Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer Activities in Buffalo & Western New York

Make the most of your summer by experiencing events and activities that are at their best during the warmer months.

If I've forgotten any of your favorite summer activities, please leave your suggestions in the comments and I'll update the list.

Summer Activities

Hoyt Lake Row Boat Rentals (Buffalo)

Time: Daily, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Cost: $10 for 30 minutes
More Information: Website

Read a book or enjoy a picnic aboard a replica 1890's wooden lake boat. Boats can accommodate up to 5 people.

Maid of the Mist (Niagara Falls)

Time: Daily through October
Cost: $15.50 adults, $9 children 6-12, Free for kids under 6
More Information: Website

Don't discount the Maid of the Mist as just a tourist attraction. The Maid of the Mist takes you right up to the falls for a view that's unparralled. Go on a hot day – despite the rain coats provided, you will get soaked.

City Hall Observation Deck (Buffalo)

Time: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Cost: Free
More Information: Website

Take an elevator up to the 25th floor and walk up 3 flights to get a bird's eye view of the city. City Hall is known as an art deco masterpiece; free tours are available Monday - Saturday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., starting in the lobby.

Forest Lawn Cemetery (Buffalo)

Time: Daily
Cost: Free (self-guided)
More Information: Website

Forest Lawn Cemetery is the resting place of former U.S. President Millard Fillmore (Section F), singer Rick James and Barbara Franklin, mother of Aretha Franklin.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1928 design for the Blue Sky Mausoleum was built in the cemetery in 2004 and is a must-see for fans of the architect.

Buffalo Zoo (Buffalo)

Time: Daily
Cost: $10.50 adults, $8.50 seniors, $7.50 kids 2-14, Free kids under 2
More Information: Website

Don't miss out on seeing polar bear Luna while she's still a cub! She'll be leaving the zoo in two months while her new habitat is under construction at the zoo.

Panama Rocks (Panama)

Time: Daily, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Cost: $7 adults, $6 seniors, $6 kids 13-17, Free kids 5 and under
More Information: Website

An hour-and-a-half from Buffalo, Panama Rocks scenic park features rock formations that are over 300 million years old. Take the one-mile hiking trail or explore on your own.

Chautauqua Institute (Chautauqua)

Time: June 22 - August 25
Cost: Free on Sundays
More Information: Website

Take a road trip to the Chautauqua Institution, about an hour and a half drive from Buffalo. Founded in 1874, the institution offers arts programming and recreational activities for nine weeks each year. Narrated bus tours of the Chautauqua Institution grounds are available daily for a fee, or take a self-guided tour on foot. Not only will you find historic cottages and a beautiful view of Chautauqua Lake, but you can shop, see a classic film, or read or draw in the plaza.

Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village (Amherst)

Time: Daily, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Cost: $8 adults, $6 seniors, $4 kids
More Information: Website

Although it's open year-round, summer introduces weekend hours at the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village. Tour historical homes, a rural church and one-room schoolhouses from the Buffalo Niagara region. You'll meet costumed interpreters who will show you what life was like in the 19th century. There is an 1820's replica kitchen, a 1950's diner counter and an 1880s street of shops.

Buffalo Harbor Kayak (Buffalo)

Time: Varies
Cost: $15-30 hourly rental, $35-$55 half day
More Information: Website

Tour the waterfront in a paddle boat or take a lesson on a stand-up paddle board. Tours can be booked singly, or you can double up and share a tandem kayak.

Open-Air Autobus Tours (Buffalo)

Time: Select Dates, June - September
Cost: $25 for most tours
More Information: Website

Learn about Buffalo as you travel around town in an open-air bus.

Tours for this year are:
  • American Dreams: Houses of E.B. Green - June 28, August 2, September 21
  • The Buffalo Whirlwind Tour - Sat. and Sun., June 16 - September 29, Thursdays June 20 - August 29
  • Last of Their Kind: Churches of Oakley and Schallmo - September 7
  • Frank Lloyd Wright's Buffalo - July 5, August 9
  • Industrial Strength Architecture: Adventure on the Belt Line - July 12, August 16, September 14
  • Into the Heart of Black Rock: War of 1812 Edition - June 15, September 28
  • Scoopers, Saloons and Grain Elevators: Water's Edge in the Old First Ward - June 14, July 19, August 17, August 30
  • This Old Mansion - June 21, July 26, August 23

Old Fort Niagara (Youngstown)

Time: Daily
Cost: $12 adults, $8 kids 6 to 12, free for kids under 6
More Information: Website

This New York State Historic Site gives you a glimpse into military life with military architecture and fortifications from the 18th Century and the 19th Century.

Summer events include the French and Indian War Encampment (July 5-7), Soldiers of the Revolution (August 3-4), and Music of the War of 1812 (August 28). After your visit, have lunch in the quaint village of Lewiston.

Queen City Ferry (Buffalo)

Time: Daily
Cost: $12 all-day pass, $4 one way
More Information: Website

Queen City Ferry Company offers a water ferry service between Buffalo’s inner and outer harbor.

The river tour, offered daily from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. ($14 adults, $10 children), has rave reviews on Trip Advisor.

Water Bikes of Buffalo (Buffalo)

Time: Daily
Cost: $15-$25/hour
More Information: Website

Peddle past the grain elevators on a hydrobike or buddy up and paddle together on a waterpiller, aqua cycle, or tandem hydrobike. The hydrobike is $15 for a single rider; the tandem bike is $25/two riders.

Transit Drive-In (Lockport)

Time: Daily
Cost: $8 ages 12 and older, $3 kids 5 -11, free 4 and under
More Information: Website

Experience the latest movies the old-fashioned way. Adults pay just $8 for a double feature. Visit the snack bar for burgers, hot dogs, pizza, pizza logs and ice cream.

Events / Festivals

Shakespeare in the Park (Buffalo)

Time: Tuesday - Sunday, June 20 - August 18, 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free (donation suggested)
More Information: Website

Shakespeare in the Park opens with Hamlet on June 20, and closes the season with Measure for Measure, which begins on July 25.

Shows take place at 7:30 p.m. on a Tudor-style stage behind the rose garden.

Pack a pincic and your lawn chairs or a blanket; the area closest to the stage is reserved for blankets only.

Thursday at Canalside (Buffalo)

Time: Thursdays, June 13 - August 22
Cost: Free
More Information: Website

This free summer concert series includes concerts by Steven Page, Teddy Riley and Blackstreet, Los Lonely Boys, and more.

Taste of Buffalo (Buffalo)

Time: July 13-14
Cost: Free entry (cost for food)
More Information: Website

The largest two-day food festival in the United States, Taste of Buffalo gives you the opportunity to try foods from restaurants across Western New York. Favorites include Cecelia's Ristorante, Dinosaur BBQ, Fat Bob's Smokehouse and Louies Hot Dogs. Each restaurant offers a taste-size portion of a signature menu item for $2 (or 4 tickets).

Garden Walk Buffalo (Buffalo)

Time: July 27-28
Cost: Free
More Information: Website

No matter what your level of interest in gardening, Garden Walk Buffalo is a fascinating look at some of the most creative homes in the city. This free, self-guided tour of more than 380 gardens is the largest garden tour in the United States.

Italian Heritage Festival (Buffalo)

Time: August 1-4
Cost: Free
More Information: Website

This year, the Italian Heritage Festival celebrates its 25th year on Hertel Avenue. Don't miss Campi's Pizza, cannolis and other Italian dishes.

Eden Corn Festival (Eden)

Time: August 1-4
Cost: Free
More Information: Website

Chow down on homegrown buttered sweet corn at the Eden Corn Festival. The event also features midway rides, tractor pulls and arts and crafts.

Lucille Ball Comedy Festival (Jamestown)

Time: August 1-4
Cost: Free
More Information: Website

Lucille Ball's hometown offers a mix of free and ticketed events. Guests can meet Wanda Clark, who was Lucille Ball's secretary for over 20 years and for $35, can even have lunch with her in the Tropicana Room of the The Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center. You can also try your hand at chocolate wrapping, just like in the "Job Switching" episode.

Erie County Fair (Hamburg)

Time: August 7-18
Cost: $10 adults, $7 seniors, free for children 12 and under
More Information: Website

In addition to midway rides, the Erie County Fair presents a sea lion show, a petting zoo, and historical demonstrations, such as old-time lye soap making and broom making. In the Antler Ridge Reindeer Barn, 8-10 reindeer will be on display, including reindeer calves who were born in May.

Lewiston Art Festival (Lewiston)

Time: August 10-11
Cost: Free
More Information: Website

Lewiston’s signature event features work by more than 175 exceptional artists and fine crafters. Meet the artists one-on-one and enjoy more than 20,000 original works of art — including paintings, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, glass, wood, mixed media, and photography.

Scottish Festival & Highland Games (Amherst)

Time: August 17, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Cost: $10
More Information: Website

The Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village hosts the Scottish Festival & Highland Games, which includes traditional food, beer, dancers, pipers, live performances and, of course, the Highland Games. You'll also have access to the historic homes within the village.

Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts (Buffalo)

Time: August 24-25
Cost: Free
More Information: Website

More than 170 artists and craftspeople line Elmwood Avenue for the Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. You'll also have the opportunity to meet 30 local organizations working to make our communities stronger and sign up to help a cause.

Buffalo Irish Festival (Buffalo)

Time: August 23-25
Cost: $10 adults, $8 kids 4-12, Free for seniors and kids under 4
More Information: Website

Head to the waterfront at Canalside for the 32nd annual Buffalo Irish Festival, where you'll find Irish music, goods and crafts from Ireland, and Irish food and beverage, many of which is imported from Ireland.

Buffalo Wing Festival (Buffalo)

Time: August 31-September 1
Cost: $5
More Information: Website

See the U.S. Wing Eating Championship and enjoy the best Buffalo wings that the city has to offer.

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