Albany County is merry and bright during the holiday season. From Cohoes, to the City of Albany, to Altamont, Albany County is aglow with glittering holiday trees and festive light displays. You won't want to miss these special holiday events at historic sites, scenic parks, and top attractions. Scroll on for your guide to the 2021 holiday season in Albany County.
November 20 to December 23
Wintertime Wonderland, one of the largest indoor holiday light displays in the Capital Region, returns to Latham for its second year. Stroll through an immersive and illuminated North Pole complete with a frosty ice maze and life-sized gingerbread house. Venture to Santa's Workshop to whisper your Christmas wishes to Santa! This must-visit attraction is an immersive way to experience the magic of the season, without the chilly weather! Plus, the event supports several non-profit charities including Make-A-Wish, Toys for Tots, Willow's Warriors, and Hey You 3.
Capital Holiday Lights in the Park
November 26 to January 2
Capital Holiday Lights in the Park's 25th anniversary season will be the last time it is held in Albany's historic Washington Park. The festive drive-through experience features over 125 whimsical light displays depicting iconic holiday symbols such as trees, nutcrackers and menorahs. Experience Washington Park illuminated with a dazzling display of brilliant lights and holiday cheer from Friday, November 26 to Sunday, January 2. Tickets MUST be purchased online in advance.
City of Cohoes Tree Lighting Ceremony
The City of Cohoes will be merry and bright during the Tree Lighting Special Event Ceremony in Silliman Park on Saturday, November 27. Enjoy free fun for the whole family with music, food, gifts, and even a visit from Santa! Get in on the excitement earlier in the day with Small Business Souper Saturday on Remsen Street. For $10 per person, participate in the Soup Stroll while squeezing in some holiday shopping at small businesses and local vendors.
November 27 to December 19
Christmas Land, tucked in Altamont, is a destination for old-fashioned Christmas cheer and nostalgia. Enjoy a ride on an enchanting horse drawn sleigh, pose for photos with Santa Claus and take a spin on Frankie the Christmas Land Train! The holiday attraction will be buzzing with cheerful holiday tunes and aglow with light displays. There are even festive crafts for kids including Christmas cookie decorating and ornament decorating.
Ten Broeck Mansion Holiday House Tours
December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18 & 19
Ten Broeck Mansion is dressed in holiday style with sparkling lights, illuminated trees and bright garlands! Sign up for a Holiday House Tour to admire the historic mansion's halls and parlors trimmed with festive holiday decorations. Kids will love the "Indoor Forest" and "Round the World" activities and the free take-home ornament kits. Purchase hand-decorated wreaths from local artisans and garden clubs or pick up a holiday gift from the museum shop. Tours available by advance registration only on Saturdays and Sundays from December 4 to December 19. Meet "Sinterklaas," the Dutch St. Nicholas, on the mansion's decorated porch for free on Sunday, December 12.
Santa Speedo Sprint
Break out your Santa suits (speedos not required) for the 16th annual Santa Speedo Sprint! Presented by the Albany Society for the Advancement of Philanthropy (ASAP), in association with the Albany All-Stars and the Hellions of Troy, the event proceeds benefit the Albany Damien Center and the HIV/AIDS program at Albany Medical Center. The Lark Street Business Improvement District's 4th annual Chili Chowder Stroll will occur in conjunction with the festive run on Saturday, December 4. Warm up with $2 chili, chowder, and soup cups from local restaurants while cheering on the Santa Speedo Sprint participants!
Downtown Albany will be extra holly and jolly on December 5. New York State's Holiday Tree Lighting, presented by Highmark Blue Shield of Northeastern New York, is at the Empire State Plaza from 1:00 PM to 8:00 PM! The afternoon festivities include ice skating demos by the Hudson Mohawk Figure Skating Club and live music. Cornerstone at the Plaza's "Snow Globe" will have a warming area, holiday concessions and specialty beverages and there will be photo opportunities with Santa Claus on the patio. Once night falls, enjoy the magic of the season with the official ceremony, tree lighting and a spectacular fireworks display at 5:15 PM. The evening will be capped off with a rock-and-skate with Skeeter Creek. Don't forget to pop into the Great Train Extravaganza at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Pruyn House Holiday Photo Opportunity
Searching for the perfect spot for a holiday photo with your friends and family? Make an appointment on Saturday, December 11 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Pruyn House! Pose in front of the historic Pruyn House (decked out for the season), an 1800’s old-fashioned sleigh and Santa & Mrs. Claus for a totally holiday-card-worthy photo. Each child will also receive a free Holiday Craft kit! Plus, The Fort Orange Garden Club will be having a Greens Sale in the Schoolhouse and the Blue Creek Garden Club will be having their Holiday Sale in the House basement from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM.Call 518-783-1435, ext. 1564 to reserve your spot. Cost is $25 per group. Credits are not accepted, so it is cash or check only.
Downtown Albany Hot Chocolate Stroll
The second Downtown Albany Hot Chocolate Stroll is on Saturday, December 11 from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM! Presented by the Downtown Albany BID, purchase a ticket to receive a passport to sip and savor gourmet beverages from participating locations including The Excelsior Pub, Palace Theatre, Olde English Pub and more. Cast your vote to determine which spot takes home the Hot Chocolate Stroll trophy! While strolling the streets of downtown Albany, pop by the special Fort Orange General Store outdoor market at Broadway & Beaver Street and stop by B. Lodge & Co. for a holiday photo-op, store coupons and candy canes to go with your hot chocolate. Purchase tickets online in advance (each ticket purchase will also include an exclusive Downtown Albany x Upstate of Mind hot chocolate mug designed by CompasLife!)
Mark your calendars for Altamont's Festival Lights on Sunday, December 19! Experience the magic of a small town Christmas celebration with outdoor festivities, food trucks, tree decorating and even a pet parade! Make sure to stick around for a car parade through the historic village, led by Santa on a firetruck!