Celebrate the Holidays in the Capital Region

Albany is a winter wonderland waiting for you to explore


Albany, NY – From skating at Empire State Plaza to strolling through Capital Holiday Lights in the Park, there is something for everyone to enjoy in the Capital Region this Holiday Season.

Noteworthy for Family Travel

Glory in the grandeur of the lighting of the official New York State Holiday Tree, December 3, at the Empire State Plaza Tree Lighting and Fireworks Display. Taste of NY Holiday Market at New York State Museum is the same day. This is a full day of fun holiday-themed events that’s sure to get you in the holiday spirit!


Winter Events

•              Capital Holiday Lights in the Park, November 25, 2017-January 3, 2018. See 125 light displays in Albany’s historic Washington Park and enjoy a holiday marketplace in the Washington Park Lakehouse.

•              Magic of Christmas, December 3, 2017. Festive carols and sparkling holiday favorites led by Music Director, David Alan Miller. Of course, the program culminates with a very special visit from Santa Claus himself.

•              Great Train Extravaganza 2017, December 3, 2017. 200+ tables of model trains, train sets, parts, accessories, scenery items, books, videos, DVDs, prints, railroad memorabilia.

•              Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker, December 6, 2017. The biggest Christmas experience of the year! The original, direct from Russia, Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker! “Knock Out!” Raves the New York Times. Enchant the whole family with larger than life magical props, a 60-foot growing Christmas tree and spectacular Russian-made costumes and sets.

•              Albany Last Run 5K, December 9, 2017. A great race for all ages, featuring a beautiful course through the Capital Holiday Lights in Washington Park and a spectacular firework show!

•              Schuyler Mansion “Salutations of the Season,” January 6, 2018, 4-7pm. An evening of merriment for everyone! Special Twelfth Night festivities will highlight the holiday season as it may have been celebrated by the Schuyler family in the 18th century. Come and revel in the holiday traditions of Albany's past with live music, bonfires, traditional fare and wassail toasts! Then cross the river where the celebration continues at Crailo!

•              Albany Chef’s Food and Wine Festival, Wine & Dine for the Arts, January 11-13, 2018. Three days of innovative chefs’ skills on display with tastings, competitions, and celebrations. Event culminates in a six-course dinner.


Winter Getaway/Winter Activities

•              Ice-skate at Empire State Plaza Ice Rink, open from early December to March. Skate across the ice, with view to New York State Capitol, Empire State Plaza, and iconic Egg. $4 adults/$3 for kids

•              Explore the beautiful trails of Thacher Park on snowshoes. These trails offer panoramic views of the wintry countryside, and you can rent shoes for just $5 at the Emma Treadwell Nature Center, right in Thacher Park no date/time info  

•              Holiday shop at Stuyvesant Plaza, home to many independent boutiques and high-end retailers, and while you’re there, grab lunch at Peaches Café, with a full menu of freshly made sandwiches, salads, and pastries. On Sunday, they serve delicious brunch.

•              Oooohh and ahhhh over Capital Holiday Lights in the Park, the must-see-it-to-believe-it, annual holiday lights display at beautiful Washington Park. Hot chocolate and snacks served in the Lakehouse. Vehicle fee $20.

•              Enjoy lunch or dinner at the Albany Pump Station. Home of the area’s oldest brewery, CH Evans Brewing Company, this restaurant also offers a full kids menu, with lots of room to relax in.

•              Enjoy breakfast or lunch at Grandma’s Pies & Restaurant, from World Famous Cream of Turkey Soup to 46 varieties of homemade pies, this restaurant couldn’t be homier on a cold winter day.

•              For the naturalists, check out Albany Pine Bush. This science and education center, set in the midst of one of the few remaining inland pine barrens, offers a full calendar of kid-friendly nature talks, demonstrations, and hikes. $5 family.

•              Head indoors to explore STEM with hands-on activities and learning opportunities at the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology! $5 per person.


New performances for Winter

•              “She Loves Me,” November 24-December 24, Capital Repertory Theatre.

This confection of a musical is based on the timeless story by Miklos Laszlo that also served as inspiration for the classic film The Shop Around the Corner and more recently You've Got Mail. Fall in love this holiday season alongside Amalia and George, the feuding store clerks, who find solace in their secret lonely-hearts pen pals.  Little do they know, they are actually writing to each other! A tangle of mistaken identity and hilarious encounters finally bring these soulmates together with a tuneful and witty score celebrated with numerous Tony, Olivier and Drama Desk Awards. 

•              “Paris Time: World Premiere,” Friday, January 26 – Sunday Feb 18, Capital Repertory Theatre.

A gripping and sophisticated drama that looks behind the headlines at anti-Semitism in today’s France.  When Deborah, the wife of a successful American executive based in Paris, becomes an activist defending a young Jewish Frenchwoman, Charles gets caught in the corporate hot seat.  Company policy demands him to withdraw from the political limelight or lose his career, but if he won’t get involved, he may lose his marriage.


About Discover Albany
The Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc. was established in 1976 to promote the civic and commercial progress of the community through increased development of conventions and tourism. Today, Discover Albany represents more than 300 member businesses and assists each year in hundreds of regional meetings. Discover Albany also operates the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center, Henry Hudson Planetarium, and the Albany International Airport Information Center. For more information, call 518-434-1217 or 800-258-3582 or visit www.albany.org.