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Albany, the capital city of New York in the northeast of the United States, charmingly sits on the banks of the Hudson River and stands as one of the oldest cities in the country. Both historical structures and modern skyscrapers, including sites like the Empire State Plaza and the Romanesque-style Albany City Hall, dominate the skyline of this enchanting destination. In addition, tourists will be enthralled by the surrounding region, known as Capital District. It contains dozens of spectacular towns and state parks worth exploring by car.
Who to Book With
Several car hire firms are located within the downtown area and outer suburbs of Albany. These include internationally-recognised suppliers, such as Enterprise, Hertz, Budget, Thrifty and Avis. It is recommended for tourists to book car rental online prior to reaching Albany. This will save a lot of time and minimise hassles.
Best time to go
When it comes to tourism, Albany should be visited between the months of May and September. Warm temperatures, averaging in the low 20s, greet visitors during these months. Precipitation in Albany remains relatively stable throughout the year, but winter snowfall does make travel around the city somewhat challenging, especially when behind the wheel.
Need to Know Essentials
When renting a car in Albany, the following documents are required:
- A national drivers license
- Another form of photographic identification
- A valid credit card
- Confirmation sheet from the time of booking
Even though parking can be difficult to find at times, Albany’s traffic is relatively light and driving is usually hassle-free. The roads are easy to navigate and generally in good condition. However, during the winter season, high snowfall and black ice are significant hazards for motorists. If travelling around by car in the winter, tourists are advised to drive with extreme caution.
Most of Albany’s main attractions are within walking distance of each other, so navigating the inner city is possible by foot. However, there are other forms of transportation available for tourists. The relatively light traffic means that rental car is popular. A sufficient bus network and taxi service provides convenient transport for visitors and locals. The train network ceased to operate in Albany after Union Station was closed.
Several taxi cab companies operate within the city of Albany. Taxis can be hailed off the street or pre-booked over the telephone. Fares are not metered in Albany. Instead, they are calculated by zones. For journeys within the city centre, tourists will find taxis to be relatively inexpensive. However, trips into the Capital Region that surrounds Albany will incur higher costs. If booking taxis over the phone, it is best to ask for a price quote. Capitaland Taxi and Yellow Cab serve Albany and the greater Capital District region.
Albany is served by the Capital District Transportation Authority bus network. This public bus system plies the downtown area and reaches smaller towns outside Albany proper. Tickets can be purchased for one-way travel or as day passes. The network runs between 6:00 and midnight Monday to Friday, but becomes much more limited on Saturdays and Sundays. Towns like Troy and Schenectady are connected to Albany via the city’s public bus network.
Albany is awash in brilliant architectural marvels. However, the city is also a fantastic base for exploring the Capital District and other magnificent landmarks in the nearby area. From the sheer beauty of Cohoes Fallls to the peaceful tranquility of Thacher State Park, daytrips from Albany with car hire opens the surrounding landscape for all to see.
Troy - A smaller town located about 15 miles to the north of Albany. Similar to the New York state capital, Troy boasts an impressive amount of colonial architecture and even a beautiful waterfall known as Poesten Kill. Even though public buses from Albany travel to Troy, driving is still the most common way to reach the town.
Saratoga Springs - This is not to be missed. This elegant little town is only 40 miles north of Albany, so can be reached by motorists in less than 45 minutes. Aside from the nationally-famous horseracing events, Saratoga Springs is home to mineral baths, a state park, numerous museums and several golf links.
The Baseball Hall of Fame - This is one of North America’s most renowned sporting landmarks. It is located in the town of Cooperstown, just 60 miles west of Albany. It is largely believed that baseball originated in the town, which is why the sport’s historical heart is situated here. After the Hall of Fame has been explored, fill in the day with the Farmer’s Museum or the Fenimore Art Gallery.
Thacher State Park - This is the ideal spot if you want to spend an entire day surrounded by nature. The state park is nestled to the southwest of Albany, and when driving, can be reached in 20 minutes. Several famous hiking trails, including Indian Ladder Trail and Paint Mine Trail, provide spectacular walking opportunities for outdoor lovers. Great views of Albany and the Capital District, not to mention eye-catching wildlife, are the highlights here.