuesday - Sunday, closed Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day)
Cost: Free! (Donations are accepted)
Phone: (518) 474-5877
Where: Cultural Education Center (Madison Avenue, across the Plaza from the State Capitol Building)
Walk Through The Historic New York State Executive Mansion
Since 1875, The New York State Executive Mansion has been home to the state's governors and their families. The mansion can be found in Downtown Albany on Eagle Street. Tours are available for individuals and groups by appointment only. Please Note: if you would like to take a tour, it is required to make a reservation at least 2 weeks in advance and photo identification is required for all adults.
Tour Hours: Thursdays, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm (closed July and August)
Phone for Tour Reservations: (518) 474-2418
Enjoy Year-Round Fun
Visit the Empire State Plaza all year long to enjoy the many events, concerts, craft shows, and food festivals that are held there. Stop by during the warm weather months for "Summer at the Plaza," where you can enjoy a myriad of concerts and gatherings. You can also check out the outdoors Farmers' Market from May through October.
In the winter, the Farmers' Market moves inside the concourse for year-round shopping. You might also want to bring your ice skates when you visit in the winter -- one of the reflecting pools is converted into an ice skating rink!
If you need to grab a bite to eat during your trip to Empire State Plaza, the concourse has an array of cafeterias and eateries from which to choose. Insider Tip: Food trucks can also be found in the park area adjacent to the Plaza -- they serve lunch on weekdays from mid spring to early fall.