You may already know Buffalo RiverWorks (359 Ganson Street) as the place with the massive grain elevators painted to resemble a six-pack of beer visible from cruising altitude. But RiverWorks, in a relatively short period of time, has become much, much more. One of Buffalo’s remarkable examples of adaptive reuse, RiverWorks is constructed in the footprint and ruins of the former GLF grain silos, a reminder of Buffalo’s strong industrial heritage. This brewery, restaurant, sports, leisure, adventure and entertainment complex has become a one-of-a-kind destination along Buffalo’s waterfront; here are our top nine ways to enjoy it.
A Beer Garden Like No Other: Built from the concrete ruins of a former grain elevator, the RiverWorks beer garden resembles a Buffalo-style Stonehenge and is adorned with firepits and quirky water features. On a warm, sunny day you’ll find hundreds of visitors downing a cold beverage in colorful Adirondack chairs, while enjoying views of downtown and the action on the Buffalo River. Some days, the aroma of freshly baked Cheerios will waft over from the nearby General Mills factory.
A Brewery Inside the Big Cans: Opened earlier this summer, we couldn’t think of a more fitting location for RiverWorks Brewery than INSIDE the huge grain silo six-pack. The brewery churns out fresh craft IPAs, saisons and ales to four on-site bars, including one inside the big six-pack adjacent to the beer garden outside.
Scale the Silos: Don’t look down! Channel your rock climber spirit and test your grip as you climb the walls of the towering grain elevators. There are plenty of options depending on how adventurous you are, with three climbing routes on the exterior walls – easy (35 ft.), medium (40 ft.) and difficult (50 ft.). And if the weather isn’t quite up to snuff, there are three additional climbing walls within the silo interior.
Set to Launch: Embark onto the waters of the Buffalo River and Lake Erie via all sorts of watercraft that dock at Buffalo RiverWorks. Take an island themed float aboard Buffalo Tiki Tours, gather a group of 15 friends and pedal your way down the river on Buffalo CycleBoats and Buffalo Pedal Tours, or live the luxurious life with full dinner service on Grand Lady Cruises.
Kayaks and SUPs: If cruising on the water under your own power is more your style, RiverWorks offers plenty of opportunities to explore Buffalo’s diverse waterfront. Make your way through Elevator Alley or head toward the 1833 Buffalo Lighthouse when you rent a kayak, tandem kayak or stand-up paddleboard right from the docks at RiverWorks.
Veg Out at The Ward: From the same comfort food chefs at Pearl Street Grill & Brewery and Lafayette Brewing Co., The Ward offers a much needed respite after an adventurous day. Take your pick from their wide ranging menu that includes burgers, sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and their famous pot roast.
Roll With It: With all the entertainment available outdoors at RiverWorks, you might completely forget that there’s a 60,000 square foot, 5000-person capacity indoor facility right next to the beer garden. It’s within these walls that you’ll find the home turf of the Queen City Roller Girls along with their special brand of high energy, fast paced and hard hitting sports entertainment. Check out Queen City Roller Girls for event details.
Endless Activities: On the northernmost edge of RiverWorks, two full sized hockey rinks transition in the summer months for a host of events like youth athletics, yoga, pickleball and backyard games like cornhole and Kan Jam. When the temperatures dip in the winter, the rinks have ice skating, curling and hockey tournaments.
Infinite Events: When you have hundreds of thousands of square feet of space, you use it. RiverWorks, in addition to being the waterfront playground described above, is also a popular host for local organizers throwing a diverse mix of events including Music Is Art, Latin Nights, Beau Fleuve Music & Arts Festival, wrestling and concerts.
But Wait, There’s More: In addition to the silo rock climbing, RiverWorks will be offering adrenaline junkies two more thrilling options soon enough with the opening of a zipline that begins at the top of a grain elevator and traverses over the outdoor beer garden, and a high-flying obstacle course suspended roughly 50 feet over the waterfront walkway.