A Look Around Town
I think downtown Albany and the Historic District are the nicest part of town. There are some nice shops and restaurants in the downtown area. It has a small town feel, with buildings built probably a century ago or so.
To the west and south of downtown lies the Historic District. The houses in this neighborhood were built a number of years ago. They are generally well kept up. Each house has a placard on it describing the historical significance of the house and when it was built.
"Drive Up Espresso"
In Albany, as in many Pacific Northwest cities, these little Espresso booths are very popular. You can drive up and order yourself some java to get your day going!
"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly..."
Other parts of Albany are not really that pretty, although the parks are nice. Some parts are outright ugly. There is a bit of a drug problem. Also some "gangs" (or at least gang-wannabees) that occasionally scribble graffiti around town. No gang violence to speak of, though.
There are a *lot* of train tracks that go through Albany. You hear a train go through town about every 10 minutes. There is one crossing by a switching station where the trains regularly sit on the crossing, blocking traffic for up to 15 minutes!
The other down side of Albany is the smell. When the wind is from the North, you smell the paper mill. Pew!