Capital Region Hot Spots


Whistling Kettle
254 Broadway, Troy
874.1938; email:;
Fans of the Whistling Kettle in Ballston Spa now have a Troy location to taste and learn about teas and more. Located at 254 Broadway, the shop offers a larger retail/tea room area than the companion location, as well as a room for private parties. Opened in March 2014, the Troy shop quickly became a hot spot to explore teas, tea ware and tasty foods for enjoyment on site or elsewhere. We’ve been a big hit when we picked up selections for picnics and purchased teas of the month as a gift for a tea lover. The web site at is stocked with educational information about all-things tea and offers online ordering opportunities.

Spectrum Theatre
290 Delaware Avenue, Albany
Locally owned and operated since 1983, the Spectrum 8 is known for showing first-run independent foreign and Hollywood films that are provocative, entertaining and thought-provoking. This 8-screen theater, with Dolby digital and stereo surround sound in a 1940s Art Deco setting, provides an intimate atmosphere for movie-going. After one showing, we joined with our fellow moviegoers in spontaneous applause. Then there are the added touches–coffees, teas and baked goods at the snack area and an opportunity to order movie posters to remember favorite flicks. Check the web site for announcements of special events, including conversations with independent filmmakers, in addition to movie schedules and more.


New World Bistro
300 Delaware Avenue, Albany
After seeing a movie at the Spectrum, why not go down the street to the New World Bistro for food and drink? Described as a gastro pub, Executive Chef Ric Orlando’s 80-seat restaurant, with a mahogany bar from the 1939 World’s Fair, has the flavor of neighborhood eateries that dot the streets in New York City. The menu incorporates regionally grown organic ingredients and has special listings for vegan and gluten-free selections. Last year, the Albany restaurant celebrated its fifth anniversary. New World Bistro continues to garner “best of” recognition and to be a place to go in the Capital Region.


Sky Zone
50 Simmons Lane, Albany
At the Sky Zone, the place is jumping—in popularity and literally. This indoor trampoline park is a resource for exercise in terms of burning calories, getting a low-impact workout and building up balance and coordination and, of course, just pure fun. Jumpers are separated by size, and everybody wears “skysocks” on the apparatus. Check the web site for the different programs, such as adult dodgeball, basketball dunking, family fun night, toddler time (ages 4 and under), sky mania (ages 10-15), jumpalooza, and the foam zone where you can land in thousands of foam cubes. Parties and events can be arranged as well. The web site explains waivers and parent/guardian consents necessary to jump. The Albany location opened in late November 2014. You’ll find Sky Zones in other U.S. locations, as well as Mexico, Canada and Australia.


Helsinki Hudson
405 Columbia Street, Hudson
“Hot music—great food”—that’s the shorthand way Helsinki Hudson describes its popular offerings. Bookings include musicians, poets, lecturers and more. Housed in a 19th century industrial building repurposed with green techniques, the facility includes a restaurant, and two performance areas, as well as a recording space and a gallery. Events and parties also can be booked. Among the diverse upcoming acts are the Voodoo Orchestra North with jazz drummer and improviser Bobby Previte, indie-rock singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins, gospel and soul legend Mavis Staples, and Bindlestiff Family Cirkus. That’s just February. Helsinki Hudson’s goal is to forge “connections between all ethnicities, ages and experience to reflect the culture and human spirit through innovative programming.” The restaurant offers rustic new American comfort food inspired by the Hudson Valley, the South’s low country, and more in a comfortable setting.


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