Buffalo is an all-encompassing destination when it comes to winter fun. Just south of the city, you’ll find skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing and cross-country ski trails, and high-speed tobogganing. But maybe you’re looking for an activity that’s a little more low-key. Or maybe you’re looking for winter fun a bit closer to downtown. Well then lace up your skates (or hop on an ice bike), bundle up and chill out at our favorite outdoor skating rinks:
Martin Luther King Jr., Park, Best St & Fillmore Ave, Buffalo
Set in one of Buffalo’s famed Frederick Law Olmsted-designed parks, this massive 5-acre circular rink serves as reflecting pool in the spring and fall, and a splash pad in the summer. When the ice smooths over, it’s common to see entire families from the surrounding East Side communities setting up winter picnics for a day of winter fun at MLK Park.
Admission to the ice is free and as are skate rentals, but quantities are limited. Make sure to call ahead to Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy as skating times can vary and as weather permits.
Typical skating hours are Monday – Friday: 1:30pm – 5:30pm & Saturday – Sunday: 12:00pm – 5:30pm
Rotary Rink, 20 Fountain Plaza, Buffalo
There’s something magical about skating at downtown’s Rotary Rink at night. The air is crisp, the lights of the surrounding high-rises provide a warm glow as big, puffy snowflakes gently descend from the sky, the above-ground rail car provides a familiar ‘honk’ as it passes, and dozens of skaters circle the ice to the sound of music. That’s winter perfection right there!
Open Saturday, November 30, 2019 to Sunday, March 15, 2020. Admission to the ice is free and skates rentals are $2 for kids and $3 for adults. Check out Buffalo Place for open skate times and special events.
Buffalo RiverWorks, 359 Ganson St, Buffalo
Set among the towering grain elevators that were once the crux of Buffalo’s booming industry along the Buffalo River, RiverWorks is a one-of-a-kind sports and entertainment complex. Housing an indoor roller derby track, a brewery opening soon, a full bar and restaurant, and two full-sized hockey rinks, visitors can enjoy open skating and curling before heading inside to a menu full of Buffalo comforts.
Ice admission rates are $5 and skate rentals are $5. Call ahead to RiverWorks for ice hours.
The Ice at Canalside, 44 Prime St, Buffalo
Not many people can say they look forward to winter. But the folks at Canalside have quite a passion for the season as they’ve rolled out winter’s red carpet for hundreds of thousands of visitors over the years. Constructed on the canalways of the Erie Canal, a national historic landmark, Canalside offers visitors the option to skate, hone their curling skill, take a spin on the Buffalo-born ice bikes, or have a friendly shoving contest in the brand new ice bumper cars! Once you’ve skated your heart out, head under the tent to warm up over a cup of hot cocoa and treats from local vendors.
Open Wednesday, November 20, 2019. Ice admission rates range from $4-6 (free under 5) and skate rentals are $5. Curling is $10 per on weekdays and $15 per person on weekends. Ice bike rentals are $12 per half hour. Ice bumper cars are $7 for 7 minutes. Check out Canalside for ice hours and special events.
Healthy Zone Rink, 41 Riley St, East Aurora
After the 2008 NHL Winter Classic, where the Buffalo Sabres took on the Pittsburgh Penguins, the rink was broken down and reassembled on Riley Street in the charming village of East Aurora. Today visitors can skate where the pros skated during the rink’s regular open ice hours and for special events. After you’ve carved a lap or 20, make your way to Bar-Bill Tavern for some of the region’s best wings or to 42 North Brewing Company for a frosty craft brew.
Open now. Ice admission rates are $6 (free under 4) and skate rentals are $4. Check out The Healthy Zone Rink for ice hours and special events.