200 Things To Do In Niagara Falls and Buffalo, NY
A listing of 200 Things To Do In Niagara Falls and Buffalo, NY that are family friendly activities. From state parks to museums, to architecture and zoos, there is a lot to do in Niagara Falls, New York, Buffalo, New York, and all of Western New York. Planning a visit to Niagara Falls, Buffalo or Western New York? Live in Niagara Falls, Buffalo or Western New York and searching for something to do this weekend? be sure to check out this extensive lists of things to do in Niagara Falls, and Buffalo, New York.
It is time for the 2016 edition of Things To Do In Buffalo and Niagara Falls with updated dates, new festivals, added landmarks, and more fun and attractions for the whole family to enjoy! If you are making a trip to Niagara Falls, don’t neglect the rest of Western New York. There is so much to do and see in this beautiful area, that this list of 200+ Things To Do In Niagara Falls and Buffalo, NY is just the tip of it.
When people say “Buffalo”, they are usually referring to the eight counties of Western New York (Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Wyoming, Orleans, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegheny). There are so many things to do in Western New York that I cannot possibly list them all. I am once again concentrating on Erie and Niagara County, New York. At the end of this post I do list some popular area attractions outside these two counties under “other” (and it is growing every year!). If you have anything you would like to see added to this list for Western New York attractions, please leave a comment and I will update the list!
• Buffalo Architecture – known worldwide for its world class architecture, Buffalo is an architectophile’s dream from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fontana Boathouse to his Darwin Martin House along with the Richardson-Olmsted Complex (the old psych center) to Millionaire Row on Delaware Ave, there are hundreds of turn of the 20th century buildings to be viewed in Buffalo in the surrounding areas. If you are interested, the Hotel at the Lafayette has been recently restored at a cost of over 40 million dollars. Buffalo Architecture is so outstanding, the National Preservation Conference was held in the city in October 2011 to rave reviews! This is an excellent list of architecturally significant buildings in Buffalo and those that give indoor tours.
• Big Ditch Brewing Co – they do give tours. Contact the brewing company for times.
• The Broadway Market – established in 1888 on Buffalo’s East Side, the Broadway Market is jammed full of people Easter and Christmas week. Whatever you do, I do not advise Good Friday. Did that once, never again… wow the crowds!
• The Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society – This is the only non government entity owning a presidential assassin weapon. While it is on permanent display, it is viewed by request only. Admission is free the third Friday of every month courtesy of M&T Bank
• Buffalo Bites Food Tours – three-hour guided walking tour of the Elmwood Village where you will eat delicious samples from local eateries and explore the exquisite architecture, history and present day vibrancy of this neighborhood. This delicious and memorable experience will entice you to come back to the Elmwood Village.
• Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival April 30 – May 7, 2016 in the Japanese Gardens in Delaware Park (behind the Historical Museum)
• Buffalo Fire Museum – 1850 William Street Buffalo, NY 14206
• Buffalo Garden Walk – July 30 and 31, 2016, 10am-4pm
• Buffalo Museum of Science – a year round pass is the most economical way to see the Science Museum. Twice and it is paid for!
• Buffalo Naval Park The USS Sullivans made my list as one of the Top 10 Family Friendly Spooky Places in New York State.
• Buffalo Pedal Tours – Green Powered Bike Tours
• Buffalo Saturday Artisan Market Two Saturdays per month, May – October. Note: there is also a Artisan Market in the Winter Village at Canalside Thursday and Friday from 2-8pm, every Saturday from 11am – 5pm, and every Sunday from 12-6pm.
• Buffalo Touring Company – Segway Tours
• Buffalo Zoo – This is the third oldest zoo in the country.
• Burchfield Penny Art Center – Across the street from the Albright Knox, it has really come into its own in recent years.
– Arts & Culture
– Artisan Market in the Winter Village at Canalside Thursday and Friday from 2:00-8:00, every Saturday from 11:00-5:00, and every Sunday from 12:00-6:00.
– Celebrations & Festivals
– Music & Concerts
• Central Terminal Tours – This is the old train station on the East Side. If you have never seen it, I urge you to take the opportunity and see what this Art Deco train station built just before the Depression began, looks like.
• The Colored Musicians Club – According to my uncle (who frequents the club), your best night to go is Sunday at 8PM. The other bands listed are practice sessions. You go in the door on the far left. Ring the “door bell” buzzer and wait for the “click” then pull. Plenty of parking in the area.
• Downtown Country Market – Tuesdays and Thursdays, May – October on Main Street in the heart of Downtown Buffalo (Main between Court & Church Streets)
• E. M. Cotter – the oldest active fireboat in the world. Tours of the boat are by appointment only.
• Erie Basin Marina and Erie Basin Marina Gardens
• Explore Buffalo offers: Bus tours, Kayak tours, Bike tours, History courses, etc This is the 2016 calendar of tours. You can save money (if you plan on taking a lot of tours) with the explorer pass.
• Forest Lawn Cemetery Tours – Notable graves include US President Millard Fillmore, Seneca Indian Chief Red Jacket, as well as Song Writer Rick James. Fascinating and beautiful. Also see Blue Sky Mausoleum
• Frank Lloyd Wright Fontana Boathouse – Buffalo rowing boathouse on the Black Rock Canal. Photos are allowed inside and out.
• Flying Bison Brewery Tours – Thursdays and Fridays @ 6pm, and Saturdays at 1pm & 4pm
• Harbor Center – 100 Washington Street, Buffalo, NY. Open public skating and open hockey is open year round. There are a lot of tournamnts, College hockey teams, hockey leagues, NHL Combine, NHL Draft, NHL Coacing Clinics and more held at the Harbor Center. Times for open skates are listed here, or call the Harbor Center.
• Ice Bikes – Combines the activity of riding a bike along with the ability to perform this feat while on the surface of the ice. Ice Bikes of Buffalo will give you a way to participate on the ice if you are not the best on ice skates.
• Irish Classical Theatre Company – 625 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203
• Iron Island Museum Considered one of the Top 10 Spooky Places to Visit in New York State This is not considered kid friendly as there are confirmed sightings by Ghost Hunters, Ghost Lab, My Ghost Story.
• Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum – is the world’s largest private collection of original manuscripts and documents. There are 14 museums are located in 12 cities (Buffalo has 2 of the museums) 220 North Street, Buffalo, NY 14201 and 453 Porter Ave.
Buffalo, New York 14201
• Nash House Museum – 36 Nash St, Buffalo, NY 14204, Open Thursday and Saturday, 11:30am – 4pm
• New Era Cap Flagship Store – seems like a weird addition to this list, buuuut New Era Cap is based in Buffalo, and the store has a decent amount of sports memorabilia if you are into looking at that sort of stuff.
• Olmsted Park System Golf courses, running tracks, tennis courts, Japanese gardens, swing sets and more. You name it and the Olmsted Park system has it, including free Shakespeare in the Park performances beginning June 23, 2016 in Delaware Park (near the Marcy Casino).
• Parkside Garden and Architecture Tour June 26, 2016 10am to 4pm. The tour begins outside of the historic Church of the Good Shepherd, 96 Jewett Parkway. A full color map and garden directory will be available for $5 on the day of the tour.
• Pierce Arrow Museum My father and grandfather both raved about this place! Apparently it is a showcase for old Pierce Arrows (duh) as well as early automotive inventions.
• Pumping Station Pump House Tour – People come from all over the world for this one!
• Rotary Rink – outdoor ice skating at Fountaiin Plaza
• Shea’s Performing Arts Center – this year’s events range from the Broadway musical Beauty and the Beast to Evita to Stuart Little
• St Joseph Cathedral located at 50 Franklin Street, is currently the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.
• St Louis Church – 780 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14202 My grandfather was buried from St Louis. The photos online just do not do it justice. If you are on an archtectual or religious tour of Buffalo, make certain tio stop in. It is simply breathtaking.
• Cofeld Judaic Museum of Temple Beth Zion – 805 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY
• Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site aka the Wilcox Mansion. This is where Teddy Roosevelt was inaugurated after William McKinley was assassinated during the Pan American Exposition in 1901. Museum visits are by guided tour only.
• UB Anderson Gallery Martha Jackson Place, Buffalo, NY 14214
• Underground Railroad Tours – Trace the route black slaves used to make their way to freedom in Canada (remember if you plan on going into Canada you need a passport or enhanced driver’s license)
While there is a festival (or three) every weekend in the city of Buffalo, these three of note are:
• Taste of Buffalo – July 9th (11am-9pm) and 12th, 2016 (11am-7pm)
Delaware Avenue, Downtown Buffalo
From Chippewa Street to Niagara Square
• National Chicken Wing Festival – September 3rd (12-9pm) and 4th,2016 (12-7pm)
• Buffalo Lighthouse – One of the oldest structures on the Great Lakes, the 1833 Buffalo Light is a beautifully resilient monument to Buffalo’s maritime history. Cooperation between the city, the US Coast Guard, and the Buffalo Lighthouse Association, Lighthouse Point Park resulted in the tours of the lighthouse resuming. This is one I would check their facebook page to find out new tours and events.
• Buffalo Water Taxis are being operated by Queen City Ferry
• Hoyt Lake Rowboats – Delaware Park Lake
• Ice Bikes Single Rider $12 per half hour, located on the site of the old Memorial Auditorium
• Queen City Ferry Company – Narrated Buffalo River History Tours are available daily from 10:30am-12pm for $14 adults and $10 for children.
• Spirit of Buffalo – day and evening cruises on a classic 73 foot topsail schooner.
• Cheektowaga Historical Museum – 3329 Broadway, Cheektowaga, NY 14227, Open Sunday 2-4pm
• Eden Corn Festival – August 4,5,6,7, 2016
• Elbert Hubbard Roycroft Museum – 363 Oakwood Avenue
East Aurora, NY 14052 Open Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from June – October. Tours begin at 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30 and 3 pm
• Erie County Fair – August 10-21, 2016 this is the third largest county fair in the US, 10th largest fair in North America
• Erie County Fishing Map – places to fish in Erie county
• Explore and More Children’s Museum – 300 Gleed Ave East Aurora, NY 14052
• Glen Park 5565 Main St, Williamsville, NY 14221 No pets (which is sad). This is a beautiful little park located on Main Street in Williamsville.
• Hamburg Brewing Company – tours are available for a $15 fee, first come, first served (haha, get it!?)
• Kazoo Factory – I think this is something to encourage your school to plan a field trip rather than you taking a day with the kids. However, if you are passing by Eden, it is interesting.
• Kelkenberg Farm – Clarence Center… they have had farm tours for a loooong time. Heck, I went with Sonny-boy’s kindergarten class over 20 years ago!
• Made in the America Store – This is the only brick and mortar general merchandise store in the U.S. that sells exclusively 100% American made products. The story is interesting – the manufacturers need to send along certificates that all ingredients, components, the packaging, the glue for the boxes – everything to do with the product needs to be made in the USA. This is my trip to the main Made in America Store. They now have more locations, including the Eastern Hills Mall, Galleria, Blvd Mall, McKinley Mall and one in Niagara Falls.
• Maple Syrup Tours – there are 438 Maple Syrup producers listed on the NYS Maple Syrup website. Many bigger producers have tours. You really have to enter your zip code for what is in your area. Tree tapping is big business as well as hobby-business in NYS. Heck, the people who watch Max when we go on vacation tap their front trees, and they live about 5 miles from us!!
• Martin’s Fantasy Island – Amusement Park
• Millard Fillmore Presidential Site – 24 Shearer Avenue
East Aurora, NY 14052 Open Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from June – October. Tours begin at 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30 and 3 pm
• Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve & Environmental Education Center – 93 Honorine Drive, Depew, NY 14043
• Sugar Shack – A working maple syrup production facility (sugar shack) and a working sawmill are also located here. These facilities are open to public tours and demonstrations when in season (free, permit required).
• Vidler’s 5 and 10 – yeah I know it is a store but it is super cool… and besides East Aurora works really hard at quaint, and succeeds!
• Western New York Railway Historical Society – depots in Orchard Park and Williamsville
• Williamsville Water Mill – no longer working, but it us on the backside of Glen Park. Sweet Jenny moved into the space, and that is worth the stop!
• Gallagher Beach – Outer Harbor, Buffalo, NY
• The Falls – Ok raise your hand if the only time you go is when out of town company arrives! Take a day trip and see how truly majestic The Falls are, and stay for the night-time lighting.
• If you have a passport or enhanced driver’s license something fun to do is walk across the Rainbow Bridge to Canada. I believe the cost is still $2. When you do, the flags denotes the border. Take your picture with one foot in the US, and the other foot in Canada. Sure it is touristy, but it is also kinda neat!
• Cave of Winds – Prepare to be soaked!
• Maid of the Mist – You must go at least once in your life!
• Niagara Gorge Discovery Center – 200 Robert Moses Pkwy N., Niagara Falls, NY 14303
• Click here for more Niagara Falls attractions.
• Art Park – 450 South 4th Street, Lewiston, NY 14092
• Basilica of the National Shrine of our Lady of Fatima – 1023 Swann Rd, Lewiston, NY. My grandparents would go monthly. They thought the Basilica was beautiful.
• Bedford Beach, Somerset, New York
• Castellani Art Museum – 5795 Lewiston Rd, Niagara Univ, NY 14109
• Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum – 180 Thompson St. North Tonawanda. Open Wednesday through Sunday from Noon until 4PM.
• Lewiston Art Festival – August 13 & 14 2016 (10am-6pm)
• Lockport & Erie Canal Tours – Warning, this really is a slow boat!
• Niagara Country Fair – August 3 to August 7, 2016
• Niagara River Fishing – my cousin came up a few years ago to salmon fish. Apparently, the lower Niagara River is BIG salmon fishing in the United States. Who knew!? Here is the lower Niagara River fishing access map.
• Olcott Beach – Cute shops, a beach and an adjacent park to picnic. I honestly can’t imagine swimming there as Lake Ontario is never warm! Don’t forget Krull Park
• Olcott Beach Carousel Park – 25¢ rides
• Old Fort Niagara – I’ve gone during the spring, summer and for the haunting in late October. Old Fort Niagara made my list as one of the Top 10 Family Friendly Spooky Places in New York State.
Professional Sports Teams
• Buffalo Bandits (Lacrosse)
• Buffalo Bills (Football)
• Buffalo Bisons (AAA Baseball)
• Buffalo Sabres (Hockey)
Other WNY Counties
• Allegany County Fair – July 18th – 23rd, 2016
• Allenberg Bog – also known as Waterman’s Swamp, Congdon’s Pond, and Owlenburg Bog located on the border of Napoli and New Albion, New York in Cattaraugus County. 390 acres, includes two glacial kettle ponds with bogs, walking trails, and er, bogs.
• Alpaca Odyssey – Tours (individual or group) are by appointment only– 2 to 3 weeks notice
• Amish Trail – mainly located in Cattaraugus county
• Arcade & Attica Railroad – We went yearly when Sonny-boy was young – he absolutely loved it!
• Beaver Meadow – 324-acre nature preserve in North Java, NY.
• Bemus Point – Stowe Ferry – Traversing Chautauqua Lake for over 200 years, the Bemus Point – Stow Ferry is a slow, scenic way to cross the lake by car, motorcycle or on foot.
• Brown’s Berry Patch – Ice cream, U-pick, food, this place is a mob scene on the weekends.
• Busti Apple Festival – September 25th, 2016 (11am-5pm)
• Cattaraugus County Fair – August 1-7, 2016
• Chautauqua Belle – Steamship, Pirate, Fireworks and Cocktail Cruises
• Chautauqua County Fair July 25-31, 2016, Dunkirk, NY
• Darien Lake – There is an amusement park, concerts and camping.
• Genesee County Fair – August 22-28, 2016
• Gooseneck Hill Waterfowl Park & Sanctuary is the World’s largest waterfowl sanctuary. 5067 Lindsley Rd, West Valley, NY 14171
• Griffis Sculpture Park open from May 1 to October 31, dawn to dusk. 6902 Mill Valley Road, East Otto, NY 14729
• Hanging Bog Wildlife Management Area – Hanging Bog WMA is located approximately 6 miles north of the Village of Cuba in Allegany County. The landscape is made up of rolling hills, extensive forests and small fields.
• Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge (Alabama Swamps)
• Midway State Park – Rides & Arcade
• Orleans County Fair – July 25-30, 2016
• Panama Rocks – A half-mile long ridge of 60-foot high rock forming crevices, passageways, and caves hidden in an ancient forest!
• Rock City Park – 505 Route 16 South, Olean, NY. 14760
• Salamanca Rail Museum – 170 N Main St, Salamanca, NY 14779
• Seneca-Iroquois National Museum – 814 Broad Street, Salamanca, NY 14779
• Sprague’s Maple Farms Tours 1048 RT 305, Portville, NY 14770
• Wyoming County Fair – August 13-20, 2016 (they have the dates listed through 2020 if you are making travel plans)
• Zoar Valley – If you are into hiking, this is a great place.
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