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Best things to do in WNY for the holidays

The Ice at Canalside season opening celebration is Friday, November 22

Photo by Stephen Gabris


November 29–December 23

Festival of Lights at the Fairgrounds

With festive light displays, holiday shows, kiddie rides, and, of course, Santa, this festival has something for everyone to enjoy. 

Hamburg Fairgrounds (5820 S. Park Avenue, Hamburg)

the-fairgrounds.com, 649-3900


November 29–December 1

Christmas in Ellicottville

Enjoy horse-drawn carriages and holiday fanfare in the village where the New York Times says it’s like being “transported to a scene
from an old black and white Christmas movie.”

 Village of Ellicottville

 ellicottvilleny.com, 699-5046


November 29–December 22

The Winter Village at Chautauqua

From holiday beverages, cooking classes, and wine tastings, to winter sleigh rides and visits with Santa, this holiday event promises festive fun for all ages.

(1 Ames Ave., Chautauqua)

chq.org/winter, 357-6306


November 29–January 5

Poinsettia and Railway Exhibit

This exhibit features thousands of lush and colorful poinsettias, whimsical woodland scenes, an entertaining model railway this holiday season.

Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens 

(2655 S. Park Avenue)

buffalogardens.com, 827-1584


November 30 & December 1

The Nutcracker

The Neglia Ballet Artists’ production presented in collaboration with The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will transport you to the fantastical Land of Sweets, ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Nov. 30, 7 p.m.; Dec. 1, 2 p.m. at Shea’s Performing Arts Center

(646 Main Street)

sheas.org, 847-0850, for tickets 800-745-3000


November 30–December 22

Gingerbread Wonderland

Visit Santa Claus in a life-size gingerbread house, and each weekend participate in different holiday festivities, such as chef demos, a toy train show, live performances, and family activities like face painting, holiday crafts, cookie decorating, and more!

Niagara Falls Culinary Institute

(28 Old Falls Street, Niagara Falls)

nfculinary.org, 210-2525


November 30 & December 7, 14, 21

Santa on the Carrousel

Join Santa for lunch, followed by picture opportunities and a carousel ride.

12–2 p.m. at Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum

(180 Thompson Street, North Tonawanda)

carrouselmuseum.org, 693-1885


Throughout December

BNHV Holiday events

BNHV presents Breakfast with Santa and other events. Check website for dates and times.

Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village

(3755 Tonawanda Creek Rd., Amherst)

bnhv.org,  689-1440


December 3

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Adapted from Charles Schultz’s beloved holiday story, this performance follows the Peanuts gang as they put on their own Christmas production and perform a concert of holiday carols.

7 p.m. at Riviera Theatre

(67 Webster Street, North Tonawanda)

rivieratheatre.org, 692-2413


BPO Holiday Concert

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s annual holiday concert promises to get you in the
holiday spirit.

7:30 p.m. at the William E. Swan Auditorium, Hilbert College

(5200 S. Park Avenue., Hamburg)

 bpo.org, 885-5000


December 4

Horton’s Holiday Hayride

Rockabilly-punk artist Reverend Horton Heat performs with ska-punk band Voodoo Glow Skulls, Japanese rock ’n' roll trio The's, and country-punk artist Dave Alvin.

8 p.m. at Tralf Music Hall

(622 Main Street)

tralfmusichall.com, 835-3500


December 5

Rick Holland Quartet –Ugly Sweater Party!

Enjoy a performance by Rick Holland and his jazz band along with light refreshments and hot drinks. Wear an ugly holiday sweater to get a gift from the Expo68 store.

7 p.m. at Expo68

(4545 Transit Road., Williamsville)

expo68.com, 458-0081


December 5

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

Chip Davis, founder of Grammy-award-winning neoclassical musical group Mannheim Steamroller, performs from Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, one of the best-selling Christmas albums in the U.S.

7:30 p.m. at Shea’s Performing Arts Center

(646 Main Street)

sheas.org, 847-0850, for tickets 800-745-3000


Winter Choral Spectacular

Various Buffalo State choral groups celebrate the winter season in song, under the direction of  Dr. Victoria Furby and Mr. John Fleischman. 

7:30 p.m. at Performing Arts Center at Rockwell Hall 

(Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Avenue)

buffalostatepac.org, 878-3005


The Oak Ridge Boys Home Christmas

This concert by the Country Music Hall of Fame quartet features classic and contemporary Christmas tunes, making for a night of holiday cheer and tradition.

7:30 p.m. at Riviera Theatre

(67 Webster Street, North Tonawanda)

rivieratheatre.org, 692-2413


Opening Night: A Pan-American Celebration

This Victorian Christmas event features wine and tapas, a silent auction, live jazz, carolers, and decor by the 8th District Federated Garden Clubs of WNY.

5:30 p.m. at Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site

(641 Delaware Avenue)

trsite.org, 884-0095


December 5–15

A Christmas Carol

The classic Charles Dickens tale is brought to life by the Ghostlight Theatre Company.

The Ghostlight Theatre

(170 Schenck Street, North Tonawanda)

starrynighttheatre.com, 743-1614


December 5–22

Christmas Over the Tavern

This musical written by acclaimed playwright and Buffalo native Tom Dudzick, about a family living over a saloon in Buffalo in 1959, returns. 

Shea’s 710 Theatre

(710 Main Street)

sheas.org/710-theatre, 847-1410


December 6

Key Bank Holiday Live at Larkin featuring Vitamin D

Enjoy live, original holiday music by Vin Derosa and Vitamin D with DJ Sike, plus vendors, food trucks, beer, wine, and free parking.

5–8 p.m. at Larkin Square

(745 Seneca Street)

larkinsquare.com, 362-2665


Peter White Christmas

This contemporary jazz concert features guitarist Peter White, saxophonists Euge Groove and Vincent Ingala, and singer/composer Lindsey Webster in a holiday-themed performance.

8 p.m. at Performing Arts Center at Rockwell Hall

(Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Avenue)

buffalostatepac.org, 878-3005


December 6–7

The BBC Band: Fourth Annual Christmas Show

A group of Western New York musicians playing in the style of the Beatles and the music of the sixties puts on its annual holiday concert.

Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 7, 9:30 p.m. at Tralf Music Hall

(622 Main Street)

tralfmusichall.com, 852-2860


December 6–8

Art is a Gift: Holiday Gift and Art Sale at the Burchfield Penney

More than fifty Western New York artists are represented at this holiday shopping event.

Dec. 6, 12-8 p.m.; Dec. 7, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Dec. 8, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. at Burchfield Penney Art Center 

(1300 Elmwood Avenue)

burchfieldpenney.org, 878-6011


December 6–10

Kaleida Health: Festival of Trees

Take a stroll while getting into the holiday spirit with hundreds of decorated trees celebrating the uniqueness of different cultures.

Buffalo Niagara Convention Center (153 Franklin Street)

Kaleidahealth.org, 881-8264


December 6–15

It’s a Wonderful Life: The Live Radio Play

In this live performance, conceived as a 1940s radio production of the classic Christmas film, actors bring Frank Capra’s beloved characters to life as live sound effects are produced on-stage as a tribute to the radio format.

Kenan Center Taylor Theater

(433 Locust Street, Lockport)

kenancenter.org, 433-2617


December 6–22

A Christmas Carol

The 37th annual interpretation of Charles Dickens’s classic novella, adapted and directed by Neal Radice.

Alleyway Theatre 

(1 Curtain Up Alley)

alleyway.com, 852-2600


December 7

Tree Lighting Celebration

This annual tree lighting event marks the official opening of the free ice-skating season in downtown Buffalo's Rotary Rink at Fountain Plaza.

12 p.m. at Fountain Plaza

(580 Main Street)



Holiday in the Village

The village of Williamsville gets in the holiday spirit with local vendors, a tree lighting ceremony, and caroling.

10 a.m.–6:30 p.m. at Village Hall

(5565 Main Street)



1st Saturday Jazz Brunch: A Charlie Brown Christmas 

Bassist Ed Croft and keyboardist Jake Malone-Brancato bring the music of A Charlie Brown Christmas to first Saturday Jazz Brunch at The Hollow Bistro and Brew, a series hosted by JazzBuffalo.

11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. at The Hollow Bistro and Brew

(10641 Main Street, Clarence)

jazzbuffalo.org, 759-7351 for reservations


December 7

Mistletoe & Merriment with The Craig Warner Quintet

Enjoy a full night of holiday and seasonal tunes to get you feeling festive!

8 p.m. at PAUSA art house 

(19 Wadsworth St.)



The Nutcracker

Come celebrate a very special performance of the holiday classic with the American Academy of Ballet’s Nutcracker. This production has become a WNY favorite, selling out performances.

1 p.m. & 6 p.m. at Mainstage Theatre

(Center for the Arts, UB North Campus, Amherst)

ubcfa.org, 645-6915


A Christmas Stroll 

This longtime event, created in 1987, celebrates the holiday season with a Living Nativity, complete with camel.

Village of Ellicottville

(Monroe Street, Ellicottville)

ellicottvilleny.com, 699-5046


Buffalo Jazz Composers Workshop “Ruins Christmas”

In the final installment of the 2019 Jazz @ the Taylor series, this jazz group reimagines traditional holiday music with a tongue-in-cheek spirit.

7 p.m. at the Taylor Theater at the Kenan Center Campus 

(433 Locust Street, Lockport)

kenancenter.org, 433-2617


December 7 & 8

Holiday Barrel Tasting

Stock up on your favorite Keuka Spring wines for the winter and get a behind-the-scenes taste of what’s in store for next year while enjoying holiday hors d’oeuvres. Reservations required.

Keuka Spring Vineyards 

(243 Route 54, East Lake Road, Penn Yan)

keukaspringwinery.com, 315-536-3147


Roycroft Campus Holiday Show

If you’re looking for the perfect, unique holiday gift, this art show features artists in a variety of media from glass, wood, fiber, paint, and more. Visit with live animals from Thistle Creek Alpacas, and watch artist demonstrations in glass.

10 a.m.–5 p.m. at Roycroft Campus Corporation

(31 South Grove Street, East Aurora)

roycroftcampuscorporation.com, 655-0261


Lewiston Tour of Homes

See gorgeous homes decked out by designers for the holidays, presented by Historical Association of Lewiston.

10 a.m.–5 p.m. Village of Lewiston

(Lewiston, NY)

Lewistonhometour.com, 754-4214


December 7–10

The Nutcracker

The classic holiday ballet comes to life.

Dec. 7, 7 p.m.; Dec. 8, 3 p.m.

Buffalo Academy for Visual & Performing Arts

(450 Masten Avenue)



December 7 & 14

The Castle by Candlelight 

The 18th century historic site offers guests a unique yesteryear experience in a setting untouched by consumerism, but enhanced and accented with ribbons and homemade ornaments, courtesy of the Youngstown Garden Club.

6:30–8:15 at Old Fort Niagara 

oldfortniagara.org, 745-7611


December 7–22

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Nothing brightens the dull days of winter like a troupe of tap-dancing penguins! Based on the unforgettable classic, Mr. Popper’s Penguins tells the warm-hearted tale of Mr. Popper, a man who dreams of becoming an Antarctic explorer.

Theatre of Youth

(203 Allen Street)

theatreofyouth.org, 884-4400


December 7 & 14

“Suit Yourself” Fashion Show and Brunch

Fashion Shows are curated by volunteers from the Site's Costume Resource Center.

11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at
Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site

(641 Delaware Avenue)

trsite.org, 884-0095


December 8

Secrets of Allentown Tour of Historic Homes

Allentown Association and TRIS present this interior tour of private homes in Buffalo’s Allentown National Historic District fully decorated for Christmas. 

Time TBA at Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site

(641 Delaware Avenue)

allentown.org, 884-0095


Christmas Tea

Begin the Christmas season with a delightful afternoon tea, then tour the historic house right next door.

11 a.m. &  2 p.m. at Hull Family Home

(5976 Genesee Street, Lancaster)

hullfamilyhome.com, 741-7032


Jazz on Second Sundays: Buffalo Jazz Collective Septet Holiday Celebration

This performance features original arrangements of popular holiday songs, including saxophonist Bobby Militello lending his singing voice to the group’s arrangement of
“The Christmas Song.” 

2:30 p.m. at The Buffalo History Museum 

(1 Museum Court)

buffalohistory.org, 873-9644


Classical Christmas with the Cheektowaga Community Symphony

The Cheektowaga Symphony performs with the Women’s Choir of Buffalo and the Buffalo Girlchoir.

3 p.m. at Street John Gualbert’s
RC Church

(83 Gualbert Avenue, Cheektowaga)



Bill Kirchen & Too Much Fun Honky Tonk Holiday Show

When guitarist Kirchen rolls into town, there are no ordinary Christmas carols, but rather hits like “Truckin’ Trees for Christmas” and “Reindeer Boogie.”

4 p.m. at Sportsmen’s Tavern

(326 Amherst Street)

sportsmensbuffalo.com, 874-7734


The Nutcracker in the City of Light 2019

Configuration Dance Theatre and School of Ballet’s 2019 performance of The Nutcracker in the City of Light is a timeless holiday classic set at the turn of the century in Buffalo, NY, the renowned city of light.

Two Performances @ 1:00 PM & 5:00 PM at the Flickinger Performing Arts Center (Nichols School)



The Rockin' Twangy Blue Holiday Bash with Amy Helm

Helm performs with blues artist Jony James and Tripi in a holiday-themed show.

6 p.m. at Tralf Music Hall

(622 Main Street)

tralfmusichall.com, 835-3500


December 9

Christmas with the Roosevelts

The holiday luncheon is catered by CRaVing followed by renowned interpreters Larry and Julia Marple describing why Christmastime in the Roosevelt home was one of “delirious joy.”

11:30 a.m. at Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site

(641 Delaware Avenue)

trsite.org, 884-0095


Dinner and A Diva Christmas

A champagne toast, holiday boutiques, dinner catered by the Hilton Garden Inn, plus carols, stories, and folk tales by O'Connell & Company.

5:30 p.m. at Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site

(641 Delaware Avenue)

trsite.org, 884-0095


December 10

The Lettermen Holiday Show

The sixties group famous for their version of “The Way You Look Tonight” performs holiday classics along with some of their hit songs. 

2 p.m. at Seneca Niagara Casino

(310 4th Street, Niagara Falls)

senecaniagaracasino.com, 299-1100


The Gift of Music and Poetry

Violinist Mary Ramsey of the 10,000 Maniacs & Vincent O'Neill of the Irish Classical Theatre perform selections from W. B. Yeats Poems: Words and Music.

11:30 a.m. at Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site

(641 Delaware Avenue)

trsite.org, 884-0095


TRivia Nite: Victorian Christmas Edition

Wear your ugliest Christmas sweater, enjoy a buffet, and participate in a holiday themed trivia competition.

5:30 p.m. at Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site

(641 Delaware Avenue)

trsite.org, 884-0095


December 11

Jazzy Christmas

Enjoy an evening of one of Buffalo’s favorite jazz big bands and the vocals of the retro Buffalo Dolls for an evening of jazzy Christmas music. This special production sold out twice last year. 

7:30 p.m. at Hotel Henry

(444 Forest Avenue)




The luncheon is catered by CRaVing, followed by a program of holiday music & song from talented WNY lawyers & jurists.

11:30 a.m. at Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site

(641 Delaware Avenue)

trsite.org, 884-0095


Gap Mangione & The New Big Band: A Holiday Concert

Rochester native and jazz musician Mangione and his big band celebrate the season with his own arrangements of holiday songs. 

7 p.m. at Riviera Theatre

(67 Webster Street, North Tonawanda)

 rivieratheatre.org, 692-2413


December 11 & 12

Home Alone in Concert

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra performs John Williams’s score to accompany the beloved holiday film about a young boy who defends his home from burglars when his family accidentally leaves him home alone for Christmas.

7 p.m. at Kleinhans Music Hall

(3 Symphony Circle)

bpo.org, 885-5000


December 12

Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus

After a gourmet BLT lunch catered by CRaVing, hear a spirited and joyful holiday music program.

11:30 a.m. at Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site

(641 Delaware Avenue)

trsite.org, 884-0095


December 13

12th Annual Last Minute Panic Holiday Marketplace

Find those last-minute gifts featuring unique, quality handmade goods from housewares, knitwear, and jewelry to hand-printed greeting cards & posters.

Dec. 13, 4–8 p.m.; Dec. 14, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.  at Western New York Book Arts Center

(468 Washington Street)

 wnybookarts.org, 348-1430


Charlie Brown Is in Town with Ed Croft

Local jazz band The Ed Croft Trio recreates A Charlie Brown Christmas with a kid’s matinee 
on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Through Dec. 14 at PAUSA Art House

(19 Wadsworth Street)

pausaarthouse.com, 697-9069


Spirits of Victorian Christmas Past Luncheon

Learn what cocktails, ingredients, and recipes were popular in the Victorian era during presentation by Calder Wright of the Shatzel Group. A non-alcoholic option will also be featured.

11:30 a.m. at Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site

(641 Delaware Avenue)

trsite.org, 884-0095


The Kerfuffle Before Christmas

Sum 41, The Dirty Nil and The Unlikely Candidates perform

7 p.m. at Rapids Theatre

(1711 Main Street, Niagara Falls)

rapidstheatre.com, 205-8925


December 13 & 14

JoAnn’s Classical Christmas

Maestro JoAnn Falletta leads the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and
a lineup of guest soloists in a holiday concert that is an annual festive favorite.

Dec. 13, 10:30 a.m.; Dec. 14, 8 p.m. at Kleinhans Music Hall

(3 Symphony Circle)

bpo.org, 885-5000


December 13–15

The Night Before Christmas

This original family musical by J. Michael Landis and Jay Wollin details a brother and sister’s adventure with Santa and his friends.

Lancaster Opera House

(21 Central Ave., Lancaster)

lancopera.org, 683-1776


A Very DIVA Christmas

Directed by award-winning Buffalo actress Mary-Kate O’Connell, this show reminisces on Buffalo holiday traditions and features Christmas carols and storytelling.

O’Connell & Company at
The Ken-Ton Elmwood Commons

(3200 Elmwood Avenue)

oconnellandcompany.com, 848-0800


December 14

VFW 416 presents…Jazzy Christmas

It’s gonna Jing-a-ling-ling all the way as the Buffalo Dolls and Ladies First Jazz Band swing the night away with your very favorite Christmas tunes from The Andrews Sisters, White Christmas, and more!

7 p.m. at VFW Post 416

18 E. Spring Street, Williamsville



Trans-Siberian Orchestra 

This year’s presentation of TSO’s rock opera Christmas Eve and Other Stories, based on the triple-platinum album of the same title and product of the vision and imagination of TSO’s late founder/composer/lyricist Paul O’Neill, tells the story of an angel sent to earth to retrieve a representation of humanity.

3:30 p.m., 8 p.m. at KeyBank Center

(1 Seymour H. Knox III Plaza)

keybankcenter.com, 888-223-6000


Christmas with the New York Tenors

The talents of Andy Cooney, Daniel Rodriguez, and Christopher Macchio combine in a memorable performance that is sure to inspire and entertain audiences of all ages.

8 p.m. at Riviera Theatre

(67 Webster Street, North Tonawanda)

rivieratheatre.org, 692-2413


Musicians of Buffalo 2019 Christmas Event

Music is Art puts on a show featuring local artists Billy Sheehan, Jessie Galante, Bobby Lebel, and many others. All proceeds benefit Music is Art.

7 p.m. at Tralf Music Hall

(622 Main Street)

tralfmusichall.com, 835-3500


December 15

Jane Bunnett and Maqueque – A Latin Jazz Christmas

This special concert also features an appearance by Nikki Brown. The ensemble consists of some of the best female Cuban jazz artists assembled here in the US and Canada.

3 p.m. at Glenn and Awdry Flickinger Performing Arts Center

(1250 Amherst Street)



Jingle Bell Jam

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra puts on a show for the whole family, featuring holiday stories and songs from A Charlie Brown Christmas, Home Alone, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas—plus, a visit from Santa.

2:30 p.m. at Kleinhans Music Hall

(3 Symphony Circle)

bpo.org, 885-5000


December 18

Jim Brickman: A Christmas Celebration

Piano artist Jim Brickman and his special guests dazzle audiences with holiday favorites, hits, vibrant vocals, laughter, and joy.

7:30 p.m. at Riviera Theatre 

(67 Webster Street, North Tonawanda)

rivieratheatre.org, 692-2413


December 19

Bobby Militello 

Buffalo Jazz Collective’s Bobby Militello, a talented saxophonist, flutist, and jazz vocalist, performs a holiday concert at the Expo68 art and design gallery. 

7 p.m. at Expo68

(4545 Transit Road, Williamsville)

expo68.com, 458-0081


Jane Lynch’s A Swingin’ Little Christmas

The Glee star performs with Kate Flannery, Tim Davis, and the Tony Guerrero Quintet in a holiday-themed comic cabaret-style show.

Dec. 19–20, 8 p.m. at The Bear’s Den at Seneca Niagara Casino

(310 4th Street, Niagara Falls)

senecaniagaracasino.com, 299-1100 


December 19, 21, 22

John Morris Russell’s Holiday Pops

Maestro John Morris Russell, otherwise known as “Mr. Christmas,” leads the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Tony-nominated singer Liz Callaway in this family-friendly and festive holiday concert. The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus also joins in, featuring a performance of “The Little Drummer Boy” accompanied by the drumming of the African American Cultural Center. 

Dec. 19, 10:30 a.m.; Dec. 21, 8 p.m.; Dec. 22, 2:30 p.m. at Kleinhans Music Hall

(3 Symphony Circle)

bpo.org, 885-5000


December 21

BJ Thomas Christmas & Hits

Thomas’s signature hits include “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” “Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song,” and “Lonesome.” Join BJ for an evening of Christmas favorites and classic hits.

7:30 p.m. at Riviera Theatre

(67 Webster Street, North Tonawanda)

rivieratheatre.org, 692-2413


December 31

First Night Buffalo

Stay warm inside and experience an affordable night of fun for the whole family, with carnival rides, bounce houses, acrobats, exotic animals, and much more.

Beginning at 5 p.m. at Buffalo Convention Center

(153 Franklin Street)



Buffalo Ball Drop and Fireworks

Ring in the new year with fireworks and our very own ball drop.

Midnight at Iskalo Electric Tower

(535 Washington Street)



USS New Years

Celebrate the new year with vocalist/guitarist Ashley Boo-Schultz and hypeman/turntablist Human Kebab.

9:45 p.m. at Rapids Theatre

(1711 Main Street, Niagara Falls)

rapidstheatre.com, 205-8925


Howlin’ New Years Eve - Tennessee Redemption

Ring in the New Year with blues band Tennessee Redemption, which is joined by Russ Vesci and Texas Revolver, and then toast champagne at midnight.

9 p.m. at Tralf Music Hall

(622 Main Street)

tralfmusichall.com, 835-3500



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