1. Gears and Grub Presented By The Independent Health Foundation
Food Tour on Bikes Starting at Buffalo RiverWorks
359 Ganson St in Buffalo // (716) 342-2292
Date/Time: Thursday, September 21st (registration opens August 28th). You’ll want to plan on meeting at RiverWorks at 5pm for a 5:30pm ride that runs until about 8:30pm.
Price: Tickets are $35 for Independent Health Members/Associates and $55 if you’d like a Reddy Bike and helmet rental. Regular registration pricing is $40 and $60 to include the Reddy Bike & helmet rental. Please keep in mind you must be 21 years or older to participate and you must bring a signed waiver to the event.
Register: Online at healthyoptionsbuffalo.com/gears-grub
Details: Buffalo RiverWorks is the meeting spot for so many wonderful summer events including the Gears and Grub events launching soon. When you purchase a ticket for the event, you’ll get a workout during the 9 mile bike tour and four healthy option samples from the participating restaurants. The restaurants you’ll hit during the event are Buffalo RiverWorks (enjoy their veggie chimichurri wrap), Ru’s Pierogi (juicy pulled pork pierogi with Asian slaw), Joe’s Deli (Thai chicken wrap), and Fat Bob’s Smokehouse (smoked gazpacho). You’ll stay fueled and entertained for hours! This is a great way to try a view different restaurants while seeing the city in a new light.
Where to Eat: If you haven’t had your fill during the tour, Buffalo RiverWorks has some great snacks to share out on their patio. You can grab some food or one of their new beers after the tour. I’ve heard they’re getting pretty creative with beer flavors like “gin & tonic”. Now that, I have to try!
2. Buffalo Tiki Tours
Buffalo RiverWorks, 359 Ganson Street in Buffalo // Buffalotikitours.com
Hours: You can check availability and book online.
Price: Weekday cruises from Monday to Thursday are $25 per person and weekend cruises are $30 per person.
Details: Just when I thought this city couldn’t get any cooler, there is a floating tiki bar that will take you and 5 of your friends for a cruise around the inner harbor. I mean, whoever thought of this is my hero. There aren’t drinks or food on the hut, but you can purchase stuff from Riverworks and bring it with you. Add some tropical summer jams to your phone so you can play it through the bluetooth on the hut. This is perfect for a night out, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and even weddings. Seriously, they have a minister. I know a few people that are already getting sick of slinging out cash as the wedding planning goes on. If you’re totally sick of it, you and your soon-to-be spouse can float away from all of your problems on a Hawaiian tiki hut. Totally worth it.
Where to Eat: Pizzas at Pearl Street on the patio (say that 5 times fast) is a great way to end the night. Their stuffed hot pepper pizza is amazing if you love spicy foods!
3. Wine in the Wind
44 Prime Street in Buffalo // spiritofbuffalo.com
Date/Time: Wednesdays from 6-8pm & 8:30-10:30pm
Price: The event is for adults 21 years and older. The price per person is $42 for a 2-hour sail.
Details: Set sail, booze in hand, on the Spirit of Buffalo at the Wine in the Wind event! Every Wednesday, sailing twice per night, you’ll have the opportunity to sample wines from the Niagara region and nibble on cheese and crackers during the 2-hour boat ride. If wine isn’t really your thing (said no one ever), don’t worry! There are plenty of booze cruise options to meet your needs including the Canalside Cocktail Cruise on the Harbor Queen (Friday’s and Saturday’s at 6:30pm for $28) and the Craft Brew Cruise (Tuesday’s from 6-8pm for $42) where you’ll get snacks, beer samples, and the chance to meet the brewer. If you choose the Craft Brew Cruise from 6-8pm, you’d even come back just in time to catch the Tuesday night outdoor movie. There are so many opportunities to get out on a boat this summer, it’s time to experience one!
Where to Eat: Head to Liberty Hounr (I mean, it’s right there) and get the Ahi Tuna Nachos with sushi grade tuna, ponzu, wontons, wakame, sriracha aioli, and scallions. We’ve also heard good things about their Hungarian Pepper Dip made with fresh and roasted peppers, four cheeses, and crunchy bread!
4. Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours
115 S Water St in Lewiston // whirlpooljet.com
Price: An adult ticket is $63 and children 12 and under are $45. AAA members generally get a small discount and I’ve seen even larger discounts on sites like Groupon.
Details: If you haven’t experienced the jet boat tours yet, this is long overdue! Select the date you want to go, and please be sure to sign up ahead of time. Aim to arrive 45 minutes early prior to your departure time. They go over some safety tips before piling into the boat. If you’re feeling brave, try to get seating in the front row! I will warn you, and trust me they do too, that it’s intense. The front row was under water many times and you get the brunt of the class 5 rapids smacking down on the boat. I definitely thought it was worth it, but if you think you might have any issues, do yourself a favor and sit a few rows back. Once out there, there’s really no way to move you to another seat. There are complimentary lockers for your belongings and make sure you bring a change of clothes and a towel because you’ll be drenched.
Where to Eat: Enjoy a nice meal at Carmelo’s Restaurant, Casa Antica, or Water Street Landing! If you’re in the mood to grab something casual and quick, stop at the Silo for a hot dog and fries. Oh, and ice cream of course!
5. Get Scuba Certified at Dip ‘N Dive
500 Niagara Falls Blvd in Buffalo // email@example.com
Hours: Monday and Wednesday from 10am-8pm, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10am-6pm and Saturday from 10am-5pm
Price: The class special is $249 and you’re certified for life.
Class Locations: Southtowns YMCA Thursday 7pm – 10pm 9/7 – 10/12, Tonawanda Aquatic Center Monday & Wednesday 5:45pm – 9pm 9/11 – 9/27, Tonawanda Aquatic Center Sunday 3pm – 7pm 9/17 – 10/22
Details: Have you ever visited a tropical location and snorkeling simply doesn’t cut it? A first world problem at its finest, but never the less, we’ve found a solution for you! Did you know that once you’re scuba certified you have it for life? Head on over to Dip ‘N Dive, so that the next time you find yourself in a cool location, you can just go for it! The shop has been open since the 70s and their divemasters have truly mastered this skill! Learning in a class environment in front of an experienced instructor is really a safer way to learn. The course includes everything from the pool sessions, which are unlimited if additional training is needed after attending all of the classes, to the instructor fees and equipment. It’s not only fun, but I can’t stress enough that it’s for life. If you really find the value in travel and experiences, it’ll be worth every penny to have this in your back pocket.
Where to Eat: When trying to avoid the ridiculous number of chain restaurants on the Boulevard, check out Miss Hot Café. You can cover your table in dumplings and scallion pancakes for a super fair price.
6. WildPlay Niagara Falls MistRider Zipline
5847 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON • L2E 6X8, Canada // wildplay.com
Hours: Monday-Sunday from 7am-8pm
Price: Single $49.99 and Single (July 1st-September 4th) $59.99
Details: If you’ve grown up in Buffalo like I have, I think it’s safe to say we take for granted the fact that one of the wonders of the world is right in our own backyard. Just in case you live under a rock with no internet, the Niagara Falls MistRider Zipline is now open. And it’s right here in our own backyard. Don’t worry; we tried it out to relay any info that might be helpful to someone considering the once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Upon arrival, you’ll need to fill out a waiver that can also be filled out online ahead of time. After you’ve signed the waiver and paid you will move into the line for the actual zip line where you will then wait to receive a blue helmet. Once you’ve received that, you will head up to the top panel and wait to be sorted into one of the four parallel zip lines. Your harness is also a backpack (brilliant!), so you can keep any loose items on you like purses, sunglasses, flip flops, phones, etc. until you are ready to take off. When they attach the backpack/harness to the line, it swings up into a kind of hammock type seat. You then hang out at 220 feet in the air and wait for them to open the gate.
According to the website, the line is 2,200 feet long and you can expect to zip at about 40 MPH overlooking a one of a kind view of the Horseshoe Falls. Despite it being called the MistRider, my clothes were dry after the ride, so I would say no change of clothes is needed. You can’t hold anything at all, so a GoPro is only allowed if they are attached to you. Your hands must be free in order to “starfish” as they call it which slows you down a bit. That will help you take in the view a smidge longer and prep for a softer landing. After the zip line, there is a shuttle at the end to drive you back up the gorge to where the start line is.
Where to Eat: Try Niagara Brewing Company for some craft beers and a light bite! It’s right on Clifton Hill and serves sandwiches, snacks like soft pretzels, and charcuterie boards!