I was watching the weather network when the familiar bing of an email notification went off. On my television the images of snow pummelling the Buffalo Niagara region at an alarming rate. On my phone an email bubble with the subject line “You’re still coming to Buffalo right?” It was two weeks before my scheduled return to the city and in true Buffalo spirit snow was not going to get in the way. Days before U.S. Thanksgiving there were Twitter and Facebook messages of the all clear, Downtown Buffalo had recovered from the snow and was back in business. A week later I was loading up my car for another road trip with no idea what Buffalo would have in store for me this time around.
I’ve covered the City of Buffalo before as a different shopping destination for Canadians so I was more than curious to see what they could possibly be showing me that’s new, when I was starting my journey at the very same spot as my last trip. In front of me was my old friend: the bright yellow street art wall on Elmwood Avenue. In fact the itinerary for this trip was almost the same with a visit to Elmwood Village and Hertel Avenue, two great shopping villages in Buffalo.
Winter in Buffalo New York
However, they managed to enlighten and surprise me again! A completely different trip with a whole new set of surprises and experiences. Buffalo is not only rising up out of the snow this winter but it has a lot going on to keep it warm through the cold winter!
Winter in Buffalo What’s Happening?
I have to start with what’s new in my favourite spot in Buffalo – Canalside – Buffalo’s developing waterfront. In just a few short months since summer it has come a long way! The Harbor Center is now open and houses 2 NHL sized rinks and a special Tim Hortons restaurant with a dedication to Buffalo’s history and Tim Horton’s himself.
What caught my eye and sense of smell was standing outside the hottest new sports bar in Buffalo, the 716, a 13,000 square foot sport paradise and popular spot which I heard about throughout the weekend from Buffalonians who talked about catching the Sabres game there. I did not go in, but it is definitely on my dream travel list for my next trip to Buffalo!
Skating the Canal in Downtown Buffalo
I was a mere 2 weeks too early to check out Buffalo’s newest attraction the Canal Skating rink which is a man made canal made to replicate the Erie Canal waterway. It stretches 33,000 square feet and is the largest outdoor ice surface in New York State. Can’t wait to head back for an outdoor skate. (Did I mention it is right next to the 716 sports bar? Subtle hint for my friends reading this now! Let’s go!)
Buffalo is Decked Out for the Holidays
I walked through the downtown core on Saturday evening and all around me were the sights and sounds of the season! Streets with Christmas trees, decorations, buildings with special holiday lighting and trees lit up with Christmas lights.
Like downtown Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square, Downtown Buffalo has its own outdoor skating rink, packed with people enjoying an outdoor city skate.
The Incredible Shea’s Theatre Buffalo
I was fortunate during my weekend to enjoy a broadway show at Shea’s Theatre, more on this in a future post, but had to share a photo and mention in this post because that ceiling was part of it’s ongoing restoration and all that intricate painting was done by hand! The holiday decor inside was also pretty magnificent.
Holiday Open Studios and Art Galleries
One of the highlights of my weekend in Buffalo was a special event held by the Artists in Buffalo Inc. where local artists and artisans share their work in a public exhibition. Of course you are also able to purchase these one of a kind pieces perfect for a little holiday shopping. So while touring the amazing gallery at Burchfield Penney Art Centre I wondered through the many artists’ displays and happened upon the booth of the artist that designed one of my favourite Buffalo souvenirs.
The Faces of Buffalo photos are found in just about every Buffalo trinket or gift shop you walk into. They are photos of Buffalo Landmarks that look like the letters B U F F A L O. I had a lovely chat with the artist behind them Brian Nesline who introduced me to another amazing project of his: Faces of Buffalo mosaics. He takes face drawings that were created by people in the Buffalo community and turns them into images like the Buffalo or the Buffalo Landscape! Such a great moment! Can’t wait to get my new art framed!
Oooh the food in Buffalo!
Throughout my weekend I partook in some of the diverse food scene in Buffalo! Too much to share in this post but I promise more to come on this. However, during dinner at Osteria 166 in Downtown Buffalo we had the most amazing appetizer – “The Carl.” I can’t even begin to describe this fabulous Buffalo spot here – I promise more coming soon!
There was a lot of delicious eating done on this trip and I promise to share with you all very soon! I did happen to go on a special mission during this weekend to find Paula’s Donuts. I saw Buffalo Tourism post something about donuts on their Facebook page not too long ago and it forever stuck in my mind. So for official Canadian Donut research I decided I needed to find out more and take the short drive out to their Tonawanda location.
The donut: The Peanut Butter and Chocolate. The result: OMG!
I must have looked like a crazy person admiring this magnificent creation for 5 minutes as I figured out how I was even going to be able to eat it. These donuts are huge! Filled with the most incredible angel cream filling, mine a peanut butter angel cream, inside the softest, fluffiest donut you can possibly imagine with chocolate on top. I managed to escape the store with just the one donut but I confess I have been dreaming about when I will be able to go back to try another!
Buffalo Continues to Grow and Change Before My Eyes
I can’t help but notice the construction that continues in Downtown Buffalo. The city is growing and changing daily it seems. The pedestrian street is going through some major changes right now and there is a new hotel rising up in Canalside that I can’t wait to see! Buffalo will have more surprises for me – this I know for sure! I can’t wait to go back and experience them!
Have a favourite spot in Buffalo? I’d love to hear your favourite Buffalo spots, share them in the comments below and maybe I will see them during my next visit!
Travel assistance provided by Visit Buffalo Niagara, however the opinions expressed in this post are my own.