As Buffalonians, we’re winter pros. We’ve survived the Blizzard of ‘93, the December Storm of ‘01, the October Surprise of ‘06, and the North American Winter Storm in ‘14. So, chances are you already have kitty litter in your truck, bags of salt piled on your front porch and your snow boots readily available.
But, even the most seasoned Buffalonian knows that one of the most difficult tasks in the winter is simply finding new things to do. As riveting as Buffalo is, it can be pretty easy to let the weather, icy roads and warm booze keep you cozy on your couch.
So, we’re here to help. Here are 10 things you need to do in Buffalo this winter.
1. For the Southtowners: East Aurora Carolcade
When: Dec. 17th, 2016 7pm
Where: East Aurora Carol Cade
As our good friend Buddy the Elf would say: The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. Join East Aurora’s carolers on Main Street for the 44th Annual Carolcade — a night of singing, Santa Claus visits, hot chocolate, donuts and holiday joy.
This year the town is looking to break a Guinness Record for largest outdoor caroling event. So come sing your heart out! (And did we mention there’s no open container law in East Aurora?)
2. For the Seinfeld lovers: Festivus
When: Dec. 23, 2016 at 8:30 pm
Where: Hydraulic Hearth
Hydraulic Hearth and Community Beer Works are once again teaming up to throw a Festivus party unlike any other. Attendees can expect feats of strength, airing of grievances, an Elaine dance-off, costume contest, Seinfeld trivia and, of course, an unadorned Festivus pole.
Food and drink specials will begin at 8:30 p.m. and complimentary snacks will also be provided.
3. For the party animals: Brew Year’s Eve
When: Dec. 31, 2017
Where: Buffalo RiverWorks
Ring in the new year with some of your favorite local breweries at RiverWorks Brew Year’s Eve. The event features a sneak peek of RiverWorks Brews exclusive first sampling, a champagne toast, hat, noisemakers, food and dessert stations, beer and wine stations and much more.
Pre-sale tickets are $110 per couple (or $65 for the single peeps) and can be purchased on Buffalo RiverWorks website.
4. For the outdoor adventurers: Winterfest
When: January 12-15, 2017
Where: Town of Tonawanda facilities
Craving a holiday challenge? Town of Tonawanda Youth, Parks and Recreation’s annual Winterfest may have everything you need. This five-day event has everything from firework to ice skating, Kan Jam tournaments, magic shows and much more.
There are plenty of activities for all ages, including wine tasting, adult dancing and children’s outdoor games.
5. For the wine-lovers: Niagara Icewine Festival
When: Jan. 13-15, 20-22 and 27-29, 2017
Where: Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls (close enough, guys)
‘Tis the season for drinking wine. You might as well make it festive. Enter: the 22nd Annual Icewine Festival, a three-weekend long wine festival that celebrates Ontario’s own Icewine.
The festival’s events include wine samplings, comedy festivals, musical guests, food pairings (what’s better than chocolate and wine?) and cocktail competitions.
For the fanciest of wine lovers, tickets for the all-inclusive Icewine Gala cost $185. For the rest of us, an individual experience costs $10 per event or $40 for the three-weekend discover pass.
6. For the family friendly: Chillabration
When: Jan. 13-16, 2017
Between ice skating, ice bicycling, friendly curling competitions, karaoke and trivia nights, and open-mic nights featuring the talents poets, comedians and local musicians, there’s no shortage of festive fun to be had on any day of the week at Canalside.
If you’re looking for some post-holiday fun, Chillabration at Canalside is a family friendly, four-day celebration. Take part in dinosaur skate featuring artifacts from the Buffalo Science Museum, ice sculptures, children’s programming and crafts, amusement rides, ice skating performances, live music, food trucks and more.
7. For the foodies: Buffalo Soup-Fest
When: Jan. 28, 2017
Where: Buffalo Niagara Convention Center
There’s nothing like a hot and flavorful bowl of soup to warm you up after a long day in the cold weather. If you don’t think one bowl of soup can fill the void in your stomach, we’ve got the event for you.
Buffalo Soup-Fest offers 75 different types of soup from 30 different restaurants. While the 2017 menu hasn’t been finalized just yet — we’re pretty confident it’ll be a good line up. Last year’s soups ranged from Beer Cheese Soup and Buffalo Chicken Ramen to Blazing Bison Chili and Pierogi. There’s a flavor for everyone.
Tickets are $5 for entry and soups can be bought with “soup bucks” (which can be purchased for $1 each).
8. For the beer enthusiasts: WNY Winter Brewfest
When: Feb. 3, 2017
Where: Tonawanda Castle
Craft beers are having their moment — and WNY Winter Brewfest is all about celebrating our favorites. Attendees are able to sample some of Buffalo’s best beers, hard ciders and seasonal IPA’s. And, since beer pairs nicely with games, you’ll be able to play a few rounds of giant beer pong, giant Jenga and other activities.
Tickets ($45 a person) are limited, so if you’re interested in tasting craft brews all night, make sure to book your ticket quick.
9. For the animal lovers: Buffalo Zoo Polar Bites
When: Feb. 23, 2017
Where: Buffalo Niagara Convention Center
Buffalo is bringing back Buffalo Zoo Polar Bites – another winter fundraising event that is sure to be entertaining. Guests can expect a fun night featuring basket auctions, food samplings from some of Western New York’s favorite restaurants and a meet and greet with some of the zoo’s ambassador animals.
Tickets are $30 presale and $40 at the door and include admission, unlimited food samplings, two drink tickets, free parking and more.
10. For the ski bums: Penguin Paddle
When: Feb. 25, 2017
Where: Holiday Valley
On February 25, slide down a ski slope on your stomach for one awesome cause.The Holiday Valley annual Penguin Paddle raises money for the Lounsbury Adaptive Program, which is an adaptive ski program for people with disabilities and military veterans.
Tickets range from $1 to $5, so grab a drink, gear up in your garbage bag and spend the day sliding and skiing.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Buffalo during the winter? We’d love to know. Tweet us @Quinlancompany