Albany, New York, is not just the capital of the state; it is also a city packed with family friendly activities and attractions that will keep both kids and parents entertained for hours on end. Whether you are a resident or only visiting Albany for a day, this vibrant city has plenty to offer families of all sizes. Get ready to enjoy a perfect day out with the family in Albany.
A family friendly day in Albany can start first thing in the morning for early risers. Start with a hearty breakfast that will energize the whole family for the rest of the morning before moving on to an educational experience at the New York State Museum to embark on a fun itinerary.
Breakfast at Local Cafe
Whether your family is one that believes breakfast is the most delicious meal of the day or you are more of a “grab what you can” group, a trip to Albany is the perfect time to take a breath and enjoy a leisurely morning meal at one of Albany’s celebrated restaurants. Tasty options include:
- Iron Gate Cafe: Located less than a half mile from the Capitol building, the Iron Gate Cafe menu includes classic breakfast dishes like scrambles and omelets as well as eggs benedict, pancakes, and French toast, plus coffees and juices for everyone.
- Mr. D’s Restaurant: In the Crowne Plaza Hotel near Albany International Airport, Mr. D’s restaurant features a full breakfast and brunch menu with mimosas, oatmeal, bagels, breakfast sandwiches, and more.
- Dan’s Place Two: For a classic diner feel about a mile from the New York State Capitol visit local favorite Dan’s Place Two. Burgers, eggs, and a welcoming greasy spoon vibe combine to create a great place to start a day in Albany.
New York State Museum
Albany’s status as the capital of New York is certainly a draw for many visitors. It’s also the longest continuously chartered city in the entire United States. Get a taste of the historical significance of the city at the New York State Museum on Madison Avenue. The museum contains permanent exhibits that cover everything from paleontology to Native American ethnography to New York state history as well as temporary exhibits that change regularly. Kids and adults of all ages can find something to keep them captivated at this museum.
If your family spends little time on breakfast or quickly powers through the New York State Museum, Albany offers plenty of midday options for a family to enjoy.
Children’s Museum of Science and Technology (CMOST)
Younger kids who may be less intrigued by the exhibits at the New York State Museum will certainly find what they are looking for at the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology (CMOST). Located just a short drive from Albany in Saratoga Springs, this children’s museum is one of the most popular kid things to do in Albany, NY. It features plenty of hands-on play and learning opportunities for kids ages two to ten. Visitors can check the museum website for a list of special events, as well, including puppet shows, story time, and STEM events.
Lunch with Farm-to-Table Dining
Great dining in Albany certainly does not stop with breakfast. Visitors who want to explore the rich agricultural history of the Hudson Valley can stop in for lunch at one of the area’s farm-to-table restaurants, including:
- Josie’s Table: Located outside of downtown Albany near University at Albany, Josie’s Table started as a tribute to the chef’s mother, Josée, and remains dedicated to serving dishes crafted from local, organic, and seasonal ingredients. Josie’s Table is open for lunch Monday through Saturday with a Sunday brunch service, as well.
- The Hollow Bar + Kitchen: With a combination of traditional pub fare and vegetarian friendly options like salads and veggie sandwiches, the Hollow Bar + Kitchen in downtown Albany has plenty of tasty treats for the whole family, including a full bar and cocktail program for the grown-ups.
- Sunhee’s Farm and Kitchen: For something a bit outside the typical farm-to-table box, consider a visit to Troy to enjoy New York’s Sunhee’s Farm and Kitchen. Traditional Korean dishes like scallion pancakes, kimchi, and bibimbap use ingredients sourced from the restaurant’s own farm in Cambridge, NY.
Families who still have time and energy after eating a delicious local lunch may want to explore plenty of other activities in Albany, NY.
Albany Pine Bush Preserve
Spending time outside is a great way to avoid the afternoon doldrums. Albany Pine Bush Preserve is a 3,350-acre preserve located approximately 10 miles outside of downtown Albany. Visitors to the preserve can engage in a variety of outdoor activities and educational experiences, including hiking, bird watching, and nature photography. Be sure to stop in at the Discovery Center to learn more about the local wildlife and history of the region.
Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center
The Hudson River Valley has a rich history that dates back long before the establishment of the United States. The Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center, also known as the Discover Albany Visitors Center, is located in Quackenbush Square in downtown Albany. Both locals and tourists can visit to ask questions, view maps, and plan exciting family outings using the resources available at the visitors’ center, which is housed in the historic Quackenbush House, originally built in the 1730s and considered the oldest building in Albany.
Evening Excitement with Albany FireWolves Lacrosse
One of the best ways to spend a family friendly evening in Albany is at an Albany FireWolves Lacrosse game. The FireWolves are a professional lacrosse team that plays in the National Lacrosse League.
Dinner Near the Stadium
Depending on game time, families can grab a bite before or after the game at one of the many restaurants near MVP Arena, including:
- Olde English Pub & Pantry: In the same historic building as the Discover Albany Visitors Center, the Olde English Pub & Pantry serves British classics like sausage rolls, shepherd’s pie, and fish and chips.
- DP American Brasserie: With an imaginative seasonal menu that runs the gamut from burger and cheese plates to charred octopus and caviar, this establishment may not seem ideal for guests with kids, but it’s an upscale downtown Albany restaurant that offers a kids’ menu for visitors 10 and under.
- Wizard Burger: Even non-vegans appreciate the fun atmosphere and delicious burgers, fries, and burritos at Wizard Burger in downtown Albany.
Game Time at MVP Arena
FireWolves home games take place at MVP Arena in downtown Albany and are fun and accessible for the whole family. The FireWolves play in the National Lacrosse League which features the best lacrosse players in the world scoring highlight reel goals, making big hits, and energizing the crowd all game long. Adults can stop in at the Albany Stadium Restaurant for pregame drinks and food, while kids can enjoy play time before the first whistle at the FireWolves Kid Zone. Once inside the arena, dozens of concession stands line the concourse and offer a variety of snacks and drinks during game play. From avid lacrosse fans to total newbies, the FireWolves environment is welcoming, full of energy, and fun for all.
Other Family Friendly Things to Do in Albany, NY
Put simply, there is far too much to do in Albany to see everything in just one day. Visiting families can always pick and choose the outings that appeal to them the most, but it’s far better to consider sticking around for a long weekend to soak in all the great food, history, architecture, and scenery that the Hudson Valley and Capital Region have to offer.
Empire State Plaza
Empire State Plaza is a large complex in Albany, New York, that serves as the seat of government for the state. It is situated near the New York State Capitol and is a major landmark in the city. The plaza was constructed between 1965 and 1978 under the administration of Governor Nelson Rockefeller. In addition to its functionality as a government complex, Empire State Plaza is also a cultural and architectural landmark in Albany that reflects the mid-20th-century modernist architectural style. An important part of the city’s history and identity, the plaza is often used for public events, festivals, and gatherings and is a great place to explore with kids.
Albany Riverfront Park
During nice weather, taking a stroll in Albany Riverfront Park is another great option for families visiting the Capital Region. This public park is located along the Hudson River in Albany, New York and offers recreational amenities, green spaces, and scenic views of the river. Visitors can enjoy walking and jogging trails, fishing, picnic areas, playgrounds, and local wildlife.
Huck Finn’s Playland
Open from May to October, Huck Finn’s Playland is an amusement park located a short five-minute drive outside of downtown Albany. It is a family friendly entertainment venue that offers a variety of rides, attractions, and games for visitors of all ages. The park is named after the fictional character Huckleberry Finn from Mark Twain’s classic novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Whether your family visits for a week, a weekend, or just a day, plenty of forms of entertainment are available to satisfy them all in Albany. Just don’t forget to take the time to visit MVP Arena for an Albany FireWolves home game. Albany FireWolves single game tickets are available to families throughout the season online through the Albany FireWolves ticket center.