There is a lot to see and in Buffalo, New York that will not cost your family any money. Whether you live in Buffalo and want something cheap to do on the weekend, are visiting for the first, or fiftieth time, there is always a great new interesting place to explore.
10 Free Things to Do in Buffalo, New York
While I have my master list of 365 Things to Do in Niagara Falls and Buffalo, NY (I told ya there is a lot to do here!), I compiled this list of 10 Free Things to Do in Buffalo, NY for the days you would like something to do without spending a lot.
Whether a local or a tourist, these ten free things to do in Buffalo are worth the time:
1. Tour Buffalo City Hall
Buffalo’s city hall offers free tours! Visit at noon on a weekday for an hour-long tour of the 32-story building, which includes the observation deck with a 360° view of the city (on a clear day you can see Niagara Falls!) and the mayor’s office. Meet in the main lobby of the building to begin the tour.
The city hall building itself is an Art Deco masterpiece that was completed in 1931. When you go inside, you will see why it is considered one of the premier City Hall buildings in the country.
2. Canalside Buffalo
Canalside is an event hotspot at the intersection of Pearl Street and Marine Drive. The formerly deserted area now hosts free events, concerts, and workout groups. Grain elevators light up every night until 11pm for a colorful photo opportunity. If you visit Buffalo in the summer, you are likely to stumble upon something fun at Canalside!
While it is free to walk around, attend events, and take pictures with iconic statues, there are other attractions at Canalside that cost money, like ice cream shops and children’s museums. Take advantage of the free events by checking out the calendar!
3. Shakespeare in the Park
Cities all over the world celebrate the theatrical tradition of performing Shakespeare outdoors. Buffalo’s Shakespeare in Delaware Park (also known as SDP) is free and family-friendly. Since it is outdoors, Shakespeare in the Park is a seasonal attraction.
Founded in 1976 by students from SUNY Buffalo, SDP is one of the largest Shakespeare in the Park companies in the country. Every summer, they host one comedy and one tragedy. For a more family-friendly experience, make sure you attend their comedy show! So grab some popcorn, pop, and lawn chairs, and head over to the next Shakespeare in the Park!
4.Japanese Garden at Mirror Lake
This beautiful Japenese garden is perfect for hiking, photos, and just relaxing. It represents the connection Buffalo has with the city of Kanazawa, Japan, with an homage to Japanese shrubbery and architecture. Located behind the Historical Museum, the Japanese garden connects to the rest of Delaware Park, and it is free to explore this tiny paradise, so get your blanket and a camera ready and find a spot to relax!
The Japanese Garden was constructed in 1974 with the help of Japanese architects and landscape gardeners to ensure its authenticity. To celebrate Japanese culture there’s an annual Cherry Blossom Festival in the springtime! The festival offers free activities as well as paid options.
5. Albright-Knox Art Gallery
On the first Friday of every month, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery offers free admission! At the art gallery, you will find contemporary works from artists like Andy Warhol and Frida Kahlo. The museum is open until 10 pm on Friday nights, so you will have plenty of time to squeeze a visit into your schedule!
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery has been collecting art for well over a century. Their timeline shows their art acquisitions dating back to 1862 and which art style was used.
6. Forest Lawn Cemetery
Visit Forest Lawn Cemetary. I know it sounds odd, but Forest Lawn is both fascinating and beautiful. Using the self-guided tour app you can tour the cemetery for free visiting the notable graves within. Notable graves include US President Millard Fillmore, Seneca Indian Chief Red Jacket, as well as Song Writer Rick James.
Of course there is a paid tour available if you would like a guide and presenters.
7. War of 1812 Walking Tour
You can use this map to walk (or drive) the historic War of 1812 Trail.
8. Movies in the Meadow
very Friday evening in the month of August, the Parkside Community Association hosts the annual “Movies in the Meadow” program. Movies begin just after dusk in beautiful Delaware Park behind the Parkside Lodge (84 Parkside Ave, Buffalo, NY 14214).
9. Slow Roll Buffalo
Looking for something active to do in Buffalo? Slow Roll Buffalo is a free, slow-paced community bike ride that takes place every Monday. The event’s mission is simple: have fun exercising at your own pace. You’ll need to bring your own bike, and children under 14 are required to wear helmets (according to New York State law). Bring your bikes to Buffalo to enjoy this 10-mile leisurely ride!
To maintain everyone’s safety, Slow Roll Buffalo utilizes a police motorcade. There are sometimes over a thousand riders, all of whom can ride without worrying about a dangerous activity. This weekly event is truly safe and accessible for people of all ages!
10. Allentown Historic Neighborhood
This Buffalo neighborhood is historic, hip, and luxurious. In June, the Allentown Art Festival draws thousands of visitors to Buffalo for vendors and craft beer (image above). The festival is free to attend! You can also catch some live musical performances on the weekends. Every Saturday afternoon at 4:30 pm, a Celtic jam group performs at Nietzche’s, a casual bar in the neighborhood. Grab a beer and enjoy the show!
And while you are in Allentown, walk the streets for some beautiful, historic architecture. These types of homes are not available in many cities, but the Allentown district offers some real show-stoppers.
Western New York is full of wonderful attractions, and most of them are right in the heart of Buffalo. A weekend in this city is inexpensive, family-friendly, and fun. If you have not been to Buffalo already, add it to your bucket list!
You can spend as much or as little as you like to take in the area attractions, but these free items are a great way to spend less when you are enjoying your day trip, or week’s vacation, in the city of Buffalo.
If you decide to stay overnight, here is a great places to find a hotel: Buffalo, NY hotels.
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