Exploring Buffalo doesn’t need to break the bank. Whether you’re a local looking for something different to do during a staycation, or an out-of-town visitor looking to discover the city for the first time, here are a few of our favorite inexpensive activities.
1. See a Movie at the North Park Theatre
1428 Hertel Ave., Buffalo
The historic North Park Theatre has been showing movies, new and old, since the 1920s — and underwent a dazzling restoration in 2014 that returned it to its heyday grandeur. The theater sits in the heart of the bustling Hertel Avenue strip, a prime location to grab dinner before the movie at a number of local restaurants…and drinks after at Lloyd Taco Factory. Tickets are $8.50 before 6pm, $10.50 after 6pm, and $7.50 for seniors all day.
2. Walk through Forest Lawn Cemetery
1411 Delaware Ave., Buffalo
Their knowledgeable trained docents guide you through Buffalo’s most beautiful cemetery. During this two-hour tour, you’ll take a relaxing walk through the grounds to learn about the the property’s famous permanent residents. Explore the art, architecture, waterways, and the surrounding nature while learning along the way. Tickets are only $15 per person and $12 for members of the Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation.
3. Experience the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park
1 Naval Park Cove, Buffalo
The Naval and Military Park at Canalside — the largest inland Naval Park in the United States — isn’t hard to miss while strolling down the path along the water. You can actually venture inside to explore the ships and read about their history. You can spend hours in the USS Little Rock, the USS The Sullivans, and the submarine USS Croaker, wandering the corridors, gazing at photos, and observing their sleeping conditions. Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for children and $8 for seniors.
4. Try a Haunted History Ghost Walk
21 S Grove St., East Aurora
Locations throughout Buffalo (and just outside the city) are full of spooky stories from the past. If you love history and being scared, Haunted History Ghost Walks guide you through the area you choose to tour and tell you the deep-rooted stories that are often kept under wraps. Tours are available at Canalside, East Aurora, Allentown, Larkinville, the Buffalo Theater District, Lewiston, and more. Tickets range in price between $15-20 depending on the tour and time.
5. Tour trains and brews at Hamburg Brewing Company
6553 Boston State Rd, Hamburg
Quite a few breweries in Buffalo offer tours, but the one at Hamburg Brewing Company is unique for one large reason — their model train room. It’s an entire room in the back filled with train tracks, building displays, control panels, antique toys and more. You’ll receive a souvenir HBC pint glass and a fill after the tour. Tickets are $15 per person and guests 12 and under may take the tour free of charge.
6. Take a Buffalo River History Tour
44 Prime St., Buffalo
Buffalo River Tours are a great way to spend some time on the water during a warm summer day while learning about the history surrounding the river. During this 90-minute narrated excursion, you can kick back, relax, and enjoy the ride as you learn the background of the Erie Canal, the biggest grain port, and the grain elevators. Tickets are $21 for adults and $12 for children.
7. Visit the Darwin D. Martin House
125 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo
The Darwin Martin House Tour gives guests a close-up view of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous architecture. A trained docent guides visitors through the main area, the pergola, the conservatory and the carriage house during the one-hour tour. Reservations are recommended so you can secure your place on this limited guided tour. Tickets are $19 for adults, $17 for seniors, $14 for students, and free for members.
8. Discover the Lockport Caves & Underground Boat Ride
5 Gooding St., Lockport
The Lockport Cave & Underground Boat Ride is truly a unique way to discover the Erie Canal. During the 70-minute tour, visitors dive deep into the caves to learn the history of the Buffalo and Niagara area while exploring the Erie Canal locks, ruins from the industrial revolution, and more. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for ages 5-12, and $3 for ages 4 and under.
9. Explore the Aquarium of Niagara
701 Whirlpool St., Niagara Falls
The Aquarium of Niagara is home to a variety of marine mammals, penguins, fish, invertebrates and reptiles. With over 40 exhibits — including the new Humboldt Penguin one that opened this March — plus 128 different species and more, there’s plenty to keep you entertained (and informed!). You can even arrange an animal encounter, where you get up close and personal with a seal or penguin. Tickets are $13 for adults, $11.25 for seniors, and $9 for children.
10. Stroll the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
2655 South Park Ave, Buffalo
Explore the stunning indoor and outdoor gardens — with a number of themed rooms sectioned off inside like the Asian rainforest, tropical trees, and cactuses to name a few. Gaze at the waterfall in the rainforest room and smell the chocolate trees near the main entrance. Tickets are $11 for adults, $10 for seniors, $9 for students, $6 for kids, and free for Garden Members.
Story topics: Discover