18 Fun-Filled Things to Do in Buffalo, NY if You’re New to the City

Nestled along the picturesque shores of Lake Erie, Buffalo, NY is a city bursting with energy and excitement. From the iconic Buffalo Zoo to the vibrant Canalside district, there’s never a shortage of things to do in this city. Whether you’re exploring the historic architecture of the city or indulging in the world-renowned Buffalo wings, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

So whether you’re searching for apartments in Buffalo, homes for sale, homes for rent in Buffalo, or are already a local, this Redfin article will be your guide. Here is Redfin’s list of the top 18 things to do in Buffalo, for both newcomers and long-time locals alike.


1. Get some serenity at Forest Lawn Cemetery

The Forest Lawn Cemetery is a wonderful destination for some peace and quiet. “Not many people think of visiting a cemetery when they are on vacation, but Forest Lawn Cemetery is a refuge of serenity away from the buzz of downtown Buffalo,” recommends Luke Copping, a local photographer in Buffalo. “This over 150-year-old cemetery and park is the resting place of US President Millard Fillmore and funk legend Rick James. It features rolling hills, beautiful sculpted monuments, and lush greenery that make it one of the calmest and most serene spots in the city.”

2. Go fishing on the Great Lakes

For the adventurous soul, consider going out fishing on the Great Lakes. “Buffalo is nestled between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie and right on the mighty upper Niagara River. It is an absolute freshwater fishing paradise,” says Josh Ketry of Pearl Street Brewing Company. “World-class bass, walleye, salmon, trout, muskie, perch and more. Tons of amazing local guides to take you out or lots of public shore fishing access spots. In the center of our dining room is a hand-carved, realistic wooden replica of a 46″ tiger muskie that was caught and released a few hundred feet from our back parking lot by one of our managers, and carved by famous local artist Hans the Carver.”

3. Hike to catch the eternal flame at Chestnut Ridge

The Eternal Flame at Chestnut Ridge is a captivating natural wonder where a small, perpetual flame flickers behind a cascading waterfall, fueled by the release of natural gas from the shale rock beneath. “One of my favorite unique things to do in Buffalo is hike to the eternal flame at Chestnut Ridge,” says Sarah Marinaro of Rosebud Studio of Photography. “It’s a pretty quick hike down a shallow creek, but at the end you get to see a flame burning behind a waterfall that never goes out. My husband and I have been visiting for years and recently took our oldest to see it as well. Super fun and unique!”

4. Take a bike ride around town

A perfect way to get the lay of the land in Buffalo is while touring the city on two wheels. “I recommend hopping on your bike or renting a Reddy Bike to explore Buffalo’s rich architecture and beautiful waterfront,” says Mike Terranova of Big Ditch Brewing Company. “Check out the Naval & Military Park and Canalside downtown. Don’t forget to stop and see the replica canal boat ‘Seneca Chief’ built by The Buffalo Maritime Center in the Commercial Slip at Canalside. From there, you can take the Queen City Bike Ferry to the Outer Harbor and check out our expansive waterfront. If a group ride is more your speed, join a Slow Roll, taking place every Monday night! When you’re ready to relax and recover with a cold beer and some tasty food after your ride, our tap room is located right in the heart of downtown!” 


5. Check out the Bird Island Pier

The Bird Island Pier in Buffalo, New York, offers scenic views of the Niagara River and Lake Erie, providing a tranquil setting for walking, fishing, and observing local wildlife. “I always recommend to visitors that they check out the Bird Island Pier,” says Molly Hutton of Buckminster’s Cat Cafe in Buffalo. “It’s a two-mile narrow concrete strip that extends along the Niagara River from the southern end of Unity Island to beneath the Peace Bridge. Great views of the Black Rock Canal, the river and Lake Erie!”

6. Visit the Buffalo AKG Art Museum

The Buffalo AKG Art Museum, formerly known as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, houses an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art, making it a cultural landmark in Buffalo, New York. “The museum is located just a brief, picturesque walk or a quick drive from InnBuffalo,” says Zena of InnBuffalo, a historic inn located in the heart of Elmwood Village. “The museum houses an impressive array of works by renowned artists like Picasso, Warhol, and Pollock. Its recent renovations and expansions enhance its appeal, making it an essential visit for art lovers staying in the Elmwood Village area.”

7. Stroll through Delaware Park

Delaware Park, designed by the renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, is a historic and picturesque urban park in Buffalo, New York, featuring lush gardens, serene lakes, and recreational facilities. “Our recommendation to visit Buffalo would definitely be Delaware Park,” shares Lash Takalandze of Penny’s Coffee Shop. “It is an absolutely wonderful park, with its fascinating nature, small artificial lake and beautiful flora. In Delaware Park, you can find walking routes, as well as bicycle routes around the park. In summertime, everyone is able to attend Shakespeare outdoor plays, which is adorable. People who love arts, poetry, and theater would be very pleased. When my wife and I first moved to Buffalo, our favorite spot was Delaware Park.” 

While in the area, stop by The Terrace at Delaware Park for a quick bite. “Located on picturesque Hoyt Lake, we offer our guests one of the most uniquely beautiful views in Buffalo,” says Joshua Bauer of The Terrace at Delaware Park. “Enjoy a delicious array of creative cocktails and fine cuisine year-round just a few steps away from the world-renowned AKG art gallery and all the rest the park has to offer.” 

8. Learn something new at the Centro Culturale Italiano di Buffalo

Centro Culturale Italiano di Buffalo (CCI) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote Italian language and culture in the Western New York area. “One of the most wonderful  things to do in Buffalo while you’re here is visit the Italian Cultural Center located on Delaware and Hertel Avenue,” says Dennis DiPaolo from Ilio DiPaolo’s, a local Italian restaurant in Buffalo. “Not only will you see the history of Italians in western New York, but you’ll also be able to look up your hometown and where you are from if you are Italian. You can also view Italy on a touchscreen while enjoying a cappuccino and a cannoli. Make sure to play a game of bocce, too.”

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9. Learn some new dance moves

When in Buffalo, try taking a dance class at a local studio like Ballroom Dance Center Iliana. “At Ballroom Dance Center Iliana, we provide a unique dance experience for dancers to learn Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Waltz, Tango, and more,” says Iliana Kaneva of Ballroom Dance Center Iliana. 

10. Check out the local music scene

Buffalo has a booming local music scene featuring everything from rock and indie music to hip-hop and R&B. “Something that I love about Buffalo is all of the live music that seems to be happening all the time throughout the city. Whether it be bigger shows at venues like Riverworks, Town Ballroom, or the Outer Harbor, local shows at dive-style bars like Nietzsche’s and Mohawk Place or even the super proud DIY music scene that puts shows on, music has an important place here in Buffalo,” says John Vaughan of Overwinter Coffee in Buffalo. “I am part of the local music scene here in Buffalo and it’s something that I’m super proud to be a part of. There’s a lot of talented acts that have come out of this city along with current bands doing a lot of cool things.”

11. Explore the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens is a stunning living museum that offers visitors a chance to explore a wide variety of plant species from around the world. The gardens feature several different themed gardens, including a tropical rainforest, a desert garden, and a Japanese garden. Visitors can also enjoy educational programs, workshops, and special events throughout the year. The gardens are easily accessible by car and public transportation, and are located just a short distance from downtown Buffalo.

12. Enjoy a show at Shea’s Performing Arts Center

Shea’s Performing Arts Center is a historic theater that hosts a wide variety of Broadway shows, concerts, and other live performances. The theater’s stunning architecture and luxurious interior make it a must-see destination for theater enthusiasts. Visitors can also take a guided tour of the theater to learn about its rich history and behind-the-scenes secrets. Located in the heart of downtown Buffalo, Shea’s Performing Arts Center offers a truly unforgettable entertainment experience.

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13. Take a stroll along Canalside

Canalside is a vibrant waterfront destination that offers a wide range of activities and events throughout the year. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront, enjoy a picnic in the park, or take a boat tour of the historic Erie Canal. Canalside also hosts concerts, festivals, and outdoor fitness classes, making it a lively place to visit. The area is easily accessible by foot, bike, or public transportation, and is a must-see for anyone visiting Buffalo.

14. Explore the Buffalo Museum of Science

The Buffalo Museum of Science is a fascinating destination for visitors of all ages. The museum features interactive exhibits, a vast collection of artifacts, and a state-of-the-art planetarium. Visitors can explore everything from ancient Egyptian mummies to the wonders of outer space. The museum is easily accessible by car and public transportation, and is located just a short distance from downtown Buffalo.

15. Visit the Buffalo Zoo

The Buffalo Zoo is the third oldest zoo in the United States and is home to a diverse collection of animals from around the world. Visitors can see everything from lions and tigers to polar bears and gorillas. The zoo also offers educational programs, special events, and behind-the-scenes tours for a truly unique experience. Located in Delaware Park, the zoo is easily accessible and makes for a great day out for individuals and animal lovers alike.

16. Indulge in local cuisine at the Buffalo Food Truck Rodeo

The Buffalo Food Truck Rodeo is a popular event that takes place throughout the summer months, featuring a wide variety of local food trucks offering delicious and diverse cuisine. Visitors can sample everything from gourmet tacos and BBQ to artisanal ice cream and vegan fare. The event also features live music, craft vendors, and a lively atmosphere.

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17. Discover the Buffalo Naval Park and Museum

The Buffalo Naval Park and Museum is a fascinating destination for history enthusiasts and maritime aficionados. The park features several decommissioned naval vessels, including a guided missile cruiser, a destroyer, and a submarine. Visitors can explore the ships, learn about their history, and even take a guided tour to gain insight into life aboard a naval vessel.

18. Take a scenic drive along the Niagara Wine Trail

The Niagara Wine Trail is a picturesque route that winds through the scenic countryside of Western New York, offering visitors a chance to explore the region’s thriving wine industry. The trail features numerous wineries and vineyards, each offering tastings, tours, and stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Visitors can sample a wide variety of wines, from crisp rieslings to robust cabernet sauvignons, and even purchase their favorite bottles to take home.

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