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The capital of New York state, Albany is on the west bank of the Hudson River. Officially chartered as a city in 1686, it’s one of the oldest surviving settlements from America’s original 13 colonies. Its location as eastern terminus of the Erie Canal brought prosperity to Albany in the past; today’s vitality is more directly linked to the position as seat of government, as well as high-tech industry growth. Yet despite its impressive credentials, this city retains a lot of the charm of a much smaller, simpler town.
Being situated right between New York City and Buffalo brings a lot of talented visitors Albany’s way —it’s a logical stop for traveling artists, musicians and theater troupes, making for a lively cultural scene. The downtown area is centered around Pearle Street, a quaint section dotted with local businesses. Each year Albany hosts the Tulip Festival in homage to the city’s Dutch heritage and in celebration of the beginning of spring.