7 Best Neighborhoods in Albany, NY

January 18th, 2022

7 Best Neighborhoods in Albany, NY

7 Best Places to Live in Albany, New York

Searching for the best areas to live in Albany, NY? Here are the 7 best places to live in Albany!

Albany, New York is the capital city of the state of New York and is rich in history and culture. Found in upstate New York, Albany is known for its beautiful architecture, thriving businesses, and abundance of higher education opportunities. Ranked as one of the best places to live in New York, Albany is a great place to live due to its many things to do and high quality of life. Plus, with a fantastic real estate market, it is no surprise that the city is attracting many families and young professionals to the area.

Best Neighborhoods in Albany, NY - Where are the best places to live in Albany, New York?

If you have decided to make the big move to Albany, New York yourself then you are probably wondering what the best areas to live in Albany are. Even though Albany may not be as safe as living in New York City, Albany is full of many safe areas and nice neighborhoods to choose from. While finding a place to live in a new city can be overwhelming, this neighborhood guide was created to help you find a good place to live in Albany that will be the best fit for you and your family. There's a reason why Albany appears on our list of the best places to live in New York!

Without further ado, read on to learn more about the 7 Best Neighborhoods in Albany, NY!

Center Square

As of 2021, the city of Albany has been recognized for its healthy job market, lower crime rate, and great housing costs. Albany is also being considered a great place to retire for its multiple nice neighborhoods. While the weather in Albany may be freezing cold during the winter months, the neighborhood of Center Square, in particular, is thought to be an ideal location for residents to settle down in while living in Albany. 

The Center Square Historic District is located between Empire State Plaza and Washington Park in the city. Found close to Downtown and near the Hudson River, this 99-acre area is a central hub of commercial office spaces, government buildings, and historical homes. Featuring row houses that were originally built in the 1800s, cobblestone streets, and many eccentric local restaurants, Center Square is a top choice for young professionals and couples.

Currently, home to only 1,694 residents, the neighborhood of Center Square is a tight-knit community in a dense urban area. With its abundance of entertainment options, bars, coffee shops, bookshops, parks, and art galleries, there is always something to do and see when living in Center Square. The neighborhood even hosts multiple festivals and celebrations throughout the year including the Santa Speedo Sprint down Lark Street in December. 

Local Favorites: 

  • Stacks Espresso Bar - Albany: Enjoy good coffee in a relaxed atmosphere. There is even outdoor seating available when the weather is nice. 

  • 288 Lark Wine and Tap: Serving authentic Italian food and amazing wine. Make sure to order the homemade pizza and a craft cocktail. 

  • Bombers Burrito Bar: Get your fix of massive burritos and margaritas at this festive bar. This is the best place to be on game nights. 

  • El Loco Mexican Cafe: Serving tacos, margaritas, and other classic Mexican dishes. There is even a designated vegan and vegetarian section on the menu. 

  • Shogun: This sushi restaurant and Japanese eatery is the go-to spot for high-quality fish and freshly rolled sushi. The sushi is always delicious and the chicken teriyaki is a fan favorite.

Albany, NY downtown city skyline


The neighborhood of Helderberg has a population of just over 3,000 residents and is considered one of the best places to live in Albany. Located in Albany County, Helderberg is just three miles west of downtown Albany. Providing its residents with a dense suburban feel, the young professionals that live in this neighborhood can be found grabbing a drink at a bar, dining at a local restaurant, drinking espresso at a coffee shop, or spending time outside at one of the many public parks. Due to its many local amenities and prime location in the city, Helderberg is known to be an expensive neighborhood with a high cost of living. But with its low crime rate, low unemployment rate, and high graduation rates, residents are willing to pay any price to take advantage of such premiums. 

Local Favorites:

  • Albany Ale and Oyster: The best spot in town for craft beer and bar food. Make sure to order the oysters and pick a table on the outside patio. 

  • Navona: This intimate Italian restaurant is serving wood-fired pizza and Italian wine. 

  • Mr. Bumbles Cafe: A hotspot for breakfast sandwiches, soups, and salads. There are plenty of healthy options to choose from at a decent price. 

  • Sake Cafe: Enjoy Japanese, Chinese, and Thai favorite dishes including sushi and sake. This is a great casual spot with fantastic service. 

  • The Fountain: Dine on Italian favorites and American bar food in a lively setting. This is a quiet neighborhood bar with a lot of regulars that come to enjoy the live monthly jazz music.

Pine Hills

The neighborhood of Pine Hills is a quiet and quaint place to call home. Found on the Western edge of Washington Park, this neighborhood was named after the tall pine trees that once adorned the outside of the city. With a population of 14,506 people, this is a popular community that is home to many great public schools and universities. In fact, many college students choose to live in Pine Hills due to the proximity to The University at Albany, Albany Medical College, Albany Law School, Albany College of Pharmacy, and The College of Saint Rose. From the many public parks, well-lit streets, fantastic restaurants, and various entertainment options, it is easy to see why Pine Hills is such a desirable neighborhood. In our opinion - Pine Hills is one of the best places to live in Albany, NY.

Local Favorites:

  • The Madison Theatre: This independent and historical theatre is a friendly and safe place for events and special showings. Visit the website for showtimes. 

  • Cafe Madison: Located off of Madison Avenue, this brunch and lunch spot is beloved for its homemade bread and amazing menu. The raspberry oatmeal pancakes are a must-try! 

  • The Cuckoo’s Nest: Serving only the best homemade southern dishes in a welcoming atmosphere. This hidden jewel has a full bar, amazing happy hour specials, and some of the best craft cocktails in Albany. 

  • Viva Cinco De Mayo - Albany: This authentic Mexican restaurant has a colorful dining room and homemade specialties. The infamous chicken soup here is a favorite among the locals. 

  • Mr. Pio Pio: Dine on Latin American comfort food and favorites in a small intimate setting. The food here is spicy, savory, and authentic.

Washington Park

Known as the cities main park, the neighborhood of Washington Park in Albany is a hotspot for events, gatherings, and activities all throughout the year. Known as a safe place to live, this neighborhood and park are beautifully landscaped and well-maintained. Originally created in the 1870s, this park is packed full of history. 

Offering its residents a dense suburban atmosphere, many young professionals and families choose to call Washington Park home for its many fun outdoor activities and sought-after amenities. Containing over 100 species of different trees and a 5.2-acre lake, it is no wonder that Washington Park is such a notable feature and landmark in Albany. 

Local Favorites:

  • Albany Capital Holiday Lights: This famous tourist attraction is a holiday celebration that is great for the whole family. Running from November 26th through January 2nd, this light show is mesmerizing. 

  • New York State Museum: Learn about the cultural and natural history of New York State at this popular museum located on Madison Avenue. 

  • Albany Tulip Festival: This springtime annual event takes place in Washington Park and celebrates its Dutch heritage and tulips through garden tours, musical performances, and dancing. 

  • Park Playhouse: This open-air venue features drama and musical performances that are free throughout the summertime. 

  • Washington Park Farmer’s Market: Located on Knox Street Mall Road, this farmer’s market is the perfect weekend spot for fresh food, crafts, vendors, and yoga.

Albany Downtown city streets on a fall day

North Albany - Shaker Park

Originally settled in the 17th-century, the neighborhood of North Albany is an older community that has been witness to massive growth throughout the years. Known to be a large industrial area, there are over 75 industrial businesses that are located here. Also coined the name “The Warehouse District,” North Albany is an artistic center with many old warehouses that have been turned into entertainment venues, art galleries, and marketplaces. 

The real estate here is comprised of rowhouses, loft-style apartments, and many large commercial properties. While this neighborhood is still developing as a residential community, North Albany has certainly made a name for itself as a trendy place to eat, drink, and hang out on the weekends. This neighborhood is comprised mostly of young professionals, families, and retirees. 

Local Favorites:

  • Nine Pin Ciderworks: Drink some of the best hard cider of the Capital Region and Hudson Valley at this cidery and taproom. 

  • Albany Civic Downtown Theatre: A non-profit and volunteer-only performing arts theatre with amazing performances and acoustics. 

  • Wolff’s Biergarten: Get your fix of German beer and food at this premier Biergarten. 

  • The Times Union Center: This indoor arena is one of the best places in Albany to enjoy live performances and musical acts. Maximum seating can reach up to 15,500 people during sporting events. 

  • Druthers Brewing Company: Enjoy great beer, food, and music in a fun atmosphere.

New Scotland

Originally founded in 1852, the neighborhood of New Scotland has a large and growing population where most residents own their own homes. Located close to the neighborhood of Helderberg, New Scotland is an extremely safe area known for its fantastic school system and relatively low rent prices. Offering its residents a nice mixture of urban and suburban living, many young professionals and families are choosing to move here. Home to many popular bars, restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores, boutiques, and public parks, there is always something exciting to see when living in New Scotland.

Local Favorites: 

  • Kuma Ani: This Japanese restaurant features a traditional menu and excellent service. 

  • Tipsy Moose - Albany: This neighborhood bar has fantastic food and drinks. The coffee-infused whiskey is a must-try. 

  • Woodlawn Park: This neighborhood park has a playground, two basketball courts, and baseball fields. 

  • Ridgefield Park: Featuring tennis courts, a baseball field, playground, and open fields. This is a great place to bring your family and dog. 

  • Bard and Baker Board Game Cafe - Albany: Recently opened, this cafe has super friendly staff and delicious coffee. Make sure to order the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Latte!

State Capital Building of New York located in Albany, NY

Park South

The neighborhood of Park South is considered one of the best neighborhoods in Albany due to its top-rated amenities and variety of entertainment options. Considered the number one best neighborhood to raise a family in Albany, most residents have children or plan to start a family of their own. Described as the perfect mixture of urban and suburban living, Park South has a low crime rate and is home to a highly-rated public school system. Some of the top schools in this neighborhood include Albany High School, Montessori Magnet School, and William S. Hackett Middle School.

Local Favorites: 

  • Bellini’s Counter: Build your own pasta bowls and wraps in this counter-service spot. 

  • Cafe Lark: Dine on delicious pizza at this family favorite eatery. 

  • Stewart’s Shops: Enjoy ice cream, soda, and snacks at this chain convenience store. 

  • Lincoln Park: Considered to be Albany’s first public playground, this park features a public pool, sports fields, and basketball courts. 

  • Albany Pine Bush Preserve: Known as one of the largest inland pine barrens in the world. This preserve is great for wildlife viewing, hiking, and admiring beautiful views. 

Best Neighborhoods in Albany, NY - The Bottom Line 

Whether you are moving to Albany for a new job or are simply looking for a change in scenery, it is safe to say that Albany is a great place to live with many fantastic neighborhoods. From college students to families and young professionals, it is easy to see how this capital city is a top destination for New Yorkers. Before moving, make sure to reach out to one of our knowledgeable Realty Specialists in order to find a great neighborhood that meets your needs. Along with this guide to neighborhoods in Albany, we have also written the best neighborhoods in New York City guide! With the help of our team, stay away from any bad areas in Albany when finding the home of your dreams. Contact us today!


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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am a REALTOR®. My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Real Estate Blog! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own let us know here. Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below.