Ah, Buffalo. Across the nation, the second-most-populated city in New York has been known for its cold winters, original chicken wings and drunk sports fans. We’re much more than that, though. We promise!
We’ve always been quite fond of ourselves, but then something BIG happened this year: We were named America’s favorite city by Travel and Leisure. And then shortly after, National Geographic listed us as the third best city for food in the world. IN. THE. WORLD.
To help you get the most out of the city of good neighbors, we put together a list of 10 all-new Buffalo adventures you probably didn’t know about.
1. Paddles and Pints
When: Fridays during the summer
Paddles and Pints kayaking adventure is a unique twist on Explore Buffalo’s usual Elevator Alley Kayak Tour. Paddles and Pints is a tour through Buffalo’s historic grain elevators — but from the perspective of a kayak. The best part? You’ll end the tour with a pint of Old First Ward beer at Gene McCarthy’s Tavern. Plus, if you’re lucky enough, you’ll pick a night when the sky is lit up with fireworks from the Bison’s game.
“Paddles and pints is a great new way to enjoy Buffalo’s new waterfront,” says Brad Hahn, executive director of Explore Buffalo.
This event happens every Friday night (times vary) and runs until August 26. These kayaking adventures last over two hours and equate to a four mile trek, so make sure you’re up for the journey. Tickets are $45 a person, but couples can purchase them for $80.
2. Smoothies in Motion
When: All summer
Connie Ervin, owner of Aunt Connie’s Kitchen, a local business that teaches people better eating habits, brought Smoothies in Motion, her own unique invention, to Buffalo’s Canalside this year.
What exactly is Smoothies in Motion, you may ask? Well, the idea is pretty simple. In order to get your smoothie, you must actually ride a blender bike, which in turn churns your ingredients. Ervin started this business because she was sick of the usual soda and alcohol options at Buffalo’s regular venues.
“We want to offer a healthy alternative for the participants at these events,” Connie Ervin, CEO of Aunt Connie’s Ed-U-Kitchen LLC, says.
Ervin hopes Smoothies in Motion will make appearances throughout summer at other Buffalo spots, such as Larkinville, the Slow Roll and Music Is Art.
3. Comedy Bus
When: Saturday, July 23
If you’re looking for laughs and a nontraditional way to learn about historic stops throughout Buffalo, then you’ll definitely want to check out Comedy Bus.
“We’ll be taking a journey around some of the most scenic and historic parts of buffalo, picking up stand-up comedians at every stop,” Nora Hurley, media specialist at the Center for Inquiry, says. “The Comedy Bus is full of laughs, surprises and complimentary refreshments.”
Comedy bus riders will board at Gene McCarthy’s at 7 p.m. For $12 a ticket, you’ll meet some of Buffalo’s funniest comedians, such as Pat Kewley, Clayton Williams and Woody Battaglia.
4. Big Fat Sunday Funday Bar Crawl
When: Sunday, July 24, 2016
Step Out Buffalo is hosting the Big Fat Sunday Funday Bar Crawl, which features 12 Buffalo bars across the waterfront, Canalside, and Cobblestone neighborhoods:
- (716) Food and Sport
- Canalside Beer Garden
- Iron Works
- Lagerhaus 95
- Liberty Hound
- Lockhouse Distillery
- Pizza Plant @ Canalside
- Swannie House
- Templeton Landing
- William K’s
The bar crawl will run from noon until 6 p.m., but registration (at the Canalside Beer Garden) will only be open until 3 p.m. It’s choose-your-own-adventure-styled, which means you have full control over what bars you visit, and when.
“This bar crawl is a nice, fun way to spend the day and enjoy 12 great bars,” Lauren Spoth, Step Out Buffalo’s creative marketing director, says.
Tickets are on sale right now for $10 (or you’ll have to pay $15 at registration). Some of the local bars are offering two-for-one drink specials, $2 off house-made cocktails, and discounted or free food, among other perks.
5. World’s Largest Rubber Duck at Canalside
When: August 27 and 28
This summer, the world’s largest rubber duck is coming to Buffalo. Yes, you heard us right — there is a world’s largest duck, and it travels from city to city. How large is the world’s largest duck, you may ask? Well, it’s 61 feet tall and 71 feet wide, to be exact. And the world is her bathtub (or so the website claims).
“We can’t wait to see the delighted faces of children and adults alike as this six stories tall, 11-ton ‘Mama Duck’ floats into Canalside on the Buffalo River,” Robert Gioia, Erie Canal harbor development corporation chairman, says.
6. Johnny Mac’s Inflatable Pub
When: July – August
Buffalo will be home to a whole new kind of bar this summer: an inflatable pub. This unique pub is made of 100 percent air. While it doesn’t include a bounce house (apparently we can’t have it all), there is plenty of space that can hold up to 100 people and features live music.
The inflatable pub, which was purchased by WNY native Corey McGowan, will travel throughout the city this summer. Catch it on these dates:
July 29: Music in the Park
August 14: Concert for a Cure
August 14: Dog Days of Summer
August 26: Music in the Park
September 3-4: Taste of Niagara Falls
September 24: Taste of Grand Island
The pub several offers several of Buffalo’s favorite drinks, like the New Belgium Fat Tire and Flying Bison Rusty Chain, and traditional eats (think burgers, hot dogs and pizza). Oh, and did we mention that you can rent the bar for your own private party or use it as a beer tent? Score.
7. Panaro’s Caramel Sponge Candy Cannoli
When: All summer
WNYers are known for their love of two things: sponge candy and cannolis — so it’s no wonder we all freaked out when we heard about Panaro’s Caramel Sponge Candy Cannoli. A 2016 Best of Buffalo and 2015 Best Dessert winner at our annual Taste of Buffalo, it was clear Buffalonians couldn’t get enough of this sugary treat.
Panaro’s has announced plans for their own food truck — The Rolling Cannoli — which will offer other cannoli flavors, like peanut butter and Oreo, and most likely start making appearances at WNY events by the end of August. If you can’t wait to try these desserts, though, Panaro’s does feature them on their lunch and catering menu.
When: Sunday, July 24
For the past eight summers, WNY native Sal Anello and his friends have spent one day each year floating along the Upper Niagara River. This year, though, something weird happened when he posted a Facebook status reminding his friends about their annual tradition — a ton of strangers caught on.
“After posting the status, people started sharing and by three in the afternoon that day a couple hundred people shared the event,” Anello says.
Now a Facebook event with over 6,000 interested attendees, Anello may have just started a new Buffalo tradition. If you’re joining the group of lazy river floaters, all you need to do is show up at Gratwick park with a float, friends and a few cold drinks. According to Anello, the trip is about four miles and should take about three hours to finish.
9. Wildplay MistRider Zipline to the Falls
When: All summer
Thrill ride is an understatement for this summer adventure near the falls. Located in close proximity to Buffalo, Wildplay’s MistRider Zipline to the Falls offers four parallel ziplines that travel 2,200 feet through the wide river gorge with views of the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls.
Riders must be at least 7 years old and weigh between 65 and 300 pounds.
10. Buffalo Bills Super Bowl Parade
When: Friday, February 10
With record-breaking ticket sales last season, optimistic Buffalo Bills fans created a Facebook event for a parade in the streets after an anticipated Super Bowl LI victory. Yes, that’s right — the Bills fanatics have planned a Buffalo Bills Super Bowl Parade. You can RSVP on the page, which currently has 3,300 interested attendees. You gotta love our spirit, right?
What’s your favorite new Buffalo adventure? We’d love to hear! Send us a tweet at @QuinlanCompany.