Upstate NY Weekend Trip

Upstate NY Weekend: Fall Foliage

Plan a Weekend Trip to Upstate NY by Train to View Autumn Leaves

Leaf peepers abound as fall foliage season begins. Travelers can leave cars behind and plan a trip by train in upstate New York to see autumn leaves at their peak.

Going from Buffalo or New York City to Albany can be a perfect long weekend getaway through upstate New York to see the fall foliage. Sit back and enjoy the scenery of the rolling hills and farmlands of central New York or majestic vistas of the Hudson River Valley while being lulled by the rhythm of the train’s movement. Leave behind the hassles of driving and take in the view of the fall foliage.

Train Travel in Upstate New York to See Fall Foliage

There are 4 train routes that span New York State:

  • Empire Service – Niagara Falls to New York City
  • Lake Shore Limited- Chicago to New York City
  • Maple Leaf – Toronto to New York City
  • Adirondak – Montreal to New York City

Check the Amtrak website for all the schedules. There are discounts for people 62 and older of 15%, and AAA members of 10%.

The Lake Shore Limited Route has a dining car as well as a lounge car. The dining car is available for lunch between 11:30am – 3:00pm and requires reservations. Once boarded, a staff person will come around to take reservations for the dining car. Expect full service with wait staff and the possibility of making new friends by being seated with other travelers.

On the Adirondak, park rangers who volunteer their time will point out significant and historical information about places along the route between Croton and Plattsburgh.

The Albany/Rensselaer Train Station is located across the river from Albany, so it’s necessary to get a taxi from the train station to Albany city center, a short 5-10 minute ride…or a hotel shuttle if one is available.

Where to Stay in Albany in Upstate NY

Once arrived in Albany, walking is easy (although uphill) from these centrally located downtown hotels.

  • Crowne Plaza Hotel – State and Lodge Streets
  • Hampton Inn & Suites – 25 Chapel Street
  • Holiday Inn Express – 300 Broadway
  • 74 State (a Clarion Collection Hotel) – 74 State Street

Albany Riverfront Park, Palace Theater, Live Jazz on Lark Street

After getting settled at the hotel, take a walk around downtown or over the pedestrian bridge on Broadway to Riverfront Park. Want to people watch while having a cocktail and appetizer? The large curving wooden bar at Angelo’s 677 Prime at 677 Broadway is a good place for that or one of the many bars and restaurants on North Pearl Street just a block up from Broadway.

Check the schedule for the Palace Theater at the corner of Clinton Ave. and North Pearl Street to see if there is a live concert or performance of interest.

Or, get a taxi (or hotel shuttle) to Justin’s on Lark at 301 Lark Street, the hip business district, for dinner and jazz. On the weekends, music begins at 9:30pm. As a heads-up…this is not quiet background music, it’s the real thing and worth a listen, so an 8:00 or 8:30pm reservation for dinner is recommended.

Washington Park, Albany Institute for History & Art, Capital Repertory Theater, The Egg

The next day takes a leisurely walk up the hill to the historic neighborhood of Center Square (between S.Swan, N. Lake, Washington Ave., and Madison Ave.). Many Center Square locals go to The Daily Grind at 204 Lark Street for their morning coffee. This small cafe also has tea, cappuccino, and muffins, bagels, croissants, and exceptional breakfast sandwiches.

Another option is across Lark Street at Crisan’s, a bakery that has extraordinarily decadent pastries made on-site by the owners. The pastries in the display case in Crisan’s look like they came right out of a foodie magazine.

Stroll through succulent Washington Park with its majestic trees, fall flower beds, and lake, and finish off the afternoon by viewing the current exhibit at the Albany Institute of History and Art at 125 Washington Ave. This delightful little museum has a gem of a collection of the American painters of the Hudson River School.

Back to the hotel for a well-deserved rest and on to dinner at the locally infamous Jack’s Oyster House at 43 State Street near the capitol building that New York politicos have frequented since 1913, or perhaps Lombardo’s Restaurant at 121 Madison Ave. that has been serving distinctive Italian food since 1933.

Interested in theater? Capital Repertory Theater, also on North Pearl Street, offers an intimate local theater venue while world-class musical performances are scheduled almost daily at the Egg Performing Arts Center at Empire State Plaza.

Empire State Plaza & the New York State Museum

On Monday morning, walk across Empire State Plaza, an expansive marble plaza with reflection pools located in between State Street and Madison Ave. to the New York State Museum to catch the exhibits of New York State history before heading back to the hotel for departure to the train station.

Good Times to Visit Albany in Upstate NY

Another exceptional time to visit the city is in the spring during the Tulip Festival, held annually over Mother’s Day weekend when the city is in full bloom. This is another perfect time to take the train across the beautiful landscape of the state to see the spring leaves and flowering trees unfurling. Whether fall or spring, visitors to Albany NY will be surprised by the historic beauty and lively nightlife in the capital city of New York state.

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