As Western New Yorkers, many of us count the days until the weather turns so we can get outside and soak up the sun. Make the most of all Buffalo has to offer throughout this much anticipated season. From lounging and relaxing to hiking and exploring, the Queen City will surprise you with one-of-a-kind local experiences. Pick your favorites and enjoy!
Trails & Walking Tours
Buffalo is home to ample trails, parks and guided tours that require nothing more than a warm sunny day to enjoy. Lace up your walking shoes and check out a few of our favorites that are sure to fill a day (or two) and restore your connection to the great outdoors.
Tifft Nature Preserve: Observe local wildlife in a natural setting at this historic destination. Bordering Lake Erie, this 264-acre restored habitat is located just minutes from downtown and offers 5 miles of nature trails, three boardwalks, and even a cattail marsh perfect for birdwatching. Explore on your own, take a guided tour, or attend a Discovery Camp to learn more about this remarkable site.
Chestnut Ridge: Visit the largest park in Erie County which boasts more than 1,200 acres of hills, trees and trails and is named for its vast chestnut trees. In addition to hiking and biking trails, Chestnut Ridge offers outdoor sports fields and picnic grills for gathering friends and family. Find a serene spot in the wooded ravines of the Shale Creek Preserve or visit its most exclusive feature: Eternal Flame, a natural gas flame nestled under an enchanting waterfall. It is a must-see for any visitor!
Garden Walk Buffalo: Looking for something to spark the senses? Check out beautiful fresh blooming flowers at Garden Walk Buffalo. During this local spectacular, hundreds of Buffalo residents put their planting prowess on display by inviting residents to stop by and see their gardens. Held annually on the last weekend in July, it is the largest garden walk in the country with over 300 gardens that guests can self-tour. The event is free to the public, so download a map and plan your route!
Transformed from its industrial past into a booming river and lakeside oasis, many visitors are surprised to learn of the thriving waterfront scene that Buffalo has to offer. Soak in the views at one of these hot spots or take your adventure up a notch with fun rentals and activities.
Canalside: Often described as the center of Buffalo’s waterfront revival, this reinvigorated stretch is home to a wide array of outdoor activities. Attend one of the many events or fitness classes hosted throughout the year, tour the area by foot, bike, or even rent a kayak, paddle board or water bike to spend time on the lake. At the end of the day, indulge in a treat from one of the local shops as you enjoy a relaxing sunset.
Outer Harbor: Head down the shore of Lake Erie to another beautiful landscape that also hosts many local events, festivals, and fitness classes. Rent a kayak or boat to enjoy the water or explore more than 200-acres of the serene outdoors. Take a hike on the 3-mile long Independent Health Wellness Trail or pedal your way through three mountain bike tracks at the Lakeside Bike Park. Soak in gardens and pull up a seat to take in the breathtaking sunset at Wilkeson Pointe.
Olcott Beach Carousel Park: In search of a one-of-a-kind experience? Head north to the south shore of Lake Ontario to check out the Olcott Beach Carousel Park. This vintage kiddie park is an amusement park and arcade in one. It showcases a 1928 vintage Herschell-Spillman Carousel along with other vintage rides and games for the kids. The park is run entirely by volunteers so there is no admission fee and rides only cost a quarter to ride!
Festivals & Events
Mark your calendar for these fun and festive events that happen once a year! While there are many summer events in the Buffalo region that are worth attending, here are a few of our favorites that are unique to the area and will be sure to create a memorable experience.
Allentown Art Festival (June 11 & 12): The historic Allentown district has a booming art scene and is home to the annual Allentown Art Festival which has been running since 1958 and has become one of the largest outdoor art events in the Great Lakes. This highly attended event showcases the work of local artists and craftsmen in the streets of the city. You will be sure to find an array of styles, vendors, and entertainment to fill your day!
East Aurora Music Fest (June 11): Head 25 miles southeast to experience more than 250 local bands and musicians spread out over 15 venues to play a staggering 100 hours of music and raise money for non-profit organizations in the Buffalo community. Enjoy local food and music while roaming the streets of East Aurora and listening to a variety of genres – from classic rock, blues and acoustic to bluegrass, country, americana and more. There is something for everyone at EA Music Fest!
Water Lantern Festival (July 23): Celebrated annually, spectators can watch hundreds of lighted lanterns float over the Buffalo waters at this stunning festival. It is truly unique and is known to bring joy and hope to all who attend while creating a meaningful connection among the crowd. This event is loved by families and children alike and this experience is sure to be a memorable one.
Sites to Explore
Invigorate your senses while learning something new at one of the many historic sites and museums that Buffalo has to offer. Admission for each is low-cost and sure to entertain guests of all ages.
Buffalo Botanical Gardens: Full of garden treasures, the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens are known as a “living museum.” This popular tourist destination hosts more than 140,000 people annually to see the in- and outdoor garden sanctuaries, stunning architecture and more. With amazing flower exhibits, events, and workshops, this visit is sure to impress. There is even an interactive Outdoor Children’s Garden with a butterfly garden, cascading water feature, and hands-on planting and digging areas for kids.
Buffalo Zoo: As one of the oldest in the country, this historic zoo hosts a collection of more than 1,200 wild and exotic animals. It has made many renovations in recent years and features unique exhibits such as the Arctic Edge with a polar bear and arctic fox, the Rainforest Falls which amazes with a two-story waterfall, and the guest favorite Sea Lion Cove which features a 160,000-gallon saltwater pool with ample seating to view daily feedings. It is even planning an upcoming renovation to the Reptile House which will feature Komodo dragons, the largest lizard in the world!
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House: Built in the early 1900s this stunning architectural gem is a must-see for anyone in the area. Take a walk through the house and explore the surrounding conservatory, pergola, and carriage house. You can walk the grounds on your own or take a guided tour to learn all about the history and unique features.
Whether you want to rest and relax, seek adventure, or explore and learn, reserve the date for one of these highly entertaining summertime activities. To get the most out of your day, visit each destination’s website in advance for information on planning your visit, purchasing tickets, downloading maps and more.
Enjoy your summer fun and don’t forget to soak up the sunshine!