A crowd of people in front of Buffalo's Canalside side with Our City Our Waterfront pop-up tent.

Soaking Up Summer Like a Buffalonian

Published May 30, 2023

Photo of Rachael Herbst.

Rachael Krupski: Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at the University at Buffalo School of Law.

Buffalo may be known as the snowiest city in the nation, but to the possible shock of many, it does get warm here! We are lucky enough to have four full seasons, including a very warm summer. As potential UB law students; you will be living in this city for three years and may even stick around post-graduation. To help you get the most out of your summers, and experience life as a Buffalonian, we have put together a list of the best things to do in Buffalo while the sun is shining. Our UB Law staff also chimed in to share some of their personal favorites!

Get on the Water

Buffalo is located on one of the 5 Great Lakes, Lake Erie. Additionally, Lake Ontario is located just to the North, so number one on the list is an easy choice: enjoying the water! There are many activities available, but also a myriad of great spots to just sit back, relax, and take in the views. This can include visits to one of the many beaches, Canalside, or Olcott’s Lakeview Village Shoppes.

Key Beaches Near Buffalo:

Beaver Island State Park (18 min): This beach has it all. Located on Grand Island, an island splitting the U.S. and Canada, is a half-mile sandy beach. However, the beach is not the only attraction. This park includes fishing access, a marina, a canoe/kayak launch, trails to walk or ride a bike, a disc gold course, a golf course, and much more!

Bennet Beach (40 min): “Considered by many to be the most beautiful beach in Erie County”, Bennet Beach is a tranquil, relaxing location that is family-friendly. If you are looking for a low-key spot to read, swim, and enjoy the weather, this is it!

Evangola State Park (43 min): Evangola is a great location if you want to spend the whole weekend because they are also a campground. With 80 campsites and 6 yurts available, this is a perfect getaway with amazing sunsets, disc golf, and hiking.

Woodlawn Beach State Park (20 min): One of the closest beaches to campus, Woodlawn provides a one-mile-long sandy beach with gorgeous views and a boardwalk. Part of this great view is 14 wind turbines harnessing 35 MW of energy from the steady winds off the lake.

Sunset Bay Beach (40 min): With 5 acres of daily groomed beach, this is a favorite of our Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications, Rachael Krupski. 

“On calm days you will find me boating down Lake Erie coast to Sunset Bay. This is one of the most gorgeous and lively beaches in Western NY, but the best part is the Sunset Bay Beach Club and Cabana Sam’s Beach Bar & Grill. You have everything you need right there: sun, sand, water, & food!”

-  Rachael Krupski

If you would like to stick closer to the city of Buffalo, we recommend visiting Canalside where you can rent kayaks, water bikes, and entire boats for trips around the lake!

Kristen Kelly, Associate Director for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Director for the Discover Law Undergraduate Scholars Program, recommends charting a boat and enjoying the day at local eateries in the city:

“I had a blast one time on the Moondance Cat. I believe we did a 4 pm sail followed by dinner and margaritas on the patio of Casa Azul, formerly Cantina Loco, at 191 Allen St.”

-  Kristen Kelly

Individual Sails are available every day and take place for one hour and forty-five minutes. At only $25 per person, with discounts available for service members, you don’t want to miss this relaxing and memorable experience.

“There are ample options for a Sunday brunch on the patio with friends. One of my favorites is Betty’s.

-  Kristen Kelly

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If you prefer to take in some local history, you can head North to the Old Fort Niagara. This fort is located at the mouth of the Niagara River, chosen for control over the Great Lakes waterways. The fort has been under the control of Britain, the U.S., and France. During the summer months, you will witness musket and artillery firing demonstrations, go on a guided tour, see artisans at work, and learn about life on the Niagara Frontier during the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Go for a Hike

If you have not had a chance to read through Keeping it Cool in the Cold: What to Do During Winter Break at UB Law, hiking through the many scenic trails around Western New York is a highlight through any season. Each season the trail will show a new side of itself.

"Buffalo is located near some of the most beautiful regions of New York State, with natural wonders only a few minutes away. For those near the Southtowns, I cannot recommend hiking at Chestnut Ridge, and the Eternal Flame Path enough. The Northtowns also hosts some beautiful parks, in addition to the Akron Falls hiking trail!"

-  Benjamin Rogers, Senior Coordinator for Admissions Operations

Key Hiking Trails Near Buffalo:

Zoar Valley, a 50-minute drive from the Universities North Campus, and a sight worth the commute! Venture down the gorge, explore the trail, find fossils and more!

Niagara Gorge, a 25-minute drive from the Universities North Campus, the Niagara Gorge contains various hiking trails equipped for beginners and advanced hikers. Take in beautiful views of the Falls and the rapids by exploring Whirlpool Rapids State Park and Devil’s Hole!

Akron Falls State Park is located just 25 minutes from North Campus and as its name suggest, is home to a beautiful waterfall with biking, fishing, sports courts and fields for amble recreation time with your friends!

Chestnut Ridge is also located only 25 minutes from the North Campus and contains a local wonder, the Eternal Flame. While the entire park contains hiking trails to enjoy, the Eternal Flame trail is filled with wildlife, and holds a long-standing flame underneath running water!

Eat your way through Buffalo

There is nothing better than moving from the dining room to a patio table to enjoy your meal. Buffalo is home to many amazing outdoor eateries like Liberty Hound, a seafood restaurant on the Buffalo waterfront. You may also head to the historic Erie Canal where Prescott’s Provisions and The Dockside Bar & Grill can be found. Or, a new community favorite is The Ward at Buffalo RiverWorks. You may want to dedicate a whole day to visiting RiverWorks where you can Zipline, climb the Silos, and test your fears with the Urban High Ropes Course. But, our Director of Recruitment and Admissions, Laurel Root, prefers pizzas at Westside Tilth Farm.

“Like many Buffalonians, I try to get outside as much as possible during the summer months. Since the afternoons can get rather warm by Buffalo standards, I like getting out to the local farmers’ markets as early as possible on Saturdays. My favorites include the Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers’ Market and WestSide Tilth Farm (which also offers incredible hand-made pizzas cooked in wood-fired ovens).  Whether you’re looking for fresh produce, delicious pastries, small-batch ice cream, or just a coffee, it’s a great way to start your weekend.”

-  Laurel Root, Assistant Dean for Academic Planning and Operations

You may also want to mark the yearly Taste of Buffalo on your calendars, so you can try a bit of everything in one day!

We think Vice Dean of Admissions, Lindsay Gladney, puts it best when we think of biking in the Queen City:

“Buffalo has put in a lot of work over the past decade to make the city and surrounding areas more biker-friendly. I’m a big fan of the waterfront trails, but nothing beats a Saturday morning bike ride to the Elmwood Village Farmers Market on Bidwell Parkway”.

- Lindsay Gladney

Indeed, Buffalo is home to bike lanes galore, with almost every destination being bike-friendly. In addition to biking through the city you may choose to go on one of the many bike trails that have been created in communities and nature:

Lehigh Valley Railroad Rail Trail, located only 15 minutes from UB North Campus, allows you to bike next to an active rail line with trees and nature surrounding you.

Niagara Gorge Rim Trail, located only 25 minutes from UB North Campus, contains an incredible natural wonder, views of the Niagara River, and beautiful state parks with bridge-high views.

The Outer Harbor, one of Buffalo’s most recent transformations, contains the Independent Health Wellness Trail, a 3-mile scenic route all along the water. In addition, take advantage of the Lakeside Bike Park with calm nature paths and more extreme paths for mountain bike enthusiasts!

March down Elmwood Avenue and celebrate all who make up the vibrant LGBTQ+ community here in Western New York. Or, watch the floats go by from the sidelines with your friends, family, or chosen family for a day of fun you won’t forget.

Sun., June 4th | 11:00 a.m. 

Start: Elmwood Avenue at Forest Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14222

End: Elmwood Avenue at Allen Street, Buffalo, NY 14201

This event has come to signal the coming of Buffalo’s summer season as thousands of Buffalonians and out-of-town visitors take to the streets in the first of a jam-packed calendar of special summer events.

Sat., June 10th - Sun., June 11th | 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

The event is held in and around the corner of Delaware Avenue and Allen Street, just north of downtown Buffalo.

We are coming together under the summer sun to enjoy each other’s love, strength, and solidarity.

Sat., June 17th - Sun., June 18th | 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Martin Luther King Park, Buffalo, NY 14211

Sunset Bay's Jamboree is back this summer! Enjoy live country music with the sun overhead and sand under your toes.

Sat., June 24th | 1:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.

Sunset Bay Beach 1028 South Shore Dr., Irving, NY 14081

Over 100 artists and craft vendors. Free entry for the public, rain or shine. 

Sat., June, 24th - Sun., June 25th | 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Main St, Lockport, NY 14094

The Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops is the largest two-day food festival in the United States. 

Sat., July 8th - Sun., July 9th 

Niagara Square, Buffalo, NY 14202

The Erie County Fair, held annually, is the largest fair of its kind in New York State, and the 3rd largest county fair in the nation. There is something for everyone during the Best 12 Days of Summer.

Wed., August 9th - Sun., August 20th 

5600 McKinley Pkwy, Hamburg, NY 14075

A two-day music and cultural festival set in one of the most scenic and storied grounds in all of New York State

Fri., September 15th - Sun., September 17th 

Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora, NY 14052

As you can see, there sure is a lot of places to enjoy some fun in the sun, right here in Buffalo! Whether you’re a Buffalo native, or new to the area, we hope you found this list to be informative in helping you plan out your Summer free time!

Additional Resources

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May 2022 and has been updated to reflect 2023 events. 

Photo of Rachael Herbst.

Rachael Krupski: Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at the University at Buffalo School of Law.


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