Let’s be realistic here……skiing and snowboarding are fun winter activities, but there’s nothing quite as magical as ice skating. Plus it’s a very affordable cold-weather option. If you’re searching for a way to enjoy the winter without breaking the bank consider purchasing some ice skates (or just renting) and glide your way into some cheap / free winter fun!
1. The Ice at Canalside
Downtown | 44 Prime Street in Buffalo | (716) 846-8200
There’s no better way to start off the ice skating season than right in the heart of the “New Buffalo”! With the rink and ice skating comes ice bikes, curling, fun winter events, pond hokey, and ICE BUMPER CARS! While you’re there grab some food from vendors like the Nosh and Nibble Snack Shack featuring a rotating menu of hand pies, warm pretzels, gourmet hot chocolate, chili, cruncher chips and more. New and returning events and programs will be announced in the coming weeks, including Skate Great Learn to Skate, GameOn Leagues and Healthy Buffalo Broomball. The Ice at Canalside will be open through February 27, 2022.
Ice skating costs $7 for ages 13 and up, $5 for ages 6 – 12 and military and is free for kids under 5. Skate rentals are $5. Ice bike rentals are $10 per half hour. Check out the Ice at Canalside’s hours, daily activities and updates based on the weather here.
2. Rotary Rink
20 Fountain Plaza in Buffalo | (716) 854-7465 / More Info
We’d be lying if we said we didn’t sometimes think of the Rotary Rink as our own little Rockefeller Center right here in Buffalo. With the rink located in downtown Buffalo near some of the city’s best restaurants and bars, it makes it easy to warm up with a drink after an evening of free ice skating. Cough, cough, it’s the perfect date. Just remember, Rotary Rink is weather dependent, so if the temperature reaches 45 degrees, call (716) 854-RINK before heading down to skate. Regular hours of operation are Monday: Closed, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 11a-2p, 5p-9p, Saturday: 11a-9p, Sunday: 11a-6p.
Skate rentals are $2 for kids and $3 for adults, but it’s a completely free activity if you own a pair of ice skates. Special hours are listed on their website.
Dining recommendations: Head to nearby coffee shops Flint or Public Espresso in the Hotel Lafayette for a warm beverage, Eddie Brady’s or Big Ditch Brewing Co. for a casual lunch or dinner. Your hat and gloves won’t cramp your style at any of these places.
1615 Amherst Manor Drive, Buffalo NY 14221 (Amherst) | (716) 631-7555 / More Info
Throw on some headphones and use The Northtown Center’s ice rink for a new way to break a sweat. It’s a peaceful workout to do on your own, a romantic date, or fun as a group! Bonus: The Northtown Center also offers hockey sessions with sessions costing $10 or $5 with a Town of Amherst Resident ID card. For their open skate schedule check out their website. General Skate is $8, $5 if you have an Amherst Town Card. Skate rental costs $5.
4. North Buffalo Ice Rink
156 Tacoma Avenue in Buffalo | (716) 873-8481
The North Buffalo Ice Rink offers public skate hours generally every day of the week. Hours for open skate are Monday 11AM-1PM, Tuesday & Wednesday 4:30PM-6PM, Thursday 11AM-1PM, Friday 7PM-9PM, Saturday 5:30PM-6:30PM, and Sunday 7PM-9PM. Check out their holiday hours here. Public skate fees are $2 for city residents over 18 and $1 for kids and seniors who are city residents. Non-city resident skate fees are $3. Skate rentals are $2.
Dining recommendations: With Hertel Ave nearby, there are TONS of dining options here. We’re currently obsessed with Lloyd Taco Factory for lunch, dinner or drinks (kids welcome) and Joe’s Panini Grill for a casual stuff your face sesh. Also, if you’re into tacos and tortas (which is basically everyone) stop by La Divina in Kenmore.
Riverworks is always adding new options to their list of things to do, so it’s no surprise they have ice rinks available for public skating, curling, hockey tournaments and more. Make sure to check out their website for upcoming open skate hours. Fees to skate are $5 for ages 6 and up and free for 5 and under. Skate rentals cost $5. Use your Independent Health card to get $1 off admission and skate rentals.
Dining recommendations: Stick around to eat at Riverworks’ restaurant The Ward, head to nearby Duende for a drink in a cool oh-so-Buffalo spot, or hit Wonder CoffeeHouse for a breakfast/lunch of housemade Liege Waffles.
41 Riley Street, East Aurora | (716) 628-0036 / More Info
The Healthy Zone Rink offers Winter Public Skate generally on Friday 7:00PM-8:45PM, Saturday 1:00-2:20PM & 7:00-8:45PM, and Sunday 1:00-2:20PM. The rink features a lodge for all of you who are okay with tagging along but would rather just watch. We know you’re out there. This rink’s admission fee is $6.00 and a skate rental fee of $4.00 (cash and checks only). Check out their additional skate dates on their website. Show your BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York card for $1 off admission.
Dining recommendations: The famous and beloved Bar Bill is just down Main Street if you’re in the mood for wings (just be prepared to wait for a table). Check out Elm Street Bakery for a casual lunch break and Griffon Gastropub for hearty lunch or dinner. Taste Bistro is also just a short walk from the rink and is perfect for a warm coffee or specialty drink post-skate.
This post was originally published in 2018 and has been updated.