The Capital Region’s Best Destinations For Those in the Holiday Spirit

Mr. Turkey, your time has come and gone. It is finally time for the big man, Christopher Kringle, or Santa Claus. Whatever you may call him, he is on his way.


We are now able to blare Christmas music free of judgment. You can officially sing your heart out to “Frosty the Snowman” with zero worries of your friends making fun of you. (No promises, though.)

This time of the year is packed with insanely delicious meals, presents, and maybe a bit too much family bonding.


So as December unravels and you feel a tingle for the holiday spirit, these are the best things those in the 518 can do with your family, your friends, a loved one, an attempted loved one, or just by your dang self. This is when living in Upstate rocks.

Number 1: Capital Holiday Lights In The Park 


One of my favorites! Running from Black Friday until January 2nd, these lights are surely a sight to see in Albany’s Washington Park. Enjoy these beautiful creations as you drive through the park. The best part is getting to meet Santa and his Reindeer in the Lakehouse after your tour of the lights.

The Washington Park Lake House is open for activities from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM Sundays through Thursdays and from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM Fridays and Saturdays.

The Lake House will be closed December 24 & 25 as well as December 31 and January 1-3, but the drive through show will still be running these days at the above times.

Passenger Vehicles (Capacity Max 9):
Passenger Vehicles and Recreational Vehicles (Capacity of 10 – 18): $25
Commercial Vehicles & Vans (Capacity of 19 – 28): $50
School Buses: $100
Commercial Coaches: $125

Number 2: Victorian Stroll in Downtown Troy 


Ever dream of celebrating the Holidays in Victorian style? Well here is your chance. Jugglers, carolers + an abundance of Victorian period attire fill the streets by Troy’s Monument Park.

Celebrate the holidays Victorian style at the Troy Victorian Stroll, taking place on Sunday, December 4, 2016! The event is free to the public.

The Victorian Strolls runs from 11:00am to 5:00pm and has long been a heartwarming tradition for thousands of local families and visitors from all over the Northeast.

Number 3: Festival of Trees


Decorate a tree to be on display at the 10th Annual Festival of Trees in Schenectady!

It runs from Sat, Dec 3, 2016 until Sun, Dec 18, 2016 (10:00 AM to 4:00 PM)
Schenectady County Historical Society
(32 Washington Avenue, Schenectady, NY 12305 & YWCA, 44 Washington Avenue, Schenectady, NY 12305)
Adults $5, Children $2, Under 5 Free

Number 4: NYS Holiday Tree Lighting


Another of my favorites! The lighting of the Christmas Tree at Albany’s Empire State Plaza is a beautiful site to see if you never had the chance. Get here as the Plaza turns into a Winter Wonderland filled with music, ice skating, fireworks, and so much more!

*Mark your calendar for this FREE event on December 4th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Number 5: Proctors Holiday Performances


Proctors Theatre offers numerous Holiday shows:

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See full list here

Number 6: Holiday Shows at The Palace


You can catch me at The Palace for more than one of their shows coming in December.

Ticket prices starting at just $5 is one of many reasons to check out the performances coming to the Albany Theatre.

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See full list here

Number 7: Breakfast with Santa!


Have a Holly Jolly Breakfast with Santa himself at Albany’s Dave & Buster’s! Join Saint Nick, friends, and family for a morning filled with games, buffet style breakfast, and raffles.

Enjoy the entire game room and restaurant to yourself from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on December 11th.

*Two different packages allow you to choose what is best for your family.

Package 1 Includes:

  • Breakfast Buffet: Scrambled Eggs, Sausage, Danish, Mini Muffins, Breakfast Potatoes, Bagels, Fresh Fruit, Assorted Juices and Coffee
  • $10 Power Card
  • A Picture With Santa!
  • $19.99 per person before taxes, fees and suggested gratuity.

Package 2 Includes:

  • Breakfast Buffet: Scrambled Eggs, Sausage, Danish, Mini Muffins, Breakfast Potatoes, Bagels, Fresh Fruit, Assorted Juices and Coffee
  • $15 Power Card
  • Unlimited Video Game Play
  • A Picture With Santa!
  • $25.99 per person before taxes, fees and suggested gratuity.

Number 8: Empire “Skate” Plaza Ice Rink


Last but certainly not least, my ultimate favorite Holiday adventure. Ice skating at the Plaza, even if you are not an expert skater bring your friends and family to enjoy an afternoon of fun. The rink is equipped with a full snack bar and skater’s lounge. Surrounded by the beautiful buildings of downtown Albany, the rink is surely a sight to see. Open to those of all ages, get down to the Plaza to skate in some Christmas cheer.

*Skating is free but there is a small fee for skate rentals.


So, have I convinced you to get up and check out some of the awesome events Upstate has to offer?! I hope the answer is YES.

P.S. Thank you to Will Ferrell for playing Buddy the Elf and Google for the beautiful images of Upstate.

Two Buttons Deep is a news & entertainment website based in Upstate, New York.

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