With the size and amount of people at UAlbany, it’s sometimes easy to forget that there is a world out side of it. Campus has so much to offer and there is always something to do at some point in the day. Over 20,000 students attend this school and at times it can seem that UAlbany is its own bustling city separate from Albany its self. As a freshman the only time I stepped foot off campus was for that rare trip to Crossgates or Walmart, both which by bus take less than 5 minutes to reach. It wasn’t until sophomore year that I realized where I was actually living, and that my world wasn’t just limited to campus. If you have the time, patience, and means of transportation, you will be able to discover what this city has to offer you.
The first thing I will say is that if you do not have a car, which I personally don’t myself, you can still see all these places, it just might take a little bit more time out of your day. The bus is very easy to navigate if you have the right information about the bus schedule, times, and stops. I became a professional at using the bus after having to commute to and from my old job last year. Once you get the hang of it, the CDTA system will change your Albany experience! You just need to explore out side of your comfort zone. Now when most people think of going off campus they think of Crossgates Mall, Crossgates Commons, and Stuyvesant Plaza, but there happens to be another hub to do all your shopping and that’s at the Colonie Center. The Colonie Center is a mall and shopping center located a town over in Colonie. Only a short distance away, this mall offers a ton of different stores and restaurants you cannot find in Crossgates and while smaller, in my opinion is a lot nicer. Also across the street from Colonie Center is a shopping center that includes favorites like Target and JoAnne’s crafts. If you’re looking for some new scenery when going on a walk or run, Washington Park is the perfect place to enjoy all seasons. Only a 5-minute ride downtown from campus, Washington Park is a nice open space to do everything from playing a sport to laying out and reading a book. The beauty of the small lake, and the old bridge that goes over it, gives it a central park feel which is nice. A block east of Washington park is a place many UAlbany students know because of one specific day of the year, and that is Lark fest. On this day Lark street becomes littered with students and locals alike to listen to live music, eat from different vendors, and pack out the crowed bars. We’ve all enjoyed the festival, I know I have, but I wasn’t until recently that I discovered the beauty of lark street every other day of the year. When it isn’t packed out with drunken college kids, the restaurants on Lark street shine, making it a great place to grab a bite to eat no matter what you’re craving. Everything from the best Chinese food in Albany to a Mexican restaurant that serves drinks bigger than your head can be found on Lark. As you continue to head further downtown you reach the area that Albany is known for. Now when I say until recently I never visited this part of Albany, I mean recently, like on Sunday recently. On a whim, and because we didn’t have much else to do, me and my housemate decided to be tourists of Albany for the day. After living here for 2 years I never went to see the places that actual visitors come to see. Empire State Plaza is a place like no other and its beauty, I imagine can only get better as it gets warmer. The vast plaza stretching out between two main city streets, has the tall, red roofed New York State Capitol building on one end and the New York State Museum on the other. The fountains were shut off but with winter approaching there will soon be the annual skating rink installed. Something that we are looking forward to returning for. We were also able to walk under The Egg, a giant concert hall that literally is shaped like an egg. One of the best things about our trip was the beautiful fall views we saw across the Hudson river, we even tried, and failed, to get a nice selfie with the view. There are many other places to see while in the plaza and although me and my roommate went on a day when not much was open (Sunday’s in Albany differ from Long Island and I was shocked that everything was closed.) we still were able to see an amazing and different view of the city we live in. We’re already planning our next trip as well as exploring other new places in Albany. I encourage everyone to get out of the little bubble of campus and discovers what your new home has to offer you.
Melissa F. Class of 2018 Majors: Spanish & Communication Blog Theme: Fierce & Freaked
Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.