Washington Park

Between playhouse performances, tennis and basketball courts and a playground, there's plenty of outdoor activities at Washington Park to keep the whole family entertained for a fun-filled afternoon in Albany.

Since its conception in the late 1800s by Central Park’s very own Fredrick Olmstead, Washington Park has served as the Capital Region’s most beautiful outdoor park. With over 80 acres of land equipped with dozens of tennis and basketball courts, a 5.2-acre lake, a skateboard park and a children’s playground, the park is a recreational hotspot: enjoy fun outdoor activities and live entertainment, or simply take a stroll through the park’s lively forest, which contains hundreds of different tree and animal species. The park also features statutes and monuments, a lake house and amphitheater, a stone footbridge, and Knox Street Mall. Several special events and community gatherings are hosted at Washington Park throughout the year, including the spring’s annual Albany Tulip Festival, which showcases over 100,000 tulips and features music performances. 

Admission to Washington Park is free and parking is available along the park’s roads. 

I really am so lucky to be able to have a park that has so many events to go and walk to for free. Between the free park musicals in the summer, tulip festivals, and farmers markets, it really is a gem. Even just taking a walk around the park and ping to the dog park that is there is cool.

—Corey, TripAdvisor

Hours of Operation

May to October:

Sunday-Saturday: Sunrise – 11:00 PM

November to April:

Sunday-Saturday: Sunrise – 10:00 PM  

Capital Holiday Lights in the Park

Washington Park is a Capital Region staple year round, but it’s an extra special place to be during the holidays, when the Capital Holiday Lights in the Park is in full swing. The week before the event’s kickoff is packed full with different donation events that get the whole family into the holiday spirit, and all the proceeds benefit the Albany Police Athletic League (PAL), which organizes the light show, and their local juvenile crime prevention programs.

Luckily, this year’s 24th Annual Capital Lights in the Park Grand Opening is just around the corner on Fri., Nov. 27; from then on, the show will continue every night through Jan. 3, 2021! Start the celebrations the right way with this weekend’s special events, and witness for yourself the holiday magic and cheer that brings tens of thousands of families back to Albany every year!

Special Nights at the Lights:

Drive-Through Sneak Peak 

Friday, November 20 and Saturday, November 21- 6-9pm

Start the holiday celebrations off early this weekend with a special sneak peak into this year’s Lights on the Lake show, a spectacular light show that features holiday music and heartwarming displays. Grab the family, bring some blankets, maybe some popcorn and hot chocolate (Why not? That’s what the holidays are for!) and watch as the illuminated magic plays out around and above you, all from the warmth and comfort of your vehicle! Don’t miss out– those who enjoy the sneak peak preview will also receive a Bounce Back pass with their admission, valid for another visit during this year’s show season!

“Triple F” Food Walk 

Sunday, November 22 – 5:45-7:30 p.m.

This year, the PAL wants to celebrate the holidays the best way they know how– by giving back to the community. That’s why they created the “Triple F” (Food For Friends) Walk, a new addition to the holiday festivities but one that is sure to stick around, as it benefits the Capital District’s local food pantries. Bring a non-perishable food item to donate and take a leisurely, socially distanced stroll around the lake with friends and family. Admission is $5 per person or $10 per family.

Bike & Lights

Sunday, November 22 4:30-5:30 p.m.

For those looking for an especially unique (and active!) light-viewing experience, bring your bike and see the magic from a different perspective! Not only will the exercise warm you up, but knowing you ride for a cause will, too–all proceeds from bike night are used to purchase helmets and recondition bikes for under served youth in the Capital Region community. Suggested donation is $5 per adult or $10 per family.

Pet Walk Night 

Monday, November 23 – 5-7 p.m.

This annual favorite is back for 2020! Bring your fur babies and walk the beautiful Lights around the Lake during the walk-only night to benefit local charities in the surrounding community. Suggested donations $5.00 per person or $10.00 per family. Social distancing and masks are required.

Trolleys

Celebrating a special occasion, or just really into the holiday spirit? Book your visit through the Capital Holiday Light’s website and schedule a trolley or limousine to transport your party through the light show!

For more information or trolley reservations, call (518) 286-4444.

The light show runs Sunday through Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 10 p.m. Admission prices are $25.00 per car, $30.00 for 10-18 passenger vehicle, cash only.

Take Amtrak to Washington Park

Explore the beauty of nature via Amtrak to Albany-Rensselaer Station in Albany-Rensselaer – Don’t forget to use the Amtrak See New York and Save 15% Discount! 

Get picked up from Albany-Rensselaer Station and taken to your reserved NYTRAIN Enterprise Rent-a-Car. Click here to reserve your car or call the Albany office today at 518-427-3893.