As the weather warms and relaxation is at less of a premium, let’s Step Out Buffalo as we start at the heart of the Queen City and work our way North through Buffalo/ Niagara’s Seven Most Enjoyable Parks. These public greens are perfect for a little respite from the day-to-day grind and are sure to provide an enjoyable time whether you’re in Buffalo for a day, or are a self-proclaimed Buffalonian for life!
Neighborhood: South Buffalo
A springtime drive to South Buffalo wouldn’t be complete without a visit to The Cazenovia Park System. Cazenovia or “The Caz” of which it is affectionately referred offers seasonal events and festivals that will delight an endless number of visitors. Some come for the year-round skating rink and others for the inexpensive golf course. The Caz creek is a perfect setting for a romantic picnic and if you visit in the evening hours you will be blown away by the summertime fireworks display.
Neighborhood: Williamsville (North Towns)
Can you imagine a waterfall on Main Street? This storybook fantasy nearly becomes a reality in the form of Glen Park. This pint-sized park in Williamsville, NY is right off Main and is home to gaggles of geese, flushes of ducks, and charms of finches. It is also common to find fleets of photographers capturing images of newly married couples against the backdrop of the Glen Falls waterfall. Whenever the sun shines in sunny old Williamsville, you are guaranteed the very best views at the Glen.
Neighborhood: North Buffalo
Ask any Buffalonian about their favorite park and there is one clear winner- an anything but little park we call, Delaware. Situated along (you guessed it) Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, Delaware Park has just about everything to offer a person of any age. Looking for a quiet meditation spot? Bring along a blanket and sit on the steps next to Hoyt Lake. Searching for a theatrical revelation? Visit the park’s Shakespeare stage during the summer months to enjoy free Shakespeare performed by Professional Actors. Feeling Romantic? Visit the Rose Garden and look on as newlywed couples are photographed with the spectacular Albright-Knox Art Gallery as a backdrop. Delware Park also offers running and walking trails, a playground, summer canoe rentals and Tennis and Basketball courts. If you’re searching for a truly majestic experience take a walk on the park outskirts down “Millionaries Row” and view the architecturally exquisite homes that have housed the Queen City’s richest residents throughout its history.
Neighborhood: Tonawanda (North Towns)
A personal favorite, Niawanda Park in Tonawanda is not much of a park at all. It consists of a string of grassy areas and picnic tables along the Niagara River. It is the perfect place for a calm morning run, a bike-ride to the Grand Island Bridge, or a romantic evening stroll culminating in an ice-cream sundae for two at Old Man River or Mississippi Mud’s. With spots for boat docking, and a quaint fishing pier, Niawanda is a small park that provides a whole lot of ambiance.
Neighborhood: Grand Island (North Towns)
Beaver Island State Park on Grand Island creates for me fond childhood memories of sandcastles and summer sunsets. Two decades later it remains a popular local picnic spot in the spring and a refuge from the sweltering heat in the summer. The drive across the often traffic-ridden South Grand Island Bridge and $1 toll are a small price to pay for a beautiful sandy beach, charcoal BBQ pits to cook up dogs and buns, and shelters for private gatherings. The park also houses a marina and fishing spots for those with the license and equipment to partake.
Neighborhood: Olcott (Niagara County)
Minutes from Niagara Falls, Olcott Beach and Krull Park when combined encompass the largest County operated park in Niagara. Travel back in time to the roaring twenties with a visit to Olcott Beach Carousel Park. Widely known as the “Coney Island of WNY” Olcott Beach draws crowds of all ages to its vintage carousel, 25-cent rides, tearoom and old-fashioned general store.
Neighborhood: Niagara Falls (Niagara County)
A list of spectacular Buffalo Parks would not be complete without Niagara Falls. World renown for its powerful views in every season, Niagara Falls State Park is not only the pride of Buffalo/ Niagara but also the pride of New York State. Just South of our Northern Border, Niagara Falls State Park has received an invigoration of life and energy as of late. The nearby “Falls Street” is alive with festivals and entertainment no matter the season. The falls, majestic as ever, are still the main attraction and visitors can use the Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds as opportunities to get even closer to the world wonder in the upcoming Spring and Summer months. Niagara Falls State Park also offers hiking, biking and walking trails of all difficulty levels, is pet friendly, and provides tables for the perfect picnic or, dinner at the Top of the Falls Restaurant for those seeking more elegant fare. Little known but not to be missed – the summer fireworks display visible from both the American and Canadian sides of the falls! (Fireworks every Friday and Sunday night May through August – along with select holidays. Shows begin at 10 pm!)
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