Have a case of the winter blues? Embrace the chill and discover Albany County this winter! Explore outdoor destinations, support small businesses, and much more. Scroll on for a few ideas for your Albany County winter bucket list.  

1. Book a Nine Pin Cider Private Campfire

Gather with friends and family around a private wood campfire at Nine Pin Cider! Evergreens and twinkle lights transformed the outdoor seating area into an urban escape. Enjoy crispy hard cider and pizza next to a cozy campfire in Albany’s Warehouse District all winter long. Call 518-281-5745 or email cara@ninepincider.com to book. Advanced reservations required. 

2. Adventure at John Boyd Thacher State Park

John Boyd Thacher State Park is a top destination to explore during all four seasons. During the winter, marvel at frozen waterfalls and venture through snow-covered forests. Cross-country ski, snowshoe, hike, mountain bike and snowmobile on designated trails. Interested in ice fishing? Thompson's Lake, nestled within Thacher Park, is a go-to spot for ice fishing! Plus, the nearby Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center offers snowshoe rentals.

3. Ice Skate at the Empire State Plaza Ice Rink

Skate into fun at the Empire State Plaza Ice Rink! This quintessential winter activity is a must-add to your Albany winter bucket list. Glide across the ice and admire the stunning architecture of the New York State Capitol and Empire State Plaza. The ice rink is open Tuesday through Sunday, weather permitting. Skate rentals are $4 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under. There are free skate rentals every Saturday thanks to Hannaford!  

4. Explore the Pine Hollow Arboretum 

Winter adventures await at the Pine Hollow Arboretum! Located in Slingerlands, the arboretum is a winter wonderland. Time your visit after a snowfall to search for animal tracks along the trails. The grounds are open dawn to dusk, 365 days per year.  

5. Tune into the Artful Albany Podcast

Bundle up and explore the streets of downtown Albany with the Artful Albany podcast. Each podcast episode is a self-guided walking tour. Episodes feature #CapitalWalls mural artist interviews and historical fun facts about downtown Albany. You can tune in from anywhere, but it is best experienced from the downtown Albany streets!  

The Artful Albany podcast is presented by Discover Albany, Downtown Albany BID and Albany Center Gallery.

6. Warm Up with a Local Craft Beverage

Warm up from the inside out with Albany's craft beverage producers this winter. Visit Albany Distilling, Nine Pin Cider, or Fort Orange Brewing in the Warehouse District. Make a meal out of it at Druthers or CH Evans Brewing at the Albany Pump Station. Don't forget to get your 2021-2022 Capital Craft Beverage Trail Passports stamped! 

7. Pick Up What's Poppin for an At-Home Movie Night

Amp up your at-home movie night with some local flair! Swing by What's Poppin' to pick up locally-made gourmet popcorn. Choose from a variety of flavors such as cheddar hot, caramel, kettle, "moo-vee" theater butter and more. Bring it home to enjoy during your at-home movie night! Looking for suggestions on what to watch? Tune into a TV show or movie filmed in Albany

8. Explore the Albany Pine Bush Preserve

Brave the cold for an exploration at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve! It is one of only twenty inland pine barrens left in the world. Cross-country ski or snowshoe on the preserve's gently rolling sand-dunes. If there is no snow, take a brisk hike on over 20 miles of multi-use trails. Don't forget to view the 2021 Pine Bush Perspectives juried photo exhibit. Admire the photos along the Discovery Center’s outdoor entrance path. The 3,300-acre preserve is open year round, 24/7.   

9. Visit an Albany Museum or Historic Site 

Winter is the perfect time of year to check a museum or historic site off of your Albany bucket list. Wander the halls of the New York State Museum to learn something new about the Empire State. Head to the Albany Institute of History & Art to view a stunning collection of Hudson River School paintings. Visit a stop on the Underground Railroad at the Stephen & Harriet Myers Residence, operated by the Underground Railroad Education Center. Swing by the Irish American Heritage Museum to learn about the contributions of the Irish people and their culture in America. 

10. Attend a Lark Hall Winter Market

Have you visited Lark Hall yet? The historic performing arts, event and community venue opened in 2020. If you haven't visited yet, the monthly Winter Market is a great opportunity! The market has over 20 local markers, farmers and food vendors set up in the performing arts venue. Grab a brunch beverage at the bar and enjoy live musical performances from local artists!  The next market is on February 6.