Things To Do In Niagara Falls and Buffalo, NY


Things To Do In Niagara Falls and Buffalo, NY

It is time for the 2014 edition of What 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 100+ 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 Allegany). 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”. If you have anything you would like to see added to this list for Western NY, please leave a comment and I will update the list!

Buffalo

• 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.

Buffalo Botanical Gardens

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

Albright Knox Art Gallery – This is a world class modern art museum. On the first Friday of the month, from 10-10, courtesy of M&T Bank, there will be free admission

Black Rock and Riverside Tour of Gardens August 2, 2014

Buffalo Garden Walk – July 26 and 27, 2014, 10am-4pm

Buffalo Lighthouse

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

Burchfield Penny Art Center – Across the street from the Albright Knox, it has really come into its own in recent years.

Buffalo Religious Arts Center

Buffalo Zoo – This is the third oldest zoo in the country.

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 from May 15th through October 23, 2014 on Main Street in the heart of Downtown Buffalo (Main between Court & Church Streets)

• Erie Basin Marina and Erie Basin Marina Gardens – they are under new management this year from Smith Boys, and you can contact them by calling the number on their website, or via facebook.

Erie Canal Harbor

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.

Grain Elevators

Forgotten Buffalo Bus Tour

Iron Island Museum

Kleinhans Music Hall

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 19, 2014 in Delaware Park (near the Marcy Casino).

Outer Harbor Concerts The easiest access is with a water taxi.

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.

Preservation Buffalo Niagara Tours

Pumping Station Pump House Tour – People come from all over the world for this one!

Rotary Rink – outdoor ice skating

Shea’s Performing Arts Center – this year’s events range from the Broadway musical Beauty and the Beast to Evita to Stuart Little

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.

• Thursday in the Square is under new management. A new listing of dates and events will be found here.

Tifft Farm Nature Preserve

• Ulrich’s Tavern – Open over 50,000 straight days (that is over 140 years folks), it is the oldest continuously open tavern in Buffalo

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)

Festivals

While there is a festival (or three) every weekend in the city of Buffalo, these three of note are:

Allentown Art Festival – June 14th and 15th, 2014, 11am – 6pm (get there early, this one gets crowded! Here are some of my Allentown Art Festival finds from last year!

Taste of Buffalo – July 12th and 13th, 2014, Saturday 11-9, Sunday 11-7

National Chicken Wing Festival – August 30th and 31st, 2014, Saturday 12-9, Sunday 12-7

Water Activities

• Buffalo Water Taxis are being operated by Queen City Ferry

Catamaran

Historic Buffalo River Tours

Kayaking

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.

Erie County

Chestnut Ridge Park

Eden Corn Festival – July 31st, August 1, 2, 3, 2014

Erie County Fair – August 6th – 17th, 2014 this is the third largest county fair in the US

Erie County Wine Trail

Explore & More Children’s Museum – East Aurora

Graycliff

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.

Lancaster Opera House

The Lackawanna Steel Plant Museum

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, and one in Niagara Falls.

Martin’s Fantasy Island – Amusement Park

The Roycroft Inn

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!

Beaches

Beaver Island State Park

Bennett Beach

Evengola State Park

Hamburg Beach

Wendt Beach

Woodlawn Beach

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls Spring, 2013
Niagara Falls Summer 2013
Niagara Falls Autumn 2013
Niagara Falls Winter 2014

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!

Devil’s Hole State Park

Goat Island – Take the walk to see the Bridal Veil up close, as well as the American and Canadian Falls. Goat Island is the oldest state park in the US. Goat Island Photographs

Maid of the Mist – You must go at least once in your life!

Niagara Falls Aquarium

Niagara Falls Park, Goat Island and Three Sisters Islands pictures

Niagara Power Project Vista

Observation Tower

Three Sisters Islands

Click here for more Niagara Falls attractions.

Niagara County

Art Park note that this is the Tuesday concerts $7 advance purchase, more the week of the concert.

Basilica of the National Shrine of our Lady of Fatima – My grandparents would go monthly. They thought the Basilica was beautiful.

• Bedford Beach, Somerset, New York

Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum – North Tonawanda

Lewiston Art Festival – August 9 & 10, 2014, 10-6

Lockport & Erie Canal Tours – Warning, this really is a slow boat!

Niagara Country Fair – July 30, 2014 to Sunday August 3, 2014

Niagara County Wine Trail

North Tonawanda History Museum

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 Thanks Rebecca

Old Fort Niagara – I’ve gone during the spring, summer and for the haunting in late October.

Other

Allegany County Fair – July 15th – 20th

Allegany State Park

Amish Trail – mainly located in Cattaraugus county

Arcade & Attica Railroad – We went yearly when Sonny-boy was young – he absolutely loved it!

Brown’s Berry Patch – Ice cream, U-pick, food, this place is a mob scene on the weekends.

Busti Apple Festival – September 29th

Cattaraugus County Enchanted Mountains

Cattaraugus County Fair – July 28 – August 3, 2014

Chautauqua County Fair July 21-27, 2014, Dunkirk

Chautauqua Institute Thanks Marissa!

Here is a link to the Chautauqua Wine trail Thanks Kim!

Darien Lake – There is an amusement park, concerts and camping.

Genesee County Fair – August 18-24, 2014

Genesee County Village and Museum

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge (Alabama Swamps)

Letchworth State Park – Absolutely beautiful. Here are my Letchworth State Park photographs

Lily Dale

Lucy- Desi Museum

NYS Leaf Peeping Calendar

Orleans County Fair – July 21 – 26, 2014

Rock City Park – Olean Thanks Stephanie!

Seaway Trail – Here’s a map of how little or how much you can travel it.

Wyoming County Fair – August 9 – 16, 2014

Zoar Valley – If you are into hiking, this is a great place.


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Comments

  1. Al McCullough says:

    Good info. My wife and I were there last October and both enjoyed the Buffalo Bites walking tour as well as the city hall observation deck.

  2. I would love to visit Niagra Falls. Maybe one day. You sure put a lot of work into this post!

    • It is easier now, Shell. This is my fourth year, so I build on what I did prior years, and of course people add things they like to do in comments. When I originally started this list, I called my uncle – who volunteers all over the place, and he gave me many leads I didn’t have. My father and grandfather did the same.

      Ann

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