22 Best Things to Do in Amherst, NY

Amherst, NY

Welcome to Amherst, a captivating, lively community nestled in the heart of Western New York.

Just a short journey from the bustling metropolis of Buffalo, a visit to this town feels like discovering a well-kept secret.

The neighborhoods of Amherst radiate a small-town serenity, yet abound with hidden treasures that cater to all kinds of visitors, from food enthusiasts to nature admirers, history aficionados to art lovers.

A leisurely walk along its tree-lined streets or a browsing session in its independent bookstores reveals every corner of Amherst resonating with tales of yesteryears and slices of contemporary life.

Embark on an adventure to uncover the best things to do in Amherst, New York.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Travis White, Eddie Hopkins, Deborah Tiller, Francis Lassiter, Mary Kovach, Deborah Lawrence and Wade Smith.

Enjoy the Day at the Buffalo Naval Park

The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park ship
JoanneStrell / Shutterstock.com

Weekends in my hometown are never dull, especially when I visit the fascinating Buffalo Naval Park.

It's one of those experiences that never gets old, no matter how many times I've seen it.

The park is home to three incredibly impressive naval vessels, along with an assortment of tanks and jets that can captivate your attention.

The Buffalo Naval Park begins with the canal walkway, a riot of colors, adorned with lush floral landscaping and interspersed with numerous veteran memorials.

Serenity surrounds the place, making it a lovely spot for a leisurely afternoon stroll.

I always find myself drawn towards the naval ships and submarines in the park. Each is a testament to the remarkable engineering prowess of the past.

And the best part? You can tour these vessels.

A display at Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park
JoanneStrell / Shutterstock.com

You can feel the history pulsating through their steel structures as if they have countless stories to share.

A rainy day is no hindrance to the marvels of the Buffalo Naval Park.

It only adds a certain charm to the experience.

Seeing those awe-inspiring iron giants against the backdrop of the rain-soaked sky stays with you.

And if you're up for some adventure, navigating through the submarine is worth the effort. I promise you that!

So, whether you're a history buff, a fan of military engineering, or simply someone looking for a unique adventure, Buffalo Naval Park is the place to be.

And trust me, one visit is never enough.

A marker on the grounds of Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park
JoanneStrell / Shutterstock.com

Game and Chill at Iron Buffalo

Let me take you on a quick journey to my favorite local spot, Iron Buffalo Gaming & Coffee.

I often find myself drawn to the shop for a casual Magic: The Gathering game.

It's the perfect place for a friendly match, with players of all levels coming to play.

And while immersed in a game, sipping a carefully crafted drink is an absolute treat.

The house latte, “Know Your Enemy,” is a must-try!

This kind of drink can make even a gloomy day shine bright.

Iron Buffalo is a community hub.

I've met fantastic people over games of Magic, DND, and the latest Pokemon card game releases.

And let's not forget about the value.

The prices for Magic cards are incredibly reasonable, and the quality of coffee is top-notch.

Iron Buffalo Gaming & Coffee is a treasure trove for gamers and coffee lovers.

A trip to this place will bring out the best in your day.

Enjoy a Night at MusicalFare Theatre

There's something magical about the theatre, especially when you're in the heart of Buffalo at the MusicalFare Theatre.

The very moment I step into the building, I feel the pulsating energy of the performing arts wrapping me up in its embrace.

There's a reason I find myself here time and again.

The cozy, intimate venue creates a unique theatre experience with great seating that ensures you're never too far from the action.

I've attended numerous performances here.

Indeed, the shows are excellent, and the venue's ambiance adds to the overall experience.

There's a small bar in the corner where you can grab a drink or something to snack on before the show.

The little touches like this make MusicalFare Theatre feel like a home away from home.

This is a thriving hub of creativity and talent in our city.

Whether it's date night or a solo outing, the experience of seeing a show at MusicalFare Theatre always leaves me with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.

Even if you've attended a mask once or a hundred times, I promise you, there's no place quite like it.

Take a Stroll Through Walton Woods Park

Pond of Walton Woods Park
Andre CarrotflowerCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I wear my sneakers every morning and head to Walton Woods Park for a brisk walk.

The park's winding, well-paved paths are perfect for a stroll or an invigorating run.

As I loop around the lake, I am always treated to a symphony of birdsong, a testament to the plentiful wildlife that calls this park home.

One of my favorite spots in the park is a bench on the lake's southern edge.

Here, I take a moment to rest and immerse myself in a good book surrounded by the park's tranquil beauty.

Occasionally, I glance up from my reading to watch the ducks and geese gliding across the water, none of them disturbed by my presence.

If I'm in the mood for adventure, I venture off the paved path and onto the trails that cut through the woods.

Here, I'm often surprised by a deer or a rabbit and, once, even a family of raccoons.

The wildlife here is so accustomed to human presence that they scarcely bat an eyelid as I pass.

Sometimes, I take my fishing gear along and spend a few hours by the ponds.

Although they're stocked with fish, there's a catch and release policy in place, so I get the thrill of the catch without diminishing the fish population.

Before I leave, I never miss visiting the charming little pond tucked away in a quiet park corner.

It's the perfect place to end my visit, offering a picture-perfect view that never fails to leave me in awe of the natural beauty of Walton Woods Park.

Unleash Your Inner Skater at Alix Rice Peace Park Skatepark

I often find myself drawn to the unique vibe of the Alix Rice Peace Park Skatepark, a local treasure that does more than inspire skaters.

It’s a great place to let my wheels hit the concrete, surrounded by an upbeat atmosphere and a sense of safety that's unmatched elsewhere.

I appreciate its convenient location right next to a bike and walk trail, adding to the overall appeal of the park.

The park is a fantastic dedication to Alix, a true inspiration for many young girls in our community, including my daughter.

For me, the transition-heavy design of the park is what sets it apart.

With two bowls - a rarity among local skateparks - it offers a unique ride.

Even though I don't skate in bowls, I can appreciate their existence.

The corner section with a 2-foot transition on opposite sides and a round manual pad in the middle is trendy among local skaters.

Its layout also includes a long, mellow bank, a short bank, a 4-stair, and a hubba on one side, opposite a 4-foot quarter pipe.

A long, flat space connects these sections with the famous transition corner.

What does catch my eye, though, is the well-maintained parking lot adjacent to the skatepark.

It's my go-to spot for practicing flat-ground skating while admiring the vibrant graffiti gracing the park's walls.

Alix Rice Peace Park Skatepark might not be everyone's cup of tea.

The 2-foot transition section is a great learning spot for newbies, and the bowls attract a crowd, too.

Check Out Duff's Famous Wings

Exterior of Duff’s Famous Wings
Idawriter, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Regarding food, there's no way one can miss out on the legendary Duff's Famous Wings.

As a Buffalo resident, I've dug into their crispy, juicy wings countless times.

Every visit to Duff's is a culinary adventure.

On a bustling Saturday afternoon, the place is packed, buzzing with the chatter of delighted patrons and the clinking of plates.

Yet, even with the crowd, the service is always efficient.

They have a knack for quickly attending to their customers, ensuring you never feel ignored.

What sets Duff's apart is their wings, of course.

They are not your typical wings.

For instance, they are 'overcooked' to perfection, creating a crispy exterior that encases the tender meat inside.

A word of caution - their medium wings, advertised as 'hot,' indeed pack a punch.

A plate of Duff’s Famous Wings
Top Photo Corporation / Shutterstock.com

It's not for the faint-hearted, but for those who love a bit of heat, it's a match made in heaven.

Don't get me started on the variety of sauces.

From mild to super-hot, there's something for every palate.

I've tried them all, but my favorite is the BBQ sauce.

Despite being thick, it beautifully complements the crunchy wings.

Duff's is an experience.

It was an experience of savoring the best wings in town amidst a lively atmosphere with excellent service.

I always make sure they drop in at Duff's.

After all, what's a trip to Buffalo without a taste of Duff's Famous Wings?

Step Back in Time at Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village

There's something simply enchanting about stepping into history, and that's precisely what you're in for at the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village.

Nestled amidst 35 acres of lush greenery, this unique museum transports you to Western New York's vibrant past.

It's like a living, breathing snapshot of history, and I love spending time here.

The Village is populated with charming historic buildings, all immaculately preserved and waiting to tell their stories.

There's always something exciting happening in the Village, and I'm always eager to see what's coming up next.

What I particularly appreciate about this place is how interactive it is.

Not only do you get to explore the buildings, you'll find costumed villagers going about their daily lives.

It's an immersive experience that helps you feel connected to the past.

One of the highlights for me is the indoor museum.

It houses some exciting displays, my favorite being the prohibition exhibit.

And if you have kids, they'll adore the Erie Canal room. It's educational, engaging, and, most importantly, fun!

So, if you're looking to experience a slice of history most uniquely, the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village is a must-visit.

Trust me, it's an adventure you won't forget.

Enjoy Fine Dining at Black & Blue Steak and Crab, Buffalo, NY

I'm telling you, there's nothing quite like a night out at Black & Blue Steak and Crab.

This stylish steakhouse hits the sweet spot between upscale and comfortable - it's classy but not stuck-up.

I've spent many memorable evenings here, toasting business achievements, sharing intimate dinner dates, and celebrating family milestones.

On my most recent visit, we started with the crab and lobster fondue appetizer, a flavorful delight.

The beauty of Black & Blue is that you can transform any steak entree into a surf and turf for a little extra.

Their filet, strip steak with lobster tail, and scallops were all delicious.

And for those who prefer not to battle with the shell, they'll serve the lobster sans shell upon request.

The service is always on point - friendly and attentive.

And there's no need to worry about parking.

They have a massive lot so that you can leave the valet home.

Just make a reservation because this place fills up fast.

Black & Blue Steak and Crab may be pricier, but every penny is worth it.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Make an Afternoon Escape at Amherst State Park

A catbird on a tree at Amherst State Park
Pierre Williot / Shutterstock.com

There's no place quite like Amherst State Park.

Tucked away in the heart of Amherst, this little gem serves as my sanctuary.

The old historic convent, now a tiny state park, is never short of spellbinding sights.

Whether the morning dew dancing on the green foliage or the sun's evening glow streaming through the trees, every moment here is picturesque.

My heart always skips when I lace up my jogging shoes and hit the trails.

They wind and weave through the lush woodland, inviting me to lose myself in the park’s serenity.

And the guided nature walks are just something else!

Each one is a new adventure, a fresh chance to learn more about the flora and fauna that call this park home.

One cannot help but be mesmerized by the floral splendor here.

At every turn, there's a burst of color and a profusion of flowers.

A baltimore oriole eating berries at Amherst State Park
Pierre Williot / Shutterstock.com

And let's not forget the wildlife.

From chattering squirrels to playful deer, every encounter adds another layer to the park's charm.

A shallow river flows in the heart of the park, as calm and serene as the park itself.

It’s the perfect spot to unwind after a trail run.

Sitting by the river, listening to its gentle murmur, the world outside seems a million miles away.

The air is always fresh and clean, and the atmosphere is peaceful.

It's a place that invites you to sit back, relax, and let nature work its magic.

If you find yourself in Amherst and seek a tranquil retreat, I couldn't recommend Amherst State Park enough.

It’s the perfect place to wind down, walk, and be one with nature.

Enjoy an Evening of Laughs at Rob's Comedy Playhouse

You know, there's something extraordinary about live comedy—the laughter, the energy, the in-the-moment joy that comes from a good joke well-told. \

I've spent many an evening at Rob's Comedy Playhouse, tucked away in a corner of our little town, and let me tell you, it's been nothing short of a riot.

The comedy rooms have a unique, intimate vibe that makes you feel like you're in on a private joke.

It's a cozy setup, more relaxed and closer to the action than a traditional auditorium.

Now, it's not all glitz and glamor - the decor might lean a bit on the old-school side, and it could do with some sprucing up.

But, hey, we're there for the comedy, right?

The performers range from good to brilliant, always leaving me and my pals in splits.

Between the laughs, we'd take breaks at the bar - it's small, but the drink prices are fair.

Admittedly, the atmosphere could use a little bit of work. But once the show starts up again, we're too busy laughing to care.

So, if you're looking for a place to let your hair down, share a few laughs, and have a good drink, Rob's Comedy Playhouse is the spot.

Don't just take my word for it - you'll have to see it to believe it!

Feel the Thrill at Northtown Center at Amherst

It's a cool Saturday morning, the kind perfect for a game of hockey.

The excitement builds up as I drive towards the Northtown Center at Amherst.

It's the heart of our community, where I've scored goals, met friends, and enjoyed countless moments of camaraderie.

As soon as I step into the center, a sense of familiarity washes over me.

I stroll past the four sheets of ice, all primed for action - the sound of skates cutting across the ice is music to my ears.

The facility stands as a symbol of our town's love for sports, offering perfectly maintained indoor turf fields and outdoor sports fields.

Whether it's hockey, soccer, or lacrosse, the Northtown Center is the place to be.

What I love most about the Northtown Center at Amherst is the inclusivity.

It doesn't matter if you're a starting or a seasoned pro; there's a place for everyone here.

The variety of leagues and tournaments foster a sense of belonging and provide opportunities for personal growth.

Each time I step into this facility, I step into a community.

Visit Dellwood Park

Every day feels like a getaway when I step into the tranquillity of Dellwood Park.

It's conveniently located within our residential area - a peaceful oasis for adults and a fun-filled haven for children.

The park has become my daily retreat, a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

When I get there, the first thing that greets me when I arrive is the immaculate cleanliness of the area.

It's a joy to see my kids being able to play freely in such a neat and clean space.

The playground is one of the park's highlights that my kids love.

It's ideally suited for youngsters aged 2-8 years.

My children can spend hours there, exploring, playing, and making new friends.

Seeing their cheerful faces light up as they swing, slide, and jump around is always incredible.

What's more, Dellwood has surprisingly good facilities for a local park.

Unlike many parks, it boasts a baseball field, and although it may lack a proper restroom, having a baseball field in a residential park is a rare luxury.

My friends and I often gather for a quick baseball game on weekends, adding a touch of sporty fun to our routine.

But that's not all.

The park is never excessively crowded, and there's ample parking, thanks to the freshly paved lot.

Plus, it features two shelters and plenty of open space.

Whether you wish to host a family gathering or savor a quiet picnic, Dellwood Park is an ideal spot.

You can visit the town's official website here for more information about the park and its facilities.

I highly recommend visiting Dellwood Park if you're in the area - it's a hidden jewel in our community.

Discover the Magic: The Buffalo Zoo Experience

Entrance to The Buffalo Zoo
CiEll / Shutterstock.com

Who knew that we could come face-to-face with lions, polar bears, and bison in our backyard?

The Buffalo Zoo is an unexpected gem that instantly transports you to the wild heart of nature.

I decided to visit on a bright Saturday morning, and parking was a breeze, setting the tone for a relaxed day ahead.

The zoo is strategically designed, guiding you seamlessly through a world of variety, from mammals and reptiles to birds.

I was particularly intrigued by the polar bear and the lion exhibit.

Two lionesses and four cubs were playfully trotting around, later joined by two roaring males.

The interaction between them was a spectacle in itself, echoing the raw beauty of the wild.

While the zoo is a treasure trove of animal wonders, its charm extends beyond the cages.

The art displays depicting flowers, insects, and more are a visual treat.

You can't help but admire the beauty of these creations.

A lion cub at The Buffalo Zoo
Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock.com

I can only imagine how mesmerizing they would look under the night sky.

As a first-timer, I was genuinely impressed by the Buffalo Zoo despite having visited numerous others previously.

There was something uniquely captivating about this place.

One of the highlights of my visit was the bird show, an engaging spectacle, especially for the children.

The zoo also offers a range of other activities for the little ones, ensuring a fun-filled day for the entire family.

They also offer a military discount, which is a great initiative.

Indeed, the Buffalo Zoo exemplifies how we can coexist with nature in harmony and respect.

It's not just about viewing animals in a zoo; it is about learning, understanding, and appreciating the circle of life.

So, if you're in the area, be sure to make a stop. You might discover a whole new world!

A bear at The Buffalo Zoo
Jeffrey M. Frank / Shutterstock.com

Spend the Day at LASERTRON

As someone who resides around the corner, it's hard to resist the allure of LASERTRON.

A bustling entertainment hub, it perfectly balances a family fun center and an adult leisure haunt.

Imagine stepping into an adrenaline-charged laser tag arena, your heart pounding in sync with the pulsating lights.

Or perhaps you fancy a friendly duel on the video darts board or wielding an axe in a thrilling game of axe throwing.

But the fun doesn't stop at that.

The impressive mini-golf course is an absolute crowd-pleaser.

Thanks to its convenient location, I remember stopping by for a quick round before an impending flight.

My son couldn't get enough of it.

Post-golf, he disappeared into the arcade section, lost among many games.

Spacious party rooms, an outdoor patio, and a full-fledged bar – LASERTRON has thought of it.

What's more, it's not just about the activities.

The attention to detail, from the napkins on every table to the strategically placed trash cans, speaks volumes about their commitment to providing a great experience.

One look at the bustling venue, and it's clear: LASERTRON is my new regular hangout. Will I be seeing you there next time?

Feel the Chills at Frightworld, America's Screampark

Every Halloween, I find myself drawn to the foreboding allure of Frightworld, America's Screampark.

The scares have grown more prominent, bolder, and far more elaborate.

I had a blast walking through them, experiencing thrills that sent chills running down my spine.

The scare actors at Frightworld bring unparalleled dedication to their roles.

They embody the character, maintaining their chilling personas throughout the experience.

It's a testament to their talent that the terror never fades, keeping your adrenaline pumping from the moment you step inside until you leave.

A first-time visit to Frightworld is unforgettable, but even as a regular, the thrill never diminishes.

My partner and I recently bought the VIP tickets.

This allowed us to bypass the queues and delve into the chilling attractions.

Trust me when I say the VIP treatment at Frightworld is well worth it!

To all thrill-seekers out there, if you haven't experienced the eerie wonders of Frightworld yet, you're missing out.

It's the kind of fear that's fun, the type of terror that tempts you to return repeatedly, making it an essential part of my Halloween tradition.

Spend an Afternoon at Adventure Landing

There's just something about Adventure Landing that brings back the nostalgia of simpler times.

Maybe the clinking sound of tokens being poured into arcade machines or the sight of the mini-golf course stirs up memories of the fun days at Putt-Putt.

The moment I step inside, I feel nostalgia washing over me as I see the familiar mini-golf links.

Even if I don't pick up a club, just the sight of it warms my heart.

But what I do indulge in is the arcade games.

Playing with tokens and earning tickets is a rarity these days, but it's a cherished tradition here.

The joy of winning tickets and the thrill of anticipating what you could get with those tickets is a feeling that takes me back to the good old days.

Adventure Landing, with its blend of aquatic attractions, laser tag, go-karts, and especially arcade games, creates beautiful memories for families, friends, or anyone looking for a fun day out.

Walk through the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

Scenic night view of Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
Hsa htaw / Shutterstock.com

When you live close to paradise, every day is a special day. And the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens are indeed paradise.

Not everybody can boast about an indoor and outdoor garden with a 67-ft. dome housing tropical palms just a stone's throw away from their home.

I often find myself wandering through the lush greenery, each plant beautifully marked with its names, making it easy for even a novice like me to understand them better.

The jewel in the crown of the gardens is undoubtedly the stunning glasshouse.

As you step in, you're transported into a world filled with various potted houseplants – a delight to the senses.

And it's not just for adults; the dinosaur and other fun tie-ins captivate the little ones, too.

Checkers inside the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens conservatory
Jeffrey M. Frank / Shutterstock.com

Although I must admit, I do miss more expansive outdoor gardens.

Thankfully, the community members came together to salvage this haven.

Every visit feels different.

Some days, I find tranquillity in the quiet, peaceful sections dedicated to various families of plants and their natural environments.

A tiny art gallery is present in the middle with some beautiful paintings.

Even though I've walked through these gardens countless times, the experience remains fresh and unique.

Vibrant flowers and potted plants in Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
Jeffrey M. Frank / Shutterstock.com

Enjoy a Night Out at Hatchets & Hops

Now and then, you stumble upon a gem in your city that takes your typical night out to a new level.

And that's precisely what happened the first time I walked into Hatchets & Hops!

This isn't your run-of-the-mill bar or restaurant.

The moment I stepped foot into the place, I was hit with a wave of energy that pulled me in.

It's like walking into a circus of grown-up fun, with axes whizzing through the air and hitting bullseyes left and right.

Now, let's talk about the bar.

The ladies behind the counter were swift and efficient, serving up drinks and food with impressive speed.

I was pleasantly surprised that their wine selection was remarkable for someone who isn't much into beer.

Their glass of wine was the perfect companion to the adrenaline-pumping activity of axe throwing.

The food was the cherry on top.

For example, the menu options were fantastic, and the food was delicious, just the fuel needed for an intense axe-throwing session.

Since discovering Hatchets & Hops, it's become my go-to place for a unique night out.

It's a brilliant blend of fun, food, and friendly competition.

If you're looking for a thrilling way to spend an evening, Hatchets & Hops is worth a visit!

Check Out the Paddock Chevrolet Golf Dome

So, let me tell you about the Paddock Chevrolet Golf Dome.

I've been going there regularly and had my fair share of hits and misses.

The golfing experience is always a pleasure - the renovated dome retains its charm, and the maintenance is commendable.

You can find me there most weekends, whacking a bucket of balls; it's an excellent way to let out steam, trust me.

Now, if you're a foodie like me, let me give you some insight.

Try the wings, which are truly something to write home about.

Meanwhile, the Chili's is a winner, too.

And the service is spot on.

The Paddock Chevrolet Golf Dome is a decent place for golf lovers and food enthusiasts.

So, if you're in town, drop by for a swing and a bite.

Explore Billy Wilson Park

A perfect afternoon for me often involves a trip to Billy Wilson Park.

This park is a haven of natural beauty and tranquility right here in the heart of our town.

It offers so much to its visitors, regardless of their age and preferences.

I remember one sunny summer day when I took my little son there.

His eyes sparkled with joy as he saw the playground, which, I must say, has a lot to offer.

It's not just swings and slides but a comprehensive setup to keep the young engaged.

While he was cheerfully trying out all the activities on the playground, I decided to explore the hiking paths.

The trails are well-paved and perfect for a leisurely stroll, an invigorating run, or to enjoy the soothing views.

There's a beautiful boardwalk that stretches over a swampy area, too.

Walking over it is like floating above a watery world while staying dry!

The park also has multiple spots with shaded benches, perfect for taking a break or soaking in the peacefulness.

Another unique feature of Billy Wilson Park is its diversity.

It attracts families with children and older folks who appreciate the serene environment.

So, whether you want to burn off some energy by hiking or to sit and watch the world go by, this park has it all.

I have visited hundreds of parks, but this one stands out.

Billy Wilson Park is our little secret in Amherst, a place that ticks all the boxes.

I am planning my next visit and hope to see you there, too.

Final Thoughts

Amherst, New York is a blend of charm, history, and modernity, all wrapped together.

It's a town where everyone can find something to love.

Whether visiting for a day or staying for a lifetime, you will discover Amherst, an engaging and vibrant community.

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