Albany is the capital of New York and the county seat of Albany County. It is home to just under 100,000 residents, most of New York State's key government offices, and seven colleges and universities. Albany is an interesting showcase of several centuries' worth of architectural styles, including the modernistic Empire State Plaza. Before the first European settlement by the Dutch in 1614, Albany and its surroundings were home to the Iroquois Five Nations group of indigenous Americans. Albany is the longest continually chartered city in the United States, the original eastern terminus of the Erie Canal, and was a center for the smuggling of alcohol from Canada during the U.S. Prohibition. Writer and journalist William Kennedy, an Albany native, uses the city and its history as the setting for most of his novels, plays and nonfiction books.
Getting around Albany and the Capital Region entirely depends on where you are staying and what you want to see. If you plan on spending most of your time within the city of Albany, most downtown sights are within walking distance of each other.