wheelingman, the response by j12308 was really quite good - looks like he(she?) knows the area pretty well after all!
I've lived & worked in the capital district for over 20 years; I think you'll like it as long as you don't listen to all the downstaters that say "it's not NYC". Don't get me wrong - not all of them say that,
, but I do hear it a lot. (IMO, it sort of reminds me of a pocket of Brooklyn with some Long Island suburbia thrown in the mix - but anyway!)
The traffic has it's moments as there are only 3 main arteries into & out of the city limits. But even that is tolerable. The people are very friendly although you may not think so at first. There are so many colleges & universities in the area that tend to bring a diverse population of age, ethnicities, etc., along for the ride.
The architecture is quite impressive - some buildings are over 300 years old...a nice contrast to the "contemporary" design of the Empire State Plaza. There are some very good cooking schools nearby: CIA in Hyde Park 90 minutes south & SCC 20 minutes west. This has been great for the area as many chefs stay & set up shop here. LOTS of terrific restaurants.
Do you like music? Lots of live venues with good variety, and a pretty decent performing arts scene as well. Summertime has lots of free concerts going on all over; the Corning Preserve on the Hudson River, the shows at the Plaza & in local pocket parks scattered t/o downtown.
Washington Park was designed by the same fellow who designed Central Park in NYC, & it shows! I'm embarrassed I forget his name
. They have the Tulip Fest every Mother's Day weekend & the Lobster Fest every Father's day weekend. A good excuse to get out!
The "problem" with Albany is that it is relatively quiet unless you take advantage of the events mentioned above. Sadly the downtown isn't a bustling metro area for leisure activity. Check the Times Union 'Preview' insert on thursdays - it lists upcoming events & entertainment. Even better is the Metroland, a local weekly.
A very nice thing about Albany is it's proximity to close-in areas like the Adirondaks, Thatcher State Park, the Stockade in Schenectady, antiques in Troy, Saratoga Springs, etc. Plus you are only 3-4 hours in any direction from a large city - NYC, Montreal, Boston, & Rochester/Syracuse. Pretty countryside in the Hudson Valley & the Catskills - get out & check out all the little towns!