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For Buffalonians, winter weather is a part of life. Instead of retreating indoors, many bundle up and face the cold conditions head-on. There’s no better place than Canalside at the Buffalo Waterfront to embrace the winter season. Located at the 1825 terminus of the Erie Canal just off the Metro Rail line, Canalside has become one of Buffalo’s epicenters for activities and events all season, so you can count on there being an abundance of fun for the whole family.

Ice Skating

The Ice at Canalside has become a beloved Buffalo pastime in recent years, especially for downtown ice skating. This outdoor ice rink is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday throughout late fall and winter. After paying an entrance fee, guests can hit the ice with their own skates or rent a pair right at the rink. Visitors who need to warm or rest up can sit back and relax with snacks and warm drinks from Nosh & Nibble Snack Shack, located at the rink.

Other Activities On The Ice

Ice Bikes

If you’re not the best on ice skates but want to join in on the fun, Ice Bikes of Buffalo™ is a great alternative. Riders can rent out these stabilized bike units that let you easily pedal and steer around the rink, just as if you were riding a real bike!


Curling has become a fan favorite at Canalside. Part of the ice is designated for curling, where groups can try their hand at the brooms and stones. This activity is first-come-first-serve or available for reservation, so make sure you secure your spot.

2023 Grand Opening

This year, The Ice at Canalside is hosting a weekend-long grand opening celebration to kick off the holiday and ice skating season. The event begins on Friday, December 1st and lasts throughout Sunday, December 3rd.

“Previously, we’d only have the grand opening on Friday. This year we’ve decided to go all out and have a big party all weekend,” said Michele Cicatello, marketing manager for Buffalo Waterfront. “It’s a great way for families to get out with the kids and get into the spirit of the holidays.”

Friday’s festivities start with the first happy hour skate, where guests can enjoy discounts and giveaways along with a firework/light display. The rest of the weekend will include live music and DJ sets, a visit from Santa and a meetup with ice princesses for the little ones.

That Sunday will also mark the first Kids Club Sunday of the year. This new event gives kids their own part of the ice and an activity zone every Sunday. “We’ve got a new fleet of kids’ ice walkers, penguin skate aids and hockey nets for the kids to use in their zone,” said Michele.

Ice Fest

Ice Fest is returning once again in January 2024. Aside from festivities on the ice, the weekend-long event will feature snow and ice sculptures and demonstrations from local artists. Adults can enjoy service at an ice bar stocked with local favorites and an ice luge for drinks. Guests of all ages can also expect live music, DJs, and discounts and giveaways over the course of the event.