Fall is still a beautiful time to catch a sunset in Western New York; while winter is not yet upon us, make the most of those waning long days. The sun sets around 7 p.m. in early October, sneaking closer to 6 p.m. by end of the month.
Since a sunset looks even more picturesque over the water, you can’t go wrong heading lake or riverside for a vantage point.
Nearly anywhere along Lake Erie delivers: try the beaches and towns to the south, like Hamburg, Sunset Bay or Woodlawn Beach, or the newish Buffalo Harbor State Park along the Outer Harbor. Gallagher Pier, Wilkeson Pointe—they’re all ready-made for your eyes (or your camera) to drink in the dazzling scenes.
Particularly picturesque is the historic Buffalo Lighthouse and sailboats on the lake. Settle into a spot anywhere along the city’s waterfront, whether it’s Canalside’s wooden decks and boardwalks or at the marina amidst the local boating community, to soak it all in.
At the foot of West Ferry Street, in Broderick Park, are brilliant views of the Peace Bridge and the western sky—walk out on the breakfront and you’ll feel as though you’re perched in the river. There’s a walking and bike path extending north from there. Anywhere along this stretch, with the swiftly flowing Niagara River at your feet, should allow you to soak up plenty of atmosphere. Most of these areas have benches, picnic tables or an actual beach or lawn to sit on.
Urbanites are loving the new and vintage Buffalo skyline opportunities. Find a special view looking west from Lafayette Square, or closer up right in Niagara Square. You’ll see the world-class Art Deco City Hall embraced by the shining colors of the setting sun.
With so many architectural wonders within the city, why not try and catch a sunset on the grounds of the Richardson Complex/Hotel Henry or the History Museum. If you’re lucky, especially viewed from the back along the (Scajaquada-adjacent) shores of Silver Lake, you’ll see skyward beauty reflected there, with the serenity of the Japanese gardens instilling the view. It’s inspiring.
Looking for a more interactive experience? Set off on one of the many hikes or trails in Chestnut Ridge Park. It should still be warm enough for a pleasant evening stroll fit for soaking up the gorgeous hot pinks, oranges and deep blues that Buffalo sunsets are famous for. Front Park, and its proximity to the lake, also makes a spectacular sunset platform.
Delaware Park, in particular Hoyt Lake, provides a pretty—and pretty popular—locale to catch a late-summer free show (thanks, Mother Nature!). Before or after a stroll around the lake, take a balcony seat on the appropriately named Terrace restaurant in Marcy Casino.
At area restaurants like Templeton Landing, Charlie’s Boat Yard, Hoak’s, Bedrock and Liberty Hound, you’re literally nestled up on the water—and can enjoy a sunset with service of an adult beverage and a snack or meal if you so desire. Pearl Street Grill & Brewery is renowned for its many levels of wrought-iron, seasonally florally festooned decks with stunning views of the lake. While the flowers may be gone by then, the views endure.
If you are further north, there are plenty of gorgeous options for sunset viewing—the canals of the Tonawandas are incredibly eye-pleasing, especially with the glowing evening colors spreading across the sky. Restaurants along the canal, like Remington Tavern and Smoke on the Water, provide lovely spots to take in the scene.
And, of course, the granddaddy of them all, Niagara Falls. While it’s a bit of a drive, and it’s hard to compete with the splendor of the falls themselves, it’s worth the trip to witness at dusk. Whether it’s a glowing orange orb sinking in a clear sky or pink-tinged clouds hugging the horizon over misty white foam and pounding water surging over the cliff, it’s a sight you won’t soon forget.
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