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5 Hidden Gems In And Near Albany, NY

There is plenty to do in the Capital City, but those who want an adventure outside the box should check out these 5 hidden gems. Perfect for a day trip with your friends or family, these locations boast unique experiences just begging to be explored!

5 hidden gems in and near Albany worth checking out!

Albany Pine Bush Preserve - Albany, NY

karner blue butterfly resting on a hand

The Karner Blue Butterfly at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. Photo courtesy of the Pine Bush Preserve.

The Pine Bush Preserve, only a short drive from Albany's downtown, is a peaceful retreat from the noise and activity of downtown. This fascinating and rare preserve is one of just 20 similar ecosystems in the world. The Pine Bush Preserve is over 3,200 acres with more than 10 miles of trails. The preserve's extraordinary sand dunes helped secure its place as a National Natural Landmark, and this singular ecosystem is home to 1,500 plants and animals, including the endangered Karner blue butterfly. Next time you're looking for something to do in Albany, make sure you head out to the Pine Bush Preserve to visit their Discovery Center, learn about conservation, or hike their stunning nature trails!

The Arts Center of the Capital Region - Troy, NY

Close up of hands molding clay on a wheel

The Arts Center in Troy is a true gem, and just across the river from downtown Albany. Presenting favorite events like the Collar City Craft Fest, classes, camps, and exhibits meant to truly engage visitors in the creative experience, The Arts Center of the Capital Region is a great place to try your hand at spinning pottery or take in an exhibition of local art.

State Education Building - Albany, NY

New York State Education Building

Located at 89 Washington Avenue in downtown Albany, the State Education Building recently reopened to the public for tours. The building, dating back to the early 1900s, was designed by Henry Hornbostel, a renowned architect from New York City. Tours of the building were originally offered until the State Museum and Library moved in the 1970s. Come see the historic Chancellors Hall, Regents Room and Rotunda on Saturdays at 12:30pm or 2:30pm. Tours are free, however, reservations are required.

Howe Caverns - Howes Cave, NY

underground waterfall in Howe Cavern

Just a short drive south of the city, Howe Caverns Adventure Park is a fun destination for the whole family! You can choose from several different tour experiences to explore the living limestone cave carved by a natural underground river, including a traditional tour, lantern tour, adventure tour, and even a signature rock tour that will take you through areas of the cave not explored in over 100 years (until recently)! If exploring natural caves isn't your thing, you can also try gem and fossile mining or the ropes course and zip lines at Howe High Adventure!

Mountain Ridge Adventure - Glenville, NY

boy crossing furniture treetop ropes course

This zip line and treetop challenge course is only 30 minutes from Albany and a ton of fun for kids of all ages. As you make your way across a bridge of suspended furniture or test your mettle on the zip line over a 500-ft gorge, you'll discover your own hidden depths and have the time of your life at Mountain Ridge Adventure!

Now that you've crossed these Capital Region hidden gems off your list, discover more awesome things to do in Albany »»