Signs of the new Buffalo are everywhere these days – from the craft breweries and new restaurants popping up around town to the surge in recent hotel openings. But perhaps nowhere is Buffalo’s comeback more apparent than on its waterfront – the result of several years and hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment.
Here are 18 ways to enjoy Buffalo’s resurgent waterfront in 2018:
1. Kayak & Stand-up Paddleboard
There are now several different spots to rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards – one of the best ways to see Buffalo from the water. At Canalside, Bflo Harbor Kayak returns for another season while further up the Buffalo River, Elevator Alley Kayak, Silo City Paddling Company and Buffalo RiverWorks operate in the shadow of one of the largest collection of grain elevators in the world. And Outer Harbor Buffalo offers rentals launching from the beach at Wilkeson Pointe.
2. Water Bike
Another novel way to cruise the city’s waterways is on water bikes, which are available for rent at Canalside. Water Bikes of Buffalo also rents paddle boats for youngsters to ride in Canalside’s historically aligned canals.
3. Explore a grain elevator
Buffalo’s efforts to preserve and restore its grain silos have received international praise. This summer, see them first-hand on a Buffalo River History Tour that stops at Silo City to explore the grounds or an Explore Buffalo tour, which offers both “Silo City: Grounded” and “Silo City: Vertical” tours.
4. Take a cruise
The Spirit of Buffalo schooner offers “Wine in the Wind” Wednesdays – an evening cruise with a glass of wine – as well as public tours throughout the week. An old favorite – the Miss Buffalo – also offers public cruises from its anchoring spot near the Erie Basin Marina.
5. Ride a bicycle
The Queen City Bike Ferry shuttles cyclists from Canalside to a series of bike trails along Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. Bike rentals are now offered daily at Canalside too and a bikeshare program recently launched in Buffalo. Rent a bike, hop on a ferry, then ride several miles along our lakefront on the Outer Harbor!
6. Pedal on a Cycle Boat
Buffalo has never seen anything like it before. The newest waterfront attraction launching in May is the Buffalo CycleBoats, a floating pub/ group bicycle allowing its 14 passengers to pedal along as they take in all the sites on the waterfront with a cold beer. The boat will be available both for individual bookings and group tours.
7. Grab a bite
There have never been more options to eat near the water. In the past few years, (716) Food & Sport, William K’s, Pizza Plant and the unique Tim Hortons at LECOM HarborCenter all opened on or near the waterfront. Further up the river, The Ward at RiverWorks delights with its open-air garage door-style windows on summer days, offering a seamless transition to an expansive outdoor patio. And the expansive outdoor patio at Charlie’s Boat Yard features waterside fare on the Outer Harbor.
Templeton Landing continues to delight with its expansive patio and stunning views of downtown. And don’t forget the Swannie House, Buffalo’s second oldest tavern dating back to 1886, and Gene McCarthy’s, which has become a craft beer destination on Hamburg Street.
8. Game On
Ping pong, billiards, foosball, bean bag toss, giant Connect Four, ladder ball are available for free every day at Canalside during the summer.
9. Attend a concert
Canalside’s weekly concert series on Thursdays has become a summertime staple, while Wednesday night concerts at RiverFest Park are against the backdrop of all the recent development along the Buffalo River.
11. Take a Walking Tour
Immerse yourself in the story of Buffalo and its waterfront on a historic walking tour. Explore Buffalo offers a Riverfront Renaissance walking tour every weekend in the summer.
12. Scale a Silo
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.
13. Step back in time
The Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park is the nation’s largest inland naval park with a World War II era cruiser, destroyer and submarine. Along with the ships, there are a variety of vehicles, vessels and aircraft on display that bring U.S. Military History to life.
14. Soak in a sunset
Take full advantage of Buffalo’s status as one of only a handful of cities in the Eastern United States that enjoy sunsets over the water. One of our favorite spots is the path along the Erie Basin Marina out to the peninsula, and the adjacent observation tower. Both offer stunning views of lakeside sunsets and Buffalo’s skyline. Canalside has Adirondack chairs along the Central Wharf to enjoy the sunset. And Wilkeson Pointe offers nearly unparalleled views on the city’s outer harbor.
15. Attend a Festival
The Outer Harbor is kicking things up a notch this summer with a series of festivals. The Kickstock Kickball Festival and Galbani Italian Heritage Festival will highlight a busy festival season along the Lake Erie Shoreline. Music is Art festival will move for the first time to RiverWorks, while Silo City will host the Buffalo Niagara Blues Festival on July 14.
16. Admire a light show.
Buffalo’s largest public art installation is a nightly light show spanning the length of four football fields on the Connecting Terminal, a grain elevator directly across from Canalside. See it nightly from dusk until 11 p.m.
17. Play by the Lake
Buffalo Harbor State Park’s playground is the perfect place to be on warm summer days; take the family and enjoy the nautical-themed space and cool lake breezes.
18. Rock Climb & Zip Line
Brand NEW this summer, RiverWorks offers adrenaline junkies two thrilling options 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.