Albany at a Glance
Location: Upstate New York along the historic Hudson River
Access: Albany International Airport, Amtrak’s Albany-Rensselaer Station, interstates 90 and 87
Hotel Rooms: 7,000
Albany Capital Center
Exhibit Space: 52,000 square feet
Other Meeting Spaces: 7 total rooms
Guest Rooms: 209
Meeting Space: 8,000 square feet
Crowne Plaza Albany – The Desmond Albany
Guest Rooms: 322
Meeting Space: 24,000 square feet
Guest Rooms: 356
Meeting Space: 28,000 square feet
Who’s Meeting in Albany
NYS Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus
U.S. Figure Skating, Synchronized Skating Eastern Regionals
NYS Brewers Association Annual Craft Brewers Conference
Albany, New York, is a meetings destination 400 years in the making.
In recent years, Albany’s bustling downtown along the Hudson River and its booming, uptown tech corridor have spurred the growth of hotels, restaurants and venues. But more than four centuries of history remain evident in its architecture, attractions and landmark businesses.
The Erie Canal officially began in Albany, and the recently completed Empire State Trail parallels the canal route. In 1780, at the home that is now the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, Alexander Hamilton wed Eliza Schuyler, the daughter of a wealthy and prominent New York family. Interest in Hamilton’s ties to Albany was reignited with the Broadway hit musical “Hamilton.”
Albany’s Dutch roots intermingle with its English heritage. The city’s oldest buildings harken to the Dutch era, especially at Quackenbush Square. As the city evolved, English architecture became more prevalent.
“The oldest operational building in Albany is The Olde English Pub that’s next door to our visitors center,” said Jay Cloutier, director of sales for Discover Albany. “It has a beautiful garden and specializes in English food and beer with indoor and outdoor seating.”
Outstanding cultural attractions include world-class museums. The New York State Museum showcases pioneers in numerous scientific disciplines, displaying more than 16 million specimens, objects and artifacts. The Albany Institute of History and Art, founded in 1791, is the oldest museum in New York and the second oldest in the nation. Built in 1931, the ornate, 2,800-seat Palace Theatre is home to the Albany Symphony Orchestra, ballet, concerts, Broadway productions and more.
The Capital Complex and Albany Capital Center are within the city’s walkable downtown. Creating a signature skyline, the Egg Center for the Performing Arts contains two theaters and an outdoor summer stage. The Empire State Plaza serves as an outdoor community gathering space. Visitors can catch a bird’s-eye view of the city from the Plaza’s Corning Tower Observation Deck.
“Below the outdoor gathering space is the Empire State Plaza Concourse, which connects numerous buildings and showcases the largest modern art exhibit in the country,” said Cloutier. “The nearby New York State Capitol is a marvel and has been restored to its original grandeur.”
Many of the city’s historic spaces are available for after-hours events, receptions and meals. Downtown, Cornerstone at the Plaza is at the base of The Egg on the Empire State Plaza. Its floor-to-ceiling windows provide 360-degree views for catered events of up to 250 guests. Newly restored, the Kenmore Ballroom was once the site of the Rain-Bo Room, a nightclub that broadcast music on one of the nation’s first radio stations. The venue boasts a stage and double staircase leading to its multi-level ballroom, which seats 300 for dinner or 500 guests for a reception.
The Albany Institute of History and Art is famous for its collection of Hudson River School paintings and is the second-oldest museum in the nation. Its indoor and outdoor spaces can handle up to 200 guests. The New York State Museum’s fourth-floor indoor terrace gallery has panoramic views of the city. The museum accommodates 200 for banquets and up to 400 in two theaters and has several meeting rooms.
Outside the city limits, beautiful grounds and historic buildings surround the Shaker Heritage Barn at Shaker Heritage Society, America’s first Shaker settlement. Groups must provide their own catering at the barn. Several nearby historic homes offer guided tours, meals and receptions, including the 1830s Pruyn House, which sits on five acres with lovely gardens and hosts dinners a rustic barn.
Major Meeting Spaces
As the nation’s oldest continuously chartered city, Albany has hosted meetings since 1609. The Capital Complex is notable for its variety of venues, all connected by glass-enclosed walkways above street level. As the largest meeting space in upstate New York, the complex spans 159,000 square feet. Large events are held at the Albany Capital Center, where state-of-the-art meeting and convention space accommodates from 10 to 5,000 attendees and on-site parking is available.
“The Albany Capital Center has the latest technology for maintaining indoor air quality and is modern in all regards with fantastic internet speeds and unique lighting, where logos or images can be projected onto the ceiling,” said Cloutier. “They’ve put a lot of thought into how the building can be uniquely tailored for every event.”
The Empire State Plaza Convention Center can host up to 1,500 people in its underground facility, which includes parking — all attached to the New York State Museum and the state capitol building. MVP Arena, one of the Northeast’s premier sports and special events arenas, can seat from 6,000 to 17,000 people. The Egg’s two theaters seat just under 500 and 1,000 respectively, and there is also tradeshow space.
Hotels include the elegant Renaissance Albany Hotel, which is connected to the Albany Capital Center; the Marriott Albany; the newly renovated Crowne Plaza Albany–The Desmond Hotel; and the full-service Hilton Albany.
After the Meeting
After hours, attendees can hop aboard a Dutch Apple Cruise that highlights the city’s historic connection to the Hudson River. Options include a full bar, gourmet meals and entertainment with a recommended maximum of 120 passengers for catered events. Attendees can also strike out on their own on the self-guided #CapitalWallsMurals tour, a public art project dispersed throughout downtown.
Craft beverages continue to flow throughout the Capital Region, and a passport program offers a map for exploration and rewards for visits. The Historic Downtown Albany Food Tour features tastes and sips from downtown restaurants punctuated by historic fun facts about the city. Taste of Troy Food Tours can customize private outings for groups of eight to 120 guests and create a VIP experience.
“Our craft beverage trail reveals the unique personalities of the city,” said Cloutier. “Each stop reflects the creative personality of the brewer. Some honor our Dutch heritage and others reflect the diverse communities that came into Albany after the Dutch, including the English and German beers.”
Beyond the city, the Helderberg Hilltowns of Berne, Knox, Rensselaerville and Westerlo perch atop the Helderberg Escarpment. Nearby John Boyd Thacher State Park boasts an extensive trail network including the Indian Ladder Trail, dotted with waterfalls and panoramic views of the Hudson-Mohawk Valleys and the Adirondack and Green mountains. Attendees can navigate WildPlay Element Park’s adventure course for an exhilarating teambuilding activity.