Best County Fair
The Altamont Fair, 129 Grand Street, Altamont
Representing Albany, Schenectady and Greene counties, the Altamont Fair has been a summer tradition in the Capital Region since 1893. Back then, admission was only 25 cents! As the fair has grown and evolved over the years, one thing has remained the same – the emphasis on agriculture. The fair is not only a great source of entertainment, but also a showcase of history and agricultural traditions. Mark your calendars for August 14-19, this year’s fair dates!
2. Columbia County Fair, 32 Church Street, Chatham
3. (tie) Schaghticoke Fair, 69 Stillwater Bridge Road, Schaghticoke
Saratoga County Fair, 162 Prospect Street, Ballston Spa
Best Children’s Museum (tie)
The Children’s Museum of Science and Technology, 250 Jordan Road, Troy
The Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium
15 Nott Terrace Heights, Schenectady
There’s no better place to see the wonder in a child’s expression than when you take them to a museum. Luckily for the Capital Region, we have no shortage of great places, so its no surprise that we have a tie. The Children’s Museum of Science and Technology (CMOST) is the only science center in the Tech Valley designed specifically for kids and parents to explore, discover and imagine the world of science together. The Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium also celebrates science, invention and imagination and features some of the finest interactive exhibits around.
2. The Children’s Museum at Saratoga,69 Caroline Street, Saratoga Springs
3. The New York State Museum, 222 Madison Avenue, Albany
The New York State Museum, 222 Madison Avenue, Albany
The oldest and largest state museum in the country, the New York State Museum is a yearly favorite on our survey, and for good reason! Museum Director Mark Schaming said the museum cares for and studies over 15 million specimens, artifacts and works of art that reflect more than 175 years of research. Coming up this summer is the “Best of SUNY Student Art Exhibition” and “Seneca Ray Stoddard: Capturing the Adirondacks,” a 21st century appreciation of the Adirondacks and the area’s natural beauty. Nature lovers should also take note of the “Focus on Nature XII” exhibit running through the end of the year that highlights illustration as a means of communicating scientific and artistic observation.
2. (tie) Albany Institute of History & Art, 125 Washington Avenue, Albany
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
225 South Street, Williamstown, MA
3. The Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium, 15 Nott Terrace Heights, Schenectady
Best Concert Hall
Troy Music Hall, 30 Second Street, Troy
Named a national historic landmark in 1989, the Troy Music Hall is in use more than 157 days a year. Between the Troy Chromatics Concert Series, their free Music at Noon concert series, and their regular concert schedule, things stay pretty busy! Through the support of members and the public, the hall has fostered programs that have touched the lives of hundreds of thousands throughout the Capital Region. The hall is a vital contributor to the regional cultural arts landscape and to the revitalization of Troy.
2. Proctors Theatre, 432 State Street, Schenectady
3. The Palace Theatre, 19 Clinton Avenue, Albany
J.T. Maxies Bar and Grill, 240 Wolf Road, Albany
Some of us are blessed with great voices, while some of us should probably stick to singing in the shower. No matter what your skill level, there is just something about the thrill of karaoke that brings people together. J.T. Maxies Bar and Grill offers this group entertainment five nights a week and adds new songs weekly, so you’re sure to find the latest hits mixed in with classic favorites.
Best Live Music Venue
Saratoga Performing Arts Center
108 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs
SPAC hosts the New York City Ballet and the Philadelphia Orchestra in an acoustically ideal amphitheater in the heart of Spa State Park, but that’s not all. Each summer, superior chamber music, jazz, rock and pop concerts and opera come together to fill our calendars with entertaining events. The diverse artistry makes it a cultural hub for upstate New York, the Hudson Valley, Vermont, the Berkshires, Connecticut and nearby Canada.
2. The Palace Theatre, 19 Clinton Avenue, Albany
3. The Egg Center for the Performing Arts, Empire State Plaza, Albany
Bethlehem Public Library, 451 Delaware Avenue, Delmar
The Bethlehem Public Library has been at its current location since 1971, and since then has undergone a major renovation project and the grounds have been beautified with gardens by community volunteers. Housing more than 128,000 books and media, the library also offers 26 public computers and a public access television studio. A vital part of Bethlehem community life, more than 300,000 people pass through its doors each year. I guess it’s safe to say the Capital Region loves to read!
2. Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library, 475 Moe Road, Clifton Park
3. East Greenbush Community Library, 10 Community Way, East Greenbush
Best Library Story Time/Children’s Activities
William K. Sanford Town Library
629 Albany Shaker Road, Loudonville
There is something about hearing a story read aloud that makes it come to life. The William K. Sanford Town Library offers “Family Drop-In Storytime,” a 45-minute program with stories, songs, flannel boards and finger plays based on the theme of the book, followed by a snack and a craft. They also provide programs tailored for specific age ranges so that appropriate books and crafts are used.
2. Bethlehem Public Library, 451 Delaware Avenue, Delmar
3. Kinderhook Memorial Library, 18 Hudson Street, Kinderhook
Best Movie Theater
Spectrum 8 Theatres, 290 Delaware Avenue, Albany
Whether you’re on a date, out with friends, or just looking for something to do on a rainy day, going to the movies is a universal pastime. Movie-lovers in the Capital Region know that at the Spectrum 8 Theatres in Albany they will find a mix of Hollywood blockbusters, independent and foreign films without the hassle of mall crowds. Special events featuring conversations with independent filmmakers are also a regular part of their programming.
2. Regal Colonie Center, 131 Colonie Center, Albany
3. (tie) Regal Cinemas Clifton Park, 22 Clifton Country Road, Clifton Park
Crandell Theatre, 48 Main Street, Chatham
Best Outdoor Music Venue
Saratoga Performing Arts Center
108 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs
Set in a 2,400 acre park preserve, Saratoga Performing Arts Center is surrounded by hiking trails, geysers and natural mineral springs. Given its idyllic setting, you’ve voted it the number one place to see your favorite bands without the confines of pesky walls. SPAC is one of the few performing arts venues whose sloping lawn is perfectly suited to fully view the amphitheater while enjoying a picnic with friends.
2. Park Playhouse, Washington Park, Albany
3. Alive at Five, Albany Riverfront Park at the Corning Preserve
Albany Symphony Orchestra, 19 Clinton Avenue, Albany
According to the Albany Symphony Orchestra, when a full symphony unleashes its visceral, elemental power for a group of passionate listeners something magical happens. That magic is part of why the ASO has been voted the number one symphony in the Capital Region again this year. Now in its 82nd season, ASO is still bringing great live musical experiences to audiences. Their 2012-2013 season is highlighted by a special concert this September with internationally acclaimed cellist and humanitarian Yo-Yo Ma.
2. Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, 297 West Street, Lenox, MA
3. Schenectady Symphony Orchestra, 432 State Street, Schenectady
Best Theatre Plays/Musicals
Proctors Theatre, 432 State Street, Schenectady
Built in 1926, the Mainstage at Proctors is a beautifully resorted historic theatre that presents the very best in entertainment. Top-tier national Broadway touring productions, popular performers, world-class singers and world-renowned classical reproductions are offered each season to residents of the Capital Region. Get your tickets now for favorites like “Mary Poppins” and “Wicked,” coming this fall!
2. The Mac-Haydn Theatre, 1925 New York 203, Chatham
3. Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 North Pearl Street, Albany