Quick, close weekend getaways for Buffalonians


As students, we live for the weekend. We push through Monday and Tuesday to skate through Wednesday and Thursday so by the time Friday comes, we’re ready to go. Unfortunately as the semester keeps moving, weekends begin to change. It’s no longer outdoor parties and pumpkin picking – it’s so cold, it’s hard to be outside at all.

Luckily, Buffalo is accustomed to this cold. Here are some weekend hotspots, perfect for any mini-vacation or wintery weekend fun.

Holiday Valley

Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville, New York is less than an hour away from UB and provides the opportunity for those who love to ski or snowboard. The resort offers lessons for those willing to learn, which makes the trip fun for anyone. Schussmeisters, UB’s skiing and snowboarding club, organizes trips for students and offer discounted passes. Holiday Valley also offers tubing, sleigh rides, snowshoeing and mountain tours.

If you’re not looking to spend your entire trip outside, treat yourself to massages and body wraps to melt away the stress of school at the Falling Waters Spa. The Holiday Valley Mountain Shops lets visitors find any of their winter gear needs.

The lodge hosts a variety of large events such as weddings and banquets, so don’t mistake it for a tiny cabin in the woods. It can make a fun, inexpensive getaway for you and some friends to immerse yourselves in Western New York winter.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Not many students can say they live half an hour away from the U.S.-Canada border. Toronto is less than two hours away from Buffalo and makes for a perfect excursion for those looking to explore Canada.

There are some must-see attractions like the CN Tower, the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and the Toronto Zoo. You can check out a Blue Jays baseball game while the season is still going or a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game.

Since the drinking age is only 19, Canadian nightlife can be exciting for those underage in the United States. College Street Bar, Sweaty Betty’s and The Guvernment are just a few of the popular clubs and bars that Toronto has to offer, though you can explore the city to find smaller bars that might strike your fancy.

Niagara Falls

The Falls are only about half an hour away from UB, so it’s an easy getaway any time of the year. Though it’s a little nicer when the weather is better, Niagara Falls is beautiful no matter the season – even frozen over. The Maid of the Mist tour, where participants take a boat to the foot of the Falls, or the Niagara Gorge Discover Center, a hiking trail near the Falls in which participants can explore caves, give visitors a chance to see the Wonder of the World up close.

The entire surrounding area is full of shops and restaurants to explore including the Hard Rock Café and the Seneca Resort and Casino. Even if you decide against going to the state park itself, there’s plenty to do in the surrounding city.

There are two sides to the Falls, so if you’re looking for something a little different, hop over to the Canadian side if you have a passport. They have an IMAX Theatre, the massive Niagara Skywheel and the exciting Skylon Tower Observation Desk. The Observation Deck has a revolving dining room in which patrons can enjoy an ever-changing view of Canada.

Cleveland, Ohio

Most people at UB are from New York – whether it’s Western New York, Upstate or down in the Long Island/New York City area. Ohio is only a few hours from Buffalo and well worth the weekend away to not only explore a new city, but a different state. Cleveland has some exciting, though touristy, sights to see like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where greats like Ringo Starr, The Ramones, and Green Day are honored for their contributions to music. Other tourist hotspots include the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Once you’re done exploring the city, enjoy Cleveland nightlife with locations like Griffin Cider House, an English-style pub which offers eight varieties of cider on tap. If you’re looking for some music, go down to the Euclid Tavern, one of the most legendary music venues in town. It’s more of a neighborhood corner bar, but offers live music every night and is open until 2:30 a.m. on weekends.

Tori Roseman is the senior features editor and can be reached at tori.roseman@ubspectrum.com