Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Troy, NY

  • Published 2022/10/05

Lying on the east bank of the Hudson River is the historical city of Troy, the county seat of Rensselaer County.

Also known as “Collar City,” Troy is recognized for supporting more than 20 cuff and shirt manufacturing plants during the early 1900s.

The city is also known as the home of Uncle Sam.

Troy was an early seat of the American iron and steel industry, facts that are supported by several establishments that you can see until the present day.

But other than these historical wonders, Troy is famed for having a vibrant community that locals and visitors enjoy.

Check out 15 of the best things you can do in Troy, NY!

Roam around the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center

Exterior of the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center

Jay Yuan /

Art aficionados are sure to enjoy spending an entire day exploring the halls of the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

From music and theater to visual arts, you’re guaranteed to find anything and everything about art at EMPAC.

The arts center opened its doors in 2008, boasting 220,000 square feet of space, allowing creative expression in all its forms.

Front view of Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center

UpstateNYer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stand by for seasonal shows and purchase your tickets to witness greatness in this grand and elegant structure.

EMPAC also hosts lectures, symposiums, and other talks about art, which you can attend while in Troy.

Glass wall of Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center

Jay Yuan /

Marvel at the Jewels of the Sea

Exploring the wonders of the ocean has just gotten better because you can do it up close and while on land.

Sounds impossible?

Well, not anymore, because you can do that at Troy’s Jewels of the Sea on 3rd St.

Jewels of the Sea isn’t your average museum in Troy, though, as it’s a 3D museum that lets you get a good look at thousands of seashells and mollusks that have been living in the waterways.

Swing by the 3D Stereoscope Exhibit and prepare to be amazed at all the underwater wonders you haven’t seen before.

During your tour, you’ll also learn about seashells, their shell composition, characteristics, and everything that makes them such wonderful decorations in the sea.

Participate in the Troy Hidden Garden Tour

The known wonders and destinations of Troy have always been out there for the public to see, but most people don’t know that there are attractions to see deep within the city streets as well.

If you’re a fan of gardening, you’ll definitely enjoy participating in the Troy Hidden Garden Tour spearheaded by the Friends of Prospect Park.

Embark on a self-guided walking tour across dozens of private backyards一residential homes, and get a good look at the blooming plants.

The tour is an annual fundraiser that lets participants walk along gardens from the Historic Sage College, Washington Park, and some districts in downtown Troy.

Enjoy the myriad of colors before your eyes and the wonderful greens sprouting from the soil during your tour, and simply have a good time admiring some of nature’s best works.

Visit the Hart-Cluett Museum

Exterior of the Hart-Cluett Museum

UpstateNYer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Get to know Troy and all its secrets when you visit the historic Hart-Cluett Museum along 2nd St.

Operated by the Rensselaer County Historical Society, the Hart-Cluett Museum takes visitors on an educational journey towards understanding the early years of Troy and Rensselaer County.

There are about four permanent exhibits housed inside the museum, accompanied by seasonal exhibits featuring important periods in American history.

As you explore the halls, check out the Uncle Sam exhibit and understand how Troy became the home of one of America’s most important historical figures.

To see a more modern display, swing by the South End Tavern exhibit, where you’ll see dozens of business signs collected across the country.

There’s also the Stoves of Troy display, which showcases classic stoves and other decorative ironwork, and the By Water and By Land exhibit, highlighting the importance of the river, road, and rail transportation in Troy.

Swing by the Kate Mullany National Historic Site

Women in the workforce is heavily admired in the city of Troy, and the Kate Mullany National Historic Site is only one of the places that upholds that idea.

The historic site is located along 8th St, sporting a modest three-brick house established during the 1860s.

The site is named after Kate Mullany, an Irish immigrant recognized for creating the all-female “Collar Laundry Union” labor union in 1864.

Mullany was a laundry worker who was one of the many women that labored in oppressive heat, working 14 hours a day for $2 a week.

When you visit the historic site, you’ll learn more about Troy’s early days and the entire story behind Kate Mullany’s courage to reconstruct the community’s norms and make the city a better place for women.

Dive into Troy’s Industrial History at the Burden Iron Works Museum

Exterior of Burden Iron Works Museum

Danski14, CC SA 1.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Walking around the streets of Troy can make you feel like you’re inside a giant history book, even more so when you visit the Burden Iron Works Museum.

Located along E Industrial Pkwy, the Burden Iron Works Museum is considered one of Troy’s most prized possessions in terms of culture and heritage.

The museum sits near the Hudson River and Wynantskill Creek and lets visitors get a good look at what was once an integral part of the city’s industrial history.

Entrance door of Burden Iron Works Museum

Danski14, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Walk along the halls, where you’ll see the birthplace of the U.S.S. Monitor that replaced the Liberty Bell and Troy’s Tiffany Treasures, which are stained-glass artworks.

You’ll also see several innovative products, such as stoves, horseshoes, fire hydrants, and railroad spikes, to name a few.

Traverse the Uncle Sam Bike Trail

Hop on your bike and drown out the sound of the busy streets and bustling districts around Troy when you traverse the Uncle Sam Bike Trail along Ingalls Ave.

Exploring this seven-mile trail is the perfect way to appreciate the quiet and serene side of Troy and see nothing but natural landscapes gracing your eyes.

Kick off the adventure by riding along the concrete bike lanes in South Troy before reaching the paved bike trail on the eastern side of Knickerbacker Park.

During your trip, you’ll also come across Cemetery Road and Northern Drive, which paints a more relaxing picture of Troy with its surrounding trees and grasslands.

Eventually, you’ll reach a wooded area where the sunlight seeps in through the open spaces between the branches, making a great backdrop for your photos.

Check Out Works from The Arts Center

Immerse yourself in Troy’s vibrant community when you swing by The Arts Center and get a good look at creative works from budding and renowned artists.

The Arts Center on River St is famed for its rotating exhibits and public art, which you’ll see scattered across downtown Troy.

Cultural and creative expression are very much alive in the exhibits you’ll see in The Arts Center, setting no boundaries for those who want to foster their artistic talents while sending a message.

And if you want to see other artworks that aren’t confined to one space, take a walk around downtown where you’ll see hundreds of them.

Some of these public artworks come from light art installations, murals, alley paintings, and decorated windows, among others.

Spend a Relaxing Day at Prospect Park

Troy sign at Prospect Park

UpstateNYer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There’s nothing better than spending your rest day walking around a calming space and admiring your surroundings.

In Troy, you can surround yourself with a tranquil area where you can be alone with your thoughts at Prospect Park.

The park covers 80 acres and is one of the three major parks across Troy.

The view from Prospect Park

Wmccah, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lay a blanket under the cool shade of the trees and take a sip of your favorite drink while reading a book.

But if you’re looking to engage in physical activities, you can get some much-needed exercise by playing on the tennis, basketball, handball courts, soccer and softball fields, or hanging out by the playground.

Tennis ball at Prospect Park

Marksupial /

Explore the Waterways with Captain JP Cruise Line

Enjoy a scenic tour of Troy along the Hudson River when you climb aboard Captain JP III.

Captain JP Cruise Line is located on River St and lets you go on a refreshing tour along the waterways in Troy, where you’ll enjoy spending time with your loved ones.

As you hop on the cruise, you’ll be treated to open-air decks, spacious dance floors, and full-service bars.

Dance under the light of the stars, have a few drinks as you celebrate a special occasion, or simply enjoy panoramic views of Troy from wherever you are.

Complete your terrific cruise experience by satisfying your cravings by eating in the onboard gallery.

Cross the Historic Green Island Bridge

Daytime view of Green Island Bridge

Jag9889, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Built in 1981, the Green Island bridge served as a pathway that connected Green Island to Troy and passed through Starbuck Island.

The vertical lift bridge would be raised occasionally when there’s river traffic.

As you pass through this bridge, you’ll get a panoramic view of the Hudson River and Troy’s scenic view.

During the early years when the Green Island Bridge was nonexistent, a wood-truss-covered bridge occupied the space known as the Rensselaer and Saratoga Railroad bridge.

When it caught fire in 1862, the structure was replaced by a steel railroad bridge in 1884 owned by the Delaware and Hudson Railroad.

Light Up Your Night at the Troy Glo Winter Lighting Festival

As you walk around the streets of Troy, you’ll notice some shops or maybe even common destinations you can find elsewhere.

But if there’s one thing unique to Troy, it’s the annual Troy Glo Winter Lighting Festival.

The festival is organized by The Arts Center and is done to commemorate or revive Troy’s 18th-century architecture.

The festival is usually held from December to January the next year and showcases unique light art installations that you won’t find anywhere else.

Over 25,000 visitors flock to downtown Troy during this event, coinciding with the Victorian Stroll.

Save the Environment with Matt’s Refillery

Exploring the streets of Troy can mean that trash piles up every time you go somewhere new or try something different.

Luckily, Matt’s Refillery on River St can help you with that problem.

Help the environment by reducing single-plastic consumption and make your way towards sustainable living when you visit Matt’s Refillery.

All you have to do is bring your own bottles and jars, and you’ll get to fill up on products like detergent, shampoo, conditioner, and more.

Matt’s Refillery is usually open between Tuesday and Friday, so you have enough time to swing by the store and pick up on some basic needs.

Attend a Concert at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall

Exterior of the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall

UpstateNYer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Situated along State St is the historic Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, famed for its acoustics and striking architecture.

Buy tickets to get the best seats in the house and enjoy the orchestral and chamber music bouncing around the walls of this 1,180-seater.

Troy Savings Bank was founded in 1823 and moved to its current location in 1870 after spending decades operating from small banking offices.

The new space included a music hall designed by George Browne Post to show the bank’s appreciation for loyal clients.

Today, you’ll still see the original granite stairs adorning the facility and iron staircases leading up to the balcony and gallery, completing Post’s vision of the music hall sporting a Beaux Arts and French Renaissance style.

Look into the Future at the Focus Lab

It might take a couple more years before people can learn how to fly, but the future of sustainable living and urban design is just within an arm’s reach.

If you find that hard to believe, why not make your way to the Focus Lab on 3rd St and look into the future of design with the interactive exhibit?

At the Focus Lab, you’ll learn more about urban design solutions and how experts are coming up with unique and innovative ways to create space while integrating the elements of creativity.

There are also many informative exhibits that talk about topics like the ecology of the Hudson River and industrial waterfronts, to name a few.

Focus Lab is also a kid-friendly space where children can learn by building their boats, constructing waterfronts, and checking out various interactive exhibits.

Final Thoughts

The city of Troy is indeed a lively and busy place that’s filled with fun and unique adventures.

And if you’re planning on creating lifetime memories while in the city, you must stick to this list of the best things to do in Troy, New York.

Book now and begin your adventure soon!

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