Located along the Hudson River, Albany is one of the best places in Upstate New York to call home. Retirees, young professionals, and families are drawn to the NY capital for its benefits—but as with any great city, there are a few drawbacks to consider. Check out these 11 pros and cons of living in Albany!
Pros of Living in Albany
There are several perks of living in Albany that are hard to come by in other parts of Upper New York. Here are some of the best things Albany has to offer residents.
Pro: Affordable Living in the Northeast
For those looking to live in the state of New York—but wanting to avoid the expensive price tag of an NYC borough or other Northeast cities like Boston—look no further than the city of Albany! While New York City’s home prices are a staggering 244% higher than the U.S. average, Albany’s median home price is $186,000—which is just 1% higher than the national average. Renting a home in Albany is also more affordable than in bigger cities like NYC, costing around $992 per month. Plus, the cost of living is 16% lower than the state’s average, making Albany an ideal spot to settle down for those seeking affordable living in New York.
Pro: Great Jobs in Albany
The City of Albany offers residents a diverse job market across many industries. Most notably, Albany is at the heart of Tech Valley, the Capitol Region’s hub for tech companies and education. This means residents will have no trouble finding a career in technology, with opportunities at top companies like CommerceHub, Rational Enterprise, GCOM, and more. Beyond technology, you’ll also find a variety of Fortune 500 companies in Albany. Check out great opportunities in real estate with CBRE, consider a career in health care at Humana, and more. Healthcare professionals can look to Albany’s many great local hospitals for employment, including St. Peter’s Hospital, Samaritan Hospital-Albany Memorial Campus, and Albany Medical Center.
Pro: Top Albany Schools
Families with high school students looking at colleges will have several top-notch schools to choose from in Albany. Pick from over 50 undergraduate majors and minors or 150 graduate programs at the University at Albany. Study public health, pharmaceutical sciences, or biomedical technology at Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences. Looking to attend a private college in Albany? Work toward a degree in computer science, accounting, social work, and more at The College of Saint Rose. Earn your Bachelor’s in nursing, psychology, or health and occupational sciences at Maria College. Learn about public administration, business, cybersecurity, and more at Excelsior University—a fantastic online school. Or prepare yourself for a career in social services, graphic design, or digital marketing at Bryant & Stratton College‘s Albany campus.
Pro: Things to Do in Albany
With a variety of museums, historical sites, and fun events to attend, it’s easy to keep yourself busy in Albany! Learn about New York’s natural and cultural diversity with exhibits like the Cohoes Mastodon, Fire Engine Hall, and New York Metropolis Hall at the New York State Museum. Learn about the Upper Hudson Valley through art exhibits and collections ranging from paintings and sculptures to manuscripts at the Albany Institute of History & Art. Spend a day touring and learning about top historical sites in Albany like the Schuyler Mansion, The Stephen & Harriet Myers Residence, and the U.S.S. Slater. Get a look into legislative chambers, the Hall of New York, historic carvings, and more with a tour of the New York State Capitol. See a variety of shows, including comedy sketches, musical acts, theatre performances, and more at The Egg. Or try different sliders and vote for your favorite at the Slider Slam, sample food from local chefs, and taste exquisite wines and spirits during cocktail hour at the Albany Chef’s Food & Wine Festival.
Pro: Plenty of Outdoor Recreation
The City of Albany is surrounded by natural beauty, so outdoor enthusiasts can experience all four seasons while looking forward to outdoor recreation all year. Explore interactive exhibits about plants and animals at The Discovery Center, hike or mountain bike along 20 miles of trails, or attend kid-friendly events like Smokey Bear Day at the 3,350-acre Albany Pine Bush Preserve. Visit Washington Park to play a game of doubles, watch the kids go down the slide, and attend local events like the annual Albany Tulip Festival—which celebrates Albany’s rich Dutch culture with more than 100,000 tulips during blooming season. Spend the day hiking, snowmobiling, or snowshoeing while taking in the views of the Adirondack and Green Mountains at nearby Thacher State Park. Marvel at one of the most “iconic spots on the plateau” and see the 92-foot waterfall at nearby Barberville Falls. Celebrate a wedding, anniversary, or special event while wading down the Hudson River with Dutch Apple Cruises. Or if you’re looking to shop around, visit one of the Capital Region’s many farmers markets!
Pro: Local Sports Teams
If you love sports, you’re going to like living in Albany! Celebrate with friends and fellow fans as the Tri-City ValleyCats (MiLB) hit a homer at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium. Watch professional team the Albany FireWolves (NLL) sling goals at MVP Arena. Sports-loving residents in Albany can support other local college athletics, too. Visit MVP Arena on other days to support the Siena Saints men’s basketball team (NCAA D-I) score some hoops. Cheer on any one of the UAlbany’s Great Danes teams (D-I), including the football team, women’s lacrosse team, men’s and women’s basketball teams, and more. And for exciting games of hockey in Albany, cheer on the RPI Engineers men’s and women’s ice hockey teams (NCAA D-III) at the Houston Field House.
Pro: Lark Street Is Hopping
Known as Albany’s own “Greenwich Village,” Lark Street is Albany’s hotspot for everything shopping and dining. Spend the day looking at art from local artists, trying different foods, and more at the annual Art on Lark event in Albany. Make Your Own Bouquet or pick up daisies and mums from Lark Street Flower Market. Stop by Seasons Skate Shop for your skateboarding and apparel needs. You can also head to Lark Street for amazing dining options in Albany—including NOHO Pizza for Meat Lovers Pizza. Or order the Double Cheeseburger paired with fries and a Banana Milkshake from Herbie’s Burgers—the Capital Region’s old-school burger joint!
Cons of Living in Albany
Though Albany is a great place to call home for a variety of reasons, you may want to consider some of its drawbacks when planning your move. Here are four cons to moving to Albany.
Con: Extreme Weather
If you’re moving to Albany, you’ll need to get ready for all kinds of weather. Located in Upstate New York, you can expect average winter low temperatures that dip below 20 degrees, and average snowfall of 59 inches per year. However, residents still have fun with winter activities in the Albany area, like cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating at Empire State Plaza—and fun events like the Annual Holiday Parade or the City of Albany Tree Lighting. But winter isn’t the only season to prepare for—Albany residents also experience high humidity, with levels reaching up to 60% in the summer months. Despite the moisture in the air, summer temperatures tend to stay below 80 degrees, providing residents more comfort. Cool off on your kayaking after setting off from the Cornering Preserve Boat Launch. Enjoy the summer concert series at outdoor amphitheater Freedom Park. And be sure to bring the kiddos for Summer in the Plaza movie nights held at the Empire State Plaza!
Con: High Taxes
Something to keep in mind if you’re considering living in Albany County is the area’s high property taxes. Albany residents can expect to pay an average of 2.17% of their assessed property value, which is higher than both the national average of 0.99% and New York’s state average of 1.62%. However, with housing costs being much lower than other Northeast cities, the bills are more manageable than in other places.
Con: Albany Is a College Town
With a fantastic selection of colleges and universities in Albany, locals can expect a sizable college-aged demographic. You’ll likely face traffic congestion and fewer parking options during the school year, especially on game days. Additionally, if you live close to a college, you may find noise to be an issue. While this college-town atmosphere isn’t for everyone, there’s no doubt it also brings additional value to the city—from the trendy eateries and cafes surrounding Albany’s schools to university sports teams and events for all to enjoy.
Con: Unreliable Public Transit
Having access to a car is your best bet when living in Albany. Most residents use their own cars to commute throughout the city rather than relying on public transit. Public transportation is mainly prioritized in neighborhoods near local schools, like Downtown Albany. If you live in these areas, you’ll have access to more efficient transit options, including the Capital City Trolley. Bus Rapid Transit also provides the city with a variety of routes to college campuses and other Albany hot spots. Plus, commuting outside of the city to other areas in the Capitol Region is easy with the Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak station. And if you love biking, DCPHP Cycle‘s bike routes are a fun way to get around Albany itself!
If you’re considering moving to New York’s Capital Region, Life Storage offers storage units in the area to make your move easier. Find self storage units in Albany today!
This post was originally published on 06/16/2021, and last revised on 10/23/2023 with updated information.