Coming to Buffalo for Thanksgiving means so much more than turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. Some of the city’s most cherished traditions take place during the Thanksgiving week. Whether you’re an ex-pat coming home for the holidays or a newcomer to Buffalo, you’ll be living like a local when you tick off these events on our ultimate Buffalo Thanksgiving week checklist:
Wednesday, November 24th
✓ Buffalo Sabres vs. Boston Bruins
Don your best blue and gold apparel, hop on the subway downtown toward KeyBank Center and team up with thousands of screaming hockey fans as the Buffalo Sabres take on the Boston Bruins for some raucous, lamp-lighting fun. Bonus: The Sabres take on the Montreal Canadiens on Friday, November 26th.
✓ Thanksgiving Eve Reunion
After the game, meet up with all of your ol’ Buffalo pals at any of these classic taverns that are perfect for a holiday reunion.
Thanksgiving! Thursday, November 25th
✓ The Turkey Trot
While there’s still a chance to sign up to run, the Turkey Trot is still very much a spectator-friendly event. Set your alarm for the early morning on Thanksgiving Day to witness thousands of runners proactively burn off some calories before the big feast. Watch as Superman, Cinderella, sprinting canoers and thousands of others dash through the beautiful streets of Buffalo as they partake in this Thanksgiving tradition. We recommend getting a vantage point at the 198 footbridge or Niagara Square.
✓ Watch the Buffalo Bills vs. New Orleans Saints
Wear your favorite Bills jersey to Thanksgiving dinner and cheer on the Buffalo Bills as they take the national spotlight for the annual NFL Thanksgiving games. Set your alarm to make sure you wake up from your post-meal name. This game start is a late one, starting at 8:20pm.
Friday, November 26th
✓ Buffalo Holiday Markets at Loaded Lumber
Recreating the magic of holiday markets that are famous across Europe, Buffalo Holiday Markets will feature vendors in wooden chalets, mulled wine, sweet treats and many more seasonal surprises. This four-week shopping series will showcase an exceptional mix of artisan crafters and holiday foods from Western New York, including a tree lighting and appearances by the jolly man himself.
✓ Poinsettia Show
Nature’s festive beauty will be in bloom at the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens for their 2021 Poinsettia Show. Shades of red, floral scents and holiday music will fill the warm air of the newly-renovated conservatory. Or come around sundown to experience the poinsettia show during Gardens After Dark: Magical Poinsettias.
✓ Fairgrounds Festival of Lights Drive Thru
Cruise the illuminated paths of a 10,000 square foot winter wonderland at the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights. Bring the little ones for a tour of the North Pole and a visit to the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Claus. This year, the Festival of Lights features a variety of new displays consisting of over 70 variations of LED light displays, arches and light tunnels.
Saturday, November 27th
✓ Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday kicks the local shopping scene into high gear. Along with fashionable boutiques and stores lining Elmwood, Allentown, Hertel Avenue and our other great shopping districts, several locations will be hosting pop-up markets highlighting Buffalo’s creative hometown makers.
Stop by Makers + Shakers: Boozy Artisan Market, East Aurora’s Elm St. Holiday Market, Buffalo Women’s Gifts Holiday Market and Buffalo History Museum’s Holiday Makers Market for made-in-Buffalo gifts.
✓ Zoo Lights at the Buffalo Zoo
Welcome to a new Western New York holiday tradition — Zoo Lights at the Buffalo Zoo! Enjoy the Buffalo Zoo after hours and witness dazzling light displays, holiday music, live performances, warm winter treats and a visit with Santa!
✓ The World’s Largest Disco
As much a part of the Thanksgiving holiday as turkey, the World’s Largest Disco is a celebration of 70s fashion, culture and, of course, music. Join celebrities and thousands of disco divas for a night of shaking your groove thing. Get your tickets here: World’s Largest Disco
Sunday, November 28th
✓ The Nutcracker at Shea’s with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Neglia Ballet’s magical production of The Nutcracker returns Thanksgiving weekend at Shea’s along with the Grammy award-winning Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Get your tickets here: The Nutcracker at Shea’s
✓ Downtown Ice Skating (weather dependent):
Lace up your skates as Canalside and Rotary Rink open the ice for the first skating of the winter season. At Canalside, you’ll find curling, skating, ice bumper cars, and the famous Buffalo-born ice bikes. Down at Rotary Rink, skating is totally free (plus the cost of skate rentals) and you’ll be joined by dozens of others in the winter wonderland of Downtown Buffalo.