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8 Fun Things to Do in Albany That Are Off the Beaten Path

If you're searching for different, cool things to do in the Albany, NY area, then look no further! From scenic attractions to museums and historic sites, we've rounded up 8 fun activities that are off the beaten path and worth a visit.

1) Cohoes Falls

a large flowing waterfall and riverPhoto Credit: SaratogaPhotographer.com

You might not think of waterfalls when Cohoes comes to mind, but guess what? You can check out the gorgeous Cohoes Falls from two different parks: Cohoes Falls Overlook Park and Falls View Park. Cohoes Falls Overlook Park is located at the corner of School Street and Cataract Street off North Mohawk Street, and Falls View Park is a renovated park you can get to from a footbridge over the power canals from North Mohawk Street.

Insider tip: You can order up some of the delicious ice cream at LePage's Market on North Mohawk Street and ask to go up the stairs where there is a balcony that overlooks the falls.

2) Corning Tower Observation Deck

a large building tower

Editor's Note (9/24/2020): Out of an abundance of caution, the Corning Tower Observation Deck has been closed to visitors. We will update this section when there are changes.

You've probably seen the Corning Tower in Albany's Empire State Plaza, located by The Egg, but did you know you could go up to the top, for free? That's right - you can check out views of Albany from the 42nd floor! This is the tallest building in New York State outside of New York City, completely dominating the skyline. Use the elevator on the Plaza level of the Corning Tower to make your way up. The observation deck is open Monday through Friday, 10am to 4pm, although hours are subject to change without notice - call ahead to 518.474.2418.

3) Underground Railroad Education Center at The Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence

exterior of a brick building

A house in Albany stands as an artifact of anti-slavery and the Underground Railroad period: The Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence at 194 Livingston Avenue. Stephen and Harriet Myers were the prime people in Albany involved with the Underground Railroad in the 1850s. The Underground Railroad Education Center is an organization of members and volunteers who often have activities and programs going on that you can check out and participate in. Tours of The Myers Residence and The Myers Residence Campus are available for a small admission fee.

4) Historic Albany Foundation's Architectural Parts Warehouse

historic parts, lamps, and glasses in a warehouse

Owned and operated by the Historic Albany Foundation, the Architecural Parts Warehouse in Albany is an architectural salvage warehouse featuring hard to find, period appropriate parts and other house fixtures. Visit the warehouse and discover donated salvage and unique pieces to purchase.

5) Central Park Rose Garden

large fountain and rose garden

Schenectady's Central Park has a hidden gem of a rose garden that includes 4,000 rose bushes, a tiered center fountain, a babbling brook, and a pond. Visit the garden during June to October and enjoy an infinite number of vibrantly colored roses. You can access the park from the entrance on Wright Avenue and Central Parkway.

6) Delmar Community Orchestra

back view of an orchestra

Editor's Note (9/24/2020): Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Delmar Community Orchestra concerts are currently on hold. We will provide updates as they are announced.

Love classical music but can't afford the symphony? The Delmar Community Orchestra offers performances at a pay-what-you-will price. This group is a community-based, nonprofit organization dedicated to the sharing and enjoying of music. Follow them on Facebook to see where they're next performing.

7) Empire State Aerosciences Museum

small model airplanes

This museum in Glenville is dedicated to aviation education, particularly as it relates to New York State. Here you can check out fragile aircraft, detailed models, historical artifacts, photographic displays, and hands-on exhibits. There is also an "Airpark" outside with a large collection of aircraft.

8) Peebles Island State Park

flowing waterway and small falls

This unique state park is on a literal island in between Cohoes and Waterford, surrounded by the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers. You can see amazing river and waterfall views, enjoy great picnicking and fishing spots, or simply take a hike around the island. Peebles Island is also home to the headquarters of the Bureau of Historic Sites and the Bureau of Historic Preservation Field Services.

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