15 Best Things to Do in Erie County, NY

Erie County, NY
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Erie County is a vibrant metropolitan area in New York that brims with history and nature.

Located in the western part of the state, the county stretches up to 1,058 square miles and consists of three cities as well as 25 towns.

Its county seat, Buffalo, is the second biggest city in the entire state.

Erie County was named after the Eriez Indians, the early settlers of the lake shore.

It is also known in the history books for the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie, which happened during the War of 1812 between the US and the UK.

The county is a great destination for those who want to explore more of New York as it can offer a wide range of recreation to visitors.

While here, you won’t run out of museums, art galleries, restaurants, and local businesses to try!

Even though it has lively urban areas, there’s no shortage of suburban neighborhoods and opportunities for nature excursion in the county.

If you wanna start planning a trip soon, be sure to go through this list of the best things to do in Erie County, New York!

Watch a Live Show at KeyBank Center

Outside view of the KeyBank Center
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While you’re in the area, you should catch a live performance at the well-known arena, the Keybank Center.

It is located at One Seymour H. Knox III Plaza in the city of Buffalo.

Once recognized as HSBC Arena, Marine Midland Arena, & First Niagara Center, the indoor arena serves as a venue for various sports events and concerts.

Statue placed outside the KeyBank Center
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It is also the home of several local sports clubs such as the ice hockey team Buffalo Sabres and the lacrosse team Buffalo Bandits, among others.

Before your visit, be sure to check the scheduled events and buy your tickets in advance.

Experience top-tier entertainment when you watch a game or a performance at the Keybank Center.

Spend a Day Outdoors at Town Place Park

If you’re looking to get fresh air and spend a nice day outside, you should go to Town Place Park.

It is located at 5400 Goodrich Road in the town of Clarence.

The 52-acre park has several facilities for you to enjoy, including several tennis courts, ball diamonds, and volleyball courts, and horseshoe fields.

It also has a basketball court and a soccer field.

Additionally, you may go fishing at the park’s Town Hall Pond.

Town Place Park has enclosed pavilions for your other needs.

Go For a Swim at Evangola State Park

Beach at Evangola State Park
Andre Carrotflower, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Evangola State Park is one of Erie County’s beautiful natural attractions.

It is located on Lake Erie, in the southern part of the county.

The park is popular for its sand beach on the shores of Lake Erie, which you should visit and hang out in when you’re in the area.

From here, you may also get a scenic view of the cliffs of Angola shale.

The park has picnic shelters, baseball diamonds, tennis and basketball courts, campsites, yurts, and a cabin.

It is also an ideal place for camping and getting closer to nature.

In addition, Evangola State Park has a nature center that you may stop by upon visit.

Book a Tee Time at Glen Oak Golf Club

If you’re a golf player, you may want to book your tee time at Glen Oak Golf Club.

You may find it at 711 Smith Road in the hamlet of East Amherst, just a few minutes away from downtown Buffalo.

The club features an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones.

It also has a huge practice area with natural grass as well as an expansive practice green with chipping and putting areas​.

The premiere course has been rated with 4 and a half stars by Golf Digest.

After a tiring but fun day spent playing golf, you may take a break and dine at Glen Oak Golf Club’s Oak Room bar and grill.

Discover the Natural Beauty of Akron Falls Park

Stunning view of the Akron Falls Park
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Akron Falls Park is a unique and beautiful park that outdoor enthusiasts should see during their visit to the area.

It is situated at 44 Parkview Drive in the village of Akron.

The park is known for Akron Falls, a mesmerizing water feature surrounded by ferns, moss, and dense forest by the cliffs.

You will truly feel closer to nature as it is home to various wildlife and plant life.

People hiking at Akron Falls Park
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Some of the plants you may encounter here include Basswood, American Beech, Hawthorn, Eastern Cottonwood, Bitternut Hickory, Sycamore, Virginia Bluebells, and Black Walnut, just to name a few.

The wildlife you may see here may range from mammals like skunks and white-tailed deers to birds including blue herons and black-capped chickadees.

Filled with life and natural beauty, Akron Falls Park is the perfect place to go to for fishing, photography, biking, and hiking.

Cascades at Akron Falls Park
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Take your Family to Alton's Restaurant

If you’re traveling with family, you should try dining together at Alton’s Restaurant.

It has two locations in Erie County—one in Elma and one in Cheektowaga.

The restaurant offers casual dining perfect for a group of people.

Here you’ll be able to taste home-cooked meals while surrounded by a friendly atmosphere.

Experience what local dining truly feels like when you visit Alton’s Restaurant.

Learn from Stories of the Past at Lancaster Historical Society and Museum

Facade of the Lancaster Historical Society and Museum
Doug Kerr, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lancaster Historical Society and Museum preserves the heritage of the town of Lancaster.

It is located at 40 Clark Street in Lancaster’s downtown area.

During your visit, you may step back in time and discover the history of the town as well as its significance in present time through the museum’s collections of artifacts and photographs.

The historic district of Lancaster is home to residential and commercial buildings with high architectural value in the county.

Aside from the displays, Lancaster Historical Society and Museum also holds lectures and educational programs, among other activities.

Add this museum to your list of historic stops in Erie County!

Try a Local Favorite at The Smokin' Little Diner

Grab a bite of a local favorite at The Smokin’ Little Diner.

The charming restaurant is situated at 4870 Broadway in the village of Depew.

When traveling to a new place, you should try to dine at the local gems.

The diner is popular for its barbecue sauce and comfort food.

Feel free to ask about the restaurant’s best sellers to taste all of them.

Check out The Smokin’ Little Diner when you’re in the area!

Explore the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

Scenic view of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
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The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens is a historic living museum that you shouldn’t miss out on when you’re in the county.

You may find it at 2655 South Park Avenue in the city of Buffalo.

Open year-round, it features an indoor conservatory and interconnected greenhouses that display various exhibits and collections of plants.

In addition, it has several outdoor gardens that are available for public viewing depending on the season.

Gigantic flower at Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
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The garden and museum was opened in 1900 through the efforts of local visionaries and the design of Lord & Burnham, known for its Victorian glass house designs.

The place isn’t just a national historic site and a tourist destination, but also a  where you can find peace in the presence of nature.

Whether you just want to see beautiful plants or you want to reflect and meditate, this is the perfect place for you.

Take yourself on a self-guided tour at Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens and be in awe of the beautiful natural world.

Explore the Owens Falls Sanctuary

Spend some peaceful time hiking the Owens Falls Sanctuary.

You may access it from 720 Center Street in the village of East Aurora.

The 57-acre property offers a serene atmosphere with its vernal pools, headwater forests, and creek.

Its wetlands are also home to rare wildlife in the region.

If you enjoy spending some quality time outdoors while surrounded by nature, then you may want to try visiting Owen Falls Sanctuary.

Visit the Historic Millard Fillmore Presidential Site

Front view of the Millard Fillmore Presidential Site
Steven Hamsness, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Millard Fillmore Presidential Site is one of the ten designated National Historic Landmarks in Erie County.

It stands at 24 Shearer Avenue in the village of East Aurora.

The structure is the only remaining home of Millard Fillmore, the 13th president of the United States.

Built in 1826 for Fillmore’s wife, the house was originally located on Main Street before it was purchased, moved, and remodeled by artist Margaret Evans Price.

The Aurora Historical Society bought it in 1975 and restored it to its current look—a small Federal Period home furnished with items owned by the Fillmore family through the years.

Tour the house and see everything including the living area, bedrooms, Victorian library, and the carriage barn.

The grounds where Millard Fillmore Presidential Site stands features charming gardens that you may also explore

Try Horseback Riding at Greendale Farm

Greendale Farm offers family-friendly horseback riding through the wooded countryside.

It is located at 10379 Crump Road in the town of Holland.

The farm ensures well-trained horses that are safe for riders of all skill levels.

Children and adults may take lessons that are offered by the farm, may it be private or semi private.

Group lessons as well as indoor activities at the farm are also available for parties or events!

If you’ve always wanted to try horseback riding but have never gotten the chance, then it’s time to take the opportunity at Greendale Farm.

Go Hiking at Chestnut Ridge County Park

Chestnut Ridge County Park during fall
John Tornow, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Another outdoor adventure awaits visitors of Chestnut Ridge County Park.

The 1,151-acre area is located at 6121 Chestnut Ridge Road in the village called Orchard Park.

It offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, disc golfing, picnicking, and playing tennis or softball, to name some.

In the winter, it is also a great place for skiing, sledding, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing, among others.

Within Chestnut Ridge County Park, there are even two buildings that you may rent for indoor events.

During your visit, you shouldn’t miss out on a remote section called the “Shale Creek Preserve,” where you’ll see nature at its finest and most undisturbed state.

Drop by and See The Freedom Wall

The Freedom Wall is a mural depicting the portraits of 28 notable civil rights leaders.

The 2017 painting was commissioned by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Public Art Initiative in partnership with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.

It is installed at the corner of Michigan Avenue and East Ferry Street in Buffalo, the northern entrance of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor.

The public art was created by local artists Julia Bottoms, John Baker, Chuck Tingley, and Edreys Wajed.

Among the subjects of portraits are Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Harriet Tubman, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Freedom Wall is a meaningful and awe-inspiring corner of Erie Parks that you shouldn't miss during your visit to the area.

Learn and Enjoy at the Buffalo Museum of Science

Exhibit at Buffalo Museum of Science
Alex Harden from Harrisburg, PA, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visit the Buffalo Museum of Science for a fun-filled educational and cultural experience.

The museum is located at 1020 Humboldt Parkway in the city of Buffalo.

It first opened in 1929 as the home of the Natural History Society.

Since then, it has gone through several renovations, including the eventual attachment of the Dr. Charles R. Drew Science Magnet Elementary School to the establishment.

The museum now features eight interactive science exhibitions as well as a 3D cinema.

A Kellogg observatory, which just reopened in 2018, may be found on the museum’s rooftop.

If you’re traveling with kids, you should check out the SensERIE section, a permanent exhibit and childhood sensory space that would make you experience three types of environment in Erie County—city, forest, and underwater!

Go to the Buffalo Museum of Science if you want to enjoy learning all about the world we live in.

Final Thoughts

Erie County is arguably one of New York’s best counties to visit.

From fascinating sceneries to a unique cultural heritage—it has everything you could ask for and more.

Give this place a chance and save this list of the best things to do in Erie County, New York!

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