Best place to swim in Albany

Surprise surprise, the winner isn’t in Albany. It’s the obvious choice of Grafton Lake State Park. The main beach area is always packed, but walk down the trails a bit and you can find a nice somewhat private area to hang out in. There’s a little rock island you can get to from the trails which is a favorite of mine.

You could also check out Snyders Lake in Wynantskill, Mater Christi Pool on New Scotland, Peerless/Victoria Pool in Saratoga, or the Battenkill in Arlington.

And here is the full directory form the City of Albany.

Best patio in Albany

best patio in albany

The best patio in Albany is a hard category to find a clear winner. If you’re drinking beverages of any kind outside during nice weather, chances are you made a good decision on how to spend your time.

Regardless, our pick for the best patio is a tie between Cafe Hollywood and the City Beer Hall, with the wildcard being the Wine Bar.

Both Hollywood and the City Beer Hall patios are huge, so it’s rare that they feel too crowded and you can still enjoy a conversation at a normal volume. Both patios also have table service, so you don’t have to leave your post outside in order to get a drink from the bar. It is also very hard not to enjoy the walk to the City Beer Hall, if you take State Street down. I also enjoy the Wine Bar’s patio, which is smaller, because of the atmosphere, with exposed brick and vines overhead.

City Beer Hall, 42 Howard Street, Albany, NY
Cafe Hollywood, 275 Lark Street, Albany, NY
The Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark, 200 Lark Street, Albany, NY

Best sushi in Albany

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The best sushi in Albany is Shogun on Madison Ave. They are relatively new to the area, celebrating their one-year anniversary in March. The decor and atmosphere gives the restaurant the feel of fine dining, but the prices do not reflect that category. Definitely a great date spot, with a good cocktail menu and even those weird people that exist who “don’t like” sushi will be able to find something delicious to order. Can eat in or take out, and they also have a patio, which is a huge plus for the warm months. They also are open late, which makes it a great place to begin, or end, your evening out.

Runner-up is Sushi X in Latham, which features “all you can eat” sushi and other menu items.

Shogun, 457 Madison Ave, Albany, NY

Sushi X, 710 New Loudon Road, Latham, NY

The best burrito in Albany

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The best burrito in Albany is from Bros Tacos or Bomber’s. Bros is a more authentic, cooked-to-order style place, whereas Bomber’s is a bit kitschy-er. Bro’s even makes their own corn tortillas in-house.

People love to hate on Bomber’s but the reason they can score so high in this list is they have more than one vegan burrito on their menu, one with tofu, and another with great vegan chicken nuggets. So much so that my non-vegan friends get that instead of anything else on the menu. Bros also takes much longer than Bombers as it’s all cooked fresh to order, so be sure to call ahead.

Bros Tacos, 319 Ontario St, Albany, NY

Bombers Burrito Bar, 258 Lark St, Albany, NY

The best record shop in Albany

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The best record shop in Albany is Fuzz Records on Lark Street. The shop owners are your tastemakers, and there’s not an overwhelming amount of records to go through, meaning that any record you find there is of quality and carefully selected. That being said, if a record you are looking for isn’t there, they will happily order it for you. Occasionally, they will host shows which are intimate performances by default due to the size of the shop, which makes for a unique live music experience. The shop is also beginning its own record label, with its first vinyl pressing set for release in April.

However, if you are in the mood for digging, Last Vestige on Quail Street is your spot.

Fuzz Records, 209 Lark St, Albany, NY

The best coffee shop in Albany

The best coffee shop in Albany is Tierra Coffee Roasters on Madison Ave. They consistently have the freshest beans that will bloom when you use them in your pour-overs at home, and they also offer alternative brewing methods such as the Chemex. They also, of course, have free wireless internet and tons of really great vegan and non-vegan food as well.

The best coffee shop in Troy is, without question, The Charles F. Lucas Confectionery which serves Blue Bottle beans, and has a vintage piston driven manual espresso machine. The Confectionery also has the best atmosphere out of any establishment in the area, and is also not a coffee shop, but a wine bar that happens to have coffee.

Tierra Coffee Roasters, 1038 Madison Avenue, Albany, NY

Charles F. Lucas Confectionery & Wine Bar, 2nd Street, Troy, NY