10 Things to Put On Your Holiday Winter Bucket List

Photo courtesy of Tappo

As the snow creeps in and we begin to approach the holiday season, there are so many noteworthy things to do this Winter. From events that will get you stoked for the holidays, to indoor activities that will keep you warm and cozy, we guarantee that you won’t be bored during these next few wintery months. So grab your best pals, your family, or your significant other, and start checking off this holiday winter bucket list!

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Hatchets & Hops
Photo x Hatchets & Hops

1. Embrace your inner lumberjack at Hatchets and Hops

505 Main Street Buffalo, NY 14203 | 716-219-1479

Do you enjoy throwing axes, drinking beer, and a little friendly competition? (I mean, who doesn’t?) At Hatchets and Hops, your group is paired with extensively-trained instructors, that guide your group through structured tournaments that last approximately 2 hours. Not only is Hatchets and Hops Buffalo’s first axe throwing club, but it is also equipped with a craft beer bar that also serves food, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks. It really doesn’t get much better than this! 

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2. Cozy up at the igloos at Tappo

338 Ellicott Street Buffalo, NY 14203 | 716-259-8130

Ok, serious question, with how cold Buffalo gets in the winter, are we actually surprised to see igloos downtown? I’m sure that you’ve seen the golden domes all over social media, or even just passing Tappo Restaurant. These fine-dining, luxurious, igloos are open starting November 1st through December 31st, and they are sure to give you the ultimate winter dining experience. Each igloo seats 8 people, and you can choose between the Base Igloo Package, Premium Igloo Package, or Elite Igloo Package. All packages include wine, a hot-spiked drink, a first course, a second course, and a dessert. What more could you possibly need?

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canalside -skating
Photo courtesy of Canalside

3. Ice skating around Buffalo

Whether you’re a first-timer or a self-proclaimed skating-pro, ice skating is a classic Buffalonian winter activity. If you want to embrace the wintery weather, we suggest trying out The Ice at Canalside or Rotary Rink. Both rinks give off mini Rockefeller Center Vibes. If the outdoors isn’t for you, there are also quite a few indoor spots where you put in your headphones and bop around to some holiday music. Check out our full guide to ice rinks here.

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4. Spending a “relaxing” day at Smash Brothers

1204 Niagara St, Niagara Falls 14303 | 716-299-8317 

Do the holidays stress you out? Try spending the afternoon at Smash Brothers NY Rage Room. Their rooms are stocked with a variety of breakable things including glassware, metal drums, and electronics. The best part of it all, they provide the speaker for you to jam out to your favorite songs, and they clean up for you too! A simple smash starts at $50 and includes admission for 1-2 people, 30 glassware/ceramic/breakable items, and 1 electronic item. Depending on the amount of rage you have in your life right now, there are different packages to choose from, including group parties.

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5. Attend a winter bar crawl

Leaving your house and facing the outdoors can be challenging in the winter months. I totally get it. But what if I told you about the perfect event where you could surround yourself with your friends, spending the day eating and drinking, while rocking your best ugly sweater, or Santa costume? Sounds ideal to us. There are surprisingly tons of bar crawls around Buffalo this time of the year that are totally worth leaving your house for, and some even benefit a great cause.

 

6. Hit the hills and go tobogganing

6121 Chestnut Ridge Rd, Orchard Park, NY | 716-662-3290 

I don’t know about you, but sometimes spending the day sledding can get a little boring. But the winter activity to end all winter activities? Tobogganing. Chestnut Ridge is the home of an epic toboggan slide. The wooden historic slides were constructed in the 1930s, and they are still up and running today. If you’re feeling like you need to spice up your sledding life, you need to try it out next there’s enough snow in OP to hit Chestnut Ridge.

 

7. Spend the day holiday shopping at Vidler’s

676-694 E Main St., East Aurora, NY 14052 | 716-652-0481 

Picture this: snow is gently falling from the sky, you’re walking down the streets in the Village of East Aurora, a Taste Bistro Coffee in hand, the look of determination is painted on your face as you prepare to conquer all of your holiday shopping. Why not take a stroll down Main Street, shopping along the way and finally popping into Vidler’s 5 & 10 store where you can check some items off your shopping list and simultaneously treat yourself to nostalgia in the form of 10 cent popcorn, old fashioned candy bags and adorable whosits and whatsits  . The two-story building has everything you could want and need. From holiday decor to old-school games, you can find all of your perfect holiday gift toppers. My personal favorite is the old-school candy bar where I stocked up on all of the unique gummy shapes and flavors. After a full day of shopping be sure to check out the surrounding boutiques to finish up some last-minute shopping, and refuel with some dinner at The Griffon Gastropub.

 

8. Ice Bumper Cars

130 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14203 | 716-436-7100

Ok but hear me out… bumper cars… on ice. Yeah, that’s right, bumper cars on ice. I applaud whoever came up with this genius, and entertaining idea. Located at Canal Side, these bright colored rafts are just like your favorite carnival activity but to the next level. The iced bumper cars are available at select times during open ice skating, and reservations must be reserved in the Winter Pavilion. 

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Photo from Hart House’s Facebook

9. Plan a local get-away 

Let’s be honest, sometimes you just need a little get-away. I know it’s not always the easiest trying to plan for one during the winter months, but lucky for you, there are plenty of local luxury hotels that are close, cozy and will make you feel like you left Buffalo for the weekend. These luxury hotels are sleek, trendy, and usually come equipped with cool features such as amazing restaurants, cozy cafes, and pools with nearby workout rooms. Check out these places for a relaxing and affordable getaway.

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10. Check out all of the Holiday Lights around town

My absolute favorite part about the holidays has to be the lights. I mean some people really go all out, and I totally admire them for that. With that being said, I’m always looking for new places to explore and find the perfect 10/10 displays. This year 2 events are on my radar that I need to check out, and I think that you should too.

 

Zoo Lights at the Buffalo Zoo- Saturday, November 30th

Don’t get me wrong, I love the zoo, but it never really crossed my mind to go there during the winter months, but this gives me the perfect excuse to go! Guests can enjoy the Zoo after hours while looking at dazzling light displays, listening to holiday music, while snacking on some warm winter treats. The event kicks off on Saturday, November 30ths, and it will run every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until December 29th. 

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Fairgrounds Festival of Lights- November 29th-30th, December 1, 6-8, 13-15, 18-23

Enjoy all of the light displays within the comfort of your car, with their drive-through light displays. Besides the light show, there are also plenty of events and activities to attend while you’re there! The ones that catch my eye are the Reindeer, Holiday Marketplace, and the cookie decorating! However, there are plenty of other activities that will get you in the holiday spirit. 

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