Originally published November 2019
There are so many noteworthy things to do this Winter. From indoor activities that will help you forget the adjusted new normal we’re currently living, to outdoor adventures that will keep you moving and enjoying the Buffalo winter, we guarantee that you won’t be bored during these wintery months. So grab your best pals, your family, or your significant other, and start checking off this winter bucket list!
1. Embrace your inner lumberjack at Hatchets and Hops
Downtown Buffalo & Black Rock | 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!
2. Cozy up in an igloo
Ok, serious question, with how cold Buffalo gets in the winter, are we actually surprised to see igloos everywhere? I’m sure that you’ve seen the domes all over social media, or even just passing one of the many spots that offers this style dining now. These mix of dining experiences are sure to give you all the winter feels (aka dress warm). Depending on where you go, the igloos can seat different group sizes and offer different dining packages. Make sure to call or book ahead!
Check out our Igloo Dining Guide >
3. 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.
4. Hit the hills and go sledding
6121 Chestnut Ridge Rd, Orchard Park, NY | 716-662-3290
Sledding is the perfect go-to winter activity. Being from Buffalo, you probably have plenty of snow gear you can break out, so grab a sled and check out one of our favorite hills like Chestnut Ridge or Gunther’s Hill in the Southtowns and Como lake Park or Ellicott Creek Park in the Northtowns. Don’t forget to grab a hot chocolate on the way home.
5. 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.
6. Plan a staycation
Let’s be honest, sometimes you just need a little getaway. 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.
Last year Just Pizza in Amherst owner Mary Alloy partnered with a local shelter to put adoptable dogs on her pizza boxes. Her Pizza + Pups campaign was an international sensation and a huge reason why so many dogs were adopted in a short period of time. Now Mary has decided…it’s time to help the cats!
Just Pizza is now partnering with Ten Lives Club to feature adoptable cats on all of their pizza boxes and offering adopters a $50 gift certificate to enjoy a nice dinner to celebrate their new best friend!
Ten Lives Club says they are incredibly grateful for the opportunity and they look forward to working with Mary and her kindhearted and selfless family.
“Mary has been battling a rare cancer for months and going through chemotherapy at Roswell. The fact that she is still always looking for ways to give back while fighting this terrible disease is simply amazing…but that’s just what Mary is. Amazing,” said Ten Lives Club Public Relations Manager Kimberly LaRussa.
In addition to putting adoptable cats on pizza boxes, Just Pizza will be collecting donations for Ten Lives Club in honor of the rescue’s 20th anniversary. Learn more about the effort here, and grab a pizza here!
Just Pizza – Amherst
In the early 1900s, two of the biggest figures in African American politics were Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois, and both men have historic connections to local pastor Rev. J. Edward Nash and his ministry at the Michigan Avenue Baptist Church on Buffalo’s East Side.
The legacy of Rev. Nash is on full display at his former residence in the Nash House Museum, which is located at 36 Nash Street in Buffalo, around the corner from the historic church.
Born, raised and college-educated in Virginia, a 24-year-old Nash accepted the offer of ministry at the Michigan Avenue church in 1892 because of its historic connection to the Underground Railroad. Nash’s presence and influence in the local African American community led to him becoming a popular and respected figure, with a reputation that stretched far beyond Buffalo. He was instrumental in bringing branches of both the Urban League and the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) to Western New York.
For 32 years, Rev. Nash was secretary of the Ministers Alliance of Buffalo, an influential interracial religious organization. In this role and others, Rev. Nash was able to battle injustice and advocate for various members of his community.
Through his tireless local work, Nash gained statewide and national acclaim. In 1910, his reputation led to him serving as host for a visiting Booker T. Washington. Just 9 years earlier, Washington became the first African American invited as a guest to the White House, dining with President Theodore Roosevelt in October 1901 – just one month after Roosevelt’s inauguration on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo.
Some history books describe Washington as an accomodationist, someone who argued that Black people should temporarily accept crushing discrimination measures and focus on advancing their rights though economic gains. Put very simply, Washington argued that collective prosperity was the path to equality, and not political turmoil and confrontational activism.
As you can probably imagine, many Black folks were not on board with this philosophy and a more activist parallel movement at the time was being led by W.E.B. Du Bois, the primary political rival of Washington. Du Bois favored Black activism and education over accommodation. Du Bois was also somewhat of an elitist, arguing that college-educated Black men should put aside personal interests and fight for equality. This position became known as the Talented Tenth, a term coined by white liberals that said 1 in 10 Black men were capable of earning a college education.
These contrasting (and somewhat problematic) philosophies could both be found within the ministry of Rev. Nash. Nash did formally host Washington for a speaking tour of Buffalo, but his parishioners were instrumental in hosting an iconic meeting led by Du Bois.
In 1905, DuBois held a meeting across the river from Buffalo, in Fort Erie, that would set the stage for the Niagara Movement. This highly activist movement would go on to become the NAACP. This historic meeting is said to have been held in Fort Erie to keep it secret from local supporters of Booker T. Washington.
The political intrigue surrounding two competing ideologies under the same church roof resonates in the Nash House today, and Sharon Holley, president of the board for the MIchigan Street Preservation Corporation (MSPC), recently told Step Out Buffalo about a bit of the oral history around the meetings in Fort Erie.
“There are some stories out there that say, they wanted to meet in a Buffalo hotel, but were not allowed,” she told us in a recent phone call. “Then, there are other stories that say DuBois wanted to meet at a resort where he could relax, and that’s why they chose the hotel in Fort Erie.
“There was a lot of things in the newspapers about who was on who’s side. Some of the papers said Booker T. was sending people into the meetings W.E.B. DuBois held to see what they was talking about.”
Early 19th-century politics was just one aspect of the life of Rev. Nash and you can glimpse the life of this towering local icon at the Nash House. Described as a time capsule, the house features pristinely preserved personal quarters and Nash’s study. A typewriter, victrola and other furnishings are all typical of pre-World War II era Buffalo. Undisturbed papers and books offer a window into the thoughts of Rev. Nash on a wide range of topics.
Due to the on-going COVID-19 situation, the Nash House can be visited in person and reservations are recommended due to social distancing concerns. There are virtual tours available of the house and other historic sites in the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor. As the entity that owns the house, the MSPC has been vital in redeveloping and restoring the Nash House and other aspects of the historic corridor.
In speaking about that herculean restoration effort, Holley largely credited community advocate George K. Arthur, who recently passed away.
“He was a major force in establishing the Nash House Museum, through vision for what the house would become – a historic place on Buffalo’s East Side,” she said. “So, since his transition we’re still trying to continue that mission and follow up with what we can. We can’t walk in his shoes, they’re too big.”
36 Nash Street, Buffalo 14204
Attention devoted plant moms/dads and beginners alike. Whether you are well-versed in the plant world or are just embarking on your houseplant journey, this guide is *just* what you need.
Not only does Western New York have a gorgeous art scene, a stunning waterfront, and hidden gem restaurants galore – but did you know we have a very lively selection of indoor plant shops open year-round as well? Instagram-worthy and foliage fantasy shops have been popping up all around town. Anything from snake plants to monstera’s, they have. The best part is truly the experience these unique local shops offer. From their wonderful atmospheres to beautiful interiors, this may be one of the most relaxing shopping experiences out there.
Are you a well-experienced plant connoisseur? These shops won’t disappoint. And if you’re a newbie testing out your green thumb, you can find the perfect selection for getting started and care tips from shop staff.
Most of the shops on this list sell plants, pots, and most of the gardening accessories you’ll need. There is no shame in the houseplant game, and the best part about this guide is that it allows you to fully support your habit (or soon-to-be habit) while supporting local businesses.
As always, make sure you check store hours and COVID-19 guidelines before you visit.
Did we miss one? Email us at email@example.com!
1. Put A Plant On it
715 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo
putaplantonit.shop / 716-931-5092
Right off of Instagram and on Elmwood, Put A Plant On It is a classic. This store has every plant you could want and is incredibly cute inside. Pro-tip: follow their Instagram for care tips and plant info.
618 Main St, East Aurora & 335 Center St, Lewiston
The Plant Shack strives to provide you with well-known varieties as well as rare and unique plant selections. They fully encourage your houseplant addiction and it is definitely not possible to leave without one – we’ve tried. This may be the most instagram-able of them all.
3. Life Is Succulent
1249 Eggert Rd, Amherst
lifeissucculent.com / (716) 259-8033
Life Is Succulent specializes in easy-care houseplants and a selection of eco-conscious products. They have a great selection of succulents as well as a wide array of other houseplants.
1250 Niagara St, Buffalo
daddysplants.com / (716) 248-1358
Not only do we love their name, but their plant selection is great too. They specifically have a mix of desert and tropical plants that are always rotating.
428 Rhode Island St, Buffalo
urbanroots.org / (716) 362-8982
This spot is a community co-op garden market. They offer a wide array of plants as well as classes and supplies. Get everything you need at this unique community market.
8441 County Road, East Amherst
lavocatsnursery.com / (716) 741-3976
A year-round greenhouse and nursery they have a huge selection for every occasion. Family owned and operated, they have the self-proclaimed the largest selection of houseplants in WNY.
2885 Angle Rd, Orchard Park
angleachresgreenhouses.com / (716) 674-8754
*Currently only open for curbside pickup of online orders*
If you’re looking for curbside pickup and a plethora of houseplants, this greenhouse is for you. Open year-round, they have a great selection of houseplants and cacti all available for you to shop online.
8. Rudolph Galley & Sons Greenhouse
2722 Clinton St, West Seneca
galleygreenhouse.com / (716) 822-9298
This greenhouse is open year-round, including house plants. However, we do recommend calling to verify their selection which is still seasonal during these winter months.
4484 Clark St, Hamburg
weknowplants.com / (716) 649-4684
Lockwood’s is year-round and carefully selects its houseplant varieties for their aesthetic and place in interior design. They have a large curated selection and even specific plants which are shown to benefit your indoor eco system.
10. Niagara Produce
112 Chestnut St, Lockport
niagaraproduce.com / (716) 478-0888
Though they sell grocery and baked goods, they also have a wonderful greenhouse full of great selections, indoor plants included.
118 S Forest Rd, Williamsville
mischlersflorist.com / (716) 632-1290
A full-service florist and greenhouse, year-round. They have a wonderful greenhouse selection, including gorgeous orchids, that are available to shop. You can even check out their Facebook page for some amazing snaps of their selections.
Did we miss one? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Buffalo has an impeccable beer scene. When we think we’ve seen it all, we are reminded that Buffalo goes beyond the typical beer with some mega creations and collaborations. Each week we round up the biggest Buffalo beer news and events happening in our community.
Want to share your Buffalo/WNY beer news with us? Email email@example.com!
Here is this week’s Buffalo Beer Buzz:
Southern Tier Continues Shake Shop Series With Strawberry Dream
Following Vanilla Whipp and Orange Creamsicle, Southern Tier is expanding their Shake Shop series with Strawberry Dream Milkshake IPA. Barley, oats, and milk sugar join fruity, tropical hops and more hops. It’s then conditioned on strawberry and vanilla for a bursting aroma, creamy mouthfeel and rich notes of citrus and strawberry. Strawberry Dream MIPA is available now in 4-pack 16oz. cans and on draft.
New York Beer Project Plans Inaugural Can Release
New York Beer Project will hold perhaps their most important beer release yet on March 1 (5pm) – their first ever can release, one more than five years in the making. Irish Coffee Stout, a 7% stout brewed with Irish coffee and lactose for rich coffee and cream flavors, was part of the Buffalo Beer Geeks’ CollaBEERation 1.5 event. $14.99 per 4-pack (limit 2).
Four Can Releases at Thin Man This Weekend
Thin Man is looking to make sure beer fridges across Western New York are fully stocked with four beer releases on February 26 (Elmwood, 3pm, Chandler, 4pm, Transit, 4pm). Diplomatic Immunity New England IPA (flavors and aromas of peach, melon and strawberry) is returning, alongside the next entry into the Laminar Flow family (Peach Blueberry Strawberry Sour), Pacific Sun NEIPA (flavors of orange and lemon with light herbal notes and a crisp, dry finish), and Across the Fields of Morning Citra Heavy West Coast IPA (notes of tropical fruit & resin with some orange peel). Stock up!
Eli Fish, Britesmith Team on New Beer, Tap Takeover
Anochronistic, a 6.2% IPA with El Dorado and Mosaic hops, the first ever collab between Eli Fish Brewing and Britesmith Brewing, will be released on February 25 (4pm) at Eli Fish. In addition to the new collab, Britesmith is taking over taps at Eli Fish that day with Cinn-Full Stout (dessert stout with cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar, and lactose), Billie Haze (DDH NEIPA with Lactose & Pineapple), Hefeweizen, and Irish Red Ale.
Community Beer Works Plans Duel Releases
On February 26 (3pm), Community Beer Works are releasing not one, but two new beers in Keep Sailing, Bob Hoppy Pilsner and The Beer That Sank Atlantis Dark IPA. Keep Sailing is a collaboration with the Buffalo Beer Geeks; a lightly bittered pilsner with a bright, hoppy aroma and a balance of grass, wildflower and lemon zest, and The Beer That Sank is the latest in CBW’s Employee Concept Beer series from Dave “Geech” Giczkowski. Available in 16oz. 4-packs. Pre-order at communitybeerworks.com/deliveries.
Five & 20 Drops New Entry in Shape Shifter IPA Series
Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing are releasing the latest member of their Shape Shifter IPA family, Ruby Moon Red IPA. Brewed with NY Chinook, NY Michigan Copper, NY Cluster, and Azacca hops, Ruby Moon features tropical fruit, lemongrass, peach and subtle pine flavors. Ruby Moon will be available in cans (16oz. 4-packs, $14) and limited draft. The brewery has also welcomed back Flame Cranium Red Ale for the season.
BriarBrothers Brewing Launches New Kickstarter
BriarBrothers Brewing, the brainchild of local brothers Joel and Dylan Betti, has launched a new Kickstarter campaign to help fund their goal of opening a brick-and-mortar brewery. The campaign runs through April 20 with a goal of $12,500. Monies raised will go towards designing, renovating, and developing the brewery, and perks include mug club membership, glassware, hoodies, and shirts. For more information and to donate, click here.
After losing her environmental job to COVID-19 cuts, Nia Puccio was at a loss what to do with her life. So she decided to pursue her passion selling retro kitchenware clothes and other doodads – a very specific collection of goods we never knew we needed but are now desperate to get our hands on.
As you can imagine, starting a business during a pandemic is a risky move, so instead of launching with a brick and mortar space, she turned her love of Skoolies (old school buses that are transformed into tiny houses) into a business concept, using a renovated old bus as a roaming shop. It wasn’t long before she had purchased a small bus, removed the seats, and installed shelves and racks to get Blue Moon Vintage Bus on the road.
The bus started parking outside local small businesses, selling retro goods like the Scoop Shop in the Elmwood Village. “Nia, the purveyor of Blue Moon Vintage, has filled her repurposed school bus with fun and useful mid-century tchotchkes. Blue Moon Vintage is one of the best things to come out of 2020! Hop on the bus and take a trip down memory lane,” said Scoop Shop owner Wendy Reed.
“I’m obsessed with all things mid-century and decided to stock my bus with that,” Puccio said, “It had this effect that I didn’t expect, COVID has been tough on people, and that has made them nostalgic for a better time in their life.”
Blue Moon Vintage Bus
*GIVEAWAY ALERT!* We’re teaming up with Ellicott Development to give away an Ultimate Ellicottville Staycation package which includes:
– 2 overnight stays at the Wingate by Wyndham in the Village of Ellicottville
– $100 dinner for two at Villaggio
– (4) $25 gift cards to Finnerty’s Tap Room
– (2) $25 gift cards to Daff Dry Goods
– $25 gift card to Ava Grace Fashions
– Aveda body lotion and stress fix oil from Enix Salon
To enter to win just enter your name and email below.
By entering this giveaway, you are giving Step Out Buffalo and Ellicott Development permission to send you info about the best we have to offer. #luckyyou
PRIZE: Ultimate Ellicottville Staycation Package
GIVEAWAY ENTRY DEADLINE: Tuesday, March 2, 2021
During the last eleven months, many of the cheap thrills we’ve relied on to keep our sanity have been stripped away: loud music on a thumping sound system, posh settings, good looking people mingling at the bar, a bit of friendly competition and the night pulsating with endless possibility.
Walking into the new Vice on Pearl Street in downtown Buffalo, you’re quickly reminded of nightlife in The Before Times. Optimistically speaking, as COVID numbers drop like a stone and restrictions slowly get lifted, Vice and cosmopolitan places like it are well-poised to give us what we’ve been craving.
During opening weekend, the vibe was probably the best ‘stepping out’ experience that COVID restrictions could allow. The bar started getting busy around 3 p.m. and stayed popping until closing time, at 11 p.m. The dinner crowd started filing in around 5 p.m. and full trays of food buzzed around tables from that point forward. Parents, kids, single ladies, geeks, Boomers, bros, hipsters, chefs, musicians, restaurateurs and even celebrities all made socially-distant appearances.View this post on Instagram
The bar-restaurant is a front-and-center tenant in the burgeoning food and entertainment complex at 500 Pearl. With two bocce courts, murals from local artists, modern décor, a curated whiskey list, brick oven pizzas and gourmet burgers, Vice fills in a lot of boxes on your Modern Hospitality Concept bingo card.
Speaking recently with us, co-owner KC Mullett said the goal of Vice is to be as approachable as possible. The menu includes popular contemporary items like burrata, charcuterie, burgers, fish tacos, and wood-fired pizzas. Wines and whiskeys are the major focus of the beverage menu. Although the goal is for Vice to be a nightlife destination, there’s also a kids’ section for the lunch and dinner crowds.
“(Approachable is) the term we like to focus on, as far as the menu, as far as how we operate – just all-around approachable,” he said. “We’re going to have a great section for $20 bottles of wine and a reserve list on whiskeys. But overall, everything will be approachable.”
Mullett also owns the popular Williamsville restaurant Neat, and while the two are quite similar concepts, Mullett said he’s looking to be a bit edgier, a bit trendier in the downtown location.
“At Neat, we’re in the suburbs so we can’t get as creative as we’d like to,” he explained. “So, we’re going to take a few more risks as far as cocktails and bring in some whiskeys that people haven’t heard of, staying in that trendy niche.”
As a concept, Vice squeezes neatly into the larger 500 Pearl entertainment complex, and the restaurant’s identity was definitely molded to suit the much grander vision.
“With the bowling alley, Patrick’s Rooftop Bar and all the event centers they have here at 500 Pearl, we kind of just worked on the fly to match the vibe,” Mullett said.
The response, both in-person and on social media, has been resoundingly positive so far and Mullett said he plans to respond by expanding operations, as conditions will allow.
“We’re really looking forward to starting up lunches soon, once everyone comes back to working downtown,” he said. “Also, we’re starting brunch service on Sundays.”
500 Pearl Street, Buffalo 14202
Hours (subject to change): Monday – Thursday 4 p.m. – 11 p.m., Friday 3 p.m. – 11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
*GIVEAWAY ALERT!* We’re teaming up with Cellino Plumbing to give away a $100 Gift Card to Jim’s Steakout!
Cellino Plumbing HVAC is all about giving back to the WNY community. Their annual truck wrap contest is one of the many ways they show their support for local non-profit organizations. If you know of a non-profit who you think should participate in the contest have them submit a design at the link in bio!
To enter to win just enter your name and email below.
By entering this giveaway, you are giving Step Out Buffalo and Cellino Plumbing permission to send you info about the best we have to offer. #luckyyou
PRIZE: A $100 Gift Card to Jim’s Steakout.
GIVEAWAY ENTRY DEADLINE: Monday, March 1, 2021
Spring is around the corner and local shops like this one are debuting new styles for the new season.
From dresses to jeans and sweaters, RuthAnn Boutique has a variety of pieces perfect for refreshing your wardrobe. If you’re shopping for spring styles, check out this women’s boutique in Williamsville.
Here’s a few spring pieces you can find here:
1. Good American- Good Vintage Jagged Hem
Everything you love about vintage jeans, The Good Vintage features modern updates and an undeniable, flattering fit.
2 & 3. Bishop + Young Parisian Blazer Set
This black and white tweed blazer is a classic. Plus, it matches perfectly with this classic mini tweed skirt for a chic, yet sophisticated look!
4. Greylin Terry Tie Dye Dress
This cozy French terry cotton dress comes in mint. You can dress it down with sneaks or dress it up with sandals or heels.
5. Gretchen Scott Rocket Girl Dress
A touch of shine is always in style. Make a statement in this light blue dress with metallic silver embroidery.
6. Good American Good Vintage Raw Seams Jeans
Vintage meets modern. This pair has everything you love about vintage jeans, with modern updates.
7. Velvet by Graham & Spencer Larista Dress
Comfort meets elegance with this dress. It features flattering ruching, a crewneck decline and three-quarter length sleeves.
8. Bishop + Young Beautility Shirt Dress
A modern take on the collared dress shirt. Featuring body contouring darts throughout the torso and a snap up front, this dress is sure to become your favorite go-to outfit!
9. Gentle Fawn Lux Dress
This is a basic tank dress with a twist to accentuate all your curves in just the right ways. You can pair it with heels or chunky sneaks and a jean jacket for a more casual look.
10. Gentle Fawn Fonda Sweater
Ready to refresh your wardrobe for the new season? This sweater has the perfect silhouette for everyday wear.
5350 Main St., Williamsville, NY