Seven Affordable Buffalove-Themed Dates

Valentine's Day is a great day to show off the love in your heart - not just for that special someone, but for this special city as well!

(@DanaStansbury) |

Are you scrambling for a last-minute Valentine’s Day date idea? Are you on a budget, but still want to impress your significant other? Thankfully, Buffalo offers plenty of activities – beyond just chocolates and flowers – that you can enjoy without breaking the bank.

We picked seven of our favorite, yet affordable, date ideas that are perfect for showing your Buffalove today – and any other day, too!

Ice Skating

Buffalo is sexy. #buffalony #rotaryrink

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Go ice-skating for free Rotary Rink at Fountain Plaza. Even if you don’t have your own, skate rental is only $2. The rink is in the heart of beautiful downtown Buffalo and definitely makes for an impressive date.

Canalside also offers up ice skating options. Unlike Rotary Rink, you’ll have to pay a nominal fee, but the larger ice area and additional attractions provide a little more bang for your buck. Plus if your feeling adventurous (or just Canadian), you can try your hand at curling!

First Fridays at the Albright-Knox

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Take in some culture and spend some time with your significant other at the Albright-Knox museum. They’re only open until 5 p.m. during the week, but it’s a great place to go and walk around on your way to dinner.

With food and drink from local bakeries, breweries, and more, their First Friday events also make for a great date. Plus, the gallery stays open until 10 p.m. for these monthly events! Of course, there isn’t one for Valentine’s Day – but if you’re looking for something to do on March 3rd, be sure to mark this on your calendar.

Open Mic Nights

Helium Comedy Club

You can really impress someone by getting on stage. However, if live performance isn’t your forte, you can still have a great time in the audience. These open mics are free to get in the door, but you’ll probably want a few drinks or something to eat while you’re there.

Milkie’s on Elmwood offers a music open night mic on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. and a comedy night every Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Helium Comedy Club holds its open mic on Tuesdays at 8 p.m.

Botanical Gardens

Erie County Botanical Gardens

You have to pay to take in the beauty of the Buffalo Botanical Gardens, but it’s well worth it. You can spend all day here! Compare that to spending money for a movie that only lasts about two; Botanical Gardens is both more budget friendly and a more unique date.

Admission rates as of January 1, 2017:

$11 Adults

$10 Seniors (62+)

$9 Students (13+ with ID)

$6 Kids 3-12

Kids 2 and under are free

Garden Members are free

Paint Nite or Paint on Tap

Paint Nite Buffalo

Express your creative side with your date by painting the night away. These are the most expensive dates on the list, but you get to keep your painting and the memories will last you forever.

Unfortunately this one isn’t the best last-minute idea because the classes tend to sell out days (and sometimes weeks) in advance. But they’re the perfect date to keep in mind when you’re looking to plan a fun, casual date or private party for you and other couples.

Paint Nite – Normally $45 for an outing to one of these events. Hint: search Groupon first for a coupon code. You may be able to get a ticket for $25.

Paint on Tap – Approximately $32

Hike, Bike, and More at Chestnut Ridge Park

Chestnut Ridge

Pack a lunch and get out and enjoy nature – it’s free! There are many trails for both hiking and biking at Chestnut Ridge Park. A hike to the eternal flame falls is always an option, but be cautious when hiking, especially in the winter.

The park also offers other winter sports, including tobogganing, sledding, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing (ungroomed), and snowmobiling on designated trails. These are not all free and are weather permitting. You can call ahead (716-858-8513) for weekday winter sports/activities updates.

Canalside Art Installations and Monuments


We mentioned Canalside earlier, but they have way more to offer than just ice skating. Do the tourist thing while taking in some local history and art. A walk by the water may be brisk, but you can bundle up. A few restaurants and bars are nearby, and it’s a nice primer for a Sabres or Bandits game.


There’s nothing sweeter than spending time with the special someone in your life in the city you love. If we missed your favorite Buffalo date spot, be sure to let us know in the comments!

And while you’re out celebrating with your valentine tonight, be sure to snag a photo and share it with us! Our #ShareYourBuffalove Instagram Photo Contest runs until 12pm ET on February 15th – and the prize is for another amazing Buffalo-themed date night! Just share your photo on Instagram and tag it with the hashtag #ShareYourBuffalove to enter.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


About The Author:Dana Stansbury
Dana is a Social Media Specialist in our Enterprise department at Mainstreethost. When she's not conquering social media, she's spending time baking goodies, dishing advice on her Buffalove podcast and reading any book she gets her hands on. Connect with Dana on Twitter.