Things to Do in Fall in WNY

An aerial view of a waterfall, gorge and trees in autumn in Letchworth State Park.

The "Grand Canyon of the East", Letchworth State Park, is about a 90-minute drive from downtown Buffalo. 

By Shannon O'Sullivan

Published August 29, 2023

The Buffalo-Niagara region boasts all four seasons with autumn offering some of the region’s most awe-inspiring activities and events. 

As a UB student, here are some top fall favorites you can enjoy and explore in Western New York. 

Oktoberfest Celebrations

For beer enthusiasts, there are multiple Oktoberfest events to partake in throughout September and October in Western New York. A true highlight is the family-friendly Oktoberfest celebration at the historic Buffalo Central Terminal. Enjoy German music, food and beverages amid the ambience of one of Buffalo’s most iconic buildings. A petting farm and pumpkin carving stations are available for all ages.

Buffalo AKG Art Museum and Delaware Park

The Buffalo AKG Art Museum, formerly known as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, recently reopened after a $200 million renovation. The museum showcases modern and contemporary art, including an impressive collection of Clyfford Still paintings. After immersing yourself in the museum’s stunning installations and exhibits, you can then explore the Delaware Park Rose Garden and Hoyt Lake – located just behind the museum campus. Although these standouts of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy can be enjoyed all year, visitors can take in some of the most scenic views in fall.

Ellicottville Fall Festival

Drive about an hour south of downtown Buffalo, and you can find a favorite year-round destination — Ellicottville. Although the village’s two ski slopes make it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts in wintertime, the picturesque and walkable community also contains numerous shops, bars and restaurants. The Fall Festival is Ellicottville’s largest and most anticipated event, in which the village becomes a four-block block arts and crafts show with delicious cuisine, live music, and a chair lift for spectacular autumnal views.

Football Games and Tailgating

Fall means football in Western New York. With one of the most storied fanbases in the National Football League, attending a Buffalo Bills game offers entertainment before on-field play even begins with a one-of-a-kind tailgating experience. Looking for a more affordable and accessible option for football spectatorship? Cheer on the UB Bulls right on north campus. Go Bulls! 

Ghost Tours

Want to explore the spookier side of the season? Buffalo History Tours offers several unique ghost tours within the downtown area. Discover both the historical and the paranormal every October. 

Scenic Drives and Hikes

Buffalo is conveniently located near some of the most wonderous overlooks and trails for taking in fall foliage. Whether you like to hike or drive, there is no shortage of outdoor expeditions. Adventurers will especially love the stunning Letchworth State Park — the “Grand Canyon of the East” is about a 90-minute drive from downtown Buffalo. 

Fright Fest at Six Flags Darien Lake

Thrill seekers can roam multiple haunted houses and “scare zones” once evening falls at Fright Fest on select weekends in September and October at the region’s top theme park. During the day, parkgoers can experience a different type of fright via amusement rides and rollercoasters — the latter of which have made Darien Lake renowned as “New York’s Coaster Capital.”