Ice biking. Tobogganing. Skiing, skating and snowshoeing. And a winter festival nearly every weekend.
Buffalo is one of America’s great winter cities. We’re famous for our lake effect snow, and make the most of it with a full slate of seasonal activities and events. It’s the Buffalo winter The Weather Channel doesn’t show you.
Here are 19 ways to enjoy winter 2019 in Buffalo and beyond.
1. The Ice at Canalside – This is the epicenter of Buffalo’s winter fun. One of the country’s largest outdoor skating rinks, built on a historic replica of the Erie Canal, became an instant hit when it opened in December of 2014. Attractions like the dynamic nightly illumination of a nearby grain elevator and an indoor winter pavilion add to the fun.
2. The Larkinville Ice Festival – Jan. 26 – Larkinville’s fifth annual winter celebration includes live music, vendors, snowman making, winter craft market, and winter versions of Kan-Jam, pickleball and cornhole. Warm up afterward with a cold beer across the street at Hydraulic Hearth or Flying Bison Brewing Co.
3. The Buffalo Auto Show – Feb. 7-10 – Winter means the latest and greatest sets of wheels have just hit the market. Shop around for one, or just picture yourself in a new car at this annual winter staple held at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.
4. Chestnut Ridge Winter Festival – Jan. 27 – The giant fireplace inside the Chestnut Ridge Park lodge will be roaring. Outside, one of the region’s largest sledding hills with views of downtown Buffalo will be ready for sledding and tobogganing. Marshmallow roasting, arts and crafts and hayrides are all part of the fun too.
5. Snowshoes & Hot Cocoa – Jan 26-27 – Borrow a pair of snowshoes from the Martin House for a trip through Delaware Park and finish the trek at the Martin House for some hot cocoa! Afterwards participants have the option of taking a tour of the beautiful house. FREE for snowshoeing and hot chocolate. Optional Darwin Martin House tour $10 a person.
7. Ice Biking – Take a ride on the Buffalo sensation that’s sweeping the nation. The Ice Bikes of Buffalo, fitted with a stainless steel frame to allow for easy pedaling and steering on the ice, have become an instant classic since debuting at the Ice at Canalside, which also offers skating, curling and other opportunities for winter fun.
8. Niagara Falls in the Winter – Mist from the falls freezes on the surrounding trees, creating an ice covered forest. And during an especially cold winter, portions of the falls even appear to freeze.
9. Lumagination at the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens – Wednesdays through Saturdays starting January 25 through February 23. See this Buffalo institution in a whole new light at night, as colorful illumination gives the gardens an entirely different look and feel.
10. Watching a Queen City Roller Girls Match – Since moving to Buffalo RiverWorks’ new roller derby track, the Queen City Roller Girls’ tournaments have become a must-see event on Buffalo’s waterfront.
11. Hot Spots – A coffeehouse boom has taken over Buffalo, with more cozy spots caffeinating the city than ever before. Head to Tipico Coffee, Daily Planet Coffee Co., public espresso + coffee or more for a liquid warm up.
12. Ice Bumper Cars – The newest way to enjoy the Ice at Canalside, slip, slide and smash your own ice bumper car with your friends and family. Check out the video above to see it in action!
14. Catch a hockey game at HarborCenter – The new $200 million complex on Buffalo’s waterfront offers plenty of opportunities for watching great hockey as the home ice for the Canisius College Golden Griffins and the Buffalo Beauts women’s team.
15. Wander the Albright-Knox Art Gallery – Need an afternoon-long break from winter? See masterworks of art by Pollock, Kahlo, Monet, Picasso and more. Plus, check out the AK’s latest exhibit, We The People: New Art From the Collection, on display now.
16. Rotary Rink Skating – The original outdoor downtown skating rink continues to be an affordable option for families. Admission is free, and skate rentals are only $2 for children and $3 for adults.
17. Arctic Edge at the Buffalo Zoo – Cold days are perfect for checking out the state-of-the-art polar bear exhibit and saying ‘hi’ to Luna at the Buffalo Zoo.
19. Comfort Food – Buffalo winters work up an appetite only satisfied by some of the world’s best comfort foods whether it’s the fried chicken from Toutant, fish fry from Gene McCarthy’s, Mac ‘n cheese & collard greens from Mattie’s or the legendary spaghetti parm from Chef’s.
Looking for more winter inspiration? Check out our Winter Guide here.