Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Amherst, NY

  • Published 2023/04/24

Amherst is a small town located within the inner suburbs of Buffalo, Erie County, New York State.

Its location in the inner skirts of the state provides tourists with a peaceful, relaxing vacation.

If you are looking to escape the busy streets of the town but want to stay near enough to Buffalo for a variety of activities, check out Amherst.

There are also several iconic landmarks and historical monuments in this town.

It’s also filled with much historical and cultural significance, making it a must-visit destination for tourists.

Its surrounding areas also provide lovely views and sceneries perfect for hikes, morning walks, strolls, and more.

Here are the best things to do in Amherst, NY:

Take a Trip to Amherst State Park

A catbird on a tree at Amherst State Park

Pierre Williot /

Amherst State Park sits between the towns of Amherst and Williamsville and is a must-visit destination for tourists.

It’s in Buffalo, New York, eight minutes from Amherst.

This small park is one of the town’s hidden gems with its spacious greens, natural beauty, scenic sights, and nature trails.

Spanning almost 80 acres, this park is the ideal place to wind down and relax, spending quality time with your family.

A baltimore oriole eating berries at Amherst State Park

Pierre Williot /

You may also explore and walk along the trails that wind through various flora and fauna with your significant other.

Bring them for a nice, romantic date that’ll make your pictures look great.

You can also play outdoor sports and games or have a nice picnic in their open space.

This park is home to a beautiful waterfall that completes the scenery.

Go On a Shopping Spree at Boulevard Mall

Signage of Boulevard Mall

Me, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Your vacation wouldn’t be complete without a shopping spree, so stop by Boulevard Mall at the heart of the town.

Since its opening in 1962, this mall has become a staple for the community of Amherst.

You’ll find over 100 outfitters, retail shops, and several eateries that cater to different cuisines that any shopaholic will enjoy.

From clothes to furniture to house decorations and everything in between, this mall carries a variety of items and services.

You can bring the kids with you as you explore this expansive, 904,000-square-foot mall.

Whether you’re stopping by to do some shopping or looking for a great place to eat, Boulevard Mall has all the things you’re looking for.

Take a Scenic Hike at Erie Canalway Trail

Previously known as the “Amherst Canalway Trail,” this trail has since been renamed the Erie Canalway Trail that connects the towns of Amherst and Lockport.

Stretching over seven miles, there’s so much to see and explore on this trail.

In addition to hiking and walking, you can even ride your bike on this path for a more efficient way to explore this route.

Erie Canalway Trail also gives you lovely views of the waterways where you may see different boats speed by.

You can admire the scenic beauty that this trail provides that winds through the different surrounding woods and forests, where you can see thriving ecosystems.

Keep an eye out for the animals and wildlife that have made this trail their home.

Eat Delicious Chicken Wings at Duff’s Famous Wings

Exterior of Duff’s Famous Wings

Idawriter, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Though this restaurant may look like your average, typical eatery, don’t let its looks fool you.

Duff’s Famous Wings, often shortened to Duff’s, serves arguably the best chicken wings that the entirety of Amherst has to offer.

Louise Duffney built the diner in 1946.

This eatery still operates in its original location and has used the same tradition and recipe since 1969.

A plate of Duff’s Famous Wings

Top Photo Corporation /

Over the years, this diner has garnered a loyal following and a reputation for some of the best chicken wings in town, with varying spice levels.

They’ve also recently added pizzas to their menu cooked in a traditional brick oven for maximum deliciousness and flavor.

Drop by and eat at Duff’s Famous Wings, which has won the hearts of the community of Amherst.

Learn Local History at Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village

People formerly called this museum the Amherst Museum before they renamed it to honor the Buffalo Niagara region and the town of Amherst.

You’ll find this museum a short 15-minute drive towards the northern end of town.

This museum covers a Historic Village with over ten different historically-significant establishments built in the 19th century.

Initially built in 1976 in the neighboring town of Tonawanda, this establishment has relocated to its current location in 1986.

Guests who visit are more than welcome to explore every acre of this museum and check out the various displays and exhibits scattered throughout.

The Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village seeks to preserve these establishments and artifacts that have contributed to the Amherst community.

The collections at this museum continue to grow, and their facility is still expanding to make room for more.

Add this museum to your list of destinations to visit in Amherst.

See a Play at MusicalFare Theatre

Inside Daeman University in Amherst, MusicalFare Theatre is home to a growing number of aspiring artists, actors, and actresses, bringing talent to the center stage.

This theatrical organization produces many original shows, musicals, and plays under various genres.

Since its establishment in 1990, this non-profit organization has produced over 185 performances.

Some have even received awards and recognition.

They also host several special events that are open to the public that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Don’t forget to buy a ticket to ensure a seat as you sit back and enjoy the show.

Laugh Your Head Off at Rob’s Comedy Playhouse

A short 6-minute drive away from the heart of Amherst takes you to Rob’s Comedy Playhouse!

As the longest-running comedy house in town, you’re sure to have a great night with aching cheeks and stomachs from laughter!

This comedy club is also owned and operated by the comedians, ensuring high-quality jokes, all kinds of humor, and even some food and drinks.

Serving the community for more than three decades, Rob’s Comedy Playhouse brings only the funniest comics to the stage.

Only 70 tickets are sold per show, so book a slot ahead of time to secure a seat for a great night!

Indulge in Delicious Steak at Black & Blue Steak & Crab

Black & Blue Steak & Crab is an upscale restaurant best known for its fine dining, relaxing and elegant atmosphere.

Of course, you’ll enjoy a great selection of food.

Situated in the eastern end of Amherst, this restaurant stays true to its name and serves the best surf-n-turf meals that combine your favorite meat and seafood in one dish.

From classic appetizers to decadent desserts, your mouth water at the sublime deliciousness of their offerings.

While choosing your preferred steak temperature, you can customize your dish by adding seafood of your choice.

Take your pick from oysters, shrimp, lobster, crab, and more.

This restaurant is a local favorite and a tourist hotspot, so try to book a reservation before running out of tables.

Visit the Rinks at Northtown Center at Amherst

Northtown Center at Amherst is one of the most exciting indoor facilities in the township, famous for being a hub for hockey.

It’s one of the biggest facilities for ice skating and hockey in this part of New York, so it’s a must-see if you’re a big fan of the sport.

There’s also a pro shop here, along with restaurants and a snack bar for the complete experience.

What makes Northtown Center at Amherst great is its surroundings as well—there are a lot of walking trails and it doubles as a park.

This makes it a great all-rounder for families, whether you like hockey or not.

Northtown Center at Amherst can be found along Amherst Manor Drive.

Go Skating at Alice Peace Park Skatepark

If your preferred sport is skateboarding and not ice skating, then Alice Peace Park Skatepark is right around the corner.

In fact, it’s adjacent to Northtown Center at Amherst, making this a convenient place to add to your itinerary.

It’s one of the best skateparks in the Buffalo, New York area, famous for its huge ramps and spacious grounds.

The bowls here are also amazing no matter what your skill-level is.

If you go during peak hours, you’ll see tons of locals and even tourists here, giving you lots of opportunities to meet fellow enthusiasts.

Dine and Play at Iron Buffalo Gaming and Coffee

If you’re a big fan of board games and geeky hobbies, then you should try visiting Iron Buffalo Gaming and Coffee.

Many locals congregate here to play beloved board games such as Dungeons and Dragons and Monopoly among others.

Besides the board games, Iron Buffalo Gaming and Coffee is famous for having funko pops and comics; if you’re a big fan, you might stumble upon a rare item here!

The coffee and food are also great, so don’t miss out on one of the most inviting and welcoming places in Amherst.

Located along Millersport Highway, this is a convenient spot to visit no matter what time of the day.

Chow Down at Sheridan Family Restaurant

Sheridan Family Restaurant is an amazing place to dine at Amherst because of its extensive selection of food.

The restaurant is Greek, but there are a lot of American influences in the menu as well.

If you’re visiting during breakfast time, they serve some classic American breakfast plates.

If you’re visiting for lunch, then try their Greek food that’s highlighted by their authentic and delicious Souvlaki.

For dinner, try their seafood boils done Cajun-style for a nice feast.

Regardless of what you order, Sheridan Family Restaurant is one of the most beloved culinary icons in Amherst, so you can’t go wrong with them.

The restaurant is located along Sheridan Drive.

Do Recreational Activities at Dellwood Park

Found along Ivyhurst Road, Dellwood Park acts as one of the primary town parks of Amherst.

You can do lots of things here for a laid-back afternoon, such as bringing the kids to a playground or doing some running.

There’s a nice amount of greenery here, which makes it a great place for respite as well.

There are even other amenities here such as a street hockey area and some baseball diamonds.

Overall, Dellwood Park is one of the best places for a quick stopover.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit the Buffalo Zoo

Entrance to The Buffalo Zoo

CiEll /

If you’re looking for places to visit in the city of Buffalo, roughly five miles from Amherst, start by visiting the Buffalo Zoo.

It’s 14 minutes away from Amherst.

Established in 1870, the Buffalo Zoo is the third oldest zoo in the country.

This establishment has been an essential part of the community with its contributions to the animal kingdom.

A lion cub at The Buffalo Zoo

Wirestock Creators /

In addition to housing various animals from across the globe, this zoo has also protected several endangered species.

You can bring the whole family to admire the different animals, ranging from the fiercest land predators such as tigers and lions to gentle fowl, sheep, and more.

There’s so much to see and learn in the exhibits, enclosures, and programs that the Buffalo Zoo hosts.

Purchase a ticket and stop by.

A bear at The Buffalo Zoo

Jeffrey M. Frank /

Enjoy Indoor Activities at LASERTRON

LASERTRON is a popular indoor entertainment facility that caters to everyone of all ages.

LASERTRON has over eight different attractions that anyone is welcome to try for a day of fun and excitement.

You’ll find this place in Buffalo, New York, seven minutes from Amherst.

Their most famous attraction is their lasertron experience which is essentially laser tag – with a twist.

Other amenities you can check out are their ax-throwing lanes, arcade games, table tennis, mini-golf, and more.

They also have a bar and cafe where you can grab a quick snack or a cold beverage to freshen up and recharge for the continuous activities you have planned.

Bring the whole family together at LASERTRON and challenge each other to a friendly round of your preferred game.

See Horticultural Treasures at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

Scenic night view of Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

Hsa htaw /

Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens is a living museum at the heart of Buffalo, New York, 22 minutes from Amherst.

Its natural beauty and artfully crafted landscapes and layout will take your breath away.

Housing several horticultural treasures, you’ll find several plants and ecosystems thriving in this botanical garden.

Likewise, you’ll find stunning Victorian-inspired glass walls and houses.

This living wonder has opened to the public since the 1900s, and its collection of flora only continues to grow.

Checkers inside the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens conservatory

Jeffrey M. Frank /

Due to its historical significance and overall breathtaking sight, Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens have landed on the National Register of Historic Places list.

This garden currently attracts visitors regularly, garnering hundreds of thousands of tourists annually.

You can go on a self-guided tour and explore the interconnected flower exhibits and greenhouses that display many species.

Add this destination to your itinerary.

Let the beauty of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens blow you away.

Vibrant flowers and potted plants in Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

Jeffrey M. Frank /

Test Your Bravery at Frightworld, America’s Screampark

If you love haunted houses and all things spooky, you might want to check out Frightworld, America’s Screampark, in Buffalo, 16 minutes from Amherst.

This establishment is also the largest indoor scream park in the country, with over five different haunted attractions that have also received awards and recognition!

Only five miles away from the heart of Amherst, this attraction welcomes you to experience their haunted asylums, eerie and abandoned basements, grindhouses with a chilling backstory, and more.

As one of the best-haunted houses across the country, this place will send a shiver down your spine.

Visit the different attractions that have made this scream park a must-visit.

Are you brave enough to survive the horrors of Frightworld?

Stop by Frightworld, America’s Screampark, and see what everyone is raving about!

Learn Military History at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park

The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park ship

JoanneStrell /

Often shortened to the “Buffalo Naval Park,” this historical establishment is found next to Lake Erie, roughly 20 minutes from Amherst.

This is a hotspot for history buffs and military enthusiasts.

Established in 1979, this museum has grown over time and has become one of the largest Naval and Military Parks in America.

The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park is also best known for housing military ships that played a significant part in the country’s war history.

A display at Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park

JoanneStrell /

You can see several ships up close, some of which include the USS The Sullivans, USS Little Rock, and USS Croaker.

These decommissioned ships are no longer in service, although you are welcome to stop by, take some pictures, and admire their might and beauty.

This military museum also honors the brave soldiers who fought for the country with their programs, educational presentations, and other events.

A marker on the grounds of Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park

JoanneStrell /

Bring the Whole Family to Adventure Landing Buffalo

Adventure Landing Buffalo is a family-friendly adventure and theme park that boasts indoor and outdoor attractions.

You’ll find it in Tonawanda, New York, seven minutes from Amherst.

This amusement park is especially popular with the young, with kid-friendly activities that include mini-golf, arcade games, and a build-your-own-teddy-bear factory.

Their mini golf course has over 18 holes where you and your kids can practice your aim and putting skills on their smooth landscape.

It even has obstacles such as waterfalls, tunnels, and more to keep you on your toes.

Their arcade center has amassed more than 60 games, giving you various choices.

To remember your trip, you can create your personalized teddy bear in their Teddy Bear Factory.

They also offer food and drinks after a long day of fun and enjoyment to keep you and the whole family energized.

Try Ax Throwing at Hatchets & Hops

Ax throwing may seem like an intimidating sport, but it sure is a lot of fun once you get the hang of it.

Hatchets & Hops offers only premium and memorable experiences of ax throwing that you’ll find enjoyable.

This place is in Buffalo, New York, 18 minutes from Amherst.

Each session lasts about two hours, where you can practice your aim as you hurl the ax towards that target for a thrilling experience.

This organization is also known for being New York’s first and best facility for ax throwing, which has caused them to garner a loyal following.

Whether you’re stopping by for recreational ax-throwing or wish to get competitive with friends and family, Hatchets & Hops will be happy to have you.

You can also avail of snacks and drinks at their food and drink bar, where you can get classic American eats such as nachos, pizzas, and more.

Final Thoughts

Amherst is a beautiful little town packed with so much fun and adventure that can provide you with the thrilling vacation you’ve been looking for.

From state parks to historical museums to local-favorite eateries, you won’t run out of things to see and explore.

They also house several indoor and outdoor entertainment facilities, where you can spend quality time with the people you love most.

Situated minutes from the bustling city of Buffalo, you can even take a short drive to this neighboring city for more options and activities.

Whether you’re visiting for a day trip, the weekend, or even longer, this town guarantees an exciting getaway you will remember.

Book your next trip to Amherst, New York, today!

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