While the hoards are climbing over one another to find standing room at Rockefeller Center, you and your family could be enjoying real winter fun just north in Albany, the state capital of New York. More cost-effective and laidback than the Big Apple, here are five things you can enjoy during your winter visit.
- The Empire State Plaza.
On the surface, this is a collection of government buildings. But the Plaza, located near TownePlace Suites Albany, offers budget-friendly winter fun for families in the form of ice skating. You can skate completely free at the open-air rink. Don’t have your own blades? Rentals are available and really quite cheap, at less than five bucks per pair.
The Empire State Plaza also features a cultural center with information booths dotted about that can help you make other plans. Many concerts and festivals take place in the area, which brings us neatly to the next attraction you and your family can visit.
- The New York State Museum.
If you’re visiting with kids, rest assured that they won’t be bored to tears at the New York State Museum. Admission is free, although small donations are recommended. It has other kid-friend features like a Discovery Place, free carousel rides, a Sesame Street exhibit, and much more.
The museum offers the best in archaeological exhibits, Native American education, paleontology, geology, biology, and more. Art-loving adults will be wowed by the works featured in the museum’s collection by artists such as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko.
- The Crossgates Mall.
There’s a lot more to see and do than merely shop at Crossgates Mall. On top of more than 250 stores and an 18-screen IMAX theater, visitors can go bowling, dancing, or visit Spa Mirbeau. Visit Santa Land, the comedy club, or have a few adult beverages at the best-loved pub, World of Beer. Hungry? Where you’re in the mood for Cajun, Brazilian, Japanese, or some good old pizza, it can be found at Crossgates.
- Hit the slopes!
You won’t have to travel far from your suite to get good snow, as the greater Albany area features many opportunities for the ultimate in winter fun. For instance, Maple Ski Ridge is a great resort for beginners with a variety of packages and lessons for little ones. If you’re not into snowboarding or skiing, anyone in the family will love to careen down the slopes in a giant rubber inner tube.
More serious skiers will love Albany’s proximity to the Catskill and Adirondack mountain ranges, where winter sports are a way of life for many.
- The Times Union Center.
Speaking of sports, hockey fans will want to catch a game at the Times Union Center. Food, beverages, and theme nights keep this place packed. If your family doesn’t want to give hockey a chance, check the schedule and explore ticket availability for many other great events hosted here. Monster truck rallies, concerts, Disney on Ice, professional wrestling, and much more schedule a stop at this 17,500-seat arena.
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