A list of 150+ Things To Do In Niagara Falls and Buffalo, NY that are (mostly) 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.
150+ Things To Do In Niagara Falls and Buffalo, NY
The newest list can be found here: 365 Things to Do in Niagara Falls and Buffalo, NY – something to do every day of the year!
It is time for the 2015 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 150+ 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”. 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 Preservationist Tours offered of Buffalo’s City Hall (with its great observation deck), 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.
● 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 Garden Walk – July 25 and 26, 2015, 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 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 2:00-8:00, every Saturday from 11:00-5:00, and every Sunday from 12:00-6:00.
● 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 “doorbell” 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)
● Erie Basin Marina and Erie Basin Marina Gardens
● 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.
● 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
● 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.
● The National Buffalo Garden Festival June and July, 2015
● 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 18, 2015 in Delaware Park (near the Marcy Casino). 40th Summer Season, 2015!
● 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
● 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.
● 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 11th and 12th, 2015, Saturday 11-11, Sunday 11-7
● National Chicken Wing Festival – September 5th and 6th, 2015 Saturday 12-9, Sunday 12-7
● 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
● 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.
● Eden Corn Festival – August 6,7,8,9, 2015
● Erie County Fair – August 12-23, 2015 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 – East Aurora
● 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, and one in Niagara Falls.
● Martin’s Fantasy Island – Amusement Park
● 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
● 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 denote 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!
● Click here for more Niagara Falls attractions.
● Art Park
● 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 8 & 9 2015
● Lockport & Erie Canal Tours – Warning, this really is a slow boat!
● Niagara Country Fair – August 5 to August 9, 2015
● Niagara River Fishing – my cousin came up last year 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 Thanks Rebecca
● Old Fort Niagara – I’ve gone during the spring, summer and for the haunting in late October.
Professional Sports Teams
● Buffalo Bandits (Lacrosse)
● Buffalo Bills (Football)
● Buffalo Bisons (AAA Baseball)
● Buffalo Sabres (Hockey)
Other WNY Counties
● 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!
● 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 27th, 2015
● Cattaraugus County Fair – August 3-9, 2015
● Chautauqua Belle – Steamship, Pirate, Fireworks and Cocktail Cruises
● 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 24-30, 2015
● Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge (Alabama Swamps)
● Midway State Park – Rides & Arcade
● Orleans County Fair – July 27 – August 1, 2015
● 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 – Olean Thanks Stephanie!
● Zoar Valley – If you are into hiking, this is a great place.
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