What's it like to live in Albany, NY?

Profile written by local expert:

Katrina Woznicki

Located about 150 miles north of New York City on the west bank of the Hudson River, Albany serves as the capital of New York state and a midway point between the Hudson Valley to the south and the Adirondack Mountains to the north. Locally, Albany is known as the Tri-City Area. The region includes the smaller metro areas of Troy and Schenectady, which are historically more industrial.

Albany can be a transient region, with the working population shifting every time a new governor takes office. Yet throughout years of administrative changes, Albany has maintained a lively downtown that serves as both a commercial and cultural center. The region doesn't have the crowds or costs of a major metro area, and Albany has an old-world appeal to it. There are rows of colorfully painted, turn-of-the-century brownstones, the historic state capitol building and the iconic Empire State Plaza.

With New York state's Finger Lakes wine region to the west and Massachusetts' Berkshire Mountains to the east, the region is a springboard for foodies and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

See all the best places to live in New York.


U.S. News analyzed 150 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Albany, New York is ranked:

#47 in Best Places to Live

#56 in Best Places to Retire

#1 in Best Places to Live in New York

#23 in Safest Places to Live




Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
  • Value
  • Job Market
  • Quality of Life
  • Net Migration

Read how we rank places

Albany, NY Quick Stats

  • 880,481

    Metro Population

  • $54,400

    Average Annual Salary

  • 57.8° / 38.6°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 40.0

    Median Age

  • $204,250

    Median Home Price

  • 39.4 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 3.7%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $983

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 23.2 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What is there to do in Albany, NY?

At the heart of downtown is Lark Street, lined with small businesses, churches, galleries and wine shops featuring New York state vintages. Albany hosts First Fridays, a monthly event celebrating arts and culture where galleries, including those on Lark Street, open their doors to visitors for free and area businesses offer discounts.

Despite the heavy snowfall, residents don't hibernate in the winter. Hockey is very popular in Albany, and it's common to see ice skaters twirling around the Empire Skate Plaza at the base of the iconic Egg. This uniquely shaped facility was built in the 1970s and is the region's arts venue where you can enjoy ballet, theater and other performances.

What's the cost of living in Albany, NY?

The home ownership rate in Albany is just under 40%, with Albany homes selling for less than the national median sale price. The average income in Albany is also higher than the national average salary.

Looking for financial advice? Find a local financial advisor in Albany, New York.

Value Index

Index Score: 7.2 /10

How we calculate this.

Albany offers a better value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs 2019



Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Albany, NY.

What's the weather like in Albany, NY?

Albany has four very distinct seasons, with an agricultural growing season that typically begins in May and can end with frost as early as late September. Albany averages about 60 inches of snowfall per year.

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)









Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

2.9 in


3.6 in


4.1 in


3.7 in


Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Albany, NY?

Most people in Albany rely on their own cars to get around, and although traffic tends to pick up around peak commuting hours, getting around doesn't usually take too long. The average commute time is 23 minutes.

Meanwhile, the Capital District Transportation Authority provides residents with rail, bus and shuttle services, including the Rensselaer Rail. There's also the Northway Xpress Commuter Service, an express bus line that runs between neighboring Saratoga County to the north and downtown Albany.

Downtown Albany is easily walkable, and bicycling is gaining some ground in certain neighborhoods. The Albany Bicycle Coalition advocates for improved road conditions for cyclists and to educate communities about the health and environmental benefits of biking.

The Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak station offers rail service, with daily trains to New York City as well as train service to other metro areas across upstate New York. The closest option for air travel is Albany International Airport, which serves the Capital Region, northeastern New York state and western New England.

Commuting in Albany, NY

Means of Transportation
Above national average

Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Public Transit
Equal to national average
Average Commute Time

23.2 minutes

3.4 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Albany, NY?

The median age of an Albany resident is about 40 years old. This shows that Albany’s population is aging, which poses a problem for area business growth. Though the area’s population is growing slowly, younger residents are flocking to larger metro areas in search of jobs. A significant portion of the population is in the 45 to 64 age range, with some likely thinking about retirement.

Albany is home to numerous tight-knit, family-oriented communities. The Tri-City Area has a significant Catholic population, with nearly 30% of the population claiming affiliation. A little less than 45% of the population identifies as religious.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown

About the same number of single people in Albany as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.