Best Ways to Celebrate President’s Day in WNY

City Guide


Written by Emma Janicki-Gechoff

Published on February 12, 2016

presidents day

Best Ways to Celebrate President’s Day

A salute to past Presidents

Buffalo is undeniably an eclectic mix of preserved and revered history and attempts to break into the fast-paced, glass-filled world of modernity: We drink fancy craft cocktails in buildings that were once warehouses and factories and ride ice bikes on the ruins of an immense sports arena.

Instead of exploring all the new-and-now Buffalo has to offer, this President’s Day, why not take a few steps back in time? You can explore Buffalo’s history, the struggles of our early nation, or have a drink surrounded by all the presidential memorabilia you could ever want.

The Better Angels

Saturday, Feb. 13 11:30 a.m.

$7.50 adults/$7 seniors

North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Ave.

Diehard historical biopic fans will revel in The Better Angels, a 2014 Sundance Film Festival selection about the life of young Abraham Lincoln. The film boasts a dedicated attention to historical detail and accuracy, while using poetic black-and-white cinematography and striking narrative techniques.

The Better Angels is set in Indiana in 1817, when the United States is just 40 years old. The film only covers three years of President Lincoln’s life, but in that time one sees the tragedies, the suffering, and the women who shaped him into the man we revere today.

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Abe Lincoln in Illinois

Sunday, Feb. 14 11:30 a.m.

$7.50 adults/$7 seniors

North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Ave.

Able Lincoln in Illinois casts a much wider net on Lincoln’s life than The Better Angels as it explores his childhood all the way to his rise as President Elect. The film was released in 1940 and is based on Robert E. Sherwood’s play of the same name. The film is simple, but holds a lot of emotional strength as it tells of Lincoln’s romances, his frailties, Mary Todd Lincoln’s ambition, and his undeniable strengths in leadership.

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President Lincoln’s Birthday Celebration

Sunday, Feb. 14 12 p.m.-2 p.m.

$7/$5 seniors and students/$2.50 children ages 7-12

The Buffalo History Museum boasts having the longest running birthday celebration for President Abraham Lincoln. The Buffalo Civil War Roundtable hosts the event. There will be a short program, a Lincoln orator, local authors, and uniformed re-enactors will hold a rifle salute on the portico. If you’re bringing your kids along, there will be activities for the whole family to enjoy.

After you celebrate Honest Abe’s birthday, explore the rest of the museum to learn more about Buffalo’s very unique cultural and historical past.

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Buffalo City Hall Guided Tour


Meet in City Hall lobby, 65 Niagara Square

If you haven’t had a chance to explore our Art Deco masterpiece, City Hall, use your day off to finally make this Buffalo pilgrimage.

City Hall was constructed between 1929 and 1930 and is one of the largest city halls in the United States. The building dramatically represented Buffalo’s status as an important, modern city in the 19th and 20th centuries. But the building also physically acknowledges Western New York’s cultural and economic history with the frieze, details, and murals decorating the inside and outside.

The tour often includes a trip inside Mayor Brown’s office, the Council Chambers, and the Observation Deck, which offers stunning views of the city.

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Old Fort Niagara

Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

$12 adults/$8 ages 6-12/free ages 5 and under

Youngstown, NY

With just about no snow on the ground, a trip to Old Fort Niagara in February is a seldom-occurring opportunity. If you have kids, it’s a perfect way to take history out of their textbooks and classrooms and bring it to life. For history-loving adults, Old Fort Niagara will help you imagine the lives of people you might only have ever read about.

The Fort has original 18th century buildings where Native American, French, British, and American soldiers lived, ate, and worked until the 20th century.  The history of the fort is complex, as it changed hands multiple times throughout its more than 300 year history. At the end of the War of 1812 – in 1815 – the fort was ceded by the British to the United States, marking the end of the fort’s armed conflicts. Afterwards it served as a peaceful border post, but during both World Wars it served as a barracks and training station for American soldiers. Today, the only military presence at the fort is the U.S. Coast Guard.

You can attend the orientation video, guided tours, hourly musket demonstrations, and 18th century mortar firing demonstrations at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

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TRivia Nite @ the TR Site

Tuesday, Feb. 16 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

$10/$5 TR Site members and students w/I.D. (21 and over event!)

641 Delaware Ave, Buffalo

It’s time to test your presidential, Buffalonian, pop culture, and current events knowledge with the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site’s TRivia Nite. The event happens only on the third Tuesday of every month. You can arrive at 6 p.m. for tours of the museum, drinks, and snacks and then at 6:30, trivia begins. Admission to TRivia Nite includes a free drink, snacks, and a tour of the site. Everyday admission is $10 for adults and $7 for students, so TRivia Nite is an inexpensive way to see the museum like never before.

If you’d like to pre-register your team, you need 5-8 people and can either register online or call. For those who are flying solo, you can still show up and join an impromptu team. Winners will receive prizes from the Pan-American Grill & Brewery. Another great way to see the site is by attending a guided tour which are scheduled hourly starting at 9:30am on weekdays. Head on over for a tour on Monday, Feb. 15th.

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Pan-American Grill & Brewery

391 Washington St.

Stop by Monday afternoon for Teddy’s Ten Dollar Lunch Combos. The restaurant and brewery boasts a good beer selection as well as simple, easy, enjoyable meals. You can’t help but feel a little bit historical at the Pan-American.

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Founding Father’s Pub

75 Edward St.

No President’s Day celebration would be complete without a drink at Founding Father’s Pub. The bar always offers free nachos to guests, so it’s the perfect after-dinner pit stop. The walls are covered in historical memorabilia giving it an atmosphere unmatched by newer, hipper, more carefully constructed Allentown bars.

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