Welcome to the historic Village of East Aurora. Nestled within Buffalo’s southtowns, East Aurora is an area rich in tradition and steeped in charm. Whether you are a history buff, nature lover, shopping connoisseur, or discerning epicurean, East Aurora offers an array of activities to delight your senses. From the neon lights of the Aurora Theatre marquee to the quaint storefronts lining Main Street, a visit to East Aurora is like a visit to another era.
A Village with a Storied History
East Aurora has been home to many significant cultural movements and historical figures. It was central to the Arts & Crafts movement during the 19th century thanks to Elbert Hubbard, a Buffalo businessman and writer. Millard Fillmore, the nation’s 13th president, resided in East Aurora and his home—the Millard Fillmore House—stands proud as a restored museum and treasured piece of Village history welcoming visitors throughout the year.
The birthplace of Fisher-Price Toys, East Aurora remains home to the brand’s international headquarters. Today, East Aurora’s history and artistry blend with a modern “must-visit” vibe that attracts travelers from around the globe.
Blending Historic and Modern
Executive Director of the Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce, Victoria Sturman, says, East Aurora “has this funky ambiance that mixes the historical and modern. There is a reason why Hollywood [holiday] movies have used the village as a backdrop. It just has that homey, all-American vibe that so many people are searching for these days.”
During the summer months, crowds gather for the East Aurora Street Festival & Sidewalk Sale and Chalk Walk. The Taste of East Aurora lets foodies indulge in the unique flavors the Village has to offer, and the Roycroft Campus Art & Antique Show highlights East Aurora’s artistic flair and history.
East Aurora is also known for its music. In addition to live music playing at restaurants and bars year-round, the summer welcomes annual events like the village-wide East Aurora Music Fest and the Backyard Bash, an outdoor concert series held behind Vidler’s 5 & 10 (the world’s largest “five and ten” variety store). Finally, there is the Borderland Music and Arts Festival—a three-day music festival held at Knox Farm State Park in September that welcomes thousands.
Winter in East Aurora Harkens to Simpler Times
While revelry fills the Village in the warmer months, winter in East Aurora also has its celebrations. Join thousands of attendees and local musicians in singing Christmas carols during Carolcade, an annual community caroling event brightening spirits for the past 51 years. The festive event includes songbooks and free hot chocolate along with an appearance from Santa and fairy tale princesses. This year’s Carolcade will take place on Saturday, December 23rd from 7 to 8 p.m. on Main Street in East Aurora, between Elm/Riley Streets and Olean Road.
Family-Friendly Winter Fun
Enjoy public ice skating at the East Aurora Classic Rink. For thrill-seekers, Colden’s Buffalo Ski Center—located outside the Village within the Greater East Aurora region—is a fun and convenient winter destination for new and experienced skiers alike. For indoor family fun, Village Play gives families a safe and inviting place to gather no matter the season. In addition to holiday parties, the contemporary children’s play studio includes a variety of activity centers and climbing structures along with yoga classes, parent/child cooking classes, and special pop-up craft events.
Winter Hiking Opportunities Abound
East Aurora is filled with beautiful parks and nature trails to enjoy year-round. Hunters Creek County Park on Centerline Rd offers nature trails at various skill levels. For Amy Alexander, avid hiker, Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce Board Member, and owner of Metamorphosis Pilates & Bodywork in East Aurora, Emery Park and Knox Farm State Park are winter favorites. Alexander says, “Both are great for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.” Emery Park also offers snowmobile trails and Knox has heated bathrooms—a definite plus for winter hikers.
Another spot Alexander recommends within Greater East Aurora is JP Nicely Memorial Park in West Falls, whose well-maintained trails are fun to hike or snowshoe. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike down to Cazenovia Creek, and the park includes a large green space perfect for cross-country skiing.
Preservation Keeps East Aurora’s History Alive
To Victoria Sturman, Knox Farm State Park is a “hidden gem.” Explore Knox Farm’s 6-acre dog park , paved walking trail, and its field and forest trails. The park is the former estate of the famed Buffalo Knox Family, encompassing 633 acres including 400 acres of grassland and 100 acres of woodlands, ponds, and wetland areas.
The New York Audubon Society and the Buffalo Audubon Society offer nature walks, and the New York State Naturalists offer many programs throughout the year. The Friends of Knox Farm State Park are dedicated to restoring many buildings on site including the stables. The park is also home to the Native Landscape Resource Center, a native plant nursery that grows plants for habitat restoration, landscaping, and gardening purposes.
Where to Shop, Eat, and Stay
After a long day of exploration, head to one of East Aurora’s incredible dining establishments. From traditional to eclectic, the Village is home to many popular bars and restaurants to tempt your taste buds. Swing by Bar-Bill Tavern to indulge in classic Buffalo favorites such as jumbo chicken wings and beef on weck. For an upscale dining experience, reserve a table at Rick’s on Main. During the winter months, heated garden igloos line Rick’s porch-style patio and promise a truly whimsical dining experience.
Main Street is also home to an abundance of locally owned shops that offer a unique gifting experience. Just outside the village, shoppers can find bustling antique stores, consignment shops, and more. For farm-fresh food and artisan goods in the heart of winter, head a few minutes outside the Village to the beautiful and rustic Poplar Hill Estate for the East Aurora Winter Market.
And no visit to East Aurora is complete without a stay at the historic Roycroft Inn, located across from the Roycroft Campus on South Grove Street.
No matter where you go during your time in the Village, a day spent in East Aurora is a day well spent. In the words of Sturman, “East Aurora is a beautiful place to live, work, play, and visit. The village is a destination—not just for visitors but for locals as well. East Aurora has something for everyone during any time of the year.”